Saturday, December 31, 2011

A South Dakota Christmas

I. Love. My. Family.

And not just in the you-love-them-because-they're-family kind of way. I would CHOOSE to love them if they were not my family.

I feel so fortunate to have spent 5 days back on the Kienow farm, surrounded by family. I miss them all so much when we are far away, but a few hours back...and it's like there has never been any time or space between us.

Additional reasons why this Christmas rocked:
1. The weather was PHENOMENAL. If global warming means winters like this year in SD, I may have to change my voting sign to "R".

2. My goofy family is hilariously goofy. Case example 1: Amy's boyfriend, James, joined us for his first holiday...I can only imagine what he thought. "You don't want to go to town? Really? Well, ok. But don't snoop around." Case example 2: We all played Kinect. Even mom and dad...they bowled COMPETITIVELY with each other...followed up by a boxing match...which mom won.

3. My mom is a decorating GENIUS. I have never, ever, EVER seen the halls decked quite like my mom's house this year - except maybe in House Beatiful. Things were lit up all over, with the lights reflecting in chandeliers and sparkly things...very blingy...and everywhere you looked there was a little Christmas cheer looking back at you.

4. Extended family bonding is brought to you by Winchester, Ruger, and Beretta. Dude. We all shot guns on Christmas Day.

5. Food tastes better with family. Steak. Ham. Turkey. Shrimp. Sausage. Potatoes. Stuffing. Jambalaya. Salads (for good measure).

And of course...Oyster Stew. Come on, people! It's seriously the best.

6. And finally Napping. Much napping. Because everyone needs a little break from family at some point, too.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Memories of Bella


Bella was such a good friend to me. I got her in the winter of 2004, after I graduated from college and I was interviewing for jobs. Jeff was still working at Coke in Rapid City and was super busy. I was so lonely, and I really wanted something to love.

A few months later, we packed up and moved to Minnesota. She sat with me in her kennel for the whole road trip, and meowed until Pierre, I think. Those first few nights it was just us, an air mattress, our fish, and Bella. We had nothing else in our tiny apartment (our stuff had not arrived yet) and woke in the middle of the night to what we thought was the fish tank water gushing out. No - it was just Bella, who had gotten curious about a Target sack and somehow got the handle of it stuck around her belly. She hated crinkly sacks after that.

We have moved three more times since then. In our 2nd apartment in Minnesota, she loved to go outside on the patio in the spring and summer, while we sat with her and enjoyed the fresh air. This was the beginning of taking her out on supervised outside time. She LOVED to chew on any kind of spiky grass.


Bella loved to play with a few particular toys - especially jingly (when he was in his glory) and the throw-the-mousie game and her boomerang, LOVED her kitty bed, curled around my head in the morning and slept on the corner of my side at night, aircraft-carrier launched onto the bed when she was hungry, and would beg and beg for canned tuna and chicken. Oh, and she would try to drink out of your water glass when you weren't looking. She sat on my lap pretty much every night...she particularly liked to sit on a brown pillow that's on my lap. (She is a princess and wanted to perch perfectly.) She would roll around and 'kitty-whore' when she was really happy (included above).

She was a really vocal kitty. She always seemed to know when jumping up with a "BRRRREOW" would cheer me up, make me laugh, or be totally unhelpful (it didn't matter, she would do it anyway). She liked to respond in little meows when I would talk to her - which I hate to admit, I did pretty often.

She was a great kitty. I am sad our move to Georgia seemed to mess with her spirit - she was just never the same after we got here. We saw glimpses of our old girl all the time, but she just wasn't the same kitty, and deserves better - to go to her nice, new home...with an older single lady and her other 2 kitties. I hope she is happy. I will always wonder. And to cope, I will continue to tell myself she is doing great and we made the right choice.

Goodbye Bella.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bella's Last Day

We finally found a home for my girl, Bella. A co-worker of an old colleague of mine is going to adopt Bella this afternoon. We are meeting her after work.

I am heartbroken to have to say goodbye to my sweet girl after almost 9 years, but I am hopeful she is going to a home where she will be so much happier.

Jeff and I gathered up all of Bella's favorite things:
- Boomerang toy (the end of a rubber shoe insert...she loves it)
- Great White Mousie (a GIANT toy mouse)
- All of the little mousies that get thrown and chased
- Green Froggie and the Butterfly (catnip crinkle toys she's had forever)
- Jingly (a yellow wand with a orange toy and bell on the end)
- Prescription kitty treats for her gums

And also gathered some logistical items:
- Her kitty bed
- Airplane carrier
- Hardside carrier
- Medical records, shot records, and microchip information
- Extra food and container



It will be so hard to say goodbye today. I will miss her so much.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pot Luck Lunches

I LOVE POT LUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had our holiday pot luck lunch at work today and it rocked!!!!!!

I brought a giant crock pot of my famous chili (mom's recipe) that was half-venison and half-beef with 3 kinds of beans.

There was also homemade mac & cheese, several meatball varieties, cheese / veggies / dip, sandwich fixin's, lasagna, spanakopita, and a bunch of desserts. FORTUNATELY, I only remember the cut-out Santas and Ooey Gooey Butter Cake from desserts - I "limited myself" to 3 cookies and a small bite of cake.

I later found out that cake has 2 sticks of butter, a package of cream cheese, and a box of powdered sugar. (Likely about 8 Weight Watcher points.) Oops.

Oh well. Worth it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hiking Adventures

Jeff and I are into hiking. It's official.

And we are REALLY into it. Over the long Thanksgiving weekend we went twice. And then again this past weekend.

On Friday after Thanksgiving, we headed to FDR State Park ... and 'accidentally' went 7 miles. Of rolling hilly mountains.

My body was not ready for this - my leg cramped so badly on the way home that we literally had to stop at a rest stop, lay down the seats to make way for cargo in the Jeep, and I laid down with my leg stretched out the rest of the way home. We also did not pack enough food or water - only 2 Clif bars and 64 ounces of water for the two of us...for almost 5 hours (oops). We obviously did not intend to go as far as we did - but we made it!

We vowed to do a shortie in celebration of our anniversary a couple days after, on Sunday, November 27th. We went to Sweetwater Creek State park and dropped off a "Seven Year Itch" Travel Bug in the geocache in honor of our anniversary. We did a much more manageable 4.2 miles.

This past weekend we went to the nicest private nature reserve I've ever seen, Dauset Trails. We shared the trail with mountain bikers (those dudes and chicks are SERIOUS) and kicked that trail's butt. It was relatively flat compared to what we've been doing, so we went for SPEED and increased our moving average by almost 0.5MPH. YIPPEE!

