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February 2008 Archives

February 7, 2008

Van Halen

The last big venue concert I went to was John Mellencamp in 1990. The dry spell ended last night when Todd, Christopher, Eva's mom and I went to Van Halen at "The Well" in Des Moines. The whole thing seemed in jeopardy due to a massive snowstorm that dumped a foot of snow yesterday morning. The snow plows heard my pleas and cleared the way in time. We were to meet Eva's mom on the south side but she called from the far north side to say she couldn't get her car out. Once again it seemed in jeopardy as we were already running late and now had to go an extra 40 minutes to get her and back to the arena. Parking was a nightmare so we walked about a mile. I should say waded about a mile as most sidewalks still had snow.

We got up to the turnstiles and the lady said "Take your ticket to the line. They are moving everyone." Apparently due to the snow (southeastern Iowa was still completely snowed in) and it being a week night, they had a lot of empty seats so they were bumping people down. For us this meant going from the 300 level (nosebleed seats) to the 100 level, 24 rows up from the floor. Christopher and Michelle were even luckier and got their tickets exchanged for the 16th row. We missed all but two songs of Ky-mani Marley, Bob Marley's son and to be honest, I couldn't even tell you what they were.

Between the opening act and the main event, there was about 35 minutes time for me to call some friends and share my excitement. One friend, who was supposed to be there with me, insisted I call him back when they took the stage. He saw them in Minnesota and assured me the first song would be "Girl, You Really Got Me" and he was right. From that moment on all I could think was "Omigod Eddie Van Halen is really the hottest man on the planet.", "Holy shit, Diamond Dave is cheesey!!" and "Aren't we all too old to stand through an entire concert?" The answer to that question is no. Everyone stayed on their feet the entire show.

My age really showed as I did more people watching than concert watching. In 1990, I don't think I took my eyes off John Mellencamp. In 2008, with my biggest rock idol EVER right in front of me, I took note of the obligatory drunk guy in front of me, a guy who had on a shirt that said I LOVE TITTIES!!!!, the girl beside me who was getting her rock on and frightening me a little as she outweighed me by at least 150 pounds, and all the other people bobbing their heads to the music. I wished I could have seen Christopher. He has grown up with my intense love for all things Eddie Van Halen and couldn't wait for the Eruption solo. It was well worth his wait. People can say what they want about who is the greatest guitar God but no one can pull heaven out of a guitar string like Eddie can. And did I mention he is still hot?? He and McCheesey both are still sporting abs of steel and nice tans.

After it was over and we found the rest of our crew, Christopher filled me in on what a crackhead Michelle was. I think she had the best time of all of us and she deserved it. She's lucky and has the day off today. I gotta get going and put in a day with remnants of "Dance the Night Away" still going through my head.

February 14, 2008

Heat Wave!!

Yesterday morning it was 0. This morning it's 31. I feel like wearing shorts.

I have this list I made of things I want to do this year and I've been crossing things off with a vengeance. After about 15 years of pretty much staying home all the time, I'm getting out again and doing stuff. It's addictive.

This weekend I made arrangements for us to ride the train. In an hour's time online I managed to get Amtrak tickets, a cheap rental car, a cheap motel and a page full of things to do over on the Mighty Mississippi. That was Tuesday morning.

Tuesday night the rental car place called and asked if I was coming via Amtrak. He noticed our location was close enough that we could have drove ourselves so thought he better check. He wanted to let me know the eastbound train was always late. 3 or 4 hours was the norm. Sometimes up to 10. They would still have a car for us at the train station but there would be an extra charge for pickup after business hours. So instead of being into Burlington before noon on Saturday, we could be getting there after dark which totally defeats the purpose of even going.

Folks, this kind of stuff is why I stopped making plans or going anywhere. Just like breaking the rib a few days before the Texas trip. It's ALWAYS something. I will not be discouraged. It's more depressing to sit and home and hear of other's journeys. I will continue to take my own. Let's just hope the weather through the Rockies is good tomorrow and that train gets here on time!

Obama

I have been too busy to post here much anymore, especially about Obama and politics. I get several emails asking how I feel about the momentum Barack has going right now. Last night I answered a good friend and found myself getting carried away and doing a massive brain dump. I am going to share it here since it pretty much sums up the raw emotion of where I'm at on the political scale right now.

