this weekend

Friday, May 29, 2009

What are you doing this weekend? Since all of our sports are over and neither of the kids is playing ball this summer (hooray!) we find ourselves with extra time in the evenings and weekends that we haven't had in years. As a matter of fact, last evening after work, the kids and I went out the the "farmette" (what my mom calls my dad's farm) and rode 4-wheelers, looked at the newly dug out and dammed pond, and reclined on the blanket and ate chicken. It was wonderful. I have vowed to spend more time out there this summer. But, on to this weekend:

  • volunteer at the state baseball tournament happening this weekend

  • hang out at the pool

  • go out to the farm, this time with my camera and more bud spray!

  • Send Carson with my dad to a car show

  • go to church (and relish in the new earlier summer service!)

  • throw a baby shower for a co-worker

  • volunteer at the state soccer cup which starts this weekend

Sound like fun? Hopefully I will have some photos to share on Monday! What are you doing this weekend?


While I was at the school library a few weeks ago, we were doing the manual inventory of all the books on all the shelves. During this process, the librarian was also "weeding." This weeding meant that we were pulling out old books and those that hadn't been checked out in years and years. Some of the books had not been checked out since I went to school there (27+ years ago!) Unfortunately, some really cool books were pulled. I understand that there are books that kids would never check out based on the story, or the condition of the book, or the "style" of the book, however, I jotted down the names of a few that I thought had really cool illustrations that I would have loved to taken with me. Also unfortunately, our district does not allow for books to be sold or given away. All of these books have to go to the district office to be taken out of circulation and "recycled." Whatever that means. Enjoy!
The Woman with the Eggs by Hans Christian Anderson,
adapted by Jan Wahl, illustrated by Ray Cruz

The Little Hen and the Giant by Maria Polushkin, illustrated by Yuri Salzman

And my favorite:
One Kitten for Kim by Adelaide Holl with illustrations by Don Madden
(Buy it here)

so here's the deal...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The kissing camels in Colorado Springs

I must apologize to Zdub. You see, I WAS in Colorado Springs, and I didn't get to her place, nor did I call her. Here are a few of the reasons why:

  • There were 4 families who went on our trip

  • We left Salina at 9:30 am on Friday morning

  • There were 8 adults and 11 kids...YES 19 of us!

  • Ages ranged from 1 year to 41 years

  • We all stayed in the same house

  • Actually, it was a duplex, but must have been 6000-7000 square feet

  • We ate so much steak, asparagus, baked potatoes and salad on Friday night that we didn't get the dessert out

  • Dads played golf on Saturday while moms took the kids to hike in The Garden of the Gods

  • The dads drank a little on the golf course...

  • The moms made dinner for everyone on Saturday night

  • Todd made the best bloody marys on Sunday morning. Really, the best we ever have had

  • Moms has massages and lunch on Sunday while the dads took the kids to Cave of the Winds

  • The 3-year old asked the tour guide where the dragons were at the cave, and her sister said that there were only the bones of the animals the dragons ate, and no dragons.

  • The dads made dinner for everyone (plus 4 more) on Sunday night

  • It drizzled/rained the entire time we were there

  • We left Colorado at 10am Monday morning

What a fabulous, fun filled weekend. We are so, so lucky to have the friends we do. All of the kids got along famously and with the age range of the kids, they all took care of each other. There wasn't even much sibling fighting. The adults could be upstairs and not even hear the children down. Isn't that the way vacation should be? This is the group of friends we will travel with for the rest of our lives. Life is good, and we are lucky.

great shots

Daisies, Sage blossom, and Allium.
Everything is so beautiful this time of the year.
Just wait until August when the photos are all of plants that are thirsty and!

equal time

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Because we are all about being fair in our house, here is a photo of me and Molly
at The Garden of the Gods in Colorado last weekend.
(Plus also, this is a much better photo of me!)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mom and the newest 9-year-old in our family!
Happy Birthday, Carson! I can't believe you will be in 4th grade next year!
(Please DON'T notice how large I look in this particular photo!)


