I'm Not Perfect

12.23.05 - What Could Have Made Aimee Update?

     My birthday? Nope. How about my promotion? Not so much. A lovely vacation to Duluth and the Boundary Waters? Try again. Getting engaged? Almost. The rudest people I have ever encountered at the King Kong matinee? I was tempted.
     So, what prompted this update after five and a half long months? This house…

I found it while I was browsing online. From the front, it looks like a cozy, maybe even charming home. Nice big trees and beautiful brick. But walk around back and…

It's kind of barren looking. Cement slabs boxing in a small, sparse grassy area. With a little work, it might be okay. Let's check out the inside…

The room looks okay at first glance… but then, that fireplace and mantle. If you can even call it a mantle. On to the kitchen…

Blue plush carpet in the kitchen? You can tell it is blue from where the diner style table has been moved from the position it's been in for years. The cupboards make me think of a haunted house. And the wallpaper? Next…

Who could sleep in this redroom... er... bedroom? That carpet is something else. Surely, the bathroom can't be that bad…

I can't even put together an idea in my head as to what era any of these styles were popular. Altogether, I thought it was pretty funny. Any of you complaining about your décor, just be thankful you don't have this to deal with. I sure gained a whole new appreciation for our plain apartment.

     Okay, with that out of the way… Since my last update, I turned 24. Not really anything special about that. I was promoted at the Science Center of Iowa from Science Theater Actor to Outreach Coordinator. I'm full time with benefits like health care and paid vacation… I'm living the life! In January and February I will be on the road for 32 days doing 50 free Simply Electrifying shows sponsored by MidAmerican Energy. That will be fun. What else? Andy and I got engaged. There isn't any incredibly romantic story to go behind the engagement. But I can tell you that we are very happy about it. We're planning on getting married in June. Haven't done a whole lot of planning besides watching Bridezilla to get ideas of what not to do. And finally, King Kong!! What would an Aimee update be without some complaining? Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the movie, which I thought was wonderful and everyone should see it in the theater. Just don't go to a matinee at the Merle Hay Mall Cinema. The time and place didn't make it a bad experience, just the other people who chose to go to the same show. There were these two 40ish women (you'll find out why I'm not calling them ladies) sitting a few rows behind us. They talked (not whispered) through most of the movie. I turned around several times and said things like "Shhhhh!" "Please, Be Quiet!!" "SHHHHHHHH!!!!" and "Okay, seriously, can you PLEASE BE QUIET, WE ARE TRYING TO WATCH A MOVIE!!!!!" I also tried not so subtly covering my ear closest to them and giving them the death stare. After most of these attempts, they either talked a little bit louder or belched. Real mature! I mentioned something to Andy about introducing myself to them after the movie and thanking them for ruining it for me. Well, now the credits are rolling and I say to Andy "Those are probably the rudest people I have ever encountered." Just as I finished the statement, the one woman who was doing most of the talking leaned forward and said "I'm sorry if you could hear us talking, my voice must carry more than I thought. I missed the first 15 minutes of the movie and she was just trying to get me caught up. You should have turned around sooner." First of all, she was trying to get you caught up on the first 15 minutes during the climax of the movie?? Just accept it and move on! Secondly, sooner? Sooner than 20 minutes into a 3+hour movie? To which I replied "Thank you for apologizing. I appreciate that." And then added in my head "You liar!" SIGH!!! I've decided I'm buying out a movie theater the next time I want to see a movie on the big screen.
      Also, Happy Holidays to everyone. Be safe as you are traveling and cooking. You know that 90% of baking accidents happen within 3 feet of the oven.

