Monthly Archives: September 2007

On the town (the very small town)

Last night, I joined my friends Kathy and Mark, and their friends Bill and Joyce, at the Alta, Iowa,* Fireman’s Ball. I wore hairspray and lip gloss. It’s the closest I’ve come to a date in 2 years.

We had a great time and a considerable amount of beer.** Since I drink less than one bottle of beer a month, 5 or 6 cups of watery Bud Light draft had me feeling pretty happy. The best part of the evening was watching the dance floor. It was usually pretty crowded, but apart from the come-and-goers, there were about 8 couples that were going to get the most from their $10 cover. Few, if any, were much younger than me, and most were a bit older, including one couple who were both wearing what may well have been their original saddle shoes. The man had a slight old-age hump and the woman’s hair had that intensity of color that only comes from applying hair dye over white hair. Together, they tore that dance floor apart!

There were four bands. Bands number 1, 3, and 4 were quite good, playing the mix of oldies and country that you’d expect at a n.w. Iowa dance. Band number 2, now, that was my favorite. A drummer, two guitars, and a lead singer, the members were all either just out of high school or in their senior year. They could really play, but their play list mostly emptied the dance floor — except for that core of dedicated dancers. The band’s name was Saving Reality*** and their first song was Foxy Lady. After a few moments of puzzlement, four couples gamely line danced to a Hendrix cover. The band followed that with Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla, to which no one danced but I headbanged a bit and maybe played a little air guitar**** (I was on beer #6. Or, okay, possibly 7).

Next, Saving Reality played Moonchild, which, it turns out, can back a surprisingly nice two-step. Their next song was ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man, which filled the dance floor until the extended drum solo. Everyone eventually stopped dancing except for the saddle-shoed couple, which continued to swing dance faster and faster and faster….I truly was becoming a bit alarmed about the man’s heart when they finally had to stop to breathe. But the drum solo only outlasted them by about 30 seconds!

So that’s the night life in n.w Iowa. Today, I’m going to return to my placid, non lip glossed life. Knit a bit. Read a novel. Bake a tamale pie. Go to bed at ten. But Kathy, Mark, Bill, Joyce, and I, we’ll always have the Alta, Iowa, Firemen’s Ball.

*Seven miles from Storm Lake. Population, 1900.

**I got home after midnight. Most Saturday nights, what I’m doing after midnight is groggily climbing out of bed to let one of the dogs out.

*** I can just imagine them sitting around the barn coming up with a suitably vague, alternative-esque name

****this may help explain why no one asked me to dance all evening.*****

*****Damnit! What a waste of lip gloss.


I’ll stick with Diet Pepsi…

Yeah, take it from me: on a Monday morning when you’re struggling to wake up, remembering to pack a lunch, and figuring out what to wear, all at the same time, nothing snaps you awake like realizing your beagle/husky mix is quietly having a seizure in the living room.

Holy Crap.

Ricky was lying on his stomach, head stretched between his front legs, trembling violently all over, for about 2 minutes. Then he was a bit dopey for another minute or so. I was still dressed from the waist down in my stinky, should-have-been-washed-Sunday dog walking jeans and tennis shoes. I grabbed the first clean shirt in my closet, called the vet, loaded Ricky in the car, and tore off across town. Ricky was, of course, by now feeling fine and hanging his head out the window enjoying the unusual Monday morning adventure. Me, I got to work just in time to teach and realized mid-class that my once-a-month period migraine was starting. What a Monday.

They did a blood draw on Ricky. Apparently the most severe and immediate concern with seizures is liver/kidney failure, and he was fine in that department. He was dehydrated, though, which may be the foundation of the seizure. He’s been suffering an allergic reaction to a bug bite all weekend (I took him to the vet for that on Saturday morning) and when he’s not feeling well, Ricky just stops eating. I guess he was drinking less, too, but I hadn’t really noticed. The other possibility is the early signs of epilepsy, which is fairly easy (and cheap) to control in dogs, I understand, and may not ever require medication if seizures are few and far between. Either way, I’m glad my boy is doing well for now. He came home and drank a lot of water and ate a full meal for the first time since Thursday.

Now he’s resting, I’m resting post migraine, the parrot is asleep on my shoulder as I type this, Violet is snoozing beside me, and Astrid is in the basement, pissed as all hell that Ricky came home — she spent his absence stretched out on the living room sofa.

My credit card can use the rest, too.

I’ve seen to the dark side…

…and it is pink and lacy.

I’ve been single now for 7 years. And while I have dated, I knew during those relationships that they were nothing permanent, and I realized about three years ago just how much I enjoy living on my own.* And I want to make it clear that I arrived at that realization before moving to n.w. Iowa and coming to a second realization: that the likelihood of me meeting an attractive (to me, anyway) man here, given the small size of the town and the facts that I’m over 40, over-educated, over-tall, and overweight,** is pretty much nil.

Anyway, for at least three years now, I’ve thought of myself as a kind of born-again spinster of the Katharine Hepburn (or Granny Weatherwax, for you Pratchett fans) variety — a tough spinster. A no-nonsense spinster. A leather spinster. And then today, after a visit to the pet department of the local farm supply store (I’d gone in for flea spray and that’s a whole ‘nother story), I found myself at home putting new collars on the dogs. Oh, the collars themselves are serviceable enough, black nylon with plastic, backpack-type pressure buckles, but they are overlaid with strips of ribbon, like these.*** Printed ribbon. Matching ribbon. Cute-little-dog-bones-and-flowers-covered ribbon. And it gets worse: Violet’s ribbon is pink & purple and Ricky’s is shades of blue. And then I thought, “Oh, it’s not that bad. The really crazy single women dress their dogs in little outfits.” But when switching over the tags from their old collars to the new ones, I realized that, more than year ago, I had Ricky’s engraved ID tag made up as a blue bone. And Violet’s, which I bought in April, is a little. pink. heart.


Okay. Deep breath.

I’m going to spend this weekend reading a gritty, noir-esque fantasy novel and drinking beer, or possibly neat scotch (more likely munching peanut butter m&m’s, but we’ll pretend otherwise). Perhaps I’ll rent a movie centered on a spinster — Turn of the Screw….no, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie….no, Jane Eyre……wait a minute, isn’t there one story in which the spinster is neither crazy and/or sexually deprived-depraved nor going around falling in love with a married man who just happens to have imprisoned his crazy fire bug wife in the attic?

Sheesh. It might have to be scotch after all.

*Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t like to date, or even form a long-term, monogamous, emotionally supportive, you-have-your-house-and-I-have-mine relationship. Or shag George Clooney.

**Plus, I have it on good authority that some men find me intimidating. Wusses.

***Except I paid A LOT less!