26 July 2011

Third Week in July 2011

Monday was back to work, and doing so a little worn out from Sunflower Swing dance weekend in Wichita, but I lived. I napped in my car at lunch despite the 110°F heat index. It only got worse later in the day, both the tiredness and the temperature. When I got home from work, I scurried into the house and enjoyed the cool darkness of my room and a short nap ... only for a little while, on call is this week. I did some laundry and put up pictures from the weekend.

Tuesday after work I found $4 in my clean laundry ... so I went and got some ice cream at DQ. I went for a late night walk around the neighborhood, it wasn't such a good idea. I walked in my sandals, which do not have enough foot support, and I ended up with a rather achey back. Wednesday was basically the same, except instead of ice cream, I got Chipotle. Both Tuesday and Wednesday were fairly lazy. I felt like that because I knew I would be home the next day, I had no priority on doing anything right now.

Thursday we got a bit of bad news, actually it wasn't so much got it, as we discovered it. The air conditioning wasn't working at the house. It stayed pretty cool, but by the morning it was a little on the warm side and I was thankful for the box fan, especially since I received on call calls all night. Friday was work and stay at home, no dance for me. On call went well.

Saturday morning there was a little bit of work in the morning, but it was mostly quiet. I had a birthday lunch with Matt, Vivian, and VK at Blue Planet Grill.

Eric's birthday lunch at Blue Planet
I had chicken BBQ Pizza and a good time. Photo credit: Matt

After lunch we walked over to Jones Brothers cupcakes, had some treats, and sat and talked for a while. I came home and took at a nap. Around 1800 Maggie came over and we walked down to the river and then had some BBQ at Swine Dining in Old Towne Bellevue. It's my new favorite BBQ spot, the baked beans were amazing, they had cinnamon apples baked right in.

T-shirt at the BBQ shop ... when is Kevin's birthday?

I've been under that shelter several times, now I'd need a snorkel.

Old Towne Bellevue has some pretty spots with flowers as big as Maggie's head.

That was all the excitement from my birthday, other than answering (nearly) every post left on my wall. Saturday all night was phone call, ninety minutes of sleep, repeat. I ended up not getting up until 1100, although there wasn't a whole lot of steady sleep in there. Jenny had a last minute thing to go swimming at Fremont Lakes at 1430, I thought it was a little weird to be so far away, but I drove up to Fremont and when I couldn't find them I discovered a little problem, it was Louisville Lakes. That's different, isn't it ... about 60 miles different. I did manage to get there by 1600, so it wasn't all bad. We swam for about 90 minutes and then got pizza at Gambino's in Louisville. The pizza was good, but not plentiful (may have been our fault), and the service was downright bleh. I drove home and that was it for my on call week ... all in all it was a good on call week, and I got my birthday celebrated.

20 July 2011

Second Week in July 2011

Monday I got tricked by the weather forecast. I decided not to bring workout clothes to work because the weather forecast said 'hot'. At the time I would have been walking / running outside it was only 86°F, not in the 100°s as I feared it might be ... so I took a nap instead.

After work I went to Kaleb's and played a game of Arkham Horror with the King in Yellow expansion pack and all the usual house rules and add ins. The good guys won, it was not your typical game, I've never seen so many clue tokens come out, and it was needed. It took eight clue tokens to close gates. The win ended up being fairly easy. While we were playing, we ate a meal that Audrey cooked that was fabulous, curry chicken and rice, cheesey potatoes, and a green salad ... need I even mention that I ate too much? After the game we went and played ping pong for about an hour and half until it got to be late. Maeg was a little goofy, but since it's so good to see her, I'll let it slide, this time.

Tuesday right after work I went grocery shopping, then home. I cut the lawn, and afterward, I made a horrible discovery. Bunnies had chewed off some of my peppers! Those allegedly cute little creatures are killers! I moved the plants to the top deck, hopefully they will not get too hot ... the plants, not the bunnies.

Wednesday during the day I ate lunch with Kimee at Runza. We had a great discussion about an alternative name for Frings, called Potonions. I like the new name much better than the old one.

