Monday, August 27, 2007

State Fair

For those of you that know me, you know how I loathe the state fair.

I don't particularly find a lot of enjoyment out of having places sweat on my body that I didn't know had sweat glands or the fact that it's too crowded with the masses of people eating 'whatever' on a stick.

There aren't a lot of attractions that I can really say I can't wait to visit (though the butter cow was always a strange sight to see) and I'm scared of heights, so going on rides has never really been a high priority for me.

Needless to say, I was invited to experience the California State Fair Friday night with Jason and his family for the first time. We parked in the Back 40 and by the time we got to the gates, I was ready to go home. I was hot, tired from work, and already focused on finding the nearest Dippin' Dots stand - stat.

No joke, as soon as we got in the gate, within the first 30 seconds, a large man walked past me and rubbed his hairy, sweaty arm on my arm while walking by and I about lost it. Sick. It couldn't get any worse, right??

We watched Jason's son go on a few rides and then we went to eat. Lucky for me, the Dippin' Dots were in sight and I was happy savoring my cookie dough flavored little ice cream balls one spoonful at a time. Mmmmm....

I noticed something, though.

It didn't seem like there were a lot of the little in-between attractions when walking through the midway or on our 'out of the way' little paths. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting to see the different things surrounding me, but I missed the Varied Industry building.

Oh how it pains me to say that I think the Iowa State Fair is better and I actually missed seeing people eat pork chops on a stick... you didn't see the CA State Fair on the "Top 100 Things To Do Before You Die" list like the Iowa State Fair last year. I see why, now.

However, not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, the highlight of my night was watching the kids laugh and smile when they were on those little rides. Remember when you thought they were going so high and so fast, but they're actually not moving much at all? The kids were giggling and throwing their hands up in the air like they were going Mach 3 down a little bump of a hill.... there was a little girl going down the Crazy Slide in her potato sack with the biggest smile and even bigger dimples that I could have watched all night long!

Ironically, I did have fun - maybe it was the company I was with that made it all better, but I'm glad that I was able to go see something different (like girls walking around in high heels) and to top off the night, a free fireworks show on our way out! I do love fireworks.

All in all, the Iowa State Fair trumps the California State Fair. There, I said it.

My First MLB Game

I love the Cubs. Have I mentioned this before?

Well, Thursday marked my very first time at a big league game - it was awesome! The smell of hot dogs and popcorn, the sound of cracking bats and the ball hitting the catcher's glove, the green grass at the stadium, and perfect weather - who could ask for anything more?!

More exciting was the fact that Carlos Zambrano was pitching - my fave. Of course he pelted a few too many players on the Giants side (boo hoo) and was taken out of the game after about four innings. His first replacement came and went and then none other than the Iowa Cubs favorite alum, Kerry Wood, was brought in. It was fun to see him pitching again (in person) since the last time I saw him was about 10 years ago.... and every time I hear his name, I can't help but think about Star 102.5's Colleen saying 'Doing the Kerry Wood' when referring to....well, you know.

Big Z

Kerry Wood

Anyway, Jason and I went to San Francisco the night before and walked down to AT&T Park around noon on game day. I received an awesome sunburn on my face and my hands looked like I was wearing red mittens since I had on a long sleeved shirt. Stylin'...

The Cubbies lost 4-1, but it was a great experience that I won't forget and it was so much fun to see some of my favorite players in action!

Mi Pobre Coche

My poor car.
If driving out here through the mountains wasn't hard enough on my car and then getting it side swiped the first night of living here, this happened.

I walked outside last week and tossed my bag in the backseat, like usual, and noticed a tiny piece of glass. I wondered what I could have broken in my grocery sack, but couldn't think of anything. I stood there pondering how this tiny piece of glass just 'appeared' and that's when I looked through the back window and realized that I couldn't actually SEE out of it because it was shattered.

Luckily I had tint on the window which caught all of the glass and acted as a huge safety net. I made a call to an auto shop, took it over to get it fixed and got it back the next day.
Seems as though somebody took a baseball bat to it the first time and didn't break it, so they got it on the second try. Good for them! Nothing was stolen out of it, but at least they got some batting practice in. I have to go get new tint put on this week and out of ALL the places in Sacramento to call, I call the guy who is originally from Iowa! I love small world stories.

Hopefully I'll have the Little Black Jewel back to normal before long and can keep driving it for a little while longer.... poor thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Surprises and Such..

Sorry that I've been MIA for over a month, but I've been busy - I've got places to go, people to see, things to do! At least I like to think I'm important....

