Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hang on to your hat, it's some kind of windy up here...

I can't believe how windy it was today. I could barely stay on the road and that was without any distractions. Anyway, the wind has ushered in some kind of cold, too. Cold is one thing, but to be darn windy. Now, that is just unbearable.

All in all, today was not a bad day. I didn't scream at any munchkins and our dinner time was fairly calm. Now that is what I call a good day. I even managed to squeeze in a 30 min run on the treadmill.

It's not too great of a TV night, however, but there is always tomorrow. I did watch a few minutes of American Idol and, to my husband's shagrin, I really like that show. I guess I like listening to the judges' comments more than anything. And this year they don't seem as harsh as they have been in the past years.

In other news, I have started a book called "The Omnivore's Dilemma." It is by Michael Pollan and I really like it. I can actually stay awake for more than two pages. It is about corn and how corn is in everything, including us. We are, essentially, corn people. I am blown away from the explanation of crop subsidies to how most of what we eat is made with some sort of corn product. It actually cost more to plant and harvest corn than they sell it for. And unlike the conventional economics in business, farmers will over produce even when the prices are very low. (It is totally opposite of the supply and demand model that most businesses go by). Which makes the prices go down even more, which, in turn, causes them to grow more. But, what is truly amazing is the government will still pay them what the corn "should" fetch. Confused? Yes, me too. I am probably not doing the book justice with my explanation.

Speaking of corn, (well, not actually), I saw about 50 wild turkeys this afternoon chowing down on some good ole American cow poo. I pass a dairy farm everyday when I go into town. Wow, what a sight. We have seen these turkeys before and everytime I say, "Man, I wish I had my camera!" So, next time I hope to get a picture. It is really something to see. But, I bet the wild turkeys were indirectly eating corn since that is what the cattle is fed nowadays instead of what the were created/evolved* to eat.

*being inclusive--pick whichever word applies to you :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

When life gives you lemons.....

Make lemon cake!

I had a hankering for this cake yesterday. It is an Ina Garten recipe and can be made with oranges instead of lemons if you prefer. I think the buttermilk makes it so good. And the grated lemon rind. And the sugar and butter get the idea.

And I am really interested to see how the Florida primary turns out. This election year is turning out to be a nail-biter. Not that I need a reason to bite my nails. I'm afraid I already have that nervous habit. I must stop in the next few weeks so my hands look good for my trip. Yeah, whatever.

Well, nothing new to post. But I am counting to the big day when this girl turns 40!

Monday, January 28, 2008


Today, did not start out to be a good day. Kendall would not get ready or get up or eat or whatever I asked of her. I finally got angry with her. But, I received an email this morning from a dear friend in Iowa. Her father passed away yesterday from kidney cancer. It had only been diagnosed in November. Now, no matter how my day is today, I need to remember that I haven't lost someone that is dear to me. So, that is my prayer: to keep things in perspective TODAY, and to be a good mother to my beautiful daughter because she will be a mother someday.

I have a feeling that Shelly's dad was a great father because in her I see a great friend, wife and mother.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Just call me stupid...

Woohoo! I ran on the treadmill tonight. And, duh, until Friday, I have always controlled the speed and incline manually. I did not know how to use the "Certified Trainer Programs". Yep, that's right. First of all, in the 5 years that I have owned this treadmill, it never occurred to me to do anything else but the manual controls. But, on Friday, my husband suggested I use the certified blah blah program. And, so today I did. I am on my way to being in shape for that bikini in Rio. Oh, don't worry, I won't be mistaken for a Brazilian. I am still very pale, have a pixie haircut, and the body of someone that doesn't exercise regularly. But, I hope I don't repulse anyone when I am out there on the beach. I just want to lose about 5 pounds or at least have my clothes fit me a little better. And what better impetus, than a trip to the beach?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

If I don't play on the computer, I am going to be sad

This was one of our evenings this week. Thank Goodness, these times don't last long.