And lest I forget to mention...these were all done with my new best friends, Trekking Poles. I seriously want to use these poles just walking from my car into work...I LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!!!! (Thanks Lois, for introducing me to the concept.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bella

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile folks.

I have been beside myself with heartbreak because my kitty Bella has decided she doesn't like change in our household.

Our dining/living room is torn apart because of the water damage...carpet is up in some places, furniture is moved, etc. And she protested by acting out - hiding, being extremely feeble and scared, fighting with Maddie, and piddling on the (remaining) carpet.

So, we have to find a new home. We just can't provide the type of environment she will thrive in - we travel, Jeff leaves for the farm, we change our house around a lot, it's noisy sometimes...she just can't handle us anymore.

I can't bear the thought of her in a cage at a shelter so I have been trying to find a friend, coworker, or foster organization that will take her.

My heart has been so sad, that I couldn't find it in myself to post anything else.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pentatonix.

What...............what.............what...........mind blown.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Best Fridge Cookie

As the holidays approach and we get ready to turn our focus from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I give you my SUPREMELY seasonal appropriate - and time crunched busy woman cheater - cookie find:

Immaculate Baking Company Gingerbread Spice Cookies

It celebrates folk art, it's made all natural and better-for-you ingredients, and it is DELICIOUS. Oh, and only 70 calories each (2 points if you're on WW).

Get it in your fridge section by the milk!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yard Sale Joke

Funny joke for the day:

“The only difference between a rummage sale and garbage pickup is how close you have the items to the road.”

…did you know that’s how we got rid of our orange loveseat? Several neighbors were having garage sales on a Saturday morning, and so we hauled it out to the end of the driveway (exactly where our garbage goes on garbage day) with a “FREE” sign.

It disappeared by the end of the morning!!! A little redneck, YES, but hey - it worked!

Monday, November 14, 2011

401(k)-ing

We just finished up 4 solid days of flooring shopping, picking paint out, and accessorizing. More on that later. (I'm too tired to think about it anymore.) Yes, my mom is still here but she might go home today (BOO).

Here's my offical Monday question: If you are 30 years old, how much should you be putting into your 401(k)?

I know everyone's different, with different goals. But at thirty, a lot of us millenials are somewhat established, maybe with or without kids, and are settling into life a bit more. And none of us will have pensions. Or Social Security. (Come on people, it's just a fact of life now.)

So I am just wondering...when it's your annual election time, you have to choose something. So what's the appropriate percentage? 2%? 5%? 10%? What "should" we strive for???

I was talking to a similarly aged colleage (he's 33) and he said they do 15%. Another similarly aged colleage (she's 29) said she does 5%. Another (26) said he does the minimum company match. How is a person supposed to know?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Georgia has 2 Kienows

My momma's here!

After the kitchen flood of '11, we have enlisted professional help to determine flooring replacements.

Schedule:
Arrived Wednesday night (done).
Thursday: Jeff and Mom pre-view 3-4 shops to assess availability, pricing, DIY viability of various hardwood floors.
Friday: VACATION DAY! We all go out, ponder, and select new flooring.
Saturday: If pondering and selection not complete, then more pondering. If complete - maybe Dahlonega!!!
Sunday: Re-lax.
Monday: Home Joe.

I can't wait!!! I love family time...I may have to destroy things more often to encourage my family to visit!!! (Just kidding, Jeff.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PSUgh

I cannot stop reading about Penn State and the horrible-ness of Sandusky and willfull turning a blind eye of Paterno.

It's disgusting. And sad. And it makes me mad no one caught it sooner.

What about that graduate assistant that SAW an adult having anal sex with a young boy???? He reported it - to the school - the next day...but didn't stop it IN ACTION.

After he reported it...then...NOTHING.

There is a special place in hell for child abusers, and those who tolerate child abuse. I hope every single victim comes forward to tell their story and get the help they need to continue healing, even if it's 15 years later.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My New Phone

I have firmly stepped into the 2010's...I have a smartphone.

Yes, I had a Blackberry for work before but it was LAME.

I am now the proud owner of an HTC Incredible 2 Droid.

My favorite features so far?
Number 1: Navigation.
Number 2: Weight Watchers food tracker.
Number 3: I can ACTUALLY hear people on the phone, and they can hear me.
Number 4: It holds a charge for longer than 6 hours.
Number 5: It doesn't randomly not work.

YIPPEE

Friday, November 4, 2011

An explanation

Sorry I have not posted in awhile. Here are my top 5 excuses for not posting.

1. Jeff is back. WOO HOO!!! We have been spending all our extra free time together.

2. I wrecked our carpet. When I flooded the kitchen with the RO/DI water, I did not realize it also went into the dining room, which is carpeted. And so it sat for 3 days. Upon Jeff's return, we ripped out the padding and carpet in half the room to allow it to dry. I am very depressed about this, since it is 100% my fault and is going to be crazy expensive to re-floor 2 rooms.

3. Work is crazy. I know, I know - it's always crazy. But I literally have no cleverness or resources left at the end of the day...and I if I did, I'd spend them on the hubby.

4. I am on my health journey. I am extremely focused on eating healthier, and I just know you all are tired of hearing about my recipes or how I DIDN'T eat pizza when I wanted to.

5. It's been raining. Ok, I didn't really have a Number 5. But truly - did you guys know it rains A LOT in Georgia in the fall and winter???

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Kitty Says Hi


Also, here is my dinner: Semi-Homemade Chicken Alfredo Pizza


Pillsbury thin crust dough
Alfredo sauce from the jar (Bertolli I think)
Cooked Schwan's Chicken Breast (love those)
Chopped Red Peppers, Green Peppers, and Mushrooms
Mozzarella and a bit o' Parmesan

I just baked that bitch up for however long the dough took, right on the rack...yippee!

Fitness Post Test

The results are in. Seven weeks later here are my stats:

Weight loss: 10.7 lbs. Total weight not disclosed. (Well, I know. But you don't.)

Flexibility: +2 inches. V-sit score of 18

Strength: +8 pushups. Increase from ZERO!

VO2 Max: +1. Raw number 29 (from 28)...I thought this would be higher.

Body fat: arm = same; belly = same; thigh = -5

I should know next week how many years my 'real age' dropped. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seriously

I heard this term today: "Can't win for losing". I think it applies today.

I am extremely grouchy. And irritable. And bitchy. And short-tempered.

For multiple reasons...one of which being I flooded the kitchen with the stupid RO/DI water for the fish tank because I forgot to turn it off...another because I forgot my stupid lunch on the stupid counter this morning...another because sometimes personal relationships get in the way of business decisions...another because my stupid damn knee hurts...another because losing weight is hard...another because I can't control other people around me...another because life isn't fair and good people get sick...

