Sunday, November 8, 2009

Making the Sunday morning flight worth it!

While this morning was my first flight as a Southwest A+ member, what makes my airport time enjoyable is actually the people watching. Today, conversations made it fun.

Context: Big line to the down escalator, so a family and I were headed down the stairs towards the security line.

Little girl: (half way down the stairs) …um…I think I am going back up and going to the other stairs…. (she meant the escalator)
Mom: no, this way is fine
Krista: That does look fun, but today the stairs are much faster, as I pass to the left of her.
Little girl: Looks up at me with a smile and wonder in her voice, “Are you going to Disney World too?”
Krista: “Disney World, you get to go to Disney World? No, I am not going there, but I think you will have lots of fun.”
Little girl: “We are going to Disney World for a whole week!”
Dad: “This is her first time.”
Krista: “I was about your age when I went to Disney World for the first time. Have a lot of fun!”
I head over to the expert traveler line in the airport….
Little Girl: “You have fun too…Bye!”

I would have been smiling from that all day but then...

In the expert lane, as I gathered my stuff on the other side of security…

“This is the expert traveler lane, not the I think I am an expert traveler lane.” TSA officer

Monday, October 26, 2009

An experiment for Church

We had been talking at church about how to address the many areas of violence in our neighborhood. Several of us have noticed 3 or 4 barely teenagers who have started hanging out and selling drugs on the corner. Our pastor asked how we could start interacting with them in a way that reached out to them in a way to say "we know what you are doing and if you want to talk about it let me know..." I answered, "I could make them muffins." Cause that is what I do...I bake for people...but on the other hand, I was sort of joking. Well, the group thought that was a fantastic idea. So, here is what I sent in an email as a report. This happened several weeks ago, I just want to remember it - so this is where I put that kind of stuff.

"We tried the experiment tonight. I made cookies, I figured they would be more appealing than muffins, and Jim and I went out to give them to the kids on the corner. There were two kids. To be honest, we had no idea what to say. I was thankful that we had cookies – at least we could offer the cookies – if nothing else worked. Here is how it went…

Krista: “Hi guys!”
Kids looked at us.
Jim: “Aren’t you guys a bit cold?”
Kids looked at us.
Krista: I made cookies this evening; I was wondering if you wanted some?
Kids smiled at us, and looked at each other.
Krista: I unwrapped the foil so they could see…”they are peanut butter chocolate chip”
Kids laughed and kept smiling.
Krista: “They are all yours, here you go.”
Kid #1: No thanks, maam.
Jim: “Really? You don’t want cookies, I mean I just had like 6 while they were baking…they are great!”
Kid #2: No thanks, man.
Jim: Ok – we’ll just find someone at the church to give them too..
Krista: Well, take care of yourselves tonight.

We went and dropped off the computer in the church, and I left the cookies on faith house steps in case they were watching and wanted them but didn’t want to take them from me directly. They were still there when I got back. Jim couldn’t believe that any kid would turn down cookies. Frankly, I wasn’t that surprised. I mean, you aren’t supposed to take food from strangers.

Jim wants me to mention that he thinks it would cool if we started as a church to bring them something every night, I think we will try to at least go and say hi once a week.

The story doesn’t end there, and that is what is the great part for me. So, I made these full of fat cookies (Jim’s comment was these are no Krista cookies) that we didn’t need to eat…I felt we had to give them away. I didn’t make them for me, I made them for someone else. So, we gave them to Leola, our downstairs neighbor. I was more nervous about offering them to her than I was the kids. Jim kept asking why and I really don’t know. But, I have been thinking for months I wanted to bake for my in house neighbors and just hadn’t gotten around to it. We had a nice conversation and it had nothing to do with the plumbing or the electric or anything else. That may be worth it for me – starting to develop better relationships with our neighbors so that eventually I will know those kids, and maybe they eventually will take our cookies."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Overheard during Houby Fest Parade

Overheard during Houby Fest Parade

(while a politician passes with her float the music is blaring Lady Gaga's song "Poker Face")

"It's probably not a good idea for a politicians theme song in a parade to be "Poker Face you think?"

-Jim Parker

CTA story

I keep forgetting to write about this, I thought of it this morning...and I really don't want to forget this time.

When I was coming home from the airport last week, I got on the Harrison bus at Cicero headed east. It was a red light when I got on, and while I paid and settled in to my seat. The bus driver was looking at the windows of the corner liquor store. She then asked if the two guys in the back of the bus would "go check out if the the keg size window displays are real or just cut outs." They did. "No, sorry cutouts...want us to go in the store to see if they have them inside?" "Would you?" The guys go in and now it is a green light. "The store says those are just displays."

And if that wasn't good enough a story...

During all this, it becomes clear that the little boy that is sitting across from me - probably about 6 years old, is the son of the bus driver. He is really struggling with his mom's non-attention to him - I am thankful that she was driving the bus. So, I start a conversation with him. "How was school?" He just looks at me, then his mom says - "Don't you answer her!" He looks at me, and mouths the words, "It was okay..."

I laughed.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

- H. Jackson Brown

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I used to have a list of reasons why I didn't want kids. In college, I believe the list got up two hundred and something reasons. People often told me it probably was a phase - in classes, on dates, and in casual conversations. I disagreed.

A huge turning point in my thinking happened when I was a family advocate. I wanted to work thre because of the life skills training I was so interested in learning. But the true reason that folks sometimes seek life skills training? They want to or have been forced to grow as parents. So while working on budgets and the such, I also worked with the kids - I went to birthday parties, the park and did crafts often with these creatures that still for the most part eluded the crap out of me. I decided that if I ever felt settled enough to have kids, it surely wouldn't be the worst thing. This also was the first time that I encountered the foster care system in ways that made me want to be a part of it. Over the last 5 years, I have been able to grow in my kid love, thanks to many of the children and teenagers that have shown love to me.

Its been a week since we were approved to be a foster care home. Small step- the physical structure was approved- not our mental capacity, yet! And while we have been working for awhile on preparing for this, orientation and moving into a bigger apartment - this seems to be the start of the pregnancy. Last month, during a crazy time of believing that our house would not be suitable, seemed to be the time of praying that the stick would just turn pink, already.

The stick turned pink, now its real. I have no idea what I got myself into. For the last week I have been seeing kids and thinking - oh dear, why would anyone trust me with that little person?

We still get to be pregnant for awhile, classes, home studies, and physicals - it is a busy time of preparation. I wait in expectation - scared out of my mind, and yet joyful.

So anyone who told me not liking kids was just a phase, I admit it, for me it looks like it was.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Who I am really keeps surprising me.

- Poet Nikki Giovanni

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I hope I am:

A good cook is a sorceress who dispenses happiness.

- Elsa Schiapirelli

Monday, September 7, 2009

Simple Yummy Soup

Sweet Potato and Garlic Soup

1 whole garlic bulb
2 sprays of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
10 1/2 oz sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken broth
4 oz green beans
4 tbsp lowfat plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 375. Pull the garlic bulb apart and put in small roating pan. Roast in oven for 20 minutes or until soft. Remove and let cool before squeezing out the soft insides. Set aside.

Heat the oil in pan, add onion and sweet potato and cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to boil. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and sinner for 10 minutes. Add the green beans and roasted garlic and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.

Set aside 2 tbsp of green beans and puree soup. Add reserved beans with pepper to taste and heat through.

Divide between 4 bowls, swirl a spoonful of yogurt in each. Serve.

* Servings Per Recipe: 4
* Amount Per Serving
* Calories: 97.3

* Total Fat: 1.9 g
* Cholesterol: 5.1 mg
* Sodium: 982.1 mg
* Total Carbs: 18.5 g
* Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
* Protein: 3.5 g

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Living the Call on the bus

For a couple days now I have been working with the Radical Journey participants. We have worked on a covenant, shared personal faith stories and lots of other cool stuff. On Tuesday, the leaders asked for questions that people had. Darrell (the other leader) and I looked at those questions and had a conversation – modeling how to have good conversation about things that you may not agree on. One of the questions that we talked probably the most about was How do I know what I am called to do? Darrell shared and I did too.

