Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What the world needs now...

I’ve been struggling with writing this post this morning.  I tossed and turned about it last night as I lay down to sleep.  I’m not going to get political. Yes, I am shocked and saddened by the results of last night’s election. On the other hand, I can understand that some Americans are so desperate for change that they felt this was the best answer.  Regardless, it is done. Too all that went out and voted, regardless of your political affiliation, thank you for exercising your right as a citizen of what I still believe to be the greatest county in the world.  I pray that we continue down that path. And I think the accountability starts with each and every one of us. Republican, democrat or independent; this is our country. This is our future.  These are our children.  We teach them the basics of right or wrong.  Not a man or a woman on the television or in the White House.  We raise the children in our communities to someday leave the nest and take on what can often be a dark and scary world.  We can’t hold their hands forever but we can pray that we did our best to raise them with morals, ethics and love for all humans regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual preference.  To my friends and loved ones that have had to fight these obstacles, know that I support and stand proudly beside you. 

We are not born with hate and fear in our hearts.  We learn it through our environment.  So my challenge to you today and each day you are blessed to wake up - be strong! Send supportive messages through your words and actions.  Fight for equality. Be active in shaping and molding our future. Spread love. Abolish hate and prejudice.  Teach respect. Just as every vote counted in that election tonight, each of us have the ability to change the world around us.  We often find ourselves in a bitter world full of judgement and finger pointing, obsessed with those that “offend” us.  Don’t worry about what Jim Bob down the street is doing. You can’t control him and frankly it’s none of your business.  Be the best you can be! Let your light shine! It starts within each of us. And I believe with every fiber of my being that love and goodness are contagious.  They are stronger than fear and hate. Do things with kindness, not because you want to be recognized or have it reciprocated.  Do it because it is the right thing to do.  Do it because the world doesn’t need any more assholes.  Peace and forgiveness may not be the easy choice but it is the only choice we have to move forward in a positive manner.  Never give up what you believe in.  Be like the Cubs.

The Cubs, Lyndee?  Really?  Yes!!! For a moment last week no one cared about the election. My social media feeds were positive and celebratory.  The underdog of 108 years, the nice guys finish last, “loveable loser” Chicago Cubs rallied back in the World Series and came out champions.  It was one of the greatest moments in sports history, in my opinion. I am a Cubs fan but it’s more than that.  I spent late nights with my friends watching the games and sharing laughs. We had something wonderful to talk about at work. I watched my brother’s dream for his baseball team come to life. Fans came to celebrate their heroes 5 million people strong in the 7th largest gathering of humans in history.  There was no hate. No riots.  There was joy and jubilation. The curse had been broken.  And for a moment, people of all walks of life were united in celebration and hope.  It wasn’t just a baseball game.  It was a testament to the human spirit.  A moment I will never forget. 
Of course, I still feel like I have a bit of a “Cubs hangover”.  No, I didn’t drink too much but lots of late nights watching the games kicked my butt.  Friday night I enjoyed a relaxed evening with my girls around the fire.  Saturday took a much needed road trip with Summer and Maria. We drove to Iowa City and spent the day at a metaphysical expo. I know, it sounds kind of weird but it was awesome.  We got new stones, I bought a beautiful amethyst ring, had a chakra session and a a psychic drew my animal totem and gave me a reading.  Turns out mine is a mix of an owl and a butterfly, with the spirit of a phoenix.  I know! How fricking cool is that? It made a lot of sense when she described the drawing to me.  I love it. After the expo we went and visited my brother and his family.  You know I can never get enough time with my Gable and Kirkie, aka, Rizzo and Harry Carey if you saw them at Halloween.We enjoyed a wonderful dinner before heading back to Des Moines that night.  
Sunday was a productive day of cleaning, gym time, writing and running errands.  Sunday night I went to Ben’s for dinner, cards and a hot tub party.  It was a great weekend of chill time to recharge a battery that has been running low the last few weeks.  I’ve got lots of doctor’s appointments this week and next to make sure that all is running right again. Fingers crossed and prayers accepted for continuous progress and strength. 

