17 August 2011

Second Week in August 2011

Monday at work was so busy I couldn't believe it. After work I met Maggie and we went over to Council Bluffs and saw Lee's new puppy. Well Lee wasn't there, but we didn't break in to meet her, Jillian showed her off.

Maggie models the very latest in puppy accessories.

Yes, she is about this adorable all the time.

Her name is Zonda (she wasn't named until Wednesday) and she is a 7-week-old Brindle Lab / Shepherd mix. She is very friendly and not too talkative, that's a good mix. When she finally fell asleep from all the playing, and Maggie and I left and went for a ride. I promptly got us lost on the east side of Council Bluffs. No fear, we found our way out and took the long way south to the Bellevue bridge. We grabbed some dinner from Imperial Palace (food good, service ... weird) and took it back to my place to eat. It was definitely more food than Maggie could eat, but I finished.

Tuesday morning I was pretty crabby at work, and then decided to take it out on myself running. At lunch I ran 3K in 20:01.9. At this pace I felt I could go farther, but I didn't want to push it much. I felt better, but then I got the tragic news that Kayleen had been killed in a car accident.

Kayleen was related to the Shannonites. She was 21. Although she was not someone who was in my inner circle of friends, I did like her and her sunshiney smile. I also (secretly) liked when my camera wandered off in her possession and came back to me with random pictures of flowers on it. The whole think made me pretty upset (for days) and has gotten me to reexamine the way I've been living my life. I ended up leaving work and going and hanging out with the Shannonites and other friends all afternoon and evening and we reminisced about Kayleen.

We took about four pictures at the same time as this, we couldn't coordinate whether we would both smile or look serious. This was the best of the group. I will miss you Kayleen!

Wednesday work began to slow down, and I managed to get caught up on work by the end of the day. I went home, wrote my blog, and the other shoe of the week dropped. I went for a late night walk my neighbor Frank, and he told me that his wedding was called off (this is on Facebook). Although this is not necessarily as devastating as the death of someone so young, it still hits pretty hard. I like both Frank and Lindsay, and was excited to have them living so near to us.

Thursday was also a day to stay home after work. By Friday, I was ready to go out. I went to the usual dance, and had a really good time. This was the third week with the new dance shoes, and I believe I danced much better with them this week than previous weeks. That combined with more energy left me feeling great. After the dance I came right home and went to sleep because I knew Saturday would be a busy, busy day.

Saturday I woke up, packed up, and headed off to the Iowa State Fair. We were meeting at the Hy-Vee at the Mall of the Bluffs in Council Bluffs to car pool. I went inside and bought a half dozen donuts for the group and went outside to wait for the group. Pretty soon there was Maggie, then Beth. Chris showed up, although I didn't know him until I just then. Then Kaleb's friend Julie, and finally Joe. Chris drove himself, Beth and Joe in another car, and myself and Julie with Maggie in her car. We got to Des Moines in fairly short order with only one stop. Parked downtown, and took a bus over to the fair.

First up at the fair, finding our tickets, I don't think the fair quite has electronic ticketing down yet. We finally found our tickets, and then headed in. We immediately headed over and get food, at fair prices, and I don't mean as in equitable. Maggie was the first to get food 'on a stick', cajun fried chicken, onions, and pickles. I think Beth would eat just about anything 'on a stick'. After lunch, the groups scattered.

First stop the model trains. I didn't like it was behind a plexiglass wall.
I did like the Werner Intermodal trailer(s).

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We then walked through and saw a large variety of animals.
It's one of my favorite parts of any fair.

At this point Maggie and I headed over to one of the side stages to meet Rae and Larry and see Jill and Scrappy's band, Exit 113. Joe was already there when we got there.

Jill recognizes her biggest Omaha fans!

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I danced to several songs with Rae and Maggie. Photo credit: Maggie

Maggie and I then walked the main strip, stopping only for a funnel cake.

By the time we walked to the other end, and through the midway
we were ready for a break.

Right about this moment. I looked up and saw Beth and Chris walking through the crowd right in front of us, since the listed Saturday attendance was 112,000+, so I had to see them at some point, not just coincidentally when we wanted to see them. We gathered them up and headed over to meet Joe and Julie at the prearranged meeting point, the butter sculpture contest.

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Three teams tried to create the best sculpture from a block of butter. Photo credit: Chris

It was a welcome break, and I may have slept for a few minutes. The sculpture contest was odd. The teams had 30 minutes to carve something out of butter, and evidently it is dangerous (people were bleeding), and there are no other rules. The winning team had preprinted letters that they used to attach to their 'sculpture' which didn't look like much at all. They got a $100, so I guess it worked. It was ride time after this, so we all headed over to the ride that we could all agree on, the giant slide.