I talked about my internal sense that it was more than just a passion, almost to the degree of unexplainable. For example, I am passionate about food. However, I can usually describe why I like to cook, bake, or serve food. I really can’t even begin why I feel so passionate, beyond passionate about issues of class and race. I also shared a moment I remember in a SCUPE class that would be the community calling me to work with these issues alongside those may not understand. I told Darrell (and the 20 others that happened to be in the room) that I felt that moment in the SCUPE class happened 10 minutes ago instead of almost 10 years ago – it that strongly effected who I am today.

We finished the day and then Darrell and I took the bus to go back to Jim and I’s house. It was rush hour, but the bus we happened to be on had lots of seats empty. A man got on the bus and sat next to me, after a stop or two looked at me and said:

Man: “Chicago is sure full of lots of cultures.”
Krista:“Yes, isn’t it beautiful?”
Man: “Sometimes it causes a lot of conflict though.”
Krista: “Yes, that happens sometimes”
Man: “Where you from?”
Krista: “here (Chicago)”
Man: “What do you think about bi-racial dating?”
Krista: “I think it is fine.”
Man: “You mean if a german woman with blue eyes and blonde hair started dating an Islam Middle Eastern man, you wouldn’t care?”
Krista: “No.”
Man: “What about the way that culture treats women?”
Krista: “Well, if the woman feels comfortable with the man, then I am okay.”
Man: I believe you shouldn’t harm anyone.”
Krista: Me too.
Man: I am not prejudice but I think I would have a problem with if my sisters started dating a black man.
Krista: But you wouldn’t do any harm to them would you? That is what you said you believed, right?
Man: Yeah, but they are so violent…
Krista: Well, not all people live in the stereotypes that are given in society.
Man: Its hard to find people who are willing to talk about the hard issues
Krista: Yeah, its sorta my job
Man: Oh yeah, what do you do…
Krista: I help direct a program that hopes to teach people to have these hard conversations
Man: Cool
Man: I guess I don’t live in a lot of the stereotypes of a jewish male…I am not cheap, I tip well.
Krista: Cool. This is our stop (it really was), have a good ride.

Darrell and I spoke of this a bit when getting on the next bus, but the conversation got much more animated when Jim came to dinner with us. Darrell was able to give him the run down of what had happened. Jim’s response? “Oh yeah, that happens all the time. She just keeps them going.”

All in all, we could think of 4 or 5 times in the last 6 months that I i have had conversations like this one. And yes, I do “keep them going”. I engage folks who talk to me. I admit that sometimes I want to ignore people, but I just can’t. I am not saying I am perfect, I can easily stick my nose in a book and put headphones on and ignore the world on the bus.

One of the great things about living in the city is that I can interact with folks that I normally wouldn’t or folks that I disagree with. What if I really took more time to listen? What if I “keep them going” more?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Joke Time

Krista has her quotes I have my jokes...

"Wow!" exclaimed Jesus. "We really enjoyed your work here. Especially Thriller! I listen to that album every night before I go to sleep."

Michael is a little taken aback. "Thank you, Lord..."

YHWH goes on, "Well, I have a special reward for you. I'm prepared to grant you one wish. Have anything in mind?"

Not one to act selfish and change God's opinion of him, Jackson thinks for a second and decides upon a wish. "I'd like for everyone on earth to always be able to hear the sweet sound of music, not to be interrupted by the noises of the world."

"Done!" exclaims the Prince of Peace. He snaps, and Billy Mays appears next to Jackson.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

overheard on Congress

While cleaning this afternoon Jim asked about the whole cake that was sitting on the counter, "What's the deal with this cake? Is it ours?" I had made it to take with us to the Flaming Meat party yesterday, but forgot it (Thanks and Sorry Eric and Nadia!).
"Yes, its all ours, I thought we could have it for supper."

Fast forward to after a supper of leftovers - I cooked way to much this week, its so fun when I am actually home for several days!

Jim: "Cake time?"
Me: "Sure!"
Jim leaves room and comes back with two pieces of cake, one for each of us.
Jim: "Ok, this is good. Whats in it other than chocolate?"
Me: "a bit of sugar, its actually chocolate chips, a bit of mayo - that's why I bought mayo the other day, and chick-peas..."
Jim:"and there it is...I knew there must be a twist for you to be baking it."

Its true, I probably wouldn't be baking just a chocolate cake.

The recipe follows:

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups garbanzo beans (chickpeas) – cooked if fresh, drained if canned
2 eggs
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
powdered sugar

Place rack on middle level and pre-heat oven to 350 °F.In a small bowl, melt chocolate in microwave oven on medium power for two minutes.In food processor or blender, combine beans, eggs and egg substitute, blending on high for thirty seconds. Add chocolate, sugar, mayonnaise and baking powder and process until smooth.
Pour mixture into 9” heart shaped non-stick baking pan or a round pan, baking for 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool and dust with powdered sugar and serve with pureed and strained raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries as a garnish. (We didn't use the sauce today.)

I got this recipe in a sparkpeople email.



There is no difference between living and is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate.

- John Holt, author

Saturday, August 15, 2009


In late June, Jim and I went to see Food, Inc. While I didn't see much I didn't know, the way it was presented some new realities came to the front of me. I was disturbed by the circle of injustices that surround the farmers enough so that Jim and I are trying to buy meat that is locally grown and if beef, grass finished. Right now, I feel strongly about this. One place that I can get this type of meat, other than the CSA I am a part of, is Whole Foods, which frankly is a guilty pleasure, in fact I may have a date for lunch there today with a friend.

You all know where I am going, don't you?

This is an op-ed piece from the CEO of Whole Foods. In it he talks about his views on health care reform. I am not convinced his views are as bad as some are making them out to be, even though for the most part I disagree with him. So now what? Do I boycott as some suggest? I wonder what other stores I would boycott if I knew their CEOs stances on health care or treatment of workers or a host of other issues. That doesn't mean I shouldn't know or that I shouldn't decide to boycott - it is just a question. Yes, a boycott would, in this case, be a huge, huge sacrifice for me - a good lesson for me and maybe for Whole Foods. But I really don't know how to address this issue personally.

If you are interested, another article that speaks to this issue is here. I like the idea behind this piece - that CEO Mackey is going against the mission statement of Whole Foods - and therefore we should boycott.

I am not sure if I have a logical reason to be wishy-washy or if I am just that connected to Whole Foods that I want to be wishy-washy. I would love others opinions about this and other ethical issues.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer utters itself. So, a woman will lift her head from the sieve of her hands and stare at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.
Carol Ann Duffy, from "Prayer"


During a prayer station while in Atlanta, I was thinking about the things that I most hope for at DOOR and generally in my life. Here is the list.

Embracing love

Its a big list; but it is really my wish list for my life.

Monday, August 3, 2009


The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

- Flora Whittemore, author

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A day in Chicago

I find spending less time in Chicago has made me appreciate it all so much more. After running errands and having breakfast at the same place we did last weekend, we went to the Chicago Botanical Gardens on a whim. Therefore, no camera...but wow is it beautiful, I can't believe I haven't ever been there before! We walked around for several hours enjoying the many gardens and the water displays.

It is way north of Chicago - so we drove by the lake on the way back - not a lake view due to the big manisons that have lake views in their backyards - its pretty amazing. It was way past lunch when we stopped at a place that was called Japanese Restaurant - wow, again. Jim had really awesome beef served alongside several types of sushi and I had perfect Udon soup - it was a hole in the wall in all the great ways!

Continuing down the lake, we stop at the Ba'hai Temple. It is simply elegant. I had taken a summer staff several years ago there; but Jim have never been - he loved it.

