Friday, July 30, 2004

Messy Child/Clean Adult

When I was little, it was a constant battle between my mother and me about the cleanliness of my bedroom. I was comfortable with two feet by two feet square that I had cleared on my floor where I would sit. Clothes, books, papers, radio, telephone, and tapes surrounded this space. This space on my floor provided me with everything a 12 to 17 year old would need to have a successful academic and social life. My mom would have preferred that the clothes actually make the clothes hamper, the books be placed on the bookshelf, and everything else have a place rather than sprawled over the floor. Even though my room was a disaster, or as my mom would call it, "a pig sty", I liked being in my room. I took pride in my room. It was my own little space with all the things that I liked. I never had a television in my room, but I didn't need that. All I needed was space, music, and a telephone. So, now that I am an adult with my very own apartment that I share with Tim, I have a much bigger square than two by two feet. If you would have asked my mom 15 years ago if she thought I would keep a clean house, she would have gave a confident NO. Well, I am a woman of surprises. I am a clean person. Sure, the apartment gets messy, but not dirty. I don't enjoy cleaning, but once I start, I have to do a good job. I take the same pride in my apartment that I took in my messy childhood room because I loved being in both places because it is where I am home.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I vote, therefore, I am.

So, I've been watching the Democratic Convention all week. I am not the person that the speakers are trying to convince. I am already convinced that GWB needs to leave the White House. I plan on watching the Republican National Convention because it would only be fair, right? I want to know how I will react to their speeches. I want to see if they are as motivating and positive as the Democratic speeches have been. Maybe all conventions, no matter the political affiliation, are meant to be vague and powerful at the same time. Of course, certain themes will be revisited in both conventions...terror, healthcare, and economy. Some themes will be on tap at the Republican Convention...marriage. So, I look forward to watching it. Just like I enjoy conservative radio, I will enjoy this. It usually justifies and affirms my own liberal political stance.  Oh, some of you did not know I was a liberal...well, I guess the secret is out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

"I love your purse, " she said. "Oh. You mean my handbag?"


One would not consider designer purses a controversial subject, but among some people, it can be a passionate debate.  I was once admonished for calling a purse a purse when I should have called it a handbag!  I write this post with a deep love of purses myself.
I love purses.  I prefer small purses.  I like buying many purses in a season that range in colors from a classic black to a vibrant pink.   Even though I might buy some of these purses at department stores, I do not buy the purses that are behind the glass cases.  These purses are for the wealthy in pocket and I cannot justify the cost of these forbidden purses in my mind.  So, I am left to buy the purses left for the regular folks.  
With my recent trip to NYC, I was introduced to the non-Midwestern way of buying these designer purses.  There are men on street corners and people in little stores in China town who specialize in this specific addiction where women want/need designer purses.  You can find purses with coveted letters and labels for more than half the price.  These are called knock-offs and they are good.  I did not buy any because I just didn't feel the need, but I know many people who have enjoyed this indulgence.  I recently enjoyed viewing several of my friend's designer knock-offs.  I like one specific label because the purses are unique and very colorful, but I could not justify the spending on an authentic bag.  Therefore, I don't think I could wear a knock-off.  Does that make sense?  I am not sure if it makes sense to me. 
It makes me ask the question, why do women like designer purses with letters and labels that display exactly how much she probably spent on it?  Why do women buy knock-offs of expensive purses?  Don’t all purses carry the same lipstick, pen, gum, and wallet?  Wouldn’t buying a purse that was less leave more money in that wallet in your designer purse? 
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t judge these women.  It is their money.  Like I said, I really like one designer so much that I almost want to buy a bag from her.  Luckily, there are entrepreneurs in our world who can capitalize on women’s addictions to accessories.  And can you believe it, they are on the Internet!  I was recently told about a company that has a similar marketing plan to Netflix, the online DVD rental company that sends movies in the mail that you request online.  The company, Bag, Borrow, and Steal, receives a monthly rental fee and will send you the designer purses that you request.  When you are finished, you simply return them for your next designer bag.   I do not plan on subscribing to this service, but I know I have friends who might not be able to resist.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Teachers on Parade

I have been in many parades in my life, but this parade I was not required to carry pom-poms or a large brass instrument. I was only required to wave and throw candy. During the Ankeny Summerfest, the educators of the year were asked to ride in the Ankeny Education Association float. I wasn't sure how fun it would be since we don't know many people in Ankeny, but I was surprised. I saw so many students, parents, and fellow teachers along the parade route. They were all excited to see me in the parade, and I threw extra candy at them. However, we did run out of candy because we were a little to enthusiastic at the beginning of the parade route.  Posted by Hello