Friday, May 22, 2009

We are off to Colorado for the long holiday weekend (and to celebrate Carson's birthday, ON Memorial Day this year), but I wanted to leave you with this quote from The Reader by Bernhard Schlink:

What is law? Is it what is on the books, or what is actually enacted and obeyed in society? Or is law what must be enacted and obeyed, whether or not it is on the books, if things are to go right?

hmmm, deep thoughts for the long weekend!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

I have always thought I should have gone to nursing school. It was one of those nagging thoughts I had while at school at KU, getting my business degree. I knew I needed to get that business degree, but I couldn't quite figure out where the nursing thing fit in.

After I graduated from KU, I was working for a company that paid heath insurance claims (see, at some level I knew that I needed to be in the health field). All of our clients were self-insured businesses. It was an interesting and exciting job. It was my first job out of college. I was making a name for myself and proving myself. While I was working there I went "back" to school to get my Master's degree; this time in Public Administration with my emphasis in Health Care Administration. Again, it was there, in this brain,

After I graduated, I went to work for an insurance broker as the operations manager for the part of their business that sold health insurance. While the job itself sucked, as well as the people I worked with, I learned very quickly that I really didn't like being on that particular side of the product. Sometimes all it takes is 2 weeks at a job to know for sure you don't want to be there.

When Todd and I moved to Topeka and got married, I took a job as the administrator of a Family Practice Residency Clinic. I needed to have a job in the same town I lived in (I was commuting to KC before that), and I loved the idea of running a clinic. What better way to marry the things I was educated in? I was in charge of all of the "business side" of the clinic. This included all of the office folks, front desk people, schedulers, etc. I took care of the A/P, payroll, computer systems and those who filed the claims. To put it plainly, I LOVED my job. However, there was still something nagging me.

All of those nurses and doctors (and the doctors-in-training) thought that I didn't know anything about running a clinic if I didn't have any "scientific" educational training. Every suggestion I made was construed as "reducing patient care"," or"eliminating patient contact." Needless to say, I was a patient too. I TOTALLY understood those things. It was my job to try to reconcile the two so that we were performing the right services on the right people as efficiently as possible. Now I could see EXACTLY why I needed to go to nursing school. If I had gotten any sort of nursing degree (regardless if I had practiced nursing or not) I would have been highly respected and my suggestions and policies would have been much more widely accepted. Ugh. 30 years old, first child on the way, and I finally knew why I had this nagging feeling about nursing school.

I applied and was the second choice (first loser) for the Department Head for the Mental Health Department at the only hospital here in Salina. Oh well. It turned out that I wasn't disappointed, mostly because of all of the politics involved and other things about the hospital here. Plus also, I wouldn't have the awesome job I have now, and would never have gotten to know my bosses.

Don't ask me why I felt the need to tell you all of this, my fingers just started typing it when I was originally going to tell you about how much of a nurse I had to be the other night for my family. That will have to come in another post.

>>image from nurseynicole's flickr photostream

nature's way

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Isn't it cool that nature puts little hearts everywhere? We just have to look for them! This is a radish leaf in my garden. It was taken last week, so it is probably twice as big now!

runner's high

Monday, May 18, 2009

It happened again tonight...that rare event known to some as runner's high. I knew it was going to be a good run within the first few steps, but wow, it turned out to be great! The giant 1/3 mile hill early in my route didn't slow me a bit. I had to slow myself down on the downhills. My breathing was regular, not labored, and my legs were strong. I could have gone forever, but alas, it was a 3-mile night and I didn't get started until 9pm.

When I started to slow a bit, I remembered my technique (I follow Chi Running techniques) and drew my shoulders back and hips forward, and right back to speed I went. My core muscles carried my weight and and absorbed the pounding, and the music was just right tonight.

Since I haven't started formal training for THE triathlon, I have been running some and resting some and biking a little. Last week I did a 10-mile ride at the club and then got on the treadmill. My legs felt like jelly, but I ran 1/2 mile after the ride. I have to work up to 10 miles on the bike then a 2.6 mile run. Then there is the swimming...oh the swimming!

