Last night after I arrived at the hotel, I headed down to the hotel bar to get dinner as the restaurant was closed. While there I ran into a couple other people who are here for the same meeting I am here for. After talking with them for just a moment, I learned that one of them previously lived in Cedar Rapids, teaching for over twenty years at one of the Catholic middle schools in town during that time. So, I joined the two of them for dinner before returning to my room for the evening.
I had better finish getting ready as I am supposed to meet some others downstairs for breakfast in ten minutes.
My sister's friends arrived early this afternoon, too late to go to the actual football game, but with enough time to see the end of the game on TV. Later this afternoon, the three of them went to Iowa City to relive their college days. My sister didn't go to school there, but the other two did.
While I didn't get around to planting the flower bulbs yesterday, I did get them planted today. However, I couldn't put them all where I wanted as the ground was a bit too hard where I was attempting to plant half of the bulbs. So assuming that the bulbs all perform as I hope they do in the spring, we should have a very colorful front step to our house as all 108 bulbs are planted directly in front of the front steps to the house!
According to the Build-a-Bear coupon I received, this Sweetest Day weekend. As I had never heard of this "holiday" before, I did a little research. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Sweetest Day, which is the third Saturday of October, is celebrated mostly in the Great Lakes region and parts of northeastern United States. It is supposed to be an "occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember not only the sick, aged and orphaned, but also friends, relatives and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed." I have no plans on celebrating this holiday, which seems to me to have been invented only to promote candy sales, but I will still get my free, or discounted, stuffed animal.
We are also planning on going out to eat tonight for my birthday, but we haven't yet decided where to go. I would like to go somewhere that has food that won't ruin my diet. I am so close to my goal that even on my birthday, I do not want to overindulge.
Finally, I think today is the day that I will finally get to plant the flower bulbs that we received almost two weeks ago. I really need to get that done before it gets too cold, and I think the weather should cooperate today!
- For lunch Wednesday, I went to the Cork 'n' Form with my mother and grandmother for lunch. I didn't make the healthiest choice then.
- Thursday night, Mel had some friends over and we ordered pan pizza from Pizza Hut. Once again, I ate more pizza than I really should have, and then we each finished our dinner with a brownie sundae.
- Friday night I had dinner with Homercles at Bennigan's. Sure, I could have made a healthier choice than the burger I had, along with the appetizers that we ordered, but I didn't.
- On Saturday we went to the Amana Colonies for lunch and I ate too much there as well.
- I did better on Sunday and Monday. While I didn't count my Weight Watchers points carefully, I was at least mindful about what I was eating.
- Then tonight, I had dinner with my mom since she was in town for a class she was taking. We went to Red Robin for dinner. The large burger there was quite tasty, but I am sure it will result in my gaining a pound or so for the week. I guess we'll find out tomorrow morning.
Now I should be able to eat out on occasion and not feel guilty about it, and it shouldn't ruin my diet, but having less-than-healthy dinners or lunches five times in a week is a bit much. I need to be able to have an occasional not-so-good-for-me dinner, but this was just too much. Making poor choices when eating out is a real weakness of mine, one that I really need to get under control before I go on a week-long business trip to Atlanta, Georgia, in a couple weeks. My birthday is Saturday, and I would like to go out to eat with Mel and Emma to celebrate, but I think I need to pick a restaurant for once where I can make a choice that will be good without overindulging.
Now I titled this blog entry by wishing someone would make Ann Coulter shut up, but on second thought, maybe that isn't a good idea. She of course has the right to her views and the right to express them. Besides, every time she opens her mouth, it shows just how intolerant and unintelligent some Republicans can be.
I heard someone earlier today say that we shouldn't only condemn such atrocities when it doesn't inconvenience us, such as the genocide in Sudan. However this seemed like a poor example since this is something that is happening now! If genocide in Turkey were happening today, or maybe a bit more recently than ninety years ago, it might make more sense to condemn them, but it doesn't recall accomplish anything to do so now. Now we have Turkey, one of our allies upset with us, and while I don't think we should be in Iraq, that doesn't change the fact that we are. With a great portion of the supplies being sent to Iraq from the United States passing through Turkey, it would seem to me that pissing off the Turks wouldn't be a good idea.
