Wednesday, December 21, 2005

One more reason suburbs suck

When Noland and I were looking to buy a new house last spring, we had many of the usual requirements homebuyers have. Our budget of course, the minimum size and numbers of bedrooms, bathrooms, yard size, etc. Since we don’t have kids and don’t plan to the whole school thing was irrelevant – but the neighborhood was not. East side preferable and the closer in the better. We wanted Portland. We like Portland. We live in Portland for a reason. Northeast, Southeast, North – all fine. Suburban dwelling was not ever an option.


We both however work in Beaverton – me way down off 217 by the evilest of evils – Washington Square Mall – and Noland way the hell out 26 by the empires of Intel and Nike. Both about the same distance from home, but far enough away from each other that even driving together is not a viable option. We knew that where we ended up buying we would be stuck driving a fairly lengthy commute – and that was something we were willing to do to live in the area that we wanted. Where we are now is basically at the limit of how far we would be willing to go – living much farther out then we are now and we would have had to seriously consider other options.

So that being said – I try not to complain to often about the drive. We very well could have bought something in Beaverton, probably larger and newer, for about the same price and it would take us 5 minutes to get to work. But we’d rather live where we live then where we work. So off hours – it takes about 25 minutes door to door. In commuting traffic from 4 – 6 pm it takes about 40 minutes. A bad day with slow traffic can be up to an hour.

Yesterday it took 1 hour and 39 minutes to get home.

My office is in a generic office park right off the main road that leads to the mall… well as a Target, Circuit City, Powell’s, etc. it’s a 3 minute drive from the parking lot to the entrance of the highway. Yesterday it took more than 20 minutes. And you can bet that every single one of those extra cars was some suburbanite headed to the mall. Crawling through downtown at 5 mph. And you can bet that every one of those extra cars were suburbanites shopping downtown who didn’t know where they were going. An hour and 15 minutes to cross the river. But once I did – once I was on the east side of town – traffic back to complete normality. Smooth sailing home.

God I hate the suburbs.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Fighting with all I've Got

On Monday, with only five days before Vegas, I start coming down with some sort of illness. And of course the Portland ITEC was this week, so instead of quiet days in my cubicle working online and drinking hot beverages - I was on show site running around, helping get stuff set-up and having to be friendly and helpful to all the Exhibitors and Attendees – while trying not to cough and sneeze on them. So every night this week I’ve come home to Noland fixing me tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, bags full of drugs and vitamins, him doing all of the stuff that needs to be done around the house, and me crawling into bed super early around 9pm…so that said and done – I believe that the bug has been mostly kicked – and we are ready to roll!

Or as Violet so eloquently stated:




Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Happy Family

Whew – the folks were here – we had a nice visit and now they’re gone – WHEW! As Noland noted – it’s a bit of a passive-aggressive pattern between my mother and I and if they were here for more then the 65 hours that they were here – we would have to do even more serious dinking then I’m already in need of…

Here is an example of a conversation we had on Thursday night (mind you they’d been in town a total of maybe 4 hours at this point):

Mom: so you need to put the leftovers in the refrigerator you know

Me: I will

Mom: so lets go clean up the kitchen and put those away

Me: I’ll do it later

Mom: well but won’t you feel better if you do it now, plus that needs to be refrigerated…

Me: I will do it later

Mom: Let’s go do it now. I’ll help

Me: Mom – I don’t think the enchiladas sitting on the counter for another hour will hurt. It’s not like its 90 degrees in here or there are bugs crawling around my kitchen

Mom: well, but there are all the dishes to that need to be washed

Me: Yes, and we have a dishwasher, and maybe tomorrow I’ll load them in and wash them. Dishes often sit in my kitchen for more then a day and the world doesn’t fall apart…

(We didn’t put the enchiladas away then, but about an hour later we did have to load the dishwasher – and I had to start it running to stop her from making me do the hand wash dishes right then and there)

End of the first full day - Friday night:

Mom: you know it’s time for the news.

Me: (rolling eyes) we don’t watch the news

Mom: well some of us just like to know what’s going on in the world

Me: you know you can read the news and then you don’t have to watch the same sound bites over and over again.

Mom: but then it’s at least a day old…

Dad: and besides - you don’t even get the daily paper.

Me: it’s called the Internet – and then it can be minutes old

Mom: but here we can see what’s important in the world

Me: Sure, important to the programmer trying to get ratings…I bet there will be nothing on this broadcast that I didn’t already read online today…and with more information

Mom: all media is biased, you’re not getting anymore of a correct story by reading it online, so why not just watch it here

Me: I’m not saying it isn’t biased, but because I can link from one source to another to get different perspectives on the same information I know more about the topic then what’s covered in the 30 seconds they devote to it here…

(We did watch the NBC Nightly News, but I refused to watch the local news, and that disturbed them as well, even though they don’t live here and have no idea what it would be about)

Or in a store on trendy-third Saturday afternoon as Noland and I were looking at a dining table and chairs that we liked:

Me: This is the type of table we want – its big and sturdy and solid

Mom: but just one for a lot less then that

Me: well, no not really, most that are like this are in this price range, we just need to wait a few more months to save up for it

Mom: I’m sure there are ones that are less

Me: well I’m sure a little, but this is about what it will cost

Mom: plus you can’t get that – it’s wood and you’ll set your drinks on it and ruin in

Me: yes, because we’re twelve we don’t know how to take care of things

Mom: well people will come over and they won’t use coasters and you’ll get marks on it

Me: it’s a table; you’re supposed to use it

Noland: plus I kinda like that distressed/used sort of look

Mom: well people don’t mean to, but they just don’t think and they’ll ruin and then you won’t have a nice table anymore

Me: well then yes, by all means we won’t be able to get that…

And so it goes…every conversation turns into a bit of a power play…her trying to still be the mother in charge and me fighting back like I was still 16…

I love ‘em – but man am I glad I don’t live anywhere near ‘em.

Friday, November 04, 2005

November Freaking 4th

and the radio station that plays in the bathroom at my office is already playing all holiday music all the time. It's not even freakin' Thanksgiving yet! I may need to take matters into my own hands.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

I think because I’ve been sick or fighting a cold for going on two weeks now, I’m sleeping more then ever, but really the really sound sleep of the drugged so that I don’t remember my dreams. Total bummer.

When our friend Ron in Seattle sends us the pics he took this weekend, we’ll get some posted up there – but nonetheless, it was a good Halloween weekend. My costume may not have been as fancy as some, but I put it together myself, I didn’t buy it or rent it, so it was much cooler then those, although it might not have been as good as the guy who dressed up like this guy.

Just wrong. But really funny.

And Friday night doing the annual pumpkin carving festivity at Steve & Cesar’s was great. As usual everyone’s creative spirit shone brightly – my pumpkin was a bit cannibalistic. And we got our annual chance to watch Steve (of Steve & Jackie not Steve & Cesar) get loaded, which is always amusing. But Jackie was there to keep him from trying to drive off with the candle still lit in his pumpkin in the backseat.