Soon you will see a new tracker on the side of the blog, when I start the official training for September's triathlon.
>>high runners, rather than runner's high, from Martinjones Flickr photostream.


Friday, May 15, 2009

:: if you are in the club room talking really loudly on your bluetooth headset thingy about the $155 million sale of your business you are really annoying.

:: do you chuckle a little when you go into the airport bathroom and hear someone sit down on the toilet has a huge expulsion of gas? I know it's childish, but I do.

:: if you finish your book in the club room (and have packed your kindle in your luggage) and have to go the the airport bookstore, don't count on being able to get the book for the hermit book club.

:: cheese and crackers and beer for dinner in the club room kinda sucks

:: every chair in this whole place is occupied at this time, there are people wandering around looking for seats.

:: someone who HAS to be famous just came in all dressed in black and with long black hair and dark glasses. He is being followed by some type of bodyguard person who is rolling his luggage behind him. The famous person is old.

at the airport

photo from petervanallen's flickr photostream

this week of travel has done me in:

  • left town at 4:30 am on Wednesday to catch the 7am flight...ick. The reason we did this was so we could leave early this morning and get home around 1pm and have the afternoon to ourselves.

  • We usually fly thru Atlanta to Jacksonville, FL. When I travel with my boss, he likes to go thru Memphis since there often are delays if we go thru Atlanta. Today we went thru Memphis

  • On our flight this morning (which left Jacksonville at 6:30am) there was a medical emergency. A guy lost consciousness, and had to be given oxygen. We had to make an emergency landing in Montgomery, AL. 643 firemen got on the airplane to check out this dude who was back to normal by the time we landed. We were initially told that we would have to all de-plane and make other travel arrangements as they couldn't fly without the full oxygen bottle. As I was on the cell phone with the booking agent (while we were still on board the plane on the tarmac), she tells me that we are indeed going to take off again and fly on to Memphis. Hooray!

  • We land in Memphis with 35 minutes to spare before our next flight leaves (our original layover was 2 hours), and are told that there is a traffic jam and we have to drive around the airport until we can get to our gate. 30 minutes later we park at the gate.

  • We get off our plane and find out that the plane that just left our gate was the one we were SUPPOSED TO BE ON! We missed the connection!

  • We stand in line and rebook. The next flight to Wichita is at 2:55, and it is full, but we are on standby. We are booked on the 7:55pm flight to Wichita.

  • We go into the Delta Crown Room for Bloody Marys and bagels for breakfast (plus also a small nap).

  • We go to the gate to see about the stand-by situation. It doesn't look hopeful. They tell us that the flight is now delayed due to mechanical problems.

  • They then tell us that the gate has changed to another terminal. We walk all the way to the other gate, fully prepared to NOT get on the flight.

  • It is indeed full, and we have to wait.

  • We eat BBQ in the airport with out $10 vouchers from NWA.

  • We return to the Delta Crown room for another 4 hours. We have moved on to cookies and dirty martinis (for my boss) and wine for me.

  • We should arrive in our town by 11:30PM tonight. Sheesh!

ps, there is a girl here behind me who thinks she should be French. She is dressed all in black with a beret on her head. The guy she is with is in his scrubs. He is traveling in his scrubs. He is so showing off that he is a doctor or something Like there isn't time to change your clothes? You are in the Club Room and all...


Monday, May 11, 2009

Blooming poppy, right outside my front door this morning
I might be getting better with my camera


My 20-18 birthday was on Saturday. What a fabulous day it was! My mom, my mother-in-law and my work-mom all went to Wichita to shop for garden plants. We do this every year together, and this year was no let down! We had a blast, and as you can see, we filled the van with plants and pots galore!

When I got home, the kids were excited to show me my birthday present from them!
Here is the view from my present, can you guess what they got me?