Now, I pack and leave tomorrow to see Jannan, Betsy, Russ, Jackie and maybe meet Brandon!

Friday, July 17, 2009

DIA Musings

Found quote:

To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, and to be given a chance to create, are the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.

- Bette Davis, actress


Mom to small child: "We get to board first for once since we have small children."

Small child: angered "I am not small"

Mom: Of course not honey, its your brother they are talking about.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Our Faith and Our Fork

Last week, I went to a workshop about faith and eating - perfect for me, right?

I learned lots of things - but the thing I want to note here is a new image of God - Divine Chef - Oh, Amen to that one!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oh, for the love of cooking

One of the best parts of being home for a week is that I get to cook (right up there with going to the gym, being with Jim, and sleeping in my own bed)in my new to me kitchen. Several weeks ago, Jim and I went to see Food Inc. Don't go see it if you want to keep eating the way you are.

Anyways, we both (not just Krista) came away thinking that we needed to think about some things - mainly eating meat that is locally grown or organic and thinking more about locally produced products in general.

Last week, Jim, expecting to go to a bbq over the weekend, bought some locally produced and grass finished bison that we have been working on eating since he joined me in Ohio last weekend unexpectedly. So tonight we had:

Fresh pasta from Wisconsin - boiled for about 2 minutes (wow was it good)
Sauted broccoli and squash from farmer's type market
1 tomato, chopped
The above were combined with a little olive oil and salt and pepper
Grilled Bison, mine med rare, Jim's med

Oh, a great meal - no matter where the food came from!

Selfish Self Promotion

So last week, I saw my book for the first time. I signed my book five times (but two were for my parents, so I don't think that counts). I got to have some good conversations about it as well. Oh yeah, and after J Denny Weaver telling me that I would write a book some day I got to sit by him and his new book (Defenseless Christianity written with Gerald Mast)and prove him right.

This week I am in Chicago, before I head out on Sunday to Denver. Its so nice to be home!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.

- John Burroughs, essayist and naturalist

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is it weird that i like to make funny faces when im alone in the elevator?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Journaling Part 4

I have a feeling that all the previous posts will make it into future writings of mine in one form or another - so I am glad to get just the pieces down now.

Journaling Part 3

More from several weeks ago!

Took some co-workers from out of town to one of my favorite places today (Hot Dougs)
The food is always good. The owner is friendly. They have owner friendly hours - so he can have a life. He is a good guy who is living his dream - I love supporting stuff like that.

There is always a line which is a part of the charm as well. One of my co-workers mentioned how unique this sort of feel and love for a place by the owner can be. I agreed.

to be continued...

Journaling Part 2

Again more that I wrote awhile ago that I need to get off scrap paper.

Yesterday (the day after memorial day), Jim fell ill, which sent me to my local Walgreens. To be honest, I don't go there often but the lady recognized me and we had the following conversation.

Clerk: "Are you ready, baby?"
Me: "Yep (placing the pepto on the counter)"
"Oh, who is sick?"
"my husband"
"too much bbq?"
"just the wrong kind of bbq"
"I will be thinking of you and him."

Journaling Part 1

Several weeks ago, I wrote several short thoughts in journal form - and so I don't lose them am posting them....the funny thing is that it isn't a finished piece but it is more than a thought. Hence my need to get them out of my scrap paper file and into a more permanent setting such as this website - and yet really they aren't ready to share. Oh, the joys and burdens of a blog!

Oh, the Chicago Public Library

My life wouldn't be the same without it. Recently, I said, " I really have no business buying books living where I live." I really love CPL and its many branches which are in most of the 77 neighborhoods of Chicago, including 2 within walking distance from my house. The CPL website recently upgraded so that I can have a book at any library sent to my local library through a click of a button.

In a recent article from the Washington Post, the Post shows the true cost of being poor. From paying more at the local grocerer than the 2 mile away superstore to the many costs of living in a "desert" if consumer goods in general, the article illustrates the mix of costs that are not thought of living in lower class neighborhoods.

I have been thinking about this article quite a bit and I thought about while I was driving to the library today. Yes, the library is free and in almost every neighborhood. However, I often wonder if the library really is free to those whose resources are unknown. Such as:

I have been using a daily check on the CPL website to track a book I really want for about 2 weeks. Seeing that in the entire CPL system, 4 copies at 3 libraries existed. I was constantly tracking which library had it in on the shelf and which ones the book was coming due.
Cost: 28 minutes Resource used: internet

Today, needing to return a book that I had finished, I went on my search for the token book and headed to a library in another neighborhood.
Cost: 20 minutes Resource used: car

After looking on the shelf for the book in question and not finding it - I picked out something else and went to check out the books and ask for a "hold and transfer" of the book to my library. The check out lady asked me to talk to the reference librarian. The reference librarian helped me find the book in the system, called a library that had one on the shelf asked for it to be placed on hold for me.
Cost: 30 minutes

I didn't know there where reference librarians at the library. That might sound silly, but I really didn't. She was quite kind, resourceful, and got me exactly what I wanted. I wonder though about the resources that it took me to that reference librarian - do I as a middle class person have the resources (including time) to lead me to this great reference librarian that those cited in the Post article would not have. Probably. Yes, the reference librarian is a free source of information - but I find it fasinating that it took lots of resources to come to this free resource.

Is this another cost of being poor?

To be continued....

Krista in the comics

Click here for a comic that Jim found that is so me!

Monday, June 15, 2009


People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing--that's why we recommend it daily.

- Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Five

From RevGalPals blog:

Gals and pals on the West and East coasts, and a few spots in between, may know of Trader Joe's--a quirky, well-stocked, well priced semi-gourmet store that attains near cult status among some. I discovered it through my Aunt Judy, who always brought a couple of their desserts to holiday parties....The best was a chocolate ganache torte that had my four year olds begging for it (and among the only four year olds on the planet to know what ganache is, presumably).

My family has happily Trader Joe'd in southernmost California, up to the Northwest, and back down to southern Cal. And now we're really excited because today a brand new Trader Joe is opening up across the street from our apartment. Wahoo! There are sure to be lots of tasty free samples on opening day and from now on we can just walk across the street to get a lot of our shopping done. I have a new spiritual directee coming tomorrow and she has already mentioned that she'll be stopping in on the way here, leaving me to be jealous cause I'll be spending that noon hour like, praying and preparing and study-vacuuming and everything, and won't be able to stop in till the afternoon.

So in honor of the new Trader Joe's, this week's Friday Five is all about food shopping.

1. Grocery shopping--love it or hate it?

I love it!!!! It is my favorite time of the week generally - chorewise. I love making the list, and then looking through the aisles for new finds.

2. Who is the primary food shopper in your household?

So we are a little silly, I think we both are. We most often go to the grocery store together.

3. Do you have a beloved store like TJ's which is unique to your location or family?

While we enjoy going to both Trader Joes and Whole Foods for special things, Pete's Market is where we shop most. The produce brings joy!

4. How about a farmer's market, or CSA share, as we move into summer? Or do you grow your own fruits/veggies/herbs?

Probably once a month I go to the conservatory down the street to pick up a CSA like basket - order one week in advance a basket full of yummies - but I only do it when I know that I have time to prepare the surprise veggies.

5. What's the favorite thing you buy at the grocery store?

Jim goes on fruit duty at Pete's. We have come home with three kinds of pears before and we see one we like best - that is my favorite part.

Who knew I would meet my grandma in the post office?

My Grandma Beam had a lot of quirks such as her love of Dawn dish detergent, her ability to be cheap, and then to splurge. One day, we learned she got a new car. She didn't really need one, she had just really admired her bank teller's car and one day she drove past the bank didn't see it. So she went in and saw the said bank teller, asked where her car was, found out that the car had been traded in at a-not-to-near-by town's dealership. Grandma responded by getting in her car and driving to the dealership that it was at and bought it.

