Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lots of thoughts

Food news:
Tofu Chocolate Cake ( - it is amazing, even Jim liked it - it does have a lighter consistency than normal cake
1 small block of tofu
1 box of cake mix - I choose a dark chocolate
1/4 c water

Mix the tofu and mix to a fudgy glob. Then, mix the water into the glob to make it less globby. Bake as directed on box.

Board Game News
We all know that I am a fan of the local cute family owned business. Monday night, in my TimeOut Chicago I read about a board game store - Cat and Mouse. I went yesterday. WOW! I highly recommend it. Not only did they have all the games I love, Ticket to Ride, Settlers, and lots of other Rio Grande Games - but when I asked for some 2 person games (so Jim and I can play) they had about 12 games. Bonus points for the owner who had played all of them! I was happy - bought some games and want to recommend them to anyone who comes to Chicago. They have a game night on Tuesdays that feature a new game each week. We are going to go next week!


The first sign on a nervous breakdown is when you start thinking your work is terribly important. - Milo Bloom (This made me think this morning.)

The other day in one of those conversations that has been rolling around in my head since, I was remembering outloud a memory that I have about Jim and I dating in vivid detail. Jim then said, "You sure have a lot of memories for not having any chachkey (I have no idea how to spell this Jewish word for knick knacks)." We often laugh about how I am not sentimental about stuff. But this comment really hits the mark. It is not that I don't cherish memories or times spent with people - I just don't need the ticket stubs or knick knacks to remind me. So on this last day of the year, I remember the great times with friends and family of the last year and can't wait for new memories to happen next year.

Plans for tonight
I am leaving in a bit to go to an exhibit at the Cultural Center and then to go to The Freedom Museum (I have never been!)for an exhibit about the election. Afterwards, I am meeting Jim for dinner and then heading over to the Trump Tower - and going to the Rebar Lounge for celebrate the new year - we can watch the fireworks from there and enjoy some of the games that I got yesterday. I want to take part in the Polar Bear swim tomorrow and then enjoy traditional new year's day foods!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fun with Food

Several thoughts about food:

1. Today, is my final day of crockpot week. I did make 7 suppers in the crockpot in a row. Our favorite was beef stew - the secret was rolling the beef chunks in flour before adding it to the crockpot. I am excited about tonight's split pea soup. I loved the chicken noodle soup as well. It was a good week.

2. When we go to Pete's each week, Jim has fruit duty. Lately, he has been working through the 6 pear varieties - getting two pears a week to see if we like them. Last week, he also bought a pummelo for me. It looked like a green volleyball - they had one cut and it looked like a grapefruit. It tasted like a cross of an orange and a grapefruit. Some research turned up that it is actually a predecessor to the grapefruit. The white part that it is famous in citrus is spongy and huge. Click here for a picture. I ate it in 3 sittings, it was great! I got another one today.

3. Speaking of Jim's role in our grocery shopping, I went on my own this afternoon. I saw "new" parts of the store because I was doing it all. I noticed where the honey wheat pretzels are located. (We didn't know we could get them there before - I realized today we never walk down the snack aisle.) Thinking of that, Jim and I have different snacking needs - I am a salty snacker and Jim is a sweet snacker. So, the honey wheat pretzels are a compromise that we both love.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

If we had a kid...

I would so do this....

and on a slightly related note I got a kick out of this:

Year End Lists

I love reading all the year end stories - best youtubes, best books, best news stories, best whatever...especially when Jim and I make one of the list!

Click Here

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appears.
O Come, O Come is my favorite Advent carol. This could be because I love Advent or because this is an ancient hymn that puts me in a larger story – a story that yearns for something new and yet is clinging to the past redeeming nature of God. That is a story I want to live in not just in advent, but all year around. May it be so!

O come, thou Wisdom from on high, who orderest all things mightily; to us the path of knowledge show, and teach us in her ways to go

Here in the Dutt/Parker Household we have been taking several new paths (and hoping that they are filled with wisdom and God’s knowledge). This past year we have both taken new jobs. Jim was hired full time at JPMorgan Chase. I became the National Program Director of DOOR. While we both have the same desks that we did before our respective transitions, we both have noticed how different the new jobs feel. Jim likes the stability, the benefits, and the new hours. I enjoy the travel (for the most part) to the other 5 DOOR cities on a regular basis as well as the training I get to do in my new role.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by thine advent here; disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadows put to flight.

We have lots to celebrate this year – several mini vacations to Wisconsin, several trips to Ohio, and to Indiana as well as first “real” vacation to San Diego in November. I also went to LA with my mom for a retirement trip which was great fun. Vacations totally cheer me up.
My side of the family came to Chicago for Easter. We welcomed Russ into our family and celebrated with his family as we witnessed Betsy and Russ’ wedding. We even took a dancing lesson – more fun for me than for Jim. We hosted both sets of parents for Thanksgiving dinner. All was a great joy!
Jim finally got his wish for a cat as well. MJ brings lots of smiles and funny stories. She likes to jump and run like she is on fire, shred toilet paper, and likes to play with Jim’s beard – a perfect kitty life.

O come, thou Key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home; make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.

We also have experienced loss this year. We miss our friends, Melissa, Casey and Joslyn as they moved to Ohio. We miss their laughter, their support, and Joslyn’s place in our hearts.
At the beginning of this month, Jim’s mom passed away. This has been an interesting important month for us as we process and live in the new reality. We met family at the funeral that haven’t seen Jim since he was 9. It was surprising for them to realize that Jim had grown up and gotten married!
My prayer for the coming year for us and each of you is:
O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind; bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.

For we know that we have the promise and a reason to:
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Krista and Jim


On what seemed to be the coldest night yet, Jim and I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo's Zoolights. We took the long way - and on a regular day it wouldn't have been bad - but last night it was pretty terrible to the point of arguing about which of us really wanted to go to such a thing.

Once we got a bit warm in the lion house, most of the cheer of the lights came to us. While it was Jim who wanted to go this particular week, I was happy to go along. Right after we met, we tried to go and it wasn't open. I was so mad at the time that Jim would drag me from working to do something like see Christmas Lights (or mad at letting myself be dragged to see Christmas Lights). But I had a great time - the start of a great friendship and love.

Friday, December 19, 2008

another quote

Some people are carbon copies. Others make their own impression.

- Church billboard in Arizona

Which one are you? Which one is me?


Our own small stone of activism, which might not seem to measure up to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired, is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope ... For we can do nothing substantial toward changing our course on the planet, a destructive one, without rousing ourselves, individual by individual, and bringing our small, imperfect stones to the pile.

- Alice Walker,
The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New format

I read all the blogs I read through google reader, which makes blog page format not an issue....however, I thought it was time for a change. I was tired of the the wedding pictures staring at me. I like moving furniture and the blog just needed some furniture moved. I am sure that Jim will tweak it in the next couple days as well. If you have an opinion on such matters, please let us know.

Random thoughts

Some mind wonderings:
I just read an article about how to digitize your life – how to rely on the internet for more and more so one’s house is neater, one’s finances are better understood, and generally making life easier. I read with interest. Half way through the article (in a paper, not online, magazine) I realized that I do most of the things they suggest. I have digital cookbooks on two different websites, my calendar is on my phone and my computer, I log everything I eat on a website, rely on web shopping, keep track of books I read on a website, journal using a blog to name just some of the tasks. All this to say, why I love all these things it does make me super reliant on a computer, and usually my Palm. I act like I can’t do anything, know anything, or react to anything before I have my laptop. And while there is good to all that, I also find it a bit crazy to think that I can’t function without a computer – something that most of the world’s population still lives without.
I am making a challenge for myself over the holidays. Next week, starting Monday, I am going to make a slow cooker meal each day for seven days straight. This will be fun trying new recipes as well as having that great warm feeling of getting home and having everything done. This will also fill our freezer with good for you yummies for us to use later – or for Jim to have when I travel in January – boy howdy my plane arrangements for January are pretty interesting.
While I am talking about food: I made a salad for dinner tonight that I loved. I really like salads, but rarely make them for suppers. A suggested recipe turned into this for supper:
Served two
2 small carrots, chopped
2 cups of mixed greens
1 cup cucumber, chopped
2 small celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons of pinenuts
1 apple, sliced
2 small chicken breasts, no skin, chopped into bite sized pieces
I browned the chicken breasts in a small amount of oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I assembled the salads on two plates instead of mixing them together (saved a dish to clean). I added swiss cheese pieces to Jim’s. Jim had ranch, I had a bit of oil and vinegar to top.