Friday, May 8, 2009

My new friend CC over at sunshine lovin' tagged me a while back, and no, I have not been ignoring it, but a little thing called life just got in the way for a bit! Here's the rules:

1. Mention the person who tagged she is: go visit her and cheer on her running like you did for me!

2. List 6 unimportant things that make you happy...coming right up!

3. Tag 6 blogs & notify them with a teeny comment on their blog....I tag all of you! Play along and have fun!

6 "unimportant" things that make me quite happy:

A cold Diet Coke from McDonald's

image from john-pittsburgh's flickr photostream

my dog, Emmy, sleeping

Matthew McConaughey

image from here

Runner's World Magazine in my mailbox

image from haronovich's flickr photostream

Blooming Alliums

Photo from Ian1947's Flickr Photostream


spring is when I get jealous

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It is 71 degrees and sunny outside right now. I just came back from a meeting and a quick stop at Taco John's for a taco bravo and potato oles (I love me some oles). I do not want to be at the office. I do not want to be at my desk. I do not want to be looking at my computer screen.

Days like today make me wish for 2 things:
  • First, that I never went outside in the first place (that way I didn't know how nice of a day I missed).
  • Second that I didn't have to work. I suppose I don't HAVE to work in the sense of money (or maybe I do, we have just never considered it), but I do HAVE to work for sake of my own sanity. I made a terrible stay at home mom. I was "between opportunities" for about 6 months after Carson was born, and I stayed at home with him. It sucked. Me with no adult conversation makes for a really bad wife, mother and all around person.

Days like today make me jealous of "lunching ladies." They make me jealous of those moms who are able to run their kiddos around to all of their various activities all day long. Days like today make me jealous of folks who are out working in their gardens and enjoying iced tea from a sweating glass during a break (it's really humid here in Kansas). Give me 2 weeks, and I won't be jealous any longer. It will be 600 degrees and no one will want to step foot outside, much less eat anything...other that watermelon while standing in front of the fridge with the door open.

That's all for today, thanks for reading!

where we cook entire meals on our new grill

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beet photo from Darwin Bell's Flickr photostream

On Friday, we got a new grill. Not just any new grill, mind you, but a Traeger. If you don't know about Traegers, go here to read up. I had some other ideas for where to spend that $600, but I was over-ruled. Actually, I wasn't even asked, but that's a whole other post. And after you read what's coming next, you wouldn't argue either.

In order to inaugurate said new grill, we had a few people over on Friday evening for meat. We cooked/smoked a beef brisket. OMG was it good. I mean really good. After we served the meat course, I remembered I had some fresh asparagus left in the fridge from last week's event, so I doused it in evoo (I hate Rachel Ray, for the record, but didn't want to type out the whole 4 words) and salt and pepper, and we roasted that on the new grill. We stood around the bar and ate it with our fingers after it came off the was that good. Finally, after the vegetable course, we had dessert. How, you might ask, did we do dessert on the grill? Well, I had stuff for strawberry shortcake (real whipping cream and all) and wanted to make the Bisquick shortbread. I got it all mixed up and ready to put in the oven to bake, but when I opened the oven, smoke came pouring out. Yes, I admit, my oven was so dirty that smoke was actually pouring out of it. So, we baked that shortcake on the 'ole grill too. Damn, it was good. Guests who insisted on not having dessert were begging for some after they saw everyone else. Too bad, I didn't take any photos for you.

I know you might not even believe this, but last night we again cooked our entire meal on the Traeger. We started out with beer can came out so golden brown and moist. I stood at the counter peeling hunks of the skin off and eating it before it even came off the beer can. I also had some leftover fresh beets from last week's event to use up. I remembered hearing about some recipe for butter and garlic roasted beets, so I made up something similar. I sliced up the beets (I didn't even know I was supposed to peel them first) salted and peppered them, and added evoo. I also sliced up several cloves of garlic (the more, the merrier, right?) and threw them in there. Todd roasted them on the Traeger, and my god were they delicious. To make things even better, I whipped up a loaf of fresh bread from this book and we cooked it on the grill too. Really...what is better than roasted chicken, beets and warm fresh bread?
Maybe the only thing would be beef brisket, asparagus and shortcake...

