Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just me and the popcorn.

Dear 27,
Solo movie today. (yep. that's popcorn.) Although the movie wasn't super, but I movied alone. 
Then naps. Lots of naps. And Veronica Mars. She's really taken over my weekend with a cold. When I'm less sniffly I'll write more about the conquering of the list.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

27 and a half.

Dear 27,
Six months into this blog, this list, this year of life and I'm celebrating.
(With a cake I baked myself. From flour and not a Pilsbury box. Also. I am no good at frosting. Cool the cake first. Baking takes patience.)
This year has been full of firsts. So much newness and adventure-documenting, that at times, I've even impressed myself. (That statement will be criticized by "blog lesson #1" shortly.)

In celebration of my 100th post and my half birthday and my 6 months of loyal blogging--
Here are a few things I've learned:
  1. A blog is an exercise in vanity, true. But it can also be a way to connect with people, a way to have a little life history written, and a hell-of-a-way to get yourself to try doing cool and exciting things. (If for no other reason that to make for an interesting post.)
  2. Lists motivate, infuriate, and excite. This particular one has added more stress and joys to my normal existence than I ever thought possible.
  3. I'm full of strength. I have the ability to make use of nearly all of the 24 hours in a day. But most importantly, I overuse parenthesis. 
  4. Nonsensical blog titles are the best. 
  5. I can bake. If I pay attention. Actually, if I pay attention I tend to be better at most things.
  6. Des Moines (and my life in general) are filled with extraordinary people who will road trip with you to a concert on a Tuesday, tell you the Manhattan you mixed was great even if it was terrible and remind you there's list items to complete while sending suggestions of how to do so. My friends are fantastic. 
  7. I have 6 months left to read over 20 books. In the time I've spent blogging about my lack of reading, I surely could have finished at least 2 books.
My love letter continues. Thank you for reading along. 
Here's a little song of appreciation. 
Happy 27.5!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Dear 27,
Drove up to Ankeny to hit up Topped Doughnuts. I picked up more than my fair share of sugary delights-- one of which was coated with a maple glaze and crumbled bacon + a red velvet doughnut that tasted better than cake. I knew bacon was good on basically anything, but on a doughnut? I was terrific.
I'd say the "plan free day of rest" list item was accomplished on 1.5 days this weekend. A rather slow and lovely weekend in LP land. Looking forward to a big week to end November.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What if it was an actual parade of wolves?*

Dear 27,
A Thursday night road trip to Iowa City for a band of Canadian rockers: Wolf Parade. "What a bodacious name!"  After a brief dinner at Quinton's where a table of dudes were talking about Alex Mack, we headed next door to the theater where a gentleman in a tuxedo with tails was manning the door. The Englert, while an odd place to hold a show where everyone is standing (the band referenced how quiet the place was between songs-- we Iowans are a respectful bunch-- and that the orchestra pit kept people about 8 feet from the stage front), it is a beautiful venue. I hadn't been inside the place since the 2005 New Horizons Band Spring Concert. That show was nearly as rowdy as this one.
An eclectic crowd only Iowa City could produce filled the theater for Ogre you asshole of Japan who had the denim-clad-hoodie-wearing-scarf-accessorized crowd hipster-bobbing their heads (that's what I've titled that dance, Will.) The man next to me, in his full length sparkly patchwork denim jacket with leopard printed pants noodle-danced with the very-pregnant woman next to him. *There was considerable talk of what a real wolf parade would be like. Sounds awesome and terrifying. Much like the man next to me.
Wolf Parade played a set (Want a copy of the set list? Ask Tim.) that had the crowd on their feet for the whole show. Sounding a bit like Modest Mouse + David Bowie, that keyboard player in the middle, who looks a little like Jack Black, sang like there was a whole choir in his mouth. It was really incredible. Thanks for the invite/peer pressure-- It was a rockin' good time.
Too bad we couldn't stay- Paula Cole is playing tonight.("oh I know your back hurts from workin' on the tractor." That's a real line from "Where have all the Cowboys Gone." I am not sure how your brain stores up lyrics of songs you haven't heard in years. I'll ask the neurologist about that.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Halfway through YESvember.

Dear 27,
YESvember has been a busy month, but I've managed to make a dent in the list. 
Let me give you a couple updates.
2-  Create my font
This one was a fail- no scanner and no time meant no font entry with DesignSponge. You can see the finalists on the site. I'll post my entry (when I finish it) and we can decide if it was finalist worthy. We'll take a vote of my 26 readers. Watch for that in the coming weeks.