I love Halloween.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bow-heads past their prime

When I was in high school and looking at colleges I had just a few requirements to start the narrowing down process.
  • minimum of 3 hours from where my parents lived
  • no all girls schools
  • no schools with any sort of social restrictions (curfews, limited male/female access, etc.)
  • oh yeah, and a decent journalism school
Then as I narrowed down and started visiting some schools I added another qualification.
  • No Texas schools
Now I don't have the hatred for Texas that my Noland does, but after visiting TCU and Trinity - both of which were pretty high on my list until I set foot in the state, I realized that Texans - and Texas women in particular - were nuts.

I'm dropping in on classes with my tour guide, 8 am classes mind you, and there are these girls there - not just one or two - but EVERY FREAKIN' ONE in obviously well prepped outfits, a couple inches of makeup, pearls and the biggest hair I'd ever seen. Admittedly this was the 80's and my hair was pretty big too, but this hair was HUGE and the bows....the all had bows, Perfectly matching their sweater and socks. EVERY FREAKIN' ONE.

So that brings me to today - have ya seen George's newest nominee? This is what happens when Texas bow heads get old. You can only put on inches of makeup every day for so many years before it stops coming off and becomes part of you....

Monday, September 26, 2005

like celebrity guest week on Love Boat

John Travolta just hangin' out at our house. Dressed in the Pulp Fiction suit, but without the Grease hair - rather disturbing combination actually. Lounged back on the couch* wathing TV, he was awfuly full of unwanted advice however.

President Clinton helping out in the kitchen. Kind of nice actually, it was like on theose cooking shows when all the ingrediants were laid out in pre-measured glass bowls and Bill, Noland and I all had on matching aprons. And I don't recall any dishes when we were done!

Bob Marley opening up at Porky's - it was surpise appearance and no one was there - and no one believed us...I think the dead thing probalby had something to do with that part.

I can't wait to see who's next...

*sidebar: Our big purple couch arrives this weekend - whoo hoo - everyone is invited over to check it out!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Raise a pint - never too old...

Anita who used to be my “going to shows friend” back in KS where we'd smoke those weird super thin cigarettes, drink 3 pitchers of beer (she drank most of the 1st, we split the second and I finished up the third while she was passing out), and pick up on the "alternative boys" sent me a link to this website that has info on her, her husband and friends doing crazy things such as running marathons, competing in triathlons, doing long-distance mountain biking – all kinds of nutso stuff….

Talking with my mother over the weekend and her asking what we were up to this week, telling her about a multitude of shows coming up, karaoke last weekend and general going out with friends, she makes a comment that we never stay home, and I just tell her that my life just isn’t as boring as hers was at my age – I remember her at my age – she had three kids ages 4, 6 and 9….

Someone at work says that they’re going to the Ash Street tonight, I say “hey – so am I” but they’re not going to see the Woggles – they’re going after work and will be well under the covers by the time the show starts. Another guy mentions that he used to be into the local music scene and go to shows all the time – but could never do it now….

Noland and I have talked about the fact that we don’t even know what we would do if we were ever “too old” to go to shows. That thought just isn’t even possible. It would make us way to sad. Sure, there are some shows that we seem to be among the oldest in the crowd – but there are others where we most definitely aren’t even close. And hey – most of the bands that we’re going to see are as old or older then we are and they’re still rockin’ away on stage – the least we can do is the same!

Friday, September 16, 2005


at least three more episodes of CSI with children kiling.....

I think I'm gonna keep a running tally...

Why I love Portland

So one of my best friends forwarded me an email that she received, the note enclosed to me was kind of a “can you believe this?” message and a story about her making a joke about not being as straight as you’d think to the sales clerk selling her jeans at the GAP who didn’t find nearly as funny as she did… and how that’s her life in Midwest suburbia.

The email was one of those floating around the internet letters that someone (from Arkansas, surprise surprise) wrote to ABC in regards to their promoting the “homosexual agenda” because of an episode of The Practice that addressed the gay marriage debate and they felt that the show made the conservative person look bad for disagreeing. There was all the usual sputtering that they were going to make sure everyone knew how ABC was so evil and blah blah blah……

So she sends me this message, then follows it up with a second email saying “Please don’t forward that, it’s a small world and I still have to live in my neighborhood.” So we messaged back a forth bit, and that she has to deal with this sort of thing a lot, that people just assume because she’s a suburban mom in a very conservative state that she agrees with that sort of bullshit. She said that she even had a 5 year-old child tell her that their mom didn’t approve of her belly ring. Which of course my friend had the wonderful response, “well that’s ok, she doesn’t have to get one.”

I get a little bummed sometimes because while I have the best circle of friends here in Portland, my best friends live all across the country, and sometimes I miss those heart to heart girl talks, or singing along with the Indigo Girls in the car (Noland’s really not into that, although he will occasionally humor me.) But while I don’t have any of those close friends here, at least everyone in my circle of friends here holds the same basic set of principles and beliefs that I do. I can’t imagine anyone that I know sending something like that and thinking that I’d want to read it. We don’t of course agree on everything, and there are probably some people in that circle that think things that I would find surprising, and vice versa – but I do know that no one I call a friend would think that this sort of bigotry was something that I, or anyone I know, supports and especially promotes.

So my friends, both far and near, know that even if I don’t always say it or act like it…I do appreciate you being part of my world!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

global tragedy and personal pettiness

I have no connection to the tragedy in the Gulf, I don’t know anyone who lives there, has lived there, was there, was directly affected – nothing – so I feel a bit like a local TV news station who has finally figured out a way to connect myself to the disaster no matter how thin the line.

And I’m not normally the type who gets all worked up over these things, I’m concerned of course, but I’m not one who cries over stories on TV or in the news about disasters, plane crashes, missing children, murdered wives or an of that other stuff. But for some reason this has really hit me, to the point that I was pretty unsuccessfully fighting back tears last weekend watching a slide show of images and trying to sing.

So my local news connection is that my younger brother is a forensic chemist for the KBI (that’s the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for us commoners), so basically he’s a CSI – just like on the TV show except for all the glamorous people, action packed hunting down of criminals, questioning of suspects and wrapping it all up in a matter of days. Pretty much it means he’s a geek in a lab coat who may on occasion be sent to a crime scene to collect some DNA or testify that “yes sir, that is 99.8% likely to be him,” but mostly he hangs out in a lab with blood and semen and grows pot in his office so he can track the various strains back to the right bad guys.

Well James was called down to Louisiana to help with the identification of bodies recovered from the city. He would go down and collect DNA samples from the bodies and help try to identify those that were unknown through the various scientific ways available.

My mother told me this, I barely had a moment to think that was pretty cool that he was going to be able to go down and help people, if not with something happy, at least something that might give people some closure. But she follows the sentences of “he was asked to….” with “but thank goodness he’s not going.” What she said was that he decided that it would be too tough leaving my sister-in-law and the kids at home alone for the two weeks they asked him to help out.

My brother and I are not extremely close, so I don’t know all the details of why that would be too hard, and it may have been a legitimate conclusion, but what disturbed me more was that my mother didn’t seem to hesitate in saying it was good he didn’t go. Her reasons why? It would be so hot. It would be so dirty and such tiring work. Yes, because we wouldn’t want to inconvenience ourselves just slightly for 14 days to help out people whose lives have been destroyed for who knows how long.