A day in Chicago

Yesterday, Jim took his last day of vacation so he wouldn't lose it. And after a lingering morning at home and me working, we headed to the Field Museum (thanks to a free pass from JP Morgan Chase). I love how we both really enjoy museums; we like being tourists here. I know that people really believe that I drag Jim all over the city - but that it isn't all the case!

After we were done, we realized the light beautiful snowflakes had turned into a snow storm while we were inside and walked through the park including down a hill in grant park - by the end we were cold, wet, and had a great time.

It was a good winter's day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Woes of being left handed

There are lots of things that are mixed up for those of us who are left handed. I have thought of another one.

I had a shot at the doctor's on Friday on my left arm. Yesterday, I barely could hold a piece of paper with my left hand without my arm hurting. Today, it still hurts.

I have a feeling that usually shots go in the arm that isn't used - I will remember this next time - and ask for my right arm to be shot up!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Well, take this

Last night Jim said to me:

"Thinking is not my strong suit."


Friday, December 12, 2008


Woo! I just beat Krista in the game of Risk in my first time playing the game.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recipe Time

For the sake of me remembering a slightly good, should be improved recipe:

1 cup of drained canned tomatoes

# 1 15 oz. can great northern or navy beans, drained

# 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

# 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

# 1 10 oz. thin crust pre-made pizza crust

# 1 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

2 cup shredded, reduced fat mozzarella

I shredded the cheese myself and it came up to about 2 cups. Using the food processor, blended the oregano and garlic with the beans. The beans were then spread like sauce onto a Trader Joe's herb pizza dough (that should have been given some bake time before the sauce was added - but it was great tasting). The tomatoes, basil was put under the cheese and then I put some mushrooms on top of the cheese on a few slices for me.

It was quite interesting, it has potential to learn from! This was based on a recipe.

Time feels slowed down

This week, time is standing still. Jim is home, I have off..we feel like we are in a time that the outside world won't understand. We shared a Parker family favorite lunch of Buona Beef - good Italian style beef with Jim's dad. Finalized all the funeral details, then did some errands - the ones that people on normal time can't do during the week. We went and got our emissions tested on the car, stopped at 7/11 for Slurpees, and then went to the library. Normal things, just not on normal time.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


As many of you know, Jim's mom Kathy died over the weekend. I process a lot on this blog as a journal should be, but not a lot of words have come to me about this. Today at the funeral,I met a lot of Jim's family on both his mom and dad's sides that hadn't seen Jim for 15 years!

People talked that hadn't talked in that long; People hugged, people laughed, and people supported Jamie and Jim. For this I am grateful!

On a lighter note, 9 people also asked when we would be having kids -


Everyone knows I love advent, here are some lines from the blogger Rebel without a Pew about this season:

You think you know what you are waiting for, but you don't.
You think you know what to expect, but it's not that at all.
The world will not help you, but help will arrive if you persevere and keep the faith.

Monday, December 8, 2008

weird quotes

The day we were at the San Diego Zoo, I started writing down quotes that we heard. I had a fairly large list by day's end. I found it today while looking for something else.

At the turtle exhibit:
"Which one is real?"

They are turtles what are they going to do - run laps?

to a child:
Its okay, the monkey didn't know he was getting his brains eatten.

If your food didn't give you energy you would sleep all day too.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


"Integrate what you believe in every single area of your life. Take your heart to work and ask the most and best of everyone else, too." Merle Streep

On a lighter note

Everyone should know the bad news for now and my coping mechanism is either food or funny!


A frog walks into a bank. He walks up to the loan agent and says, "Hello, sir. My name is Kermit Jagger, and I would like to apply for a loan today." The agent says, "Very well, sir. My name is Mr. Patrick Black, and I would be glad to assist you. By the way - Jagger is an unusual last name. Are you related to the rock star, Mick Jagger?" The frog says, "Why, yes I am. He is my father."
Mr. Black says, "Very good, sir, but if you'd like a loan, I'm still going to have to see some collateral."
The frog takes from his waistcoat pocket a little porcelain pink elephant wrapped in cellophane. He gives it to Mr. Black and says, "Take this to your bank president. He'll know what to do."
Mr. Black takes the elephant to the bank president and explains the situation. He asks, "What am I supposed to do with this little thing?"
The bank president says, "It's a knick-knack, Patty Black, give the frog a loan. His old man's a rolling stone."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Its Done

So, my book is turned in! I don't doubt I will have some re-writes but functionally it is now in. December 1 was the deadline as in 11:59 - but I knew that really I just had to get it in before people arrived to their offices December 2. I finished at 4:52 am.

Thanks to 2 coca colas I am wired and hope to get some other work done before i take Jim to work at 7! Oh, I feel like i am in college again except for the fact that I found an easy way to do a Works Cited Page. I actually don't have any works cited but I was asked to do a resource page for extra reading, etc. I was googling to remember how to do a Bibliography page. I found a site that if you have the ISBN number, and type it in - it formats it to either MLA or APA style. Oh, copy and paste from Amazon to Easy Bib. How did I get so lucky?

Monday, December 1, 2008


It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.

- John Steinbeck, author

I went to bed thinking about the book, woke up several times thinking about the book, begged Jim to exchange jobs with me today, and still my committee of sleep did not clear up the fact that I have a book due today!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What a wonderful holiday of 1sts!

I have never hosted Thanksgiving before - but Jim and I did all right. We had everything done way to early - but that is okay.

I have never attended a Thanksgiving parade before - but Mom, Dad, Jim and I went to the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade - it was fun!

I have never decided on a whim to go to a Broadway show - but we did on Friday night - Mom, Dad, Jim and I went to Jersey Boys. WOW! Great show!

I have never cleaned our current apartment for 8 hours in a row - but we did yesterday - I love a clean house, just not good at keeping it that way.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Friday 5

Here is the assignment from RevGalPals:

I'm musing about giving thanks for people today, partly because Americans celebrated our annual Thanksgiving holiday yesterday (I try not to just make this holiday "turkey day" even though its main feature seems to be eating till one is nearly comatose) and partly because I read the above verse this morning. It started me thinking about individuals in my life for whom I give thanks. For this post-Thanksgiving Day Friday Five, share with us "Five People For Whom You Give Thanks to God" and maybe tell us why they are significant.

OK - only 5 is crazy for me to even think about - I have 5 groups of people. This doesn't include everyone of course that I love or give thanks for.

1. My family of origin - My sister, Mom, and my Dad - I love them and I can't imagine not having them in my life. My sister's hubby is a great addition to my family as well. They are just so critical to my life, it is even hard to describe why they are significant - other than they are.
2. My husband - obvious, right? Though it just becomes clearer to me. He cuts my stress by doing dishes, putting things in perspective, or just making laugh. I am thankful he is who he is.
3. My family gang - The three other couples that welcomed me before i was in a couple, and now am - these people are my chosen family - my sisters, my brothers. I am thankful that I have a home with them.
4. My nieces and nephew - J, G and G ground me even though I don't get to spend time with them like I would like. I like seeing the world through the eyes of these children.
5. My mentors - I wouldn't be who I am with those people who took the time to show me the beauty of theology, Chicago, and management.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WP update

Today, I scored my first a game, in the deep end, treading water, with people blocking me, and when we weren't using real goals just the ladders (so it was small, real small). The funny part is that after I threw it, I went under water and by the time I came up the game had moved on that I didn't know until later if it went in.

The bossy junior high girl (I am sure I was her back in the day) asked me if I was opposed to swim caps today. I said no, and she offered to go get me one - she was worried that my hair would impede my talent. No, my lack of talent will impede my talent, not my hair.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Krista and I...'nuff said

These were graciously swiped from and

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Interesting encounter

Picture the scene....