8-  Read DRIVE.
Not only am I reading the book-- but I get to hear Daniel Pink speak in December.

16- Participate in a human pyramid.
I'm looking for volunteers to assemble this. Perhaps it will happen ON the Center Street Bridge or during dinner at the Flying Mango?

19- Find Templeton Rye. Order a manhattan.
Amy and Tim both informed me that this could be tougher than I thought. Looks like the next batch isn't out until December, but I haven't given up hope. 

22- See Da Vinci @ SCI.
Thinking I'll get there this weekend. Who's with me?

27- Annual LP handmade holiday cards.
Send me your mailing address if you want to be on the recipient list.

Much left to do in the next 14 days. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poof we had a good time.

Dear 27,
A mountain of a weekend in Denver with two of my oldest friends (not old like old, but old like long time friends). The city showed us a great time and we had the kindest hostess.

While I didn't do an outdoorsy walk in the brisk weather, we did hike through the Coors Brewery. It counts. And here's the long awaited pic of me and a mountain.
We ate some serious dinners (including a night of Sexy Pizza and binging on sequin covered clothing), laughed about high school stories and made new friends. I might be exaggerating on the "made new friends" part, but I did draw a get-well-soon card for someone at Argyll whilst sipping a Booker's Manhattan and talking about snail-mail with the manager. That's friendly, not weird at all. If you go to Argyll, and I think you should Denver readers and visitors, get the stuffed dates. They are delicious.
Rebec and Lindsay, the long weekend was something fierce. See you soon friends.

ps- YESvember list update tomorrow!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Dear 27,
In Denver. So far I'd say the city and I are getting along quite well. I'm having a whale of a good time. Does this count as a picture with a mountain?

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Play(list) Maker.

Dear 27,
In the big year of the blog and the list I've been thinking a lot about the lifetime bucket list, not just in this one year of 27. "What do I want to be when I grow up?" is an ever-reoccuring question (in addition to, "how will I ever be able to muster up the guts to give blood this year?" and "I wonder if I'll actually buy a new car before the Focus quits on me?" and "Wow. I really should be reading more." I realize the third isn't really a question, but I know we're all thinking it. 27 books.)
Yesterday I stumbled upon this article on the (most wonderful) NY Times music site. What an awesome job Mr. Jones has-- putting together the playlists for Starbucks
Here's the playlist he compiled for the Times feature. These are the songs Mr. Jones picked to be "...sipped and savored in the chill and brilliant heart of fall."

Feeling inspired by Mr. Jones and Starbucks music and the jobs no one has ever thought of. Now. For my picks. Because while I'm not the music picker (seriously, what an awesome job) for Starbucks, I do live my days to an internal playlist.

What would be on your coffee house playlist? 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It was a BreAdventure.

Dear 27,
I am not a baker. It's debatable if I could call myself a cook, but a baker I certainly am not. I don't follow recipes well, in the kitchen or in life. So as I set out to complete the Yesvember list, seeing the 2 flour fueled tasks (both bread and a cake) made me shake in my apron. But spoon in hand, disposable bread pans at my side I tackled the challenge.
Sunday, November 7th isn't officially homemade bread day, but for me it was bake five loaves of bread day. I used four different recipes: Banana Bread, Buttermilk Bread, Raisin Bread, and a Cinnamon Swirl Bread. (Overkill, yes. I guess I just decided I needed to use all the buttermilk today.) Only one of the recipes used yeast, the raisin bread, and it was the most difficult with the resting and the rising and the need for a mixer and me not having one. But wow. I impressed myself with that Raisin bread. Hands down the best bread of the four. Probably all the resting and rising and no mixer.
One more thing-- It was World Run Day today-- and awesomely beautiful outside. Before the baking began I made the most of this November hotness and participated with a short jog. (Let's be real, I messed up running the 5k, a "short jog" is really as good as it gets in LPland.)
Week 2 of Yesvember is off and running.

Thankfully I get two turkeys.