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Wasn’t it just 4th of July? Time to get working on my ugly Christmas costume for this year.  And my gifts for the Beaver Framily Crafty Christmas! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The thin blue line

The city of Des Moines. The place I have called home the last 11 years. The capital of Iowa and one of the best places in the Midwest for young professionals and to raise a family.  Last night we were a city in celebration. Our beloved Chicago Cubs forced game 7 of the World Series.  Everyone knows the story of the goat, the drought in our pennants and the fortitude of this young team bringing hope and joy to so many longtime and diehard fans.  What some may not know, outside this area of corn fields and farms, is that the Cub connection to Iowa runs deep.  We are the home of the Iowa Cubs…the Triple-A minor league team that farms talent for the Chicago Cubs. Many names you’ve seen on the playoff rosters have been part of the Iowa Cubs at one time or another.

We went to sleep last night singing “Go Cubs, Go!”, chanting “we believe”!  A proud and excited city, draped in red, white and blue.  We woke this morning under a cloud of darkness, praying for the thin blue line. Unable to believe what had happened on our streets overnight. 

Two police officers were ambushed and killed last night just blocks apart from each other.  The breaking news has not only rocked our community but the nation as a whole.  This is not how we want to be featured on CNN, The Today Show and other news outlets.  This is not what Des Moines is about. This is a strong community with ethical beliefs, smiling faces and “Iowa Nice”.  A place where children play outside without fear.  Families walk their dogs after dark without a second thought.  We are family, neighbors and friends.

The first officer was killed four blocks from my old house. Down the street from my cousin and the school where children I love attend. The second officer killed near my bank, my gym, my mall, the stores I frequent, less than 2 miles from my home.  We’ve lost brothers in blue in the line of duty and in accidents.  Never, that I can remember, in cold blooded, senseless murder that will ravage the heart and souls of their families, colleagues and loved ones forever.  Many of my nearest and dearest friends have close ties to officers in this city that risk their lives to protect ours. My heart breaks for them.

Regardless of you ethnicity, religion or political views what happened last night is devastating. It shakes you to the core.  We often see the world and it’s darkness in the media but rarely this close to home.  The blatant disregard for human life that has encapsulated our country brings tears to my eyes.  We cannot continue down this path. We must come together. Stand strong for each other, for our children, our futures and for those that vow to protect and serve us.  Hug your loved ones close. But maybe, just maybe today, hug a stranger.  Share a smile. Salute an officer. Pay happiness forward.  Be thankful and count your blessings. Think before anger engulfs you.  Tell someone you’re sorry.  It costs nothing to be a decent human being and show love.  The world needs it right now. 

Sending all my love and prayers to the victim’s family and the city I will forever be proud to call home.  We are Iowa strong.  

A memorial fund has been started for the fallen officers.  Please consider donating by clicking here.  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Losing loved ones, Hammerschlagen, Cresco and the Cubs!

Tuesday night I received a call that my aunt Opal had passed away.  So many wonderful memories of my childhood flashed through my mind.  She was always very special to me.  I know she’s in a better place now but knowing I would never see that smile or get a strong hug from that tiny lady with a huge heart again broke my heart. 

Wednesday morning I went to leave for work and my car wouldn’t start.  What the &%Q(#*?! * I didn’t have a lot of options at 6:15 in the morning so I called an uber to take me to the office.  Lukas my car guru offered up some suggestions on what could be wrong.  Per usual, Brian saved the day by picking me up from work and jumping my car so I could take it in and make sure it was nothing more than a dead battery.  Luckily, that was the case.  An easy fix and Opal the Optima, yeah, I had named my car after my aunt when I bought it three years ago, is back to purring like a kitten.  Maybe my car was in mourning too? Weirder things have happened. 

Wednesday night was our volleyball league playoffs.  We came in 18-3 and with the #1 seed.  We spent the first round without batting an eye.  Drew injured his knee which was no bueno.  We had a break between games and watched the Cubs put up a win against the Dodgers in LA.  Unfortunately, we played like poo and ended up getting 2nd place for the leagues fall season.  Watch out next year though! We’re coming to take it all!

