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!