I then of course, had to pick a fight with my mother about politics, the weather, the best way to make toast…it’s how we work about 75% of the time, so instead of arguing with me she just keeps saying “ok” to everything that I say in that ever so condescending voice that only a mother can have. This of course just angers me even more so I make the next attack personal. I tell her that I’m sorry for trying to have an intelligent discussion, but that my friends and I don’t just discuss who was wearing what to church last week and the latest celebrity gossip but that we actually like to discuss what’s going on in the world around us.

Needless to say when she told me that they’re coming to visit in a few months… and that they’ll be staying at my house…

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

the downfalls (or benefits) of chocolate

I don't know that I really need to go into a detailed description of preparing for the end of the world. We've all seen it a million times on TV and in the movies, read countless was like that. I was with a group of my closest friends and family along with a dozen or more strangers who had all ended up in this same place of refuge. We were trying our best to prepare for impending danger, disaster, attack, disease, act of God or of Man...

Some were working very hard. They were building and reinforcing structures, they were gathering and preparing and storing provisions, they were organizing and planning and preparing. Others were keeping the children entertained and their minds of off the danger that the adults were trying so hard not to discuss. Trying to ignore the cries and wails and pounding on the door to the outside where those that had been caught outside tried desperately to get in, but we knew that we couldn't let them in. We wished them the best, but we were putting ourselves and everyone in our area in danger if we opened those doors, or windows or mental blocks.

And then their were the hippies having a bake sale. They really had an amazing set up going - there were more then a dozen oven in the field, powered by some downed line or unnatural source, but they were all blazing and smelled great - and they had platters upon platters of baked goods in front of them - willing to share with anyone who happened by.

Nancy, my sister-in-law, and I had gone off to find her son. He had wandered away and we needed to bring him back before it got dark. When she saw that the hippies had sugar cookies she knew that he had to have stopped there. So we stopped to ask, but they wouldn't talk to us until we shared a treat with them.

Now Nancy is not naive, but she has to some degree, led a bit of a sheltered life - plus she's a sucker for chocolate, so she grabbed a brownie and went to town without clue that they were special brownies.. I knew that the I didn't want to eat much of that brownie if I was going to be able to function after that, so I took a lemon bar that I thought would be more likely to contain fewer of those 'special' ingredients.

Thing is, I must have been wrong, 'cause I have no idea how the end of the story goes.....

Friday, July 29, 2005

Maybe it was the heat that made them do it

It’s been crazy hot here the last two weeks and we have been seriously appreciating the fact that we have central air. When we looked at the house and saw that I was like – Oh, that’s nice, but you really never run it for more then a week. My Noland however was totally stoked and I do believe that was one of the major selling points for him (for you none Northwesterners – our average summer temp is nice 79 and practically no humidity – no one has central air) how smart he is!

So being that we have central air and no where else does, weeknight evenings have pretty much been a series of go have some happy hour drinks somewhere and then head home to chill in the chill air. Being that we’ve had some drinks, our minds are not in the mood for any serious reading or movies that make you think. Being that it’s hotter then it should be in Portland, our bodies are not in the mood to do anything involving activity. So mindless television it is. Being that it’s summer, there’s not much on – although I will admit to having been sucked into Rock Star: INXS – but with a dozen variations on each and half a dozen channels that show them - there is always an endless stream of CSI and Law & Order reruns on. So I’ve been watching a lot of that crap lately. And I just started to notice a mildly amusing trend. If there is a kid involved anywhere in the plot – they’re the one who did it.

Two little girls murder a crazy old cat lady ‘cause she won’t give them a cat.
A little boy murders his neighbor, just ‘cause he’s nuts.
A little boy murders his brother because he told the kids at school that he wet the bed.
A group of kids murder another kid to steal his money.
A teenage girl murders her friend so that she can get her spot on the gymnastics team.

So what’s up with the writers of these shows? Do they think it has shock value? That the audience won’t suspect an innocent little kid and then they get to reveal “the big twist?” Watched ‘Children of the Corn’ one to many times? Maybe they just think kids are inherently evil?

And why isn’t there any outrage from the FCC or PRC or FTC or any of those other censorship happy groups? Don’t they realize that children will watch these programs and be inspired to kill their siblings after they take the last piece of cake? It will happen. You can count on it. And these…these shows will be to blame….. won’t someone please look out for the children?!?!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Back to Camp

I don't know why Gretchen got a button for being punctual and I didn't. I mean really. Not that I am super punctual - but she's even worse - and besides, we did everything together...if she was there, I was there. I didn't really care in the fact of getting the award - but it pissed me off if they were trying to send me some sort of subliminal signal that they didn't want me there, or other crap like that.

SO I went over to Miss Kitty, Boo and Spike who were near the jetway getting ready to herd everyone back onto the plane and told them how upset I was in a super-fake over exagerrated way so that they knew that I didn't care but was very aware of what they were trying to pull. Everyone got a good laugh and then I went to Boo (since she's the one least likely to give out any bullshit.) and in my most professional super serious manner said, "But seriously, why did that happen?" They all kind of look at each other with that 'oh crap, I think we're really going to have to tell her what's going on' look and Boo asks me to follow her.

She head off through a field and to this gazebo up on the hill - I start to follow and the ground is really mushy and my foot starts to sink in. I try to veer off closer to the sidewalk hoping the ground is more solid there, but it just keeps getting worse and pretty soon I'm knee deep in this marsh land. Boo looks down from the gazebo wondering where the heck I've gone and looks down to see me just as I sink lower and lower until I'm about to my waist and I've lost my shoe. It doesn't help of course that I have this long dress on so it's getting weighed down in all the mud and makes it harder for me to struggle.

I manage to get my elbows firmly planted and basically drag my self backwards until I can reach the sidewalk with my hands and pull myself out of the muck and mire. Disgusting!

Boo comes over and doesn't seem to even care that I just about went under in this quicksand like swampland that is apparently surrounding the camp - but she tells me that in essence the reason that Gretchen got the pin and I didn't is that at dinner the night before they didn't intend for everyone to have drinks but people kept ordering them, so they gave awards to those that didn't. Lame indeed! But I really don't care - what I'm concerned about now is that my clothes are completely covered with mud and the plane is about to leave and I don't have my suitcases - they're sitting back in the terminal still. The cab driver is pretty cool about it - he takes me back to the airport and even manages to get me in the exit door which is much closer then the entrance, but by the time I get there - the next round bags have all arrived as well and I can't find mine in the piles and piles of other bags.

I have to head out without and get back to the plane just before it was taking off. When we get back to the camp I am so in need of some serious drugs. Noland has promised to mix up some special mari-juana cocktails later for the boys and I make him promise me that I can have one too.

Now all I have to worry about is new clothes - luckily we were on a two-day shopping trip and although I'd already been to that store, I hadn't bought much cause they didn't have anything great, but I figured I could at least make due until I found my luggage. Of course as we get there, they were in the process of turning the women's department into a seasonal area and all that was left were swimsuits and plastic pools.

