29 March 2012

Second Week in March 2012

Monday at 1800! The release from being oncall, hip hip hooray! I enjoyed a quiet night at home and sleeping early.

Tuesday I got back on the exercise bandwagon, walking 18 laps at lunch, and then after work we had dance practice at our house. We watched a video, and then tried to imitate the teachers (Kevin and Jo) were doing with various degrees of success. We tried to do a move where the follow jumps over the joined hands of the lead and follow, no one died (*success*), but Jessica landed on our wrists twice, so it was time to give that one up.

Wednesday after work I went to my RCIA class, then afterwards headed up to Village Inn on Dodge to get some pie for π day. I had cherry pie and enjoyed the conversation.

Thursday morning I found it nearly impossible to wake up ... however I did manage to get up and get in to work. After work I had dinner with Maggie at Whole Foods, then we went for a ride afterwards to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Oh yeah, Whole Foods has cheese. (a.k.a. the token picture)

Friday I had my incentive half day, and I decided to get my haircut at the place Brian Langbehn told me about, The Beard and Mane. It had been about 10 years since I have decided my own hairstyle, between the advice of various lady friends and female hair stylists saying "No, we're not doing that" it had been quite a while. I definitely got what I wanted, only better than I imagined.

Later in the afternoon I met Maggie and we went to the Mary Our Queen fish fry. There was no way it could be as epic as last year, right? Right! It was pretty subdued, but pleasant. Maggie and I had a long talk, then made it to the last 30 minutes of the dance, mostly becauseI was on cleanup duty. We went over to the Donut Stop afterwards.

I got up and going on Saturday and out running. I met my distance goal, but not my speed goal. Three laps around the block, 1.14mi (1.82k) in 12:12.5 at a snail pace of 10:44/mi, it really didn't feel very well either, so let's hope it picks up next run.

In the evening, I met Maggie, and we went to CJ's game night. It was Saint Patrick's day and there was a green food theme, I brought broccoli, green onions, green peppers, and cucumbers with dip ... it was not a big seller. On to the games, First up was a favorite of mine to lose, Arabian Nights. Maggie and I played together, and spent about 2/3 of the game in jail, but I still love it. We then played Werewolf. We had a little trouble with people backing out of the game before it started, and frankly, the game is somehow more fun in Kaleb's front room than anywhere else. The final game of the evening was Cargo Noir I really like that game, although we did have a dispute on one of the rules, and we could not find any clarifying errata on the internet. I think I won ... it was late ... hard to tell, someone will no doubt correct me if I don't know what I'm saying. Then we headed home.

Sunday morning I went to Mass at Mary Our Queen with Teri. We grabbed lunch at Schlotsky's, and then to the park to have our food blown all over creation enjoy the warm weather. After more or less enjoying our food, we went over to Kaleb's house afterwards to visit. We knew people would be there testing a new game, but they had already started before we got there. We sat down on the couch, and the next thing I knew I was being awoken by my own snoring.

After they had finished the test play, we played a game called The Resistance. It's somewhat like Werewolf, only not nearly as friendly. After the third intense game, some people were none too happy with me. I went down to the basement and played Rock Band with Melissa for about an hour. I set up both mics for singing, I played bass and she played guitar. Finally, more people came in to play ... and there was a six player game of round the world ping pong, I was in the finals almost every round, but only won twice. That was my week!

Next week: Alfredo!

21 March 2012

First Week in March 2012

Monday morning I was tired and sore from my dance weekend, but back to work. Unfortunately, I also picked up the oncall laptop and phone. I did enjoy a nap in the car at lunch, and a quiet night at home processing pictures. Tuesday was more of the same.

Wednesday morning as I was on my way to work, I started the process of uploading all of the pictures from Heartland Swing, and I guess I forgot that the upload stops when my computer goes to sleep. I am guessing that I've noted that somewhere on this blog before ... I'm wondering if I will do it again. Wednesday I went to RCIA, and then home. In keeping with the oncall theme, I stayed home, and Thursday I did nothing too.