Even my cats are pissing me off.

Best to go to bed and start over tomorrow, methinks.

PS - Even the fact I did not have a proper label for this post made me grumpy just now. AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What's so great in Chattanooga?

I guess I oughtta check it out...it's not too far from here anyway!

Saturday Food Adventures

It's extraordinarily dangerous when I watch The Food Network all day. Somehow, WATCHING someone else cook give me the courage to try lots of new things.

So, for brunch (full disclosure, it was really noon but I hadn't had breakfast yet), I decided to try my hand at a stovetop veggie frittata.

First I sauteed a quarter of a white onion in about a tsp of olive oil (I love my non-stick pans because you can get away with a lot of cooking without much oil or butter).

After it had browned up, I added 3 diced campari tomatoes, 4 chopped white button mushrooms, and a Green Giant Just-for-One Broccoli and Cheese thing.

I let that cook down for probably 5 minutes (while stirring occasionally), and then poured over 1/2 cup Egg Beaters.

I let it cook - no stirring - until the eggs had mostly set up. Then I tried to flip the whole thing...but that didn't work, so I resorted to just flipping 'pieces' of the frittata.

Not bad, huh? It was definitely yummy...but I did need to add some salt! (Because I forgot it the whole way through.)

Tonight I made a garlicky homemade chicken noodle soup.

I chopped & sauteed half a fresh garlic head and another quarter white onion until they were nice and browned. Then I added chopped celery and carrots and cooked those for a few minutes.

I salted and peppered, then used a whole chicken breast - including skin and bone - and added it to the veggie mixture, turning once to get it browned.

I stirred in 2 cups of water initially (and some dried parsley) and brought to a low simmer, and added 2 more cups of water after 20 minutes.

After another 20 minutes, I took out the chicken, removed the skin / fat / bone, shredded it and returned it to the soup. Meanwhile, I added 3/4 cup brown rice and cooked according to the directions.

Looky here! A yummy cool weather treat that's also super healthy! (Loaded with veggies, no milk or wheat products, hardly any salt, and zero chicken boullion required.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Frugal Food

Peanuts are my life (recently). And so I am completely not surprised the price of peanut butter is going up 30-40%. So what's a busy lady with a tight budget to do? This article listed some great options for protein that is NOT a killer for your wallet.

1. Beans. Hel-lo. Who has time to soak and cook? Not me. But guess what - the store brand black beans and chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are just as good...and typically around $1. Who can argue with that?

My favorite dishes lately with beans: meatless chili (using chili, white, and kidney beans), taboule salad with chickpeas, romaine, and tomatoes added, and black bean & cheese enchiladas

2. Eggs. Hmmm...egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs, omelets, french toast, asian stir fry...seriously...yum.

3. Dairy. The article lists this one - but I am not a milk drinker (although I love me some cheese). But I will chow down on the cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and cheese sticks already!

4. Quinoa. PASS. Too hard to cook.

5. Soy. Boca Burgers are ok...but the real crowning glory is the tube of soy sausage which is actually REALLY good. Or, use soy in milk form for SMOOTHIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. Meat. Portion control, yo. 3oz or 4oz is where it's at.

Try these, and watch the $$ in your weekly budget increase. I know I have the past 2 weeks. GOOD LUCK!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Does this look weird?

I have a different version of Internet Explorer at work than at home...and both of them make the blog look weird. Does anyone else see that, or is it just me???

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mexican a la Healthy

As previously mentioned, I like to take the opportunity during harvest (when I am by myself) to test out some new recipes.

For one, if it isn't that good, I don't care - I'll eat it anyway. When Jeff is around, I feel like I am letting him down if it sucks!

For two, I experiment with ingredients - some of which maybe both of us do not like.

For three, see number one for the outcome of number two.

So here's todays Healthy Mexican Fiesta dish:

Cut into large chunks (about 1x1") and add to 9x9 square baking dish:
1/2 sweet white onion
1 medium green pepper
2 medium chicken breasts

Add 1 can reduced sodium Bush's Black Beans, 1 can mild green chilies, and 1 can mild La Preferida Enchilada Sauce.

Stir until mixed, and top with 1/2 cup reduced fat Sargento Mexican 4-cheese blend.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes (depending on how 'done' you like your veggies).

Serve open-faced on a flour tortilla.

Note: this will be 'runny' because of the veggies' water, but just use the tortilla to sop it up!!!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day

I am remembering lots of friends today.

It's weird, when I was 20 I didn't think I knew of anyone who needed remembrance today.

Now that I'm 30, I realize that I likely did know someone. Probably a lot of someones. Because I sure as hell know too many now.

Many people are not comfortable talking about death. And that's ok.

Know that even if you don't want to share, or talk, or acknowledge publicly...we are still thinking about you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Almost Home

I tried to go home today.

It didn't work.

Harvest is progressing quickly - it's been really dry, with few delays, and a lot of midnight nights.

So if I want to visit this year, I need to do it soon. Too bad I can't get there this weekend :(. I am really bummed.

What will I do instead? Perhaps a Sisterhood Pilgrimmage tomorrow to Macon, Ga - the birthplace of Alpha Delta Pi. Can't wait to spend some girl time with new people!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's your favorite candy?

We are constantly looking for new ways of doing things, new offerings that people will like, new pricing that will be acceptable. Typically, these come from industry experts, trade shows, customer sampling and surveys, and a bunch of other avenues.

Today, though, we have turned our decision-making over to the masses.

We are looking at offering another candy in addition to the always-popular Peanut M&M's (so you can still get a chocolate fix).

Your options are all in the 'gummy' category:
Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Jolly Rancher Gummies
Lifesavers Gummies
Skittles Original
Starburst
Twizzlers

So...head on over to Facebook and vote please!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sisterly Love

My sister rocks. I am so proud of her.

She started a new job. She has an awesome apartment. Her cat, Milton, is super cool. Her boyfriend is also quasi-cool. She meditates. And works out. And helps people in really profound ways.

She is awesome.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thai good-for-you Recipe

I am taking the opportunity while Jeff is away to expand my cooking skills and food horizon.

I am fortunate enough to eat out at some really nice restaurants and meet some really great chefs in the business that I am in.

Unfortunately, I have not been successful recreating anything at home.

Till now.

Voila! I give you my healthy version of Thai Curry Chicken.

Start your Jasmine Rice in your rice cooker first. No rice cooker? GET ONE!!!!!!!!!!!! The best small appliance since my popcorn popper.

Season Chicken Breast pieces (not whole but not too small), green bell pepper, and white onion pieces with curry powder. (Dry off the chicken and veggies to help the seasoning 'stick').