I'm just gonna go back to my bunk and take a nap.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Quiet...the baby is sleeping...HA!

So a woman walks into Starbucks pushing a huge baby stroller in which lies her sleeping spawn. The baristas are busy doing their jobs, grinding coffee and sweeping up, the woman asks them to please stop - her baby is sleeping. There is another customer enjoying his caffienated beverage whose jaw drops at such a request. A couple enters shortly after - the woman has received her beverage but it's not to her liking so she sends it back to the helpful baristas. Grudgingly she moves her powder blue track suit, pearls and giant stroller out of the way of the couple trying to order - missing the sandaled toes of the female by centimeters.

The woman gets her new coffee, asks the other patron to hold the door for her so she can remove herself from the building. Once the bells chimes to signal her departure the patron starts chuckling and tells the baristas they can start doing their jobs again. One barista comments that she was sad she didn't get to start the couples frappachinos before the woman left - as the frap machines are quite loud. The patron relays the beginning of the story to the couple who are equally amused and befuddled that someone would have the nerve to do such a thing.

She was so concerned about the spawn's sleeping patterns that she had to ask people to stop doing their jobs, yet not concerned enough to miss her daily latte.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Little cabin in the woods...

Noland’s sister has this huge house out in the woods….during the winter it’s just the family that stays there, but in the summertime the place is basically opened up into a bed and breakfast sort of joint. The basement has a bunch of rooms that are rented out, there are some little cabins on the property that are used and everyone shares common areas in the main part of the house. Except that the people that seem to be staying there right now are complete morons. Noland would like to look at them and scoff……“city folk” and their foolish ways – but I’m “city folk” and I know better.

I’d prefer to mock them for simply not being Oregonians. I’ve lived here for more than 7 years now – and they are all full-fledged adult years, so they count for more….I lived in Topeka for 10 years, but that was all before the age of 18, and in Des Moines for 9, but that includes 4 years of college – so I now consider myself an Oregonian…and we would never do what these people were doing.

One family decided that the stairs to the deck outside would be the perfect place to cook their dinner. So they’ve got a cook stove on the stairs, and piles of meat and vegetables and sauce and spices everywhere. Someone trying to go down those stairs could fall and kill themselves…..

…break the fluorescent lighting tubes that they were trying to steal…

… “rendezvous” in the playroom…

…dress up like girl scouts and chase bears…

…rummage through financial records in the basement…

…skinny dip in the communal hot tub…

…sheesh people…

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Dog Piss and Horse Shit

So the housewarming/seafood fest was a success. All our friends who didn't already have a written excuse from their parents were in attendence....there were large amounts of scrumptious food, we have cases upon cases of empty beer bottles and half the liquor we did when the evening began, the firepit didn't burn down the house.....oh yeah, and you people got my dogs so worked up that one of them decided to piss in the house that night. As it was a beautiful warm day we took 'em to the park the next day and we still had a repeat performance the next evening. Dumb animals.

With Noland down in Cali again this week, it was my turn to take up the baton fighting Cingular. We had everyone at the house Sat. check the status of their cellphones and determined that yes indeed, everyone with Cingular/AT&T has little to no coverage. Sprint was ok, Verizon was pretty good - but I think T-Mobile was the winner.

So the next day when Noland has to call his dad back 8 times - on fathers day - to finish a 30 minute phone call we decided it was definitely time to cancel the Cingular service and pick up with T-Mobile. Problem of course is that we're in a contract - we signed this new contract after Noland's phone got stolen at Ash Street one night the 'fats were playing (and I didn't keep a close enough eye on our coats.) This occured slightly before we moved into the new house. Working on the floors and painting and such before we moved in we realized we had an issue with coverage here, but waited till we actually moved in to call them.

Of course our 30-day grace period ended on the Sat after we moved in and we didn't call until Monday - having to wait to call from a location other then our house so that the call would go through and all - so when Noland called they basically told him to bad, they don't guarantee service everywhere. We tried other options that they gave us - spent a load of cash upgrading the phones, returning them and exchanging them - we gave it a fair shake. So I call this week and get a pretty firm 'No' from three levels of "can I talk to your supervisor then."

I am now waiting for a call from 'Herbert' an 'executive manager' who will retun my call within 72 hours. I went back and tracked all of the dropped calls. The past two months it's an average of 35 per month. If their no exceptions policy on getting out of the contract without paying the $300 is indeed no exceptions - they're going to give us free text messaging since that works more consistently and they going take 1% off my bill for every call that dropped the month prior. That should at least cover the cost of having to get a land line installed.

And that's my no exceptions policy.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Midwest - Part Zwei

A nice brunch the next morning with my mom & dad, younger brother, wife and kids – who were by weird coincidence visiting the MN based family the week prior and on their way home to Kansas – then we headed even farther north to the Land of Sky Blue Waters... Bemidji… First City on the Mississippi…. that’s where my mom grew up and my parents met when she was in high school and dad was a sophomore at Bemidji State – so my grandpa lives there as well as both sets of aunts and uncles on mom’s side of the family and three of five cousins.

I don’t think I’d been to Bemidji since I was 15 or 16. Since dad’s side all live in small towns near Minneapolis I’ve seen them more often during the years I was in DSM – it was easy to pop in and visit on my way to or from a weekend in MSPLS – but Bemidji isn’t on the way to anywhere!

Since I’d never been to Portland before I decided to move here, I flew out for a weekend to check it out about a month before I actually made the move. I was by myself in a rented Yugo and a cheap hotel (later I learned I hooker hotel) on Sandy Blvd. and after a day exploring the city I drove to the coast. I was 27 years old at the time and had never seen the ocean from US shores before. As I drove out the Sunset Highway though, it was a little reassuring that while this was the new and different place that I wanted it to be - it wasn’t completely unfamiliar either, as the Evergreens lining the highway, making the sunny afternoon a bit darker and chillier then it should be, reminded me of driving to my grandpa’s cabin on Turtle River Lake in northern Minnesota.

Every summer of my childhood, for as long as I can remember, we went to Minnesota on a family vacation. We’d first stop at the Newman side of the family just south of Minneapolis. We’d stay at grandma and grandpas a few days and all the cousins would come over. The youngest of the nine cousins was the same age as my older brother and the oldest ones I don’t remember really being around much – already in college or working. But then came the really fun part - then we’d keep going north – into the land where my brothers and I commented once - that if aliens landed they’d think that the planet was uninhabited.

We would drive and drive and never see another car let alone a city or even a farm. The roads were narrow and lined with pines and birch crowding up on either side, Once there had been a forest fire, so the trees were scarred and blackened making everything look even more desolate. But once you got far enough, you’d start to see signs of life. Small towns with roadside signs promoting local festivals and homegrown vegetables. And then you’d reach Bemidji – as we drove into town you’d see Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Grandpa’s in town home and office weren’t far away and there was a small amusement park right across the street – but the best part of Bemidji was going to the lake.

