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 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 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 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


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:

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?

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.