Tuesday, December 30, 2008

N.O. Pics - Thurs

New Orleans - Thurs

Woot! I am still having wonderfully warm (literally) memories of our trip to New Orleans the weekend before Christmas.

Ok, so here's what happened on day 1:

~ Thursday ~
8:00 am - Dropped Mom, Dad, and Amy off at the airport, enroute to Las Vegas.
8:15 am - Found out about the snowstorm and that no seats were available (and that it was suckily cold and snowy).
9:00 am - Found out we could cancel our rooms and Cirque de Soleil tickets (boo). But with no penalty (yea!).
9:30 am - Consensus to cancel Las Vegas and go somewhere else.
9:40 am - Options for Orlando, South Carolina, or New Orleans. Mom picks New Orleans.
9:45 am - New seats booked to New Orleans. Look up hotels and delegate to Amy to reserve.
10:00 am - Visitor from Delta (oh yeah, I am working this day, did I mention????)
10:30 am - Vendor sales pitch
11:15 am - frantically check my watch because I need to leave work
11:30 am - Leave to pick up Jeff
11:50 am - Pick up Jeff and head to the airport
12:00 pm - Remember that I need to ride the shuttle and that will take at least 15 minutes.
12:02 pm - Decide that the shuttle is not an option and now have to pay for parking.
12:06 pm - Drop Jeff off at the airport front door.
12:10 pm - Park and check in. Run to concourse C.
12:30 pm - Made it! Flight leaves in 35 minutes...
1:15 pm - We all got seated in First Class. With meal service. And "beverages" (thus it begins). AWE-SOME.
4:30 pm - Arrive in New Orleans. With our heavy coats (it was -12 when we left). It is now 75 and humid. My hair immediately curls.
5:00 pm - Take a cab to the Marriott on Canal Street (great hotel, thanks Amy) and check in. Did I mention Troy University is playing a bowl game and staying at our hotel?
5:50 pm - Emerge to speak with the concierge about what to do, and where to eat.
6:20 pm - Dinner at the Acme Oyster House down the street. WOW. Both grilled and on the half shell oysters (all, and Dad/Jess/Amy), fried shrimp (Jeff and Jess), crawfish etouffe (Amy), and a shrimp Po Boy (Mom).
7:30 pm - Bourbon Street. Totally quiet compared to the other nights, but we jammed at Fat Catz to an awesome cover band, and then sat down for smooth jazz at an outdoor pub (complete with an old black lab hanging out with the band - I think he belonged to the singer).
10:oo pm - Regroup at the hotel to decide what to do the rest of the time!!!

Long-neglected Blog

I am not kidding you, last night I couldn't fall asleep because I was thinking about all the wonderful blogging that I have NOT done over Christmas.

Well, I'm baa-aack! And ready to go. I am posting our New Orleans synopsis later today. Maybe even with photos if I can figure it out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dr. Horrible

I know, I promised an update to our trip this past weekend. But honestly, it's been so cold, and we've been so BUSY getting ready for the past 2 nights to leave today for Christmas, that we haven't had a chance to organize or touch up ANY photos yet. I promise I will send the raw photobucket link when we have it (ahem, when Jeff gets done with it today).

ANYWAY, in lieu of the trip update, I would like to present to you all...............

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's the synopsis: "The story of a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a 43-minute musical film, initially produced exclusively for Internet distribution. It tells the story of Dr. Horrible, the aspiring supervillain alter ego of Billy; Captain Hammer, his nemesis; and Penny, their mutual love interest.

Seriously. This thing rocks. YOU MUST SEE IT (do you hear that Oprah? Put it on your favorite things this year - it's cheap, and awesome). It's available for download on iTunes and hulu.com, as well as DVD purchase from Amazon.com.

Do it, or death will come to you from the Evil League of Evil.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Orleans - en route (Thurs)

I thought I would post our day-by-day accounts so y'all can see what the big fuss was this past weekend...

All I know is that it is -12 here right now, and on Saturday in New Orleans it was 80. My body rejects the frigidness. Here is day one - Jeff's emails to his family before our departure....

From: Jeffrey Hartman
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 8:59 AM
To: Al, Lois, Jennifer, Jason
Subject: Hell has frozen over

Well it appears Hell has frozen over...or at least Las Vegas....

We were headed there for a weekend vacation with Jess's parents....but apparently the MN luck has worked against us. Yesterday, Las Vegas received the most snowfall since 1974. 4 inches has shut down the city including ALL flights into and out of the airport. This is worst case scenario for us as we are all flying standby and there is an entire extra day of people trying to get onto today's airplanes......Things aren't looking good for Friday either.....

If it weren't for bad luck.......

Still stuck in cold MN,
From: Jeffrey Hartman
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 9:43 AM
To: Al, Lois, Jennifer, Jason
Subject: Re: Hell has frozen over


The Kienow Family and I are now headed to New Orleans....talk about shooting from the hip. Karen, Randy and Amy are all currently at the airport already trying to get onto a plane to Vegas, but now we'll head South instead. WILD.

Now we just have to find a place to stay and something to do.....

The MGM Grand was nice enough to provide full refunds for our rooms, Cirque De Soleil and Stomp. Since no planes are landing, it sounded like not many people are making it to Vegas this weekend.

Till the next update,
So, in the course of about an hour and a half, we totally changed where we were going, cancelled our hotels and show tickets, found and reserved a new hotel, booked a new flight, and were stressed to the max (at least I was).

This was all going on while I was 'working' on Thursday morning. To be fair, I had 2 meetings I attended, and was engaged in!!! Needless to say, it was crazy. I managed to rush home, pick up Jeff, drop him off at the airport, but I did NOT have time to go to the free employee parking and ride the shuttle over. I ended up paying to park (it was $64 for the 3.5 days). Worth it - I made it on the plane!!

Actually, we all made it - first class with meal service even!!! 'Twas wonderful.

85 degree change

We're back! As you know, we were scheduled to go to Las Vegas this past weekend...well, long story short, we didn't. We went to New Orleans instead!!!!!

It was an absolute BLAST! More to come tomorrow (we've been trying to fly home for a good 8 hours and I am going to bed, it's well after midnight)...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Moving day

Yesterday was one of my coworker's last day. A moment of sad silence for his departure (although it really was a fantastic choice for him and his family).

And now, I am in his old cube!!! Woohoo, I am living in the middle of the rest of my team now, instead of sequestered behind the conference room.

I anticipate good things in my future...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Last night we made 180 peanut blossoms. My hands are permanently cupped in a balled position. Then again, it might be the freaking cold weather. -7. Who invented this?

Grrrr. The weather in Las Vegas had better be warm and sunny this weekend.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fa la la la la, la la, la, la!

Well, mom and dad did not make it on Saturday. Needless to say, I was surpremely disappointed. Their flights were too heavy and they had to get off, then the Blizzard of '08 hit. It was reported that the Morton building could not be seen from the house (maybe 60 yards). But, the show must go on!

So. My WONDERFUL, GLORIOUS, MAGNIFICENT husband came to BOTH concerts, on both Saturday and Sunday to try to help make up for it. I know, he is pretty special, right? And, he brought me a dozen roses on Saturday night (picture women at his table swooning). And, he also took photos of my diva-ness, which I am hoping to post shortly.

All in all, it was a great weekend of music. The audience seemed to really like the program, wine flowed on Saturday night, ice storms flowed on Sunday afternoon, and there were some truly great moments during each concert - a double choir singing Biebl's Ave Maria on Sunday was a highlight (one choir in front, one in back of the church), as well as Poulenc's bad-boy Hodie, Christus Natus Es (it's super cool, Youtube it).

Can't wait for next year!

Photos from Saturday's Cabaret Performance:

Photos from Sunday's Performance:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Preparations

We are anxiously waiting to see if Mom and Dad can make it for tonight's concert. They could not get on the first flight today (it was full) but hopefully will arrive around 4:30. As long as the blizzard holds off a bit longer, they will be here! Jeff will be picking them up since I have to leave at 5 for call time!!

In the meantime, Jeff and I have been furiously addressing envelopes, writing in cards, and scripting our annual Christmas letter. We are ALMOST done - we have maybe another 30 to go. During breaks, I have been wrapping presents. Jeff is downstairs right now, so I finally had a chance to open the Cabela's box and got his presents wrapped without him knowing...so sneaky...