Preheat 2 tbsp EVOO in a non-stick pan.

Saute the chicken and veggies for 5-7 minutes, turning once, to get a nice brown crust.

Add 1 cup of water and simmer for 30-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. (Note, I think next time I will eliminate the water / simmer part and just keep sauteeing until cooked through since I like my veggies crisp and the water made them a bit soggy.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trekking Poles

I have a pain in my knee. Swelling too. And just on the left side. But all the time...it really sucks.

Yes, I know my workouts and resulting weight loss will help.

In the meantime, I don't want to stop hiking...but man, some of the descents are killer on the knee, to the point I think it might give out sometimes. And that is definitely not safe.

So I am considering trekking poles for hiking. Aunt Lois lent me hers this summer and I thought they were great. Does anyone else use them? Here's some I am considering (and using my REI discount)...Black Diamond Trail Shock Trekking Poles

Monday, October 3, 2011

Harvest time

And we're off! Well, Jeff is at least...on the long trip to South Dakota for the annual harvest / pheasant hunt / grunt work at the farm.

My predictions for this year:
1. It will be windy and dry.
2. Corn prices will top out around October 16th.
3. Soybeans will be done early.
4. No one will get shot.
5. There will be chili.

Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hand Cream

I keep getting older. And my skin keeps getting drier. It was really bad in Minnesota in the winter - I'd slather on body butter and think creams trying to avoid alligator skin, but it didn't always work

Now that I am in Georgia - it's mostly humid most of the time. It's been great for my skin...however, this fall has been really dry and the humidity is (thankfully) pretty low. So that means I have had to try some new products to keep my skin from getting wrinkly, flaky, and sore.

My current favorite hand cream: Bath & Body Works True Blue Spa Shea Butter Hand Cream


Revolutionary spa formula combines rich, moisturizing African shea butter with luxurious cashmere extract to envelop skin in supreme silky softness. A Creamy vanilla fragrance evokes warm, soft, luxurious comfort.

My current favorite lotion: Windrift Hill Goat's Milk Body Lotion in Relaxing

Relaxing: a blend of French Lavender, fir pine, Egyptian Jasmine, pure vanilla softened with delicate musks




Love them both!!!!!!!!!!!! Give them a try...........

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Fitness Assessment Results

Uh-oh. I am old beyond my years.




My "Real Age" is XX.




My updated health goals are as follows:


1. Exercise 4 times per week for 20-30 minutes.


2. Plan - and then record - consumed food and calories.


3. Strive to eat between 1700-2000 calories per day.


4. Eliminate soda - even diet soda.


5. Refill my 0.75L water bottle twice while at work.




Hopefully these will result in positive changes. We check back in the last week of October. WISH ME LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stupid Goverment, or Voters?

LZ Granderson writes how I think in my brain...but communicates it better, and more organized.

The only note I have is about constituents in Michele Bachmann's district. I voted against her. I got outvoted.

His article this week sums up my frustration with wanting to be a civic servant (vote, activate, etc) but the frustration I feel sometimes about the outcomes.

I have copied it here:
(CNN) -- Whenever I visit Washington, I can't help but think this is the town that elected a crackhead as its mayor.

I know, I know it's not PC to say, but just because it's insensitive doesn't mean it isn't true.
But think about this: There is footage of Marion Barry in a room of crack smoke saying, "Bitch set me up." And yet that image, that video did not disqualify him from being seen as a viable political option in the mind of voters. In fact, not only was he re-elected mayor after serving time in a federal prison, today he sits on the City Council, all because he managed to convince enough black people that the video of him with the crack pipe in his mouth was white people's fault.

When analyzing what is wrong with our government, allow me to present this example as Exhibit A.

Exhibit B would be Newt Gingrich, who cheated on two wives and is the only speaker of the House to have been disciplined for ethics violations. And yet somehow he is running for president of the United States as a religious conservative and managed to get 8% of the votes during last week's straw poll in Florida.

Are you freaking kidding me?

The fact that he is even on camera discussing the country's sense of morality during the GOP debates should be offensive to any thinking person regardless of party affiliation. And yet someone, right now, is thinking about sending his campaign a check.

And who can forget Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who last year, in trying to push a controversial immigration law, said law enforcement officials found headless bodies in the desert, the work of a Mexican cartel. But she was forced to admit that wasn't true, that she had "misspoke." What she didn't speak about was her close ties to the private prisons that were set to profit because of the new law. Ties like her campaign manager and her spokesman being former lobbyists for private prison companies. And despite the obvious conflict of interest, she won easily, saying on election Tuesday, "Tonight, the people have redeemed and renewed America."

Nice work, people.

I could go on but I think you see what I'm getting at: The biggest reason government is broken is because of voters.

Let's face it. A lot of us are just plain stupid.

Or at the very least lazy.

We want our candidates to use easy-to-digest buzz words such as "family values" or "clean energy" so we don't have to actually invest too much time thinking. We can just slip our brains into auto-pilot and cruise on into November.

Do I believe our politicians need to be perfect? No.

But damn, you would think people would draw the line at crack.

Or blatant hypocrisy.

Or just making stuff up as a candidate goes along.

Each time Rep. Michele Bachmann insinuates falsehoods into her arguments, as she did earlier this month on the "Today Show" by suggesting HPV vaccinations cause mental retardation, I think: A group of people on auto-pilot in Minnesota did this to us.

When you know important debates are influenced by people who don't like being bothered with facts, you question just how many of the country's problems over the years have been caused by people who should not have been involved in the process in the first place.

But they are because of us. So can we genuinely complain about government without accepting a lot of the blame? I don't think so. After all, they didn't elect themselves. So if we want government to work, we have to be smarter about our choices. It's one thing to have a population with a variety of political sensibilities; it's another to be a country full of idiots. Too many times we vote and consequently govern like the latter.

We have to move away from easy-to-repeat campaign slogans and promises of easy solutions, because we're a country with more than 300 million people, a complicated racial and religious history and the world's largest GDP. There are no easy solutions.

So if you're the kind of person who likes to say "I don't follow politics," let me remind you that no one lives in a vacuum and that sentiment epitomizes what is wrong with our government. I don't blame Sarah Palin for thinking she can still toss her hat in the ring. I blame us voters for creating an environment in which a Palin or a Gingrich or even a reality TV star like Donald Trump can feel as if they can run and even be taken seriously.

Last week I was bombarded with e-mails from readers who said Social Security should be protected because they paid into it, but they didn't care about Medicaid or Medicare because the government pays for those. And in 13 months some of these people will be voting for president.

You want to know what's wrong with government?

I just presented you with Exhibit C.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Every Fall Activity, in 2 days

Our last hurrah before Jeff leaves for harvest in SD: camping at Fort Mountain State Park.