Thursday after work I headed off to Brazenhead and Rome and Coke. The topic of the day was music. I offer up my opinions, and then I get the beat down. Actually I appreciate how much smarter many of the attendees are than me, and yes they are kind. It's okay, we learn and grow. After we went down to Old Chicago as we usually do. There were lots of laughs, but when I got up and went to the bathroom, I came back and everyone but Ashley and Janet had left. Oops. Ashley and I got into a conversation in the parking lot starting about 2330 and ending at 0110 ... it was one of those conversations that just stretched time, so I didn't even notice time passing. Now I know Ashley much better than I did. I headed home and went to sleep.

Friday morning I woke up and went to 0800 Mass at my new parish, but Mass wasn't until 0830 ... so I did one of my favorite things, sit in a quiet church ... ah! peace. After Mass I went down to the parish office to register, and I spoke with Father Al about a couple things ... I'm sure more to follow on this.

I came home and started packing for Sunflower Swing in Wichita. 90 minutes is plenty of time to pack, right? I used to be way more organized and I would pack days before I was going somewhere, however when I got Cherokee, he figured out pretty quickly that packing meant I was leaving him, and he stressed out, so I learned to get ready at the last minute. By the time I had enough packed for a six day trip, Jillian showed up, and shortly there after Maggie made an appearance, and we were on the road. First stop, the grocery store for snacking supplies and cash.

The trip itself was uneventful, except for the sun and the heat being pretty intense on the passenger side of the car, but Maggie and I kept well hydrated. Also, Jillian's bean and cabbage heavy vegan diet showed up, unless you ask her, then it was 'road noise'. I am not an Anglophile, but since Maggie and Jillian are, I get a lot of U.K. centered humor secondhand ... most notably in this case Jeremy Clarkson saying "I went on the internet, and I. Found. This" ... it ended up getting quite silly, all weekend long.

We arrived in Wichita around 1730, the temperature there was higher than Omaha, but the dew point was lower which meant that it was still freaking hot. We unpacked, got on the internet, and picked out a "middle eastern" place called Rain Cafe and walked about 3/4 of a mile there. I ordered a shawarma, and it was fabulous, and cheap (the service was not fabulous). The dill pickle that came with the meal was spicy, and by spicy I mean Ben or Troy would have noticed the kick. We headed back to the hotel, got ready, and went to the welcome dance.

I think Ben suspects the camera is on him.

I love it when a dance picture captures both stillness and motion.

Lindsay wants to dance with me!

It wasn't a late dance, it was only supposed to go until 2200, and ended around 2220. We came back to the room and went out to the pool and had fun for about 45 minutes until they through us out.

Saturday morning dawned way to early for me, well 0730. We ate the breakfast we bought at the grocery store, messed around and got to the teaching venue around 1045 for the first class at a very reasonable 1100. I decided (and by 'I decided' I mean that I asked Jillian and Maggie what we were doing) to take classes from Jenna and Jason. It turned out to be a good choice, they were amazing ... in particular the second class on musicality presented it in a way that finally got through to me. I was quite happy about the entire experience, and took all four of their Saturday classes. It turns out that Jenna is from Chicago and used to teach with Frank, and she was super nice and encouraging, as was Jason.

Don't do it that way, do it this way.

We ate lunch at Subway, this must be a teenager sandwich,
I can tell because it is sticking it's tongue out at Maggie.

After classes we met Ben at 'Old Town' Wichita for dinner at Hana Cafe. Sometimes you buy a martini, and it's expensive, tasteless, and watered down, and you think you got ripped off ... this wasn't that martini, whooboy, it was very strong. Hana has Japanese and Korean food, and it was good. We had several different kinds of sushi rolls and some sake, which I still don't like. After, as we walked across the plaza and Ben and I played in the water ... Maggie and Jillian thought that they were too dressed up for such tomfoolery.

This can't be right.

It probably didn't matter how soaked I got,
I was going to be dry three minutes later.

We went and got gelato at a place across the way. It was no Ted & Wally's, but it was good. Then we headed over to the Saturday night dance. The sun was just about right when we got there to get some great shots.

Music provided by The Grand Marquis.

Maggie closes her eyes and imagines Marshall giving her a ride ...
on his motorcycle. Oh yeah, it's a Triumph.

Lindsay tells James "I made the Jack and Jill finals"!

