Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sarah and I are going on a picnic...

and we're taking:

beer bong
farfignugen (spelling?)
gas grill
hula hoop
june bugs
open toed shoes
Righteous Brothers
tube top
yellow sweater (Sarah's)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

L.A. In A Day

Chad flew into Santa Ana on Friday afternoon where I met him and rented a car. We drove back to Corona for the evening, but not after sitting in traffic on Interstate 91.

Once we made it back to the hotel, we went and sat out by the pool for about an hour to enjoy the sun and warm weather. By then it was about 4 and the sun was being lost to the shade of the buildings in the courtyard, so we headed back to the room, changed and headed to Honolulu Harry's for some Mai Tai's on the patio. The waiter was super impressed when Chad told him we were from Minnesota. He kept saying "That is Sooo cool that you're from Minnesota" We really suspect that he doesn't get out much... it's not like we're Aliens! Deciding that we shouldn't just eat appetizer's for dinner, we headed back to the hotel, and then next door for some Mexican Food at Miguel's. YUMMM. It was excellent, but I couldn't even eat half of my quesadilla after the wings and chips and salsa. That was about it for our night, as we wanted to get an early start on the morning and Chad was still on Central time!

Saturday morning, we were up early for breakfast and our drive to L.A. Chad also was on a mission to find a Starbuck's before the tour. Luckily he had me, and I can spot those green signs anywhere, even on the outskirts of Little Tokyo, around Union Station where we met the tour.

Our tour guide was a little man who drove 6 of us around in a big van. The others included a young couple from Switzerland who were touring California in a Rented camper, and a couple from South England (who had forgotten it was the Queen's 80th birthday) as they had been on "holiday" since late January.

Our first stop was in a Mexican market not far from Union Station. It was interesting to see. L.A. is not all glitz and glam, but many happy people dancing in a square, and it wasn't really touristy. My guess is our stop was convenient as it was near the start of our tour.

We then headed to the Hollywood Hills. Our tour guide pointed out many buildings along the way that were used in filming various movies, like the elevators from "In The Line of Fire" and some Die Hard scenes. We drove up to a view point where we got a good view of the Hollywood sign and also the Hollywood Bowl. Of course, Chad and I had all kinds of references to the show "90210". (i.e. The time the "Gang" covered the Hollywood sign when they graduated high school. And that Kelly Taylor had her 21st birthday party at the Hollywood Bowl)

After the Hollywood Hills, we headed down to Hollywood to see the Walk of the Stars. We walked up and down several blocks, without seeing if Hall and Oates had a star. (We will have to research more next time) But we did manage to see Ryan Seacrest's and Aaron Spelling's (another tribute to 90210) and many many more! The Kodak Theatre is also right down there, so we got to see where the red carpet would be rolled out for Oscar night.

After downtown Hollywood, we got to drive through some residential areas of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, although we did not see "Casa de Walsh" (sorry.. had to put in another 90210 reference) , we did see "Camp Cruise" where the papparozzi were camped outside of Tom Cruise's house hoping to glimpse his new TomKitten. We also saw about 6 of Paris Hilton's red and yellow Ferrari's lined up in her driveway. Also we drove by Sylvester Stallone's house, Matthew Perry's apartment and many more.

Next was Rodeo drive. We walked pretty quickly up the drive as we only had 20 minute stop and we were on the lookout for a Starbucks. Again I spotted the green! Also it's just not something Chad and I are both interested in, so not a big deal. They were doing some filming on the street, but we didn't see any stars or anything.

After Rodeo Drive, we headed over to the Farmer's Market for lunch. It's not a traditional Farmer's Market like we saw in Seattle, but there were a lot of lunch stands. Also a newer shopping area just off of it where there was a Grand Opening for the All American Girl store... So we saw lots of girls walking around with their matching dolls.

After a French Dip Sandwich and an Ice Cream Cone, I was pooped and we still had the Dodger's game! But with a couple hours to kill before the game.

After our tour guide dropped us off, we scoped out where the stadium was and then thanks to Chad's phone we found a quiet sports bar, where I recharged with some Diet Coke's and a few games of Solitaire on Chad's phone, while he watched basketball and the Twins. Yes the Twins were on, because the waitier was a transplant from the South Side of Chicago, so he was watching the White Sox. After killing about an hour, we headed back to Dodger Stadium.

Chad did some great negotiating and we got seats on field level right behind Home Plate for under face value. After we found our section we headed off to the Pro Shop, because neither of us had headed to L.A. prepared for 60 degree weather that morning! Our seats were great! We could even see Tommy Lasorta from our seats when they presented an award to him during the pre-game without looking at the JumboTron.

