30 August 2005

Counting the days.

So I finally gave in and ordered my iPod. To say I am excited would be an understatement. And making it even more fun is that I can track its journey through FedEx. FedEx took possesion of it in Singapore on Friday where it stayed for a day or so then it flew to Anchorage, Alaska for an overnight before heading to Indianapolis. And now it is en route to Iowa, with an estimated arrival of Wednesday at 10:30am. Of course, I will not be home then, so I'm guessing FedEx will have to come back on Thursday. I was hoping to have it up and running for the trip home this weekend, but I'm also waiting on some software to get my computer ready for the iPod, so it might now happen this weekend. But soon. very soon.

29 August 2005

Allied opening up their checkbook

This story was in Sunday's paper. The size of the sums of money that insurance companies deal with and earn are staggering and actually almost incomprehensible. All the suspect activity happened before I came on board with Allied, but it is still an interesting topic!

Chefs galore!

Man, this would've been cool to go to!!! Charlie Trotter, Rick Bayless, and Rick Tramonto are the three biggest names in the Chicago restaurant business. And all for $5! (It's about time there was something under-priced from Whole Foods.)

28 August 2005

Freshman reading group

Interesting. Like a little freshman book club. I think it is a great way for kids to get to know each other, in a more relaxed environment and a great alternative for socializing instead of parties. I've read 3 of the books they mention. I thought "the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime" was a fun fast read. You don't want to weigh them down with too much since they are going through their first semester of studies also.

25 August 2005

Mint pinches double eagle

What a fun combination of words for a title. It's just fun to say. mint pinches double eagle. :)

Here's the story. This guy asked the Mint if his coins are legit, they ask to see them and then they stuff 'em in their pockets and ran! Or something close to that. An interesting movie-like story nonetheless.

24 August 2005

Fishy, Fishy, Fishy

This is the wierdest story I have read in a while. Why did he leave the wife in the grocery store bathroom? Why'd he dumped his papers? Why did he have the interestingly-timed heart attack? Why hadn't he contacted his brother after driving 280 miles to his town? Why'd he take his daughter with him? How did he topple into the cargo area of the SUV? It is tragic. I just think that a 53 pound 9 year old might be able to wiggle their way to at least gasp some air from under a 212 pound person. I guess not in this case. Sad.


So after waiting til 1:15 to take my lunch break, I grab my sack lunch that I had carefully packed this morning and headed down to the cafeteria. I usually don't eat that late, more around 12:45, but the good thing about eating later is the cafeteria is cleared out somewhat. Since I forgot to bring my book, I splurged and picked up a copy of the DSM Register for 50 cents. As a turned to walk to a table, I crossed paths with a small mid-50ish lady whom I had been in orientation with on Monday. She & I had conversed a few times that day but nothing remarkable, but she piped a bright, "Well hello there!" and asked if I was sitting with anyone and after my answer in the negative, she asked if I minded if she joined me. Now, I am guessing that we have all had those times where you really are just looking forward to some peace and free time away from work, mindless conversation, etc, only to have someone crash your party. (If you don't know what I'm talking about then I am a total self-centered, heartless jerk) So that was the feeling that flashed across my brain, but I of course answered sure, because you can't turn someone down after they are brave enough to ask. So we sit and proceed to have a entertaining conversation, complete with friendly inquiry into each other's history and even several laughs. After relating my story, she commented, "Well, when I go home tonight, I'll be able to say, 'I met the most remarkable person at work today.'" I could relate some of her story, but really the details of Wisconsin, power lines, and cow milking were not what made it so fun. It was the surprising reminder of the pleasantness of sitting down and making a new friend. As I got up and headed back to work, I left my unopened paper on my table. Perhaps someone else could get some enjoyment from it. I had no need for it today.

50 yd Line

Checked out the ol' Farragut High website tonight and came across this article. I say well done! I always thought we had an excellent field and loved to play on it.

23 August 2005

Disc golf

Dara & I went to Play It Again Sports last weekend and we each picked out two used discs for disc golf. Luke had mentioned it quite a while back and I told him we'd have to play when I moved back, so now that I'm here, it's time to step up, I guess! The guy at the store told me a good website to check out for course information in the Des Moines area and I went out and played at Water Works Park early Sunday afternoon and I enjoyed it so much I came back and had Dara go out with me and we golfed 18 holes that evening. It takes a little bit to get the hang of throwing it (who am I kidding, I still suck!) but once you can throw it a bit, it is pretty fun. Much less hunting for (or losing) your ball/disc than in real golf, plus the best thing about it.....its FREE! It is really nice just to get out and enjoy the outdoors and soak up some sun and have some laughs.

