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 ~

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:

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).