Not sure when we are going to fit in cookies - since next weekend is VEGAS - but rest assured you will all be the first to know!

PS - yesterday I booked our hotels - at the MGM Grand, and our must-see show -KA by Cirque de Soleil. I am seriously excited.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Concert!

Tonight we have dress rehearsal for this weekend's concerts from 6-10pm. So yeah, it's going to be good.

If you are in town, please come!

Location: St. Patrick's Catholic Church 6820 St. Patrick's Lane in Edina, MN

Saturday night at 7:30 pm - $20, let me know, I need to get you reservations
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! Enjoy the beauty, joy and peace of Christmas carols in the comfortable informality of a cabaret setting. The chorale sings the music of Grieg, Biebl, Parry, Poulenc, and favorite carols to fine wine, delicious chocolate, and rich coffee.

Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm - $14
Enjoy our popular, traditional Christmas concert in the more formal setting of St. Patrick’s sanctuary. The chorale sings music of Grieg, Biebl, Parry, Poulenc, and favorite carols.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I love it. The Internet, of course. Do you know how many wonderful gifts out there exist? And puh-leaze, do not cry to me that going to Macy's megastore is better than Macy's online. It's not. Because I would never go to Macy's in my jammies.

I will tell you what IS better than Macy's online. Retailers that give back to charity. My goal this year was to use my dollars to support the kind of businesses I want to see - those who give a portion back to charity or support some other kind of altruistic activity. I can't of course indicate (yet) which ones I used, since my family reads this blog. But, get started on your own shopping with these links I have found:

http://www.escrip.com/ Gives a percentage back to a PTSA or school of your choice
http://www.ebaygivingworks.com/ Buy on ebay, support a charity
http://www.igive.com/welcome/ Order items from big box stores and contribute a portion to charity
http://www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com/product.php?productid=2 Buy irrigation for a farmer, a goat, yarn for blankets, and much more
http://buildanest.com/ Handmade items that provide income and loans to the third-world women who make them
http://globalgoodspartners.org/template/index.cfm As good as World Market, but for a cause
http://www.charitynavigator.org/ Gift certificates to a charity of your choice (even though gift certificates and gift cards are usually LAME-O, this is ok)
http://www.heifer.org/ Buy a cow. Or a sheep. Or chickens. Or a whole ark. Seriously cool.
http://www.tomsshoes.com/ For every pair of shoes purchased, a pair of shoes is donated to a child in need.
http://www.charitywater.org/donate/ Purchase a water-related product to support sustainable water projects in developing nations
http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1 For the foodie - and help fight hunger

Try it - just one gift for one person this year. Tell me what you are planning on doing in comments (because you know your sister/mother/brother doesn't read my blog)!! You will be surprised at their reaction (even if they are not a bleeding heart hippie)...because who doesn't want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves?

As for me, Maddie and I are still waiting for our items to arrive next week...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Let it Snow

I do not like snow that much. Today it took me an hour to get home. And I left work early.

This is forcing me to miss tonight's ADPi Christmas Party, which on a normal night would be a 45 minute drive but tonight - I'm not even going to try.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

House is decorated!

We finally finished up decorating the house last night AND got all of our stuff put away.

Here is the in-process photo. This tub is one of three, although the others are normal sized, compared to this two person beast.

Here is the tree, lit at night ~

Mantel decorations, my nativity, and the Snowbabies collection ~

Jeff likes the 'cute' Christmas things, so here are the main decorations in the basement (notice the Guitars from Guitar Hero behind the moose...)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sinterklaas Celebration

Today at work we celebrated Christmas with our friends from KLM. They sponsored our Sinterklaas Celebration in the atrium of our building. They flew over a bunch of kids from Holland (and some mothers), who dressed up in traditional Dutch clothing and sang cute holiday songs from the motherland.

The funniest was a little guy named Sven, who was maybe 3 years old and had big eyeglasses. He danced and fidgeted and talked, but never quite got around to singing. It was pretty funny.

Then the buffet was opened with zillions of traditional Dutch Christmas treats. Right now, I have some kind of ginger-y cookie, half moon waffle thingy with some kind off goo (carmel?) holding it together, fudge square one, fudge square 2, a chocolate leaf, and a mini-cake of some kind. All to wash down with some apple cider.

Good thing it's about time to go home - I will need to rest in my new bed to handle the sugar crash!

UPDATE: The leaf has orange jell type stuff in it! YUM, orange and chocolate.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Kitty Christmas

The kitties got a window perch for Christmas. Jeff installed it today and placed Bella ever so gingerly on top. Three hours later she is still there:

Maddie l-o-v-e-s Christmas. And by that, I mean she loves when we get out the boxes. We put up the tree, and Fat Kitty immediately jumped in the box. She then found every rubber band, and ate it, then tried to climb the Christmas tree. Finally she calmed down. We'll see how many balls stay on the tree once it's decorated.

After all the excitement, the girls do what they usually do, sniff at each other and try to rile the other one up so they can pop each other on the nose and chase. Maddie is going in for the lick-sniff.

And finally, they calmed down about midnight. With my help of course.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sleep, finally

Today, I woke up refreshed and happy (albeit stuffed up and sore throat thanks to Jeff's perpetual cold).

And it was all because of this beautiful Stearns and Foster model:

What a glorious and magnificent anniversary present. After 4 years of wedded bliss, we decided our bed should be inspected as it seemed to really sag in certain areas...

We got a full credit on our old bed that was still under a 10-year warranty, and decided to replace it with the Mercedes at Schneiderman's. We had to pay in a little more, but let me tell you - TOTALLY WORTH IT.

When's the last time you got a new bed? Did you know they last only 7 years on average? Look into it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Today's tickle-my-fancies

1) Dr. Condoleeza Rice played a Brahms recital for the Queen of England today, along with members of the London Symphony Orchestra and violinist Louise Miliband, wife of British Foreign Secretary. In order to be a classically trained pianist in your spare time, and Secretary of State as your full-time job, what do you have to sacrifice? No matter, it's still cool.

2) The Oceania cruise ship M/S Nautica outran pirates. Those cruise liners are seriously badass. So are the people that are in charge of them. In order for the customers to be pampered, the staff will have NO ONE f* with them, not even pirates (let alone my former company/job).

3) Britney Spears' movie on MTV was killer! I hafta say, I like the girl and hope things work out. But when you still insist your life is normal, and then cut to footage of 30 people chasing your car on foot and bicycle, I am sorry but you are NOT normal. The most interesting parts were not the interviews, but to actually see how she works and lives, trying to appeal to the public but hide from them all at the same time. I can't imagine.

4) The Dudders. They intrigue and fascinate and scare me all at the same time. I am addicted to their TLC show (yes I stayed up till 1am watching last night. Even though I have a Tivo.). What would possess a woman to birth 18 children? And my evil little questions - can you love them all enough, and equally? How do get to know your kids on a really personal level when you have so many?

5) Free hazardous materials and electronics recycling. Where we live, they have a year-round recycling center that takes all sorts of dangerous things like old paint, varnish, computer monitors, lawn mowers, just about anything. It makes me want to clean out the house just to do something good for the environment!

Monday, December 1, 2008


FINALLY made it home today. Last night's flight got cancelled (after waiting for almost 3 hours) because of a flat tire and hydraulic system problem. It was a full flight, so of course everyone got moved to today...I couldn't get on the 6:45am flight, and barely made it on the 11:00am. They said if one more bag had been checked, I wouldn't have gotten on.

Anyway, my Aunt Sharon of all people was on this flight! So we sat in the back of the plane and chatted all the way to MSP, then she took me out for lunch at TGI Friday's while waiting for her connecting flight. It was a wonderful surprise!

My NOT wonderful surprise occurred after I took the crew bus back to the parking lot. After locating my car (which I had parked a looong way away), I turned the ignition and cleaned off the snow and ice. I hopped in to put the car in reverse. Couldn't. I tried a couple more times, turned the car on and off, rocked it back and forth, let the parking brake go....UGH, still nothing. I called Jeff for backup but he didn't have any other ideas (he's still harvesting). I was ready to call a taxi to go home and figure it out later and thought, I will just slam the hell out of the center shifter and see what happens. Sure enough, a big *pop* and we are in reverse! I quick back up and put in drive and head straight home (just in case). Also, I had to check on the kitties and fish.