Yes, he is doing awesome and I couldn't be happier. To me, I have always thought of our President as a figure head who is more a representative/messenger than anything. Like they have the ultimate power but their ear is bent all day by advisors and so on. They have
to have the ability to filter all of that through a good moral filter, which he has, and then, most importantly, they have to articulately convey the decision, policy, or whatever to our citizens and the rest of the world. Have you heard the man speak?? Holy cow. He could
sell ice to eskimos, more snow to me, humidity to you... he is very gifted in that area. (My friend replied he doubted Obama could sell me snow. Snow shovel, maybe.)

On the accomplishment part, he has gotten more people (like me) involved in this election process than anyone before him. He has reached so many young people, so many disenfranchised folks who had lost hope in the process. Not only reached them but got them up off their asses and actually making calls, going door to door and really being involved. He is bringing honesty and respect back to the political arena. When I first met him in Winterset, he talked about experience and where experience has gotten us thus far. That was the
a-ha! moment for me. (Friend also suggested I post this paragraph at Hannity's site. I went there, found the forum for this and saw exactly what turns me off about politics. I won't be posting there as there is no civilized discussion taking place.)

Even more impressive is his wife. She is so awesome. This is one of my favorite Michelle speeches. I've met her a couple of times now too. The thing is, when you actually meet someone and you speak to them and shake their hand, you can generally get a read on if they are bullshitting or genuine. They are both so genuine. When she says they worry about moms who don't have backup systems for their children or working families who don't have health care, she means it. She said that the Obamas were doing fine before they started this and the Obamas will do fine when this is over, regardless of the outcome. They worry about people who aren't doing fine and can't get ahead. The message they hope to leave is that we all deserve better, should demand better and not settle
because our "leaders" tell us this is just how it's done.

Hillary makes me sick. I used to like her and always thought I would support her but she flops and panders to whatever crowd she's trying to win over. Obama is consistent time and time again. My friend Suzette has a funny thing on her site about Hill and the many
styles... You
will laugh.


May make it back here later to fix links and whatnot but more than likely I will not. Everything is rush rush rush nowadays.

(came back and fixed links just for Faith)

February 16, 2008

Cross train off my list

Todd and I rode the Amtrak train over to the Mississippi today. The plan was to ride over, take pics of the bald eagles on the river, stay the night then hang out in Burlington Sunday and ride the train back. The weather said sunny and 36 for both days when I booked this trip. Today was great but tomorrow....

FREEZING RAIN WILL CHANGE OVER TO ALL SNOW BETWEEN 600 AM AND 900 AM SUNDAY MORNING. TOTAL SNOWFALL OF 4 TO 8 INCHES IS EXPECTED BY SUNDAY EVENING... WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. A NORTHWEST WIND WILL INCREASE SUNDAY MORNING AND CONTINUE THROUGH THE EVENING HOURS. EXPECT SUSTAINED SPEEDS OF 25 TO 35 MPH...WITH GUSTS AROUND 50 MPH AT TIMES. THIS WILL CREATE SIGNIFICANT BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW...WITH WHITEOUT CONDITIONS AT TIMES...ESPECIALLY IN OPEN AREAS. IN ADDITION...THE COMBINATION OF ICE ACCRETION ON POWER LINES AND THE HIGH WINDS WILL LIKELY CAUSE POWER LINES TO BEGIN GALLOPING...POTENTIALLY EXACERBATING THE SITUATION WITH POWER OUTAGES.

I suppose the train will just go right on through all of this without issue but we still have to get home from the train station. bleh.

I have to say that I really liked the train. At first I thought it might make me sick. It rocks back and forth a whole lot and is really bumpy but after a bit, I adjusted. We walked through several cars to get to the snack bar. Crossing between cars is interesting. Seemed like we hit a rough spot in the track every time we were between cars.

I never get scared and it drives the kids crazy. They will try to sneak up on me or jump out at me and nothing shakes me up. That changed today. I had the GPS going on my phone so know our train was going 68mph. I heard the sound of a freight train coming the opposite direction and even when I am already on a train, the sound of a train excites me. So I did the usual "AAAAA!! Train!!!!!!" and leaned into the window so I could see it. Holy shit!! All of the sudden my window filled with the orange of the engines and it was so sudden and so close that I about had a heart attack. I jumped high enough to make up for every time the kids tried to scare me.

Faith came across Iowa via train last year. I want her to come back to Iowa via highway though. The snack bar attendant said in the big cities, the trains dont blow their horns as they go by and the affluent commuters live near the tracks in spectacular homes. In rural Iowa, the train blows the horn at every crossing and as it approaches and goes through every town. Because of that, the cheap, crappy houses are along the tracks. I told Todd I hated that Faith had to see that as her first impression of Iowa. It was pretty much disgusting at every town. Scrap yards and old trailers and pitiful little houses. The country side is pretty though. I want to take the train through the mountains some time.