Monday, July 26, 2004

New York City Pictures

I have finally put up some pictures from my trip to NYC. However, I want to say something before you view them. I have never been great at taking pictures...I leave that up to my friends, like Amanda. She takes them and gives them to me. I was the only one who could take these pictures and when I picked them up, I realized, I had hardly taken any pictures. I am okay with that since I was there to experience it all. It also looks like I either wore the same shirt all weekend, or took all of my pictures on the same day. Neither are true. (I probably didn't have to say that last part.) I am never a person who "touches up" any time during the day, but on vacation, I probably should have since I was taking pictures. Oh, well. I learned an important lesson looking at these pictures, I should put a comb in my purse. This sounds negative, but I had a great time and am happy with the pictures because it shows the fun we had. 
Check out the photos!

Road Rage

I am a little bummed today because I was so excited to upload my NYC pictures, but the Hello program is not working so...stay tuned until I can figure it out.  They are worth it.

I drove up to Minneapolis this weekend.  I was proud of myself for driving around the rush hour traffic.  I was cool.  I was collected.  I had to turn my music off, but I did it.  It is hard to believe that I had never driven in Minneapolis up until two years ago.  Since then, I can zoom around the cities without much trouble. 
When I was driving home yesterday, I was stuck in traffic for 40 minutes on Interstate 35.  I was alone so I took the time just to look around and observe the drivers around me.  People were getting so angry and I could tell just by looking at their faces.  They also showed their aggrivation through their crazy driving.  I saw so many people "almost" get into accidents.  It really made me just want to get off that interstate.  I react to traffic clogs with calmness, but I am never in a rush to get anywhere.  Tim reacts with some frustration, but nothing that alters his driving. 


Friday, July 23, 2004

A Week Late and a Dollar Short

Apologies first...I know that I have fallen behind in my blog updates, but be assured, I will not falter again.

I am beginning another exciting weekend, but I wanted to share the events of last weekend with you first.  The weekend started with a yummy pan of gooey lasgana served with my yummy garlic was a big hit.  Steve, Amanda, Sara, and I enjoyed conversation before we ventured to Billy Joe's Lounge where we had hoped to sing some karaoke.  It all started out fine at Billy Joe's with a couple pitchers of beer.  I was able to sing my karaoke standard of "Moving On UP-Th Jefferson Theme Song" right away.  It was a solo of course.  After some slow ballady country songs, it really shook things up.  But, too many people had the same great idea that we had, and we were unable to sing as much as we had liked.  These were the songs that were sung at Billy Joe's...
Jefferson Theme Song
The Gambler
Proud Mary-Tina and Ike version
Thank God I'm a Country Boy
We traveled home to my apartment where we dined on our traditional after bar snack of Club Crackers and Kaukauna Cheese
On  Saturday, we toured Ames, Iowa and Iowa State University.  We also ate at my favorite central Iowa BBQ place, Hickory good.  Their ice cream sundae menu is as big and essential as their regular food menu.
We ate the following sundaes...
Amanda had the Toffee Crunch.
Sara had David Delight.
I enjoyed the Peanut Gallery Parfait.
Because we stayed up late the night before, we went home to rest a little before our evenings events.  Later, we challenged each other a to fiesty game of mini golf.  Amanda lost.  Steve won.  I was the only one who didn't get a hole in one.
So, there it is...I promised that I would write about it and have pictures about it.
Check out all of the pictures!

  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Update Time...Cats and Organization

Here is the situation with the cat.  I want one.  Tim wants one, but doesn't want one right now.  He wants to wait until we start the school year to see if we still feel the same.  I can tell already that he will make a good parent because this is a parenting strategy that was used on me when I was little.  That is okay.  I can wait, but there was this one little cat named Chubb that I really wanted.  Tim assured me that there will be more cute cats when it is time for us to adopt one. 
Today I bought hanging folders to update and organize our important papers (contracts, leases, policies, bills).  Yesterday, I programmed all of our financial data into a money program.  I do not know what has come over me that I care about this all of the sudden, but I think it is a good idea.  First, I don't want to be one of those wives who have no idea what is going on in the family's financial matters.  Secondly, I feel pretty "with it" when it comes to everything else in our household, except for this.   Tim is good at it.  I am not good at it.  So, to better myself, I am going to work on understanding all the business part of our lives.  I think this is a good goal.   In order for me to be successful at understanding the finances, I have to have it all set up my way.  No papers and loose folders all around the desk.  I need it organized. 

Monday, July 19, 2004

School in July?

