Thursday, October 30, 2008

game face

We kicked butt in volleyball tonight (okay, actually we won best out of three, and they were all close games). I think we won because of our intimidating game faces. Since we knew the other team, we thought we'd come looking like this...brace yourselves...

We had our good friends Amos and Julie & Company over for dinner on Tuesday. They have four awesome kids who are some of the most respectful and creative and fun people I have ever met. We're wondering how you raise kids to be as sweet as they are (and four of them at that!), so we decided that if we ever have kids, we'll just give them to Amos and Julie until they're 18. :) The dinner menu was tricky because Julie is allergic to beef, dairy, and garlic (three things that are usually heavily represented in our normal diet), but armed with my favorite Taste of Home cookbook, I was up to the challenge. I had some salmon steaks to use up, and since I had heard they all love seafood, I found this salmon recipe to try (had to substitute with soymilk though). I wasn't sure about the mix of ingredients (brown sugar, seasoning salt, pepper, pecans...), but it turned out to be pleasantly tasty. It's quick and easy, so give it a try sometime.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

today i...

* stood up for myself when I felt I wasn't getting a fair shake from a business peer
* went on a long walk before dinner with my hubs and my dog
* took some photos of the leaves outside
* received a kind letter from a friend
* scolded Sajak for treeing Jack, the orange cat who lives in our barn (naughty dog)
* moved a tall, heavy file cabinet all by myself
* made eggs, toast, and sausages for supper

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I am...

* still up at 12:40am
* tired of school
* hoping the feeling comes back in the tip of my right index finger
* lovin' my dog
* feeling melancholy
* tired of election campaigns
* looking for a good salmon recipe for tomorrow night (tonight)

...but that's just me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

gotta try it

Yet another great thing about autumn...

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I talked to Jonathan's grandma on the phone yesterday, and she said he's doing very well. In fact, she said he got all dressed up for school the other day to receive an award from his teachers for being a student that is thoughtful of his fellow classmates. I can just picture him standing up there accepting the award, with his toothless grin (probably not so toothless anymore, but that's how I remember him), so proud to be recognized by his peers. I started to cry after hanging up the phone. It is bittersweet that he doesn't need us anymore.

While looking back at photos of him while he was here, I found this one of these two peas in a pod, in a tent on a camping trip (in the living room)...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

no use crying over spilled coffee

What is one to do when one spills coffee down the front of one's shirt in between two meetings, with no time to run home and change? I know better than to try and walk and drink coffee at the same time. Truly I do. I've tried it before, and it never works out. But for some reason yesterday I thought that I had magically become more coordinated overnight and could take the risk. Big mistake. At least it wasn't a white shirt I was wearing, but that almost made it worse. Without the brown color a white fabric would have revealed, it was as if I was leaking some mysterious fluid from my sternum. I tried to hide behind my laptop screen as best I could, but I'm sure I wasn't fooling anyone. Thankfully the second deposition was fairly short, and I hightailed it out of there. There was a request to expedite the transcript so I rushed home to get it sent out to be proofread before rushing to our small group last night. No time for supper. No time to change shirts (but at least it was dry by then).

From the unfortunate couple whose house exploded and sent them flying through the air and then deposited them on their bed with pieces of their home landing on top of them, to the emotional rollercoaster of a deponent with a past so laden with sad baggage that when recounting the events of said past it made her curl into a ball and scream "get me out of here," my job has been filled with interesting depositions lately, to say the least. It's a job that I enjoy, one that challenges me, and one that gives me a great amount of flexibility.

And yet sometimes I wonder if I'm doing anything of lasting value.

My sister is a nurse, touching lives every day. My other sister is a mom, shaping little lives every day. My brother is an activities director at a nursing home, brightening the lives of widows and the elderly every day. They are the objects of my admiration. The fact that I must remain an objective party on the job limits me to anything more than a working relationship with the plaintiffs, defendants, or the attorneys involved, reducing my ability to have an impact on their lives. This is why I feel most fulfilled on the rare occasion that my work involves CART writing for deaf people. At least then I feel like I'm making a difference. Rather than capturing a legal proceeding, I'm helping them hear the world, hear their physician's diagnosis or their teacher's lecture. At least then I can build a relationship with them, be their friend, offer some kind words when they receive bad news from the doctor.