Corner Bakery
3:30 pm

On the table - Laptop: top filled with stickers like Love Found You, See the Face of God in the City (DOOR logo), That's so liturgical, food not bombs (for those of you who are wondering why I have stickers, airport security!), DOOR waterbottle (with logo), DOOR orientation book closed with the cover again having in large letters - See the face of God in the city, ipod, the fountain drink I bought in order to sit here and work

Background: When I got everything out about an hour or so ago, I felt like maybe I had too much "God stuff" out - though I needed all of it to work, so I forgot about it. In my mind wandering phase about 15 minutes ago, I noticed the woman in the next booth with her bible out, reading a devotional that I have heard bad things about but haven't read, and a lanyard that says I love Jesus over and over.

What I am working on: What I have taken to calling the "silly book" which is actually for groups that are planning to do cross cultural trips - it needs to be turned in December 1 - and I am working on the last two chapters this week so that next week I can devote myself to revising and more revising. (I love the editors comments, it is fun to see them work with my stuff!)

The woman from the next booth comes over and sits in my booth where my feet have traditionally been since arriving. Saying,

"Hi!" I say.
"Is that a Christian sticker on your computer?"
"Ah, which one?"
"the love one?"
"...where can I get one? And do I need to buy the album to get a sticker?"
"Well, it is from Miami Music Ministry - they have two albums, one is called Exodus 15 and one is called Love found You. I don't know if you need to buy the album for a sticker. The web address is"
"Wanna come to my church? Here the address and my phone number, please consider coming."
silence, not sure where to go with this, wish my co-worker were here, she would be able to do this better than me
"Do you go a church?"
"yes, First Church of the Brethren..."
"Really? That sounds Catholic..."
"Nope, its anabaptist"
"Thanks for smiling eariler at me."
"no problem, I don't remember smiling at her"
"Oh, well hope to see you on Sunday."

She was bold, maybe I should admire that. However, there were lots of contexts clues that I was just as involved in church as she was - really, remember that too much God stuff on the table bit I had thought eariler.

What context clues do I miss when interacting with people? Probably lots, maybe now I will observe more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Water Polo update

We treaded water with our hands out of the water (well, that was the goal anyway) for 30 minutes last night including some of the time practicing passing the ball -but the ball was weighted - 8 lbs coming at you while you are treading water - crazy.

It was a hard practice; but then at the end he named the teams that we are starting to play with. I was put with the high school girls - I was happy for a moment. I then realized that it was probably because the middle school team would probably never even give me the ball - the high schoolers might have a bit of compassion! Let's hope.

Last night, our class swelled to 30 people - mostly 6-8th graders. Everytime someone talked, we had a lap to do at the end of class - we did 30 laps. I love junior highers, but I wanted to strangle some people!!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vacation flight

My last moment of vacation may have been the sweetest. Jim and I were able to have a 3 seat side of the plane to ourselves. I laid on him while I was reading "Crazy for God" while he read or watched Wall-E. At one point during the movie, I looked up at him and saw him beeming. Pixar and Wall-E have a special place in his heart. I realized that we are pretty good at this marriage thing, or least it feels like it. I was doing my reading theology thing, he was watching Wall-E and we were together. In that moment, that was all that mattered.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We almost missed the sunset - Day 7

We went to Ocean Beach downtown area, finding a comic store where Jim got a new Mario toy. We went to Carls Jr which was better than Jack-in-the-box. We then went to Hillcrest which is a LBGT friendly neighborhood with cool bookstores and other shops. At one of the bookstores we found a used copy of a boondocks comic series and Jim found George Carlins last book "Waiting for Jesus to Bring Porkchops." We tried to see the new James Bond movie but it was not showing there. We decided to go to the many...MANY Westfield owned Malls around and went to see it.

Leaving the theatre I thought we would have enough time to catch the sunset but we were able to catch the last rays of it at the dog beach for one last time before we leave on Saturday. We ate at a sort of ritzy Thai place where I tried sake. We were planning on going to see a Beatles cover band but Jim fell asleep at 9pm.

The Rankings Are In

After testing all three of the fast food chains that were on Jim's list to try, and adding Wendy's and McDonalds to the list. Here are Jim's top five.

5. McDonalds
4. Jack in the Box
3. Wendys
2. Carls Junior
1. In and Out

Here are mine.
5. Wendys
4. Jack in the Box
3. McDonalds
2. Carls Junior
1. In and Out

Jim judges burgers, I judge the fries - hence the differences.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The joy of hostels

The other night I was talking to a German woman about her holiday. We have been running into each other throughout the week and she has started asking us about US stuff - how do I get a ticket for a basketball game? sort of stuff. Anyways, the other night, she asked me when we were leaving I said on Saturday as Jim only got one week of vacation. She said,"You mean, during this month?" No...I said, "Total". She couldn't believe it. It is German law that everyone get at least 21 days. I told her that I think that Germany has it right. I really do. I know I am a better employee when I have time away to be refreshed. The point that she brought up that I hadn't really thought of before was about education. If we don't have time to travel, learn about other places - be that the city that is 5 hours away or the country across the globe - attitudes about those places will be stereotypical and be guided by media. If we do have time to travel, some attitudes might be adjusted. This doesn't take into account the amount of money it takes to travel - I realize. However, it doesn't seem like Europeans have lots of money but make it a priority to travel and then use money for travel instead of other things. I think I am bit like this - meaning, I would rather travel than spend money on say the book I can read from the library. I know that I am priveledged to have enough money to travel - and for those of us that do - we should see it as education just as much as vacation.

I am amazed by the ocean- day 6

After breakfast at the hostel, we picked up Alex and headed to the Wild Animal Park, also a part of the San Diego Zoo. This is the facility that the zoo uses for research and breeding as well gives animals space to live - combined habitats with other animals- and realistic ways of live for the animals. We took a tour by tram first around the African exhibits then walked around the rest - it was seriously a huge place with the animals, not people, being placed first. We liked it...

After most of the day spent there, we dropped Alex off and headed to Pacific Beach where Jim and I played in the ocean again. It was low tide, fairly warm, and great to wade in. Then we headed to Mission Bay Beach, which has a roller coaster that is on the National Historical Landmarks - so for historical purposes only, we rode it :). Then we headed to the local pool to do some laps for Krista and generally relaxing for Jim.

We then headed back to Pier Cafe, our favorite place to eat so far. Still great food - but totally different when it is dark and quiet on the pier.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

San Diego Day 5

If I didn't know it before (and I did), I am becoming my mother.

Each night, I re-read the sections in the tour books about the upcoming days events and carry these books like they are my lifelines. I then can see nearby attractions if one is closed or didn't take much time. Jim and I are very much vacationing like my family did when I was growing up - purposeful - some history, mostly educational, and small amounts of downtime - in such a way that is all very relaxing. It seems that Jim, through this trip, has caught the vacation bug - for this I am grateful.

Today, we started at Mission Basilica San Diego de AlCala. This was the first mission established by a partnership of the Fransicians and the Government of Mexico. Colonization and teaching people about Jesus go so well together - please note my sarcaism. It is also one of the first times that adobe was used - hence adobe sometimes being referred to as the Mission style. The main thing I found interesting was the active congreagation that still worships there - what is it like to have a musuem all around you during daily church life?

Before we left the hostel - which I can't rave about enough - I had looked for information about the local LDS church (aka Mormon Church) because it is amazingly beautiful - I wondered if tours are avaliable, they are not. However, this particular church has been in California news due to their role in Prop 8 - or at least their percieved role in Prop 8. We might go another day to see the grounds and the constant protesters that are currently there. (If we had gone, it would have been at this time of day - after the Mission and before...)

The other night we took a short drive over the amazing bridge to Coronado, but today we drove it again to stay awhile - driving the strip of land that separates the bay from the ocean all the way to IB - I have learned that most of the beaches go by intitials. Imperial Beach is a cute little place that has made surfboards into park benches and has a fishing pier that tons of people where fishing off of this morning. We enjoyed watching surfers and enjoyed lunch on the pier (Thanks Alex for recommending it).