I pull into the garage, put the car in park...and the damn thing won't turn off. The key won't turn the ignition off. It was stuck too. For the love of pete!

So I go in and out of the garage a couple times (reverse and drive), do the same rocking thing, and fuss about another 15 minutes (by now this whole thing has taken well over an hour). I finally say, screw it, and give it a good wrench (as before). The car turned off, but not all the way. It was between off and battery power, so I couldn't pull they keys out. Whatever, I'll just go inside, do my business, and take the Jeep.

Jeff had locked the garage door. So I futz with the keys some more, trying to get the house key off the stuck keyring, and it jiggled it enough that it came OUT!!!!! SUCCESS!!!! But I am not driving it tomorrow.

Needless to say, by this time it is about 3:30pm and I haven't done any of my checking. That took till about 4pm, at which point it was too freaking late to go to work. PISS. What a crappy waste of Paid Time Off. Plus I actually had stuff to do today. Whatevs.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More family...

Jeff and Dad began combining at 7am this morning and called for turkey sandwiches to be delivered to the field around noon. We found out the urgent lunch call was so they could go hunting (again), this time in Mansfield! So, that's 3 days in a row...

But the BEST PART - I shot at a clay pigeon yesterday. Only one, but I did it! And, I will do it again, provided they come back sometime soon (not likely) and / or it is not too cold tomorrow (equally unlikely).

We are waiting for more family to arrive today, from Sioux Falls and Aberdeen, and the house is re-cleaned and another ginormous meal made. We are making probaby 8 lbs of chili as well as veggie trays, and another dessert (yes the pumpkin pie is GONE).

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving today!

I know, for most people (Jeff's family), today is Black Friday shopping day, but for the Kienows it is THANKSGIVING today! Amy wasn't able to come home until about noon yesterday, so we saved our turkey dinner for today. It smells delicious, and we just took the first pumpkin pie out of the oven (it's about 9:45am). It's just the 5 of us today, but I guess tomorrow some of the Sioux Falls family is coming, as well as crazy Grandma from Groton and the Aberdeen crew.

It's great to be back home! Us girls have been blabbering to each other pretty much nonstop (except for the 2 hour naps yesterday afternoon). Jeff and Dad went pheasant hunting with about 12 other guys yesterday (and 3 dogs). The Toy Shed had many birds in it, so it looked successful to me!

We hung out with the Mungers in the Toy Shed until well after 10pm last night. Lord + Diet Coke made us miss supper, so we brought OUR leftovers from yesterday (lasagna) and heated up a frozen pizza about 9pm. Definitely not your traditional day, but I was thankful for it all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tips for Thanksgiving

From associatedcontent.com ~

1. Make sure the turkey is thawing two or three days prior to the big day.
2. Wash and chop as much as you can the night before.
3. If your big meal is lunch, push it off to 1 or 2 o'clock and sleep in an extra hour. You'll need your strength.
4. Allow 4-5 hours for a good size turkey to cook. Get your bird in the oven.
5. Have a drink. Don't worry if it's only 9AM. Have a good stiff drink.
6. Finish off your other dishes while the big bird browns.
7. Crack a beer while you chop.
8. Clean as you go.
9. Enjoy your huge family meal with a big glass of wine or a beer or two.
10. Scoot back from the table, loosen your belt and enjoy dessert.
11. Forego coffee with your dessert. Instead have a nice brandy or cocktail with that pie.
12. Clear the table and don't worry with the dishes.
13. Join the family and reminisce about holidays gone by over a hard, hot apple cider.
14. Call your cousin a whore for dating a Puerto Rican.
15. Poke your uncle in the chest with two fingers when he comes to his daughter's defense.
16. Spill your cider.
17. Get a beer to replace it.
18. Tell you mom that you've always thought those penciled in eyebrows look ridiculous.
19. Spill your beer.
20. Get a beer to replace it.
21. Challenge your dad to "take it outside" since he followed you to the kitchen cussing you out for the remark about his wife's eyebrows.
22. Really, take it outside.
23. Fight with your dad on the front lawn until the police arrive with the TV crew from Cops.
24. Throw a beer can at the cops.
25. Wrestle with the cops until you're naked.
26. Call home and cuss your brother out while asking him to come bail you out of jail.
27. Meet a new 'friend' named Bruce.
28. Make bail.
29. Ride home with your brother and dad in an awkward silence.
30. Clean up the dishes.
31. Go shopping on Black Friday for a new TV because you can't figure out how yours got a shoe through the screen.
32. Make a leftover turkey sandwich and watch yourself on Cops.
33. What the heck, have a beer.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

THEE Amish Electric Fireplace

The person that thought this up should win both Advertiser and Entrepreneur of the Year. It is Brilliant.

Introducing....Authentic Amish Roll-N-Glow Electric Fireplaces!!!
Please note, all the images came from the OFFICIAL website: http://www.heatsurge.com/index.cfm

Here are the Amish women, making the ELECTRIC fireplaces. They must be done canning by kerosene lamp for the year.

And here is the company making the deal...I wonder what the Amish use the money for.

Look, Grandma bought one and loves it! It will not engulf the highly flammable doilies!!!

And finally, it will turn your baby into Superbaby, who can touch fire and not get burned.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Read the Bible? Then read this

Provocative enough title for you? Well believe it or not, today's post is all about sex. A pastor in Texas challenged his 20,000 married parishioners to a Sex Challenge. Contoversial? You bet. But enlightening? Probably...
GRAPEVINE, Tex. — And on the seventh day, there was no rest for married couples. A week after the Rev. Ed Young challenged husbands and wives among his flock of 20,000 to strengthen their unions through Seven Days of Sex, his advice was — keep it going.

Mr. Young, an author, a television host and the pastor of the evangelical Fellowship Church, issued his call for a week of “congregational copulation” among married couples on Nov. 16, while pacing in front of a large bed. Sometimes he reclined on the paisley coverlet while flipping through a Bible, emphasizing his point that it is time for the church to put God back in the bed.
“Today we’re beginning this sexperiment, seven days of sex,” he said, with his characteristic mix of humor, showmanship and Scripture. “How to move from whining about the economy to whoopee!”

On Sunday parishioners at the Grapevine branch watched a prerecorded sermon from Mr. Young and his wife, Lisa, on jumbo screens over a candlelit stage. “I know there’s been a lot of love going around this week, among the married couples,” one of the church musicians said, strumming on a guitar before a crowd of about 3,000.

Mrs. Young, dressed in knee-high black boots and jeans, said that after a week of having sex every day, or close to it, “some of us are smiling.” For others grappling with infidelities, addictions to pornography or other bitter hurts, “there’s been some pain; hopefully there’s been some forgiveness, too.”

Mr. Young advised the couples to “keep on doing what you’ve been doing this week. We should try to double up the amount of intimacy we have in marriage. And when I say intimacy, I don’t mean holding hands in the park or a back rub.”

Mr. Young, known simply as Ed to his parishioners, and his wife, both 47, have been married for 26 years and have four children, including twins. They have firsthand experience with some of the barriers to an intimate sex life in marriage, including careers, exhaustion, outside commitments, and “kids,” a word that Mr. Young told church members stands for “keeping intimacy at a distance successfully.”

But if you make the time to have sex, it will bring you closer to your spouse and to God, he has said. You will perform better at work, leave a loving legacy for your children to follow and may even prevent an extramarital affair.

“If you’ve said, ‘I do,’ do it,” he said. As for single people, “I don’t know, try eating chocolate cake,” he said.

The sex-starved marriage has been the topic of at least two recent books, “365 Nights” and “Just Do It.” But Mr. Young’s call from the pulpit gave the discussion an added charge.
It should not, in his view. This is not a gimmick or a publicity stunt, Mr. Young says. Just look at the sensuousness of the Song of Solomon, or Genesis: “two shall become one flesh,” or Corinthians: “do not deprive each other of sexual relations.”

“For some reason the church has not talked about it, but we need to,” he said, speaking by telephone Friday night on his way to South Africa for a mission trip. There is no shame in marital sex, he added, “God thought it up, it was his idea.”