Thursday our friend Josh came home to visit from Colorado.  Mel organized a wonderful BBQ/bonfire/garage party at the Beaver Den for the crew.  We played a new game that Lukas and Summer had organized called Hammerschlagen.  Don’t know what it is? Join the club.  When they explained it to me I thought it was going to be the lamest thing ever.  It was completely frustrating but fun.  Wanna see how it works?  I posted a video here!  We had the Cubs game playing on the TV inside the Beaver Den. Firing roaring on the “ranger tv”.  Brats, burgers and wings on the grill.  And my bacon jalapeno corn dip went so fast, half the people didn’t get a chance to try it!  It was a great night of shenanigans. 

Friday I went home to spend some much needed time with my family.  I hadn’t been back to Cresco since my birthday party in June which has to be some kind of record for me.  It was so nice to just kick back and relax. I didn’t even take my laptop with me! What? I know! Stop the madness! Saturday night the grandparents and sissy came over for dinner.  Mom made homemade pizza and because I’m a spoiled brat, oatmeal cake!  If you haven’t tried this cake, you really haven’t lived.  It’s one that we get on special occasions and always makes me think of Mother’s Day gatherings with the Underbakke’s. It was a perfect tribute to Opal and hanging out with my grandpa and grandma’s.  To top off a wonderful night…the CUBS are going to the WORLD SERIES!!!!! Errr mrrr gawd!! I am so excited.  Although my friends and I have some super fun stuff planned for Halloween Saturday night, we are debating taking a road trip to Chicago Friday and watching some history happen in Wrigleyville.  You know I can’t turn down a fun road trip.  Go, Cubs, go!!!!!!!! This week looks to be another hectic one with the normal chaos at work and things going on every evening but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Making memories! #fearless40 #lovinglife

Monday, October 17, 2016

Birthdays, soup, family time and the changing of seasons!

My favorite season is here.  There’s something about fall that has always made me happy.  Maybe it’s hoodie weather? Football season? Crockpot recipes? Or the beauty that surrounds me in nature?  It is the season of change. A reminder that sometimes things have to die to be given new life.  And that is beautiful in my mind.  The last few weeks have definitely seen some changes and that’s part of life.  I’ve been reminded of this quite a bit recently.  And no matter how hard we wish for the gold, red and oranges to stay gracing the trees, they must fall. Seasons change.  People change. And the world keeps spinning. 
I’ve been able to enjoy some great family time the last few weeks.  Lakehouse with my parents and Becky and Greg.  Staying with my cousin Erin and her adorable sons.  Lunch with Miranda and Seth in White Bear Lake. Aunt Melody’s birthday dinner with Caitlyn and Sissy.  Can’t ask for more blessings than that. 
I am finally closing the final chapter of a life that seems so far away.  I couldn’t be more ready for this rollercoaster to be over. The steps to finish tying up these loose ends took me on a road trip last week when I had to go to Winterset.  I decided to spend some time exploring the area as I had never seen the Bridges of Madison County that the movie and book boast.  I have to say it was pretty cool! And seemed silly that I had never taken the 45 minute drive to explore this great place and an Iowa point of pride.  It was a nice break from the stress of the situation. 
The last two weeks have been wonderful overall.  Dinner parties and Cubs games.  Volleyball victories.  We celebrated Lukas’s birthday with a night of go-karting.  Safe to say Principal will never have to worry about me quitting my day job to become a professional racer.  I was like a grandma out there on the track! Which is weird because I’m never reserved on the interstates in my own car.  But something about those little karts just freaked me out.  It was a blast though.  After getting my butt kicked racing we all went to Jethro’s and enjoyed some wings and beverages.  It was the perfect way to celebrate one of my favorite guys!
Friday night was the soup cook off.  Holy cow did we have some great food.  Brian made a zuppa toscana.  Summer whipped up a delicious chicken tortilla soup and I went with a pepperjack potato chowder.  My house was a little crammed with 15 of us in here but it was a wonderful night. A total of 12 hours of sleep since I woke up Wednesday morning led to a nice quite Saturday evening at home doing some writing. 