Grandma and Grandpa had a huge log cabin right on the lake – a big picture window overlooking it all, enough bedrooms plus a guest cabin that’d we’d all go out and stay – all the cousins and aunts and uncles. Once a bat swooped down out of the rafters and landed on my mom’s head during breakfast – grandpa just grabbed the tennis racket he kept handy for such occasions and chased it down. There was a garage filled with tools and three little motorbikes that the older kids got to ride – and grandpa or an uncle would give rides to the little cousins. An orchard full of crab apples that we’d eat ourselves sick at, throw to the dogs (there were always lots of dogs) and then go down to the lake. Grandpa had a red and white motor boat that he’d always take us out in, but also a couple of canoes and other little paddle boats that we could take out ourselves – always in our lifejackets – and turn over in the middle of the lake as we then laughed and splashed out way back to shore underneath an overturned canoe.

So it was fun to take Noland there and share stories with him about those kid trips. The drive from Minneapolis wasn’t quite as barren as I remembered – with the expanding tourism of resorts and fishing weekends there were signs of civilization all along the way – we even jumped out of the car at a rest stop near Brainard, pulled out the laptop hooked into the wi-fi connection and took care of a few items that needed to be taken care of. And then there were the scary signs – alongside the resorts and farmers markets were the “Jesus hates it when you kill babies” signs. They were really prolific through one stretch of the drive. We wondered if there was a higher percentage of abortions there, or if they were just kooks….

Up in Bemidji we did the family visit – it was good and I’m glad that Noland got to meet grandpa and vice versa since sadly I’m guessing that this was the last time we’ll get to see him. Had a lot of nice long chats with my aunts and uncles and brief ones with my cousins (they all had wee ones to chase after so they never go to sit down and talk.) And I took Noland to Itasca State Park – headwaters of the Mississippi and we waded across the river – where I confessed to being rather bratty about having to hike the last time I visited the place (at about age 9) causing my uncle to thank the Lord that he had two boys - and then I serenaded Noland with bits of an Indigo Girl’s tune

Well the Mississippi’s mighty, it starts in Minnesota, at a place that you could walk across with five steps down. And I guess that’s how you started, like a pin prick to my heart and at this point you rush right through me and I start to drown...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Iowa recap for posterity

So I got to take Noland on the grand tour of Iowa AND Minnesota – and I don’t care what he says – he had a good time! We kicked things off going to a Mongolian grill in a strip mall in the West DSM suburbs with Susan and a bunch of her friends to celebrate her birthday - which we timed our arrival with fabulously I might say. Then we headed a bit further in towards town to hang out on the patio of one of our old haunts and have some drinks – however about 10 minutes after we arrived the skies opened up and we were forced inside. But with $2.75 Long Islands as the nightly special – that was alright with us – and the evening was a great festivity of chatting with Susan, my friend Debbie and others…especially when I get to tell Susan’s new “only know her as the proper Principal middle-manager type” friends about her sordid past…heh heh heh……the best was after we relayed some (quite hilarious I’m sure) story to them, each of us bouncing back and forth with the lines filling in details – that this young girl turns and looks at us both and says we have the same sense of humor, with a bit awe that there could be some one else with as weird of a sense of humor as Susan – I was flattered.

The next day it was the grand tour of Des Moines, from the Drake Diner to the campus itself
and then of course the tour of all of my old apartments – the one nestled cozily in between a McDonalds, a Pizza Hut and a KFC, the house where our creepy landlord who lived in the house next door had his own “wink wink nudge nudge” special greenhouse in the back, the apartment where the bum slept in the hallway until he was found dead in a lawn chair by the swimming pool, the “Melrose Place” apartments as my friend Dan used to like to call them and of course the Yocum – where Susan was across the hall, Myriam was my roommate – and probably the best few years in Des Moines were spent….sans chasing bats out of Susan’s place and crazy Carl the handyman who stole our booze. And who says nothing exciting happens in Dead Moines?

Downtown Des Moines, including feeling up the statue that’s anatomically correct under his armor,

the insurance building that looks like an Absolut ad, and all the rest followed…finally ending up at a new dive in town called High Life that lives next door to the old Hairy Mary’s – which has relocated and gone way downhill from what I hear, but in it’s day was a great punk rock club - Noland enjoyed such fine creative drinks as a Tangermeister – yes that would be Tang and Jaeger, while Susan and I stuck to PBR while we chatted with my old friend and nemesis Bob ‘the Moron’ Moural. The journey continued through several more old favorites from when I lived in Des Moines. I think Noland was most impressed with the Des Moines Yacht Club - oh yes, even DSM has a Yacht Club. But don't start worrying that we went all fancy on ya...the fine establishment has not a blue blazer or spec of water anywhere in sight... And we got to see more old friends, become I believe among the first to learn that Chad and Laurie and expecting, and have an all around good time out.

Then it was north-bound to the far out Minneapolis suburbs for the wedding – or reception actually – of Dan and Nicole. It was great to be able to be there for them – Dan has always been a good friend and has always been there for me – and to get to see Bob again after his retreat from Seattle back to the Midwest – he seems to be doing really well and glad he made the move. We hung out for quite a while, but after a dozen or so pints of bad beer and politely biting our tongues (REALLY HARD) at comments made by Dan’s friends at our table such as “it’s not really fair to ask the wealthy to pay more in taxes…. they do so much already” and “ It’s obvious that Fox is the only channel where they aren’t attacking the white Christian family all the time, NBC, ABC, and even CNN and NPR are so obviously biased.” We had to call it night and head back to our lovely Jacuzzi suite......

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Gnomes will work for beer

It's true. If you are ever at your former dance teacher's palatial mansion for rehearsal and it starts raining and the teacher's brow beaten husband tries to lead you along with all the other kids to the basement you don't have to stick around. You're not a kid anymore. And it's almost midnight.

Of course if you've taken your shoes off you'll need those before you can leave. First you need to start looking in the main floor where all the kids are hiding under cardboard boxes cause it's raining inside as well. It would be easy, but they're not there. So you head upstairs next. You've been to the house many times before, but you've never been upstairs - when you get up the ladder you realize this must be the "private" section of the house. It's obviously their bedrooms, the nursery, and by the looks of all the crazy machines and electronics - where they had your teacher's wacked out mom living until she died mysteriously recently.


Get out of that part quick. So now down to the lower level to the study - the husband has done a LOT of hunting since the last time you were over. There are boxes and boxes of animal horns, odd foriegn trinkets, mounted heads - it's a bit overwhelming - but you weren't in that room either, so you head on.

Now when you go down the next flight of stairs.
Over there.
In the corner.
There are gnomes in the basement!
They thought that they were safe to run around since the kids had all gone to the other basement to get out of the rain...they hadn't expected you!

Now gnomes have to do whatever you ask them to if you come to a mutual agreement. And they can't stop until they're done - so you ask them to look for your shoes.
One yells out "we'll do it for 5 beers!"

You agree and a couple others try to up the ante - but you just be firm with them. Five beers was what the first one asked for so that's the deal. Be sure you give them a very detailed decription though - size 9 women's red canvas Rockport sneakers, new - you've only just worn them that one day - cause being gnomes they're awfully tricky and will just try to brig you any old dirty sneakers and call it done.