But anyway, forgive my ramblings. I am grateful for my job. And due to its flexibility, I was able to take a couple days off and make a trip to Iowa last week to visit my sister Carrie and help her with some things. In just 2.5 days (and in between pillow fights and hide-and-go-seek with my niece and nephew) we gave her bedroom, the kitchen, and the living room a makeover. I didn't take any before pictures and very few after pictures, but I did get a photo of one of my favorite things we did. We took this old buffet out of her garage (that she got at an auction for $20), painted it red, put the broken door back on, antiqued the edges and the hardware...and voila. Love it. I wanted to bring it home with me, but she wouldn't let me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

couch facelift

We had a long week and an exhausting weekend. I collapsed on Sunday afternoon and didn't wake up until 5pm, at which time I scrambled to get my homework done and turned in online. I finished it just an hour and a half shy of the midnight deadline. This morning I woke up all congested and puttered around the house all day, trying to recuperate, drinking lots of tea and juice, not getting much of anything done. This evening we went to Grady and Allison's house, our new Canadian friends who just moved here from Germany, and celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with them and another couple. The dinner resembled an American Thanksgiving, with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie, the whole works. We had a grand time, despite my drippy nose.

This week looks to be much calmer than last and a lot slower at work, so I have some plans in the works to get started on a few projects at home:

1} lay out plans for tile mosaic above the kitchen sink
2} clean out fridge
3} make a quick trip to my sister's in Iowa to visit and help decorate their master bedroom
4} start sewing slipcovers for our couch pillows

The old couch in need of a little color...

The fabric for couch makeover...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

my afternoon espresso

...and chocolate chip cookies

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

fall foliage

Another perfect sunny day. I had two jobs this morning in Roch. The first one didn't start until ten o'clock, so I didn't have to rush around this morning, and the last one was finished up by one o'clock. I came home and had some pasta and a banana and caught up on paying bills, returning phone calls and emails, collecting the mail and the chicken's eggs, and checking homework assignments. Now I'm eyeing the hammock through the window and thinking about taking a book out there, but I'm sure my left-brainedness will win out and I'll end up tackling some of the transcripts on my desk instead.

Yesterday I drove to Wabasha for a job. It was rainy and slightly foggy, and all the autumn colors were brilliant. I almost decided not to post these photos that I pulled over and took alongside the road, because they don't even begin to do it justice.

The deposition was held at an old worn-out brick building owned by Wabasha County, a structure that was charming but needed tons of TLC. The conference room was in the basement; the carpet was probably born before I was, and orange and stained; the coffee was awful and stale; the lounge "chairs" were actually old rust-colored bench seats from a van; and the witness was duller than a butter knife. It took all the strength I could muster to not fall asleep during the two-hour interrogation of the engineer about highway signage laws. Thankfully the three attorneys engaged in a bit of heated discussion every once in a while that was entertaining enough to keep me from giving in to my sleep deprivation. That evening I beat Winn home and sacked out on the couch until he arrived twenty minutes later. We made homemade tortillas for supper, and then Winn used the leftover dough to make sopapillas for dessert. They. Were. Fabulous. And we went to bed early.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

catching up

Winn made blueberry pancakes for breakfast again this morning (we're sure loving that store of blueberries in the freezer and are dreading the day it comes to an end), and after a couple tractor rides and some tire-swinging, my sister and her kids headed back home to Iowa. It's quiet around here without Cate and Joel. I miss them already. We went to the apple orchard while they were here, and I got another huge bag of apples (this time of the Lustre Elstar variety) to make more applesauce, pie, crisp, or whatever else we get a hankering for. We also admired the pumpkin patch, bought some caramel apples for a treat, and the kids conquered the hay bale maze.

After our company left, I mowed the lawn and got started on a stack of homework that's due by tomorrow night, and Winn began the process of tearing the lean-to off the barn and getting things ready to re-roof it before winter (due to the windstorm mishap earlier this summer).

The other night after volleyball (we have yet another victorious game under our belt--go Culver's!), Winn and I had dinner with our Ewing friends. They have an apple press that Kevin made, so we made our own apple cider to drink with the meal. Here's Ben and his muscles...

The neighbors have started combining, and it's been fun to watch them out in the field through the new window in my home office...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

nieces and nephews are cool

My sister wanted to get some autumn photos of her kids, and with such cute subjects and a farm to traipse around on, we had no trouble getting some fun (although amature) shots of them yesterday. I didn't post our favorites because Carrie wants to use those for her Christmas card pics.

We've had a fun week. Cate and Joel always want to help make breakfast. We had pastries on Tuesday, blueberry pancakes yesterday, and eggs and bacon today. They've fed the chickens, collected eggs, and dropped a carton full of them, breaking all but two. :) Winn hung up a tire swing for them. He also enlisted their help picking up wood scraps and taking them to the burn pile, promising a wheelbarrow ride in return. They ask every day if they can ride the tractor, and every night they ask me to read a bedtime story to them. They are too cute. Today we're headed to the apple orchard, the fabric store, and the bank. Joel says he wants to pick six apples at the orchard and carry them in his shirt. :)