Today, I shared an elevator leaving the post office with a fun loving older gentleman who was very talkative with me on the three floor ride and then fist bumped me to say goodbye when we both got off in the underground parking. My car was the first car parked by the elevator I got in and started the car and noticed someone at my window. It was this fun loving older gentleman. I rolled down my window. He wanted to tell me how much he loved the RAV 4 and how he had one when they first came out just like mine.
He said, "that must have been around 10 years ago when it was involved in a crash".
"Yes," I replied, "this is 10 years old."
"Any chance you would part with it?"
"Nope, I plan to drive it until it dies."
"Are you sure?"
"When are you going to take me for a drive? It doesn't have to be today. I will give you my card."
"Nope, I am really not interested in selling this car, sir."
"Okay, (another fist bump) have a wonderful day."
"You too."

As I am driving up out of the parking lot, I am laughing thinking about how I can totally see my grandma doing this. Then I thought about maybe I should have asked how much he would have offered. Oh well, I thought, I really like this car I really don't want to part with it.

At the next stop light, I heard a beep at my side - and sure enough it was this gentleman sitting in my dream car, the Smart Car! Seriously! I want a Smart car, should have taken his card to work out a swap!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Moving and our cat...

We finally moved this weekend to our new big apartment and during the move our cat MJ sneaked out of our apartment, I wandered around for 30 minutes trying to find her inside and outside and giving up I went back to cleaning but left our back door open in case she decided to come home. After about an hour I happen to walk by our bathroom and tada! there she is...covered in dirt of course. She survived her little adventure and decided to come home. I hope she heard our voices coming out of our place and just wanted to be home...

On a geeky side of things the new cheap $99 iphone is looking mighty good, but I should wait till my contract is up with T-Mobile next June :(

Friday, May 29, 2009

This is so Krista and Jim

Click Here for a comic that could have happened at our house.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yet another quote

Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth; justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance. Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table. - Bill Moyers,
Television journalist and social commentator

another quote

"We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.

- Calvin Coolidge, American president

I need to tape this to my laptop when I get a chance.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


When you stand still, you reject the struggle, and you refuse to change and grow. Ultimately, you reject fulfillment, happiness, the dance for joy and everything else that is eternally good.

- Matthew Kelly, classical actor and game show host

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend Report


The car started making horrible noises - noises that even I could have reproduced for Click and Clack on a Saturday morning. I called Jamie, my auto mechanic father-in-law and he told me in a soothing voice to stop driving and come to him. I did just that - well after waiting for Jim to come home.


First, some background: Many of you know either by Jim's post earlier in the week or by personal first hand knowledge that I am nesting. After not caring whatsoever about places that I have ever lived in terms of furniture or decor, I am all of a sudden spending most of time thinking about paint colors, dreaming of what diy projects I could accomplish, measuring for additional shelves in the pantry. It is all quite disturbing to me. I liked not caring, really I did. Friday night was supposed to be spent prepping the walls for painting (gray for the kitchen and a light yellow for the living area) that we would do on Saturday. I guess i should explain that there are two apartments that are turning into one for us. Currently, we have access to one of the two.

I wake up with no alarm on Saturday morning. I am waking up slowly thinking of how excited I am to paint and to move next weekend. The phone rings. Its our landlord telling me that the woman upstairs isn't moving out today, and while she was told that she needed to be out by Thursday, the landlord wanted us to be prepared for a possible no-go on the weekend. I felt like she had told me Chicago was on fire, worse actually. She wondered if we could wait until June just in case. I held it together on the phone, after that for most of the day I was a wreck. First, if we don't move until June - Jim would be doing most of the work as I will be gaining frequent flyer miles by the day all over. However and more importantly, I will feel homeless and not important in the move. Normally, this would be ok but after all the nesting I have done, I need to help and I need to settle. We decided not to paint - why when we might not move and I was convinced for about an hour that I would find another place to move into on Saturday - I have people coming on Saturday to help us move - so I am going to move.

In the middle of this, I need to go pick up the CSA basket at the conservatory - 20 lbs of fruit and veggies on my bike since the car is being worked on. I find my bike and Jim's bike needs air in the tires - we don't have time to go pump them - we have to walk. Its 10 am and I am defeated. Its not a hard walk nor a long one - but nothing is going my way!

In the afternoon with the help of a new game and PBS shows, I calmed down. The car was ready to be picked up, we rode the train and bus to Jamie's house (a long process that we have never done before). Picked up the car and then out to supper at a place called Bodhi, a Thai place that is in Berwyn - not exactly where you would want to go looking for Thai, but the chef (I had read) was amazing. Jim's Pad Thai was the most amazing Pad Thai either of us has ever had. My squash curry was also amazing. We give it 5 tomatoes (that is the best rating - tomatoes being my favorite vegetable). Then right down the road is another place that I had read about being important to eat at because it was worth saving in this recession - and had also heard that Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives was stopping there last week. We decided to have dessert there. Jim had red velvet cake and I had the made to order donut holes. Again, this was a great find (and we noticed Guy from DDD's signature on the wall). We want to go back for a meal, but dessert itself gained the place 31/2 tomatoes.

NOTE: We have decided to keep our moving date on Saturday - so please don't drop out if you said you were coming - we will move everything to the one side the one that is currently empty - in order to use the woman and man power available - then we will live in our apartment down here out of suitcases until both are ready.


Today, I preached a not very good sermon and then led communion. After church several of us talked about children in communion - interesting topic to say the least. The highlight of the day and my week was our trip to Graceland cemetery for a Chicago Architecture Foundation tour (Thanks for my membership, Russ, Betsy, Mom and Dad!). I saw the burial sites of lots of important Chicagians that often we would walk up to them I would read the name and gasp before the tour guide would tell the story - I already knew. Jim laughed enough that the tour guide caught on and asked if I would consider being a docent for the CAF - which I have thought about but it requires a 3 month class that is considered a graduate level class - you even have to write papers. I will consider it when my traveling schedule isn't quite as often.

We stopped at Microcenter, Joanne's - where my nesting tendencies all came rushing back, then grabbed supper at a place in the Entertainment book Mrs O'Leary's that would get 1/2 tomato.

The weekend worked out in the end!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PBS special report from Elkhart, IN

The following in a link to a news story done on PBS about the faith community and how the hard hits in Elkhart county are interacting. It is an interesting story even if you don't know as many people in Elkhart/Goshen area.

Click here.


Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.

- George Burns, comedian and television personality

I am not feeling this one today - with one sister friend having a birthday today. Happy Birthday Melissa! Its still really funny.

Internet is back

Life is good.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lots of things....

We went to see B-Sides of the Bible on Friday night which Krista loved and I sort it, My opinion of it that it needed more humor and an easy way to have done that was to have God sitting in on all the stories ad-libbing or commenting in a way he did in one story.

Saturday we cruised around hitting up some second hand stores looking for a headboard for our bed, we actually found a new place call Free Store Chicago, it's a wandering "caravan" where people can drop stuff off and just pick up anything they want.

Sunday morning we picked up the key to our new place and we started cleaning one side, Krista is starting to "nest" and actually wants to paint our upcoming place and it's driving her nuts. We went to Spring Tea event at our church which I've never been to because it's around our anniversary or we were moving during this time frame. The speaker at the event had a lot of computer references...which kept me awake. ;) Sunday night was more cleaning and since Sunday morning the DSL has been out at our place and it's been hard on the both of us so we sat down and watched Slumdog Millionaire which was really good but I don't think it should have been the big Oscar winning movie it was hyped to be. not having the internet at home sucks

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We have been busy…having really good experiences and food lately. Partially thanks to Entertainment Book (you know a fundraiser with tons of 2 for 1 coupons) that Joan gave us (Thanks Joan!) and also thanks to our membership to Chicago Public Radio that also follows the same concept. I doubt it would be worth our money to buy an entertainment book – but it has been fun using it.