Indeed, both Lindsay and Ben made the Jack and Jill finals, though neither placed in the top three. Yes, I competed, and no, I did not make the finals, but I had fun and I thought about what I was doing in a new way. I want to have a plan next time. I did not enter in the Strictly Lindy contest, due to lack of planning. Ben and I intended to enter the same gender contest, but unfortunately Jillian did not feel well, and so at the end of the regular dance, we went back to the hotel room and slept.

And sleep in we did, we all woke up around 0900, got up, packed up the car, checked out and headed over to the first class of the day. It was a fast Lindy class from Jenna and Jason. The second class I took was a class from Mike (Faltesek) and Delilah. It was called "Rock Out with Your Swingout" and it was a very Mike class, wow, I don't think I could dance like Mike ... ever, his style is so energetic and random. We grabbed three other people and we went to lunch at Lotus Leaf Cafe. Call me surprised, but we randomly picked out three restaurants and each was really good, and reasonably priced. I would not have imagined Wichita to have such fabulous noms.

When we got back from lunch Jillian was still not feeling good, so we decided to make our exit. I put my dance shoes down ... and promptly forgot about them. Fortunately, I have really nice friends in Wichita, and they are going to feed and care for them until they can be brought up during Cowtown Jamborama. We got gas and hit the road. We drove to York with only one stop, and then stopped there for dinner. We drove home from there, and I got home around 2200, and that was my weekend trip. Thank you Sunflower Swing for a great time, and thank you to all the dancers new and known who made it fun.

12 July 2011

Independence Day Week 2011

Early Monday morning, and by early, I mean around 1100, I decided that I would participate in the annual Omaha Jitterbugs 'float' in the Ralston Independence Day Parade. I had to be there by 1230, so no problem, I had plenty of time to get there. I have learned over the years that being in a parade is a lot of hurry up and wait, and this year, we were #65, nearly at the end, so there was no hurry at all.

Here is some of the waiting part. Photo credit: Matt

Wow! A girl smiling while dancing with me, who knew? Photo credit: Matt

Remember, always look professional when performance dancing. Photo credit: Marcy

The survivors! We're pretty sweaty for a 1.5 mile walk. Photo credit: Matt

The parade was followed up with the usual visit to Dairy Queen afterward.

Jitterbugs love ice cream! Photo credit: Matt

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Two pretty amazing pictures of Jenny, for different reasons.
Right side photo credit: Matt

That moment of discovery when you figure out my hat is wet from *sweat*!

I didn't get many pictures, and most of those were taken by VK in any case, but you can find them here. Matt had many, many on his camera, most of those were taken by Vivian, they can be found here. You can find a bunch of pictures on Facebook from my friends, and who really knows how many pictures were actually taken and put up on the internet. I came home, took a very short nap, then headed out the door to pick up Joe.

Is it good to be predictable? I told Joe that I would pick him up at 1745, I pulled in his driveway within a few seconds of that, and as I pulled up, he was opening the garage door to let himself out. He knows I will be on time, in fact he relied on it. We got the car ready to go and headed out to CJ's parent's house. We arrived at dinner time, and just after a game of Betrayal at House on the Hill was started.

I ate lots of food, watched the game, and wandered around in and outside until Kaleb organized a game of Liar's Dice. I didn't win, no surprise, but I did make a pretty nice comeback in the third game. Finally, it was time for CJ and friends to blow stuff up.

I think this is going to be loud.

Kids with sparklers and mom in high heels.

This should win some sort of timing prize.

Meanwhile, in the Glowing Chipmunk Cheeks Nebula...

It's tough to capture all of those little explosions.

The neighbor lady, who disapproves of fun, called the cops and turned on her sprinklers, we were told we couldn't sit in the street by the police. So we stood there instead. You can see all of my photos of stuff getting blown up at CJ's parents house here.

Tuesday was back to work, and I am working an hour earlier than usual this week. Ugh, who invented the morning, or at least working in the morning. I made it into work on time and lasted through the day. As I was leaving, it was slightly rainy, at least enough to prevent me from doing lawn work. So I mostly just blogged when I got home.

Wednesday was going to be day two of running, but when I got to work I discovered that I had forgotten to pack shorts. Bummer, no running for me. I walked a couple miles instead. Wednesday after work I did lawn work and then wasted time on a Flash game.

