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!