07.05.05 - I "Love" Independence Day

     While I understand that the words "the bombs bursting in air" are sung in our very own national anthem, I don't understand how throwing M-80s over a balcony without looking (and very possibly hitting a passerby) is celebrating our country's independence. Neither do I understand how buying fireworks in Missouri or South Dakota and illegally setting them off in your driveway in urban Des Moines is a tribute to the signing of the Declaration. Don't get me wrong, I love fireworks, I was sorely disappointed when Sioux City didn't have any last year. The 4th of July even used to be my favorite holiday, but for some reason I don't like being kept awake until all hours of the night (or in this year's case 4 nights in a row) by neighbors shooting off firecrackers, fireworks and bottle rockets. I never remember having such a problem with this, not in Ames, Marshalltown or LPC. Sure, there were the few here and there, but nothing like what has been happening in good ol' Des Moines. The firecrackers start in the early evening and the noise continues until well after midnight. It was annoying to try and watch television... couldn't hear it without blasting the volume and it was downright dangerous for us to go on a walk. Yeah, remember that M-80 I mentioned earlier...
      Anyway, enough ranting. I'm just going to have to make sure I'm not in the USA next time freedom day rolls around. So, its been a while for those of you who actually check my site to see if I've update. What all has happened? Let start with March. The end of that month was when the old Science Center closed its doors, complete with a pendulum cutting ceremony. And then the teardown and cleanup began. I lifted tree trunks (like the one smashing the car in the T-Rex photos below) onto my shoulders to carry them out to the dumpster and threw out a metric ton of crazy sciencey things. Then the focus was on getting prepared for the new building. After learning how to run planetarium shows and all of the programs at the old Science Center in 3 months (we only had two shows that carried over to the new building), we had to memorize 3 Science Theater Scripts each about 20 - 25 minutes long, learn I'm guessing around 50 or so new demos and pocket sciences and learn how to run all of the A/V equipment including the Star Theater and John Deere Adventure Theater. Cake, right? So, we had several members only shakedowns to try to figure out what was working and what wasn't.   And the building wasn't even completely finished. The week before we were to open we had a series of preview events for teachers, people in the tourism business, members of the media, donors and schools. On the day that we had the school event, I performed one of the plays without having had a dress rehearsal, tech rehearsal or even a full runthrough onstage. And the theatre didn't have its curtains yet. So it was a fun one. Also that week, Tommy and I joined forces and became the "Leaky Faucet Improv Troup" for the Iowa Water Festival. We gave 6 or 7 performances throughout the day and each one had upwards of 200 people in the audience. A couple of times we even had a packed house, I'm guessing somewhere around 325? It was a blast and I was just recognized the other day as the crazy lady from the Water Festival... so mission accomplished. Then we opened up the new Science Center of Iowa and we've been a pretty popular place ever since. I'm supposedly getting the Outreach Coordinator position that used to be Tommy's until he decided to move to Florida and become a vet.
     Mid-April Andy and I went on a trip to Minneapolis to see the Timberwolves play and to relax in the Twin Cities. It was a really fun trip. We ate at some really good restaurants and met up with some high school friends of Andy's. We even played hit and run softball with his brother and checked out the competition at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Timberwolves vs Nuggets. Garnett and Hoiberg on the court.

It was a great game. Too bad the T-Wolves lost by inches.

We had beautiful weather for our trip. Walked for a bit on the riverfront near the Science Museum of Minnesota.

     In brother news, Ben graduated from high school on May 22nd. Congrats!!! I went down for the Commencement ceremonies and his grad party at dad's house. The next week I went home for mom's party for Ben and after the wonderful festivities my car was only running on a 3 kid motor long enough to get it into the garage at my mom's house. So Ben was nice enough to loan me his truck for about a month before I found a 2002 Saturn SL1. It was bought with a loan from my mom. Thanks, Mom!!!!!! You're the best ever!!!!!! I'm so thankful to have a family that helps out when you need it. Anyway, Ben is living at the pool this summer; teaching swim lessons, guarding and coaching swim team. In the fall, he will be attending Iowa Central Community College. I'm very proud of him!
     In June, my brothers and I held a joint birthday party. We went disc golfing in the afternoon and survived the hot sun. Then we had a barbeque in the evening with plenty of good food and even survived the several short downpours. There were some people there that I hadn't seen in a long time. It was definitely a lot of fun!
     I've also discovered my love of Indian food. A friend at work, Teresa, would go on and on about how wonderful the food was at a place called India Star. So, Andy and I made plans to meet her there for dinner one night and she was able to suggest stuff on the menu and tell us about each dish. And it was delicious, I had Alu Gobhi, a potato and cauliflower dish, and Andy had curry chicken. We split some vegetable samosas and naan (Indian flatbread). We've only been back one other time but we don't eat out that often.
     Lucky has been keeping us entertained by singing, cooing and performing acrobatics on the bird tree we built him. He was really scared of the tree at first but soon warmed up to it. We've got plenty of toys on there to keep him busy.
     Well, I guess that'll do it for this update. Next one in another 3 months or so... Come visit me at the new Science Center.