As we went inland, we were just in time for the daily tour of the Olympic Training Center outside San Diego. It was really neat to think about people training for all the different sports full time there. They have room for 140 people to live full time there - you must be ranked internationally in your sport to be there. They approximate that the cost is $75,000 a person for a year - as it is free for the athlete. The person who was taking us around, who I kept asking questions (maybe I should have started this entry with I am turning into my dad....), was the stereotype of a dumb jock all the way. I know a lot of smart atheletes - maybe you all should at least apply to give the tours!

We then headed to a mall looking to take in a movie - which we ended up not. Then we headed back to Old Town to take in more of that from Sunday. Then we found supper at the People's Co-op (a little slice of Krista heaven - bulk soybeans and everything!!!!) and headed home to enjoy that meal and another cupcake that Jim reported on yesterday. (We bought 6 - today, I had lemon squared - really good.)

We are finally adjusting to the time zone - this is the first night I may actually see 10 pm awake.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

San Diego Day 4

We went to the San Diego Zoo today, highlights of the Zoo were:
The panda's - I've never seen one in person before and I got an amazing picture of them.
Indian Gharial - an almost extinct crocodile which was amazing to see
Turtles - The turtles that were in the same exhibit
Tours - Krista really liked the Skyfari and the bus tours
Wandering Peacock - There were many peacocks that were literally like scavengers who ate garbage off the ground
Botanical Garden - every plant was unique and from all over the world, I described it as very "Jurassic Park"
The design - the parks design and setup was very well done man exhibits didn't feel like exhibits they felt like part of the wild simply because you were able to get so close to a lot of the animals. There were a lot of levels criss crossing the canyons of the zoo.

If you've been to Chicago and seen the Brookfield Zoo or the Lincoln Park Zoo they don't have anything on this Zoo.

We went to Alex's house and ate dinner with him and Ping, we had a good time catching up....come back tomorrow for the next riveting tale of San Diego Part 5!

San Diego Day 3

We had the usual breakfast with the other hostellers, then headed out to Castrillo National Monument named after the explorer that "found" San Diego. It has the oldest lighthouse in California, tide pools and an amazing view. There was this dead sea creature near the tide pools that we had never seen before so of course we took lots of pictures and will be passing them onto Tom to identify.

We ate lunch at the longest pier in California and watched the surfers try and surf. The lunch was amazing, it was a Taco plate with either Mahi Mahi fish or lobster, with bun-o-chowder, and coleslaw that even Krista liked. The chowder was awesome...don't go to Boston for chowder come here! The diner is called Pier Cafe and it was in the middle of the pier so you were surrounded by ocean.

We stopped home to rest and recharge the camera then headed out to Balboa Park. Balboa Park was a creation of Exhibition of the World's Fair built in the 1920's. It was beautiful but a lot of the museums were closed. The open air organ was cool though.

For dinner we went to In-n-Out Burger which was for me a first time experience while Krista's been there several times and I highly recommend it if you come to the west coast. The menu was so simple it confused me: cheeseburger, hamburger, double-double, and fries and drinks....THATS IT! Nothing complicated not even bacon and no chicken products.

We shopped around in some Christian media store for a while doing normal things then went home watched some Jon Stewart and went to bed...this is a late post so enjoy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

San Diego Day 2

Today, we ate pancakes for breakfast with several other hostelers. I had my tomatoes too- my breakfast favorite provided by the grocery store near by. I really like hostels - and I am glad we choose this one as we like the low key beach neighborhood, instead of staying downtown like happens when I priceline.

We met with Alex and his wife Ping at the Old Town History State Park - the original downtown San Diego - that has mostly been kept original. It has a school house which I really liked and several other buildings as well as lots of chintzy stores. Alex took us to La Jolla in Spanish it means "The Jewel" it had tide pools where I slipped and fell but was beautifully worth it. Then we walked along the coastal walk to the "children's" pool.

Funny story. Krista-kinda story. So the ritzy town residents decide they need a "tide free" and a "wave free" zone for their children on the beach. They invest millions to make this happen then the seals decide they want the spot...and who wouldn't? It's a tide and wave free zone for days like today when the ocean was very choppy. So now there are constant legal battles to decide if the pool belongs to the seas or the children.

Alex told us that there wasn't a San Diego food - like Chicago foods. The closest was fish tacos. So we went to a place for lunch that was a great places for fish tacos. Jim and I both liked our fish burritos.

Alex and Ping then took us to a war memorial that has a huge and ugly cross on it that is also a part of legal battles because of the cross. Alex knows me well enough to know I love a good struggle for justice! However, the key to this place is its view - you have almost a 360 view of San Diego from way high up - I believe I read 900 ft.

We then went and toured Alex's campus - from the Geisel Library (as in Dr. Seuss) which I have seen in art books for its design to the student center to the way cool book store to the stone teddy bear to the top of a building that had a great view.

We left Alex and Ping and went back to the hostel for a mid day nap. That didn't work so we went to the Gaslight district - a 16 block historical site of buildings - that has been turned into a bunch of shops and places to hang out. We did that and then found our way to Anthony's Fish Goutto - a place right on the bay.

We are now trying to stay up to a decent hour here so we might not wake up at 5 am tomorrow.

I didn't write yesterday; so I want to add that I enjoyed traveling with Jim. The things he notices and sometimes gets excited about are things that I take for granted or don't even notice at all. I also really liked that I didn't have to luggage in the bathroom with me.

Until tomorrow...


I still feel different.

I didn't expect I would -that is why I didn't process this sooner. I figured that I would be

over the mountaintop moment. No, I still am on it - the mountaintop that is.

I understand that I am not to put my hope in mortals or princes (Psalm 146), and yet I find hope

in Barack Obama.

On Tuesday night, when I stood with all those otherpeople in GrantPark I had tears - I felt like

I was watching history when I listened to Obama's speech. Yes, he is our first African-American

president, but that isnt the whole story for me. He inspired a half a million people to storm

downtown Chicago - a politican who gets more than U2 - shows that change is coming. The moments

that night, where as Jim described earlier - electric. And yet, that isn't the whole story.

This is a change, a hope for the future.

I think I started understanding the hope I felt, when the other day I was glad to have my

favorite NPR program interupted with a press conference from president elect Obama. Instead of

changing the station, I listened to it all. If we have a president that we want to have

communication with - maybe we will do the same.

This election has been about the people - new people registering to vote, people actually voting,

and people getting involved. Yes, politics and negative is the American way - and Obama did that

as well.

I do not believe that Obama will change the country just by being president, but he might inspire

me and others to work on believing that we can change our country.

Sandiego day 1

Arrived here at 730pm Pacific time, we checked into a hostel and I've never been to one before so it's an interesting diversion to a hotel...I like the homeliness to it, theres a full kitchen but a shared bathroom go figure.

One of my goals here was to try all the major fast food joints that we don't have in chicago, I tried Jack in the Box which I tried the Sirloin steak sandwich and the curly fries. The curly fries tasted just like Arby's for some reason.

I hope to try out Carl's Jr, In n Out Burger and anything else I can find.

Every day you should see a post about Sandiego so stay tuned...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fun in the pool

I kept up tonight in Water Polo with the high school girls - basically through the warm-up, the treading for 20 minutes, the shooting practice and then I got a cramp. But the girls were helpful and encouraging - one told me "just keep working you will get there" another one asked "is this too hard for you?" My answer? "Yes, that is why I love coming!"


You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.
--- Abraham Lincoln --

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I was first disappointed that I did not receive tickets to the event at Grant Park last night, then I realized it would probably be dangerous had he lost if we were down there and initially decided not to go since we did not have tickets. Then something changed someone who attends our church got 12 tickets last minute which we received information about at 5pm central time! Krista and Me dropped everything we were doing and headed down waiting so impatiently we were practically staring down our phone until it would become 8pm and we would hear from Doctor Dan who had our tickets.