Dear 27,
I love Thanksgiving. It's probably my favorite holiday. Family getting together to eat a bunch and sit around the table for hours. 23 lbs of turkey, 8 of my favorite people, a full table and lots of jokes-- Des Moines thanksgiving was a success.
 It was a like a dress rehearsal for the main event in a few weeks. Thanks for hosting, Ashley!
Many Yesvember items left to complete this weekend. Good thing I have an extra hour.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Puck Yes.

Dear 27,
Hockey time. The group-sales Mike helped me put together a great group of friends (nearly 25 people) for last night's Bucs (with one c) game. There was even a welcome message on the ticket window. "Palmer Party" signs always indicate a good time. That and $2 20oz beers. Wildcat Den would have been proud.
Ran into the mascot. Wouldn't you know it, we wore the same outfit. Guess I was a Bucs fan all along.
Too bad I didn't throw the eye patch I have in with my bag of popcorn, pop-tarts and camera before leaving the house. We were welcomed on the video board (or at least I'm going to guess it was our Palmer Group and not The Palmer Group of West Des Moines.) We did get a shout out from the announcer though, who thanked the "Laura Palmer Group" for attending.
There were no serious fights, there was a lot of rowdy hollers from our group as the Bucs continued to score. There were no "flying pucks" in our section, thankfully. I'd say my first trip to Bucs arena was a (buc)wild success. Although there were much bigger hockey fans than I in the crowd, I had a super time and might even see another game before the season ends.
Thanks to the Palmer Party for joining me. We were easily the best looking people there.

ps- Read my friend Brianne's recap of Buc Night (complete with a much more wonderful pic of the Buc mascot and her newly crocheted scarf.) 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Garam Masala.

Dear 27,
Although we're only three days into our relationship, November and I have done quite a lot together. There was the voting we did on Tuesday. I was #310 at the little elementary school where I filled in my circles. While I was pretty disappointed in my fellow Iowans after the results came in, I do love voting. I just wish more people voted with an informed opinion. And that there were I voted stickers and the little red-white-blue curtains around the booths.
Then there is the Indian Food making + eating night with the KarenBrady. Having never eaten Indian Food, I didn't know what to expect, but KarenBrady and I conquered a whole heap of somosas. Our instructor was soft spoken (so we missed a few directions along the way) but we managed to put together about 75 somosas during the 3 hour class. The blend of spices our instructor put together for her garam masala was fragrant (like all over your clothes and hair fragrant, into your living room fragrant, woke up still smelling it fragrant) and seasoned the lamb stuffing mixture perfectly.    
We also were able to taste several savory dishes: (and smell) chicken wings, fried vegetable patties (it was like a crab cake but with peas and carrots and mushy bread fried golden brown, my description sounds sick, but it was really quite good, and our instructor's favorite dish), bell pepper and potato fritters (I'm blaming the cooks for this debacle). Then there were the sweet treats, most of which were puddings: rice, carrot and something else. KarenBrady and I adored, however, the rose balls (we laughed too): Gulab Jamun
Please note how serious I am about frying somosas.
November is full of adventures-- more to report soon. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Every good list needs a soundtrack.

Dear 27,

And while this one doesn't include the best songs, it's themed. And really that's all that matters.

Return of the Yesvember.

Dear 27,
Six months through my 27th year and it's time for another challenge.
I'm apparently obsessed with lists.
27 challenges. 31 days. One month of Yes. (Because NOvember needs an antidote.)

Here's the list:
1-  Send 27 postcards.
2-  Create my font.
3-  Bake a cake from scratch to celebrate 27.5.
4-  Vote.
5-  Enjoy Mary Poppins.
6-  Celebrate Homemade Bread Day on November 17th (or sometime this month-- make bread).
7-  Rock out to live music.
8-  Read DRIVE.
9-  Take my picture with a mountain.
10- Finally see that movie alone.
11- Peek inside the Basilica of St. John.
12- Host a themed dinner party.
13- Try Indian Food.
14- Walk across the Center Street Bridge.
15- Visit Topped Doughnuts.
16- Participate in a human pyramid.
17- Go to a Bucs game.
18- Make a dazzling dish for Family Thanksgiving.
19- Find Templeton Rye. Order a manhattan.
20- Hike.
21- Read another book.
22- See Da Vinci @ SCI.
23- World Run Day.
24- Gray's Lake.
25- Eat at the Flying Mango.
26- Try a day of plan-free rest.
27- Annual LP handmade holiday cards.

Follow along this month to see just how much I can cross off.
If you want to be part of the adventure-- let me know!