Summer Storms

Many years ago, I learned it was ok to enjoy a summer storm until the sky turned green. That’s when the tornadoes are coming and its best to retire to the basement.

I have lots of storm stories. There are the many times the creek overflowed up to the basement door. The time Ellen crawled under her bed when she first heard a storm siren. The time Roy told us about why Iowa storms are even better than LA sunsets. And the time I listened to a tornado sweep by like a freight train going 500 miles per hour while I sat in the bathroom at my first apartment.

They are all good stories, but I want to tell you about storms and driving. It’s important to know just in case you’re driving on I-80 and you run into a doozey.

This is a cautionary tale.

While driving back home to Iowa City from Des Moines this Monday night I started seeing flashes of lightning running north to south in front of me. Normally it wouldn’t bother me (I like driving in rain), but this was a lot of lightening and it was blinding.

So there I am driving along at about 70mph and I run smack into a wall of rain. As I said, I like driving in rain, but this was too much so I slowed down, annoyed some of the truckers who now needed to pass me, and got off at the next exit to waiting out. It didn’t take long, so I was back on the road in about ten minute.

And here’s where the cautionary tale part comes in.

I must have been nearly through the storm when I stopped for those brief ten minutes, because I caught up to the dang thing about five minutes later. You know, its like one of those story problems you get in junior high: If a storm is going 40mph east and a person is driving 70mph east how many times do you think she’ll drive through the same storm before she figures it out and just drives through the thing to get it over with?

For me, it ended up being three times. The first time I stopped. The second time I slowed down to get behind it. The third time I got off to take a deserted two lane highway so I could go 50mph, get through the storm and not piss anyone but myself off.

walk in beauty,

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I woke up this morning and said to my girlfriend, Happy Surgery Day!

So no, I’m not having surgery, but my dear, sweet Catherine is.

She is having knee surgery to repair her knee from a fall over a year and half ago. Last year at this her Mom and I were sitting in the same waiting room we are now, waiting for news on a different knee surgery. That one was more minor and very hopeful at the time. She was able to be up and moving with three small scars in a matter of hours.

This time, she is getting a donor MCL and will have a much bigger scar let alone a longer recovery time. The most disconcerting part is that the surgeon, who is a very good one and the head of the department, has only performed this surgery twice in twenty years and this type of surgery has variable results.

Also, it is Friday the Thirteenth. Seriously?

I don’t have a lot of super introspective thoughts about surgery. I’m neither pro or against, but right now its what I’m thinking about and worrying about.

walk in beauty,

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Faith Lutheran Church, Washington, IL

When I was younger, I went to church. More specifically I went to a nice Lutheran church. And as a Lutheran, we did a couple of things really well; singing every verse of every hymn in four part harmony** and coffee hour.

After all that singing you need something to wet your whistle and keep you jazzed up for Sunday School.

Anyway, the only way to make enough coffee to keep a group of Lutherans happy is with one of those big forty cup percolators. You fill it with water, add as much coffee as the little old ladies tell you to, set up all the filters properly and plug it in. At first nothing happens. It just sits there warming up, but eventually you see a little pop of lightly brownish water hit the small clear dome on top of the pot. Now things are working, something is happening, and it only gets better from there. Soon that one little pop is a whole series of ever darkening pops turning plain old water into the lifeblood of any good Lutheran, coffee.

I’ve seen percolators at my grandmother’s, my mom’s and over my campfire. Every time, I still look forward to the anticipation of that first pop of coffee.

With that said, here’s a few pops to let you see what’s percolating in my head. This would be easier if I had a little clear dome on top of my head wouldn’t it?

Iowa Gurls, Prairie burning, Stress related diseases, Taco Tuesdays and Free Slice Wednesdays, Spectatorship, Surgery, Other people’s super cute children, Summer storms, and much, much more.

In short, you’ll hear a lot more from me in the coming days. Hopefully I’ll even be able to tell you why I’ve been away for so long.

walk in beauty,


*As a person of Finnish descent and a trained Barista, I have understandably conflicting views on the “proper” way to make coffee. In this as many parts of my life, I rely on my gut to get me through. Either way, commit and go all the way. There is no room for putting too little coffee in the percolator or for smacking your portafilter with the face of your tamper.

**From the green hymnal for those of you who might wonder.

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that mid-afternoon feeling

It’s 2:30.

It’s 2:30 on a Friday.

It’s 2:30  on a Friday before a three day weekend.

All I want to do is leave work, get the weekend started, walk in the breeze and go.

Or take a nap in the sun.

It’s one of those two, either way, I don’t want to be here.

What do you do when you are stuck and work and need a little pick me up? I used to hit the caffeine and watch YouTube videos of snarky moments. Now I’m doing laps in my office and updating my blog.

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I’m travelling all over the fair state of Iowa this month to support the queer community throughout the state. As the Chair of Iowa City’s Pride Committee and a general go get ’em kind of girl I’ve been very active in helping the queer community, gay, lesbian, bi, trans and everything in between people, celebrate the fact that Iowa is one of the best states in the nation to simply be who we are.

Not that long ago, a woman like myself was discriminated against on the basis of my sex, gender, and preference of a partner. I remember every day that I am standing on the shoulders of giants, and because of them I have had a relatively easy time being a queer, feminine woman.