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Julie, Maggie, and I went and saw more animals.
Joe and Beth headed to the midway for their own adventure.

We walked through the 4H craft displays, and then we were spent. We had to wait about fifteen minutes to get a bus back to the parking area, and then we headed back to Omaha. It was really nice to get some time to get to know Julie better. If you would like to see all my pictures from the Iowa State Fair, you can find them right here.

Once the three of us were back in Omaha, we all drove separately over to CJ's house for his celebration for getting his MBA. Julie and I had approximately the same idea when we got there ... eat. I did end up playing one game of Telestrations ... I must admit that this one was so raunchy that I may have been offended, which is so hard to do, so I just had to laugh at myself. I actually had another event to go to, a meteor shower party. Two things made me stop and rethink this plan. First, there was a huge, bright full moon that looked like it was going to swamp out any meteors, and more importantly, when 0030 rolled around I was just exhausted, so I headed home and to sleep.

Sunday 'morning' I went to church at 1230, then got busy with chores. In the afternoon I went for a walk with VK around Wehrspan Lake, and by around, I mean around. It was a long walk, so I had all kinds of time to hear about her trip to Norway. We then got dinner, and that was it for my week.

10 August 2011

First Week in August 2011

Monday I woke up and was tired, headachey and dizzy, so I went back to sleep. I made it in for a half day, but came home and didn't do anything but walk and then sleep.

Tuesday I looked back at my exercise in July, and I discovered that I went the entire month doing something active every day, in fact the last day that I didn't do anything was June 25th, that was the day I had the 103.9°F fever. The least amount of activity has been 3/4 of a mile walking, but it's been something every day. I decided I was going to try to not exercise to celebrate, it didn't work. I still walked.

Wednesday evening was slow, but I developed a taste for ice cream late and went to DQ. Fortunately I managed to get rid of it right away because, Thursday was day 6 of running: I ran 2400m (1.5mi) in 15:39.6 (a 10:30/mi pace) I ran 50% further than my goal!!! I know for a FACT that I was not able to run 1.5mi five years ago. Yay hard work, perseverance, and faith. I was a little bored in the evening, so I ended up working on three 'Photoshop' projects with mixed results.

Friday after work I went to the dance. I was full of energy and having a good time and then my energy just disappeared around 2300. It was very much a kind of an energy 'poof', there, then gone.

Saturday during the morning I ran errands, which always seems to involve Q-Doba, I don't quite know how that always happens. I tried to nap after my errands so I would be awake for the wedding of Erin and Chris. I picked up Heidi and Jen (and 60 pounds of wedding gift) and headed over to the church. The ceremony was short, but we stuck around a long time to help clean up and organize ... and play with bubbles.

I'm not stupid.

Sometimes you just have to wait for good things to happen.

Did I mention we played with bubbles.

Jen had to leave quickly to be at the reception to set up music, so Heidi and I went to the reception the slow way, meaning through Dairy Queen. We got up to the reception, and sat ourselves down just in time for the bride and groom to arrive ... and sing a song.

"Summer lovin', happened so fast..."

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So we danced, and talked, and ate, and sang...

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...and boxed? Why am I going to get the beatdown at a wedding?

Erin waited a long time for this, I'm so happy that it went well. You can see all my pictures from the wedding here. What you won't see is pictures from two epic storms that blew over the area while the reception was going on. We left as the bride and groom left, drove back to Heidi's and myself, her, and Brad talked for a quite a while until I thought I was too tired to do anything but drive home. However, when I got home there was a third storm about 15 miles south of where I live that was full of lightening ... so who could sleep when they could be taking pictures instead?


Sunday I got up and went to church with Joe, Frank, and Teri. Then Teri and I had lunch at Village Inn. I came home, talked to Maggie on the phone, and then napped. In the evening Jess showed up with CJ. We ate dinner at Famous Dave's, and then it was time to say goodbye to Xander, the ten days with Xander went by so quickly, I hardly got to know him. It was a slow paced, good week.

02 August 2011

Fourth Week in July 2011

Monday it was finally the end of on call, and I was a little excited. I left work and came home and found my new dance shoes waiting for me. After a bit of a test out period, I went out and cut the lawn. The next big thing was a haircut. Then dinner from Chipotle, which I took over to Frank and Lindsay's and visited with Frank until Lindsay came home. The evening wrapped up with me watching Troy play XBox.

