Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Okoboji Road Trip

Lake Okoboji is located in Northwest Iowa. It is the second largest fresh water lake in the state; albeit it is the deepest. Its depth gives it a blue appearance, it is only one of three ‘blue lakes’ in the world (Lake Louise in Canada and Lake Geneva in Switzerland are the others).

Lake Okoboji is where the ‘haves’ from Des Moines, Waterloo, Sioux City, Sioux Falls and Omaha come to play in the summertime. In the winter months the town goes back to normal, the seasonal shops and restaurants close down. The lake eventually freezes over and the ice fisherman and snowmobile crowd take over.

Okoboji is about 200 miles from Des Moines. The quickest route (taking almost all, paved, county roads) takes about 3 hours and 15 minutes. The scenery is farm structures, livestock, corn fields, soy beans and wind farms. It’s very boring and if you have to pee you better be willing to go in a ditch.

Fergie's ready to goooo

Look treeees!

a stinky hog lot

(still) a proud supporter of Bush


more cows

a wind farm

rolling hills (Iowa style)

corn or soybeans? (can't tell yet)

another farm

a bar close to the lake (no, we didn't stop)

Hunting and Gathering

Upon arrival, it’s grocery shopping time. You may shop at the tiny yet local and friendly Buy Rite, Hy-vee a larger yet still local option or you can one stop shop at the evil empire also known as Wal-Mart. Dickinson County has just over 16,700 people and yes they have a Wal-Mart *sadface*.

Okoboji Dining and Nightlife

There are a few decent restaurants around the lake. Kazerelli’s, Geppetto’s on the Lake, Yesterday’s and Maxwell’s Beach Cafe are staples for finer dining and better wines. For more casual food and drink there are several options. Lunches at The Ritz, The Wharf, Smokin’ Jakes and The Taco House are all yummeee. The Barefoot Bar is my fave place to sit by the lake, enjoy live music and drinks – they also offer a menu full of bar favorites. If you go by boat on busy, weather cooperative weekends, finding a place to dock can be difficult.

Whoo Hoo Three Day Weekend

This past weekend the weather was supposed to be windy, rainy and cooler. Not a good combo for a short lake vacay. But we decided to take a chance and go. Okoboji is definitely a Grunewald thing. I can be a hater about going. But I have learned to appreciate its good and try to forgive the ick-factors.

Friday night we arrived at the lake at about 7 pm, ate dinner around 8 pm at Yesterday’s. I had the tilapia which was very good…but the best thing there is the crab dip appetizer. After dinner we went to a bar called Cocktail’s. Cocktail’s is thought to be a gay bar, but in Okoboji there aren’t enough people for any bar to be anything other than a ‘white person’ bar. The male bartender/owner was wearing a Cocktail’s Crayfish Boil t-shirt that read ‘Suck Head, Eat Tail’, so mebbe he has something to do with the gay thing. It was karaoke night. I loathe karaoke but I was going with the flow (which is rare) and the bathrooms at Cocktail’s are clean so that’s something. We kept my in-laws out until about 1:30…a victory indeed.

Saturday I slept until about 11 am, it was an overcast and windy day, so no boating. We had a lazy day, watching movies. Saturday night we went out to dinner and called it an early night (meaning we came home to drink).

Sunday I slept past noon. It was really nice out – we hurried down to the boat for a leisurely ride before we were expected at a birthday party on a fish boat barge thingy. The fish boat barge thingy is a huge wooden structure that serves as a bar and usually stays docked. In fact I didn’t even know you could ‘take it out on the lake’. But I guess you can, because we did. It was okay fun…there were kids on the boat with us. I don’t like mixing kiddies and alcohol, but I didn’t plan this party…soooo nevermind. We cruised around for about three hours (insert Gilligan joke here), and were back docked sometime around 8 pm. We took our boat back to our condo, changed out of our swimsuits and headed to Buck’s.


Okayyy I’m not sure if this bar is actually called Buck’s or not…but that’s what everyone else calls it, so I do to. It’s not located on the lake so it has a, let’s just say ‘different’ clientele. The birthday girl wanted to go there because she lovesss karaoke…and Buck’s had it. Buck’s is a cash only bar and don’t you dare ask to ‘start a tab’. I think it’s supposed to be a biker bar. We know the owner; a badass biker dude that wears Hawaiian shirts. He’s ruggedly handsome…and scary. Karaoke is run by…ummm I don’t want to be cruel and name names…let’s just say his name rhymes with rinse and he could use one. Rinse is older (fifties but he could easily pass for the Crypt Keeper), he lives with his mom (I know this because I’ve met her, at the bar). Having never met his dad, I’m going to guess he’s a farm animal – probably a donkey or a horse based on Rinse’s facial situation. But he is very nice and he is a pretty good singer.