And that's just no good.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Day Two

the wall is down, the banister gone, waqllaper borders ripped away, appliances hauled to the garage, cabinet door off, locks changed and one wall is orange...whoo hoo!!!!!!




orange walls

Saturday, April 02, 2005

stealin' from Kelly

So the story goes...

Noland and I, Mike and Kelly were all searching for houses together...Mike finds one that he absolutely loves, Kelly disagrees but I think it's Mike says we should just get married and live there instead (apparently the fact that I'm already married to Noland isn't a concern.) But hey that's ok 'cause Noland and Kelly find a house that they love as well...and why do they love it? Because it has an outhouse with a wrap around porch! Classy! So they're gonna get married and live there.

The actual owner of this story wasn't sure which freaked her out more - the fact that she loved the outhouse with the porch or that fact that Mike ran off with me and she was with Noland. I'd have to say the outhouse - 'cause I think it just goes to further prove that I am indeed married to the man of every girl's dreams!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

almost there...

So it did need a new roof and all new plumbing…but the seller’s paying to get that done so we’re good to go. They’re both getting done this week and we should be signing papers by the end of next.

We had planned to go to Vancouver BC for a few days for our anniversary (2 FABULOUS years!!) on one of those free hotel room deals that we got for listening to a vacation timeshare presentation (we were very proud to have been the first people in our group to escape the never ending sales pitch with our little vacation certificate), but we cancelled out on it ‘cause that’s probably the weekend we’ll end up moving in.

The house is great, but you can tell by the décor that it was indeed a little elderly couple that lived there – all rather dated and ‘country’ (Our mothers would love it.) So we’ll have a week or two before we move in to knock down a wall, paint over the grape leaves and flowers stenciled on the kitchen walls, scrape off all the flowery wallpaper borders, tear up some ugly carpet and put down Pergo flooring, and replace the ancient appliances. Some work on the main bathroom will follow, as well as updating things like drapes/blinds, faucets, door locks, closet doors and such, but we can do that once we get in. And Violet will be pleased to hear that we’re not going to replace the lime green counter tops in the kitchen – we figure with new paint and appliances they could actually look pretty spiffy!

Then we get to set our beast loose in that amazing backyard. We’ll have to snag some patio furniture and get everyone over for an early summer BBQ before he destroys everything…actually I don’t think he’ll do to badly – some of it will get trampled, most likely the big patch in the middle - but I think we can keep him away from most of the edge stuff. Now we just have to pack up the house to get ready for this all…urgh…

a few "Before" shots

lovely color scheme eh? Posted by Hello

the carpet and "pony wall" will go Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 27, 2005


We've been to that bar many times, but I guess we'd never been there on a Sunday before. Not surprising, Sunday not being the prime going out night - but we had no idea that they did karaoke there. Just didn't seem like the right crowd.

But hey, everybody was havin' a good time - and Mike and Kelly were just tearing up the stage. I think however, that Kelly's been watching to much American Idol cause the song choices were a bit, ok extremely, on the cheesy side. But all good fun. So much that we didn't even realize that it was bar close - I couldn't beleive it was already 2am. then I checked my phone and it was just before midnight - apparently on Sunday's they shut down early. Probably a good thing actually, cause we did all have to work the next day and I was just then realizing how pooped I really was.

We had to park a ways down the street, so Noland went to get the car while I paid the tab. Man, that place cleared out quick, there was no one left by the time I walked out the door. Of course just as I'm getting to the car I realize that I left my new bag in the bar, crap, I hope I can still get back in. I turn around and start to run back to the bar when Noland yells to let me know he had it. He grabbed it when I went to the restroom so that I wouldn't leave it there. What a husband - not afraid to be seen leaving the bar with a very stylish green handbag!

Cool enough then, we can go home and I can get some sleep cause I'm exhausted........

what bad timing for the alarm, it was like no sleep at all.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Is it a dream?

well no matter how wacky it seems, I think this one is for real. So unless something is seriously wrong at the inspection tomorrow - they tell us we need a new roof or all new plumbing or something like that - we bought a

Monday, February 28, 2005

caught in the rain without an umbrella

I hate doing laundry. I guess that's why I ended up going out in only my underwear - although I did have on a big fleece top as well, so it's not like I was naked - just a little exposed - but no worse then short shorts or mini-skirts! Nonetheless I felt a bit exposed after being out - so during a break I decided to run home real quick and grab some pants.

When I get to my brothers house - the front door is wide open and my brothers friend who was supposed to be watching the kids is lying on the front step tied up inside a plastic grocery bag (he's kind of a little guy - I wouldn't call him a midget, but pretty darn close) So I run over and rip open the bag - he's still breathing, he's not hurt other then just being a bit traumatized - but he doesn't know if they took the kids, or hurt them or where they are - so I run into the house screaming their names. Cory! Erin! They're both there, back in their bedroom just quietly playing a game - they had no idea that anything was wrong. They knew that someone had come over to visit - and they told me his name, I knew who he was, he used to be a friend of my brothers at one point when we were younger - I wonder if he knew he was back in town.

About that time Steve and Cesar came by - they were on their way back and stopped to see if I needed a ride. I was going to be really late so I jumped at the chance - meanwhile forgetting to ever grab any pants. But they had some sweats in the car so I put those on and was good to go - especially now 'cause it was starting to rain and I'd be cold. We pull around the corner and Cesar notices that the travel agents office is open now - but Steve tells him that they'll have to stop on the way back - they needed to get me back before it was all over. That was cool of him, cause I get there just in time. They were passing out umbrellas that other people have left behind, to anyone that didn't have one, before we headed off. I had left one there earlier thinking that I could just pick it up again - but I couldn't find it and since I was late I figured someone else must have taken it. But Miriam had one of her own - and being that cute French girl that she is - convinced them to give her another one, so we were all going to be fine.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

smokin' with dad

I'm with my dad in a convenince store, and he's pointing out the CD's they sell at the counter - you know those cheesey compliations of "greatest hits of the 80's" or "all time country favorites" - well he tells me that his barbershop quartet was going to make CD's and sell them at c-stores, but that they all have to be produced through this same label - so we buy a bunch of 'em to figure out how he can get his music onto a CD and into the hands of those desperate for barbershop whilst traveling the great highways of this land.

Meanwhile, back in the parking lot he's having a little trouble getting the car out of the parking space and almost sideswipes the car next to us - now I know the guys in the car - I went to high school with 'em and they were all complete assholes. You know the type; lots of money, little bit of althleticism and no brains. So I yell at dad to stop before he does and my friend Jill Callies jumps out of the car, now I guess calling Jill a friend mught be a strech - we were friends at one point, but rather then realizing what these people were like, she wanted to become one - so we said poilite hellos and moved on our way.

So now we're on our way - but we've got Jill's mom in the car with us and we need to get to Susan's place. Susan sub-let an apartment that Jennie and I lived in for a few months after we left until the lease was up. It backed right up to a KFC drive though, and well that was convienent on occasion, it was also really irritating when someone had to keep reapeating "I want a 3-piece chicken and biscuit with a side-a-potato" 'cause the workers couldn't hear through the bad speaker, but we could hear 3-floors up and across the parking lot. So while it was a decent place, I'm not sure why Susan wanted to move back there, but she was going to and we needed to get to her place quick.