This was a return trip; we had been here in June and really liked the park and activities available.

It took us awhile to get back in the swing of camping. For instance, we forgot trash bags, so Jeff asked if I could find something at work before he picked me up. You can see here Jeff is moonlighting as a flight attendant (we get samples of weird things, like trash bags).


We arrived later, after work - so had to get everything set up and dinner started before dark. We did have to eat our Jambalaya with the lantern on.

We also arrived after it rained...so our firewood was wet. No fire. So instead, we called it an early night, warmed up in the shower, and jumped into the tent. We knew it was going to be cold - and it was. 52 on Friday night was a bit chilly, even with our synthetic clothes, sleeping bags, blankets, and socks.

On Saturday the nice weather continued - sunny and in the high 60s and low 70s, with blue sky and no humidity! After our simple breakfast of oatmeal, we took a hike around the lake (and found a geocache, which we backtracked almost halfways around the lake because I missed the turnoff).


After the hike, I challenged Jeff to a game of putt-putt. (Yes, this campground rocks.) The loser had to make lunch...it was pretty much a tie, so we grabbed a hot dog at the concession stand. (Yes, this campground has a concession stand by the beach, lake, and putt-putt.)

We relaxed back at the campsite while cooking chili on the stove, and then had a raging fire the rest of the night and fell into bed happy, not quite as cold, and tired.

The next morning we decided to take a route home that skirted along the mountains before heading south. (This would also take us by the outlet mall.)

Ahoy! U-Pick Apples!!!!!!!!!!!!! We totally stopped.


We had done this in Minnesota, but here it's a bit different - Rome and Golden Delicious (no Honeycrisp), no corn maze, but warmer weather. I distinctly remember wearing a fleece, jeans, gloves, and a hat in MN...not this time. There were also mountains in the distance here. Beautiful!


Jeff found the biggest apple ever created.


After our apple orchard stop, we continued on our way. Ahoy! A pumpkin patch!!!!!!!!!!! We totally stopped.


I picked out two big but reasonably priced (but really heavy) pumpkins. After rearranging the vehicle, we got them in.


Shortly after this photo was taken, we realized somehow our vehicle had disrupted a beehive. An angry swarm of bees attacked Jeff. I am not kidding. He rounded the corner after getting these in the Jeep, opened his door, and they flew at his head and body and in the open windows. He got stung while trying to get us the hell out of there. We moved the car about a football field away, stopped to swat out some more bees, and then calmed ourselves. Wow. It was totally crazy.

Ok, further down the road...Amicalola State Park. We had to stop...for another Geocache! Score!!!


And another 15 mintutes down the road...we hit Dahlonega. This quant mountain town is home to antique shops, stores, hiking and backpacking venues, and tons of wine and food restaurants. We ate at our favorite place, Gustavo's (seriously good pizza).

Finally time to turn south towards home...but not before hitting the outlet mall. Jeff needed some work boots. And I'm sure glad he did, otherwise we would have missed almost everything we did on Sunday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sins of Powerpoint

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that every meeting I call has to have a detailed Powerpoint "deck" to go with it?

Powerpoint was never intended to be an organizational tool. Yet, some people are so used to looking at information this way that it becomes the standard method of communication

Powerpoint was never intended to contain lots of detail. Yet, some people either want to see granularity or don't trust the presenter, and therefore have to get out a magnifying glass to double check crunched numbers.

Powerpoint was neverintended to entertain you. So don't be offended when I leave out pictures, photos, soaring eagles, flashing words...you get my point.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fun Food Facts

I actually really like Joy Bauer. Out of all the self-help folks out there, she is probably #2 that I like (Jillian is #1)...which is saying a lot because I usually DISlike a lot of the others (Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, etc).

Joy reported these fun facts about food today. I listed the ones that I have happend to me pretty regularly...Cool to know the 'why'!

Why you get the coffee rush
Ever had to rush for the bathroom after your morning java break? The caffeine in coffee is a powerful stimulant, and in addition to waking you up, it can accelerate the rate of muscle contractions in your colon and bring on the urge to defecate. It’s just one more way coffee can invigorate you!

Why asparagus makes your pee smell
Enjoying a side of asparagus with dinner can cause your urine to take on an unpleasant odor that’s reminiscent of rotten eggs or boiled cabbage. Why the stink? When sulfur-containing amino acids in asparagus are digested by the body, aromatic sulfur compounds are produced and then excreted into the urine, thus giving your pee a foul smell. Scientists have discovered that only some individuals are equipped with the genetic ability to produce these smelly compounds; likewise, only some people can detect the odor.

Ow! Why ice cream freezes your brain
Nothing ruins a delicious bite of ice cream or sip of smoothie like sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia — or, more commonly, brain freeze! Scientists theorize that those awful seconds of shooting pain to the head are triggered by a cluster of nerves on the roof of the mouth that are highly sensitive to abrupt changes in temperature. When these nerves come into direct contact with cold food, they send signals that rapidly alter blood flow in your brain, and an intense, pounding headache results.

Why that nightcap wrecks your sleep
A drink or two in the evening may help you get to sleep faster (hence the term nightcap), but it definitely won’t help you get a solid night’s rest. Alcohol causes the brain to spend a greater proportion of time in the lighter stages of sleep versus the deeper, restorative stages. After an evening of imbibing, you may find you wake up earlier than usual or feel less rested the next day. In fact, sleep deprivation (along with dehydration) is one of the main contributors to the dreaded hangover.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Premieres

YIPPEE!!! As a self-proclaimed tv-lover, I am so excited my shows have started back up.

Since we have a Tivo, we watch at our leisure but Tuesdays are always a big one:

Glee
I thought the season premiere of Glee was good enough. I did not like how they dismissed several characters (um, Sam!), and also emphasized the 'hey, we're seniors and leaving' element. I was actually pretty unimpressed all in all - until the final 3 minutes. "You Can't Stop the Beat" blew my mind - LOVE ME SOME HAIRSPRAY (and did anyone else remember Matthew Morrison was in the original cast on Broadway?)! Scene-stealer award: Brittany (Heather Morris) for always bringin' it.

New Girl
Zooey Deschanel is charming...and funny...and hopefully grows her character in this one otherwise it could get old, fast. Anyone else watch it?

NCIS
TONY! GIBBS!! ZIVA!!! PROBIE!!! Need I say more?

We're back!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Failure, then Success

I love this and am copying word for word:

"Success Comes Through Rapidly Fixing our Mistakes Rather than Getting Things Right the First Time."