Those who attend Fellowship’s location here or one of several satellite churches in the Dallas area and one in Miami are used to Mr. Young’s provocative style. (The real “f word” in the marital boudoir, he says, is “forgiveness.”) But the sex challenge was a bit much for some of his church members, who sat with arms crossed in uncomfortable silence, he recalls, while many in the audience gave him an enthusiastic applause.

One parishioner, Rob Hulsey, 25, said his Baptist relatives raised their eyebrows about it, but he summed up the reaction of many husbands at Fellowship Church when he first heard about the sex challenge — “Yay!”

A week later, he and his wife, who are expecting a baby and have two older children, could not stop holding hands during the sermon. His wife, Madeline Hulsey, 32, said she was just as thrilled to spend a week focusing on her husband. Usually, “we start to kiss, and it’s knock knock knock, Mom!” she said.

Others found that, like smiling when you are not particularly happy, having sex when they did not feel like it improved their mood. Just eight months into their marriage, Amy and Cody Waddell had not been very amorous since Cody admitted he had had an affair.

“Intimacy has been a struggle for us, working through all that,” Ms. Waddell said. “This week really brought us back together, physically and emotionally.”

It is not always easy to devote time for your spouse, Pastor Young admitted. Just three days into the sex challenge he said he was so tired after getting up before dawn to talk about the importance of having more sex in marriage that he crashed on the bed around 8 p.m. on Tuesday night.

Mrs. Young tried to shake him awake, telling her husband, “Come on, it’s the sex challenge.” But Mr. Young murmured, “Let’s just double up tomorrow,” and went back to sleep.

TCMAS meeting!

We hosted the November Twin Cities Marine Aquarium Society meeting this month. About 45-50 people came on Saturday night, starting at 5pm until about 11pm. We made a TON of food. As a matter of fact, I brought leftovers to work today because I know we won't eat it all before Thanksgiving.

We served the following meal
- 15 lbs (yes, FIFTEEN POUNDS) of pork loin, cooked in the electric roaster, then barbequed in the crock pot and served as sandwiches
- 3 kinds of chips
- pretzels
- carrot and celery tray
- mixed fruit salad (grapes, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi)
- pumpkin bars
- pan cookie bars
- Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist
- Bud Light, Corona, MGD, Amstel Light

The discus showed amazingly - I think some of the saltwater people were surprised how good they looked.

And of course the saltwater tank looked fantastic, thanks to Jeff! (as always)

We had a fabulous time and hopefully everybody else did too!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting ready to party

Well, Jeff and I are hosting our marine club meeting / party tomorrow night.

We're not sure exactly how many people to plan for - we know it can be anywhere from 30-100 people, so we will plan for about 70.

I am sure we will spend all day Saturday getting ready, then all day Sunday tearing down.

I am also sure we will have a great time in between the getting ready and the tearing down...yeah, the actual 'party' part.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daschle. And apples.

Yea! Our man got a cabinet post (no big surprise there) but I was a little surprised to see it was the Health and Human Services post, versus Secretary of Agriculture. I guess he did write that very insightful book earlier this year (Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis)

But, for the nation, I am glad to see that he will be playing a more substantial and far-reaching role than the Ag Secretary.

Part 2 of this post is that I really love honeycrisp apples. When they are super ripe, they make my whole lunch box smell like apples...the fake kind of smell that I didn't know really existed (you know, like how cherry-flavored anything tastes nothing like cherries).

And now I will continue to wait for my phone call...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No One Mourns the Wicked

WOW. What an amazing show!!!!! It got done around 10:30pm and Jeff and I couldn't stop talking about it until well after midnight...

A few not-important-to-the-show-but-still-interesting points: 1) our seats were in the uppermost balcony, on an end row. Which is normally a good thing, except the 'partially obstructed' really meant 'feet dangling due to stair configuration' on Jeff's seat. 2) Next time we will sit closer. So as to be able to see any semblance of facial features. 3) Parking was not as bad as expected - $10 for a block away.

Anyway, I don't know where to begin my rave review. The story - fresh and new, it perfectly, surprisingly, intertwined with the Wizard of Oz. We both thought there was such a struggle between Elphaba and Glinda that one would betray the other at some point...but they never did, and that was really special. (sidenote: One of my favorite parts was when the wizard points out there are 2 sides to history, but marketing only keeps one - treason or liberator? peace or oppression?). The music - super catchy (a little predictable at times). And oh my goodness, could those girlies SING. The set - was beautiful, complex, and very dimensional. Also, everything moved on its own! Nothing was moved by actors, which Jeff and I both discovered really distracts us normally. The costumes - next year I am dressing up as Glinda. Sparkly to the max. And seriously, I think we counted 8 (?) costume changes for her. The drama - seeing the inadvertant, but relatively swift, transition from a student to the Wicked Witch was amazing...with the cape, the broom, the fear, etc.

We both discovered we really do love theater, especially musical theater. And so we would be glad to go to any of these coming up this season:
Grease: Dec 30 - Jan 4
Frost/Nixon: Jan 6 -11
Spring Awakening: Jan 27 - Feb 1
Annie: Feb 12 - 14
Fiddler on the Roof: Feb 24 - March 1 **
Movin’ Out: March 6 - 8
Rent: March 25 - 29 **
The Phantom of the Opera: May 13 - June 7 **
A Bronx Tale: June 2 - 7
A Chorus Line: June 16 - 21 **

Anyone else? We have extra rooms!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy (almost) Anniversary

GET PUMPED!!!! We are going to Wicked tonight.................woo hooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

Hopefully our 'slightly obstructed, yet affordable' seats are ok. We really pulled out all the stops for our 4th wedding anniversary (which is technically on Thanksgiving this year).

Speaking of, who the heck can believe we've been married 4 years?? Not me, that's for sure. I guess I have one more week to get used to the idea...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Stressless (furniture)

So my post on Friday indicated perhaps a Bond movie. Not so much. Instead I spent $7.50 on "real" popcorn at our local theater and brought it home to watch The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. HIGHLY recommended for the family during the holiday season.

On Saturday, Jeff and I had a wonderful brunch at our local Bruegger's Bagels, and figured out it had been over 2 years since we had last been out for bagels! After that, we headed to the Macy's furniture store in Edina, on a quest for Sherrill Motioncraft furniture, on recommendation from Mom. Struck out (no recliners), so next on to the International Design Center where we looked at recommendation #2, the Ekornes furniture.

And there we found the holy grail of recliners. Chiropractic approved, and supremely comfortable, hopefully we can save our pennies and spring for one of these puppies. Jeff likes the Ekornes "Sunrise" chair in Chili Red, so that's what we might put on order since we have to wait 6 months to get it. Of course, Mom will be checking to see if we can get a better deal...

Anyway, on to Saturday night - we spent the night with my ADPi alumnae group at Dave & Buster's, an adult arcade. I hit the jackpot on Wheel of Fortune, and also played basketball, skeeball, air hockey, racing, shoot-em-up games, just about anything you could want. And with a beer in my hand. Tee hee.

Yesterday we put up Christmas lights. Photos forthcoming (once we take them)...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Movie prices


I am looking online to see if I can surprise Jeff tonight with a date night going to the new James Bond movie.

$9.50. For one person. Plus popcorn.

So, ok, let's go home earlier and maybe catch a 4:30pm matinee. $7.50. For one person. Plus popcorn.

Why, oh why, can you not go to the movies for less than $20 (including popcorn) (have you noticed that popcorn is a critical piece of the movie experience for me)????. The Great Depression was the golden age of film, and there has been talk of a renaissance of sorts during the current economic situation. At this price, movies are NOT cheap entertainment. I think I will just play Xbox tonight. I already own it. And maybe just pick up some popcorn from the theater.

Update: SUPER BARGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $5.75 for the last matinee show (5pm) at the Carmike in Apple Valley. We may have found a winnnnnnnerrrrrr! (imagine Oprah-voice introduction.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Philosophical reading

I am prepared to read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn based on the following quote:

"If you wanted to change the world, who should you begin with: yourself or others?"

Anyone else read him? So far, I have gotten through Wiki.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dinner and more GH

Tonight's docket: Quesedillas and Guitar Hero.