The game was pretty good, the Diamondbacks bounced out to an early lead, and even though the Dodger's rallied later in the game it wasn't enough. But it was fun, I got to eat a Dodger's Dog, some great Nachos, and see a great stadium. There is something about sitting outside for baseball. I think if Minnesota could build a stadium like that I would want to go to a game every chance I could. Maybe not in April, but a stadium like Milwaukee with a retractable roof would be so ideal!

After the game we headed to LAX where I dropped Chad off for his red eye flight and I headed back to Corona, where I now know I am on Pacific Time, because I slept in!!

After getting up, I headed to the exercise room where I ran "a 10K" on the treadmill. Back in my room, I ate a little, showered and headed out to explore what "Savi Ranch" was at a nearby exit on the interstate.. It was just a shopping/business center, not a "Ranch" I had suspected so much, but I still wanted to find out. But I stopped at Best Buy and picked up Season 1 of Gray's Anatomy, and at Kohl's for a birthday card. On my way back to the hotel, I stopped at In 'N Out Burger for lunch, the drive-thru had an incredible wait, and had I known it would take that long, I would have gone inside and not wasted the $3+ per gallon gas in the car! (We saw Regular Unleaded as high as $3.73 yesterday! Although around here it is $3.09)

Back in my room, I watched Episode 1 from my DVD and then took a short nap. I'm off to watch Episode 2, and check to see if my friend Kim has called...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

American Idol Contestants

If you've watched past seasons and are watching the current season of American Idol, you will find this "background" of the current contestants interesting!

Sunshine and Palm Trees

I'm out in Riverside, CA this week for work. I will be here the next 4 weeks working, plus spending a little time trying to absorb as much sunshine as I can!!

The weather is beautiful! It's been in the high 70s - low 80s the whole time with lots of sunshine! Even though I'm in the office most of the day I do try to sit by a window!!

The location we are at is a great store/office. It's very updated and everyone is really helpful and friendly and excited about learning the new software.

My hotel is great too. I am in a suite as I will be staying the first 2 weekends. They have a great breakfast each morning and a happy hour with drinks and appetizers each night. Although last night we went to a restaurant Honolulu Harry's where we took in the happy hour appetizer and drink specials. Can't beat a Mai Tai for $3!!

The hotel also has a couple nice fitness centers, so I've run a couple times. Yesterday I ran 10K (on the treadmill) before work. Unfortunately I don't think the area around our hotel will be conducive to running outside, but I will try and do a little more investigating this weekend, because 6 miles on a treadmill gets boring quickly! At least at the 'Y' there is some people watching to do!

The time change has also pulled a number on me. Hard to believe that I was watching the 10th inning of the Twins game (they were on local TV, as they were playing the Angels) before Prime Time even started! Another strange thing.. seeing Paul Magers on the news again!! His hair seems darker in LA!

I will try and take pictures this weekend when I am out sight seeing and at the beach! And at the Dodger's game... because of course, if there is a baseball game in a nearby stadium Chad wants to go!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Race For The Cure

It's Spring!! Even though I'm enjoying Spring on the West Coast right now, I am still going to be home to do the Race For the Cure with my mom (a 5 1/2 year survivor!) and am raising money for this very important cause and I'm asking you to help by making a contribution! I would really like to raise $500. Remember your donation is tax deductible, and if you have a corporate match from your job that will count too! You can use the link in this email to donate online quickly & securely. You will receive email confirmation of your donation and I will be notified as soon as you make your donation. I thank you in advance for your support, and really appreciate your generosity!!

As you know this is a cause that affects so many people, and every year I know more and more people who are affected, so everything we can do to help fund this cause hopefully, the sooner we'll find a cure!Please forward this email to as many people as you can to encourage them to donate as well!

Also if you wish to walk with my mom and I, we would love to have you join us! You can sign up at

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Weekend

It's been a crazy weekend. Well not crazy, but busy, but enjoyable!

I took Thursday off to run errands, including a dentist appointment. I felt it was pretty productive and relaxing at the same time, so a successful day off!

Friday I worked. Friday night, Chad and I went to dinner at Spectator's in Savage. Of course the patio was full, so we sat inside (apparently on the edge of non-smoking, because we both reeked when we got home). Since we didn't have any Netflix at home, we stopped at the RedBox on the way home and rented Brokeback Mountain. What a great way to rent movies! We did enjoy the movie. Not sure what I thought about it. It was somewhat slow. I think it was just overhyped in my mind, so I was expecting to be blown away. And it was the subject that made it a "great" movie. But I'm still glad I saw it.