Tomorrow night is game 3 of the series between the Cubs and the Dodgers.  I love the Cubs but it’s always weird to cheer against the team I spent so much time watching at the stadium when I lived in LA.  Go, Cubs, go!!!! Wednesday night is our volleyball playoffs.  We’re seeded #1 with an 18-3 record.  I will be sad when it’s over but hoping we can maybe find an indoor winter league until Spring comes rolling around.  Thursday night is the chili and weiner roast at the Beaver Den, celebrating Josh coming home from Colorado for a few days.  Then I think I’m going to head to Cresco and spend some time with my parents and grandparents for the weekend.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Car accidents, concerts, Beaver Fest and volleyball

One of these days I’m sure I’m going to start a post with it was a normal and relaxing week…this will not be that post.  Work has been crazy but that has been the norm the last few months. Monday night was training with Molly and Trainer Ben.  Didn’t get to have dinner with my dad as planned because he rode his Harley down and needed to get on the road to beat the storm.  Luckily, I was able to enjoy dinner with him Sunday night at Scornovocca’s.  I can never get enough time with my dad. Tuesday night was Tacos at the Tap with Lukas, Mel, Misty, Summer, Shane, Maria and Brian.  Had some laughs, made some new friends. 

Wednesday afternoon I got rear-ended.  The car took off and almost caused another accident when they went flying around the corner and nearly sideswiped the ambulance I was stopped and waiting for.  People are rude. I got a nice cash of whiplash and vertigo but just glad it didn’t end up much worse.  My car is ok and so am I.  Just shaken up and sore.  Couldn’t play volleyball that night because of it so that was a total bummer. 

Thursday night went to the Florida Georgia Line, Cole Swindell, Kane Brown and Cadillac Three concert with Molly, Michelle and Sandy.  I wasn’t a huge FLG line fan going into the concert.  I mainly wanted to go for the opening acts.  But I can say I am definitely a fan now.  They were very entertaining and had one of the best encores I’ve ever seen. 
Cole Swindell makes me swoon. He’s giving Eric Church a run for his money on being my fake celebrity boyfriend.  We came out of the concert and walked into a monsoon.  I’m not sure I can recall the last time I saw it rain that hard.  Luckily we got to run to our cars in it.  To say we were soaked to the bone is a dramatic understatement.  Friday night when I went to put on my boots, they were still wet from the night before.
Friday night I met the crew for Beaverdale Fall Fest, or Beaver Fest as we like to call it.  Carnival rides, food vendors, live music, car show and tons of people out and about in my favorite neighborhood.  It was an absolute blast. 

Saturday morning I had to get up early for the Beer In Hand Volleyball tournament.  Let me tell you playing with a giant ball and a cup in one hand is not as easy as it might sound.  We didn’t win but we had a great time trying. 
The Hawks got upset by North Dakota State as we were finishing the tourney and I took that as my cue to go home and nap! I was supposed to meet my friends back at Beaver Fest that night but decided to stay home instead.  Ben and I ordered Chinese and watched the Ohio State game.  I’m super excited for the Packers vs. Vikings game tonight.  Go Pack Go!!!!

This week looks to be equally insane but I’m looking forward to a mini vacation Thursday-Sunday.  #fearless40

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11, ladies night and football