Yes, we actually use our obscure (Christmas present) kitchen appliances. Except for the stand mixer which sits lonely on its shelf in the office. Anyone need one?

So the list of obscure kitchen appliances which get used is as follows:
Mini-cuisinart (for salsa and tomato canning)
Quesedilla maker (as previously mentioned)
Electric roaster (Thanksgiving last year and upcoming marine club meeting)
Mini-crock pot (for crafts club)
Tall crock pot (for chili and soups)
Oval crock pot (for chickens and roasts)
Griddle (for pancakes)
Coffee Pot (for company)

Our one true failure is with the deep fryer (we did use the stand mixer but cannot any longer due to the huge cookie batches we make). We received the fryer as wedding gift 4 years ago. We opened it for the first time about 2 years ago to fry up some walleye (yum). And we were justly disappointed when we discovered there was no electrical cord in the box. Maybe I should sell it on craigslist.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives; then you'll be afraid to cough.

You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD -40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.

A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

Avoid arguments with the wifey about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.

(Thanks to Linda Sharp's blog.)

Thank You Veterans

November 11th is the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. Armistice Day has been celebrated since 1919, and in 1954 it was changed to Veteran's Day to honor all veterans.

Today we honor the brave soldiers who have fought in every war for our nation. Take a moment to say a little prayer of thanks for those who have come and gone, and a prayer of protection for those who are still on active duty.

Thank you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Guitar Hero

Wow. Christmas came early yesterday. Guitar Hero WORLD TOUR is off the hook.

This is our 4th GH game - we have GH 2, 3, and Aerosmith (yeah, I know).

It came with a guitar (so now we have 2!), and alternated playing bass and guitar between the both of us. Also, the Xbox headset can act as a mic (we didn't spring for the mic and drumset. Yet.). Our band was ready to ROCK....and we sure did. Multiple times either Jeff or I let out a "WHOOP" at the end of a song.

Midnight was the time the club shut down (aka our living room).

I am also hoarse today from singing the following:
Heartbreaker (Pat Benatar)
Livin on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)
One Way or Another (Blondie)
Beat It (Michael Jackson)

Plus, my avatar Casey Lynch is HOTT. She is what I look like in my head. If I were a rock star of course.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shopping Trip

Check out how incredibly stylish my new winter ensemble is!!! Jeff is back - finally, after getting bumped twice - and we went majorly shopping today!!!!

First, to the closeout at Linens-N-Things for a new wintertime comforter - our wonderful quilt coverlet did NOT cut the mustard during last night's cold snap.

Then, outdoor Christmas shopping (for our first home) at Menards. We got luminaries for all the windows, a cute lawn snowman, and some lighted garland for the driveway.

Finally, a trip to Herberger's to find me a real winter coat. My awesome black coat mom bought me a couple years ago is a great fall and early winter, but it's wool-only, not lined. This one is wool AND lined, and should work in the freezing weather coming up. Of course, no coat would be complete without hat, gloves, scarf, and sunglasses. Bella also approves.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Politicized at our marine club

OK, many of you know we are in a marine fish club. Well, there is an online forum - mostly for buy/sell/trade and advice, but there are also a couple places for random topics to be discussed. Posted over the last couple days, was this:

I was taking a shower getting ready for bed and I started thinking about the election of Barrack Obama and the euphoric feeling his supporters have displayed and expressed tonight. I personally do not and have not shared that feeling but I got to wondering about why people feel that way. I'm curious as to what people expect now that he is elected, so curious that I came back down here to post this!I've heard people say that his election 'matters' and that he 'will make a difference' so I wonder what exactly, in very concrete terms, people expect. Maybe I've missed something. What do people think is going to happen now hat he is elected? What is the cause of the euphoria people are feeling.This is a serious question and I'd like to keep the responses serious and non-partisan if at all possible. Primarily I'd like to hear from Obama supporters on this.Again, in concrete terms, what exactly do people expect will change, or get better, or be done that has led to the euphoria around the country. I'm genuinely curious to know.Thanks in advance.

And my response:
I think part of why Obama's message is so strong with so many people is because he believes, and encourages, all of us to take care of each other. Accept each other. Make sacrifices at your own personal level, to increase other people's position in life. And a lot of his policies and proposals are based on that idea (just think, more taxes for those who can afford it, less taxes for those who can't, green technology investments to create jobs, global policy that is reasonable). These ideas are why he was my candidate of choice.I understand that a lot of you think his ideas are pie-in-the-sky thinking, and there are not tons of substance behind the proposals, and wonder how is he going to do it, blah blah...that will be the biggest challenge of this administration. To live up to my expectations and hope for the future, Obama and Biden have a heck of a lot of work to do. I hope they prove me right.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Revenue and Profit

Yesterday during our all-hands meeting with our new managers, I was reminded of an idea I was first introduced to during my very first Lean Six Sigma project ~

If you make one additional dollar in sales, you might be able to put a nickel of that in your pocket.

If you can SAVE one additional dollar from your current business, you can put the whole dollar straight into your pocket.

Which kind of value do you want to bring?

Sing, sing, sing

Tonight was the first Messiah rehearsal...for me anyway. It was the 2nd for everyone else, but no matter. I soared. Kinda. And then not so much.

WHEW! I was all like, this isn't too bad, and then....THWAP! Runs, runs, runs - much faster than I can get my old brain and body to do anymore. At least for sight reading purposes. AND, no auditions for the solos (not that I would be able to do them anyway since I haven't practiced them...perhaps I should...just in case someone has an accident) (and not of the Nancy Kerrigan variety.) (Anywho.).

So yet again I am reminded of how much I have to practice in order to be as good as the others around me. Why is all of my talent limited to their pinkie fingers???????? Good thing it's not my career - I would be sorely disappointed.

At least my kitties aren't howling along with me in the piano room tonight.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sushi Tuesday

Yet another reason to be happy today! Sushi-to-go in the cafeteria.

Today is Voting Day!

Well, I went to my local polling place and stood in line for about 35 minutes. Not too bad, I thought - and the weather could not have been more beautiful this morning!

Speaking of things that are beautiful, as I was standing with my ballot in hand, waiting for a booth, I saw the backsides of 10 dutiful Americans. Stay with me now...And I got teary.

There was a mom with a baby, a middle-aged man in wingtips, a guy in construction gear, a foreign-born national with an Indian accent, an older woman in a suit carrying a Coach bag, a young person who looked like they just rolled out of bed...Americans.

Go Vote!

And tell me your story in the comments - how long did it take? who did you see? I can't wait to see democracy in action today.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Memory lane

My mom has been wanting (begging) me to go through the excessive (like 5) rubbermaid containers with the memories of my youth.

So today was the day. I have looked at photos from my first plane ride (to Madison, WI for Future Problem Solvers Competition), to proms and graduations, and everything in between!

More than just the photos was all the memoribilia - I have TONS of notes, letters (I was pre-email and texting, you know), papers, report cards, standardized test scores, cards, inspirational books, random junk - a lot of stuff. So it's all been organized in a stuff and clothes pile for the Salvation Army, a keep-for-now pile, a to-do pile, and a take-back-to-my-house pile. WHEW. I think the next thing now is to actually organize into books of some sort, or at least a chronological photo box or something. That would be extremely helpful.

PS - to all my HS peeps that read my blog (which means you are still my peeps): I LOVE YOU AND YOU ROCK (ALWAYS).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Back in A-town

Got in to Aberdeen tonight about 6:30. We just had some delicious Louisiana cuisine - jambalaya and gumbo, courtesy of the LA hunters. Delish!

Not much else - showing mom my facebook page (she is so proud of not having bad stuff on it).

I will be going to Marne's house tomorrow! I can't wait to see her - it's been too long. As always, it seems.
UPDATED: THANK YOU MARNDOG! It was great to finally see your place and I loved catching up! Please come to MN asap to visit!! I am ready to shop!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Being fruitful

Jeff is back at harvest (again). I am hoping this time he can stay for many weeks and just get it done!!

I am planning to go and visit this weekend. I know there are several things that mom wants me to go through (storage tubs in closets), so that will probably be pretty fun.

Also, there most likely will still be pheasant hunters around, so we will get to hang out and have some great food!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

UPDATED: good / bad news

We found out all the names of the people who would be above us at the new company. Yes, I kept score, and no, I am not sharing. We'll just say that a lot of MN people must not have wanted to move.