Just Add Water

It's Saturday morning, snow is coming down and it's time for a little breakfast. I make enough stuff from "scratch" that I never feel guilty for using a mix. Actually, I doubt I could make pancakes taste any better than Krusteaz. I'm listening to Scott Simon on NPR's Weekend Edition and he just interviewed a band called "The Whigs." I really like their sound or perhaps I am just trying to hang on to my long gone youth. So, Happy Saturday, everyone!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Random 20 questions

I got this post from Cheryl on Tuesday. I thought it was fun. If you do the random questions yourself, let me know and I will go check out your blog!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:15 am
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds...are a girls best friend.
3. What was the last film you saw at the movies? this is embarrassing...I can't remember but I think it was about 9 months ago.
4. What is your favorite TV show? Amazing Race, The Office, Project Runway
5. What did you have for breakfast? I always have a bowl of Post Selects cereal (nuts and dates and raisins)
6. What is your middle name? Ann
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Italian
8. What foods do you dislike? celery!!!!! (and dill and licorice)
9. Your favorite chips? Lays
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I have been listening to Cold Play
11. What kind of car do you drive? Subaru Outback Wagon---so hip!
12. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be? I would love to go to India or somewhere in Africa or Hong Kong.
13. Where were you born? Fayetteville, Arkansas
14. Where have you lived? Fayetteville, AR. Clarksville, TN. Onalaska, WI. Springfield, MO. and State College (the area), PA.
15. What is your favorite sport to watch? men's college hoops
16. Pepsi or Coke? COKE (I could tell the difference at age 5!)
17. Piercing? one hole in each ear
18. Been in a car accident? yes. totaled a car when I was 17 and walked away from it.
19. Favorite day of the week? Saturday
20. Favorite flower? yellow roses

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I must be living right...

I need a dress for the Brazilian wedding. According to custom, ladies wear long dresses. The weather should be pleasantly warm and it's an evening wedding starting at 8 pm. So, I searched on the Internet to get some ideas. I had been eyeing this one. I even checked with a Brazilian friend to see if it was appropriate. We have a Macy's here so I thought if I saw something on line, I could go to the store and try it on.

Monday, the husband was home and I had a couple of hours to myself. I went to our local Macy's just to see what was out there. There was a "take 50% more off the sale price" rack. I love those kind. I looked through and saw some cocktail dresses--didn't need them---and then stumbled on a long gown. Surprise! It was the one I had seen on line. It was the right size except it wasn't petite. I thought it looked a little long, but what the heck, I would try it on. Well, let me tell you, that thing fit fairly well. It is maybe a tad long around the neck. But, I think I can get it altered. And get this, it was marked down to $84 which, do the math, means it cost only $42!!!

I asked the salesclerk if something was wrong with the dress. She replied that was an Internet return that had been returned just that morning.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend fun

What a weekend. It first started with me finding a great deal at Ann Taylor Loft. I got a pair of jeans for $8.93. Does it get any better than that? I would say yes!

Kendall spent the night with a friend on Friday. Clayton was so distraught that he wasn't invited to the birthday party/sleepover that I was wishing I would have set up a babysitter or something so he would have felt special. He told me he didn't want a babysitter when I told him what I was thinking. He wanted "Nandle" to stay with him. I thought he would be excited that he wouldn't have to share our attention--no, not really. We just didn't compare to his sister...or what his sister was going to be doing. But, what luck! I ran into one of the other moms when I was dropping Kendall off and she said her 4 year old was also upset. The mom invited Clayton over for pizza and movies. He was so excited and so was I! It meant that the husband and I got to go out to dinner without having to pay a babysitter!!! We ended up getting a table at Zola New World Bistro. We had intended on sitting in the bar and ordering there, but the bar was packed. Ever so mindful of the time and the generosity of the other mom, we ate our appetizers quicker than we would have if we were paying a babysitter. Nevertheless, it was good to be out!

We picked Clayton up around 9 pm. We had to pass the house where Kendall was staying. We waved night-night through our car windows as we drove by. Clayton started crying and saying "he wanted Nandle, he NEEDED Nandle." I guess Kendall is his everything (well, next to his sweet momma).

Nothing too exciting on Saturday except Clayton and I went out for donuts at the newly opened Dunkin' Donuts. The sugar kicked in after about 15 min and Clayton was a riot!

