of downtown, lunch, and other such things

Today, my alarm went off at 6:30am. I actually did pull myself out of bed and looked outside. It wasn't raining. So I went and stood outside the back door for a bit to see if I really did want to go for a run. I did. So I put on my shoes and went off. I didn't go quite as far as last time, but I didn't expect to. It was really awesome, the sun was rising, and even though it was super humid, it wasn't quite as hot out. People continued to give me insane looks, it was kinda amusing.

After my run, I took a shower, had some cereal and did my Bible reading outside. It was really nice weather. I've decided it's probably the best part of the day here.

Oh dear. Power's dipping. There must be a thunderstorm not far away! ... yup, I can hear it now.

I can't tell you how much lack of motivation I have to write this right now. Staying away since 5pm (today) has been the biggest struggle of my life, it's ridiculous. How I've managed to still be awke now is amazing to me.

After awhile, I walked into the downtown area, stopping first in the library to get a library card. Ha, the librarian was kinda intense about giving me the library card:
Librarian: you live here? you got proof?
Me: uhh, I just moved in with my relatives.
Librarian: oh, ok, well, we'll have to send you your library card then.
Me: um, ok?
Librarian: oh, and this phone number is long distance, so is it alright if we email you when you have a reserve or when an item is over due?
Me: yeah, that's totally fine.
....so funny.

Then I walked around downtown, taking lots of pictures. They have this thing called the Iowa Walk of Fame, which is where they have bricks on the sidewalk of a map of Iowa with a famous person's name and a star with the town they're from.

I went into a few shops. Some are cutsie little boutiques. One was a clothing store full of old ladies trying to pick out colors that they should wear to some relative's wedding up near the city by a pond.

Shenandoah wants to be a tourist town, but it soooo isn't. I almost got hit by grandma on more than one occasion. They were at stop signs! I was at the cross walk, one would think (especially coming from tourist-central [aka Hood River]) that people would stop when you want to cross. But no. They don't. I mean, really. In a town of 6,000, I'm probably the one tourist, so why should they care?

Also, I went into a few shops


*ahem*... I went into a few shops and actually got to talking to some of the people who worked in them. Mostly because I was their only customer and they were more than interested in assisting me. I talked to them and said I just moved here (people don't understand the concept of "just visiting for the summer" so it's either: "I'm just visiting" or "I just moved here") and we got to talking about life in Shenandoah, they're all very welcoming and want to know what I'm doing out here and such. It was cool. Then I went into a more trendy boutique and got to talking to the girl in there. Her name is Amber, she's 23 and lives in a town not far from here. We got to talking (more of the same, but also about meeting people and hanging out with ppl our age), and she gave me her number and said she'd love to hang out, and mentioned some other people around our age in the area. Super exciting. I was going to call her tonight, but I'm just too tired to care at the moment. Perhaps tomorrow. She also said that I'm more than welcome to come by the store she works at any time because she works every day and often gets bored (I just want to say, that this reminded me of Jill b/c I used to visit her at Anana's a lot, although this store wasn't quite so intense as Ananas, just mainly trendy).

I went into the Donut Stop and the gal said "All we got is day'olz" cool, no problem. I don't really care. So I got myself a chocolate glazed bar (called a longjohn apparently) for 35 cents. Very good.

Then I went into the Nishnabotna Cafe (Nishnabotna is the river that flows just north of town (and just north of the farmhouse... there's also a really cool bridge that goes over it on part of the Wabash Trace bike trail). I thought it was the coffee place I'd seen online, but it was really just a diner. It reminded me of The Ranch. Walking in, there was an entry way full of business cards and local announcements. Then I walked into the place proper. It was filled - filled - with retired and working farmers from the area. They all looked up when I walked in. Yup, I'm a sore thumb, but I don't mind. I walked over to the counter and sat down, struck up a conversation with the waitress as she handed me the two-sided, plastic-sleeve covered paper menu (love small diners in small towns). I got distracted by the place instead of looking at my menu. There were so many cute sayings on the wall, so many old things like a super old fridge (still in use), calendars and football schedules from the 50s, in addition to the people. Everyone was talking to everyone. Not just people knowing about the happenings of town, but actively talking about everything with each other from across tables and across the restaurant. I hastily ordered a bacon cheeseburger when she came back (only $4) and got some fries with it.