Our great weekend started by going roller skating in Lombard, a suburb of Chicago. Click here for their website. (We have one more coupon if someone wants to go.) I wanted to go skating for my birthday and we are three months after the fact and we finally made time to go. Jim wiped out; I didn’t. However, he went a lot faster and is much better than I was. It was really good exercise which got negated by our stop to the 7-11 for a Slurpee.

Monday we used our Chicago Public Radio card to try Manny’s – a older than heck Jewish deli in downtown. We walked in and right away Jim said, “And why haven’t we been here before?” The funny thing is that I felt bad that I hadn’t been there before. Its one of those places that anyone who considers themselves a Chicago person should go there. Jim had a corned beef sandwich with a potato pancake. Quote of the hour, “I have no idea what corned beef is, but it is good!” I had a hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes in the middle – I watched them carve the beef.

Tuesday we celebrated our anniversary at the Garfield Park Conservatory (Jim’s idea), and then went to Museum of the Science and Industry (I really wanted to go to the Smart House.), found a new coffeehouse, hit a thrift store, and then ate at Joy Yee’s (Chicago Public Radio card) to reclaim it from our horrible first date.

I am in love with my husband, no doubt. Marrying him 2 years ago may be the best thing I ever did. However, I am also always surprised with how much we are alike in our differences. He really likes being a tourist in his own city, I am glad that we found each other. We continue to like spending time with each other and using our GPS to find new stuff.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could...

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dr Phil and ME

So, I am sick and got sucked into Dr. Phil. However, it isn't that bad - it reminds me of some advice that we gave Betsy and Russ - take those stupid quizzes in magazines to start good conversation.

Dr. Phil is basically counseling a couple that doesn't know each other at all. They gave them a quiz about simple things and they got very little correct answers - these were - Where is your spouse from? Who is their best friend? - sorts of questions.

This couple have been married 8 months, and knew each other a little under 8 months. And Dr Phil's recommendation is to get to know each other.

While I don't think Jim and I have the perfect marriage (who does?), I can say that we really know each other. Wow, Phil just asked if they even like each other. We love each other, but we also like each other - we are friends. That goes along way...

This is making me very happy that my husband is my husband! Thanks sick day Dr. Phil!

Cream of Spinach Soup

Here is what I made on Monday, it was really good. I was doubtful, so I did stir a tablespoon of butter to the whole pot - but I would recommend it. It has roughly 150 calories a cup - with the butter. Recipe by

1 white onion
1 pack fresh spinach
1 medium sized potato (white or red, no skin)
1 chicken breast (boneless, no skin)
4 cups of chicken broth
2 cups 2% milk
2 tbsp corn starch
salt to taste (optional)

Combine the onion, spinach, potato, chicken breast, chicken bullion cube, water and boil until chicken and potato are fully cooked.
Place all ingredients in blender and turn blender on for one minute or until most ingredients are blended.
Return ingredients to stove and add milk and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and add corn starch (dissolve corn starch with 1/4 cup of water).
Bring heat to med-low and stir until desired thickness. If you want thicker consistency add double corn starch mix.
Serve and enjoy.

Yesterday's plane ride

On top of having a very productive day in the Denver office today, I experienced several strange occurances.
1. Arriving at the airport at 5:11, I printed out my boarding pass headed down the expert traveler security lane at Midway (highly recommend it) and got to my gate at about 5:30. I sat down in a recliner with an outlet and checked email while waiting for my flight (free WiFi at Midway). I soon noticed that my flight was to be shared with lots of high schoolers, many with band instruments. They were loud, and I was feeling very grumpy that they were to be on my flight. I asked one chipper girl if they were indeed a band. “Yes.” Where are you going – Denver or San Diego (the destination of the plane we were lined up to get on)? “Denver, then transferring..” “Oh, where is the final destination?” “DISNEY WORLD” another girl chimed in. “No, not Disney world, oh, I can’t remember the name,” spoke the girl that it seemed to really bother her that she didn’t know her geography. “Anaheim?” I said. “Yes, oh, Yes!” We are marching there for several days. True to high school form, they all were asleep on the flight, it was great.
2. Upon arrival in Denver, Glenn picked me up and headed for “breakfast” which by this point could have almost been lunch for me. We stopped at a new place, walked in and I waited for the hostess to finish with a customer when I realized I knew the hostess! Her aunt and uncle go to our church, and she was once a college student in Chicago and she attended our church during that time. CRAZY, Small World!
3. At “lunch”, Glenn and I’s lunching mate asked if Glenn really didn’t know of any other place other than Racines – his favorite spot to eat. I spoke up saying, “I have been looking forward to Racine’s Salmon Spinach Salad for a week, without ever thinking to ask if we were actually going there – I knew that we would.” The Spinach salad has tomatoes, wild berries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and salmon. (It is also supposed to have curried pecans and feta cheese, but I go without these, you can also order it without the salmon.)
4. Back at the airport, I find a crocs store and have some green chile – a Colorado and New Mexico speciality that I learned to love while living in Colorado. Yummy. Yummy in my tummy. My flight ended up being delayed so I watched Meerkat Manor (again, free wifi in Denver airport). I am almost done with the 2nd season. I get so wrapped up in it…its addicting.
5. We have only 20 people on a big plane, I have the whole first row to myself – a true luxury!


Now, I am home and my ears never popped - its 14 hours after I landed and my ears are full of pressure - making it hard to talk and hear. It has been an interesting day - mostly in bed.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Advice I should listen to...

A fragment of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson is telling:

"Finish each day
And be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and
Absurdities have crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can."


"Its hard to beat a person who never gives up."
Babe Ruth

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some quotes from my time in Louisville

Kelly Brown Douglas quotes:
Blues is a felt music.
Blues is without shame, they appreciate the incarnate God.
I was really impressed how she used the method that she teaches. Taking experience to critique culture and to determine God is. She showed this method to a T! She was speaking about her new research on the link of the Blues and God. I even just bought some Blues from Itunes due to how she talked about it.

Other quotes from last week:
“oh, the cool cucumbers…”
“you guys are such love bugs”
“long term gig of service”

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Comfort Food

Yesterday, I felt accomplishment. I made Sloppy Joes, oven fries and green beans. Sounds pretty normal right? I realized yesterday that I worry more about making the normal stuff for supper than trying a new unique recipe. It just isn’t me. Then, I remembered a conversation I had with a co-worker last week about how we cook. I had mentioned to her that I rarely attempt Italian with Jim since I doubt I will ever come close to his Italian mom’s cooking. I wonder if I worry and fret more about the regular stuff because comfort food is supposed to be comforting and if it doesn’t measure up then it won’t fit the bill. Its why, though I can make tomato soup, I want campbell’s when I am sick. Its why, though I make a mean mac and cheese, Jim wants Velveeta boxed stuff. Comfort food is to be the normal not different, not exciting, just warm and comforting.

So, that all to say, when I do the normal and it turns out normal – I am more excited than when I normally cook. Jim often looks longingly at the manwich can at the grocery store and I just won’t let it in the cart no matter what. I found this recipe and it went well – I like it better than the not-so-sloppy joes that Betsy and I made from her cool cookbook for kids.

16 oz. 96% ground beef (I used ground sirloin, it was on sale)
1 cup diet coke
10 tbsp heinz one carb reduced sugar ketchup
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp dry mustard
Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain beef and add back to skillet. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook on low for 30 minutes uncovered so sauce can thicken. This is about 4 servings. This is a recipe.
The bun was a bit different, they were Arnold’s sandwich thins. I highly recommend them.

Tonight, I made a more Krista recipe, I served with coucous.