Friday after work I went to the Saint John Vianney fish fry with a group of seven. The lines for that fish fry have gotten really long, and not well organized. I was lucky, and received no calls while there. I decided not to press my luck, and went home after the fish fry and not to the dance.

Saturday during the day I did work and waited around for calls. Saturday night I ventured out of the house, with the work laptop, to Kaleb's and his game night. The first game we played was Ra, which is a favorite of mine, but not one I succeed at usually. It was no exception here either. Next we played a different game, but I just can't remember what it was ... so since I don't remember it, I can't review it.

Then the entire group, 23 people, played a game of Ultimate Werewolf ... lately it has seemed like the villagers have enjoyed a big advantage, and they won both games. I did like the addition of the Cupid card (which I drew), I picked Kaleb and Angela (Susan) for the lovers, and it worked out fairly entertainingly, as they were on opposite teams ... and everyone believed me when I said I was Cupid so I actually survived until the end.

After Werewolf, we all went to the basement to play Rock Band (I didn't participate) and Around the World Ping Pong (heck yeah). Troy came up with an alternative rule to have the winners from that night start with a point for each previous victory. It gives more people an opportunity to win, like me. I ran up in between games and checked the oncall phone, fortunately, I received no calls or e-mails all night. There was also a very late night game of Tsuro which I won, but it was kind of a I'm not leaving yet moment rather than any strategic brilliance, I won. The night got late fast when the spring ahead time change occurred, and it went from 0159 to 0300.

Sunday morning(ish) I was up and at church at 1230 at Saint Mary's in Bellevue. By chance, Joe was there too, although I had planned on going by myself. After church I went by the grocery store, and then came home and hung out handling the occasional call or e-mail. On call was pretty quiet, until 2215 Sunday night, then it got a little busy for about an hour, it was all handled in the end though.

20 March 2012

February / March Bridge Week 2012

Monday morning I had already planned on going to the doctor, but I also planned on going to work. I did one of those, the doctor visit. I felt (emotionally) better after I visited with Doctor Lorrie, she had the same sort of crap I did. Afterwards, I went to the grocery store and then home to sleep.

Tuesday I was back to work and feeling about 50% better. I made it through the day, got home, cooked some dinner, and packed one bag ahead of time. One thing I don't miss about Cherokee; dogs are smart and he knew if I was packing my bags, I was going away on a trip, and he was unhappy. I learned to pack at the last minute so Cherokee wouldn't be upset for days. No such worry about cats, Zeke barely noticed.

Wednesday I went shopping right after work for trip supplies and a new duffel. I liked the bag I got on the cheap. I headed over to RCIA afterwards, then home to finish packing.

Thursday I had arranged to swap shifts with Ed, so I was at work at 0700, getting up early is tough, but leaving work earlier than expected is easy. I left work, drove straight home, packed the car and was tidying up waiting for Maggie when the strangest sight occurred:

Jinx hadn't done this before, and hasn't done it since.

We hit the road about 1745, picked up Jillian, and made it to Des Moines about 2030ish. The welcome dance was fun. For the second time I sang Route 66 with 4th Street swing, although with how bad my voice was from laryngitis, it was probably the worst public performance I will ever do. After the dance we went out to eat at Friday's, the usual thing for the Des Moines swing crowd. We followed Rae and Larry back to their place and bedded, er, air mattressed down for the night. I do not have any new found love of air mattresses, the sleeping conditions were not ideal, although Maggie and I fared better than Jillian, her mattress deflated.

Friday we were up early, met the other guest at the house, Hurley, lounged around until everyone was ready, then Verity, Amanda, Jillian, Maggie, Hurley, and I went out to eat at Village Inn. I was hungry, so was everyone else too, six plates, six members of the clean plate club. We then headed over to the local Target because 'someone' forgot his swimsuit after reminding everyone else to bring one. I found something else at the Target to replace my broken one.