This quote comes from Tim Harford, who argues that success is really just a product of failure. He believes we have to try, fail, and quickly correct our mistakes in order to properly succeed. Because failure is just an inevitability, no matter who you are, the key is to get better at recovering from it rather than trying to avoid it altogether.

Harford suggests that there are a few key things we need to pay attention to when dealing with failure.

First is avoiding the denial that we're wrong. He says, "It seems to be the hardest thing in the world to admit we've made a mistake and try to put it right. It requires you to challenge a status quo of your own making." Sometimes we'll go so far as to chase our losses just to avoid failure, as if accepting the failed situation will make all our effort worthless.

In the end, we can't predict what's going to work. We can only experiment with trial and error. Failure is an important part of this process, and accepting it makes us capable of actually finding success in the long run.

For more information, check out the full article on The 99 Percent.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Yard Work Continued

Day 2: We divided and conquered just a bit; Jeff started trimming up all of our bushes and limbing up trees, while I went to Pike Nursery to purchase birdseed, pansies, fertilizer, and pine straw. (And lunch. From Wendy's.)

Our yard looks fantastic!!! Actually, the problem with a huge property is you can't tell when you put 15 hours of work in...

But here's what we got done today anyway, in case you come by and wonder:

Grass and beds edged and trimmed
Front bushes and gardenias cut back and re-shaped
Lots and lots of trees limbed up (wow they look better)
Many loads taken to the backyard compost pile
American flag exchanged for Halloween flag of pumpkins and a black kitty
Mailbox bed is completely weeded (no small task)
Pine Straw laid down in mailbox bed, gardenia bed, and climbing rose in back
Angelonia, moss roses, and petunias pulled out of pots
Potting soil refertilized and pansies planted in pots
Hoses and sprinklers drained and put away

There are still a massive amount of sticks and branches down in the backyard, which need to be gathered and burned. And I need to get some pumpkins for the front porch and stairs. And I still need to spray blackspot treatment on my roses and hydrangeas, and pull of some leaves that I saw yesterday starting to yellow and spot...maybe later though!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Holy Cow, Yard Work

I have convinced Jeff to put off doing 'adult responsibilities' for quite a few weeks. Today, though, we HAD to get some yard work done.

Three hours in and I have mowed the yard (and backyard), weeded the front mailbox bed, picked tomatoes, watered the garden, and picked up sticks. Lots and lots of sticks. I will never be done picking up sticks.

I don't want to work anymore (whine, whine...I know, but I can't help it!) so you get this blog post instead!

The saving graces? 73 degrees, sunny, 50% humidity and a breeze!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Seattle / Trade Show


Yay, trade show!! I trekked to Seattle on Monday (wow that is a long trip from Atlanta) and checked into my second trade show. This time, a small gathering of industry-specific folks were showing off their food, beverage, and interior amenities all in one place.

Who wants to hear about the work stuff? No one. (Although here is an example of a new product:)


I will give you a rundown of the evening activities. (Keep in mind each day started by 9am.)

After arrival on Monday, there was a welcome reception and bowling at The Garage in downtown Seattle. I did bowl on a team, but we were not very good - in fact, no one was! Some people were serious with the slogans on their t-shirts..."My drinking team has a bowling problem", and "The Rolling Pins" (all chefs) are a couple examples.

After the show on Tuesday, I went to a hosted dinner at the Space Needle. Very cool!


We were entertained by dueling pianos, and when the dinner was over we had an opportunity to go to the top and have a look. Wow!


After the dinner, there was an 'event' with a DJ back at the hotel and again, shut the place down.

On Wednesday, the show ended and dinner and celebration was held at the Museum of Flight. I got to tour the inside of a retired Air Force One and Concorde, plus lots of other stuff that I did not do (like simulator rides).



What a great, wonderful, exhausting week!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

List of Gratitude

Today, I didn't do much. And on days like this, I actually have time and energy to reflect.

I am so lucky. And have so much love. And so much to be grateful for.

1. My hubby.
2. My kitties.
3. Jambalaya.
4. Birdies and my bird feeder.
5. Fresh tomatoes.
6. Air conditioning.
7. Fuzzy slippers.
8. Doctor Who.
9. Pooping at home.
10. Sunshine.

Today was a good, lazy day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Fitness Assessment

I joined a Team Fitness Challenge at work.

We have had a fitness center on campus for about a year. They have launched a Team Fitness Challenge and about 20 of us in Supply Chain signed up. We will all be working independently and representing SCM well (hopefully)!

The greatest part? They do a pre-assessment, wait 7 weeks, and then a post-assessment. You don't have to 'work out' with your co-workers, or pay for this gym's membership.

My assessment today consisted of a height measurement, weight measurement, resting heart rate, flexibility (like the old v-sit and reach), push-ups (I couldn't do any), and body fat pincher at your arm, belly, and thigh. (I feel like that pincher thing theory kind of breaks down with big people. I just don't see how it could possibly work.)

We will get our 'real-age' body results next week. Hopefully I am in my 40's so I can get into my real age of 30 and win the Most Improved!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Wedding Weekend

Yippee!!! My friend Emily got married!!!!!!!!

It was the perfect excuse for the Kienows to vacation in the Black Hills during Labor Day weekend.

Jeff and I spent Thursday with Jason at an awesome site - shooting guns! It was my first ever experience with handguns, and I have to say, I did pretty well. Jeff also got to break in his new Glock, and had fun with that.

On Friday, we started a leisurely morning with the guys reapplying asphalt to the driveway while the girls chatted and took a walk with Mason (the resident Kienow black lab). After a late brunch, we headed into Sturgis - Amy got a massage, Mom and I went to a what-not shop, and Dad and Jeff wheeled and dealed over a new vehicle. We stopped in to The Knuckle for some steak tips, and then we drove out by Bear Butte, Iron Horse Campground, Buffalo Chip, and onto some other pasture/hay/well water land. We went up another piece of land that is being logged and stopped to talk to that guy. Then we went to Strawberry Hill to find a geocache - Amy's eagle eye found it!



On Saturday, the guys replaced the dryer vent pipe while we took another walk with Mason over to the President's Park. We had an early lunch of Indian Tacos at Cheyenne Crossing, and then headed down Spearfish Canyon to look at the Falls and enjoy the weather.



Even though we've been there many times, I still love the scenery - it's soooo beautiful. But it was chilly - in the 60's!!!! I definitely needed my jacket and the hat for warmth.



Later that day, we celebrated Emily and Eric's wedding at Spearfish Canyon Lodge - the same site of our wedding almost 7 years ago! It was surreal to be back there with many of the same people, but it was also a lot different; ours was snowy and indoors, this was green and outdoors.



