Monday, July 26 2021

crowds, rock music, and a ferocious strike

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody, and happy Monday. It's nice to be here today. I hope you're finding some semblance of peace in this Monday morning, whether it's the beautiful day, a fresh start, or just a hot cup of coffee.

I've missed you all. I took a whole two days off of blogging, and though it felt kind of weird to keep the old journal so far out of mind for so long, it was nice to have so much time for other things in the evening. This weekend, I tried to live in the moment. I set out to enjoy time with Marissa, Rodney, and Miles. We partook in a good mix of working, playing, and doing absolutely nothing. It was a full weekend, and we have a lot to catch up on.

Sip. The theme of this weekend was crowds. It feels weird to say that, coming out of a pandemic, but this weekend we first-hand witnessed how eager people feel to get back out into the world to do fun things. I don't blame them - that's kind of why we were out too.

On Friday, we met up with Alex and Cassie for dinner. We planned on finding an outdoor table by the terrace to catch up and take in the relaxing summer evening scene by the water. But we were unlucky enough to plan this alongside a Steely Dan concert. People flooded the streets. The parking garages were overrun. To a midwestern college town half populated by middle aged alumni, Steely Dan had the crowd stirred into a frenzy as if they were the Rolling Stones.

We had no choice but to find a place to sit inside a nearby food court. We'd find refuge in a little round table in the middle of another flock of people gathered to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics on a projector screen. But hot tater tots, pizza, and beer made us feel more settled in, and we had a nice conversation into the night.

"We had better get out of here before it gets Rowdy," said Alex. "People usually start pouring out of the bars around 9:30."

"It's 9:30?" gasped Marissa. She glanced down at Miles, who was nodding off in his stroller. We parted ways, traversed all four levels of the parking garage, and headed toward are car in the back corner. While I carried Miles, Marissa put Rodney in the stroller and sprinted with him across the pavement.


Miles and I watch while Rodney and Marissa have one last burst of late night silliness.

After sleeping the late night off into Saturday morning, we finally emerged to check out Atwoodfest. The yearly neighborhood festival was finally returning after taking a year off for COVID, and even its modest one day comeback would pale in comparison to the all weekend block party that used to fill the streets. In fact it was so small this year, we had trouble finding it. Winding through the empty streets following the sound of rock music, we finally encountered a small crowd gathered in front of an outdoor stage. The local cover band Steely Dane was jamming out under a banner emblazoned with the words WE MISSED YOU.


Atwoodfest (light)

Crowds make some people uneasy, but sometimes I think I draw energy from them. Seeing the small crowd at Atwoodfest made me feel a pang of love for my neighborhood. Tattoos, leather, piercings, cigarettes - they're not the most beautiful people in the world, but they might be the most fun.

Rodney's eyes lit up while we wandered the crowd. He slammed the rest of his bug juice, and the sugar all at once hit his blood stream and compelled him to dance.


Rodney swigs bug juice at the Festival.

When we had our fill of walking through the crowd (which didn't take long), we bought some grilled sandwiches, a few beers, and squatted on a quiet curb around the corner from the music. Eating greasy food with a beer outside and taking in the scenery - that's what summer festivals are all about.


We even stopped for icecream on the way home. Rodney ate his icecream cone vigorously.


Rodney plunging into a "superhero" flavored icecream cone.

In other news, we had an unexpected spider feeding session over the weekend. Thinking Spidey was due for a live entertaining takedown, I gathered the family into the bedroom to watch.

"He's hungry," I warned them. "He hasn't eaten anything in a whole week. He's going to go crazy on this worm."

I plopped the worm in the box. Spidey didn't move. Using the tongs, I inched the worm closer to his body. Spidey scurried up his plastic plant in fear.


Spidey suffering from performance anxiety.

Next, I tried to feed the tiny worm to Karta. She didn't want to eat either, but her burrow strategy proved to be a much more effective escape plan than Spidey's.


Karta retreats from the scary worm into her burrow.

"I guess we'll just cut it up and give it to glassy," I sighed. That was when Glassy, the underdog of the evening, finally gave us the ferocious strike that we were all hoping for.

OK, maybe not ferocious. But knowing we were all hoping for a show, he tried his best and that alone is deserving of applause. Great work Glassy.

What a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by today - have a great Monday, everyone.