Perfectimundo!  I had an excellent weekend.  I want to tell you all about it, however, I feel like I would be doing it an injustice if I were to do this without the pictures of the weekend.  So, I will write about my weekend tomorrow when I get the pictures from Amanda.
Today, I am going to go to school and see how my room is coming.  I am supposed to be getting new carpet in my room.  Since I will be teaching fourth grade this year, I will have to move classrooms.  I am getting the surge of energy that precedes the new school year.  I won't have to worry about my whole new crop of kids since I had them last year.  Even though I promised myself to wait until August to enter my classroom, I might break down and go. 

Sunday, July 18, 2004


We are thinking about getting a cat.  Tim grew up with a cat and a dog so he is familiar with the pet responsibilities.  I did not grow up with a pet, but feel like I am a "cat person" rather than a "dog person".  With my summer off, I feel like this would be a great time to get a cat.  I could help it get used to our home and used to us.  I do not worry about the responsibility of a pet, but I do worry that it might be lonely when school starts and I will go back to work.  Tomorrow, I will go down to the Iowa Animal Rescue League and ask some questions about cat adoption.  I might even visit some cats.  I am interested in your views on pets and adopting a cat.

Friday, July 16, 2004

The Karaoke Bill of Rights

A metaphor if I may...
Consider the karaoke bar as a fancy, new restaurant where you are not quite sure what to order. You've been planning on going to this fancy restaurant for sometime. You know that you love fancy food, but what fancy food should you order? What is the etiquette of this fancy restaurant? Are there any "unwritten" rules at this fancy restaurant? Okay...not that great of a metaphor, but they were never my thing. Anyway...this is exactly how I feel when I venture into a new karaoke establishment. To ease any anxiety about singing karaoke, my friends have come up with the Karaoke Rules or as I like to refer to them as The Karaoke Bill of Rights.

Karaoke Bill of Rights

You have the right to a solo. No matter how scared or nervous you are, a solo is liberating.

You have the right to sing a ballad. Chicago, Celine Dion, or Phil Collins would be proud.

You have the right to take yourself too seriously at the risk of being laughed is okay though if you get laughed at, it only means that karaoke is no joke to you.

You have the right to sing along even if you don't have a microphone in your hand. Just because some drunk girl thinks it is a good idea to sing to the Dixie Chicks doesn't mean that she is the ONLY Dixie Chick in the room.

You have the right to a SUICIDE karaoke song...let a friend or DJ pick the song and you just do your best. This is for brave and sometimes experienced karaoke singers.

You have the right to hog the karaoke. It is not your fault if no one else can think of a song to sing and you have already sung five songs in a row.

You have the right to just yell your karaoke song, but beware! You might be given some disapproving looks.

You have the right to give up if the chorus of a song just keeps going and going like Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds...great song, long song.

You have the right to bargain with the karaoke DJ to get your song on...they are just happy that you want to sing usually. This means they don't have to sing.

You have the right to think and sing like you are the greatest Motown singer since Aretha...I know I do. Posted by Hello

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Midwest Treasures

Geographical treasures are hidden all around the great midwest. I never had the urge to explore them in North Dakota, but since moving to Iowa, I have explored a few of these diamonds in the rough. Perry, Iowa is the home to my friend Louise. She invited my teacher friends and me to Perry to have lunch at the Thymes Remembered Tea Room. We were surrounded by delicate, feminine flower arrangements and offered a variety of dainty treats. After lunch, we walked over to the Hotel Pattee. This historic hotel offers a variety of themed rooms to meet your asthetic needs. We toured a few of the rooms that were vacant such as the Quilt Room, the Needlework Room, and the Betty May Harris Room. The other rooms that I was sad not to see included the Japanese Room, Russian Room, and the Chautauqua Room. Visit the link and view some of these treasures. Thanks to Louise, we had a great Iowa afternoon. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

A New Music Obsession

I am a music junky. And the public library is my corner dealer. I went to check out some books and became distracted by the CD checkout. It was an audio feast where I could choose from jazz to country. I added the predictable CDs to my pile, but one of the reasons that I love checking out music from the library is the risk taking. I like to add CDs that I am unfamiliar with into my pile. I went home without a book, but with plenty of CDs. I put in a new CD and had a moment of obsession that I sometimes have. I loved what I was hearing. Eva Cassidy's Songbird was exactly what I love in music. Her raspy voice sang haunting and emotionally charged songs. Here version of "Some Where Over the Rainbow" and a song called "I Know You By Heart" were repeated several times this afternoon. At that moment, I had to research everything I could about this artist. Why had I not heard of this woman before this? Go to your library and check her CD out.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

A friend is the person whom you dare to be yourself...