Also - BREAKING NEWS from the AP

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Delta and Northwest airlines won antitrust approval on Wednesday, with the Justice Department saying the creation of what will be the world's largest airline will help consumers without hurting competition.

The approval means the only thing standing between the two airlines and the deal closing is a trial in San Francisco next week in a lawsuit brought by 28 travelers. Northwest CEO Doug Steenland has said he does not believe the lawsuit will stop the deal, which the carriers have said they hope to close by the end of this year.

Federal regulators wrote in a statement that "the proposed merger between Delta and Northwest is likely to produce substantial and credible efficiencies that will benefit U.S. consumers and is not likely to substantially lessen competition."

It noted that they already compete with other carriers on most of the routes where they currently compete with each other. The Justice Department also said consumers should benefit from savings on expenses for airport operations, technology, and suppliers. The companies have said they can cut $2 billion a year in expenses once they combine.

When Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. announced their deal in April, it was widely thought that they were looking to get approval before a new President took office.

Uh-oh...good / bad news?

HMMMMM....all hands meeting notice sent out this morning for a 10:30 am meeting....

ARGH! The suspense is killing me! (I will share the results upon my return. Unless of course it is confidential. Then I will tell Jeff and he will spread the word. JUST KIDDING.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Death of Romance & German

Luckily, after 3 years, 11 months and 30 days, I still feel like we have a little romance...especially when we have a weekend like last weekend - Date Night on Friday at El Loro (complete with margarita), Haunted Farm on Saturday, and a cozy day at home on Sunday, lighting candles and making a roast with potatoes for my hunny.

The Brits must not have it so good. From the UK...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/:

The honeymoon period is officially over two years, six months and 25 days into wedlock, according to new research.

This is the point in the average marriage where both partners take each other, and their relationship, completely for granted. After the second wedding anniversary couples are far more likely to scatter socks and pants around the house, leave the toilet seat up, hog the remote control and go without make-up. And by the third wedding anniversary 83 per cent say they couldn't be bothered to continue celebrating the day they got together.

The poll of 5,000 married couples, conducted by global research company onepoll.com, revealed that more than half feel undervalued in their relationship.

Seven in 10 men admit they are so comfortable with their spouse they frequently leave socks, pants and other dirty washing lying around the house. And 79 per cent think nothing of leaving the toilet seat up after using the bathroom. Two-thirds of women polled say they never make the effort to dress up and look nice for their partner, and 54 per cent no longer bother plastering on the make-up.

In fact, a slovenly 61 per cent of women readily admit the first thing they do when they get home from work is remove all smart clothes and make-up for comfy pyjamas or tracksuit bottoms. And 75 per cent of couples wouldn't relinquish control of the TV remote, even if their partner asked nicely.

John Sewell, spokesman for onepoll.com said: 'We polled couples who have been married for more than 10 years to see how they view their current relationship. It would appear that many are stuck in a rut, and whilst they still love their other half they're a little too comfortable in each other's company.'

During the first few months of marriage, 83 per cent of couples regularly held hands when out, compared to just 38 per cent today. Partners would cuddle more than eight times a day before the first wedding anniversary - compared to five or less now. And in the early days, husband and wife would have been more likely to refer to each other as 'babe' or 'darling' when having a conversation - rather than by their real name which is used most often today.

Forty three per cent of couples haven't had breakfast in bed together since they walked down the aisle. And an unfortunate 60 per cent of folk say they haven't been surprised with a romantic night out since they got wed. A staggering 70 per cent of folk claim little considerations such as flowers, a cup or tea in bed or opening the car door are long gone after the second anniversary.

But despite not giving their relationship a second thought today, a whopping 61 per cent of folk admit they fondly remember the exact date they first laid eyes on their partner.

Mr Sewell continued: 'This poll isn't all negative - despite revealing their bad habits, respondents do still remember the good old times when romance was high on the agenda in their relationship.
'Couples who have been together for a long time need to find a good balance between feeling comfortable, and taking each other for granted.

'The odd romantic meal would probably be all many couples need to spice things up a bit - and small gestures such as tidying up, and helping out with the housework and relinquishing control of the TV remote would go a long way.'

BTW, Did I tell you guys I was in a German class through work? About all I can do so far is pronounce simple words better and a few conversational travel phrases. Better than nothing I suppose.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How could you not love that face?

Bella would like to say HELLO to everyone!!

Beware - cute photos!

Here are some Joyful photos on this Halloween week!

Nick's costume will be......Spiderman!

No word yet on Ben's costume.

One of them, one of us 2

The New York Times published an amazingly provocative article by Michael Pollen (author of In Defense of Food).

What an incredibly thought-provoking take on the status of American farming and food policy. Take a minute, and READ IT.

~ Settle in with a water bottle, though - it's a long one.

An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief


Friday, October 24, 2008

One of them, one of us

Today is a 2-post day (Hence the name of the post: one funny, one serious). First, Jeff is back (yea). And apparently feels very good today - losing weight, strong from harvest, new clothes, and neck adjustment from the chiro make Jeffy very happy!!! Or so he called to tell me :)

Funny story (not between my OWN mother and myself, but someone else...) from "Postcards from Yo Momma" (I am totally buying this for my mom when the book comes out):

Mom: hey chickie
Mom: made meatballs.what more can a poor working girl want than her mama’s company
Me: did you just call me a prostitute?
Mom: no, those are skanky working girls, with a tramp stamp you have a stamp, but not in the trampy spot
Me: oh man alive.
Mom: but don’t want to see you and j cupcaking
Me: what does that even mean?
Mom: and i am your peep you should check your vitals and dont talk smack about kathy fo shizzle obvi you are the bomb and ridonkulous beyond sick for shizzle tight and wack to boot a total nutter, and snogging your boo with a totes badonkadong. I been reading the aarp magazine. how many of those do you know?
Me: like- the old people magazine?
Mom: obvi tramp stamp
Me: You are scary.
Mom: bet i made your day huh we aarp’ers are right up on it
Mom: so what thinks you my baby girl am i cool or what?

Welcome to the 20-something relationship with the 50-something parent...with AARP bridging the gap for us all...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Living Oprah

I am a huge Oprah fan. Seriously. I think she is smart, a great role model, and I typically agree with her opinions. And yes, I interrupt people almost as much as she does (thanks for the leadership by example).

While Jeff has been gone, I tivo Oprah everyday, and indulge every night (it is WOOOOONDERRRFUL). And then I came across this blog:


Which is hilarious. A tongue-in-cheek year of living as Oprah dictates. And she dictates a lot.

My biggest surprise? How much it costs to live as Oprah suggests...so far (Jan-Sep) it's cost that blogger $2823.85, and that's not counting the time value of money. (She also tracks the minutes of each activity).

While I rarely put into action everything Oprah says, the mere possibility that I have the control to become a better self is why I continue to tune in. And that is priceless.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gigglebees. Zima. Death.

Oh, our childhoods and younger years! We must be getting old(er)...Jeff recently told me the age-old establishment in Sioux Falls is closed and not to reopen. That's right, Gigglebees has closed its doors and auctioning off everything on Oct 25. If you're interested, starting bids begin at $5k...for the whole thing. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they are separating out the skeeball machines (they were my fave).

And part II: death of the Zima. The gateway liquor in my early 20s of jolly ranchers and zima will be no more later this month. A moment of silence, please. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27282131/

Leadership and direction

What is the better course of action - act independently, or wait for direction?

A company is usually not foolish about the recruitment and hiring process - they hire very competent people, with a lot of knowledge and experience to do a good job at whatever is put in front of them.

That being said, I don't understand why some folks wait and wait when action is needed (on both little and big things, but especially little things). Even if you don't have a distinct answer from above, why is it so scary for some to put together an actionable plan based on what you know at the time, and start working on it? Get the buy-in from the group and go forward. At least you're moving in a direction, and can change course later if needed.

I understand, there is a huge risk that comes when putting yourself out there.......but "it's not my decision to make" is not a term I ever want to hear from my directors or VP's once they have all, or most, of the facts. If it's not their decision - then get the right people involved. If those people can't give their blessing - move on to another person.

