Friday, February 29, 2008

Call Me Ishmael

New blogging subject material! Corrie decided to take up fishing again, so we (by that I mean he) bought us new rods and supplies today at Shopko and Scheels and our fishing and park permits on the internets! I knew he wasn't going to be able to wait one day to fish, so at 4:30 today we headed out to Holmes Lake so I could go for a short run and he could fish.

I guess we forgot it was still February-the lake was mostly frozen! Corrie found a place to try out, though, so I went for a 30 minute run around the lake. I was afraid he would've become too frustrated and would've been back in his truck waiting for me by the time I looped back, but he was still at it. Then, what do you know, he actually caught a fish. I think he thinks it was a bass. He threw it back, though, just like I accidentally threw his needle nose pliers into the lake. I didn't catch anything except myself when the hook got stuck in my pants.

I don't see myself getting obsessed with fishing, but it has appealing aspects: being outside, not a lot of movement involved, perhaps doing it somewhere where you can enjoy an adult beverage simultaneously.

A Busy Thursday

I think I had the busiest, most varied Thursday in a long time yesterday. After working almost a normal length workday, I hustled over the courthouse to be a witness at my friend's wedding. Luckily, courtroom weddings don't last very long, so we were in and out of there in less than an hour. (Would've been less time than that if they actually honored the appointment times they set up in advance. It appeared that the groups with the most children running around the courthouse got in first. Four normal-acting adults were going to be last, I could tell.)

Then Corrie and I were on the road to the Foo Fighters concert at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. Even Council Bluffs does a better job of handling large events than Lincoln does-the Mid-America Center has plenty of FREE parking right by the building. The security check was light-no heavy groping like at the TOOL and Nine Inch Nails shows we usually go to. (also no lines in the women's restrooms, but I think there were lines in the men's-that's not something you witness everyday.) I was a little afraid this show would be a little fluffy compared to someone like TOOL, but it was very good. I'll make this brief and to the point-I liked the whole show. I was pleased with the opening band, Against Me-they had a little bit of an old school punk rock sound. Then there was Serj Tankian, who is an extraordinary performer, and I admit I was probably looking more forward to seeing him than seeing Foo Fighters. While I'm glad that the Foo Fighters have had the success that they've had, I really wish their songs haven't been overplayed on the radio for the last 10 years. They really do put on a good show, though, including a long acoustic set that was performed from a 2nd stage at the back of the arena, very close to our seats!

Unfortunately, the headache I felt coming on earlier in the day turned into a doozy during the show, even though I drank some water, had no beer, only inhaled second-hand smoke from various sources, and wore my ear plugs. (By the way, I highly recommend ear plugs for concerts-they make it sound so much cleaner, and you can actually still hear after the show.) I was hoping we could visit a casino after the show, since we were in Iowa and all, and they're right there, but my head was almost hurting too much to go. I kept thinking the headache would surely go away, so I convinced Corrie to stop at Ameristar. I think I was hoping I'd hit it big on the quarter slots, and THAT would make my headache go away. Alas, there was no hitting it big for me. So we left the dinging bells and smoky air and headed back to Lincoln around midnight. The headache didn't go away until many advil and a good night's sleep, and even today I feel a little weird.

In the middle of my busy Thursday, I also got my bike tuned up at the Monkey Wrench Cycles downtown. I'm really pleased with their work, check them out if you are ever in need of their services.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

EZ Reader!

Check out Morgan Freeman on the Electric Company! Forget "No Child Left Behind", kids need this kind of stuff in their lives!

Am I a Binge Eater?

I know it was a happy day for Jana because our monthly issue of Top Health arrived at work today. (She really likes them. I think she keeps them in a 3-ring binder.) It includes an interesting quiz: "Are you a Binge Eater?" Let us consider the questions:

Q. Do you sometimes eat a large amount of food, even when you're not really hungry?
A. How large do they mean? I think I always eat a large amount of food whether or not I'm hungry, so I guess my answer has to be "yes".

Q. Do you feel the need to eat alone because you're embarrassed about how much you eat?
A. Not really, although I suppose if there's a food day at work, I might be sneakier about my third trip in for treats.

Q. During a binge, do you eat more quickly than usual?
A. I go at my standard eating pace.

Q. Do you eat until you're uncomfortably full?
A. If I think I'm going to be in a situation like that, I try to prepare first by putting on my comfy pants.