So whether it’s walking across the Mississippi to support my friends Rachel and Lindsey, or visiting with my neighbors in Cedar Rapids I am supporting Pride. This week, I’m sweating my ass off in Iowa’s fair capitol, Des Moines, and loving it, and next week I’ll be running around crazy organizing Iowa City’s Pride.

If you need to find me in the great state of Iowa, look for the rainbows, and I’ll be there.

walk in beauty,

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My secret to great water


Yes, I’m updating from work.

No, I’m not a paid True Lime or Grand Brands advertiser.

This is just me, telling you my secret to drinking lots and lots of water. I don’t really enjoy most of the sweet beverage packets out there for our convenience. Most of them have artificial colors, sweeteners, chemicals and such. Now, these little packets are not as good as a fresh squeeze of lime, but they are darn close and they help me keep drinking.

Come to think of it, I should try these with some gin or tequila or such…

Anyhow, the little packets are convenient and super cute.

Each one Equals 1 Wedge.


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Far, far better than going to the gym

I got a phone call from a friend last night. She called and said, “Kirsten, I need someone strong. Like moving all the furniture in my house around strong. Think you can help?” Of course, I told her I would help. She’s helped me move in the middle of July before, and I just wouldn’t say no if I didn’t need to.

And for the record, I am strong. I’ve joked in the past that all the poundage I’ve been carrying around is just there to protect my massive muscles ;-)

But back to my first thought. When talking to my friend I told her of course I’d help her. It’s far better than going to the gym. At least this way I get to pump some iron and giggle with a friend at the same time.

walk in beauty,


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Sometimes good food is worth a two hour drive.

Really. Good food can really be worth it, and there is nothing like good friends to share it with.

I belong to a “supper club” or sorts. It’s really a group of friends who wouldn’t see each other if we didn’t make plans to see each other. Seeta, the ringleader started us on a tradition recently of getting together once a month and going to a new restaurant, paired with some form of other activity. We are jokingly, and not so jokingly, called the Bacon Bowling Club. We all like bacon, bowling, and each other, so why not?

Last month we were in Des Moines (our fair capitol) at the Flying Mango. Really, really good barbecue, including some amazing catfish I dreamt of for days plus some awesome bowling at Val Lanes.

This month, we went to Cu in Waterloo preceded by a little gambling at the casino. I passed on the gambling, but Cu (referred to as Copper) was wonderful. Good food, good service, nice atmosphere and some seriously interesting space planning. I can’t decide if I enjoyed basically walking through the kitchen to get to the bathroom or not.

And what’s better, is that I was happy for the drive to Waterloo. Their downtown is really vibrant and well kept, in a way that makes you understand they put some effort into it. I’d rather see that, than a downtown in desperate need of some TLC.

The dinner conversation was interesting for sure. We talked food, LA, and the normal work/family stuff. And we talked about the nutrition information you find on the internet. It was interesting to be sitting at a table with five heavier people talking about fat, trans fat, and calories while eating a wonderful meal. There were some serious revelations about some of our favorite entrees and appetizers at some of the nation’s chain restaurants. As well as my recent revelation about Heath bars, but that’s for another time. There was also a good bit of debate as to which one was more important, healthy eating or healthy exercise. It was one of those wide ranging and non-conclusive discussions that left many of us feeling ambivalent about what we had just consumed.

I guess the lesson is, if you’re going to travel to have a really good meal, don’t talk healthy nutrition in the middle of it. You might walk away from the table less satisfied.

walk in beauty,

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testing 1, 2, 3, Android, Bravo, Charlie

Thought I’d see how easy it is to post from my Eris. If you’re seeing this, it couldn’t have been to bad. I’m not one for fake convenience. If it’s going to take me three times longer to post on my phone from anywhere, I’d rather just post faster from my laptop.

That’s just me.

walk in beauty,

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I’m watching what I’m watching

I have a new rule for going to the gym. I am no longer allowed to watch the Food Network, or any cooking shows while doing cardio. Just seems beside the point to get off the treadmill and want to go eat, eat, eat.

The gym under my apartment is very, very convenient and very nice, and has these awesome tv’s attached to every single piece of cardio equipment in the place. It’s exciting, because sometimes the only way I get my butt to the gym is by not letting myself watch tv at home. If I want to watch the show I tell myself I have to watch at the gym. But I digress.

I like food (obviously) and I like to watch interesting food on tv. It’s weird but true.

I used to watch the lovely Anthony Bourdain and salivate over all the pork and beer and hot spiciness. It’s all good, but so hard to focus on keeping any kind of pace when you just want to lick the screen. *Slurp*

So, I’ve been trying a few different channels. A week or two ago I watched Dhani Jones as he battled on a bicycle up a massive hill in Italy.

Definitely inspiring, cause I happened to choose to ride the stationary bike that night even before I knew what I would watch.

I also watched Glee at the gym and was a little ashamed.

I happened to be watching a very, um, sexy episode and caught the guy next to me giving me funny looks. I love the show, but once again, it’s hard to keep pace when all you want to do is sing along.

Also, not really appropriate for the gym.

Last night, I think I found my new favorite gym watching show…King of the Hill.

What better than a good bit of comedy, a few comic beers, some Texas humor and those beer bellies to keep you motivated. I know lots of people don’t love this show, but I’ve loved it since I was in high school. Maybe I have a redneck fetish? Probably not, but I’ll be tuning in as the last shows are aired this week, and you can bet I’ll be on the treadmill.

walk in beauty,


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