There’s almost always a fight at Buck's, and someone will be asked to leave (thrown out). There’s always one drunk guy who is the cliché drunk in the bar. They have free peanuts (you may throw the shells on the ground) and you can buy Slim Jims, Doritos, Corn Nuts and a variety of candy bars for drunken consumption. There’s a pool table (duh) and darts (I think). I got hit on by some guy that worked for one of the boat dealers…he was very persistent (and quite annoying). There was another guy there who was so drunk he peed his pants, but he didn’t leave…he sang karaoke and tried to pick a couple of fights – a true alpha male! There was a bigger girl with her ass crack hanging out…I took a picture (see below), her husband-type yelled at me. I heard Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and a whole bunch of country that I didn’t know. The drunk that peed himself tried to sing Metallica’s Enter Sandman…another alpha sign. I laughed a lot…which is always a good thing.

Monday I slept in…when I awoke, my heart was pounding out of my chest. I asked my mother-in-law for her blood pressure machine, my BP was okay, but my pulse was 124 and irregular. I asked my hubby for breakfast and after a couple of Gatorades I was good to go *sorry liver* *sorry heart*.
We left Okoboji after 5 pm for Des Moines…The Principal Charity Classic started today the weekend is looking F-U-N, but then again when doesn’t it?

someone taking our pic while we were on the fish boat barge thingy

a butt crack at Buck's

goodnight kiss

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm Sorry, We Party

The Wedding

I went to a fabulous wedding in Scottsdale last weekend at the Intercontinental Montelucia Resort. Usually I hate weddings, but this’un was goooood. A longtime family friend got married; the fun loving guests were all familiar faces. Friday pool day, Friday night rehearsal dinner and bar hopping, Saturday pool day, Saturday evening wedding and reception that carried over into an afterhours situation until dawn…the flight home on Sunday was painful but worth it.

I’m a PC *sadface*

After arriving home on Sunday night from AZ, I unpacked (threw my clothes in a pile) and switched on my infant laptop (it’s only a month old), which is a PC because I would rather spend money on shoes than a Mac. Instead of the normal…blah, blah, welcome to Windows, blah…my 17” monitor gave me the blue screen of death. There was a message about Windows not being able to load and some directions about the F8 key…I was very tired, hungover and planning on driving to Chicago the next day to see a concert.

Computer issues in my house are a man-job. O’course my man was busy and couldn’t help me. So me and my small girl brain called Dell. It was about 1 am. Samir at Dell helped me. He was polite, easy enough to understand and didn’t ask me any silly questions that would offend my girly intelligence. An hour and a half later, I was back up and running albeit I had to go back to the original settings, losing my life’s work (translation: a bunch of stupid pix).

The Melvins in Chicago

The husband had some work to finish up on Monday morning and he has been fighting the flu (non-swine) so I did most of the driving to Chicago, which is fine since he has a speeding problem…or rather a getting caught speeding problem. We arrived at the Chicago Hilton at 7:15 pm, left the car with the valet, checked in, found our room, hurriedly changed and made our way down to the hotel bar for a quick bite to eat and our first dranks of the evening.

After an $85 snack we hopped in a cab for the Double Door where we had tickets to see The Melvins. The Melvins are a sludge metal band that I listened to in my past life (my teenage years) and began re-appreciating in my current life (my thirties).

I’m a bit of a girly girl but I’ve definitely got a dark side. So there I was in a stylish top, 7 for all Mankind jeans and 5 inch designer sandals with my son of a doctor husband in his plaid collared shirt amidst the rock band t-shirted dingy denim crowd. Two grungy guys in front of us in line were smoking a joint, I later found out they were both dads, one was a married professional. The Melvins rocked it out; talent in that band is aplenty. We left the show about 11:30 for a late dinner at Bistro Bijan and then over to Division Street.

We went to a place with peanut shells on the floor, I think it was called The Lodge, it was busy with a bunch of drunk(er) people…we headed across the street to an Irish pub-y sort of place…it wasn’t as busy and the jukebox took credit cards (at the time that seemed really exciting to me). I played a couple hours worth of songs and sang to them all loudly. The bartender’s name was George, he looked more like a Glenn and he had a twitch. The more I sang the twitchier he got, this amused my husband greatly.

We left in a cab sometime before closing… I was really hoping to make it over to the Hollywood Grill for early morning bacon and eggs…but I was overserved and in need of a bed before I remembered I wanted breakfast.

