Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Not so Summer-y Yet

We have been having some pretty crazy weather lately. Its a flood year, again, which means it has been raining a lot. We just experienced what they called a 1000yr flood back in 2008 so having it happen again is frustrating even though I wasn't directly affected either time. The crest this year was considerably lower, thank goodness. There was still a mud slide, road closures, and an evacuation of a campus dorm.

We have also had some intense thunderstorms in the last couple of days. A tornado did touch down briefly causing some of the University Hospital to momentarily shut down. Last night the sirens went off again, but not for a twister, but because the winds were over 70 mph! 

Photo from a Facebook friend
I want some sun this summer! I want to go camping! I want to be able to take Bosley to the park! Come on summer sun, get here!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Exploring Mounds and Stuff...

It has been far too long since I have been exploring and since I've seen Kenny. We decided to meet at Effigy Mounds National Monument near Marquette, IA for a day of hiking.
It had rained quite a bit the night before so Erik and I decided to leave Bosley at home . Don't worry, we were punished for this later. The drive up north was nice. Its always funny to see the landscape change from gently rolling hills and patches of trees, to completely flat and no trees, to high bluffs and lots of trees in just a hundred miles or so.
The plan was to meet at 9am to beat the heat. That WAS the plan. I had looked up the address of the park and carefully punched it into my Google map app on my phone only to end up in a field. This may be the only time my Google Maps has failed me. It literally took us into a town called McGregor, had us make a one block loop to send us back out of town the way we came in 6 miles. Then it wanted us to pull onto a gravel road that was really a glorified field entrance. It had been well over a decade since I had been to the park so maybe I wasn't remembering it correctly. Erik and I exchanged funny glances and decided what the hell. A couple hundred feet and around a bend and WHOA! The "road" was washed out and we were feet from being in the mighty Mississippi.
Ok, this is a remote section of Iowa, so the GPS has to be off. I rechecked the address and we tried again with the same result. I decided to just call the park and get directions. I very soft spoken, timid sounding woman answered, and when I asked how to get to the park from McGregor, she literally said "I wouldn't. Go get yourself a cup of coffee and wait an hour. We're having rain problems."
Umm...ok? The sky was blue. There was no rain. My phone lost reception at that point, so I couldn't ask for a clarification, and I was too taken aback to call again.
Thank goodness Kenny could give us directions, but we were now over a half hour late. As it turns out the rain from the night before did cause some problems. There was a small mudslide off on one side of the parking lot that they were trying to clean up.
We wandered around the welcome center and looked at Native American artifacts and the history of the park. There was even a movie about the mounds and the creation of the park, and yep, it was the same one I saw thirteen years ago. Awesomeness!

The trails were soft from the rain, but well enough maintained that it wasn't anything to worry about. We wound around the bluffs and in and out of animal shaped mounds. At ground level they are kind of hard to fully appreciate, but the forest we were in was beautiful! We ended up at a place call twin view point and we stopped for a bit. We were high up on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi munching on trail mix and laughing like idiots.
We made it back to the cars right as it started to drizzle, then we headed back south to McGregor (Erik and I had now driven through this little town 4 times) for lunch. You can't just eat light when you go to a pub, so a stroll was much needed after downing too much saucy meat and sweet potato fries. I saw a sign that said "Stuff" in front of what appeared to be an antique store. It made me laugh so I had to go in. Kenny said he bet it would smell really musty and wow was he right. It smelled as if the carpet had been continually wet for the 100 years it had been open.

There were many very interesting things and just as many very strange things.

To end the day, we drove a bit further south to Pikes Peak State Park for another amazing view of the river.

Sunday was one of those perfect days...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Date night

The afternoon started with an emergency trip to the eye doctor, because I got a sudden headache and started seeing in kaleidoscope vision. Turns out it was an ocular migraine. Some Excedrin and a nap knocked it out enough to make it to dinner. 

My boy-toy finished his last test of the year and my first instructor training presentation went really well so we were celebrating. An amazing meal and fro-yo in the downtown pedestrian mall amongst a large crowd for the Friday night concert series was perfect. I don't think I've ever had a bad time with my honey - he's the best!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Gettin' Fit!

Holy Cannolis! I never thought I would be this person. 
I workout before work now. 
Audible gasps are the correct response here.
For as long as I've had to maintain my own schedule, I've gotten up fairly early on most days, but I never even considered waking up earlier to sweat. After all, those types of people were crazy.

A little over ten weeks ago I started a pretty awesome gym - Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping. I signed up for the 10wk challenge because we were going to Vegas, and I was no where near the goal I had set for myself way at the beginning of the year. I had seen amazing results from some friends who tried it and their website is full of awesome success stories. 