Some days I can barely remember what I wore the day before.  But even though 9/11 was 15 years ago, I remember every detail of that day as a terrified 25 year old in North Hollywood, CA.  I was in the shower getting ready for work and I had the radio on. Danny Bonaduce had a morning show and I heard him say a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  I didn’t know whether to believe it as the show was known for many pranks.  I jumped out of the shower and turned on the TV.  As I did, the 2nd plane hit. My heart dropped.  I instantly began crying. I heard the words “terrorists” and “attack”. I heard there could be other plans.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  I ran and woke up my sister and roommates to let them know what was going on.  I didn’t know what to do. It was as if time froze in a thick horrific fog.  I left for work and I remember being on the 134 freeway.  Usually mornings were full of music, horns, people making deals on their phone, zooming traffic and road rage.  This morning was silent.  People drove with their windows down trying to soak up every detail of the radio reports.  People were crying in their cars.  No one was in a hurry to get anywhere.  It was a freeway of lost souls.  I remember phone lines being jammed.  I remember just wanting to hear my parents voices.  I got to work and they began closing the studios.  They began evacuating sky scrapers around Los Angeles.  At this point the Pentagon had also been hit.  A plane had went down in the country side.  Everyone feared that Los Angeles was also a target.  I remember looking at my boss and telling him I was going home.  If something terrible was about to happen, I was not spending the last day of my life at a recording studio in Hollywood.  I was going to be with my sister and friends. We were glued to the television all day.  I remember watching the planes hit over and over.  Watching the tower collapse.  Watching rescue workers running towards the ruins.  Watching the citizens of New York City covered in ash and debris running down the streets for their lives.  I will never forget the chill I couldn’t shake that day. The hollowness in my heart.  The silence in the skies overhead that were usually filled with planes landing at LAX and the Burbank airport.  I remember feeling heart broken and helpless.  To this day I will never forget the sacrifice that was made for our country. The lives that were lost.  The lives of loved ones left behind that were forever changed.  I remember always remember 9/11.  In a time of a nation torn apart by politics and social issues I look at the flag and think of the Pledge of Allegiance: “One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all”.  And that day, we were.  Let us not forget that. 

Wednesday night was volleyball league.  What a blast.  It had rained all day and the sand was soaking wet but I had so much fun.  My team is wonderful and despite the insane amount of sticky sand that ended up in my contacts, my gum and in crevices on my body I didn’t know existed, I loved every minute of it.  And we won, which always helps. 

Thursday night training was great, as always.  No better way to spend an hour of my night then with Trainer Ben and Molly, sweating like a demon and getting back in my groove. 

Friday night was a long overdue ladies night with Kara, Molly and Audra.  We had dinner at Spectators and then went to The Brewhouse to listen to Final Mix play. We were joined by Lukas and Maria and had a night full of beverages, dancing, laughter and shenanigans.  Have I ever mentioned how awesome my friends are? 

Saturday was the Superbowl of Iowa.  Iowa Hawkeyes versus the Iowa State Cyclones.  I had let go of my tickets for the game.  As much as I wanted to tailgate with my brother, see my nephews and enjoy Iowa City, my adult kicked in and I decided to stay in Des Moines.  I went to Saints with Audra and Gary and watched the Ohio State game. I know, I know what the heck, Lyndee? But my ginger loves the Buckeyes and I love her and football.  Unfortunately UNI lost.  But the Hawks put the smackdown on the Cyclones which is always a wonderful thing.  Later I went to the Tap to meet Summer.  And ended up driving home a friend who had celebrated a teeny weeny bit too much during the game.  You know your buddy is drunk when you drop them off, wait to make sure they get in the house and two minutes later you get a text that says “I’m home!”.  Ha! Oh Fuzzy, you crack me up. Followed by my best friend waking me up at 3 in the morning to tell me he's a spider monkey.  As the song says, in heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here.  God bless Iowa football fans. 

Today was productive to the max.  Got groceries, did laundry, worked on the yard, made breakfast, lunch and treats for the week.  Can’t wait to share the white chicken chili and peanut butter oreo truffle recipes with you on Testing Trendy this week.  Y-U-M to the YUM.  Oh, and my Packers won their first regular season game.  I am one smiley Lyndee today.  

Pleasant surprise to find out my dad is on his way to Des Moines tonight for a few days.  I can never get enough time with Big Papa Gene! This week will be training, volleyball, daddy daughter dates, Florida Georgia Line and then Beaverdale Fall Fest this weekend.  Another crazy week ahead but I’m ready to rock it out! #fearless40