We were up and at 'em sort-of-early (there is not a lot of sleeping in once my dad is awake...BANG go the cupboard doors). I planned a picnic and packed up all the food for chicken sandwiches, fresh tomatoes, apples, chips, and drinks and we headed to Sheridan Lake. It was beautiful and fun. Although here were the complaints heard: 1) I eat outside all the time. This is fun? 2) Bees! I hate bees! 3) Shit, the wind blew my plate away. 4) The view is nice. But they're not really water people.

After this we drove to Bear Country, which I don't think I've been to since I was a kid. It was really cool - but apparently everyone else wanted to go on Sunday afternoon because it was a little bit like being stuck in a voluntary traffic jam. The wolves and deer were neat, but a bit slow to watch...but the bears made it worth it! So cool.

The family spent some time at Babyland, mostly on cuteness overload from the baby bears playing with each other. We finished up the evening in Deadwood with dinner at the Mineral Palace. I had so much fun - and I'm glad they did too.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Case Against Fresh Produce

I loved this article and just HAD to share it with you all.

It seems that many of the 'practicalities' we learn living in the midwest, in farmland, do not always extend to the rest of the country. When you live far enough away from a major distribution center, especially 20 years ago, it was completely common to can and freeze your own, or to limit fresh products in the winter. Glad to see others are catching on.

Enjoy!
**************************************************************
I guess I’m a flip-flopper. Appropriate since people are already campaigning.

I’ve discussed my dislike of fruit cups because of added sugar and the syrup. But I might be coming around to fruit and veggie preservation. Taking on the CSA box of veggies every other week has made me more aware of the seasonality of fruits and veggies. I have been pretty oblivious to what’s in season when. Aside from getting pumpkins in the fall, I never really thought about what might be coming out of the ground at a particular time of year.

Like most of the veggies I’ve gotten from our CSA and especially the fruit I’m buying at the farmer’s market, it’s the best I’ve ever eaten. The strawberries my son and I picked the last day of the season? The best I have ever eaten. The dark and light cherries I bought at the farmer’s market? The best I have ever eaten. Just a couple weekends ago there are no more cherries at the farmer’s market. The trees are no longer bearing fruit.

I mentioned that to my husband and he said, “Well, we can buy more at the store.” Really? Because the other weekend when cherries were in season, my husband bought a bag at the grocery store. Since we were enjoying the one from the farmer’s market, we figured they would be similar. Sorry, but they got nothing on the farmer’s market cherries. Don’t know why, but it’s true.

And should we be buying fruit out of season? My son loves apples, but to get them organic and year round they have to be flown in from New Zealand. Is that the best use of my money? To be spent on airline fuel to get an apple halfway around the world just so my son can nibble on it?

What about school lunch? Is it unreasonable to demand year round fresh fruit? Probably. Is the expense of flying in oranges from Florida or California worth it? Not if they are just getting tossed in the trash because kids don’t have enough time to eat them or peel them independently.

We need to go retro. Go back to the old ways. Natural preserving and canning isn’t bad. That’s how our ancestors made it through the winter. It just has to be done using natural, pure ingredients in glass jars, plastic containers, or cans without linings that contain BPA. Let’s teach kids through their lunch experience about which foods are in season when. That’s good knowledge to have and most kids aren’t getting that at home, including me.

I went to the farmer’s market last weekend and the weekend before. Ok, I’m going every weekend we’re in town. I’ve gone more this summer than any previous summer combined. That stand that was selling cherries is now selling something else. Peaches. I reached out for a slimy sample and gave it to my son. He gobbled it down. The best we’ve ever eaten.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Georgia's Summer Crop

Tomatoes and Peaches. That's what grows well in Georgia. (Not sweet corn. Not even close!)

I think my first vegetable garden was a success!! Not a bumper crop of tomatoes - definitely not enough to can for salsa - but absolutely enough to eat on salads and BLT's and share at work.



And the PEACHES!!!!!!!!! It's not even peak peach season, and these are amazing. We bought a whole case at a farmer's market this weekend. I froze about 3 dozen and these are the rest left to share with neighbors and co-workers too.

YUM!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Kitty Story

Looky here! Our backyard is (temporarily) home to a mama kitty and her 5 kittens.

(Can you spot them all? Count the tails.)



Jeff saw these 2 cutie-pies playing at the bottom of our deck and snapped this photo.


We called the Fayette County Animal Rescue on Saturday - they don't operate anything except adoptions until Monday.

It was 90 degrees on Saturday and the mama left the kittens. We gave them some water. And our kitty food. Then we went out to get some cheap kitten food.

It would be kind of fun to see them grow up. But, our backyard and neighborhood cannot handle 6 wild kitties. There are too many dogs, traffic, etc and I would prefer they not torment our girls through the window. All that said, they are feral, but temporarily adopted until we can get them trapped and taken in.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Birthday Wonders

My Happy Birthday to 50% of my most favorite people!!!!

I would like to say publicly that these 2 yay-hoos were, and continue to be, the most influential people in my life.

Lots of offspring look back at their childhood fondly, and I definitely do - but I love and respect and learn and have fun with my folks as an adult child more than I ever thought possible.

I am so glad we continue to have a fantastic relationship, and I cherish EVERY SINGLE TIME we get together (which is never often enough it seems).

I am so glad you are celebrating another one...Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!




MOM AND DAD.....YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And have been for 56 and 57 years ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Group Social-ism

I wish I could write (think) like Seth Godin. I love his post from August 23rd:

Two earthquake-related thoughts about human nature1. The first thing that happens after we encounter an earthquake is to wonder if anyone else felt it. The need for group validation is widespread and happens for events that don't involve earthquakes as well.

If those in the tribe feel something, we're likely to as well. That's why people look around before they stand up to offer an ovation at the end of a concert. Why should it matter if any of these strangers felt the way you did about the event? Because it does. A lot. Social proof matters.

2. Organizations are busy evacuating buildings, even national monuments. Even though experience indicates that the most dangerous thing you can do is have tens of thousands of people run down the stairs, cram into the elevators and stand in the streets, we do it anyway. Why? Because people like to do something. Action, even ineffective action, is something societies seek out during times of uncertainty.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Thankful Wife

On the heels of yesterday's post, I heard a semi-new song on the radio today that I had to share with you.



My favorite line - God gave me you for the ups and downs...I love you honey bear, and I still feel this way almost 7 years later!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is It Good for You

Super interesting article posted today...

A study published by sociologist Corrine Reczek says that for all the good that comes of being married / committed / relationship-bound, there are some negatives. And they shoudl not be overlooked, because they relate to health, wealth, and well-being.

From my view, some of the trade-offs in health, wealth, and well-being are ok 'sometimes'.