Saturday morning, I got up and folded all the laundry I did on Thursday and worked on a couple skirts I am sewing. One is finished, but packed in my suitcase along with my camera, so you won't get pictures yet. My parents got here mid-afternoon. We went out to a Mexican Restaurant for dinner. And then we came home and watched Best In Show, as my parents enjoyed A Mighty Wind, but hadn't seen this yet.

Today we got up and went to church. Pastor Paul had a great message again, and I think my parents were really impressed by him. After church, we came back here to pack up and go to my Aunt Marlene's for Easter dinner in Darwin. My two cousins were there with their kids, and my other Aunt and Uncle too. It was a nice meal and fun to see everyone. Mike and Melanie and family were not able to make it as Katelyn was sick most of last night.

Once we got home, I ran a few more loads of laundry and packed my suitcase (and duffel bag) as full of clothes that I could. Leaving for 3 weeks is much tougher. I did not pack in "outfits" as much as I just packed A LOT! I'm hoping to only have to do laundry once while I am in California. It was also tough, because I haven't worn spring/summer clothes for awhile, so it's hard to know what I will want to wear. And shoes?? I love sandals, and hopefully will get to wear them a lot, but also need running shoes and other comfortable shoes for when we're out and about doing tourist stuff on the weekends...

Katelyn (and family) called me tonight though to wish us a Happy Easter. Katelyn is a bit of a talker and likes to share everything and it all comes out really fast and run together, so she was telling me how she saw Grandpa and Grandma A and that the Easter Bunny hid eggs at Grandma L's house too and that Mommy had a baby in her tummy! A wonderful surprise and exciting news! And now that I know, my mom won't have to keep the secret very long!! :)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Star Struck

So I am not what you might consider "star struck". I just don't spend much time keeping up on who's who of Hollywood. I hear names. I know they're actors or actresses... a lot of time I can't put a face with a name or even a movie with a name. What I learn is often in a waiting room somewhere when People is easy to pick up. So when I got "A Walk To Remember" in the mail (Netflix), I knew who Mandy Moore was and I had heard of Shane West, but I was pleasantly surprised shortly into the movie that Shane West was the cute doctor from ER. So now I have a whole new appreciation for cute Dr Ray on ER, not that I didn't appreciate him after the last episode when he admitted to having feelings for Neela!

Stand Up - Part 2

Yesterday was Part 2 of Oprah's School's in Crisis shows. Another great show with shocking statistics. Yesterday she focused a lot on what impact schools have on their communities.

Here are some of the shocking statistics:

80% of prisoners in America do not have a high school diploma.
If that doesn't say something about the value of an education, I don't know what does.

In the state of California, they spend $34,000 per year on prisoners (that does not include education or costs of "bettering" their lives and positions)
Also in the state of California, they spend $10,000 per year on students!

In the city of San Francisco, 75% of their prisoners have come from 4 or 5 high schools in the San Francisco area. They call them "Feeder Schools"

600,000 prisoners a year in America are released back into society. They are coming out of prisons where there are no expectations or attempts at rehabilitating them and most have just spent time learning how to be a better criminal, learning from the best (other prisoners)

In East LA and South LA, they have not built a new high school in 30 years!!! They have schools that were built for 1800 students that now serve 5000. They are areas that serve mainly low income and lot of "non-White" communities.

I just think that by not building schools, kids are learning that they are they aren't worth it, and not much is really expected from them. It's sad...

I'd have more facts for you, but it's tough to try and remember so many of them. So check out Oprah's website and if you want to read more... I don't want to bore you, but I want to share this information because it floored this midwestern girl!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stand Up

I watched Oprah today. And she was right in the previews.. I was shocked!

Today's show (and tomorrow's) is about the crisis the U.S. School systems are in. It's crazy. The inequity between school districts. And the drop out rate. One Third of students will not graduate! What??? I would never have guessed that. I know that I went to a good high school, but I didn't know anyone in high school who dropped out. The pregnant girls went to night school, and I thought that they dropped out, but they were there at graduation!

Where does the problem lie?? Why are students so apathetic? Why are parents indifferent to these choices?? It just seems that there are NO expectations and no accountability. I can't even imagine. I did not even know I had a choice to drop out of school. It just wasn't an option. Getting 'C's wasn't an option, let a lone dropping out.

She had clips from an interview with Bill and Melinda Gates who have put together the Stand Up campaign. Be careful if you go to this website that you have time, because if you're like I am you will get sucked into the kids profiles. It's so sad! and devastating!

And the crappy schools they were showing in Washington DC and Chicago. I can't believe that is legal. It doesn't conform to Brown vs. Board of Education. I don't know how we can claim that schools are equal when schools are funded off of property values. There is no way that Minneapolis schools will ever come close to Shoreview or Maple Grove or other afluent suburbs.