So dad's driving, Jill's mom is in the front seat and he's explaining to her how you can smoke secretly if you crack the car window open in the front and the back and blow the smoke out the window. I'm sitting in the backseat and they're paying no attention to me so I pull out a box of Marlboros and give it a try myself. Well look at that - I'm puffing right out the window next to my dad's head and he doesn't have a clue. Guess that's what being "an adult" means - you realize your parents do know something afterall.

Monday, February 21, 2005

flag on the play

Time for flag practice again this year. But we needed to raise some money for new flags and such so we decided to take part in the big flag and drum corps show. But as is typical with this group, no one really communicated much very well and I suddenly get a phone call that I need to go down to the show, and take the snacks that we were selling - and that I need to get there ASAP. I check the boxes of snacks that had been delivered to my house early - and I all I find inside are a bunch of half empty chip bags and cookie boxes. Great. Now I needed to stop and get more, as well as go pick up Tami and then get to the convention center. Now Tami was the friend that I did flags with in high school, so while that would be fun, I haven't seen her in probably 10 years and as far as I know sh estil lives in Kansas, so I decide that it doesn't make any sense, so I call Gretchen instead. I let her know that I'm on my way and she needs to be ready. Being Gretchen of course when I tell her I’ll be there in 10 minutes she says it'll take her at least 20 and that really means 30. URGH! So I need to call the folks working at the booth right now and let 'em know that we might be a tad late. Of course my mother is on the phone and she's talking to my little niece (who by the way is less then a year old and therefore can't really talk on the phone.) and she won't hang up. I let her know that I really need to use the phone and she just won't do it and tells me I'm being selfish - I holler at her a bit but it does no good. Someone else turns on the TV to check out what's going on at the convention center at the moment (have you ever watched the convention center channel - it's pretty amusing sometimes) and I see that the crowds are already showing up getting ready for the show - damn - we're too late!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

amazing what you can find in the backyard

It’s good to have your friends along when you’re looking for houses; they find things you might miss. We were out looking at this place and Spencer was with Noland checking out the basement (gotta see what the band practice space capabilities are ya know) while Steve and I are wandering around outside. It was kinda out in the country, so it had a huge lot and there was this big area of brush in the back – it’s near the property line and there are woods behind it, so at first I just figured it was a bunch of overgrown trees and bushes that the previous owners hadn’t bothered to keep trimmed down. But Steve thinks that he sees something back there, so we traipse back to take a look – he digs in under the branches a bit and comes up with a piece of blue tarp – we hack at the branches a bit – of course I happened to be carrying a machete – and pull them back…lo and behold there’s a hot tub there! We get all of the branches pulled back and the tarp off (considering how thick all those branches were it only took us a minute or so to do all this – we’re pretty amazing!) and it’s not just a hot tub, there’s a complete Olympic sized swimming pool as well. Now it’s kind of a weird pool – cause it’s an above ground one with aluminum sides – like the one we had in our backyard when I was a kid – but it’s full sized and has a diving board and everything. The tarp on top is sagging and it’s full of green mucky water – but it seems like it should be salvageable. The best part is – since it wasn’t listed in any of the amenities of the home – the people selling it probably don’t know it’s there, so it’s not included in the assessment of the price of the house. Ya know, they didn’t know they had a basement either until Spencer and Noland found it; they’re not really very bright. Well hey – we’re not telling.

Friday, January 28, 2005

I should have listened to Glen and Foil

So it wasn't mayonaise from last May, but I think it may have been cream cheese from last July that caused my innards to feel as though they had been streched in every direction farther then humanly possible, then squeezed back into a too small container. Never ending terrible shooting pain the middle of the night are always fun.

So I blame the cream cheese - cause I don't want to blame the wine.

Speaking of whine, UPS rocks and FedEx sucks. I had some wine being delivered UPS, Noland had some computer parts being sent FedEx - both required signatures - and of a live human, not the "you can sign this and leave on the door knob and we'll leave the box on the porch kind." The FedEx guy shows up at our house three days in a row while we're at work leaving nothing more then a note saying he'd try again tomorrow. I left a note back saying we'd rather pick it up, we won't be home in the day, but of course we can't do that if he has it on his truck - so when he stops trying to deliver it and we can finally go pick it up - they had already returned it to the sender because we hadn't picked it up the next day.

And the wine coming UPS - he leaves us a note with his pager number and says to let him know when we'll be around so that if he's in the area still he can come back. Noland gets home, gets the note, pages him and within 15 minutes we have wine.

Much more important then computer parts anyhow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I’ve gotta get out of the house more

Jaws 3 just isn’t the same without the 3D. Of course the dialogue of those fleeing the toothy menace is as exciting as ever…


That’s some snappy conversation amongst our hero and heroine divers. The writers obviously spent hours agonizing how to script what exactly someone would say through their mask and tank when face to face with this pissed off momma, but I think in the end they just let the actors ad lib…I could really feel their terror. And that was before the climatic slo-mo ending of screaming, the beast crashing into the control room and subsequently exploding.


With American Idol prior and Queer Eye after my culture is now complete.

I'm frightening myself.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

liberal media my ass

This week according to some moronic NY Times columnist and Time Magazine the best thing for this country and society in general would be for women to "make a greater effort to marry early and have children...raise children from age 25 to 35. Then at 35, now that she knows herself a flexible graduate program specifically designed for parents." The reason for this throwback to the 50s is of course that this is what they did in the 50s, so they had lots of children and now they want us to have kids to take care of them. According to this moron David Brooks, if we did this, "...fertility rates would rise. That would be good for the country. We don't have enough young people to support our old people."

So instead of the normal experience of college, we should have spent that time getting our MRS degree so that we could get married right after graduation. We then need to get busy having children so that we can support the old people who didn't plan ahead when they were young. And it doesn't matter if we have goals or ambitions related to a career, we should put those on hold until after we're through raising our children. We'll know ourselves better then and can go to special mommy graduate school to get that degree. Of course we'll then be entering a workforce where we're 10 years older then the men who are also looking for entry level jobs (because they of course don't need to wait 10 years to know themselves well enough to choose a career.) Our children will be older by then but they'll still be at home and we wont' want to put in the longer hours some bosses demand, so they'll be hesitant about hiring these "older women" instead of the young men eager and willing to please. Sound familiar? Oh yes - that's what it was like when women tried to seriously start entering the workforce decades ago. It's good to know we're moving forward.

And then in a cover story so patronizingly titled 'They Just Won't Grow Up' the good folks at Time are lovely enough to be concerned about both men AND women not marrying and having babies soon enough. "Society defines an adult as a person who is financially stable with a spouse, children and a home....we're going to think about those people getting married at 18 and forming a family at 19 or 20 as an odd historical pattern rather then the norm."

