camcarlson

miscellaneous commentary

Good times, noodle salad.

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There has been a flood of old friends visiting CF this month: Steph and JJ a couple weekends ago, Don during the week leading up to Damfest; Alex for most of last week, Blake & Hannah and Andrea & Robert over this past weekend, and BCF this upcoming weekend.

I was on vacation from work last week. Aside from Damfest on Saturday and a rare cavity filled on Monday, the first few days were laid back and uneventful. I needed the downtime.

On Wednesday Alex and I made a day trip to Madison. My sole visit to the state of Wisconsin occurred when I was 13 or so, and I figured I was overdue for a return visit. We walked up and down State Street, saw the capital, browsed the amazing library at Four Star Video Heaven, ate lunch at the Old Fashioned (had a delicious spicy burger, a pour of Schlitz and a gigantic $1 cookie with huge chocolate chunks), meandered along Lake Monona, went to the city zoo (due to the intense heat, the animals were rather unlively) and dined at the Naughty Dog in Dubuque on way home. Back in CF we picked up Jill and took her out for a few drinks.

Thursday evening I met up with a dozen of the aforementioned friends for martinis at Soho; Alex and Jill, Blake & Hannah, Cory and Cara, Ben, Micah, Katie and her cousin Kimbra. Half of us followed up with drinks at the PL, and Alex Jill and I closed the night with many unnecessary calories at Perkins.

Friday I met Alex and Jill at the all-you-can-eat Hibachi place on 1st Street (where Happy Chef used to be). OH HOLY LORD, what an amazing meal! $13 for lunch, and nearly everything I ate was fantastic! I will definitely be going back. $13 almost seems like a sin, they could easily justify charging twice that for what they offer.

Anyway, I took my car in for an oil change that afternoon and ended up surrendering it for the rest of the day to have tie rods, control arms and sway bars replaced. $%&@^!#. But the repairs have been needed for some time. I was simply delaying the inevitable on this one. Alex was kind enough to pick me up and chauffeur me around for the remainder of the day.

We went out to the Lodge and visited with Cory and Cara, and drove them into town to get Cara’s car, then met them later for dinner and headed downtown to meet up with Blake & Hannah and Brandon and his ladyfriend and checked out the scene at Sturgis Falls. Things were still being set up and there wasn’t much to see. We walked up 1st St to Four Queens for some much-needed ice cream and then called it a night.

Saturday I picked up my car from the shop. What a difference the repairs made! The clunking noise that has been haunting me for years is gone, the steering is much improved and the alignment is straight as an arrow. Money well spent.

I met Alex and Jill downtown in the afternoon and wandered around with them and Tony. I scoffed at the notion that a tour of the recently renovated Ice House Museum costs $5. To the best of my recollection it used to be free, though donations were graciously accepted. We bought rum balls and strawberry smoothies and baskets of some kind of lamb-meat product. We left downtown for a bit, retreated to Jill’s apartment for a while, then went back downtown to rendezvous with Andrea & Robert, where amongst the five of them (sans Tony) I felt like the short one (a rare feeling for me).

We meandered some more around Gateway Park and the beer garden and the carnies and all manner of citizens, then walked to the Parkade and grabbed a drink at the Cypress. Blake & Hannah met us there and we made our way to Tony’s, where McCrea was seated outside with a scotch. We moved to the back patio and ordered a round of drinks. Cory and Cara, Micah & Alice joined us later. We were moved inside for our meal; I split a delicious goat cheese specialty pizza with the Girards and a couple glasses of Goose Island Matilda. Afterwards we all migrated out to the Lodge. Cory gave the several newcomers the dime tour. We opened some bottles of Iowa wines and sat around the campfire until past midnight.

Sunday… despite wanting to sleep in, I was awoken to the sound of hundreds of runners stampeding past my bedroom window — the Sturgis Falls 5K ran through Lookout Park and I foolishly left the windows open. I met Alex and Jill at the new Indian place on 1st and Hudson (pretty good food), then took care of some errands and did some light reading in the afternoon. Alex picked me up in the evening to see “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, a historically preposterous yet oddly entertaining movie.

Today I returned to work, bright and early at 6am. I expected the day to be a drag but much to my surprise I handled it very well. The first half of this year has felt like quite a drag, especially in comparison to the awesomeness that was 2011. This past week off from work, along with the week I had off at the end of May, has successfully recharged my internal batteries. I feel refreshed and ready to take on the hot, humid summer months.

I intend to work a shitload of overtime over the next 10 weeks, until my next vacation on Labor Day weekend. Between now and then I’d like to find a few weekends to visit Chicago and the Twin Cities and Kerri in Sac City. Now that my car drives a bit better, I feel slightly more confident about taking it out on the highway!

Tonight: Quartermania with Cory, Micah, Blake & Hannah.

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