I'm really so fortunate that I was raised with high expectations.

P.S. Time magazine also has an article this week. Looking forward to reading that too!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Crockpot French Dip

Not a new recipe, but one of our favorites. And it is so easy, so it's great when you're having company or a good sized group! It's easy to double too! I also often throw some chopped onions in for a little onion flavor.

Crockpot French Dip
From Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Makes 12 servings
Ideal slow cooker 4 or 5 qt

2 # beef top round roast, trimmed
3 cups water
1 cup light soy sauce
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
3 whole peppercorns

1. Place roast in slow cooker. Add water, soy sauce, and seasonings.
2. Cover. Cook on high 5-6 hours. (I've also done low for 10-12 hours)
3. Remove meat from broth. Thinly slice or shred. Keep warm.
4. Strain broth and skim off fat. Pour broth into small cups for dipping.
5. Serve beef on rolls.

Lazy Blogger

Oh, I've been a lazy blogger, I know!

And it's not like I've been just been sitting around watching re-runs of 90210... although I've done that a little! Just busy, I guess!

Last week, work was super busy, just a lot I'm trying to get done, before I head off to California next week. We'll see. Today was better. My priorities were shaken up a bit, in a helpful way!

Friday night, I met Chad over at Southdale. We had dinner at Maggiano's.. yummm... We were good, and just split a 1/2 of an appetizer, a 1/2 of a salad and a whole entree. Then we headed over to Pottery Barn where we got a new rug and drapes for our living room... When I bought the red couch I was looking at chocolate brown as the accent color... This changed to green when I found this rug and drapes in this pretty lichen green color.

We also checked out coffee tables at Room & Board... nothing blew us away there though. We then came home and watched North Country, which is a good movie.

Saturday, I got up early, and took my car into Sears for an oil change. And then I ran home about 3.8 miles. My first outdoor run. It went good. I'm excited to get outside running more. I was a little sore on Sunday, as there is a little different motion used when running outside vs. the treadmill.

After I got home, my brother came over with Drew and Kate to install the ceiling fan that they gave us for our birthdays last fall. We did not have any ceiling light in our bedroom, nor did we know what the switch on the wall was for. He got that wired for us, and the fan/light installed. Although we still don't have a working switch, as the light/fan stays on when the switch is up or down! Oh well, it's awesome having a ceiling light and fan!!

Sunday, Chad and I cleaned. And then his family came over. His brother and dad came over early afternoon to use our vice to re-grip their golf clubs and watch the Masters. His mom and Kim and Jana came over after Jana's nap for dinner and catch-up. I made French Dip in the crockpot. A very yummy recipe, that I probably found before I started this blog, so I will post it in a little bit. The easiest crockpot recipe! And soooo delicious!

Today it was back to work. Now I'm starting to think about getting ready for California and what I need to do before I leave. Luckily, I got my luggage back from JanSport. It was new in February and broke in March when Chad took it to Texas. I had to pay to ship it back, but they shipped me a new one and it was back in less than 2 weeks. Can't complain about that!

well off to French Dip leftovers and a 90210 re-run.. Maybe a little sewing project too! :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Looking for your Refund???

Wondering why it took 2 days to get your State Tax Return back, but you're still waiting on the Federal Return. Check this website out to find out when to expect it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Reality TV" Bites

Oh yes, I'm still a fan of reality TV shows... at least some of them... But man, I don't know how many seasons of Survivor that I've watched where these people are in alliances with people who they don't stand a chance with, and they never realize until it's too late!!! Grr... drives me nuts!

And American Idol??!!! What is going on??! I mean I don't know if Mandisa should have won it all, but whoa!!! does anyone notice that Bucky is still in it!??? And did anyone understand him on Tuesday when he was singing? I mean Kenny Rogers told him to enunciate, but I still couldn't understand him most of the time... I hope he is not the Scott Savol of this season... I was happy to see Elliott safe. I really like him. I liked Mandisa too, but she'll do alright without the competition.. it's just so messed up.

That's all I have to say about that! Time for The Office!!!!!

Ultimate Chicken Fingers

Since Chad came home 2 days early from Superior last night, I didn't really have much on hand, but this morning I pulled some chicken from the freezer, and after thawing the chicken tonight, I tried this recipe which I found on the back of the Bisquick box... but can also be found here. They were really good. Even looked like this picture!