The only open class time was 6:30pm in north Cedar Rapids. The 35min drive was taxing towards the end, but I got to see Abba-Dabba, who had signed up with me, almost every day which helped. The time suck of an 1hr+ drive every night is why I am now a morning sweater. I have a new appreciation for my evenings. Plus, now that I am a full time FIT member, I was able to switch to the location 4mins from my house which is so nice!

Day 1 we did a fitness test which consisted of running a timed mile and doing as many push-ups and situps in a minute as you can. I ran my mile in 9min 35s, did 12 push-ups from my toes, and 23 situps.

After 10 weeks of intense kickboxing and resistance band training, and a complete reboot of my nutritional habits, we tested again. This time I ran my mile in 7min 46s, did 52 push-ups from my toes, and 53 situps.
Before and After
Not a huge change visually, but I feel amazing!
I have done boot camps, cross-fit, and many gym classes, but I have never felt this strong and happy! So happy in fact, I'm training to become an instructor!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mr. & Mrs.


A giant congrats goes out to our good friends who finally tied the knot! They are high school sweet hearts and its so good to see such wonderful people so happy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Vivacious Vegas

So Vegas was a blast! It went by too quickly and I didn't allow my self to relax or sleep enough to fully take everything in. Next time, I'll do better. Three amazing women went with me. Reminiscent of our perplexing Iowa casino girl's trip, our party of four couldn't help but have fun!

This is the first vacation I've taken that I had to fly to. I'm a driver. Erik and I will drive for days on vacation. This is where a bit of my anxiety started. A couple of airport cocktails helped. 

When we got there, I was amazed at how much there was to see. It is definitely a sensory overload. Flashing signs in every direction, all calling for your attention. The sheer volume of bodies wandering down the crowed strip delighted my need for people watching. That's the free show in Vegas. 

One show we went to was Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil. It was so visually stunning and sexy.
I don't use that adjective often.

We also went to an X Burlesque show that was quite entertaining, as well as a pool party. It was at the Palms and was hosted by Wizz Khalifa. We were told to get to the pool by 9 or 10 to get a spot for the 4pm show. Since we were going to be there all day, and drinks are insanely expensive there, we not so intelligently tried to sneak in our own bottle. I was quickly caught, but nothing happened thank goodness! I just exclaimed 'Not from around here!' Oops! We got lounge chairs, made friends with the group next to us, spent a pretty penny on drinks, and danced our hearts out.

By the end of the long and fun day, we realized one or two of us were drunker than we thought, we hadn't eaten all day, and we had lost one of us. I had to give security a description of Dalyz, who had all of our coverups in her bag leaving us to walk around the casino is our bikinis, and an APB was put out. That night, after a quick nap, we got ourselves on a party bus that was touring night clubs. It was tons of fun and I would definitely do that again! No lines or expensive cover to get in, plus open bar on the bus. Win!

The next morning I had to sit through a timeshare meeting so we could get our room for free. This two hour chunk of time will go down in my history as one of the most awkward ever.  The moment my sales rep found out I worked in a research lab, she teared up and asked if she could get personal. I expected a story about loved one with a disease and how she walked to raise funds for research. The story I received was no where near this. The first words out of her mouth when I gave her the OK was "I leak". I can only hope my facial expression did not betray my utter disbelief. She continued her story about having surgery and ever since having continual incontinence issues. I had to pull myself out of shock to stumble through a response. 
Now that was pretty personal, and you're saying that's got to be it right? Nope! It got MORE personal!
Her next statement was that her father was urinating blood, had lost a bunch of weight, and looked grey. Then came the question I knew was coming and was praying I wouldn't get - "Do you think its cancer?"
My first thought is, I'm potentially about to tell this woman her father is dying. I have no training in anything semi related to this! I don't know how making viruses translated into bladder problems and cancer?! I again floundered for words that only formed semi-coherent sentences about 'there being several possibilities that could be causing his ailments and to consult his doctor immediately'. After several tissues and a cookie, she tried to sell me an overpriced, crappy little one bedroom vacation condo. 

Thank goodness we had a day of shop therapy to get me through that one!
By the end of it, I was sad that vacation was ending, but so ready to leave Las Vegas. I'm excited to go back, but I think I'll give it a year or three, and I'll never be doing another timeshare meeting. I don't care if they offer me my own island for attending. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Little Weenie

I pretend to be too much of a weenie to walk all the way around the pond so my daddy will carry me. I love manipulating my humans!