Mrs. Ullrich was contending that the accident was, in part, the county's fault since they didn't have the road maintained well enough and failed to warn people about the danger following the first accident. Now it shouldn't take a genius to realize that riding a bike with skinny tires on a road with cracks on it can be potentially dangerous! Since riding on my first RAGBRAI in 2000, I have always paid close attention to the road on which I am riding. It's too bad that Mrs. Ullrich felt the need to sue someone over her husband's death which was probably as much his fault as it was anyone else's.
Even with Crawford County now banning RAGBRAI from the confines of its borders, there are still 98 counties in which RAGBRAI can go for now. Unless other counties follow suit, the rest of the state is still open for the ride. As for Crawford County, I plan on boycotting any businesses there, and I will not be passing through there. Of course, that won't affect them at all since I probably wouldn't have been there anyway, but if they don't want me and my bike there, I'll just stay away. Hopefully this isn't then beginning of the end of RAGBRAI.
Anyway, since the services in the Twin Cities were held area with the final services today in Iowa, most of the family decided to travel to Iowa yesterday afternoon. Since we were returning to Iowa, we decided to go back to our house. It was really nice to be back in our own house, sleeping in our own beds. I think Emma slept much better being in her crib.
We spent the remainder of the evening at my aunt and uncle's house in Cottage Grove. My aunt and uncle from the Chicago area as well as their son and daughter-in-law were also there. Everyone enjoyed seeing Emma.
This morning, Mel, Emma, my mother, and I went to the Mall of America to do a little shopping. Apparently most of the clothes we brought with us for Emma, as well as most of the clothes we still have at home, doesn't really fit anymore. So we got some new onesies for Emma. We then met my sister for lunch at Don Pablo's. Later this afternoon, we will probably return to my aunt and uncle's house where my uncle and his son who live in North Carolina should now be since their arrival in Minnesota this morning.
Now though, I am once again reconsidering my final weight goal. I am afraid that if I do get my weight down to 190 pounds, my new pants with a waist size of 34 inches will be too big and I would have to go down to a size 32 or 33. That in itself is not an issue, but being tall, it is getting more difficult to find pants with the 36-inch inseam that I need. I have found some Dockers in size 34x36, although I had to order them online, and JCPenney does have casual pants in waist sizes of both 32 and 34 that they will hem to any inseam length requested. However, I think that finding jeans in size 32x36 will be extremely difficult, and I think I can probably forget about 33x36. Perhaps I should do some research to see if these sizes are available. I don't necessarily want to set my weight-loss goal based on the availability of clothes, but it is something I need to consider.
This is the second grandparent I have lost this year, with my mom's father passing away in March, less than two weeks before Emma was born. My dad's father died when I was in eighth grade, so I have had three only living grandparents for about twenty years now. Now I have just one grandparent left.
I didn't think that I would be too upset when my grandmother, my dad's mother, died, but it has been a little difficult. In the fall of 1997, when I was student teaching in Council Bluffs, Iowa, I lived at my grandmother's condo there. At the time, she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Living with her during that time, I was able to help her out when she needed assistance getting to doctor appointments and with shopping. I had a good time living there. Maybe that is part of the reason this is somewhat difficult.
Perhaps another reason why losing Grandma E. is more difficult than I thought it would be is that I am losing a connection I had with my father who passed away a little over two years ago. Of course having her around wasn't the same as having my father, but it was a connection to him.
Mel, Emma, and I will be heading up to the Twin Cities this week to see Grandma one last time before she is cremated. I am just glad that we were able to see her a couple weeks ago when she was still cognizant of her surroundings and that everyone else in the family was able to make it there to see her.