The waitress and I talked about how I liked the place because it reminded me of a place I used to work at (anything that reminds me of HR is awesome).
Waitress: so you just moved here?
Me: Yeah, I'm from Oregon
Waitress: Oregon... ok, that's not too far, Oregon, Missouri and all
Me: Oh, no, Oregon, the state of
Waitress: Oh! Really? Wow!!! What brings you out to Shenandoah?
...and our conversation went on from there ;)
this is actually common... just like when you say Washington, you have to specify that it's the state, and not DC.

Then this really sweet older guy sat down a few chairs over from me. He asked me why I wasn't in the pool on a hot day like this. I said I was going there soon. Then after we started talking a bit, he moved over to sit closer to me, and we just had a really sweet conversation the whole time we were there. He is a local meter-reader in the area. Said he gets plenty of exercise and fresh air in his job. We talked about how nice and peaceful and safe small towns like Shenandoah are, and how busy Oregon is, and how the weather is like out there, and of course, we talked about the humidity and fireflies. It was like talking to a grandpa. I loved it. I asked him what his favorite thing about living in the area was. His response? "You gotta get married and have your kids here. It's a really good place. Good schools and not a lot of crime. There are still cooks out there, so you can't be too careful, but it's so much better than those big cities." We then talked about coffee and how people in the Northwest are obsessed with coffee and specialty drinks and espresso. He had to know if Starbucks was all that it was cracked up to be. I told him that regular coffee is often burnt because they leave it on the burner all day. He was shocked... and at such an expense! He had to know the most expensive drink, I told him I didn't know, but that I had seen some that were over $6. He just couldn't believe spending so much on one drink. We finished our lunches and he insisted on paying for my lunch because "the good company was worth getting a lunch for, and you have such beautiful dimples." As we were eating lunch, I just had to thank God for letting me be open to meeting new people and being outgoing today, even though it's hot and scary being in a new town in the middle of corn-city, Iowa. Then I went on my way, and after I'd walked a few blocks, he passed me in his truck and waved as he drove by. It really made my day.

Then I walked home. It. Was. So. Hot.

After I got home, I uploaded my pictures to my computer and called Lydia. She called later and we talked for over an hour. It was really good to catch up with her. I miss her soooo much! I love hearing familiar voices on the phone. IMing, skyping, texting, emailing, and facebooking are awesome, but it doesn't compare to live voices!

After talking with Lydia, I went down to the pool. Jan was already there (she got too over heated, and I don't blame her! With temperatures in the 90s plus humidity made the heat index in the 100s! The pool was kinda a mad house. Packed with kids and parents. But it was worth it! Jan and I went between getting in the water and lying out under the spraying mist of the fountains at the pool. Probably should have continuously applied the sunscreen because I got a little sunburnt, but it's not bad and I applied aloe as soon as we got home.

After swimming, I was sooo beat. I just wanted to go to bed, but it was only 5pm! I just couldn't justify going to bed so early. So I ate my leftovers (yum!), and watched a detective movie with Jan on Hulu called "The Good Guys" it was kinda dumb, but funny, and it kept me awake for another hour. Afterwards Jan mentioned cleaning the rest of the house today. I said I think we should just take a break for the day because I was just super exhausted, probably from the run, the walking around town, and the swimming. I managed to stay up late enough to go on a walk with Jan around 9ish. It was still really hot and really humid, but it was a good walk and I really enjoy our late-evening walks together.

I just want to say that I've figured out the two big universities here. Iowa State University is a lot like Oregon State University. It has Ag, Animal Sciences, and other science-oriented majors. The University of Iowa has more of the liberal arts degrees that University of Oregon has. ha! and would you look at that! The titles of the universities are even the same. I will have to say though, I am partial to the orange and black. Although UofI is the Hawkeyes, and their colors are black and gold, and then ISU is the Cyclones, but their mascot is a red cardinal and their colors are red and gold, which isn't quite as awesome, but still cool. Yeah ag!!!

It's kinda a bummer, for some reason, Jim's mom might not be able to be there for the signing of the house this week for some reason or another. It's still pending, so it might work out, but if not, we won't be moving til next week. This is really, really starting to wear on both Jan and Jim. They're itching to move. Everything is ready to go. They can't wait to get the garden started and the painting done and the moving over with. Especially so they can have their normal lives back. They've been living in boxes for at least two weeks already. Hopefully, we won't have to be this way for another week!

Bed is really calling my name. I might get up early tomorrow, might not. Who knows. Not super worried about it. Depends on how I feel when I wake up.

Pictures posted to my facebook album and my flickr photostream. :)

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