Pork with Pineapple Stew
12 oz. boneless pork loin
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small chili pepper, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 can (8 oz.) sliced pineapple in juice
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1. Trim all visible fat from meat. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Toss with flour to coat.
2. Generously coat deep, medium skillet with cooking spray. Set over medium-high heat. Brown meat, turning it to color on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to plate.
3. Heat oil in pan. Saute onion, green pepper, garlic and chili pepper until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Return meat to pan. Add 1 cup water, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, salt and pepper. Drain liquid from pineapple into pan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
4. Stack pineapple slices and cut into 8 sections. Add fruit, tomato and cucumber to stew. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. This stew keeps 2 to 3 days, covered, in the refrigerator.
Makes 4 servings. This is also

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Video of AJ Jacobs

I loved the book, and this video shows the author sharing his experience while writing it.



Really great benediction

I feel a little bad posting this, as I don't know who I should attribute it to, but I do want to remember it.

May God bless you with discomfort at half-truths, easy answers, and superficial relationships, so that you will live deeply and from the heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those in pain, so that you will reach out your hand to them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with just enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this old world, so that you will do those things that others say cannot be done.
The blessing of God, who creates, redeems, and sanctifies, be upon you and all you love, this day and forever more. Amen.

Lots of stuff

I am in Louisville at the Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer Placement Event. For those volunteers that are interested in serving overseas they all show up and interview with all the coordinators of the various sites. Several of us that are national site coordinators are around to help and provide guidance if folks decide they would like to serve somewhere in the States. It has been a great experience. I helped the coordinator from India conduct his interviews, had some great conversations, and just enjoyed the process.

Some phrases that make me smile....

"I like the mathiness of philosophy, and the philosophy of math."

"Oh, your parents are a Miami merger..."


I am "stuck" at Louisville Seminary for a week. The placement event ended this morning and now I am attending an additional meeting that doesn't start until really tomorrow. While reading the bulletin board (a habit wherever I go) I saw that Kelly Brown Douglas was giving a lecture here. I thought "wow, that is so cool." Then I looked at the date, "Oh crap, I will be here!!!!!" Kelly Brown Douglas is a theologian that we read in college that I have written about, analyzed, and even used her work liberally in my master's thesis. I love her!!!! And I get to meet her tonight. I am so excited, that doesn't even begin to cover how excited I am about this! I know having this reaction to a theologian makes me more than weird...but I have accepted that.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Board Games...

We sure do love our board games, we like old games like monopoly and RISK but we love playing these recent games like Settlers of Cataan and Carcassonne more and heres a cool article about the creators of those games


Thursday, March 26, 2009

A few things

I picked up Kristas cold so thank god for Sudafed....

We've been talking about how we want to design our new apartment coming soon, and while Krista has plenty of Chicago geek posters I don't have so many, looking to this as a chance to do some geek decorating I proposed we decorate on of the rooms in old movie posters. Amazingly Krista agreed! I went a googling for a poster I've always loved seeing at the woodfield mall movie theatre, it's a print of the original title of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi actually titled Revenge of the Jedi, original prints cost...$1000 looks like I can only find the reprints with the logo Return of the Jedi for $16 and not the one that says "revenge" but I think I'll keep looking theres no way I'd pay $1k for a poster!

Heres a pic of it:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.’” (C.S. Lewis)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

another quote

Do not be afraid to ask dumb questions. They are easier to handle than dumb mistakes.

- Unknown

Monday, March 23, 2009

Another quote

if life is a banquet, what am I doing at the Shoney’s salad bar?”
Karen Lee


Who I am really keeps surprising me.

- Nikki Giovanni

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Extreme Sheep Herding



Isn't that a "fun" word. Now I have my share of debt(just student loans) but most of my life my father and I have had issues because we have almost identical names(he's a Sr and I'm a Jr) and just last night I got a voice message saying that I was being "invited" to court for something this freaks Krista out as we have enough debt as it is(see theres that word again) and I give a call to them and as usual it's my father they are looking for. Of course they didn't look at my birthdate or SS #. I think they just did some kind of search for a phone number with my name on it and massed called all my names in the chicago area looking for him....all is good though and no more debt for me.

(oooh look at that 2 posts in a day for me)

Shoutouts to some blogs/websites

I look forward every morning to these great blogs

Not Always Right - a blog about bad customers in customer service, every day there are at least 3 great stories.

Cake Wrecks - Bad cakes that are usually misspelled or just poorly done, plus there are great cakes shown once a week.

This is why you're fat - Awesomely bad food that sounds delicious!

Lifehacker - a blog for various software, they always find interesting applications I never thought I needed

Thats all for now anyone else have interesting blogs?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

heard along Congress Parkway

Jim: doing dishes from the last week You know, when I cook I use a couple of pans and pots all week...lots of cups, dishes, but not hard stuff

Krista: You can start cooking then...

Jim: Ah no, that would be a waste of your talent.

Krista: Thanks

Jim: No, I am serious, your stuff is good, I just make dinner, you seem to invent dinner.

I didn't pay him to say that, and I know that he loves that I cook...just hates the dishes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Geeky Spouse Link

Jim showed me this story. Wow, glad to know others "suffer" (aka laugh at) this stuff too.

Click here for Annoying Geek Spouse traits

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Barbara Brown Taylor

"Here I am. This is the body-like-no-other that my life has shaped. I live here. This is my soul's address."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Quote of the Day

To swear off mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas. Leo Burnett

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Good will commerial

I am having a hard time with my clothing fast. I am away from home, and often to pass time in the evenings by shopping in the mall, or Borders, or Thrift stores. So I did that today - went to the mall. Boring if I can't shop for clothes. I walked around for awhile and came back to the hotel. This fast is really showing me how I might be able to spend my time in other ways that are more life-giving.

A funny spin on this is: a goodwill commerial came on the TV about a half hour ago.

A man dressed in a uniform explaining how to shop at goodwill. (He did well.) Then the tag line.

Find the very thing you weren't looking for.


Does anyone else remember Weekly Reader?

I have been thinking about Weekly Reader a lot lately. My passion, when I was a kid, was maps. I had them all over my room and as an earlier post attests my favorite show on PBS was Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego. I remember Weekly reader in general, but the only article I really remember is the one talking about "maps in cars". I remember being really excited and telling at least mom if not dad about cars would eventually have computers with maps on it. I still remember the article, so it most have been something really striking!

Well, I have been thinking of that article, because now I have a maps in MY car. GPS has become in the last month a cool gadget that I don't just think is something fun for Jim. I can live without it, I can't recommend it for everyone, but a weekly reader future report came about in my lifetime, in my car. A victory for education!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some reflections on lent

I made a commitment to not buy any clothes during lent, therefore I am worried about the Salvation Army's bottom line.

I have gone by exactly 5 Salvation Army's since Ash Wednesday, most likely all of them would have gotten some of my money. Today, we went by several more thrift stores, this is going to be a huge sacrifice! More than I thought....oh, I miss Unique, Village, Goodwill, and Salvation Army already.

Some thoughts on the last week

Last weekend, we headed to Valpo for a meeting even though Jim wasn't feeling that well. On Friday afternoon, I stopped by the University Chapel which I had always wanted to - I took pictures from my phone, which aren't good. So I found this website to show anyone who might have interest in some amazing stained glass. Here.

We also found a 5 lb resealable bag of sour patch kids - oh, joy. If you have still not found out about these wonders, that are better than chocolate, see here.

The week was filled with nights in and I cooked each night and loved it. I finally made a corn bread that has Jim's approval and is only 150 calories a serving. We liked it so much, I made it twice (Jim ate it in his lunch almost everyday).

1 c cornmeal
1 c flour
1/4 c white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 c 1% fat buttermilk
1 whole egg
1/4 c tub margarine

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Mix together cornmeal, flour, sugar, and baking powder.
3. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and egg. Beat lightly.
4. Slowly add buttermilk and egg mixture to dry ingredients.
5. Add margarine and mix by hand or mixer for 1 minute.
6. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes in an 8-by 8-inch, greased baking dish. Cool, cut into 10 squares.
Makes 10 servings.

I also hit it big with a new chili recipe that was based on a recipe I found in Women's Health with some major changes. I think a lot was added by my addition of the Sweet Red Pepper soup.