20 August 2005

State Fair '05

Since the media seems to be unable to find anything else worth covering, Dara & I decided to check out the State Fair last night. We were smart and had pre-bought our tickets at the grocery store and saved $3 on each one! As soon as we entered I was tempted and gave in, purchasing Deep-fried Oreo's. I am a SUCKER for Oreo's. These were pretty good, the only bad thing is that they had lost their crunch in the fryer, still pretty tasty though. We then made our way through the maze of the Varied Industries building, with all of its booths. I scored a chip clip from the Goodwill booth. I decided I want to spend $1300 on a basketball hoop when I get a house. Dara decided she wanted a $4500 hot tub. We sampled salsas, beef sticks and fudge, with the beef stick being the most enjoyable in my opinion. We got our body fat percentage measured at the Univ of Iowa Sports Medicine booth. I was sad to find no 'Jakers' toys at the IPTV booth. After that we headed to the livestock barns. We saw the big horses getting ready for showing, sows that we about to farrow and a couple that had the day before and were feeding their piglets. We gawked at the Big Boar (1080 lbs) and the Big Bull (2999 lbs). We checked out the sheep that were being displayed for prospective buyers and then we sat down at one of the smaller showrings and watched a swine auction for a while. It reminded me of sitting in the showring at the Fremont County fair. Quite fun. I then got a GREAT corndog. We met my friend and were hanging out for a bit and Gov. Vilsack was hanging out right next to us! Before we left we had a pork chop on a stick (Yummy) and admired the butter cow and the butter Tigers (Woods & Bengal).
As we sat in a traffic jammed parking lot to leave for 20 minutes we were treated to a great fireworks show. A perfect ending to a fun night!

19 August 2005

Most beautiful train stations

WOW. There are some INCREDIBLE facilities pictured on this list. Some are amazing for their architecture, some for their palace-like opulence, some for their art. My favorites are 1-Munich, 2-Stockholm, 3 (tie)Moscow & Tashkent. Honorable Mention goes to New York for the bronze sculpture of the croc coming out of the manhole and eating that person and to Toronto for the cool optical illusion.

17 August 2005

Summer Reminising

As I drove home today from Des Moines I thought about all the fun times I had this summer with all of you. Here are some of the highlights that came to mind. Cooking with Connie and Eron when they were here for the Greenleaf auction. Luke and his friend were here to enjoy the food too. The church's 125th anniversay party with fireworks!! Watching Luke perform that night. Attending my first CD release party - for a singing farmer from Imogene. The College World Series with everyone-hanging with Eron and Kate and the kids inbetween games-:) 2 weeks of summer school-(mostly enjoyed the money.) Blowing up the grandkids swimming pool with Eron by mouth in 100 degree heat --in the sun of course, what, you think we are wimps? Eron way up in the tree trimming my massive tree with a saw the size of bread knife, had to make it interesting. :0 Traveling with Abba and Connie to Dubuque, Galena, and Madison for a great road trip! Going to the waterslides at the Shenandoah pool with Kate and the kids on a perfect summer day-how relaxing and special that was. Moving Jake and Dara to Des Moines to a charming apartment that is now decorated so nicely. Luke and I and Kate enjoying Madagascar with the grandkids-see it -it's great!!! Brighid's birthday party at the pool at the Y-is was so much fun for the adults too. Moving Luke to Ames where he is very happy to start his final year at ISU. Spending a day with Jake and Dara and seeing Dara's school, talking --art, kids, teaching, clothes, food, books, and family. Family--that's what it is all about. I had a great summer thanks to all of you taking me places, visiting here, me visiting you and cooking!! I feel very happpy and blessed to have all of you-Lots of love, Mom

Mattress Malibu!

