Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wall-E was good!

Took the youngest to see Disney's newest feature last night - it was surprisingly good!! Lots of social commentary - even had my 9-year-old considering her habits and America's trends. From the mega-giant entertainment complex that is Disney, I can't believe they let this script go by. Either someone there has a soul, or someone was asleep at the wheel.

Poor little Wall-e is a humanoid trash compactor who lives on in a desolate abandoned trash filled future city that was completely controlled by a large corporation named BnL, short for Buy-n-Large. BnL has sent all remaining humans into orbit where they grow fat and lazy buying evermore BnL products.

This movie was so much better than I expected - excellent adult humor, like when the President tells the obviously dying future citizenry to "stay the course". Again, can't believe this got by the Disney censors. Kids love it too, but I wouldn't take anyone under 8 - there are some sad situations, and certainly the prospect of a trash filled, ecologically mangled earth unable to sustain human life would scare the bejeesus out of younger kids.

Yes, there are cutsey Disney moments but all in all a fabulous movie right down to the Van Gogh styled art in the ending credits. So find a kid to take or just go on your own. I'll watch for your opinion.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Support Gay Marriage

Let me go on record, right here, right now. I totally support the rights of our fellow GLBT Americans to fully enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of legal marriage. As a heterosexual woman married to the same wonderful man for over 17 years, let me state that my marriage is not adversely affected in the slightest bit by gay couples. If anything, it upholds the idea of commitment, family, and loads of other "traditional family values". I'm just sick to death of this argument. Against gay marriage? Well enough, get over it already. Put on your big kid panties and deal with it. Go feed some hungry children or sling hash at a homeless shelter. Put your whiny energy to use somewhere.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Turtle out of place

After picking up my youngest at the pool, we were driving home on a wide suburban road when we spied a Mom and her child huddled over a large brown object. We pulled over and joined the little group. Turned out to be a snapping turtle larger than a dinner plate lounging in the middle of the street. He must have crawled up from a nearby creek. The Mom was trying to shoo him back into the weeds with a coat hanger. This bad boy was NOT happy about the activity. As extreme luck would have it, along came a landscaping truck with a nice large scooping shovel. He gently shoveled him up and placed him back in the weeds. That turtle was faster than I ever imagined, and his claws and snapper were not inviting, or remotely cute. But we're happy he's off the road.

I get a kick out of things like this - I'm just a dork who's easily entertained.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Should I buy this bike??

I really want a bike - something that works with my extremely short frame and arthritic wrists. I think this Schwinn Cruiser might be the ticket. I could ride it to work, to the pool, etc. and it would fit my fat a$$, my short arms, and my numb hands. It's available at Target for $129, or I could get a "nicer" brand at a local bike shop for $249. Either way I'm buying a groovy set of back baskets or a front wicker variety. There are a couple of used cruisers on Craig's list but the current owners are about an hour away.

What is your vote??

Of course, if the oil companies and speculators weren't so greedy I could afford gas and could therefore keep my lazy butt in my minivan where there is air conditioning and cloth seats. Then again, I wouldn't have such a lazy fat behind if I rode a bike more often.

Green Car Wash, sort of

Washed the van today in the environmentally sound way - I parked it on the lawn and used a non-toxic cleaner. By parking the car on the lawn and using a trigger nozzle, you can save gallons of water. It sends the water you DO use into the ground and surrounding trees and shrubs instead of down the city sewer, and if the soap is safe it won't hurt anything green. It's not quite as shiny as the spot-free rinse at the coin wash but it's clean all the same. I had to chuckle thinking how much I DIDN'T look like the woman in Cool Hand Luke. Feels good to do something right.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Home Again

We're home after an emotional weekend. On one of the most beautiful June days I've ever seen, we celebrated my Grandma Gie and buried her ashes in the cemetery right next to my Grandpa Ginny. He's been gone 18 years and she missed him terribly. Now they are walking through the warm Iowa prairies together with three of their children by their side.

She was born and raised a Catholic who had the nerve to fall in love with a Baptist. Neither family supported the marriage, and both congregations shunned them. So the Methodist minister rode out to the farm in the 1930's and said they were welcome at his church. Therefore my mother was raised Methodist. All of her brothers married Catholic women, so we now have a family divided right smack down the middle between Liberal Protestants and Conservative Catholics. But we love each other all the same.