It is only Tuesday, but I am already looking forward to the weekend when my friends will visit. Why do some people come into our lives and stay? That is an easy question to answer when it comes to our family members, but more complex when it comes to friendship. When I met Amanda on the first day of ninth grade, who knew that she'd be visiting me a few months shy of my 28th birthday? I couldn't have predicted that Steve would be a friend even after college and the miles between us. And Sara, ours is a friendship that has evolved into something really special to me. She is the most honest and real person that I know. All together, I believe that I have the funniest friends around. We have the ability to laugh about old memories and continue to make new memories. Hip! Hip! Posted by Hello

Is LOVE the best medicine?

Happy Anniversary, Janelle and Ryan! Posted by Hello

Sunday, July 11, 2004

A Night Canvas

I am a woman of extremes. In one week, I have watched two different firework spectaculars. The first in New York City where I could see the iconic Statue of Liberty in the background. Last night, I watched the Summerfest fireworks in Prairie Ridge Park in Iowa. I don't even want to say that one is better than the other. I cannot even compare the two. In New York, I was crowded and cramped, but the show was spectacular. In Iowa, I was relaxed in my lawn chair with a funnel cake in my lap. The fireworks were so close that I thought they might fall right down on me. It was the closing event for the annual Summerfest. I used to avoid the fireworks show in North Dakota with work at the ice cream shop. I hated the crowds and the parking. I hated the mosquitos and the search for a "good spot". Most people assume that everyone loves fireworks, but it has been something that I have learned to love and appreciate. But now, it is like most things in my life, once I am there, I love it. I am so glad that I did it.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, July 10, 2004

My Pain is Real

 Posted by Hello

I have always prided myself on my hearty North Dakota spirit. I rarely fall sick. If I do get sick, life goes on. I do not take too much time to dwell on my sickness. On the other hand, a few of my close friends would call me a hypochondriac since I do enjoy I am accutely aware of my body and any changes that occur within my body along with my openess with my friends leads them to the conclusion that I am a hypochondiac. That being said...I really hurt my back. My mother was worried about my travels to New York City and that I wouldn't return. Irony sets in as I return to the "safe" midwest. Bending down to pick up some shoes from my suitcase, I feel a POP in my lower, left back. I knew in an instant it wasn't good. As the day went on, I became more debilitated to the point where Tim acted as my walker when it became too painful to stay in our bed. With a constant regimen of hot and cold compresses and a constant dose of Ibuprofen, I seem to be on the mend. Is there a lesson in all this pain? Can I manage to stay back/hip healthy? And can anyone advice me on how to be back healthy? All I know is that I thought I was tough. Now I know that I am not.

PS...My New York City pictures are on their way. Check back soon to view them.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Big Apple Adventures

I have returned to the Midwest from my New York City July 4th Vacation Spectacular! With the help of my tour guide, Amy Becker, I was able to experience a tailor-made trip. Amy created a NYC itinerary that was designed just for me in mind. Some people may find it important to see every famous landmark ever erected in NYC in this short four-day trip, but we saw important sites and some less visited sites too!
Things that I Did/Saw/Experienced in New York City That I Could Not Do/See/Experience in Iowa...