03.11.05 - I Work With Dinosaurs

     Most of you know that I work at the Science Center of Iowa. We're about 2 months away from moving into our brand new building. Until we close the doors on March 28th, we have the privilege to work with dinosaurs. Andy came to visit one Friday and took some pictures, which I will now share.

The Foucault Pendulum. Don't panic... it's making the move.

The full-size T-Rex. We call her Fluffie, so the little kids aren't so scared.

The baby T-Rex. Never far from his mother's side in the Main Gallery.

The Allosaurus busting through a wall.

A Deinonychus attacking it's victim and apparently surfin' the web at the same time. Who said dinosaurs couldn't multi-task?

This Utahraptor found himself a snack.

The Anklyosaurus is the only plant eater in the Main Gallery.
Good thing he has all that armor!

This is the dinosaur nursery in Windsor Gallery. This room full of less scary dinos is where the singing palentologist puts on the "Dinosaur Hunter" show.

Big Mama Parasaurolophus.

Older Brother Parasaurolophus.

And the newest additions to the family.

The baby Protoceratops and the Velociraptor locked in a battle.

Who needs security when you have a Triceratops sitting by the front door?

The inner workings of the dinos. You can control this one with joysticks.

Professor Miranda Skywriter, the Certifiably Peculiar Astronomer,
after a performance of "Time Trek: Dawn of the Dinosaurs."

During a presentation of "Cold Blooded Critters."

I have a Red Rat Snake (Corn Snake) in my hands. I call him Bricks because there is a Post-it note on top of his cage that says "Don't Forget Bricks" that's referring to the 2 bricks that weigh the lid down. I thought it was a reminder to get the snake before the program started.

     That's the quick tour of the current SCI. You will all have to come to Des Moines and check out the new SCI when it opens May 14th. Here's a map.

02.24.05 - I'm Back And Better Than Ever!

     So, long time no blog. And if you hadn't noticed or checked my page recently enough to remember... I've done a little updating. New hues, same old bragging about my brother.
     I haven't updated since before Christmas, so I'll get you caught up. I have a new iBook G4, it's a great little computer. Lucky is doing just fine. Andy has included some recent Lucky pictures on his website. And our heater broke once again this winter. Right around the time that our heater (in a different apartment, in a different city) broke last year. It wasn't nearly as bad and there were no casualties. And that's it really. I got some cool presents for Christmas and rang in the New Year at home.
     Work at the Science Center is going very well. In fact, the only thing I can complain about is not getting enough hours. The past few weeks have been pretty full, but I could use as many hours as they'll give me. I went on my first site tour of the new SCI loction last Friday before making the trip to Ames for All-State and it's going to be awesome.
     Speaking of Ben, I must congratulate him on his All-State Large Group Speech appearances. I would like to say how proud I am of him and the rest of the Union speech kids. I will be editorializing about a few things that went on later, but for now... CONGRATS!!! Ben's ensemble acting group including Austin Lyons, Jake Connor, Gene Forrester and Ray Werner did an outstanding job and picked up the Critic's Choice Award. Ben wrote " Lord of the Rings: A Parody" with the help and input of his team. Union also took 3 musical theatre entries to All-State. "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" was performed by Ben, Austin Lyons, Duncan Marshall, Jenny Connolly, Steph Thiel and Leah Schmitz. "Veggie Tales" was performed by Josie Kennicott, Katie Kennicott, Lydia Beck, Casey Crosser, Brian Kelly and Kevin Tadych. "Wicked" was performed by Lindsay Wilson, Amanda Juhl, Lacy Shileny, Kassidy Lyons, Rory Hennessey and Bill Hilmer. "Wicked" nabbed the banner, but all 3 of the musical theatre entries were very entertaining and energetic.
     Now, my editorial... I would just like to start out by saying a big "THANK YOU!!" to the best 2 teachers I never had, Mr. Mitchell and Mrs. Roberson. The both of you have done so much to build up the confidence and talent in the Union kids. They could never have gotten this far without you. It is a little upsetting to me that someone can just come in and take credit for all of your hard work. A certain individual, who shall remain nameless, has done just that. Not only that but she is taking the credit for the kids' hard work too. This "coach" watched the LOTR Parody twice and gave a few suggestions that were not actually used by the students and all of the sudden she is the co-director of the piece. (If that is what it takes to co-direct, then I would have more claim to co-direction of LOTR Parody, because I watched it twice and gave suggestions that they actually used.) But I have no right to do that, nor do I want to... These kids worked their tails off on this piece, in fact, a week before District contest, they had to coax 2 members of the team back after they quit, so they wouldn't have to pay the drop fee. And while she was present for the musical theatre rehearsals, she was only riding on the wave of the already established greatness of these teachers and kids. I have heard rumors that a few individuals who were extremely involved with Speech are being nudged out of the picture. For what? So she can be the hero? There will be no hero if she doesn't allow Mr. Mitchell and Sra help out. There will be no parental support, no hosting contest... because these 2 people do so much in the organization of these events. I only hope that they will get to continue to be involved because the students are the ones that will lose out. They could be offered another position where they would get to do the things they love and keep on inspiring students to reach for their dreams. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen. Again, thanks to those 3 individuals and the parents and friends of the Union kids. Keep up the great work, I am so lucky to have been entertained by you!
     Enough of that... stay tuned for color pictures from All-State and results of Individual contest.

