Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Backyards, Bonfires and Good Friends... A Weekend in Lake Mills!

This past weekend I packed up and headed north…north to the hometown of Lake Mills.  We trekked north for a few reason…First-I love LM in the fall,  Lena needed to meet all the northerners and dad needed some cheering up. So into the Hyundai we went. A beautiful Friday and 5 hours of drive time…unfortunately, an hour out of KC we hit a road closure and to make the long story short- my patience was thin and mom helped route us around on some back roads in Missouri.  Once I got out of the 8 miles of stand still traffic- I rolled down the windows- cranked the XM Country Music station and was back to my happy place! Lena was so good the entire time. She just laid in the passenger seat and rested…at times she would sit up when I would slow down to check out the scenery. What a great travel companion! Despite the irritating time spent sitting on 35, we made it safely to our destination.

I think one of the greatest highlights of the weekend was letting Lena off her leash and run… letting her run with wreckless abandon! She loved playing fetch in the leave covered ground at mom and dad’s.. it made her super thirsty- so much so that dad broke out the water hose and gave Lena a refreshing drink!

Mom, Lena and I walked over to Aunt Barbie’s, while enroute we had a very brief hello with Aunt Debbie on her way out of town… Then Lena got treats from Aunt Barbie and was such a good girl. I got to see her beautiful cat Casey- he’s so gorgeous! And then on down to Steve and Wendy’s we went.  Lena was in utter heaven… they have the largest back yard in Lake Mills. Lena got to RUN AND RUN AND RUN! She played fetch, she dug holes- much to mine and Steve’s displeasure…but she got to be a dog! It was wonderful.
In the morning Dad would take Lena out for walks and play time in the yard. To say that she was my fathers shadow is an understatement.  We watched the Hawks play that afternoon and dad and Lena took a nap in the middle of the livng room floor!

 Despite the rainy start to the day- the sun came out and I threw on my Hawks sweatshirt and headed outside for a bonfire with my fave people. Mark and Joan, Pam and Al, JB and Sue and my parents all huddled around the largest bonfire in the history of our backyard. To say that Al and Dad had a pissing match with how much fire they could throw in the fire ring would be an understatement.  On a cool 55 degree night- I was sweating… thanks boys. Cold beers and good friends around a hot fire was just the medicine we all needed. I can’t describe how wonderful of an evening it was.

This one might be a fave- its most of the men of my life (somehow Al was cut out by the fire..hmmm)! Well- the ones that count! I fear for whatever man comes to Lake Mills to meet "the family"- or the MEN at least!

Men and Technology - i guess you had to be there!

Sweet Little Lena was keeping Pam's feet warm by the fire!!!

Now i have to comment on the drive home... i left pretty early because I'm old and like to get home and get laundry done, make dinner and relax.. .so Lena and I took off in the morning. She is SUCH a good travel compantion that she melted my heart layin there next to me on an old pillowcase i put on her pillow- one from my childhood with duckies! She is so darn cute!

Weekends in Lake Mills are few and are between. But they are always wonderful. A few things strike me as odd... Once upon a time I couldn’t wait to get out of Lake Mills – get somewhere bigger and better. Now I live in a “big city” and love how everything is at my fingertips… something is always happening and there is always some event to get to. Never is there a dull moment if I don’t want there to be.  But life in the slow lane of Lake Mills isn’t so bad for a weekend. It’s a nice respite. And it’s where I see that life in the slower lane is pretty great too. The comforts of home rejuvenated me for some city living! This week I have plans for a Twins v Royals game…just 15 min from my apt front door… now that’s a perk! J

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Little Comedian

I got to thinking…this blog should be named “The Adventures of April & Lena” – I swear, daily she is doing something sweet, funny or otherwise picture worthy! So- as a proud mother  - I leave you with some fun pix of the hound!  
Miss Lena on the NEW Quilt

Little Sh!t was eating her bone on the NEW quilt while i was in the shower... BUSTED!

This gives new meaning to "Sit Pretty" (notice the pretty kennel cover! Thanks MOM)
Never a dull dog

Prety sure we could play with that thing all night!

She has this obsession with being everywhere I am... I was washing dishes- Exciting Stuff

Molly came to visit Aunt Ape and Lena and she took a liking to Lena's bed! :-)

The Cyclones invade KC

It’s been a few days. I was having some trouble finding inspiration. First, I want to address the sad news; Aunt Louie passed away on Sunday. I am happy that she is no longer suffering and is peaceful. But, losing a family member is never easy and always leaves hurt and confusion in the family members left behind. Again- my heart goes out to my dad and his siblings. I cannot imagine how they are feeling.
On a happy note…this past weekend was full of fun activities. My Indianola parents and crew came to KC for the Iowa State vs. Kansas State game at Arrowhead. Kevin and Cheryl Halterman have always been such a supportive family… it all started back in college when I was working at Signatures (hello memory lane!) and they would frequent the restaurant. That’s how I met my sisters- Kayla and Erin! Many memories made with that family.
Papa H, Me and Mama C

Last year Kev and Cheryl came to town for the game and stayed at Hotel April- and this year the plan was the same! I met up with them at the game at Arrowhead and a sunny Saturday it was!
Row 12 in the ISU endzone with Cheryl
After the game we headed on down to the Quaff for a little tailgating action. They come with quite the crew.It was so much fun seeing them along with Wayne and Shelly and a host of other Iowa State fans. I did my best this year to root for the Cyclones- so much as to wear red and gold- thanks Lyndsey and Team Cocktail!