Thursday I finally got out and ran at lunch. My goal was 4 (200m) laps at a 1:20 pace, achieved 5 laps at a 1:09 pace!!! Yay! I also ran an additional sprint lap in 44 seconds, I took it pretty easy, so I think I can got that down to the mid 30s. There was also quite a few walking laps, so it was a good 30 minutes of mixed exercise.

Thursday evening I went to Rome and Coke. I don't like the venue (Brazenhead), but I do like the discussion. This weeks discussion was on angels, and I cannot fail to learn something new every week. I also like the fellowship that follows. I tried to get a table at Old Chicago outside, but more than a couple of the Rome and Coke attendees did not want to be outside even though the weather was fabulous. It sure seems to me that fewer and fewer people like being outdoors. I am not one of them, I'll be outside all day long, maybe in the shade, but I love it. I got home too late and didn't get enough sleep for Friday.

Friday at lunch I got my oil changed at lunch. After work I came home and took a short nap, then went out to the Friday dance. There were not a ton of people, but there were a few unexpected people there, from Rome and Coke...

...including Jenna who did a very slow moving cartwheel.

Saturday during the day I went to the zoo with Jenny and her little sister. Jenny's little sister was a very typical 11 year old and was bored with the whole thing ... or at least that's what she wanted us to think.

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Was it hot? It sure was ... I'm not lion.

You can see all of my zoo pictures here. I left there, got home, took a quick shower and a quick nap, and then headed over to Saint John Vianney for Mass at 1700 ... oops, it was 1730. I did get to see one of the Mass Chaos FOCUS missionaries, Amy. We all went out to dinner afterward at Jason's Deli. The rest of Saturday evening was uneventful, except for that sign of my impending doom.

Sunday was a scorcher, and a random last minute visit to the Saint Bernadette's parish festival. The heat index was 101°F when we got there. It was just Maggie and I for a while, then Joe showed up. We ate a lot of watermelon. By the time Maggie had gone and Marilou and Lisa showed up, the heat index was 111°F. I did try to ride the Zipper with Joe, but as soon as the cage closed, I got claustrophobic and started whining to get off the ride ... I think Joe captured this on video. The ride is just too small for me. I felt bad because I let Joe down, so as soon as Marilou showed up, I agreed to go on the Tornado with the two of them. Bad idea for me, bad idea for everyone. About 2/3 through the ride we all started looking a little green. Mercifully, the ride ended, and the three of us sat down near the band. Joe left shortly after, and myself, Marilou, and Lisa went to another tent where it was quieter to chat. We left and that was pretty much the end of the weekend, I laid down the rest of the afternoon in the cool and dark of my room and tried to get over my bad trip.

Sunday was also the finish of a two week period where I did some sort of exercise every day. I've walked nearly 25 miles in that time.

06 July 2011

Fourth Week in June 2011

Monday after work I came home and did lawn work. Troy was grilling, I asked him to cook some sausages and chicken I had while I was cutting the lawn. When I finished, I used the meat to make two meals for the rest of the week: a cold chicken / tomato pasta salad, and my jambalaya.

Tuesday after work I met VK downtown and used my Groupon for Vivace and had a nice dinner. Then we went for a walk down to see the flooded river.

It was a pretty night for walking.

I wouldn't drink out of the lagoon at Heartland of America Park, but some will.

They were pumping an incredible amount of water over the retaining wall.

The water here is at 983.37 feet above sea level. 36 hours later it was at 984.20,
how long until the hammer is the only thing showing?

Needless to say, after all that walking, we had to get some ice cream at Ted and Wally's. If you'd like to see all the pictures from our walk, you can see them here.

Early Wednesday morning I woke up at about 0430 with shivers and contemplated calling in sick ... but they dissipated fairly quickly, and I got back to sleep. When I woke back up, I felt fine. It was my coworker Gary's 60th birthday, and we had a food day to celebrate. I stopped in on the way to work and got a Village Inn cherry pie for my contribution for my coworker Gary's 60th birthday, and the food day we had to celebrate. It was kind of a wild day at work with so much going on that didn't have anything to do with actual work. In addition to the birthday, the new fitness track opened, I walked six laps at 200 meters a lap.