12.07.04 - Aimee Got Job!!!

     That's right, folks!! I have achieved a state of employment... well, almost... I start on Monday if my background checks come back flawless. I landed a position as a Science Theatre Actor at the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines. So, that means my days of TLC watching, dishwashing, couch potatoeing and errand running are over... or at least reduced. I'm only part-time as of right now, but that might change sometime in the future. And that is the most exciting thing for me at the moment.
     I spent the two days wedged around Thanksgiving, and the day itself, in Duluth, MN with Andy and his family. I had a wonderful time. It was a little colder and the walks are a little steeper than here in Des Moines, but the food was great and there was plenty of it. I was a very well taken care of vegetarian. We brought Lucky with us and it was a long ride for all three of us, but well worth it.
     On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I went to Fort Dodge and celebrated the holiday with my mom's side of the family. I was also fed very well here and took home plenty of leftovers. Spent time with my crazy and fun family and I got to meet Kiwi (or KeeWee) however they spell it, my grandparents new Daschund puppy. Her mom was a short-haired mini Daschund and her dad was a long-haired Daschund. She's a super cute, very playful, warm and cuddly puppy.
     Went to Ames last Friday to hang out with my cousin, Holly. She was celebrating finishing her second test in that many days and I was celebrating my new job offer. We got some ice cream and shopped a little bit. We went back to her place and chilled out. I felt like I was back in college again. It was great.
     I just beat Aaron in Fantasy Football. I thought I was a goner when Keyshawn Johnson had only 2 receptions in the 3rd quarter Monday night. He was the only player left out of both of our lineups and I needed at least 8 points to pull of the victory. I guess he came up with some pretty sweet stuff at the end because he ended up with 17. Look out Cody, my team is on a two game winning streak. Sadly, that's the longest winning streak of the season for me.
     Lucky is being pretty good. A few days ago, he went on a biting streak... protecting the PS2 controller and the VCR remote. So we put him back in his cage and shut the door. He was going nuts and trying to find a way out. He was clinging to the door, walking on the floor, checking under his food and water dishes... He actually figured out how to open the little door above his food dish and banged it open and shut a bunch of times, but never managed to get out. He calmed down and went up into his swing for a while. We let him out later and he's been a very good bird since then. He took a long shower yesterday and had so much fun.
     I am going back to LPC this weekend to watch my little brother perform with the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony. The Union Carolers is a small group of a cappella singers from Union and they sing at various Christmas parties and events in the area. The winter concert is the next day, so I am staying for that as well. It should be a nice trip home, if the weather cooperates.
     That's all of my sort of lengthy, pictureless update. Hopefully I won't wait so long for my next update.

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