It was exciting, amazing, you could feel the anticipation in the air and to touch on the cliche it was "electric" I hear so often. You know the rest....People were decent and the mass of people moving across the city to return to their homes was an amazing thing to see. We should have pics up later tonight of the event. I bought two t-shirts and we are keeping our tickets to the event in rememberence of this day

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Been a while...

I haven't really had much to post recently. I recently stumbled upon something that may describe why I sometimes act the way I do... Asperger Syndrome. Sounds similar to me at least..and my Mom too. It's a form of mild Autism with symptoms of social awkwardness, physical awkwardness and focus problems.

So let's see

I hate social interactions, I fumble drop and fall over things, I start playing/doing something till it's an issue of seperation of free time and things that should be done. Other descriptions have to do with light and sound and I tend to jump at a loud or obnoxious sound that no one else seems to be bothered by or lose focus on what I'm currently doing because of simple noises. A lot of these issues no one else has ever really noticed until I got married then I've noticed that Krista thinks I'm doing weird things she's never seen before. I know I probably should get tested but I did take a long quiz online and that pointed out several things and here are my results:

Kinda explains a few of my weirdness and also might explain some of my Mom's behavior. Now for all my friends out there read the wikipedia link about aspeberger's and think of my behavior over the years.

Monday, November 3, 2008

quote of the day

There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.
-Kenneth Blanchard

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Video Games + Halloween = K&J

We dressed up like Mario brothers - Mario and Luigi. Jim painted our hats and they did look like the ones in the games. I made graveyard dirt pudding, wanted to share that. You can look on my facebook page for more photos of the party last night.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cool things to do on a Saturday

1. Walk a 5K, taking 4 minutes off last month's 5K time, not to mention a fundraiser's for friend Nadia's school. Yippee!

2. Go for a late breakfast at Orange - fresh squeezed grapefruit juice...nuf said!

3. Attended the grand opening of a new thrift store - Family Thrift at Rockwell and Cermak across from my Pete's

4.Attend a Halloween party later today - I'm bringing a dirt pudding that is Halloweenized!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Celebration of Bubble Game

Yesterday, as I was getting stretched out for Water Polo, I was playing my favorite game on Wii Fit. It is the Bubble Game.

I finally finished it - got all the way through without dying! This is big news for me! I have played that game way too many times, and finally I got it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Water Polo

Last night, after having us treadwater using the new to me method of eggbeating, our instructor had us get out of the water to learn some rules of the actual game. My 10 year old teammate came up to me and said "My legs feel like they are going to fall off, is that normal?" I felt the same way.

We played last night - something that resembled water polo for the first time. We only played for 10 minutes with a break at 5 minutes, and only half court in the deep end. It was way cool, even though I am way bad!

The instructor had asked the high school girls team to come and play with us and teach us. It is so fun to actually watch them play I sometimes forget that I am supposed to being playing them too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Murders in Chicago

Not only has Chicago just been named the murder capital of Chicago, but now all the national media is here "investgating" the murders of a mom, son, and grandson that were truly horrific. They have a "person of interest" and the missing grandson was found dead in the Amber Alert found SUV.

I am sad for the family that survives. I can't imagine the pain they are feeling. No one deserves this.


This family is Jennifer Hudson's - a famous person. What about the families of the other 429 people who have been killed in Chicago? I heard a news story that the folks personally involved are hoping that this brings attention to the neighborhood violence that is happening in Chicago. I hope...I pray...

I hope that famous people aren't the only people that we care about...

Food quote

"A meal can be either more social or more gastronomical. It can't be a combination."

– Ferran Adria, chef at El Bulli
on how to approach dinner

I disagree - some of the most social meals I have had are ones that we are talking about how good the food is!


So, last Friday, I voted. If I had to do it again, I might not vote early. For me, it is vote is cast, I don't need more information or even want it. So, in this week before the election - I am getting frustrated with exactly how much I am reading to decide my vote....

However, I read that in Ohio alone 22% have already voted. And that in North Carolina 1 in 5 voters have already voted. Have you voted? Why or why not? Discuss!

I voted because I have several meetings on Election Day - and I live in Chicago - lines are going to be crazy in my district!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Jim and I just got back from his 10 year reunion from Morton West High School. We had a lot of time to sit and talk so, if Krista and Jim were to plan a reunion, we would:

1. Have a table reserved for "old and married or just introverted" with board games. That way instead of sitting and looking stupid, a person could go and do something.

2. Have it cheaper than $40 per person.

3. Have labels at tables for new cliques. Old names - geeks, nerds, losers, goths, jocks, band, cheerleaders, popular - but you sit with people in your new clique - so Jim and I would sit with the geeks, even though he wasn't one in high school - then people might have something to say to each other.

4. Or, have labels stating what you are looking at this reunion. "See what people are up too" "Get drunk" "Find a date" "Get drunk and find a date" "Make friends with other couples" etc.

5. Have Krista run up to the DJ and do an ice-breaker with all the significant others.

It was sweet, in a lovey dovey way, that whenever Jim would be asked "What have you been up to in the last 10 years?" "I got married..."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I was sitting 50 ft from William Fichtner until he got on a plane to ABQ just a bit ago. Now, you may not know his name, as as soon as he left, I looked him up - but mostly likely you will know him - I remembered him as Kent in Contact. Most recently, he was in the Dark Knight.

Here is a link to his other films.

LAX Number 2

I was sitting 50 ft from William Fichtner until he got on a plane to ABQ just a bit ago. Now, you may not know his name, as as soon as he left, I looked him up - but mostly likely you will know him - I remembered him as Kent in Contact. Most recently, he was in the Dark Knight - I feel bad that I didn't remember him from that.

Here is a link to a list of his films.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hollywood and beyond

On Thursday, I arrived at LAX to the welcoming view of my mom reading a book at the baggage claim of my flight. I had offered to fly her to LA for a gift for her retirement. So while I was teaching on Friday, she was watching three tapings of The Doctors - its a new show that is produced by Dr. Phil, and she was in the front row or almost each time. She will be seen when it is on TV. She had a great time.

We went up to the Hollywood Hills on Friday night to the Observatory - and felt like if Dad had been a long we would have stayed longer and read more but the view was amazing. Then we went to Target. (The funny thing about traveling so much is that I forget you shouldn't stop at Target on a tourist trip.)

Yesterday, we walked to the famous sites of Hollywood - the Chinese theatre, the stars in the sidewalk, pinkberry (a frozen yogurt place that is all the rage). Then worked our way to Rodeo Drive which we were on for a whole block when we realized that was enough for us. We then drove to the famous old farmers market to look around, and then went to Whole Foods for supper. Yes, we know...we flew across the country for Whole Foods. See note in above.

Today, we are heading to First Presbyterian of Hollywood, it is the church that sponsors DOOR here but also has been seen in Heroes and other like Desparate Housewives. Then to the Santa Monica beach.

More training for me to do on Monday, before we head back on Tuesday.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another Friday 5

So for today's Friday Five, you're invited to share your experiences with the exciting, challenging world of business travel....

1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?

Yes, in fact, I am Denver right now. It is a joy - I love what I do when I travel. Especially looking forward to a trip to LA next week training a new person. I think over the last several months, husby and I have figured how not to make it a burden.

2. How about that of your spouse or partner?

Jim gets to ride the train everyday to work - does that count?

3. What was the best business trip you ever took?

I really like trips that I can spend an extra day and see friends. I got to spend time with Jackie and Betsy the last trip to Atlanta!

4. ...and the worst, of course?

Trips don't tend to be bad, airport experiences tend to be horrible sometimes - including watching my computer fly up and over the security table crashing to the ground.

5. What would make your next business trip perfect?
I learn, Matthew (person I am training) learns, get to spend time with mom, and we don't get lost going to the beach!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Some thoughts

I have been meaning to post about several things.....but haven' is my attempt at remembering everything.


Thursday night: My co-worker and partner in crime, Darrell, who in a former life used to be a chef, made Indian for all my students. It was amazing. But on my left, I heard these words come from my husband's mouth: "Its not that I don't like Indian, I just don't like curry." My first thought was - that is just like my Dad. When I was recovering from back surgery, I took the spices that make up curry and tried to figure out which one dad didn't like so that I could make indian food just without that particular spice. Dad doesn't like Turmeric - the spice that gives curry the color it is known for. I feel bad that I don't have time to do with Jim. As I was retelling this story though, my mom thought it sounded like another comment - "The Chinese can keep their cabbage." This made me laugh all day long. Inside joke from Colorado!