For the feeling of comfort you get when you are sad...perhaps the trade off is jointly not working out that day to mourn.

For the feeling of stress when it's just too much...perhaps the trade off is blowing off grilled chicken and vegetables and going out for pizza to talk about it.

For the munchies you get on a Saturday night while cuddling and watching a movie...perhaps the trade off is your other-half sneaks a handful of popcorn.

I am not trying to discount the research or the idea. It probably is quite valid - and for all the scenarios listed above, the external tripping hazard in the form of a spouse's bad behavior can be detrimental to your own internal motivation. Yes, yes, yes, I really believe that.

But I still think being committed has a zillion benefits. People are not meant to go through life alone; humans are social, familial creatures. And for me personally, being married (to Jeff specifically!) is one of the best decisions I ever made.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Soft Skills

Who among you loves NPR? I know I do.

As school kicks off for the year, I found this interesting story from the folks at Planet Money.

The best career prepartaion? Go to preschool. Here's a list of skills that economist James Heckman had 2 groups go through 'worker training' to gain:
- being able to pay attention and focus
- being curious and open to new experiences
- being able to control your temper and not get frustrated

One group was able to exhibit these behaviors, the other was not.

The difference? Preschool. Those skills he was looking for are not able to be taught as an adult, in high school, not even in elementary school. They are ingrained in preschool.

The economist also points to the Ypsilanti, Michigan study from the 1960s that followed kids from 3 or 4 years old to adulthood. One group went to preschool, the other did not. They had all the same experiences (more or less) - same public schools, etc.

The result? "When researchers followed up with the kids as adults, they found huge differences. At age 27, the boys who had – almost two decades earlier – gone to preschool were now half as likely to be arrested and earned 50 percent more in salary that those who didn't.

And that wasn't all. At 27, girls who went to preschool were 50 percent more likely to have a savings account and 20 percent more likely to have a car. In general, the preschool kids got sick less often, were unemployed less often, and went to jail less often. Since then, many other studies have reported similar findings."

Check out the article for more info! And GOOD LUCK THIS YEAR!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Shared Sacrifice

This article was all over the internet this week.

The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, thinks things are out of balance.

He paid $6.94M in taxes last year. This accounts for 17% of his income.

Some would say he paid more than his fair share - that amount of money is huge.

Others would say he paid less than his fair share - many middle-class Americans (this one included) pay in the 30% range.

It's one of the age-old questions: who pays for the social security net for when shit hits the fan? Because it will, for all of us, in some way, eventually.

There is a common statistical anlysis tool called a Pareto Chart. It says 20% of 'stuff' causes 80% of the effect. Therefore, your efforts should be spent on addressing the top 20% of 'stuff' because that will get you a long ways towards addressing 80% of the solution.

A history on Pareto - and completely applicable for this application:

Vilfredo Pareto's original observation was in connection with population and wealth. Pareto noticed that 80% of Italy's land was owned by 20% of the population. He then carried out surveys on a variety of other countries and found to his surprise that a similar distribution applied.

Because of the scale-invariant nature of the power law relationship, the relationship applies also to subsets of the income range. Even if we take the ten wealthiest individuals in the world, we see that the top three (Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim HelĂș, and Bill Gates) own as much as the next seven put together.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Country

When did rapping become awesomely country? Thanks to my homegrown Georgia boy for this awesome tune...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fat Wallet

Yet another reason to lighten up your purse...having an uberfull wallet can lead you to spend more money, more recklessly, while thinking you are getting a great deal.

Do you really need more than a debit card, a credit card, your drivers license, insurance card, and little bit o' cash? AAA will still come get you. The grocery store can look up your phone number. The Macy's card need not come out - you should pay cash (or debit card) anyway.

Jeff and I have both downsized recently and I now have: Drivers License, Debit Card, Personal Credit Card, Work Credit Card, Dental and Health insurance cards...and that's it!

Check out this article for more insight: click here for the full article

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bill Janklow is Reckless.

Bill Janklow is reckless. And dangerous. And has apparently not learned his lesson.

Thanks to the Argus Leader article published this week, this is even more clear.

After killing Minnesota motorcylist Randy Scott in 2003 after running a stop sign, the former governor resigned his seat in Congress and lost his license to practice law. He was put on probation and not allowed to drive again until 2007. Since the probation ended, he has had 4 speeding tickets and hit a car in the last 4 years.

His violations:

- March 23, 2008: Driving 55 mph in a 50 mph zone (actual speed was 68).

- Sept. 23, 2008: Damage to an unattended vehicle.

- Oct. 8, 2008: Driving 45 mph in a 35 mph zone (actual speed was 47).

- Feb. 27, 2010: Driving 80 mph in a 65 mph zone (actual speed was 84).

This does not include tickets in other states, which he has since received as well.

This is unacceptable, unethical, and above all - dangerous. If this were a regular Citizen, do you think the same considerations would have been made? Would YOU still have your license?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sweet Corn + Mosquitos = Home.

This weekend could not have been better! A mini family reunion, a wedding, sweet corn, a new Morton building, 80 degrees and sunny...who could ask for more?

Friday was a bit of a blur - flying to Aberdeen, then lunch with Mom and Amy. Relaxing and talking in the afternoon was followed by the rehearsal dinner at Bob & Sharon's backyard - catered by Qdoba!!! We could have stayed out all night, but the mosquitos chased us away. I think I got 20 bites in about 10 minutes as the sun set.

On Saturday before the wedding, several family members came out for lunch. Including Mason...Jeff's ever-consistent buddy during harvest.


Dad, Uncle Keith, and I put fresh picked (5 minutes old) sweet corn on the grill while Jeff prepared some bacon-wrapped shrimp. Cousin Cory was back on the farm after a hiatus (good to see him again!!!) and Uncle Leon is supervising the process.


Spencer came right before lunch as he and Ashlee wanted the bridal party to have some 'rustic farm photos'. Aunt Deb and Mom were so happy to have them there!


A (not really) Private Moment during photos...it was really fun to peek out while they were having their pictures taken.


The bridal party tooled around the whole weekend in Da Bus. Not quite a Prince William and Princess Catherine chariot but it worked for small-town South Dakota.


The happy couple (er, us) after the nuptials...what BEAUTIFUL weather in Warner!


2 words: Open. Bar.


Congratulations Ashlee and Spencer! Isn't she beautiful?!?!


Aw, Uncle Bob and Aunt Sharon share a kiss when the glasses are clinked.


Uncle Keith, Uncle Bob, and Dad share a family moment


MY SISTAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We danced it up like crazy...Dad even twirled us on the dance floor, one after the other. It was soooo special (and fun)!


Weekends like this make me miss Home so much. And Family. I love you all!