Now we are tucked into the noisiest motel in the world. It's a beautiful room but right above the pool and I think every child under age 10 is booked on our hall. Hopefully they will quiet down soon.

Oh yeah, I won $30 in a nickel machine at the casino. I started with $20 and was down to like 40 cents when I hit a nickel machine called Love Struck. It paid me $51.40 and I quit. My mama didn't raise no dummy : )

And the bald eagles are sooo plentiful over here. Literally hundreds in the trees with dozens feeding on the river amongst the pelicans and other birds. Got some really great pics I'll post later. What a gorgeous bird.

February 17, 2008

Whose children are these??

I swear to God someone had a contest for the top 100 noisy children in the midwest and as a prize they got a weekend at the Fairfield Marriott in Burlington, Iowa.

Todd went down to check the pool for me as it was too congested with the noise to use it last night. He said this morning there is a beaver fight in the pool or that's what it sounded like to him. Very large hairy back man occupies the hot tub. Really hairy. Like his hair floats around him in the water.

The noise level in this place is just incredible. When the heat kicks on it sounds like a semi truck hitting rumble strips. People in the hallway talking somehow gets amplified to sound like a rock concert outside the door. I hope I can sleep on the train on the way home this evening.

They've added a blizzard warning until midnight tonight so getting home from the depot could be interesting. I keep asking Todd if we can please stay another night here (not in this hotel) but he ignores me. I hate driving in blizzards. I have no fear of dying as I am ready at anytime to meet my maker. I do have a HUGE fear of going off the road and being stuck in snow for hours.

February 18, 2008

Home again

Riding the train back was also awesome except there were way more passengers so we couldn't just sit where we wanted and it was noisier.

I proved my theory that the universe does not want me to sleep. The train had to go slower because we were following a freight and the freight was busting through the snow. Nice, gentle swaying of the cars in the dark. Very relaxing. Laid my head on Todd's shoulder and started to doze off. Guy in front of me begins to snore loud. Sit up, he stops, Lean on Todd, he starts. After the third time I said "Oh for fuxsake!" and Todd laughed. He already knows this no sleep theory to be true and laughs whenever I kid myself into thinking I can take a nap.

Train did a stop or two and got all quiet and relaxing again so laid my head back down, just started to snooze and a lady on the other side sneezed 36 times in a row. Then some kids started talking very loudly to their mother a couple of seats behind them. It was like that all the way home.

Of course I have more to say but I gotta go dig the car out so I can get kids to school this morning. Eagle pics are up at my flickr page.

February 24, 2008

Too much of anything is harmful

I remember that from a college psych class. We had a lengthy discussion on how even things that are good for you can kill you. I'm beginning to think all of this snow is killing me. At the very least, it's harmed my happiness a whole lot. I love snow but this winter has been brutal. Not so much snow as snow storms. Emphasis on storms. Not the kind that you can go sledding in or make snow angels but the kid that rains down ice, takes the power out, and dumps a foot of wet snow every other week. That is followed up with a cold so bitter that even ice melt and road chemicals can't melt it.

We've had snow continuously on the ground since November. Normally we get about three decent snows over a winter and one really nasty one in late Feb/early March but the periods between are 30s and dry. It melted a lot yesterday but we still have LOTS of inches of dirty, icy yuck around. It's going to melt more today but fear not, a freezing drizzle will descend on the area this evening and overnight followed by freezing rain and more snow tomorrow.

At least I'm not the only one complaining

Random Saturday Stuff

The boy's second day at work. He told me the job was so easy that anyone could do it so we went in and ordered things like popcorn shrimp basket and chicken strip kids meal and then paid with our debit card. Afterwards he said "Mom! Why did you pick things I don't know??" Who better to help a boy learn than his mother? It's what I'm here for. hahah

Onto my mini project...

Emily's room used to have this god awful orange/green/brown striped carpet from the 60s and we pulled it up last year to expose the wood floor. We left the chunk of ugly in the hallway because it's part of an addition and had just subfloor rather than birch wood floor. I found a scrap of carpet that would fit and yesterday decided it was the day to put it down. This photo is Dozer, throwing himself on the old carpet. He really didn't want us to take it away. Guess he's pretty much slept on that since he was a wee lil' pup.

This is the finished product. Note all the corners and crevices to cut around in such a small space. I have blisters on my finger from all the cutting but it's soooo much better than the old striped stuff. I think the next project will be replacing the bathtub from 1957. That will be a biggie.

About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to JustLisa in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

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