Inaction due to uncertainty is a waste of time, money, and energy. What are they waiting for? Someone else to tell them how to execute the project / fill out a document / report data and news?

There is a time and a place for both scenarios. Big, or even medium decisions, those that impact a lot of people or money or ideas, sometimes requires views of things going on that others might not have. And then it is a good thing to have say-so from other people. But for small things, waiting for someone else to have the answer is not my idea of good leadership.

Ben's Dedication weekend

My nephew, Ben, was dedicated at church this weekend. I am posting some photos of the family from our times together!
UPDATE: I can't get the photos to display properly so I will need to call my IT guy for help (Jeff).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Car Sold; (Me) on the Road

Yep, I sold it last night. WOO HOO!! The perfect buyer for our situation...I hope it runs for him a long time. It was a little sad to see it drive out of the driveway, and out of our lives - we have had it for 7 years (I know, can you believe it?).

I've got my bags packed and the kitties and fish fed for a couple days in preparation for going out of town this weekend. Baby Ben will be dedicated this Sunday at Jenn and Dustin's church in Sioux Falls, and Jeff and I will be the godparents. We are already godparents to our other (wonderful) newphew, Nicholas, and now it is Ben's turn.

I am heading out of town tonight and I am watching flights like a hawk to see if I can get on (not looking good at this point, already overbooked by 2). If not, I will just go later tonight and miss dinner. I heard that a ladies luncheon is in store at Minerva's on Saturday, and I am sure a lot of play time with the 2 year old and baby are in order. For Sunday, I have a wonderfully cute keepsake baby dedication bible as well as a little card for Ben. Hopefully the weather cooperates (yes that means rains Saturday night) so Jeff can come!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sellin'...this economy rocks...

Yahoo, I think the car is going to be sold tonight, and I will hopefully have some sweet greenbacks in my possession soon. Test driver 2 came by last night and seemed to like it, asked that we hold it for him, and called me earlier this afternoon to let me know when he would be by with cash-ola!

Apparently there is a pretty good market for really cheap cars that still run well. GOOOOOO RECESSION!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just label it already

So, Jeff and I do not have infinite sources of cash. As a matter of fact, I scrounged together a dollar in mostly dimes and nickels to get a drink at the cafeteria today (because when is a 12-oz fountain soda more than a dollar?).

I go to check out - and it's $1.38. And I only had a dollar. And there was a line behind me. I WAS SO EMBARASSED. I would NEVER have gotten something that I couldn't pay for, which I would have known IF the freaking prices were labeled. What kind of place doesn't put prices out?

So she said, just come back with the other change later. Which I will do, but still...it sucked.

Ugh, I am seriously mad about this, disgusted at the cost, and still kind of embarassed.

Blog negligence

Sorry for my non-posting activity this weekend and yesterday.

JEFF IS BACK!!! So we've been busy reconnecteing...at least, too busy to post.

He drove the Amymobile (I guess now the Jessmobile) back from SD on Friday night. We went out for dinner at Qdoba (yes I used a coupon) and caught up on My Name is Earl.

Saturday was a late brunch (my favorite and best-cooked meal if I do say so myself) followed by some shopping. I got a new pillow, a second rug for the bathroom, and something else that I can't remember (yes I used a coupon).

Sunday we went to our marine club annual business meeting to elect officers, etc etc. It was also massive cleaning and laundry day, as well as Blade Trinity. Have you guys seen it? I, as a rule, do not watch shows like that, but this one was not too bad - not gory or scary, mostly just kick-ass. I like those kinds of movies (also, you must see Iron Man).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Today's article (I am all teary)

I know, I know, this blog is supposed to be something fun, for my family and friends to read about our lives and what's happening with me and Jeff and the kitties.

BUT, I (unlike one Ms. Palin) read a TON of stuff - online journals, newspapers, op-eds, blogs, etc. And this one today made me tear up and I HAD to share it. Ok, you know me, I tear up a LOT (like at those motivational quarterly business rah-rah meetings from business leaders). I know. But whatever...anyway, this one is great.

The author, Frank Schaeffer, was one of the key founders of the 'religious right' fundamentalist movement. His latest book, "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back", is on my to-read list.

"Obama Will Be One of the Greatest (and Most Loved) American Presidents"

An update to EWWWW

I think it is possible that the poop on the sidewalk (yes it's still there after many days of rain) could be attributable to Canadian geese.

There was a pair enjoying the sprinkles this morning under a crabapple tree. One of them hissed at me while I was walking on the previously mentioned crap-filled sidewalk. They are now a definite possible culprit.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Birthday shout out

Happy Birthday Lois!!!

WOO HOO!!!!!! Now go buy something cool for your yard or camper.

Ah, Michelle

I love Michelle Obama. I clearly want to be as stylish as her. Google her name and then hit 'images' at the top. Ah, what pretty outfits. So put together.

PLUS, she's smart as a whip and super cool under pressure. Which I think I mostly have going on already, which is probably why I am more envious of her style.

If McCain gets elected, can SHE be the VP instead??

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Register to Vote

Seriously, there is no excuse to NOT vote. SOMEBODY has to run the country / Senate / state / city / school board - you might as well have a say.

Just do it! To register click here:

You will have to print out the form and mail it in, but that is ALL THERE IS TO IT.

Now, show up at your polling place on Nov. 4th and fill in the circles.

Some places even have early voting and absentee voting- check your state's Secretary of State website for info.
MN: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/home/index.asp
SD: http://www.sdsos.gov/
IA: http://www.sos.state.ia.us/
ND: http://www.nd.gov/sos/

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Yesterday I was walking down the sidewalk into work. Not so much walking but zig zig skipping - to avoid the giant turds on the sidewalk. I can only assume they are from the "turkey vultures" (aka to normal people as turkeys), but they were seriously big. I thought maybe racoon size, but I'm not sure if they live in the city near work...I know for sure the turkey vultures do.

Anywho, everybody played the dodge and weave game yesterday. Now TODAY, it's raining. I thought, oh good, the crap will be gone!

No such luck. They are now liquified clumps of poo, just outside on the ground of my Fortune 200 company. Awesome.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Well, the show must go on, even if my partner in crime is in SD.

So - this weekend the Edina Chorale sang Beethoven's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage with Allegro Sinfonia [www.allegronotes.org] at the Wayzata Community Church. It went pretty well - even with the freaking high A's all over the place (whew).

I was sooo impressed by the orchestra - one of the finest community orchestras I've heard. Really, I can't believe they are not paid, and it is only freewill offering to attend!!!

They played 5 songs in addition to ours, all around the theme of 'water':

Handel's Water Music Suite
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake (excerpt)
Strauss's On the Blue Danube (think Tide commercial), Thunder and Lightening Polka
Haydn's Violin Concerto in C - with a very find teenage violinst - wow!!!
Mozart's Sleigh Ride (I know, snow already!!!!)

What a great way to spend a rainy, blustery afternoon!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Medicine, doctors, and me

Went to the asthma / allergy doc yesterday. My numbers are spectacular - best in a long time. I was not too surprised as I have been feeling really, really good. Now I just have to keep up with the dust and cat hair at home. The doc did say I would probably have to start desensitization shots this winter (after most of my allergens have been dormant awhile). I will be going back in January.

Also got a flu shot. Don't forget to get yours if you are old, young, or have the potential for bad lung things. Be advised - your arm will hurt like a b*tch.

Dropped Jeff off at the airport this morning. We packed up all his work clothes last night and he is off to the farm for October. MISS YOU!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

No catch, really!

Help Squidoo give away $80K by October 15. Just go to this website, http://www.squidoo.com/squidoo-charity-giveaway, and pick your favorite. Your vote gives your charity $2, courtesy of Squidoo.

According to their website, Squidoo "is a hand-built collection of half a million pages built by people just like you. Squidoo is about finding people when you care what they know instead of who they know. And Squidoo raises big money for charity every single day by donating money from the ads and links you see on every page. "

Three or four facts
1. Squidoo has more than 700,000 hand built pages.
2. Squidoo has been reviewed by the New York Times, Mashable, BoingBoing and sites and papers around the world.
3. We are one of the 300 most popular websites in the US.4. We generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual royalties to charities and to our users.