Sporting my Team Cocktail Gear at the ISU game...

Lena got to join in the action- Kevin, Cheryl and Wayne and Shelly came back to my place for a bit to meet Miss Lena and take a breather! We ventured down to Power and Light and ran into 801 Steak and Chop for a beverage and then back up to the Quality Hill staple – the Quaff for dinner. Then came the Iowa game- and I would prefer to not rehash that disaster. Kevin and Cheryl spent the night and we enjoyed some KC Roasterie coffee in the morning! It was nice visiting with friends/pseudo family! I think the weekend can be summed up by me saying that my face hurt from laughing and smiling so much. Thanks Clone to the Bone Gang for the fun weekend!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


today i'm humbled. the past few days have brought with them a wave of emotions. joy, sorrow, happiness, contentment, excitement, anticipation, heartbreak.... sure- we all have those emotions and feelings. but i feel like this week was an exception to the rule of "normal".  but today i'm humbled. i've felt great joy this week- spending such wonderful time with my mom and dad over the weekend. i've felt immense excitement and anticipation about this coming weekend- friends coming to town for the iowa state v kansas state game and then the exciting hawkeye game... those things gear me up! i've felt contentment- the change in weather brought this feeling...fall calms me, it soothes me and my soul.

heartbreak and sorrow for my father and his family... my aunt luann has brought me feelings of strength...literally on her death bed (as horrible as it sounds- i waited for word that she had passed today) she brought a family together....brothers and sisters, children, estranged cousins and extended family. we all waited...we prayed and sent our thoughts to those in south texas. for me, i felt overwhelming sadness for my amazing father... i wasn't close with my aunt louie- but i can't bear the thought of losing one of my brothers...and for that reason my heart aches for my dad. but tonight...that heartbreak and sorrow and aching heart turned to relief and humility. luann is breathing on her own- without a ventilator. she is certainly not out of the woods and i don't dare get my hopes up...but i'm humbled by her strength and by the will she has....tonight a little bit of peace is in the hearts of the Zobel family. if anything - they all are together.

i'm humbled by life. this precious life we are given so freely. how many days do we take for granted? i know i take several for granted if not 85% of the days i have lived. why is it that tragic events make me stop and think? sure - i like to think i live life to the fullest...but do i? today i'm humbled. i'm grateful.

tonight on my walk with lena i crossed our favorite bridge and stopped. i looked up at the sun....i felt the cool, north breeze on my face...i watched the turning leaves sway and tumble to the green grass...i was humbled.

p.s.- i swear it won't always be a serious blog! but this entry brought tears and peace. thanks for being my audience. oh- and i received a request for a 3 a.m. blog...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Little Miss Lena

The summer of 2010 changed my life… I had made a decision that I was going to own a dog. I had been dog sitting for several friends and had made the decision it was time for me to get my own! Some wonderful friends, Lyndsey and Steve have a Boston Terrier, Hank- and he is an 11lb bundle of joy! When Steve and Lynds went on their mini trip to Florida – I stayed with Hank for a few days. Love at first sight! I knew I wanted a Boston. They were small enough for my little apt and had big dog play and personality. So I began looking. In the search I was directed to Mid- American Boston Terrier Rescue League. I signed up on their website. I was shown a few dogs…I requested a few dogs. But nothing panned out… I had then put it on a back burner…. But then it all changed…
… Miss Lena came into my life on Thursday, August 5th at 9 p.m.

Yes- I remember the date and time. I remember everything that led to that wiggle worms arrival to my life.  I was driving home from a friend’s house on Wednesday- the night before, and stopped at Target. While cruising through the aisles I received a call from a gal named April (first clue). She was a foster mom for the Mid-American Boston Terrier Rescue League… she had a puppy named Roma that she had fostered in her home for a few days. She saw my app and gave me a call. We talked for nearly 2 hours about me, my home, and Roma. When all was said and done- I felt pretty confident I might have the chance to meet Roma. Well- 7 a.m. the next morning, the phone call came… Roma was mine if I wanted her! I said yes- of course! Then came the better news… a group of people were traveling from Lincoln, NE (where Roma was fostered) to the Ozarks- and they could bring her that very same night if I wanted! Wow… fate was stepping in. I was so excited. A trip to Pet-Smart, to Wal-Mart, to my friends up in Liberty to use their crate (sized for an English Mastiff) and then the task of puppy prepping my apartment. At 8:40 I left my apartment- drove up to north KC and met the young couples and my sweet little Roma. There in the Casey’s parking lot on 169/435 I met the sweetest dog on earth! She walked right up to me and I was sold!
I put her little knitted blanket April had sent with her on the passenger seat and away we went. Together – for the first time. On the ride home- she snuggled up and was a peach…calm and quiet. I asked her what a good name was… I went thru the list I had created…but then I asked if she was a Lena and the instant I said it- the naming process was over! No longer Roma- she is a Lena!  We then arrived in Quality Hill…took a stroll and got used to the new surroundings. Then to the apartment…. She wasn’t very interested in much. But she did eat a little and snuggled right up next to me on the couch. It was soon bedtime. In her crate she went. Not a sound, not a peep, not bark… all night long she slept…even though I did not… I was awake all night- waiting for her to cry, bark or yip. She could sit, lay down, stay and was crate trained and potty trained. Never an accident in my house…she was the holy grail of rescue dogs.