Ultimate Chicken Fingers
2/3 cup Bisquick Reduced Fat mix

1/2 cup grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese (I didn't have reduced-fat)
1/2 teaspoon salt or garlic salt (I used garlic salt... yummm... garlic!)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 cup fat-free egg product (I used 1 egg beaten)
3 tablespoons 40% vegetable oil spread, melted (I skipped this step... I didn't read carefully enough)

1. Heat oven to 450°F. Line cookie sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. (I used a stone, so no foil)
2. In 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag, stir together Bisquick® mix, cheese, salt and paprika. Dip half the chicken strips into egg product; place in bag of Bisquick mixture. Seal bag; shake to coat. Place chicken on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drizzle vegetable oil spread over chicken.
3. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, turning after 6 minutes with pancake turner, until no longer pink in center.


Working out in the a.m. also makes me hungry. I've already eaten my whole lunch, and I'm still feeling hungry... I'm going to have to plan on a trip to the vending machine later. I can't remember the last time I had a Snickers bar... probably a few years since I've had a full sized one for sure.. Those Halloween Snack sizes don't count!


Running or working out before work always seems like such a good idea, until I sit down at my desk to start work, and then I get so sleepy!

I am training for the Soldier Field 10 Mile in Chicago with Karin on Memorial Day weekend. Right now I'm up to around 5 miles... Hopefully my time in California will give me some good weather to train in!

I think it's time for coffee.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Grey's Anatomy

Yummy, Chris O'Donnell made a brief appearance on Grey's Anatomy tonight, and looks like he will be on upcoming episodes as well!!!

And they played the "Bowl Game". I thought that originated at camp!

Things I Learned This Weekend

1. I need to make time and plan more fun things with friends!

On Thursday, I had dinner out with my friend Kathy, who I haven't seen since I left Oracle. Although she keeps up with me here at my blog, it was great to catch up with her!

Friday, Lisa and her sister Krista came over. Steph wasn't feeling well, so she missed a fun night. I made a homemade pizza and we had played a card game. It was just great low-key, but FUN night in with girls!

2. The game Wizard is fun.

Thanks to Lisa and Krista for introducing me!

3. I can run further than I always thought on a treadmill.

I ran 5 miles on the treadmill on Saturday. I originally set the treadmill to go for 40 min, but increased it by a minute at the end until I reached 50.

4. Running 5 miles is exhausting!

I took 2 naps on Saturday

5. Ann Taylor Loft has cute stuff.

OK, I knew this before, but it was just re-emphasized when I went to the mall on Saturday. I had permission, because Chad was at a Fantasy Baseball draft all day. It's so nice that my 4 favorite stores at Burnsville Center (ATL, Gap, Fields, and Eddie Bauer) are all right by one entrance.

6. Basketball is getting old.

We went to the Romes last night to watch the basketball games. I was rooting for George Mason, and after they lost, I didn't care... Not that I was really that interested in the first place... but it's fun to get together with the Romes and Chad's friends.

7. "Springing Ahead" sucks.

Again, I knew this, but you always forget how much it stinks.

8. Contemporary Church Services keep you singing all afternoon.

I've been singing "Here I Am to Worship" all afternoon. And everytime we hear it, Chad says "Jane sang this at Kyra's wedding". I wonder if he remembers what Jane sang at our wedding.

9. Bats make hissing noises when they feel threatened.

Last night when we came home, we heard a hissing noise from the crawl space above in the garage. We thought maybe a bat, so I did some "googling" earlier today, and yes, Bats make hissing noises.. Now we have to figure out how to get rid of it.

10. Pottery Barn always has cute stuff.

Again, I knew this, but was reminded today. I usually just peruse Pottery Barn through the catalog, but today I went in to see if colors matched our furniture... Good news, they do!! So hopefully we'll be getting drapes and maybe a rug soon! Just have to paint...

11. That I never have enough time to do all the things I want to do in a weekend, but again... this is nothing new!

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

Chad's parents came over for dinner tonight. I made my yummy crockpot beef stroganoff recipe and a Peach and Blueberry Cobbler for dinner! The recipe came straight from my Betty Crocker cookbook, but can also be found here. It calls for fresh peaches and/or blueberries, but I used frozen. Originally I was going to just make peach, but since I had blueberries in the freezer added those in too. Easy quick dessert! Also, I think this was the first time I used my pastry blender.

Peach - Blueberry Cobbler

1/2 cup sugar (I used Splenda)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups peaches
1/2 - 3/4 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar (again Splenda)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup milk

1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in peaches, blueberries and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole; keep fruit mixture hot in oven.
3. Mix flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, the baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk. Drop dough by 6 spoonfuls onto hot fruit mixture.
4. Bake uncovered 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm. Top with whipped cream.