I got up sometime around 11 am…the husband was working. I mumbled something about being hungry, rolled out of bed threw on some clothes, a hat and sunglasses. We packed our things, checked our bags at the luggage check counter, grabbed a cab, headed over to The Grill on the Alley for lunch, where I had a pretty amazing Caesar salad. After lunch we walked the two miles back to the hotel, it was a gorgeous day in Chicago and my hangover had faded. I tried to beguile the hubby into staying another night, but he had work to do, so we headed home.

Tomorrow begins the Memorial Day weekend…we’re heading to Lake Okoboji for what’s looking to be a rainy weekend. Oh well…when it rains it pours and by pours I mean cocktails. I’m not sure if my liver is up for it…let the summer begin!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Political Battle of the Sexes

I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what political party we affiliate ourselves with – we love to hate women. Until they make a serious boo-boo, male politicos are judged on merit. Of course, some partisans will snicker about intelligence and make Satan comparisons…but for the most part, poly-dudes are fairly evaluated. Women, on the other hand are subject to a bit more scrutiny…accent, attire, make-up, hair, wrinkles, weight and likability…just to name *a few*. Katherine Harris, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Meghan McCain and Michelle Obama have all been targets.

Once a woman enters the political ring (either by choice or by association) she becomes joke fodder. Laura Bush’s Stepford wife likeness has been replaced by Michelle Obama’s Hulkish and (gasp!) bare arms. Who can forget Katherine Harris’ Tammy Faye Baker comparison? How about Nancy Pelosi’s waxy Botoxic face? We are mean…all of us…men and women alike. Racist jokes are bad but sexist jokes are funny? I beg of you people to be more correctly politically incorrect...the next time you want to make fun of a politico – make fun of two and make sure one has a penis…an affirmative action indeed!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hello, my name is _______ and I am a _______

Before Arlen Specter officially made the jump across the aisle, republicans often referred to him as a RINO (Republican in name only, if you’ve been living under a rock) because he leaned center left on certain issues and voted accordingly. Sen. Specter isn’t the only party defector being picked-on. Earlier this week, Rush Limbaugh spent part of his show discussing Colin Powell and how he too should become a democrat. The bottom line – republicans (especially hardcore righties) love to call out their own, the preferred insults are RINO (when they are very angry) or less offensive names such as neo-con or progressive (which they can easily take back). If I remember correctly (and trust me I have tried to forget…but an elephant never…you know) the Republicans labeled themselves ‘Mavericks’ in the last election (that worked out well…for the Democrats).

We the people have become so critical and irrational when it comes to political disagreements that our country is basically evenly divided. We only believe the polls when they favor our side of the argument. We don’t like investigations or hearings unless we’re holding them. We don’t like the media, unless they are favorable to us. We can’t stand protestors, unless we are the ones protesting. And…we can’t take a joke, period. Each time a new party is in charge we complain about the abuse of power and lack of checks and balances. After losing an election, we have discourse in our own party…insisting on playing the blame game because heads must roll. But…chin up my good people, if history tells us anything, these same courses of action have been ongoing since our young democracy came to be…and if we’re lucky they will continue for all of our time here on earth.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Found: The Perfect Alarm ISO: The Perfect Mattress

I’ve recently fallen in love with my BlackBerry Curve’s escalating alarm. It wakes me to the tone of Notifier_Entrance, starting off softly and gradually getting louder until I turn it off. If you know me, then you know a non-offensive sounding alarm is hugely important…if you don’t know me…now you know this.

On the subject of sleeping and waking up…I often awaken before it is time to get up. I don’t mind doing so, if it’s at least thirty minutes before I have to; because then I may fall back to sleep even if only for a brief few moments. I hate it if I wake only say, fifteen minutes before my alarm is set to go off…as that means I’m up earlier then I need to be. In case I haven’t been clear…I LOVE sleep.

In other news and yet still on topic (sort of)...Monday was my anniversary. The husband and I are buying a new bed complete with mattress. We’ve been on the search for many months. It’s about as fun as car shopping. And of course I mean…none.

Purchasing a new mattress is very difficult; you should dress comfortably, BRING YOUR OWN pillow and a light blanket or throw, as all of the beds will start to feel the same. Curling up with your pillow and a lightweight cover will help you to decide or at least narrow the selection (as in our case). A mattress is an investment, and by investment I mean…me sleeping through the night will aid in the husband and I staying married…other things that help are the four C’s…communication, compromise, cash-flow and cunnilingus.

PS If you are considering purchasing a Select Comfort bed…after you slap yourself stop all consideration.