Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Two Weddings and a Father's Day

Eric and I returned from a full trip to Iowa.

I notice that when people gather for a large event, it can become difficult to have quality conversations: take weddings and holiday gatherings. I spoke to everyone at our wedding, but in the same stead I spoke to no one.

Unfortunately, weddings and holiday gatherings have been the primary reasons for our visits home as of late. This visit home, however, offered ample opportunities to bond. I was able to get to know some spouses of good friends, see new children, share leisurely meals with loved ones over conversation. It was one of the more special visits home.

In family news, my older sister is now formally engaged. This gives me no end of relief, since for over two years now I have been referring to her fiance as my 'almost' brother-in-law. Now there is hope that I will soon be spared from adding this additional qualifier. Even though our family offers many characters, we're pleased we haven't scared him off yet. My sister offered one unforgettable response when Chad was on his knee in an expensive restaurant: "Are you serious?"

When in northeast Iowa, one surprise was discovering a grape vineyard while walking with Eric's parents. It seems as if Iowa wouldn't offer the right climate for grapes, but they are spreading in popularity.

Another personal weakness Eric and I needed to come to terms with while away from home was an admitted addiction to high-speed internet. Fortunately, the local library offered such, and it was there I found a sign boasting the following in one such aisle:
Large Print Books
Cake Pans
I admit, my small-town library growing up offered games and puzzles, so the former didn't surprise me. It was the offering of cake pans that caught me off guard. However, I can't disagree with the practice. It makes sense when you consider it: why not share such items in a lending library instead of letting them sit unused in cupboards for much of the year?

Two weddings on consecutive weekends concluded our time in Iowa, and we returned with unending frozen steak and ground beef, much to Eric's delight. Truly a perk of having family with a dairy farm.

Sunday ended and we were delighted that our return drive took fewer than eight hours, which we understand is a symptom of being truly sick, since there should never be cause for delight when spending a third of a day confined in a car.

One car stop resulted in discovering a group of statues immortalizing a common scene, and the rain held off just enough for me to snap a picture.

Hospitality from friends and family was appreciated, but there's something special about returning home to your own things. And Augustine, while she was well tended by friends, let it be known that she missed us and doesn't approve of being left home for ten days.

One mystery remains: who was the generous neighbor who mowed our lawn in our absence?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just Another Day

Yesterday I was signing a document at work and referred to the calendar for the date. When I was younger, it would have had a measure of significance to me. Now, I barely register.

So yesterday, I pined away the day and decided I'd stretch my luck. Finally, just before eleven, I approached Eric. In mock hurt, I curtly said, "Do you know what today is?"

After referring to his computer, he turned to me and hesitantly answered, "June 13."

I encouraged his confusion with an, "And..."

When his response of "Wednesday" was met with a huff, I decided I would help him out.

"And three months from today is...?"

"Your sister's birthday?" he responded blankly. And then caught himself quickly as he declared, "YOUR birthday?"

"So that makes today..."

Eyes were rolled as he made the connection. Yes, yesterday was my 3/4 birthday, and nary a gift or card in sight. Truly my life is hard.

In all seriousness, though, I remember when even half birthdays were celebrated in school. In elementary school this was especially useful for students who had summer birthdays, since they too should get to share in bringing treats and receiving original cards and treated as if it was indeed Their Important Day. Then that transforms to little pomp and circumstance as the years increase. You still go to work and have deadlines and bad things can still happen and people don't automatically know by looking at you that they should cater to your needs and resist the urge to just treat this as another typical day. Unless you're perhaps wearing a birthday crown, which would lead people to knowing of the occasion, but perhaps steering clear of you in the future.

In knitting news, I have finished Fetching. Charity termed her pair Fistacuffs. I chose the same yarn I am using for my first cabled scarf, but I have also cast on another pair in a lighter yarn for those times you just need to take the edge off. Verdict? Super fast project, nearly instant gratification.

And the campus squirrels are getting braver.

During lunch, I found one just about to scavenge through the purse at my feet. I grabbed it up out of his reach but did snap a couple photos while he tried to beg from me and, when disappointed, as he sprawled in the heat.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Ostentation in Two Acts

Last night, after a warm-up game, Eric and I ended the night with another rousing round of Pretentious Scrabble. Our theme? Things culinary. Seeing as how our tastes run to the simple, this was actually difficult at times. If you examine our board, however, I think you'll only find one instance of breaking from our topic.

In a further example of putting on appearances, a squirrel scurried ahead of me to scale a tree as I left work. That, in and of itself, is nothing to gawk at. His find, however, had me taking a closer look. For it appears campus squirrels have tired of the nuts in their native form. Instead, they've taken to having them covered in a delectable mix of chocolate and caramel with a hint of crispy rice. Yes, this swank squirrel prefers the Nestle 100 Grand in a handy snack size.

Once he noticed my attentions, he even affected this seemingly unstudied air as he subtly tried to release his treat.

(For the record, I do hope he was unsuccessful.)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wisdom No More

I have less wisdom than most, as demonstrated in the fact that I was only blessed with one third molar.

While it was originally determined that my big mouth had room for this lone molar, this decision was ultimately thrown out when it was discovered that the tooth was coming in crooked.

Thursday morning found me at an oral surgeon for a dreaded extraction. Having nursed Eric through his recovery from four impacted wisdom teeth, I was skeptical as to my ultimate prognosis, especially since I wouldn't get the joy of going under (rumor had it that the worst part was the sound effects).

I worked studiously on my sock until they called me back, where they encouraged me to knit during the 12-minute video, since I was sure to have experience knitting while watching TV. I am not one to disappoint, so when the attendant left the room, I grabbed my camera to document the occasion.

As the oral surgeon surveyed my x-ray, I asked for a ballpark estimate as to how long this tooth removal would take.

"One minute," he surmised. "It doesn't take much training to do one as simple as this."

Sure enough, when my time came, the oral surgeon confirmed the local anesthetic was doing its job, placed a tool in my mouth, and then suddenly they were rinsing the area and telling me to bite down on the gauze now present. I'm not even sure thirty seconds passed. Due to this, I was told I should have neither pain nor swelling.

After hearing of this recovery, a friend grudgingly said, "I bet you'll be one of those people that will have an easy delivery some day."

One can only hope.