What about the money?
Squidoo makes money from ads and affiliate links. We give 5% of what we earn, right off the top, to charity. We keep 45% to cover our overhead and stuff. That leaves 50%. That goes to charity or to the people who build the pages. And we leave it up to you to choose one or the other. It's that simple. You can earn a dollar, a nickel or a dime at a time for your favorite cause or for you. Did we mention that Squidoo is free? Always has been.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fighting for breakfast

Occassionally, Jeff and I are on email at the same time and we can ALMOST talk in real time. Just for some background - I am the messy one, and Jeff is very clean and tidy. He keeps the ship running in tip-top shape. Here is today's email exchange:

Me: free cake. I BELIEVE it's celebrating something for KLM...maybe an anniversary of the partnership? In any case, KLM's logo was on the cake. The FREE cake.

Jeff: I can't believe you snagged the last poptart.....and left a mess on the counter.........How hard is it to put the spoon in the dishwasher and peels in the garbage???

Me: But it made the kitchen smell nice and citrus-y! Just kidding. I am a lazy bones. Sorry. But I will not apologize for taking a pop tart! I haven't had any yet.

Jeff: You didn't say you wanted any, I snuck them in the cart.....if you wanted some, you should have snuck some in too.......Man, be married is ROUGH....the man is always eating your poptarts!!!!!!

Me: Sorry. "The Man" will not eat them today and will bring them home for "Her Man". Love, your wifey.

PS - don't be surprised if this exchange ends up as a blog. Cuz it's hilarious.

Jeff: NO NO NO

You eat the poptart. But it's a breakfast item so you only have 5 minutes to eat it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: What is the "NO NO NO"? I left the pop tart in the car so it lives for today.

Jeff: The "no no no" was telling you to enjoy the poptart...I've already healed from the heartbreak....I can't believe you would leave it in a car....it might be hot and suffer...Don't you have to be going to a meeting?

And alas, our email exchange ended, as I did (do) have to be going to a meeting!


Last night I auditioned for the Edina Chamber Chorale (the smaller faction of the regular auditioned 90-person chorale) and I got in!! Well, with provisions - but I got in!

I kind of feel like I bombed it a little bit. Not 'da bomb', just not very good. I think I need to get my brain expectations inline with my abilities at this point and realize I need to practice a heck of a lot more than I am currently, to make me as good as I am in my head.

Anywho, the piece I was told to audition with was not even pulled out. Instead, he used "The Blessed Son of God" by Vaughan Williams - we were just beginning to rehearse the back half last night for the first time, so of course that's what he had me sing. No biggie, normally, right? I can sight read pretty darn well. BUT, (since I am not as in shape as I think), I had totally tuckered myself out during the first hour and half of rehearsal singing the Beethoven piece for this weekend and by the time the audition rolled around I was vocally exhausted - you know, kind of hoarse, breathing a lot and not in good places, not super focused sound, kind of wobbly...ugh.

BUT, he let me in as a sub - basically there are 2 sopranos that are normally in Chamber that are not able to sing this fall for Christmas. So I am singing since they are not!

He said he would re-evaluate positions after the Christmas concert so I have 2 months to knock his socks off during rehearsals. My new initiative is to sing every day - not every couple days like I have been. What I have been doing is just not enough to be what I want to be.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My annual flowers are gone

Yesterday was a sad day. Necessary- but sad. I tore down all my flowers for the year.

I took the day off on Friday to do this very thing (as well as other fall cleaning chores) but I couldn't bring myself to tear out all my carefully crafted and cared for pots when it was 80 degrees. So Jeff and I went shopping instead.

But, like every fall, a rainstorm comes through, the temperature drops, and the warmth does not reappear until May. After the showers on Saturday night, working yesterday in 60 degrees and overcast weather was the perfect entry into fall. So...now all of my pots are down and stored away until next year.

I can't wait for the tulips and crocuses to spring through the frost in April.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wow, what a day

Busy, busy, busy day today (Saturday: I am writing this after SNL).

TCMAS meeting at 11am - 3 fantastic, educational speakers (plus lunch). Left at 3pm.

Quick regroup at home - making phone calls and tracking down stuff. Left at 4:30pm.

Trip all the way over to ye olde stomping ground, and Fleet Farm, for work jeans.

Trip to Schuler Shoes (closed at 6pm, didn't make it).

Dinner at Woodbury's #1 pizza joint, Pinos.

Grocery shopping back in Eagan. Done by 8:30pm.

Cleaning chores and misc tv watching. Done by 10pm.

Nap until 10:30pm.

SNL wraps up the night.

Wow, all that stuff and I think I was busy? Man, I am getting old...at least I didn't throw in a 'dinner at 5pm, then bingo'...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We're Digital!

Hi everybody! Our very exciting news for today is that we have upgraded our Comcast cable for $1.99 to a digital service, instead of whatever we had before. Apparently, a new card thingy plugs right into our Tivo. All I know is we now receive my favorite channels in HD, which is awesome. I will be watching the Twins whoop the White Sox in HD tonight. During commercials of The Office's premiere.

It was not achieved without difficulty though. Jeff has now restarted the Tivo about 8 million times AND we had two technicians visit the house in one day. Two!! Do you know how many minutes on hold, then with customer service it takes to have two technicians come? Thank god my beloved took care of that part - he is much more patient and even-tempered than me.

But, by 7pm yesterday, the HD channels were up! Here are the things that I saw:
1. Locusts swarming, and transforming, on Discovery HD.
Truly terrifying.
2. Rihanna on one of the new MTV HD stations.
Truly thrilling.
3. Poor 'pets' abandoned and mistreated on Animal Planet HD.
Truly sad.
4. Watching Jon Stewart kick butt on Comedy Central digital.
Truly awesome.
5. The Cubbies in HD.
Truly amazing!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Things I don't understand (sports-related)

I don't understand lots of things, but as for sports, I have a few glaring holes in my bowl of knowledge.

fantasy football. I just don't get it. I get loving your favorite team and cheering for them (I start out that way with the Vikings most years). I get drinking beer and hanging out with your pals watching "the game". I get buying the jersey and obtaining autographs and attending training camp in Mankato. But I don't get fantasy football. There is very little high-fiving involved, for a sport.

hockey. I do not know the rules, nor the points structure, nor any of the strategies involved. I have never learned it, and until we moved to Minnesota, I don't think any of my acquaintances knew anything about it either. The only thing I do know is the fight highlights on the 10:00pm news are kinda interesting.

horse racing. I did learn the term, "trifecta", when I took gambling bids at the track the summer I was 18. But I'll be darned if I can remember what it means now.

tennis. My roommate in college was a tennis superstar in high school, but I never really learned how to play (sadly, as I kind of wanted to). I think everything I have learned about scoring has been from the Wii.

soccer. See description for "hockey". Oh, but I DO know that I really like David Beckham (who doesn't?).

Ok, the point is - several people I know L-O-V-E one or more of the above items. In an effort to better understand their love, and in turn, them, I pledge to read the Wikipedia descriptions of each in the next week. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If you read this...

If you read my blog, please post a comment.

It makes me feel loved.

Changing worldviews

Today's post comes courtesy Seth Godin's blog. He usually writes about marketing and business stuff - which most people think are boring - but I HAD to show all of you this post. His post is a tangent of a mentality that I was introduced to at my other company: to think as an ally.

I have a tendency to get very impatient with people that do not immediately see my point of view like I do, or at least give a good explanation as to why they are dissenting. Thinking, and problem-solving, as an ally really took a lot of that frustration out of the equation for me, and got to the issue at hand - so we could focus on THE SAME facts and data, so I could explain my position even further (my worldview), as could my counterpart (their worldview), and get to a resolution even faster.

Try it for a day - when you are in difficult situation today, put yourself in their shoes, explain what they are not understanding, listen, and think as an ally.

Your difficult boss, customer, prospect, voter, student... probably not stupid, probably just uninformed. There's a huge difference.

Every person makes decisions based on their worldview and the data at hand. If two people have the same worldview and the same data, they'll make the same decision, every time (unless they're stupid.)

The easiest way to grow is to sell to people who share a worldview that endorses your position. The most effective way to grow bigger than that is to inform those that disagree with your position--more data in a palatable form. And, unfortunately, it turns out that the best way to change the world is to open the closed-minded.