Last Saturday: I was excited about walking a 5K, then forgetting my bus pass, and needed to walk another 5K home - all by 11am on a Saturday.


In the last week or two: I assign blogging to my students (16 this year). It helps me understand where they are processing and helps keep them in touch with others as they leave for Sweden, England, Brazil and Paraguay. However, when setting them up, I promised a reply to each, that takes a lot of time!


Thursday night: The debate was better than I expected; not as much for Tina Fey to pull from this week.

In the last couple weeks: My students went to Trinity UCC a couple weeks ago. In reflection time, I realized the difference from other students. These are the first people who know about Trinity from the news. Their reflections showed the bias of the news coverage. The media has robbed Trinity of some of its power, its hospitality, its beautiful spirit - since no one is left in the country probably who hasn't come up with an opinion about it. It used to be a place where students were shocked and yet open. Now, my students were ready to see where it fit what the media said. The question becomes "How do I frame it? How do I help people understand the importance of a prophetic church like Trinity? Or does it just become that crazy church that Obama used to go to....

Today: Appartently, I have forgotten how to travel. As I carried my bags up the escalator- one got caught at the bottom and I had to go to the bottom to get it as my other bag was riding to the top. Silly scene, I laughed the whole time. I start with my traveling again since my students have left for their destinations!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thai in Little Italy

When I was asking my students about their weekend on Monday, one of them said "We went to Little Italy and had Thai." I knew exactly where they had gone - but I was struck with how he said it - he was awe struck. Later that day, I was driving through my old neighborhood, Pilsen, I was realizing how much it looks like Little Italy - which you have to look for the old country Italian -among the stereotypical college town street along Taylor. Pilsen is becoming that - lots of different preppy stores are popping up as well as all the ethicities of eatteries can be found due to the UIC growth.

What does this mean for the City of Neighborhoods? When the neighborhoods change and become less distinct, is that good, bad or just frustrating? UIC's growth is more than frustrating....neighborhoods that have a long ethnic history and then are taken over by mobile college students is a problem. And yet, what does it mean that I just went to that Thai place in Little Italy last night?

How are concerned people to care for this in economic and political terms? For an cup-is-half-full-girl, I am not sure if the cup is half-full on this issue.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"TV" dinner

Tonight, I made supper using two things I learned on TV.

First, we bought a Good Eats DVD awhile ago - and we both like watching it. Everytime Jim watches it I get reminded that he really likes Mac and Cheese - so tonight I made oven baked mac and cheese from Good Eats. It was a bit oniony, but overall fairly good even for the expert on mac and cheese in the house (Jim). It is way better than the one either Betsy or I made in our demonstration for 4-H.

Second, I steamed some broccoli in Ziploc steamer bags that I saw on last season's Biggest Loser and bought way back then but hadn't used them. I really liked them. I might even recommend them.

That reminds me of another cooking story that I haven't shared yet. Last week was a potluck at church. I baked three loaves of bread and my pumpkin spice muffins. As one of the elders of the church was chewing my bread, she came over and asked "When your parents in town last, this bread tastes really fresh." My parents are famous for baking bread for DOOR - but I laughed and said I made this bread last night. I was a bit insulted as I bake bread probably on a more regular interval than mom and dad do, but the people who eat it the most think it is just from when mom and dad visit!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Please welcome MJ

M.J. is the newest addition to our household. Yesterday, we adopted her. She is 6 months old and very sleepy and likes to purrrrrr.... She had 6 visitors yesterday to welcome her; and she did very well...

Ron Huberman, who's that?

This is Ron Huberman, the president of the CTA and the person I had coffee with on Saturday morning along with other readers of the CTA Tattler, the blog that you may have heard of due to Jim and I being featured on our anniversary this past April. I was asked to keep this meeting underwraps until the meeting - I was so excited. Talk about being geeky about something - even Jim was calling me a geek in excess. I took some notes on the around 90 minute conversations and here are those highlights.

First, I should say that I really like what this CTA president has done - I am impressed that he rides the CTA each day to work; and it is well noted that he is on the CTA most days....something that other CTA presidents have not done. He seems well connected to what people actually care about as riders and I was excited to see if this was true. It seems to be true; I mean this guy did give up a couple hours of a Saturday to hear from riders.

The question that I had prepared that I was unable to ask due to the conversation that ensued; that I think I will continue to look for the answer was: What do you see as the cost savings of not having cash transfers? How much money is this making the CTA? Is it worth the cost of making the poor more than the rich?

Mr. Huberman first talked about the strides of the CTA in the past year which mostly had to do with capital work. From trying to eliminate bus bunching (which he explained to us how things like that happen, when to the common eye it seems like an easy problem to fix), the work on the EL tracks (using plastic ties instead of wood due to longer life span, are recycled and are quieter), helped us understand the loop signals that are taking longer than the public expected, and the greening of the CTA including a hybrid bus that runs only on battery at 20mph or less. A funny story that he talked about was the elevators of the stations. He asked for all the elevators to have their floors ripped out and replaced with plastic lining that has lips - so that urine does not ruin the floor and can be cleaned. He laughed and said -"It seemed easier to do that then try to get to stop urinating in the elevators." Another capital improvement is the rapid buses. On test routes starting in 2009 - people will pay at the bus stop and then just get on the bus - so the buses have a different design with 3 doors to be more rapid entry. One test route is Halsted #8 bus.

The coming year the focus is communication. The CTA is trying to work on getting more information to the public when service is different than normal. Contracts are being signed for plasma screens to be installed in all the EL stations to announce next train coming and advertising unless there is an emergency when the whole screen is used for communicating the problem and alternate routes around the problem. They are currently working on updating the alert systems for live alerts. They are going to post a 800 number in each train to call for updates if folks are stuck on a train. They also have given red and blue line drivers special phones to get into the control center so that they can get information directly in an emergency because traditional radio that are used in normal everyday communication are totally taken over by the folks that are fixing the train or problem instead of communicating with the driver and then the customers the problem. They will be unveiling a new website (that looks really cool) in the next 6 months. The website will change from a normal website to an emergency message if an emergency exists.

The folks sitting around with Mr. Huberman mostly raved about bus tracker. I also think it is amazing! Currently, he reported that the reliably at around 90% due mostly to ghost bus problems, the system thinks a bus is there when there is not. They want to work out those kinks before adding more bus lines, and only as an entire bus route has new buses (a plan for the capital side) does bus tracker go online for that route. Bus stops will soon offer a number to text to recieve a text back when the next bus will arrive in addition to the steps already in place. On the new website there is a section entitled "Rides tool lab" which will be a open source area with all the data that techies can use in many ways to write there own programming (Jim was excited and gave me an example- he could, using this open source, write a program specifically to tell him the fastest way to work each morning. I am excited for that because of all the ways that Jim can make that work for me.)

We talked about bus transportation as well. Recently, they changed the way they change bus drivers. We live right by Kedzie garage where many drivers start and end shifts (or at least it feels that way). It used to be that one driver could leave the bus and that shift change could take up to 10 minutes - with riders on the bus waiting. Now, those shift changes can only take up to 60 seconds before managers are alerted. This lead into conversations about what was accepted and not accepted as driver behavior. Drivers, Huberman said, are not even allowed to talk using bluetooth. He encouraged to take pictures with our phones if we saw drivers eating, talking on phones or other behavior that was not accepted. He did emphasize that most drivers (and I agree) are wonderful. Bus drivers often work split shifts that are a total of 10 hours a day and he gave them credit for working so hard. I thought of my singing bus driver that is often found on the Madison #20 bus.