Q. Do you hide food containers from others?
A. Not so much hide as just "fail to mention" that I bought chips or tasty cereal.

Q. Do you feel your eating is out of control?
A. When eating an entire bag of popcorn, I don't think I've ever thought to myself, "my eating is out of control." Maybe I should!

Q. Have you binged at least twice a week for six months or more?
A. I have been a good eater for over 20 years.

They're kind enough not to give you a breakdown of how many yes answers are too many, but they do warn that weight loss will be difficult until you get your behavior under control and also recommend you speak to a physician. My plan is to keep exercising to offset the food.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

One of the many things I love

I love a lot of things, especially quirky things. One of my favorite things that I see on a regular basis in my neighborhood is an older gentleman driving a maroon sedan with the back window full of stuffed animal tigers. (As opposed to live tigers.) I think he must only live a few blocks away, so it makes sense that I see him around here, but when we're across town and we see him driving by, it makes me hoot and holler. I don't know exactly what it is, there is just something funny about someone driving around in a car like that. When I say full of stuffed animal tigers, I mean full of stuffed animal tigers.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I always wanted a clown cake

Once upon a time on the way home from what must've been 1st grade, I found this cake decorating book in the middle of the street. (or maybe along the curb-I was a good kid and wouldn't have been walking down the middle of the street.)

I'm not ashamed to admit it, I took it home and dreamed of someone making the clown cake for my birthday. The cakes pictured in the guide were so intricate-I didn't think it was possible for the everyday cake baker to make one of them anyway, even if it did say, "Beginner's Guide".

That book eventually got misplaced in our house, but in recent years that image of the clown cake came back to me, and thanks to the internets and the ebay, I was able to buy a very nice used copy for just a few bucks. That was probably 2 years ago, and I hadn't even seriously considered making anything from it. I think I just wanted to have the book for posterity's sake.

Fast forward to today, the final day of my weeklong birthday celebrations, when Corrie and I went to Omaha to have lunch with my mom and sister. When it was time for the cake, I could tell something fishy was going on, but I wasn't sure what it was. My mom brought my cake out from the bedroom, which I thought was odd, but that's because she was hiding MY OWN CLOWN CAKE! (Rookie blogger mistake-I didn't take my camera with me to Omaha, so I won't have a picture of the cake in its entirety until my mom gets her digital camera "developed". I don't know why she referred to it as "developed" when she really means "uploaded" or "downloaded". I suspect I may not see that photo for quite some time.) Here's what remains, which I was able to catch with my own camera here in Lincoln:

It really left me speechless, and for everyone who knows me, that's not easy to do. My sister had "borrowed without asking" (which I think is similar to stealing, however she did give the book back to me) my cake book when she was in town in January-I had no idea. This quarter of the cake doesn't do it justice-she replicated the cake perfectly. She even went to 4 different places to try to find the swirly suckers, unfortunately they couldn't be found. The gold cake platter even matched the cover! It suspiciously seemed like something I'd do! I'll have to get her back for her birthday-I know exactly what I'll make her, but it won't be a surprise because I couldn't keep my mouth shut (I can only be left speechless for so long)-I told her I'd make one of those doll cakes with the doll body sticking out, like I made for Beth a couple of years ago.

Hopefully, she'll still think it's pretty cool. If I could get one of her old Barbie dolls and use that for the doll, I think she'd be impressed. (Or creeped out.)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Is it ok to just rake up the snow with the leaves?

It's a balmy 45 degrees already today, which if you factor in the windchill last Wednesday, that's a temperature difference of 65 degrees! It feels so good, I'm ready to tear into the yard and do the chores that should've been done last October, or maybe November at the latest. The trouble in Nebraska is the trees just don't lose their leaves until December, so unless we get some nice Christmas weather, the leaves just don't get raked until springtime. I don't think this is all bad, since I hope they serve as insulation to the plants below, but they can't stay there forever. I might try to hold off until the rest of the snow melts, I guess.

I've been periodically surveying the yard (both for plants and graffiti, we had some issues last month) and found signs of the first tulips emerging. They come up every year about this time, and I know that they'll be ok even if there's some chilly March weather.

The rest of the yard looks kind of sad, but it won't be long before there will be plenty of plants to care for and weeds to pull.

The butterfly garden today:

The butterfly garden, just last fall:

I'm hoping sometime this weekend I track down the crocus I've planted! Surely they're ready to come up.