And to finish off Saturday, I bought my plane ticket to Brazil. The prices were up and down during the week, but I think I got a fairly good deal.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Over the last week or two, a certain subject has come up with different people--Life after Motherhood. Or Is This all There is? Does having a child define me? Is there something else that makes me tick? Is motherhood hard?

The first person that I chatted with is a good friend that is very intelligent (has her own business) and mother of two. She has traveled and worked outside the home. I value her perspective. We both agree that Motherhood is not hard, on the contrary, it doesn't take a brain to get up and feed a kid or change a diaper. We both agree that the monotony is what gets you. It's almost like carpal tunnel syndrome of the brain. Simple things, just repeated over and over and over. You get the idea.

The next conversation was with a man my age, soon to be married, with no kids. He totally got it. He felt like one needs to get out of their zone and give to others. That's right. He didn't mean your children. It is very important for moms to have something to focus on other than their own children. Perhaps volunteering and helping out someone less fortunate. Or maybe working a few hours a week that ensures you get out and see other people.

And just today I ran into a woman at a Bible study. I first met this lady about two years ago at the park. She and her husband were meeting for lunch and I was there with my kids for our play group day. I noticed the license plate on her car was from Georgia. Another transplant. Another southerner. Of course, I said hi (that would be the southerner in me) and asked her where she was fun, etc. We went on our separate ways. Fast forward a few months and I run into her again at kindergarten registration. And then a few months later we see each other at a festival down town. Each time we chat, we say hello, remind each other of our first names. You know how it is. Each one has "enough" friends or whatever the case may be.

Today was a little different. I remembered her name, first of all, and she began to open up a bit. She mentioned that she was struggling since they had moved up here away from friends and family in the south. That the culture was different and she didn't feel at home. I told her that I totally could identify with her on that regard. I had moved to the north from Tennessee years ago and had felt that same feeling. She mentioned that she is more than so-n-so's mom. Yes, and just recently, I had been struggling with that issue. She said that she felt like an outsider.

I don't think it is an accident that I ran into her all those other times and then again today. I think for her to say those things to me (barely more than a stranger) shows how she is hurting.

The Bible Study is about the Psalms of the Ascents. In other words, the songs about moving upward. I have felt that feeling of being down lately and thought, wow! God really does know how to use timing. It's funny, until we are ready, we can't and don't hear what we need to hear. I don't know where this study will take me, but I am ready to hear. Yes, timing is everything.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven-- time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up. time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance. time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away. time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak. time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Note to self.

Do not say that someone has "pissed you off " in front of your kids. It just doesn't sound right when your 5 year old daughter asks, "What is pissed off?"

SC primary

Anybody care to make some predictions on the South Carolina primary? Does anyone care? I think on the Republican front it will be Huckabee with McCain in 2nd, and on the Democrat side, I am predicting Edwards to lead it with Obama in 2nd. I know, I am going out on a limb here, but hey, you gotta live a little. :)

And why is Giuliani campaigning in Florida and not South Carolina? Didn't they get new machines down there? I doubt he will be the Republican nominee anyway. Is he snubbing SC (i.e the South)? We all know that parts of Florida is NOT the south, but retired New Yorkers.

Monday, January 14, 2008

coffee, wine, chocolate cake, and Brazil

This is my old coffee maker that died on Sunday. Until Sunday, I thought it would last forever. Even if I had to put a cord around the basket so it wouldn't swing out and make coffee spill all over the counter.

This is the new one that arrived in the mail today. My sister and brother-in-law bought us one because they thought our coffeemaker was about to go kaput. Yes, timing is everything. My in laws were here for Christmas and ordered this coffeemaker right after their visit.

So, we blamed Chris for destroying the coffeemaker, but I think it's days were numbered anyway. At least, my in laws thought so. Here we are about to enjoy some nice, (and I do mean really nice), dessert wine with a really good chocolate cake. The recipe is an Ina Garten recipe and she doesn't scrimp on butter. Chris and Matt bought the wines for our meal on Saturday.