At her graveside I read an excerpt from "And what is so rare as a day in June?" by James Russell Lowell. One of her favorites. She could recite the entire text.

After the burial, we retired to my Uncle Sam's vacation cabin in the woods for cards, and camaraderie around the campfire stocked with Iowa white oak. This cabin isn't what you might expect - it's smack in the middle of the woods and used mostly for hunting. There is no lake, no beach, no dock, etc. Just a large iron bathtub in the yard where he cooks up a pig now and then. He left the next morning to wait for five feet of flood waters to leave his business and begin the clean up.

That night, my siblings, kids, spouses, etc gathered on my brother's porch to watch the sun set perfectly over the valley of Decorah, IA on the longest day of the year. I haven't yet cried for my Grandma. Instead I feel a profound sense of peace. She went home, and home is where she wanted to be.

This is what life is about: sunsets, children, loving old folks, celebrating the little moments, Iowa white oak in a campfire, a nice glass of wine, holding your spouse's hand, walking through prairies, laughing with loved ones, breaking bread together, and going home.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Poor Iowa

This flood is devastating my dear Iowa. Above is a photo from of my Uncle Sam (really!) trying to save his businesses in a warehouse near the Mississippi River. For his mother's funeral on Saturday, he'll probably have to drive hundreds of miles out of his way to circumvent the flooded bridges and roads and safely reach northern Iowa.
This scene is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Did you know that two feet of flood waters can lift a car and carry it away?? Imagine what it takes to lift a two story house.

Also Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I lived here for a few years after college. This level of flooding in that city is unimaginable. The folks of Cedar Rapids are mostly blue collar, and I'm sure none of these homeowners carried flood insurance. Cedar Rapids struggles financially, and I don't know how they are going to recover.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

RIP Grandma Gie

This morning at 2:30am, my Grandma Gie went home. She was 96 years old. There just isn't enough blog space to tell you all how much she meant to me.

She was born Margaret Rose in a very small town in northern Iowa. She married young and raised seven children on a poor farm alongside the love of her life, my grandpa Lloyd, during the Great Depression. Both had high school educations, with a life-long love of learning and the written word. She could quote classic poetry and literature. She could play piano like a pro, and by ear. She could whip anyone's butt in poker, 500, and word games. She made food that would make the Pope weep. She lived to a ripe old age with all her mental faculties intact, and lived to see 22 grandchildren, and at last count about 100 great and great-great grandchildren. She smoked like a chimney and ate all the wrong foods. Her humor was legendary. I want to grow old just like her.

I'm going to miss her more than words can say. She's my hero. Walk with God Grandma.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Crazy Busy

I'm still here! But with three jobs, a soccer team to manage, and my mommy duties I've been scary busy for the past two weeks. Like my favorite line in Steel Magnolias - "I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt!". But I've resigned from the soccer team, and will be resigning my little part time job. Then I can devote all my energy to my WONDERFUL new job and my kids. But for now, stress is my middle name.

The worst part of our financial crisis is this: my husband and I are snapping at each other. Normally we have a wonderful marriage but lately the strain is showing and we're arguing more. I hate this more than you can imagine. Any suggestions are welcome.

I'm truly beginning to see what the neocons have been plotting for years - and I'm totally serious. I think they WANT to squeeze out the middle class. None of us will quit working for the man. They won't quit raking in the dough. But the difference is that those of us who USED TO BE in the middle class will be so stressed paying for gas, food, medical care, housing, etc that we won't have time or energy to fight THEM. I'm seeing it happen in my own life - I barely have time or money to buy groceries let alone phone my congress rep or take part in a protest.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Hometown is Flooding

My hometown of Decorah, Iowa is floundering under too much rain. Many roads in town are closed, and sandbagging is going full force. The above photo is from local newspapers and in it you can see my family hard at work. On the far right, in a blue jacket, appears to be my brother. Standing near the sand truck in a navy and white baseball shirt is my nephew, and toward the left, in a coral colored ball cap, in my brother-in-law Aunt Mike. I'd love to be in town helping but the last thing they need is more people driving in and needing to shower and flush toilets.