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion
1 tsp garlic
1 lb ground turkey breast
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans
oregano and red chile powder to taste
V8 red pepper soup - one carton

Saute onion and garlic with the oil. Then brown the turkey. Add the tomatoes, spices, beans, and the red pepper soup. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

This morning, I picked up some veggies from Growing Power - a Community Support Ag organization - we got sunflower sprouts (I love these), carrots, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a variety of fruit. I am excited to try to figure out what to make.

Today for lunch we headed to Starship. Jim gets a kick out of showing me around the suburbs like I show people around Chicago. This is a place that he just remembered recently that is all about homemade soup and star trek. It is a cute little diner, and we even had a coupon (thanks to Joan for giving us an Entertainment coupon book!. When I saw it, it seemed like something Jim and I would do. Jim coming to me, "I need to a new place for all my collections." "Well, I could make some soup to afford the rent on your storage area...," my response. We came home with 6 frozen soups to try and enjoy. We had beef barley and cream of broccoli today.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Quote of the Day

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.

- Edmund Burke

So true!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Meerkat Manor

Every night for the past 4 nights Krista and I have been addicted to this great Discovery show. The show is about a family of Meerkats that were studied for 10 years in Africa. They develop stories based on the everyday life of these cute animals, some of the stories are kinda cheesy but there is a voice over commenting on everything to do. It's tons of fun so check it out.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alex makes my day!

Thanks Alex for making me sing like I haven't in a very long.

My favorite show and computer game growing up was Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Check this out!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Leftover week

Living in a small house with a even smaller kitchen when you love to cook and collect cool new foods can be a problem. I declared a week of buying very little (after 4 weeks of not being home). We have had some great meals. (Notice I often say we in the following, Jim and I rarely shop without the other - it is a funny habit - we are both quality time folks so grocery shopping counts for that.)

Monday: Thai salad - using some of the rice noodles that we bought as an experiment - I bought a head of red leaf lettace, a cucumber, and bean sprouts for this meal. I used some pork that was in the freezer. (Jim had a free Subway sandwich for lunch.)

Tuesday: Carrot Soup and tuna salad sandwiches - bought nothing. Carrot soup is really great - chop an onion in a food processor, throw that in a pot with as much ginger as you want, and about 2 tsp of oil - cook for 2 minutes Food processor chop a bag of baby carrots (left over from last week's Jim shopping trip) Add to pot with 1 can of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Puree. Then add a bit of honey and salt.

I took a can of tuna, chopped up some lettace and cucumber and added about 1 tbsp of oil and vingar salad dressing. Toasted up some whole wheat bread and served it up!

Wednesday: I took 2 quarts beef broth (found several weeks ago at a dollar store for 79 cents a quart), added all the frozen veggies in our freezer - about 5 half bags (Jim uses them a lot when I am gone), added a can of tomatoes, some spices and the egg noodles I still had (about 1 cup). I served with some honey wheat pretzels.

Thursday: Plans are for the frozen fish and for some brown rice (trader joe's frozen). I need to figure out a veggie! We still have some cucumber and bean sprouts.

Friday will be out - as we head to MI!

Monday, February 9, 2009

For the alto's out there

I turned my post from late January into my start of a meeting for the DOOR staff meetings last week. As a part of it, I showed the following clip. I love this song, a group I was in from high school sang it - but I wasn't an alto then.

Alto's lament


Krista and Me where out and about a lot this weekend and ran into some human interactions that were weird.

On Saturday...

We were at a all you can eat sushi bar and a family (Mom, Dad, daughter) showed up next to our table the Wife definitely did not want to be there, she expressed this several times including:

something about the way the preparers touch the food...even though they were all wearing gloves

if they had a kids playground

In Schaumburg at the Woodfield mall, a short 5'6" or shorter balding man wearing flannel and thick glasses asked us if we knew where he could find a "hopping" bar was. We did not.

After we saw the movie "He's Just Not Into You" an older woman was waiting in-between the doors outside the theater asked us to take her to Denny's. Not knowing the area and my trust in humanity is low I declined and as we were leaving I had to turn around in the car and found the Denny's....which was 1/3rd of a block away from the theater.


We went to Five Guys which is an awesome hamburger and fries joint very similar to In-and-Out.
While in there there was a woman who first came up and complained that the music was too loud, then proceeded to complain that there weren't enough fries in her bag, we were waiting for our order when this all occurred and when we got our bag the bag was filled with fries, there was no way it wasn't like that for her because we watched her pull her cup of fries out of the bag and it was full...

On our way out of Five Guys we ran into a man that stopped us asking for money for the Green line to get home, he had been driving with a friend with a suspended license and admitted to was he was "rolling weed" and didn't have any cash to get home, slightly shocked by his truthfulness I used my monthly pass to let him on.

Strange interactions this weekend...always entertaining

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tech Support

This is a great story about bad tech support from a great comic - Scott Adams

Read On...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Some leadership thoughts

I was at the Lighthouse, a church I have mentioned before on this blog, on Saturday night. The last time I was there, I bought all the CDS, so this time I was able to sing along with most of the songs, even singing the harmony line. My day had been spent interviewing candidates for a position in our Miami program and so I was thinking about how I lead my staff. I am pretty sure that singing harmony is the best way to do that, and I hope that I do that.
I am a true soprano…I have been told many times. In voice lessons both in college and seminary, I was asked to “keep my range” of a soprano instead of sing alto. While writing my thesis of raising the prophetic voice in congregations and taking a voice class, I was challenged with the question – “Why are you afraid to be heard as a soprano? Why don’t you want the spotlight? What does this mean in light of your thesis?” In response, I was given a lead in a song that made me sing a high G all by my lonesome, by that same professor. I did it with a smile – might have actually been the highlight of my singing days.
While I liked the challenge on that song, whenever given the chance I sing Alto or a made up harmony line. I have been told that those who need a challenge in singing to the radio, everyday church hymns, or the standards like Happy Birthday often become the harmony singers of the world due to the challenge. I like providing this background noise, the layer that provides a new sense of the whole picture. The challenge is knowing that when I hit the wrong note, I can ruin even the melody. I am up for the challenge.
I have a staff of six or seven depending who is counting. They all have different styles, different gifts, different core values, different trainings and a different geographical location. They each have a core melody that is beautiful. They study the city they are in which provides some of the notes, their understanding of God that creates other notes, and their personality shapes other notes. Sometimes this is a solid melody, other times it can pretty nervous. However, it is a beautiful melody.
As a support and lead my staff, I come in as a backup singer would come into their superstar lead. I am not to be noticed by the public, just make the melody stronger. The commencement of the alto line makes the sopranos sing better and project more. I want my leadership influence to be background support, making the resources available, providing education, and providing cheerleading so each can have a stronger melody.
I used to attend a church that loved to sing 4 parts all the time. One Sunday I stopped and listened and couldn’t hear any soprano….I could hear a solid bass, tenor, and alto but no freaking soprano. I switched mid line, mid phrase. Without melody there is no reason for harmony. So, yes, occasionally I have to listen to my staff and my gut and switch to melody. Take the lead. Take charge of the situation just like taking charge of that high G. I am a true soprano, remember?
Hopefully, by providing a basic, supportive, and beautiful harmony line most of the time I can keep my staff resourced and supported. Maybe I can get so good that I can stop wondering if I can hit that high G!

Jim's favorite place to give money

In the midst of paying bills and reviewing our budget each month, I have one bright spot. Our give away money. My mom and dad used to make me give away 50 cents of my $1.50 allowance, and I still like the practice. I enjoy figuring out what places I want to give the money for the month other than our church. I have fun deciding, knowing that next month it will probably be different. Jim is usually hands off in the process partially because I do the budget and because I get so much joy from it. Several months ago he asked if we could add Child’s Play to the list. This month we gave them our giveaway money. As the causes we usually give to are my passions, Jim found this charity that provides video games and all the fixins to hospitals that have children’s wards. Jim was able to go to the website and find out a hospital in Wisconsin and which video game pieces they were missing and purchase them from Amazon and they go directly to the hospital. What a fun way to give!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

me and joslyn

I found this on my hard drive just now...I thought it was cute.

