Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fun-Filled Fall (?) Weekend

Can you believe these temperatures?!  I think Mother Nature is a little confused...  It's the middle of October, and the temperatures are in the 80s!  Don't get me wrong: I'm not complaining!  It's so weird being able to go outside in skirts and tank-tops when it was snowing at this time last year!

Friday started off perfectly: we hit up Wellman's patio to start and then headed to Noah's Ark for dinner.  With the amount of alcohol we had consumed (oops), it was probably entirely inappropriate for us to dine at an old-fashioned family restaurant; I blame it on P, as I had never been there before and didn't know what to expect.  :)  We were absolutely famished by the time we got there, though, and I didn't even have a chance to take a picture of our fresh garlic, pineapple, and Canadian bacon pizza before devouring the entire thing - along with, oh, half a loaf of to-die-for focaccia bread.  After dinner, we headed to the classy Alpine, where I proceeded to have a full beer dumped on me.  Fun times, fun times.  And THEN...home in bed by 11:00!

I was up bright and early on Saturday, ate a bowl of Cheerios, read some of The Time Traveler's Wife, took a quick morning nap, and headed on an hour-long tour of Altoona, trying to find the soccer fields for my noon game.  At 11:57, I arrived, threw on my shin-guards and cleats, and pranced on the field - still in my oversized celebrity sunglasses.  Hot mess.  As usual, we lost the game, but it was probably the most fun game I've played the entire season: we were fairly equally matched, my feet weren't bothering me (thanks, Ibuprofen!), and we played decently well!  However, I realized it is very tiring playing an entire soccer game with no subs!  The rule is that each team must have four girls on the field at all times, or they have to play "man down."  Because we only had four girls for the game yesterday, we all had to play every single minute.  I was wiped.

After I recovered from a sweaty game, took a shower, and relaxed for all of fifteen minutes, I joined BFF and another friend at the World Food Festival in the East Village.

BFF and her friend had a tall table in the middle of all the action, right in front of the main stage, where as you can see below, Omega Dog was playing.  They were a totally fabulous band that we will definitely be checking out again.

After attempting a self-portrait, a kind older gentleman offered to take our picture for us.  Perhaps we should've switched spots with the photographer, as you can see the sun's position cast his shadow over us.  Oh well - I like it nevertheless.

There was a host of interesting individuals at the festival.  I didn't realize how many hippies Des Moines had!  :)  We ran into several people we knew: students, classmates, colleagues, and...the ex.  Not just the ex, but the ex with his family.  I debated letting his wife know that he called me at 3 a.m. that morning.  That could have been entertaining.

I have such a visceral reaction, an immense hatred toward him - this is such an abnormal feeling for me, as I have a really hard time even disliking anyone.  I am obviously angry with him for the way he treated me, lied to me (oh, by "divorce" you really mean "working things out"?), etc., but seeing him honestly just makes me want to throw up and/or gouge my eyes out.  He is just the most despicable person I have ever met.

But I digress.

One of the interesting people we met at the festival was a Senegalese musician.  Upon minutes of meeting me, he all but professed his undying love for me, but I was not at all interested until he started actually talking about himself, his culture, his ancestry, and all that fun stuff.  He is part of the Mandinko group and is descended from their last known king, Sundiata Keita.  I wish that I had had a recorder so that I could remember everything this young man was telling us, but alas, I will just have to research it myself.

One thing I found especially intriguing about him was his beliefs.  He talked a lot about "the Invisible Man," and when I appeared confused (which, um, I was), he asked if I had ever heard of voodoo.  He then proceeded to show me the amulets and other protective pieces he wears on his body at all times:

He was telling us that nothing can harm him when he has these pieces on: bullets, bombs, nothing.  Seeing his absolute, unwavering conviction was really awesome.  I really want to learn more about his culture and beliefs - library, here I come!

How gorgeous is this sunset?!

After leaving the festival - without eating any food (what were we thinking?!), we headed to...Dos Rios. Where else would we go on a Saturday?!  We enjoyed a relaxing, fun-filled evening on the patio sipping our Sangrias:

Today was an early day for me - probably because I was asleep by 11:30 for the second night in a row.  :)  I woke up at 7:30, ate breakfast

 and immediately started reading The Time Traveler's Wife.  I was bound and determined to finish it today because it was so freakin' good, and...I did!  Check out my review here.

I then headed to the dog park with BFF and her girls, Riley and Zoe.  We did a lap around the park and then camped out on our blankets while watching the pups frolic in the lake:

It was - quite literally - a picture-perfect day!  I hope I got some color - along with all of the slaps of wet tails and showers from doggies shaking off!

One of us (ahem, BFF) wanted a little grease for lunch, so we headed to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, La Hacienda.  It sure did the trick!  For once, I strayed from my normal meal (Vegetarian A) and opted for the beef chimichanga.  It was as delicious - and unhealthy - as it looks!  My plate was cleared, let me tell you!

After a nice, relaxing afternoon - including more reading, tanning, and errand-running, I met three of the most fabulous friends in the world at BFF's house for a most fantastic meal: Chicken Bryan:

Honestly.  Look at that.  Sauteed spinach.  Garlic bread.  Chicken with sun-dried tomatoes.  And goat cheese.  And lemon butter sauce.  O...M...G.

After watching a TIVO'd episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (do I really need more trashy reality TV to be roped into?!), BFF sent us on our ways with our very own loaves of...get ready for it...pumpkin cheesecake bread.  Seriously?!

Please disregard the kitty nose: he wanted a taste, too.  And wasn't shy about "asking."
Okay: I'm off to scour my bookshelves for my next read.  Any suggestions?

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