Can you resist this face?!

Never having a dog before… I had a lot to learn. I turned to none other than Lyndsey Higgins and Cesar Millan. Both experts in the field of dog raising. Lena got me on the track of walking every single, solitary day. Morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night. We go for short walks, and long walks.  Lena got her very own backpack- thanks Cesar for the suggestion… she wears it on our long walks…she carries my keys, her potty bags, and 2 cans of tuna.  She walks with a purpose and gets a great work out! She is my little backpacker!

Carrying her backpack on our walk!

Our first road trip took place the second weekend I had her… we traveled up to Lincoln, NE for the Zobel family reunion. She rode perfectly in the car. She was so excited to meet the crazy clan! After about 3 hours of fetch in Kevin and Michelle’s basement- we took her to the pet friendly hotel. Here was the test… a new crate, another new place and all new smells.  She played with “Grandma and Grandpa” Zobel… and then was a tuckered out girl. She went in her crate and slept all night long! What a delightful puppy. A weekend in the hotel was a success. Road trip home was equally as peaceful.

Sleeping Lena
Over the past few weeks Lena has met some new friends. Hank of course is her boyfriend… they play hard to get and sometimes they play a bit too nice and “easy” if you catch my drift! She also has a new friend in Devon’s boxer, Kingston. He lets Lena walk all over, around an on top of him! She is learning to be a good puppy with other dogs…
Lena and her pal, Hank

Then there are her people friends. She of course loves Devon, Lynds, my mom and my brothers… but I am pretty sure her 2 best friends are my co-worker Andrew and my Dad. Andrew plays with her for hours…and she always comes back for more. Then there is my dad… he walks her, he plays with her Tigger toy they bought her- and he even does the Tigger voice! She snuggles right up next to him. And her protector is my mom… whenever she is in trouble she runs right to “Grammie”…and always seems to get a treat!
Lena and Tigger!

She is the greatest addition to my world. She has changed my life. I walk/run every day. I have a wiggle worm that’s beyond excited to see me when I walk in my apartment. She is the greatest travel partner and has introduced me to new people and experiences.  And I must admit- she is quite the wonderful snuggle partner when she is worn out!
Better Together!!!

fall is upon us

...you know how i know fall is here? its not the sudden change in temperature...its not that it gets dark earlier...albeit those things help... but its this feeling i get. its tough to describe, but everything about me changes- i smile more, i'm nostalgic, i'm almost giddy! its my favorite time of year... the colors, the weather, the sweaters, HAWKEYE football, cozy blankets....they all bring back memories...amazing memories.

sure- fall is a busy time at work...but its the end of busy time...i see the days slowing down...with each combine delivery to iowa i know progress is being made. this year i like to think my fall began last weekend. my parents came to town. nothing was on the agenda- we just got to "BE" - it was truly wonderful. we ate, drank, laughed and spent hours playing with my new puppy, Lena! its so fun to live in KC and get to share it with my family and friends...we hit up some of my fave local spots- OK Joes BBQ, THE Quaff, Town Center and walking around Quality Hill with dad. one morning on our walks- i took dad to my favorite look out spot with Lena - crossing the bridge from Quality Hill to the Westside- by the FBI building.. you can see all of downtown KC and when the sun is coming up or going down it takes my breath away. the weekend flew by so fast. so many moments of calmness and utter peace. we already miss them.

but i also know fall is here when the weekends fill up... a football game here and there, college reunion and homecoming, girls weekends, trip to iowa for one last fire before the frost and snow settle in. those are all moments that i'm excited for and have marked on my calender.. but sometimes the greatest moments are those that are unexpected... like meeting a friend for a glass of red - sitting on the plaza looking out at a rainy fall evening and feeling a sense of calm. or maybe its the moment that took me by surprise- strolling through zona rosa with a friend and feeling like a day hadn't passed since we had last seen each other- coffee in hand and conversations meant only for each other.

fall always seems to bring more of the moments that i cherish...so cheers to the unofficial start of fall and to the moments and memories to make!