The Big Bang Theory

This is not about THE Big Bang Theory. Its about the CBS sit-com The Big Bang Theory. I have the first season with me while I am in LA - I laugh out loud each episode. It is based around Leonard and Shelton two physics researchers whose only friends are other researchers until a "normal" girl moves in next door.

I love Leonard - the guy who tries to live in the real world most of the time - realizing that his friends have gone a little overboard. But I also admire Shelton who is just so smart that social concerns just go over his head. The writing is terrific. You aren't going to get a message, and it does border on making fun of the geeks, but it still is a solid laughable show. A bonus: I see glimpses of both Jim and my dad in almost every episode.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Just finished a "marathon" run of updates to the website I I seem to always put it off till I have hours of work. Considering the fact that I didn't go to school for web design I think I do a pretty good job, of course opinions and critiques are valued. I've been managing it for over a year and a half and the initial design took me about a month

A Cool book and my thinking about it

I just finished “The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl” by Shauna Reid. Ms. Reid started a blog in 2001 to help her journal about losing weight, but though the process really touches on the emotional toll that overweight people sometimes have. I found myself in the pages as well as being challenged by thinking about two questions in particular.
1. How to talk about your weight loss plans with others?
I have read so many articles and heard so many people’s opinions about this particular topic. Some say “tell no one”. Some say “tell everyone”. What I find fascinating about Shauna’s story is that why people around her knew she was losing weight, they did not know about her blog that had an international following of its own. She wanted to keep that separate. That makes sense to me. In the last couple days I have been thinking hard (probably too hard) about this.
I have been back on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon for about 2.5 months now. I am an active member of (where I heard about Reid’s book). I track my food, my workouts, read way to many articles and obsess over all the meaningless points that they give for doing these tasks. I have become really good at doing this at home sort of in private. But in December, when I looked at my January schedule, I knew that all that could go out the window while I traveled. So, I made a decision to make it a priority to tell people when I arrived in a city that I wanted to watch what I was eating and that I would be making time to exercise. It was scary for two reasons. First, I truly don’t want to be a bother. I don’t want people to have to extra hard on my behalf. I want to fit in, go with the flow, be easy to host. People become concerned and sometimes stressed when trying to find a place with remotely healthy food that isn’t Subway. Second and more scary, people will be watching over my shoulder to see if I really do choose the healthy option and really do exercise. (Like when I ordered Green Chile for supper in Denver – oh, I miss green chile.) If I let people in, then they may see me fail. And that is the scariest thing for me ever.
Sparkpeople gives a blog to each of its members where I could have posted this long entry. Instead, I am working it out in the midst of my friends who read this blog (and linking it to my Sparkpeople one – hey I get a point for posting there – ah, stupid point system!). Many that know that I have tried this before, sometimes working, sometimes not. I hope this time it will stick.
2. How to think about it as a part of your life?
Reid’s amazing weight loss from over 300 lbs to a healthy 150-160 range took over 4 years. Her first stretch she worked on it constantly. It took over her life (she admits later in the journal). Later, with her social calendar updated, she took a slightly less formal approach to the whole thing.
I sometimes wonder if the first stretch it has to take up your life. Do you have to get on a roll? Now, I fight this. Heck, I have a life. Heck, I live in Chicago – a place where all kinds of food exist. Do I have to always cook to stay on track? (We went out for Vietnamese last week, and I was able to stay on track – but that is an exception.) Do I have to spend all my time tracking, making goals, trying to figure out my emotions behind food?
I think I liked Reid’s story because it was a long process. She took her time – having a life but taking a journey to a healthy place. It wasn’t the story of one year or even two – it was a process.
What do people think? Is it better to start out really focused? Or is it better to see the whole thing as a process? (I know everyone is different, but hey I would like opinions!)
And while I make fun of Sparkpeople’s points, I really do love what it offers- and for free! This is my plug for it –


We can not become what we need by remaining what we are. Max Dupree

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


It's never too late--in fiction or in life--to revise

- Nancy Thayer, author

Monday, January 5, 2009

Apartment life....

I was woken up this "morning" at 2 am by one of our neighbors who decides that whenever it is too hot or cold to loudly bang on our door whenever she feels like it whether it's 11 pm, 2am, or 6am then calls our landlord when we don't answer the door. We also got yelled at for someone else who drives through the neighbors parking area into our yard then called the cops and had the car that blocked his entrance even though he doesn't live in the other apartment to get the car blocking his exit towed. Our shower is falling apart and I just informed the landlord of this and hopefully she can fix it soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Chair!

I'm geek for old 1970's era chairs, the last one I purchased was off of craigslist for $15.  This time we randomly decided to go to a local Salvation Army that we've never been to and I found the chair below for a whopping $45 and donated my old chair to Krista's office because she likes my old one as much as I did.  Enjoy the pictures below


Friday, January 2, 2009

quote of the day

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department generally uses water.

This makes me laugh - it is so true!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year from a very cold Chicago

I came to my senses and didn't go to the polar bear swim partially because I saw this picture that we took a week ago at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

New Blue Shoes

Have you ever started looking at people’s feet wishing you could switch with them? I haven’t ever had that feeling with the intensity of last night. Let me take you there.

With plans to go to the swanky bar to ring in the new year, when I headed downtown to visit the Freedom Museum and the Cultural Center I dressed up complete with semi-comfortable heels instead of my more comfy dressy crocs. Once I arrived at Clark and Lake, I realized my choice of shoes might have been better thought out. My right big toe was already screaming, “What the heck were you thinking?”

I walked the 6 blocks to the Freedom Museum with my mind wondering if I would get kicked out of the museum if I walked around in my hose. Standing was not as painful so I was enjoying every do not walk red hand I was stopped by during my outside time, begging the cold to make my feet numb. It did not, for once, oblige.

As much as I like museums, I sometimes dislike the movies that usually set the stage for said museum. I watch the Freedom Museum’s twice – never mind I had my shoes off. (It was actually a pretty good movie.) Standing a lot, moving slowly – the museum was kind to my feet. And yet, I was drawn to look at the other guest’s feet wishing that those tennis shoes, those loafers could be my feet.

I then had planned to walk the 4 blocks to the Cultural Center, but boarded a bus instead. When I arrived at the Cultural Center to see a certain exhibit, I looked on the “What is happening today” board – and my feet learned that it was on the 4th floor. I headed up the stairs. My feet were screaming – “I am done.” I took my shoes off and walked the rest of the way with my hose. My feet were done, but better.

As I stared in the Chicago Tourism Store, my feet fought putting the constrictive heels back on, but they conceded when I made the decision to walk to a shoe store – so I could walk to Jim’s work and then to the swanky bar. It was approximately 4 blocks to the downtown Crocs store. I was walking so slow due to the pain that I got passed by a woman in a walker! People on their way to New Year’s Eve festivities actually knocked into me. So I got off the sidewalk proper to stay out of the way. I walked to the front of the state street Payless. As I pondered if I should go there instead – the lights went off. My feet wept.

My feet cried out to the Lord, “Please, O Lord, let the Crocs store still be open.”

The Lord answered the prayer. I decided that I would buy the cheapest shoes in the store. After looking at the sensible color of brown which did not come in my aching feet’s size, I found a bright teal alice that fit just fine that only cost 19.99.

I took the shoes to the counter. I paid. Then as the cashier reached for the bag, I said – wait, can I put my heels in there and where my new shoes out of the store? While they didn’t solve all the damage that my heels had done and they certainly didn’t match – my feet were relieved. We had a great night walking downtown!

Moral of the story: Always choose sensible shoes!