on throwing a party

Friday, May 1, 2009

You may remember that on Friday night of this weekend past, Todd and I were the chair people for an annual fundraising event for our Local Art Center. Our community is so fortunate to have a facility like this. The Art Center is affiliated with a small cinema (which gets the real movies that the local 'big box' theatre doesn't think they will make any money on...think Brokeback Mountain and The Wrestler). The Art Center has also built The Warehouse which is a great space with an apartment for artists-in-residence to work and live in. It is a wonderful space for working, gathering and partying.
Anyhoo, this year Todd and I were asked to chair the first year of a new party, WarehouseLIVE, benefiting the various programs at the Art Center. The band was Disco Dick and the Mirror Balls, and naturally, the theme was DISCO! Both Todd and I headed up 2 committees. Mine were Raffle/Sign-Up-Parties and Logistics and Todd's were Fun and Sponsorship. Our goal was to raise $25,000. I thought you might be interested in seeing what we did to raise money...

Raffle Items:
We raffled off 4 really cool "techie" items. With Julochka's help, we came up with these ideas: A Kindle (2nd generation even...donated by an avid reader who loves hers), An ipod touch (donated by my mama), a netbook, and a FLIP camera. We raised cash donations to pay for the netbook and the FLIP.

Raffle #2 was for 2 Saturday night tickets to Wicked, which opens in Omaha, NE at the Orpheum on May 6th (the tickets were donated by a committee member). The package came with hotel accommodations at The Magnolia Hotel (donated by the hotel) and brunch for 2 at Vivace (again, donated by the restaurant). Another committee member also purchased the Wicked soundtrack CD and the souvenir book for the winner to take with them that evening.

Raffle #3 was a trip for 2 for 4 days and 3 nights to Napa...yes Napa. A frequent business flyer donated his miles for the airline tickets, and another who has many Mariott points donated them for the hotel stay at the Sonoma Resort. Marriott does a cool thing for charities: they allow you to convert your points into a gift certificate (at little or no charge) in order to donate it to the charity. The airlines are not as easy to work with, but if you have someone who has a lot of points, they can just book your flight directly with no additional fees.

Raffle #4 was for 4 bottles of scotch. I know they were good ones, but sadly, I know nothing about that particular kind of alcohol. If you are curious about them, email me and I will ask my spouse.Raffle #5 was for food. Not just any food, but 3 winners get food made by wonderful local cooks during 4 different months. There were things like Francie's home made cherry pie, Wendy's coconut creme pie, and Tom's chicken green chili soup, and home made bread. MMMMM.

The next items were all "sign-up parties." If you don't know, this is a party that has a set price per person to attend. Hosts and themes are acquired before the event, and both help to get people to "sign-up" for the party.
Sign-up party #1 was called a Cocktail Crawl. It was $65 per person for 32 people. Attendees will be split into 4 groups and will rotate to the 4 host's fabulous homes for a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres. An antique firetruck will take guests from one place to another. This party sold out, and even has a waiting list!

Sign Up Party #2 was the Band Blast. For $45 per person (100 people can attend) you get to listen to a great local band, and eat pizza and drink beer! How great of a deal is that?

The third sign up party was $150 per person for 8 people. It was a locavore dinner hosted by my boss, his wife and one of their sons and his wife. They are FABULOUS and experimental (and willing) cooks. I thought it would be fun for them to cook a meal (served on their amazing deck) made only of local items. The meal is in July, so there will be all sorts of wonderful fruits and veggies for them to cook with. We also have several local, organic dairies and beef farms nearby, so it should be fun! This party sold out in a flash...which is good as I was a little worried at $150 per person.

The last sign-up party was a Costume Ball. This party is AWESOME! The hosts will rent full costumes for all 50 guests. For $100 per person, you will get a costume, drinks and food, and can dance the night away as an alter-ego. How great is that? Someone to take your measurements, bring you your costume and provide you with drinks and music and food...that is MY kind of party!

As you can see, we made up little vignettes for each thing to give the WarehouseLIVE guests a feel for each give-away and party. This is a really long post, and if you are interested in more, let me know. I am happy to share any and all ideas with you. Some day I will tell you about the food we was a hoot!