We talked about budget a bit; due to that being in the news of late. Ron Huberman was quite happy where the budget was and while the media has been portraying it as a "doomsday" it seems that he doesn't name it that way due to there are no service cuts on the line. Fuel for the buses is up 80% from last year, energy for the EL is also about 30 million more (I think that is what he said, I was unsure.) Due to the soft economy, the income from sales tax is down (my understanding is that about 1 1/4% of the sales tax in Chicago goes to the CTA) and the income from the real estate transfer tax is also down (50% less than last year, if I understood correctly). The free ride program that was enstated as a part of the state bailout last year has cost about 66 million, 8 million more free rides than the previous year. The fare increase that has been tossed around in the media is probably coming.

Huberman shared that the idea of extending the red line to 130th would be one of the best ideas to expand ridership. He mentioned the circle line being on the table still.

I was quite impressed with the President; he knows his stuff. I was impressed with his education model - he really is wanting to educate people about the CTA; helping people understand the bigger picture and I hope that a communication focus for the coming year helps the whole organization to be more educational in this way. I was impressed with his detail of knowledge about the bus routes and stations, his not sugarcoating issues, and his ability to converse.

My concern lies in the same vein that my question that I had crafted, I suppose. All that were sitting around were asked to share their commute and I was the only one who did not live and primarily use northside routes. There are reasons for this - due to the blog that I read I already know that many of the folks that read CTA Tattler are indeed northsiders. I hope that more and more the CTA looks to improving the whole system and not just the folks that have the luxtury of raising a stink and spending a saturday morning drinking expensive coffee and smoothies talking to the president. I recieved hope in Ron's comments about extending the red line and other comments but I do worry about the system as a whole.

If you got to this far in the post, bless you and thanks for reading.

Small town Chicago

Growing up, if a package came to our address they just left it on the porch. They don't do that in Chicago. Instead, the postman fills out a form and says to pick it up at the neighborhood post office. I don't like doing this - while the post office isn't far away it is in the direction that I don't often go by so I do have to make a special trip during post office hours which is often quite hard to do. However, Friday I went to pick up a package and when I went to the window with card and my ID all ready - the friendly woman handed me my package. Normally, they check the id and the card, go search for it and 10 minutes later get the package. Admiring my shock, the postwoman said - I saw you coming in the front door when I was in the back - I just pulled it then. I really like being in a neighborhood long enough for people to know you like that!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Theology and politics

I am interested in theology and politics, obviously. I have been reading and reflecting about Sarah Palin's comment in her speech at the RNC about how (Obama's) community organizing was just like being a mayor of a small town except organizing doesn't have any responsiblities. What? REally?

This is an interesting take on that.

Click Here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Several things

1. It scared me a bit that yesterday at the grocery store, Jim picked out some cups and lids that are just like the ones that my dad bought at Costco. I thought maybe he didn't know what he was doing -
so I said, "Why are you getting those?"
"your dad has the right idea - perfect to take to work"
So, Jim didn't buy 100 - but enough to know that Jim is indeed in many ways just like my dad.

2. We bought our plane tickets for vacation this evening - for $15 - thanks to my frequent flyer miles! I still have almost 40,000 left!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

lovey dovey Krista

Nothing like a wedding to make me think. This song came on shuffle on my ipod (on one of those albums I don't usually listen to) today and it sounded so much like my relationship with Jim - it is comfortable and homey.

Life as we know it

I wake up with the sun on my face
On the edge of the bed, babe you're taking up all the space
I roll you over then I give you a kiss
Meet you in the middle
That's where all the fun is

Life as we know it
It's going good
That's an understatement
It's going better than I ever thought it could
Never been so happy, so content
Oh, I wish i could freeze this moment
Life as we know it... now

You're doing dishes if I'm cooking the meal
We got an understanding, and it's a pretty good deal
We read our books at each end of the couch
No conversation needed
To stay in touch in this house

Life as we know it
It's going good
That's an understatement
It's going better than I ever thought it could
Never been so happy, so content
Oh, I wish i could freeze this moment
Life as we know it... now

I whisper... I love you
You tell me... you love me too
It's so easy, so simple
I wonder why we didn't think of this before

Life as we know it
It's going good
That's an understatement
It's going better than I ever thought it could
Never been so happy, so content
Oh, I wish i could freeze this moment
Life as we know it... now

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Top Ten Reasons why Krista hasn't posted lately

10. The amount of Krista is writing for work is fairly large - lots of those self directed projects with no solid deadline which is driving me crazy. I finished a book outline on Thursday (it did have a deadline - today). I am writing a book on behalf of DOOR and Mennonite Mission Network.
9. Krista tried taking a week of vacation last week. I worked a lot though, not enough, but a lot.
8. Krista spent the week in Ohio. I spent the week thinking of the phrase "you can’t go home again”. From the changes that are happening in my home town, to stopping in at my seminary and seeing it changed, and visiting my ailing grandma, it doesn’t feel like home. I wouldn’t change going home- I love doing it – it just is never what it was like growing up.
7. Jim and I went to the Croc’s outlet – bought 3 pairs of shoes for $30!
6. I bought 2 cases of Hershey nuggets at Sam’s. Two days later I returned 1 ½ cases of Hershey nuggets at Sam’s. We miscalculated the amount of chocolate we needed for favors.
5. We drive along the National Lakeshore of the Indiana Dunes – wow is it beautiful! Why I haven’t been there before is beyond me!
4. Baked communion bread for during the wedding and made mom’s 3 day cinnamon rolls for the brunch after the wedding on Sunday.
3. Took a professional dance lesson with Jim! Fun times that hopefully made us look less junior highish at the receptionist.
2. Tried to help make favors, dropped off welcome bags, helped arrange a brunch at my mom and dad’s house.
1. Got to be the matron of honor and general onlooker on the marriage of my sister and my new brother in law. It was a wonderful day – Betsy was stunning, the wedding was inspiring, and the cake was amazing. Celebrating the love of family, God, and each other was a reminder of all of that in my life. I am happy to have new family members and loved watching Betsy love and be loved by her new big family!

This past weekend

I know Krista will probably post all about her sisters wedding we went to but I wanted to point out some of the weird things that happened this weekend

As we were shopping I overheard a Mom tell her son:

"No you can't be a monster for halloween you were a monster last year"
-I love hearing parents try logic on their children

When I was the same age 10-12 I wore the same Ninja costume, my parents didn't even put up a fuss, it certainly was cheaper for them.

In a similar tale where we were at a mall a week ago I was babysitting our neice which is about 3 1/2 and I overheard something very similar a father was trying to explain why they couldn't play on the rides any more because he didn't have enough money to his daughter who was about the same age and then get frustrated when she couldn't understand.

It's only funny because in the limited amount of time I've babysat Joslyn I've learned diversion tactics work the best and even parents who've had the kid for 3 years+ couldn't learn that...

I was told by an older man when trying to get into a bathroom stall that I shouldn't rush things...

I learned how to dance professionally for the first time

My suit I wore to the wedding told me I'm getting fluffy. It's been 1 1/2 years since I've had to wear it...

I was so peopled out by Sunday morning I just wanted to crawl into a computer/tv.

I was able to get a King sized bedroom at a Knights Inn when they were the last resort and had initially just 2 double sized beds and it was a "smoking" room

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I have been thinking a lot about neighborhoods lately. We had a prayer meeting in the neighborhood garden that is kept up my church on Friday. After the events that happened to Jim and I, I felt even more of a need to connect with my neighbors. One block west of us, where a lot of the church folks live – there have been several shootings in the last couple of weeks spurring one mom to put together this prayer meeting. I am grateful that she did. She helped me realize how much I appreciate this neighborhood, how we at least try to take care of each other, and how much we have been welcomed as neighbors. We aren’t going to solve any problems by praying in the garden on a Friday afternoon – but building relationships with our neighbors and trying to prevent problems may indeed start us on a better path.
All while that is going on, I found out today that Dominick’s, the major chain of grocery stores that had opened about 8 years ago about a mile from here, closed. In the same shopping center, a movie theatre closed last year around this time. In the parking lot of the shopping center is a Starbucks and that is closing in the cutbacks from that company. With gentrification a huge issue all around us – it seems that a movie theatre, a grocery store, and the hallmark of gentrification- Starbucks, could thrive. And yet, my neighborhood now has to travel more than 2 miles to the nearest full service grocery store. I sort of thought that piece (a grocery store) of gentrifying was a good thing.