So, I hope the next time I see these guys is for Matt's wedding in Brazil in March. Yes, I did say Brazil. That is the plan for now. Chris and his wife are going and my dear husband has arranged for some research trip down there, so he's going. Now, should I go? For the most part, all we would have to do is cough up a plane ticket for me. I have tentatively arranged for neighbors/friends to look after the little ones. Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Chez Kleinman

Thursday night we had our old friend, Rich, stay with us while he had some work down here at Penn State. He and my husband got out Friday afternoon for a little grouse hunting, but had no luck. Evidently, grouse are fairly least when it comes to my husband and his hunting buddies.

Then Friday evening two of Pete's old friends drove over from NYC to stay the weekend. It is sort of a "boys" weekend plus one girl, oh, and two kids. They arrived around 9:30 pm and our kids were much too excited to go to bed. I must get those kids on a schedule soon before it kills me. The grumpiness alone is enough to make one want to pull one's hair out.

Here are Pete, Matt and Chris at Matt's engagement party this past September (the same party where I got my picture taken with Yogi Berra and my husband got his picture taken with Adrian Lima). The purpose of their visit was to go out and experience the outdoors with my husband. This morning was to be grouse/goose hunting and this afternoon was rabbit hunting. Our neighbor's father has beagles and is really big into rabbit hunting. I suppose there is always something in season if a man really wants to avoid his wife. Oh, did I say that?

Tonight we will cook some steaks on the grill that we bought* from a farmer down the road and Pete will make his goat cheese salad. I will make the salad dressing and the chocolate ganache cake. I think I will throw in some sauteed carrots (with butter, of course) and we will do rosemary potatoes using our own rosemary plant. The guys bought the wine this morning when they went into town to get the licenses. I did line up a babysitter for after dinner, but I think we will see how much wine we drink. :) It would be nice to get out a bit (even though State College leaves a little bit to be desired in the entertainment front).

Well, happy Saturday everyone.

*We went in on thirds of half of a cow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Foux De Fa Fa by Flight of the Conchords

OK, I will soon move on from my Flight of the Conchords kick, but for now I am cracking up. So, in honor of Jemaine Clement's birthday from Flight of the Conchords, I am posting this hilarious video. :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Freestylin' (aka Random)...

In the words of Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords, "Sometimes when I freestyle, I lose confidence." Ha ha.

So today I volunteered at my daughter's kindergarten class for two whole hours. It is always good for me to do this so that I see my daughter is NORMAL. They don't listen, they can only sit still for a limited time, etc. My daughter told me on Monday that a certain boy was no longer in her class but had started a new school. Hmmm. It turned out that it was the boy that picked on other kids (to the extreme) and would ruin other kids' work. I had seen this firsthand when I volunteered. When I would tell him to sit down or do whatever, he would tell me 'no'. I could not believe his behavior. I told Kendall she better not ever act like _______. Sure enough, Kendall was right. The little trouble maker wasn't there today when I volunteered. The chemistry of the class seemed better.

I helped the kids with their computer time. They were writing their names in different sizes and fonts........and I never felt more stupid! I wish all the laptops were the same. Luckily, I am a fast learner! My second job was to cut out some snowflakes that the children had made. They had glued some tissue paper onto paper and had sprinkled glitter on them. The paper was stiff and every time I would make a cut, glitter would fly into my face. No wonder the teachers wanted me to do it. (That's why they get the big bucks.)

And today Clay stayed for lunch at his preschool. You pay a little extra, pack a lunch and they stay until 2:15 pm. It is so worth it. He loves it and--twist my arm--I love it, too. I only indulge in this luxury once a month.

Does anyone care that the Writers are still on strike? I can honestly say it hasn't hurt me one bit. Tonight I will catch Project Runway on Bravo and I guess they don't have writers. Or maybe Heidi Klum writes for them. "You're either in or you're out." (pouty lips)...............

Auf Wiedersehen

Sunday, January 06, 2008

How we met...