Mom's visit/Luke's moving day

Mom & I helped Luke get moved into his new apartment and get set up for his senior year of college. It was a fun time. His apartment is pretty nice, one bedroom, very spacious, clean carpet, stove, frig AND a small dishwasher! He and Mom got a nice dining table that looks nice from J & R. We went to the bed store and picked out a bed and transported it across town (see above photo) and set it up. He picked out some cool, funky sheets and blanket from Target & Mom got him set up with groceries. It was a fun time hanging out and seeing Luke excited and very appreciative. And we capped it off with some food at Hickory Park.
Mom stayed here that night and we had a couple opportunities to relax in our favorite Barnes & Nobles and graze the fields of books. I started today off with a drug test (for my new job!) and then we hunted out Graziano's Italian grocery. I'd been there once before, like 5 years ago and it hasn't changed much. In fact, I don't think it's changed too much since 1912 when 2 Italian immigrant brothers opened it. We picked out a great focaccia loaf and I also selected some giardinera, roasted red peppers (for sandwiches) and olive oil. Then we went and checked out Dara's new school and admired her progress in her classroom. It looks great. Her watercolor presentation will knock their socks off. After that, Jordan Creek Mall called so we headed out there and both found some good pants at the Gap (and earned some free songs from iTunes!) More malling and Dara came out to join us. We had a great time. It was very fun to spend the day with Luke and for Mom to be able to hang out and relax before everyone starts back to school! Thanks guys for everything.

11 August 2005

Pop for sure

I'd ran across this map before, but saw it again and now that I have a blog I get the opportunity to bore you all with it. I still find it strange that Southerners say "Coke" to mean a carbonated drink. They do they immeditely follow that up with "Sprite". It'd suck to be a waiter down there! Glad to see that Fremont & Polk are both in the dark blue.

Semi full of explosives blows

Thanks to my cable internet, I was able to watch the video on the CNN.com site of this. Incredible. It is a miracle that no one was killed. The size of the crater, both depth and width. The trees on the side of the mountain along the highway are all blown over, glass in nearby cars was shattered or blown out by the shockwaves of the blast. Why wouldn't the company that produced the explosives release any info on the type or use of them?

10 August 2005

Yanks fan jumps from upper deck

Crazy kids! Saw this headline this morning and just had to share. I also thought it was humorous that when the last guy tried it, he was unconscious and the game kept going!

09 August 2005

Space Funding

I read Eron's comment about NASA perhaps doing a little marketing stunt to liven up the space walk. That got me thinking, the space program costs billions, they are grounding the shuttle until further notice...Why not sell advertising space on the shuttle? Companies would pay to get their name or logos slapped on the side of the spacecraft, or maybe on the space suits. The astronauts could look like NASCAR drivers! OR, they could sell the naming rights to it. That is all the rage right now, bowl games (the Tostita's Fiesta Bowl, the USF&G Sugar Bowl, the Home Depot whatever Bowl), sports stadiums (the United Center in Chicago, US Cellular Field, Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium, Ford Field in Detroit, RCA Dome in Indy, Qualcomm Stadium). Those are roughly $60 million deals, al beit over 15-20 years. Heck, there has been talk that that may be the way for the City of Chicago to bail the CTA out of its financial woes. It could be the American Express Shuttle. Come on, that is good marketing! Or UPS could have it painted up like one of its trucks, that'd be grand! It could be sold to a different corporation for each launch, so maybe a studio would buy it to plug their new movie. (Toy Story III, "To Infinity and Beyond") Sound off folks, let's hear your ideas!

08 August 2005

Down with Blimpie

I was coming home last week from getting some exercise on a nearby soccer field. It was like 95 degrees out so I was hot and sweaty. I was also hungry and thought I'd grab a Subway sandwich to take home and eat in the AC. I don't know where the close-by Subway shops are but I did see a Blimpie shop right on the way so I wheeled in. Now, I've eated Blimpie before and it wasn't too bad. Usually a tuna melt, but I've always thought it was second-place to Subway. I went in and there weren't any customers and one kid behind the counter. He looked to be 16. So I order my sandwich (roast beef) and my bread (marble rye, which I was excited about). As soon as I saw the bread the excitement left me. It came from a cooler, unlike Subway's which comes fresh from the oven. It's color was an ashy grey and was blotchy, not marbled. The kid proceeds to make the WORST sandwich I've ever seen. The ingrediants are put on all uneven, some areas heaped and others almost bare. They didn't have any no-fat options for sauce, unlike Subway which offer a fat free honey mustard. So then I go to use my debit card to pay and they don't take them! Only checks and cash. I had bought a sub for Dara so my total was $10.87 or something. At this point I was very close to saying, "You know what, just keep the freakin' sandwiches then!" But, unfortunately, I kept my cool, counted my cash and found I had ten dollars....no more. So, I put it on the counter and said, "Well, I've got $10" and looked at the kid. He squirmed a little and shifted back and forth and them reached for the pennies jar and emptied it, gaining about twenty cents and said, "This'll be OK." So I leave and come home to eat the sandwich I'm not too thrilled with. Amazingly, the sandwich is even worse than I was preparing myself for. The bread was a damp and cold pasty mash, void of any flavor. The roast beef was the worst slice of lunch meat I've ever seen. I would've rather had bologna! The had been shaved in the wrong direction and the slice was more grizzle than beef. I was almost sick when I finished eating it. (Oh yes, I ate it. My sickness of not being able to through food away saw to that!) I now look at that Blimpie shop on Beaver Ave with a hateful eye every time I drive by. Viva la Subway!