Now if you want to get married right after college and start having kids - fine, swell, go for it - both my brothers did, a few of my friends did, and they're all fine and happy. But for the majority of people I know who are now in their 30s and have been married just a few years or are still single, are childless or just having fresh ones, bought their first home in the past few years or are still renting - I'd say they still considered themselves quite grown up before they hit these stringent definitions.

I love being married to Noland and I'm really looking forward to us getting our own house this year, but I wouldn't have traded in my single days, new apartment every year, and lame part time jobs (where I met many of the friends I still have to this day) for anything. And I think that (for the most part) I was a grown up most of the time. I think doing things like moving halfway across the country to an unknown city with no job and just one friend in tow, and doing so successfully, is a rather grown up thing to do. I think learning how to love living by yourself for a while is a very grown up thing to do. I think knowing that at 25 your not ready to settle down rather then doing it just because your "supposed to" is a rather grown up thing to do.

Twice random people I dated in my 20s brought up marriage to me – I think I laughed at one and just tried to ignore the conversation with the other. But imagine if I would have continued that conversation – I would have never moved to Oregon, I would have never met Noland, and I would have never had this wonderful life I have now. I may not have know then exactly why those weren’t the right moves for me, but I knew there was something, and someone, better for me out there….and that is definitely grown up.

Friday, January 21, 2005

sleeping with the fan on

Why we decided to do RAGBRAI I have no idea, getting back in shape is one thing, but neither of us is ready for a 7 day bike ride across Iowa in the middle of July with 90+ temps and 90%+ humidity? I left that crazy place for a reason you know! But either way, there we were.

We didn’t have to leave right away, we could actually start at any point during the day so we figured as long as we were there we’d take in some sights real quick (not that there are a lot of sights to take in in Iowa, but I did live there for nearly 10 years, and Noland has never been there, so I figured I’d show him around a bit anyhow.

First we went to the statue lady’s house – she has more lawn art then you have ever seen in one place outside one of those yard fountain and lawn art stores. There have to be a dozen or more cement fountains, half a dozen statues of cherubs and angels and cute little girls lifting there skirts, those colored balls that go on pedestals – I think there was one of every available size and color, then there are the random one off’s - deer statues, the gargoyles, the squirrels…..throw in some Edward Scissorhands style bushes and a Koi pond and I think you’ve got the picture. It was pretty amazing. Midwest art at it’s finest!

We were just leaving there when a whole herd of cyclists went past us telling that we’d better get going or they were going to disqualify us, so we headed back to the station. By this time of course it was starting to rain – and for my friends in the NW – rain when it’s 90+ outside and in the Midwest is NOT the pleasant cooling rain that we get in Oregon. No, when it rains in the summer time it doesn’t cool things down, it makes them worse – the rain itself is warm and it just hangs in the air like a thick warm fog making everything heavy and slow.

I think that’s one of the reasons that people from other place don’t get how wonderful the weather here in the NW really is. It never really gets hot, never really gets cold (if it does do either it’s a week max, more likely a day) and while it rains a fair numbers of days, it’s usually just that nice refreshing cool mist – when people in the Midwest, south or east here that it rained every day from Dec 1 – March 1 they think of their rain. Heavy downpours flooding roads and freezing into ice, or when they hear that it doesn’t stop raining until Fourth of July (although in the 8 years I’ve been here the summers have always been nicer then that) they think of that sticky, hot heavy rain that they get, not the (again) nice, cool refreshing mist that you can walk in for 30 minutes before you can even tell that you’re wet.

Ok – so enough weather analysis – we go to start the ride and remember that we left our sleeping bags, backpacks and the rest of our gear someplace else – so now it’s a scavenger hunt for our stuff – at least that’s more interesting way to ride! We get our first clue from the guy with the started gun, but he doesn’t warn us that there are already other teams out there – and they’re looking for our stuff too! We take off and thin that we probably have a pretty good lead since it’s our stuff so we’re more likely to know where it’s ended up – but just when we’re hitting our stride ready to really jump into action – the buzzer sounds and it’s all over.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

such the drama

I’m late for work, the only problem is I don’t know it yet. Noland is dropping me off out front and gives me a kiss. Two guys from the office are coming back from a coffee run. They come in super early, so they’ve already been there more then an hour. I can’t believe they’re actually going to tell on me that I’m late! I let them know that if they go through with it - Noland’s gonna beat their asses – so glad we carpooled today.

There’s a bunch of bottles of water and soda and beer in cases in the hallway as I walk in – I see other people taking some, but I’m not sure of the rules, so I just grab a bottle of water and go to my place on the bench. For some reason instead of offices or cubicles we all sit at long school-cafeteria like tables with benches.

Mark Megibow, an old friend from high school that I really lost touch with before we even graduated, comes and sits down next to me. Mark was my brother’s pledge son in their music fraternity at Northwestern and I recently saw in one of those emails that is always sending out that he “recently updated his profile – become a Gold Member to read all about what Mark is doing” so maybe that’s why he showed up at my office. But he was cool – we were really more just friends of friends then actually friends with each other back in the TWHS days – so I’m glad he didn’t turn out to be an ass.

I have to get going and get home, as soon as possible, this storm is coming in and if I don’t get on the next plane out of here I may never make it. My boss tells me I’ve got until 5:19 – plenty of time – I thought I was only going to have an hour or even less. I need to pack. Quickly.
Why haven’t I been keeping up on cleaning my room? I can’t find anything I need to pack. I only have this one suitcase and this is not all going to fit. Plus I have all these he notebooks full of papers and documents from work – maybe I can put all those in one and just carry it. Nope, no zipper pockets. Everything is falling out. Am I really going to wear those shoes? Maybe I can leave them here – I will be back someday. I can get things then – besides if I leave the place a mess it will look more lived in.

We’re never going to get this show off the ground. Learn all our lines. Get all the staging set. There’s just not enough time. They’re calling me from the airport – it’s 5:20 – they’re going to leave without me. I wasted too much time. Why did I fall asleep?!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

when dogs chase you always carry a backpack

So I totally forgot to ask for time off at my new job for this weekend trip that we were taking and I was going to be coming in late one day and leaving early another. I was gonna send an email cause it's not that big a deal as long as I let 'em know - but we were at my folks house and while I'm impressed that my dad has figured as much out about computers as he has (fer an old guy you know) it's still a slow system, not to mention the fact that's dial-up and he has it all set up to use an AOL browser which is just irritating, so needless to say the message took much longer then it should have. In fact by the time I got around to sending it, it was nearly 3 in the afternoon - and if I'd been there as I should have been I would have been going home in less then an hour. So I decided I need to just book it out of there - it was kinda hard to leave. Dad, being retired and all, has lots of time to tinker and he had a new gadget he wanted Noland to take a look at, so I abandon my poor husband with my dad and take off. Crap. I forgot the dogs in the back yard - not really friendly puppys. I have to scramble across the yard and then jump a fence to get out - but now I don't have my car so I have to walk - this is gonna take forever. Not to mention the fact that I have to stop and get all my stuff - sleeping bag, clothes, flashlight, all kinds of crap. My bag isn't very full right now - I can put some stuff in it - but I wish I had a backpack - then I wouldn't have dropped everything running from the dogs. What a pain in the ass this trip has turned out to be.