We finally headed downtown to the motel, it was mostly uneventful although Verity went straight when she should have turned, so it was a little bit of issue getting her back into the parking garage. We went straight from the parking garage to the hotel to the pool. There were five of us that swam for about 45 minutes. I tried a lame attempt at a nap after the pool, but with six people in the room, it didn't work out so well.

I tried to round up a group for dinner (this is foreshadowing), but only got four to come with me Maggie, Jillian, Adam, and Dianna, we went and ate at Court Avenue Brewing (the same place we went last year). I tried a beer that I'm still calling 'interesting', I don't really even know how I felt about it. We headed up to the dance, danced until around midnight, then went back to the hotel. No late night for Friday night, I was just too tired.

Saturday morning I was up and there for the first class ... er, wait, the classes started an hour earlier, oops. The first class I took was the most interesting, it was a class on dancing to live music at different tempos, intensities, and volumes all with a live band playing. It was quite the experience. At lunch we went over to Panera, I felt bad for the restaurant, one minute a usual Saturday crowd, then suddenly 70 swing dancers show up.

In the afternoon I went to classes, chatted with people, and we got a bit of good news, Maggie asked Rae about the pin up calendar, and Rae asked her to be at the studio at 1230 on Sunday. Schedules were immediately rearranged, and we said we'd be there. After classes, we hung out back in the room, and after much consternation, headed to Zombie Burger for dinner with a group of about four. It was way too crowded. We ended up at a little Lebanese place with a table for four, er five, please ... wait, the phone is ringing, make that seven, um eight, okay, so it ended up eleven. I may or may not have said something about herding cats, okay, I probably did.

We headed over to the dance, which went a little long, too long for us to be enthused about going to late night. I think next year I'm definitely going to save a few bucks and get the dance only pass, then I can be awake all night for the dances. We got back to the hotel and slept.

I woke up early so I could go to Mass at Saint Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, it was the most diverse crowd I've ever seen at (any) church. The second reading was in Aramaic, I know so little about the language, I had to just listen. It was an interesting experience. I knew what was being said, because the English was right there in front of me in the Missal, but I could only really understand the nonverbals. I walked back to the hotel after Mass in a beautiful snowfall.

We had already got packed up and we were ready to go, we checked out, Jillian went to class, while Maggie I headed over to the studio where Maggie was going to have her pictures taken for the Heartland Pinup Calendar. We got a chance to talk to Pam (the Miss Heartland winner) and her boyfriend, Dan. They are from the Milwaukee area and really nice people. Maggie was pretty nervous at first, but as she warmed up, she enjoyed it more and more. She was positively beaming when the photographer, Karl, reviewed all the pictures with her. We headed from there back to the Temple for Performing Arts, and arrived in time to take one afternoon class, well I took the class anyways.

After the class was over, we headed over to try Zombie Burger one more time, seriously, the owner needs to franchise the place. We arrived at just the right time. I grabbed three seats along the wall, Maggie got our food, and we sat and talked while about 30 dancers came and went through the restaurant, seriously. I even met a dancer from Woodstock, IL (the town I went to high school in) named Mallory, and we talked for quite a while.

We piled back into the cars and drove back to the dance. Since we were the first to arrive, I hijacked the sound system for the second time this weekend, this time with the help of one of the volunteers, Jeff. We danced to goofy stuff, like the Elmo parody of LMFAO's "I'm sexy and I know it". We danced until about 2030, and then headed home arriving back in Omaha about 2315.

Here are my favorite photos from the weekend.

Ben is smiling while dancing!

Darn those female Cardinal fans, they are so cute.

I have a feeling the Jose just said something really witty.

Probably my best picture of the weekend.

The Heartland Hepcat is creepy.

If the other picture is my best, this one is my favorite.

With the camera sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

I love the color of Amanda's dress.

Verity and Hurley were winners!

Somehow, I hear Aretha singing "You'd better think..."

It is entirely possible that Adam took the term 'Zombie Burger' too literally.

Yes, I took a lot more pictures, and even with a worn out camera some of them are decent enough. You can see them here. I really could live my life working four days a week and going to dance events every weekend. It's awesome.

Next week: On call and worn out!