Remember all that studying I was doing for my licensing exam? Well, I didn't pass...what a kick in the shorts. I was bummed out for about an hour, then I was fine. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that my brother was in town; seeing a familiar face, having a good laugh, and getting a hug would make things all better - and it did! After calling my manager to let him know the news, he suggested that I now try for a different license - great, can't wait to start from square one again =) However, this one is a bit 'easier' or so they say... regardless, I'm going to have to start studying again...blaaa....

For the last two months my mom and I have been sneaky little liars planning a surprise visit back to Iowa for my dad's birthday. His 62nd birthday to be exact - helloooo social security! Ha ha... (you're old). Anyway, I flew in on the 2nd and mom was waiting for me at the airport - it was so surreal because I could see a sea of people at the bottom of the escalator, but all I could focus on was my mom's beautiful face and see her little hand waving - then we turned into blubbering little fools. It was awesome - nothing is better than a mother's hug. Well, maybe a peanut buster parfait, but that's a moot point. And to reference a 'Friends' episode for my parents - as Joey would say, "It's a moo point".

We headed back to my old stompin grounds and talked about what we would do to surprise dad. Once we were pulled into the garage, mom asked him to come out and help unload the groceries from the back of the Bravada. Once he was outside, I slipped out of the passenger door and back to where he was standing and asked him if I could help him...he looked at me and then grabbed another bag....looked back at me with much bigger eyes and again, looked away... (come on neurons, fire)...finally after the third time, I get a "MARSE!" and a big hug! It was so great being back home, smelling the fresh air, and visiting with my parents for the evening.

To make a very long story short, I was able to see family, friends, and enjoy my time in Iowa thoroughly. We had the annual backyard party where people came from DM (and beyond) and we laughed, ate, drank, and enjoyed each other's company. I can't tell you how blessed I am to have such a close knit group of friends like I do and there is a story behind each one of them of how we met, childhood stories, and how things have changed, but still remain the same. I can't believe how much your kids have changed in four and a half months, but it makes me feel old!!

Mom and I got pedicures (that's right, mine is half the price - no kidding), we went out to eat supper in celebration of dad's birthday, my niece and nephew spent the night at grandpa and nana's while I was there - and for the record, when my niece is not getting pushed on a swing, she can look VERY mean. Case in point: she came over to where mom and I were playing Frisbee with her little fists clenched at the end of stiff arms yelling, "I am NOT having any fun!" We keep getting a good laugh out of that even now!

I made a couple trips to DM to have drinks with my old boss, shop, and then spend one more night with the kids. It was such a memorable trip and one that needed to happen for me. I wanted to 'see' if I would be wanting to move back there or not...once my week was up, I was ready to come back to Cali - strange, I know - but I'm enjoying my time here more. Plus, it helps that I have somebody to spend so much time with out here!

Jason met me at the airport when I flew in to Sac and surprised me with a big, beautiful bouquet of spring flowers - it was great because I thought he was out of town on his own vacation, so I was very focused on getting my luggage and getting a taxi or taking the shuttle home - something caught me out of the corner of my eye and I felt pretty goofy looking at him thinking of how strange it was that there was a guy there who looked JUST like him...bizarre.... now I know how dad felt!

My birthday came and went this week, so I did the honors of taking a Jell-O cake in for my coworkers. Again, they have no freaking clue what a Jell-O cake is (or what they're missing), but once they tasted the strawberry goodness, they were hooked! My sister in law made one for the backyard party, but she makes hers much fancier than mine because she puts slices of strawberries on top and it doesn't take long for everybody to inhale it!
Mine was still good (I had 3 pieces - middle pieces to be exact) and received some very nice cards and was treated to lunch by one of my friends and then Jason took me out for supper that night...while I wore my new Puma shoes (they're white with a pink stripe and VERY cool) that he got for me and Kerry W., thanks to you and your husband, I can't say Puma, without saying 'P-eww-ma'... to top off the night, while we were eating, I had a beer, a Pazookie, and was able to watch the Steelers AND the Cubs on the split screen TV - too bad they both lost, but still... all in all, it was a wonderful 33rd birthday!

Now I'll try to be a little proactive with the blog and keep you up to date, but quite frankly, I thought somebody would blow the surprise for my dad if I posted anything, so that's why we have a month of nothing! Even though I was doing something....

Again, thanks to all of you that were able to come out to see me and make time out of your busy schedules - it truly meant a lot to me and I can't thank you enough for your support and continued friendship!

Mom, dad, Todd, and Evonn - thank you for your love, encouragement, and for feeding me such good meals! I can still taste the chocolate pie now...mmmm... April and Chad, thank you for the tator tot casserole, putting a roof over my head, and getting me to the airport on time! You make me feel so comfortable in your home and I can't wait to meet baby Pea the next time I'm home! Jason, thank you for your continued patience and for your own little surprises for me - I truly enjoy my time with you :)