It was a Thursday, January 6, 2000, and I had just arrived in Chicago from La Crosse, Wisconsin. I was connecting to a flight heading to Northwest Arkansas on American Airlines. I remember what I was wearing--charcoal gray turtleneck, over-alls (they used to be in style), and black buckle shoes. My hair was shoulder length then. I had a job interview at a hospital in Springfield, Missouri, but had decided to see my parents and then rent a car and drive up from Fayetteville. The passengers boarded, and I had a window seat. There was a guy sitting in the aisle seat on my row. He got up and let me in. It turned out that he was flying to Fayetteville, too. He was supposed to have been on the flight the day before, but his connecting flight out of Chicago had been canceled. The passengers had been rescheduled to the following morning. Having grown up in Fayetteville, I was curious what brought him there. He was giving a lecture at the University of Arkansas and then heading down to Stuttgart to go duck hunting with a couple of professors. We had a good chat and at the end of the flight I wished him good luck with the lecture and better luck with the hunting. He wished me good luck with my job interview.

I've heard that timing is everything. We were both going through some major changes in our personal lives and could definitely relate to each other. But, I had come to a point in my life where I was not looking for someone at all.

At the end of the weekend, I returned to the airport to find out that I had looked at my itinerary wrong and missed my flight. No problem, I could go on the 2 o'clock or the 5 o'clock. I chose the latter because I didn't want a three hour lay over in the O'Hare airport. Turns out that the same nice guy I sat by on Thursday was on that flight, too. We chose to sit by each other and had the best conversation. We did exchange email (the computer stuff was new to me) because he knew someone that lived in the middle east where I wanted to do contract work for a year. Anyway, I never went to the middle east. I took the job in Missouri and we started dating long distance. I eventually moved up to Central Pennsylvania.

Now, I occasionally wonder what my live would have ended up to be had Pete flown into Fayetteville the previous day like scheduled. Or what if I had sat by someone else and never spoken to him? Did you ever see "Sliding Doors" with Gwenyth Paltrow? It is a moving that follows two parallel lives of her character and show you how circumstances can change our lives from one path to another. It is an awesome movie. But, I kind of feel like that is what happened in a big way in my life back then.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Friday fun

Tomorrow the kids and I fly back to Pennsylvania. I can honestly say that I have had a good visit. There isn't a lot to do in the small town where my parents live. About 4 years ago they moved from my hometown to this little town, in a dry county, of about 12,000. So, coming back is always a bit low-key. Most days, I have been in my PJ's until 11 am!

My sister flew us down here so the grand kids could cheer up my mom. My mom said it had been the worst Christmas since her own mother was diagnosed with cancer over 35 years ago. My mom has been pretty upset with my brother's impending divorce and my dad broke his wrist and couldn't do a lot for himself. I think that was enough stress for my mom this year. I hope we have helped her out a bit. Thanks to the sis.

My sister was on call for most of the time we were down here, but she would come by in the evenings and play with my kids. They love her and their uncle Alan. Kendall even said she wants to be like Aunt Kim when she grows up. So, knowing that Friday might be the only time for my sister to get out, we have put together a little karaoke night. She invited the women in her clinic and even the other female doctor is coming along. We are going to Eureka Springs (not in a dry county) and I hope to find a fun place. Right now, I am listening to youtube to try to get some ideas for tonight. I'm in an Abba mood to celebrate time with my sister. In Dec 2006, she flew to NYC and I met her there. We saw Mamma Mia and had a blast! I plan on singing a few Abba songs because I know she will think it's a hoot. I think I will start with Dancin' Queen if the bar has it. Any suggestions out there? I also like the Dixie Chicks, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, and Carrie Underwood, to name a few. I want to keep it light and fun!!!

So, happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Today we visited the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. It was really impressive.
Click on my photos down on the lower left to see some pictures.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

And the winner is...

Click on this link to find out who you agree/disagree with on the issues.* I was quite shocked by the results, but find it very interesting.

*I got it from NYKAT. Thanks, Kat.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone has a great new year. I am at my parents' house in Arkansas so I will have my blackeye peas for good luck. What do you eat on New Years? Anything special?

Also, I got to see my brother for a couple of days. It was nice seeing him although he still treats me like I am a five year old. We stayed up late with my sister and her husband playing an old board game called "Stock Market" and Mexican dominoes. I haven't played games in forever! I'm tired. My parents live in a dry county so I'm not hung over. ha ha.

Again, Happy New Year, everyone!!!