I arrived in New York City and took my first cab ride to Midtown Manhattan. Milner, my Russian cab driver, was very nice. I dropped my suitcase off at Amy's office and began my journey around Times Square. It was surreal because so many of the sites were familiar to me, yet I had never been to New York before. I say Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, ABC Studios, and TRL Studios. After Amy finished work, I took my first subway ride back to her place in Brooklyn. She lives in a great neighborhood with a lot of character. We walked over to a restaurant called Alma. It was a rooftop restaurant with a great view of lower Manhattan. We drank Mojitos and had great conversation.
We started the day by visiting a local bakery in Brooklyn called Mazzola. Amy enjoyed a chocolate croissant and I had a danish. Sitting outside, I enjoyed the Italian man in bright green pants whose job it was to deliver "Zingers" to anyone who passed by. For example, my zinger was, "Whoa. Is that danish for breakfast and lunch?!" I also observed a hearse drive up to the bakery with a tall, skinny Italian man with an oversized coat and a scary looking Italian in the passenger seat wearing a fedora. There was a coffin in the back, but they also needed some bake goods. It felt right since I was in Brooklyn.
After, I enjoyed the Amy Becker walking tour of NYC. We started in lower Manhattan where we saw the site of the World Trade Center. Wall Street and the Stock Exchange were guarded with police officers in full gear and machine guns. At Battery Park, I saw the Statue of Liberty and several men trying to sell purses and watches.
We visited Chinatown where there were lots of opportunities for me to buy knock-off designer handbags, but instead, I purchased some Asian looking handbags...again, I couldn't find that in Ankeny. I was proud of my bargaining skills. I saved $6!
We walked through Little Italy, SoHo, and the Village. We stopped at the Prada store, but it was so artsy-fartsy, I couldn't stand it. It had no sign that said Prada. One is just supposed to know that it is there.
We enjoyed a spicy Polish sausage in Central Park, but not before we stopped at the Plaza to use their bathroom. Bathrooms are scarce in have to be aware of your needs at all times. During our lunch on the grass at Central Park, we sat near a man who was being read the Bible by his lady friend as he enjoyed some weed. He later got up to wow us with his flute skills. I don't think he actually knew how to play the flute.
We walked to the Museum of Television and Radio where a person can watch almost any television program every made. Amy and I enjoyed a Days of Our Lives episode where Steve married Kayla on his boat. For all of you fans out there, it was the one where Kayla miraculously got her voice back during her vows. The fashion and hairstyles made us laugh till we cried.
Back in Midtown, we met Wes for a snack at McDonald's before we went to our show. I had my first celebrity spotting! Wes alerted me to Jane Seymour of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman fame getting cash from the cash machine. She looked very classy in her white suit and very beautiful. We enjoyed Hairspray the musical.
We stopped for a couple bottles of wine and sat on Wes's rooftop enjoying the view until about 5 AM. Amy and I took a cab over the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun began to rise. We needed some sleep after such a busy day.
We woke up late because of the late night before. We had a brunch and took off for Coney Island. We enjoyed The Cyclone, The Breakdance, and The Wonder Wheel. Amy liked the Cyclone, but I was a fan of the Breakdance because it was half Scrambler and half Tilt-a-Wurl. We almost barfed. It was great. After the rides, we sat on the beach for a couple hours where we enjoyed the people watching. We saw a man with an albino boa constrictor, a topless woman, two weed smoking gentlemen, and one little girl who wanted to hang out with anyone but her mom. Not only did we ride the Breakdance, I was also able to enjoy some boardwalk performers who amazed us with their breakdancing styles.
We walked down to Brighton Beach where we ate Russian food. Amy ate borscht, blintzes, caviar, and lamb kabobs. I ate the blintzes and some of my pork kabobs. The waiter also hit on Amy. We enjoyed the boardwalk musicians with their accordions and organs.
After dinner, we met Wes and his friend at Spectrum in Brooklyn. This is the bar where Saturday Night Fever was filmed. We stayed up late dancing and having a great time.
Happy 4th of July! Lunch at Junior's was excellent. Amy made another wise choice that suited me very well. Junior's is famous for its cheesecake, but we had other treats. I enjoyed a pineapple float, mac and cheese, and brisket sandwiches. We traveled to the South Side Seaport where a street fair was being held. Great shopping and food. I bought an Indian style pillowcase that will probably be used for something else. I also used the bathroom at Fraunce's Tavern where George Washington said good-bye to his troops back in the day.
Later, we walked to the Promenade, which is in Brooklyn across from lower Manhattan to view the fireworks. It was crowded and at one point, an angry Latina told me to hold back the people that were coming into our area. I had a feeling that I was not going to be able to control this New York crowd. While I was waiting for the fireworks, a nice man gave me some literature for Jews for Jesus.
The fireworks were synchronized with the Statue of Liberty. I could see the fireworks from lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. It was a surreal experience. It felt like I should have been watching it on television, but I was really there.
Box karaoke followed the fireworks. Wes, Amy, and I met their friend Daniel and his friends at Sing Sing where we had our very own karaoke room. Here are a few of the selections of the evening...
-"You Don't Bring Me Flowers"-Amy & Myself
-"It's All Coming Back to Me Know"-Wes
-"Summertime"-Amy and Wes
-"Proud Mary"-Myself
-"Release Me"-Myself
-"We've Only Just Begun"-Wes
Box karaoke is something that I could become addicted to. So fun.
I said good-bye to Wes and we went back to Brooklyn where we stayed up very late talking.
This was my last day in NYC. Amy and I ate at Savoia where we had wonderful pizza with an oil sauce, cheese, sausage, and red peppers. We were walking to get a treat at Sweet Melissa's when we were caught in a downpour. I purchased my second umbrella in New York at that moment. We made it to Sweet Melissa's to enjoy a cafe au lait and some decadent Chocolate Mousse with a fantastic hazelnut crust. Then, it was time to say good-bye and thank you to Amy. I made it back to Iowa where I have told many people about my NYC adventures. They all say, "Oh, you did so much." I feel the same way. It is because of Amy Becker's thoughtful planning that I had such a wonderful trip. Thanks, Amy.