07 August 2005

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I can't tell you how happy I am to have cable internet again. (You probably thought this was going to be a lovey-dovey mushy ode to a girl. Nope.) It so great! It turns the internet into something entirely different than it is if you have dial-up. Listening to music online, downloading free tunes, quickly flipping through photo galleries, watching video!, multiple windows going at once, it's great. I looked at probably 300 pictures on the Y's summer camp website tonight. (man, I miss my kids!)
Very fun.

Love that 2 hour drive

I feel like I am so far behind on my blogging.
This weekend was fun. It was VERY nice to plan a weekend trip home and only have to drive 2 hours. Especially today when I was thinking about the drive coming up and all of a sudden I remember, its only 2 hours, not 8!! Yippee!
Friday was fun, putting together a new weedwhipper at Eron's as he assembled a lawnmower. Then a LOT of laughs as we tried to problemsolve our gasoline issues. Volleyball was a good time too, a little buggy, but, hey, we got a win!
The brats and different mustards were a great reward for getting Mom's grill ready for more grilling with some new parts. The five different mustards were good and we all enjoyed giving our ratings of each. Blueberry tart, chocolate star cookies, A & W root beer, endless brats, chicken brats a la Rick Bayless, the food was plentiful and tasty, thanks Mom!
Target and Barnes & Noble shopping today. I think those two places are just the best! I could spend a lot of time and money at those spots!

03 August 2005

afghans for Afghans

Check out this website, it is awesome. www.afghansforafghans.org I have contacted my knitting friends about doing one this next year and sending a afghan, mittens or hats to this org. It is sponsored by a Quaker group. The photos are so colorful and nice. The idea super. I have seen some baskets in knitting shops with yarn they sell cheap to those who are doing this. I will see if the 2 in omaha do. Kindness is happening around the world. We must help the women and children in these countries where war is so much a way of life.

Space walk

One benefit of being unemployment is being able to watch the live video of this morning's space walk. After all the build up, it was a little anti-climactic as the pieces of material just slid right out. One fact that I thought was cool was that he was over the coast of Massachusetts when he removed the first piece and over the coast of France when he removed the second.
Well, good job astronauts and good job NASA.

Movie watch...

I watched 'Born into Brothels' last night. It is an Oscar-award winning documentary that I got from Netflix. A photographer woman lived in the red-light district of Calcutta for a couple years and started this small photography class for these 10 or so children, all sons and daughters of prostitutes. Their living conditions were not good, rudimentary and the verbal abuse they were subject to in a couple parts was pretty rough. But that was only a minute or two, and to watch the enjoyment these kids got out of snapping photos was great. Their images were very good, too. The photographer lady busts her butt trying to get all these kids out of their environment and into boarding schools. One child even gets selected to fly to Amsterdam for a World Press Photo event. Dara & I both thought it was a very good documentary.

02 August 2005

Irish Peace Moves

HUGE HUGE HUGE happenings in Ireland.
I don't have time to write on this right now but I will later. For now check out the links.
IRA announcement
British Army follow-up announcement

Moving day

Whew! It's done! The move and (most) unpacking is done. It was a long & tiring day but I think all moves have those charecteristics. I am lucky to have great family and friends that made the move manageable. Thanks SO much to everyone that was involved. The apartment looks pretty good now and we are starting to get accustomed to everythings new location. We will get cable tv & internet on Tuesday & that will be wonderful. Thanks again to everyone for everything.

Iowan Drivers choose...

Here's a fun, interesting article from the Des Moines Register that shows the top ten most common registered vehicles in Iowa. It is quite apparent that Iowans still believe in buying domestic! 9 of the 10 spots are held by Chevy Lumina or Ford Taurus. Since I owned a Chevy Lumina (I think it was a 1995) I can say that is was a very solid, dependible car...up until I rolled it & it had to be totalled. I was just thinking the other day, that I've bought 3 vehicles from Beecher's in Shen. I wonder how many our family purchased from them over the years?