Tuesday at lunch I ran at lunch. I did a mile again, this time in 9:21, my plan is to run that one more time, and then go to 2k. After work I met a bunch of friends at the China Buffet / Mongolian Grill in Bellevue, after eating too much food that was too spicy, we went back home and played two big games of Telestrations, and one game of Qwirkle Cubes that I won on a lucky roll at the end of the game. I may have won in any case, but I rolled two dice and got two circles that helped me go out first and win.

Wednesday after work I made dinner and waited on the arrival of our house(cat) guest Xander. He arrived and went and hid under my bed ... sigh. Eventually we got him to hide behind the couch in the basement. After all the excitement settled down, I went for a surprising walk on the Papio Trail, I got almost 3 1/4 miles in under an hour. I felt it right away, but it got me over 200 miles for the year. It was a nice walk (in the dark), a little on the warm side, but not too buggy.

Thursday after work I went to my coworker Gary's retirement party. It was at the Starbuck's very close to my house. Gary plans on going off to Colorado to live with his brother. Gary is one of the people that I hope to model my faith after. He doesn't lecture, and he doesn't (seem to) falter, he just loves and shares his love ... I fear I will not see him again in this realm of existence.


From there I headed up to Old Chicago to meet the people from Rome and Coke. I hadn't had dinner, so we sat around and chatted until around 11:30 or so, then I headed home. I took Friday off of work, but I had plans! First up was meeting Heather at the zoo at 1000. We toured the butterfly house and the aquarium before meeting up with Anne when she got off work at 1100.

I'm sad that I haven't evolved yet.

There is a really funny punch line to go with this picture, I just haven't thought it up yet.

It's not easy to see, but if you look above Anne and Heather, you can see someone else.

The funniest part of the whole day didn't get a picture. Anne works with the apes at the zoo, and when we got over to the orangutangs, they saw her and came over to where she was standing, and when she moved, they moved right along with her and followed. You can see all my pictures from the day here.

Later in the afternoon, Merinda and I hung out by going to the grocery store together. While I was there, I ran into the aforementioned Gary who was stopping on there on his way out of town, so I got in one last goodbye. Friday evening I made my return to JNO, if you can count a two week absence as a return. I had my birthday jam and a nice time. After JNO several of us went out to Donut Stop. I love the donuts and the place, now that it is smoke free, but the crankiness factor is high with the owners. I'm sure running a place where you get a lot of drunks is not exactly fun.

Saturday was National Dance Day! I didn't do any dancing however. During the day I ran errands, then I took a nap to get ready for Kaleb's game night party. We played a lot of different games. We started out playing a dexterity game called Crokinole. I liked the game a lot. The closest thing I can think of to compare it to is shuffleboard, but on a round table using your fingers to flick. I won all three times I played, so maybe that will make you like a game. Next we went outside to play Badminton, but it was a little too hot for most people. We came in and I discovered that Kaleb had a bottle of Jagermeister, I think it's sipping liquor, so I did, everyone else looked at me like I was crazy, which is still a possibility. A little bit of ping pong was played until Kaleb said that Beth wanted to play Catan, so I joined her, Jared, and Maggie for a game of Settlers of Catan: Cities and Knights. I will take this opportunity to state that I had good position, and I did as well as I could considering the Jagermeister, but the rolls sucked ... nine must have been rolled 50% of the time. I got the longest road, and I was winning at 10 points, but I had nowhere to expand to, so I was kind of dead in the water.

I eventually weaseled Kaleb into finishing my game so I could go outside and help to invent The Greatest Game Ever. Okay, so maybe not the greatest game ever, but it was drinking badminton, and it was a good opportunity to channel my inner college kid. It got too dark to play, so some of the people came in transfer the rules to the ping pong table. I played some more Crokinole instead, and then I played another dexterity game called Pitch Car ... I won that one too.

We then headed down into the basement for 'Around the World' Ping Pong. I don't know what was up with me, but I won twice. It was really nice to spend time with friends, and get to know a couple people better. After this, we played some regular Ping Pong, then Rock Band, then back to Ping Pong, and then oh my gosh, it's 0330. How does that happen every time? And off to home and bed.

Sunday I (barely) woke up in time to meet friends at Saint Columbkille for Mass at noon. Amazingly, it was Shannon's week to give her FOCUS talk at church, and I just happen to be there. We gathered ourselves up and went to Q'Doba to eat, and then over to Joe's for the end of Mass Chaos party.

Teri made a very tasty cake.

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I was very touched by a gift card, and very tickled by the personal advice given to me by the other Mass Chaos members in the Catholicism Answerbook. Photo credit: Frank

Vesper sings her favorite show tunes.

If you'd like to see my pictures from this Mass Chaos event, you can find them here, you can also see Frank's pictures here and see why I have camera envy.