This "summer" is reminding me of 1993. That summer I lived in Iowa City while southern Iowa endured 3 months of torrential rains. It was miserable. The city of Des Moines lost all water services for weeks. People had to shower in donated WaterPik trucks. No one could do laundry or flush. Anheuser Busch trucked in loads of canned water. And so far, this summer is just as miserable. Following one of the coldest winters I can remember, we've now had months of gloom and rain. Sigh . . . . . .

So instead of sandbagging, I spent a lovely afternoon with my new blogging friends Christopher and Shannon and their two darling daughters. We were able to spend of bit of time on the screened porch while the rain drummed on the roof and the thunder rolled.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bad Parents

An incident tonight:

Hubby and I are on the screened porch enjoying a quiet evening of adult conversation. Twin #1 needs to be picked up at 11pm. Twin #2 is getting a ride home. Daughter #3 is home with a friend.

Hubby and I decide that we really aren't sure WHEN Twin #2 is getting a ride home. So we call her cell phone . . . .

Me "Honey, I was wondering what time your friends are bringing you home because you really should be home by 11pm"


Her "Mom, I'm upstairs in my room. I've been home since 9pm!"

Friday, June 6, 2008

Good Old Jokes

Iowa has many round barns. Whenever we'd drive past one, my Dad would always tell the same old joke, and we'd always bite.

Dad, "Hey kids! Did you know a guy DIED in there?"
Gullible kid, "REALLY DAD?!?!?!"
Dad, "Yep. He went crazy looking for a corner to pee in!"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Too Funny

THIS is some funny stuff. Thank you Snarky Squab.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The roller coaster that is life

The Good News: I was offered a wonderful job today at a fantastic employer.

The Sad News: Our blogging pal MG lost his Dad this weekend - he needs your support.

Birthday Party Camp Out

Our youngest had her 9th birthday party over the weekend. She requested a camp-out sleepover in the backyard, and her birthday wish was our command.

Here is Mr. Wonderful, aka my husband John, cooking up supper on the campfire. We love our fire pit. Most of those rocks were gathered from right around our house, and during the last 4 years we've made a tradition of bringing home large samples from our travels. So somewhere in there is a specimen from the Rocky Mountains, the shores of Lake Michigan, and Daytona Beach.

Couldn't resist this shot - all five have exactly the same hair! Well, except our daughter on the far left who has layers and layers of the stuff. Once at a restaurant, she hid 6 crayons in there and you couldn't tell. Now that's an accomplishment.

See that tent lean? That's because two adults, married to each other, tried to put it up together. Although I must say, if I hadn't been there he'd still be working on it.

Next up Birthday Cake Cones!! Just fill ice cream cones about 1/3 up with cake batter and bake for about 20 minutes. Yeah, that's my fat belly in the photo and no I didn't eat any of the cake.

My screened porch and the center of our universe from May through September. I love this house, and it's ripping my heart out to have it on the market.

Sadly a thunderstorm blew in shortly after supper, so the "camp out" happened in the basement, and the smore's were cooked in the microwave. Ever seen marshmallows puff up in the microwave?? It's quite impressive.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Seven Random Things

I've been tagged by Beth! I love tags, especially lists. Does that make me weird or just really lazy? I'm to list seven random or weird things about me. Only seven? I could write a book on the subject.

1. I gain weight by merely LOOKING at food.
2. I'm a great singer.
3. I'm afraid of heights
4. I give myself time to read for leisure almost every single day.
5. I have the greatest extended family anyone could ask for.
6. I have such strong lefty political feelings about spirituality, the economy, etc that it's a wonder my neighbors still like me. I often feel like an imposter here in suburbia.
7. I really enjoy watching football and baseball, especially in person, even given #6. College football is my favorite but I wish they wouldn't cut out during the band's performance.
8. I'm a giant nerd.
9. I hate when people try to scare me - I don't find it funny. First it makes me mad, then I cry. Don't ever do it - I'll never forgive you.

Ok, I went for nine - just couldn't stop at seven because I've got a boat-load of quirks. I'm supposed to tag seven people but that's pretty much my entire blog roll, so if you're reading this, you're tagged!