Around 1700 things got weird. I got the shivers again, and this time I was freezing too. Regan said I looked really pale. I hadn't felt that miserable since September '96 when I got the flu (or flu like symptoms). I drove home with the air conditioning off in the car and I was still shaking. When I got in the house my temperature was 101°F. I went to lay down and the shivers faded away but my temperature kept climbing. At 103.5°F, I decided I would try to take a cold shower to cool down, but it only brought the shivers back. I laid back down and within minutes I was at 103.8°F and I decided to go to doctor. Troy took me down to a local urgent care place ... and I got a look like I had a third eye for wanting to see a doctor. I never did check in. I waited about ten minutes and my fever was stable at 103°F, so we left. The odd part about it is that once I 'felt' warm, I 'felt' fine ... but with a high temp. I came back home, laid down and semi-slept for the next two hours, by which time the fever was under 101°F, and when I woke up at 0115, it was 99.3°F.

When I woke up at 0815, I was at 98.3°F, which is probably fairly normal for me. I didn't go in to work because I was so worn out from the whole thing. I slept again until around 1100, got up, started chores, and then around 1215, I went to get some ice cream at DQ, because I figured ice cream is the best thing possible when you don't feel well. I took my camera with me parked on a side street about a quarter mile from Haworth Park, and walked down to the river. The river was actually on Mission Avenue at the bottom of the hill, I never thought I'd see that, probably neither did the city planners.

A little flood cannot stop narcissism.

This is not a canal, it's the BNSF railroad. Under the bridge they built a dike.

I found this amusing. Birds can't drive.

I walked back up the hill, ran a few more errands, then went home and napped again. If you're interested. I have a set of flood photos that I've taken.

Friday morning I felt well enough to go back to work. Friday after work I went to the dance, I had clean up duty. It was a small crowd, not untypical for a holiday weekend.

Saturday morning I woke up with a bad attitude and it showed. I spent a good portion of the day working on the game I am designing so I could have it ready by Kaleb's game night. Jenny's annual Independence day party was at night, and I said that I would help VK out with her garden. It was quite enjoyable to work with my hands and pull out weeds for an hour or so, although I ended up ruining my shirt. I was handsomely paid with a delicious sandwich.

I really tried to be late to Jenny's party. Really I did. I arrived at 1726 for a 1700 party ... oops, the party actually started at 1730, so I was right on time. Jenny got the food cooking right away, and then somehow walked away and Jonathon took over ... no worries, the food was fabulous. Speaking of which, VK used all those berries we picked to make a pie. I almost missed out on it while I was playing volleyball because it disappeared so quickly.

Say hello to my little friend.

I am guessing that I just hit the ball and Jenny is going to spike it on my head.

If Jonathon is really dead, why is everyone smiling? Photo credit: Matt

Anne is not allowed to share sparklers with the gorillas at the zoo.

This is really cool, except it is supposed to say 'WOW', not 'WIN'.

I took a bunch of pictures, you can find them here. Matt took pictures too, you can find them here. Sarah also put up nine pictures, you can find them here and hit forward. I left there about 2200 after shooting off some fireworks safely, and I went over to Kaleb's game night. I didn't play any board games, except for the one that I made. It went pretty well, Joe, Maggie, and Franz played, and I could tell no one was interested at first, but they were into it at the end of the game. I'll try a rewrite, then play it some more for rebalancing. There were also the usual Ping Pong shennanigans, including me finally winning a game of Around the World Ping Pong. I left fairly early, getting home around 0230 Sunday morning.

I was up at a reasonable hour, and got a big breakfast at McDonald's, which I didn't finish, and read the paper. I was back in bed soon enough napping on and off until 1430. It turns out that playing volleyball for an hour and a quarter will leave a person (my age) fairly worn out. Troy, Kevin (who is back in town), and I went and had dinner at China Buffet. I almost ate too much, but I stopped myself, barely. Afterward I went for a walk on the Keystone trail starting at Fort Crook where the trail was closed (to the south) and walked north.

Wait ... isn't that supposed to be flowing the other way?

I put a pretty bird here because I could.

The day wound up with me crowdsourcing my Independence Day fireworks watching. No driving anywhere, no parking hassles, no fighting crowds, no expensive food, no waiting for a bathroom ... just sitting on the back deck with a cold drink and watching explosion after explosion after explosion all over my neighborhood. I watched for two hours. When I was a kid, I remember about every 3rd professional firework was a dud, now anyone can buy better stuff than the small towns I lived around had.

Part of my view from the back deck.

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