Truly a Man of Destiny

This morning, I went to the funeral of Mike McCullum. Mike sang with the Men of Destiny who sing for many of the DOOR Chicago groups and sang at our night-before-the-wedding-party. I always appreciated Mike – his concern, his care, and his commitment to the group and to God. When meeting Jim for the first time, he told him, “You know I knew she was falling in love, and so you better take care of her.”
Today, as the Men of Destiny started singing “Mike’s song” – the one he always lead at concerts. I was at first shocked thinking: Don’t let someone else sing the song quite yet. Once I settled into the song, I realized the importance of singing that song – I’m tired, and my soul needs rest. One of the lines says – Son, come on in you ran a good race. Mike always changed the line to say his name – and the lead singer today changed in to Michael just like Mike did and it was just the song Men of Destiny needed to sing today.
Mike had a smile that outlasted his face and went deep into you. To be a part of his homegoing service was a blessing.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympics and me

The other day I was watching water polo and was inspired to look up if the Park District offered a class - they did and the registration started this Saturday at 9 am. I was worried about not getting a slot - so I arrived just after 9 to register. Just after 10, I walked out with a slot in a water polo class/club. It doesn't start for over a month; but I am so excited. I wonder how many others signed up for a sport that they have seen in the Olympics!

I am watching swimming right now; and recently Dara Torres won silver to a Steffen gold (Germany). As they started the anthem, as the flag was raised, I hummed along. All because of the Summer Olympics Commodore 64 game we had when I was a kid - Betsy and I sometimes would just click on the flags to hear the song. The educational power of video games....


A quote from Jenell Paris on the Paris Project blog (maybe my favorite non-friend blog I read):

Respectful conversation doesn't barge, shout, demean, or self-promote; it just emerges.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I think I think about food and the impact of food too much. But this morning, I woke up thinking about my lunch yesterday. In a hugely romantic gesture (probably only to me), Jim made me the ultimate comfort food - grilled cheese and tomato soup. I really did feel better.

As many who read this blog already may know, someone came into our house on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and kissed my cheek - I woke up screamed and scared him (and Jim) to run out of the apartment and Jim to follow him. Nothing was stolen, nothing was harmed, just a little shaken well yesterday I was a bit more than shaken but I am feeling much better today.

Jim took the day off to be with me and to figure stuff out and I reduced my load for the day so we could reclaim our space as our own - with some grilled cheese, tomato soup, and lots of comfort from friends and family and love for each other.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pictures from a great weekend

The boardwalk, the whole crew, Krista being silly with food, and a picture out our patio of Jim and I

Cold Showers

I have only had one other summer in my life without AC. That summer I was working at Olive Branch Mission, living on the third floor, with no air. I remember seeing it as an adventure – I spent a lot of time on the air conditioned trains reading, or sitting in front of a fan watching TV. I managed to not have a lot of bad memories about that time, in fact I really had to think hard about what I did for the summer to get by.
This summer hasn’t been bad until last week. We again do not have AC, one of the things we gave up when we moved to our apartment in October. We have a total of 4 fans plus 2 fans that are installed. During the morning, our apartment is fine and even during the afternoon as long as you have at least one fan on you. However, if you attempt to move away from the fans – it is unbearable. Ok, not unbearable. I mean, I don’t live in Miami with no AC. I have places to go that are air conditioned, I could go sleep in my office – which is air conditioned. In fact, I have little to complain about – rather I now look forward to air conditioning. I knew that the hotel that we stayed in last week would be air conditioned and I looked forward to it all week – sleeping with covers, oh the simple pleasures.
Both Jim and I have started taking cold showers right before we go to bed. It really works as a cooling measure. However, last night it didn’t work for Jim because after his shower he got up and realized our kitchen was flooded and worked to get it unflooded, so he was sweaty and gross when he laid back down to go to bed.
That was the second time we had tried to dry our kitchen last night. We are getting pretty good at it actually. Jim even went outside a few weeks ago and dug a drainage hole so it wouldn’t do it – but with the flash flood rains last night – it wasn’t enough. Our land lady is sending someone today hopefully.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Krista's been posting a lot and I haven't. Just been busy trying to keep up with her.

Last night it stormed like crazy here and of course because of a few holes in the wrong places in our apartment it flooded....twice. When I saw flooded I don't mean items are floating around but an inch of water is not fun on the kitchen floor :(

Been playing the PC version of Bioshock, I highly recommend it I just didn't have the PC specs to play it until recently. The game freaks me out with it's ambient noise especially when I have the full audio experience at 5.1 surround sound.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Stroll through the Park

Jim and I went on a tour of Lincoln Park through the Chicago History Museum, where I have a membership. We saw some memorable points of interest including several in the Lincoln Park Zoo. Here are some of the pictures that Jim can take credit for.

Some pictures of our adventures

I have hit all the DOOR cities in the last month or so. Here are some of my pictures. The above is a quote that I saw in LA. Oh, what about a hot dog at the Chicago History Museum. Some pictures from my trip to Atlanta and my visit to the King Center with my good friend Jackie, who is living in the Atlanta area. I also visited Betsy and Russ but didn't take pictures of any of our adventures.

Cool Quote

Effective passion is not about spikes in blood pressure and raised voices.
Its about being concerned enough to sustain your efforts to be a relevant actor.
Aaron Ausland

– one of the founding members of the Krista foundation,
named after his late wife Krista

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cool new web thing

Check this out! (thanks Jackie for sharing this web site with me)

This is a word picture of my blog

Travel Log 103

I am on a United Flight last Sunday morning. The flight attendant is folding one of the blankets that they will soon give out. I think to myself "wow, where I have I seen one of those before?" I think about it for a minute or two - it is my tablecloth! I bought our tablecloth at Salvation Army; so it is possible for me to mistake such a thing.

After telling Jim this story, he looks and sure enough there is a United Label on it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Building a new computer

Since my computer went down I haven't been very productive but as of last night I ordered my new computer...all parts of course cuz I love building my own machine. For the geeks out there I present you with my new parts.


Video Card:
Geforce 9600GT

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5800+3.0ghz

2gb DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

Acer X193W+BD Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor


Already have a case and hard drives so I'm set to go just gotta wait a few days for newegg to get it to me

Another Friday 5

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?

Unlike a lot of people, who are smarter than I, I don't have fake identities for myself or folks that I mention - sometimes I don't mention names if I shouldn't - but most are real names.

The name of my blog is actually fairly thought out. The original God, Chicago and Sour Patch Kids was explained in my first blog entry like this:

God - I can only hope that I keep God first...I try most of the time to keep this important piece in my life. While I don't think the only way to experience God is my way, I am sort of in the business of church. I have a degree in religion; a master's of divinity and work in a church rooted ministry; of which I am way to passionate about - it is sort of my life, actually. I am privledged to be able to focus on God for a job - and I give thanks for that almost everyday. I won't be quiet about this God I love.

Chicago - I love my city, the neighborhoods, and the fact that I get the opportunity to live here. I am quite passionate about sharing the joys and the pains of this city with anyone who will listen. I won't be quiet about this place I love.

Sour Patch Kids - This is silly, but I am addicted to these little candies. I can even tell a fresh bag from a bag that has been on the shelf a little too long. I am sure I will post about that soon. I won't be quiet about this candy I love.

If anything - I can promise I am not quiet about the things that I love - so I hope you keep checking for new posts.

Jim had been trying to keep a blog and he asked to join mine - I wasn't feeling it, but decided that would be okay after awhile so he suggested the title to add and a geek. I liked it and it became the name.

2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?

No...I don't think so.

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?
1. polderpooza - a friends take on combining some dutch words and an american tradition
2. Doors open on the left - about the Chicago transit service - the name is good the blog not so much

4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course!

1. Chicagoist
2. CTA tattler
2. The Paris Project

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?
My friend Jackie! I liked being able to read about her life and the stuff she was posting just to remember for herself. I blog for myself a lot and I like that part more than blogging for other people.