Friday, March 30, 2012

Who's your Daddy?

3-30-12 questioning brain

Are you the type of person who fears Socialism or Fascism? Do you think the government has too much power? or Do you think corporations and their money have too much power?

I find that I tend to agree with this Letter to the Editor writer in the paper yesterday.

Last week or so I listened to an enlightening NPR show.
"Why Nations Fail" is about a new study looking at this question of failing nations....  the wealth of a nation is tied most closely to how much the average person shares in the overall growth of the economy-  Whether it’s ancient Rome or Venice or China or the United States of America right now.

If you have time, this is a good listen!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog

3-28-12 tardy brain
It's pretty sad that I've been too busy to even get a GUEST blog posted today on time, sorry Ann. ~Judy

Getting’ Out of the Funk
Message to Peas (aka Judy), makes me sad when you’re in a funk. If there’s a lot to do, why not hire a neighbor kid or a handyman to get the outdoor work done so you can enjoy your time in Beaverdale? Before you say “I can’t afford it” you know you can. Think about it cause the Peace Sisters are selfish and we want you in Beaverdale.

Me, well I’m too busy with work, yard stuff and thinking about Dad to stay in a funk. My good friend Joan said “what will you do with yourself when work gets back to normal? Maybe go on VACATION!
March has come to an end, daffodils are almost done blooming, my phlox are ready to bloom and I see tulips blooming everywhere. I wonder what’s going to happen in Pella with the Tulip Festival set for May 3rd.

I closed out March by attending the NCAA Women’s Regional’s at Wells Fargo on Saturday and Monday. I went with a heavy heart, blue hair on Saturday and something green on Monday. I was very lucky to see Coach Pat Summit and the Lady Vols win on Saturday (played Kansas) and then Baylor over GA Tech. Here’s a pic of Coach Summit. She was on the floor the entire two games, however, her assistant did most of the “floor coaching”.

And when you talk about Baylor, not only an undefeated season, but Brittney Griner is “da-bomb”. She’s 6’9” tall, lanky, she can dribble, shoot, block and yes she can DUNK the ball. What a show she put on Saturday. Can’t say enough about the double header and we had great seats (bought on Craigslist).

Then on Monday, headed over to the arena for the 6 pm tipoff, Tennessee vs Baylor. The game was exciting, a lot of up and down, back and forth, a lot of block shots by Britney Griner and let me tell you, both teams had short guards (5’3”) but they were great, a lot of hustle. At about the 2 minute marker, there was a little “in your face” tugging and then two players come off the Baylor bench (Griner). Well I guess that’s a no no in basketball, so all four Baylor players were ejected. It didn’t matter, Baylor was up by 20.

Bonus of the tournament, the cheer team and the band were absolutely wonderful. You know how much I love a marching band and I left with this in my head “good old rocky top, rocky top Tennessee”.

What a great way to spend my time, get out of my funk and as they say, press on!

Chat Later,
That Girl, Ann Marie

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Summary

3-27-12 exhausted brain

I am looking and feeling old and tired…. After working in the yard and around the house all weekend, I felt like I’d probably be wise just to “give it all up”….. I felt like I should just retire, sell the DM house, and take the easy road of living with Greg down in KC.

I know it was the “exhaustion” talking, as is the usual case come springtime….. and spring has come very early this year. Over the weekend I was doing many tasks which I probably don’t usually do until May 1st….

I did have a bit of anxiety trying to complete all the spring chores I wanted to get done, since I will only have this one weekend in MD in the middle of this 7 week stretch…. But then I thought- go ahead Judy and just take some vacation time to deal with everything as you need to…. OK maybe, But then work is pretty intense now too with my boss retiring next week. BUT I’ll make it somehow.

Here are the pictures from March 2012 with our 70 to 80 degree temperatures.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday's report

3-19-12 lazy brain
I'm back to DM now after spending my week in KC. I had a very productive week at work while in KC.... but  I also felt in a way like I was on spring break in Florida. The weather was so warm, 80's most days and we had the winds opened day and night.

I'm aware that DM also had unseasonably warm temperatures too and when I arrived home Sunday afternoon my daffodils looked wonderful. However, the tress here in DM where not as far along as the trees in KC.

I have a lot I could write about my week in KC, but I'm feeling pretty lazy as far as blogging goes. Sorry.

Here are some pictures taken on Saturday when Molly and I went walking for 1.5 hours at the Overland Park Arboretum.

Also to keep everyone up to speed- I can't remember if I made it clear: the kitten I was babysitting, then fostered, now Greg and I have adopted her into our family. This week she goes to the Vet for "the works". Cleopatra is good at traveling in the car so far. We'll see if it continues after the trip to the Vet.

Tonight is the opening show for Dancing with the Stars this season, so the viewing party is at my house tonight. Plus we will be celebrating Sue's birthday. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog

3-14-12 vacant brain
Ann is blessed to have many different  friends...... and we that know Ann are blessed. ~Judy

Dessert Showdown With The Rat Pack
Like peas n’ carrots, the peace sisters, I have another group of girlfriends called the “rat pack”. No certain reason behind the name but it’s kinda funny how we all met on the DrakeSmart 2009 Europe Trip, London to Nice. Three years going, we work hard at keeping our friendship alive.  Here’s a picture of the pack in Nice: Susan, Donna, Leah, and sisters Angela and Shelley.

Like I said, keeping the friendship alive is easier said than done. So last week, we planned a Saturday afternoon lunch at casa de Anhalt. The lunch came with a twist and something I’ve always wanted to do, a cooking showdown. Two of us will bake a dessert and I incorporated the dish into the lunch. To be healthy, Susan gave us a demonstration of “how to cut a pineapple, Laoaition style” Here’s a picture of the end product.

Susan cut out the eyes in a spiral motion then salted it and washed the salt off. This brings out the sweetness in the pineapple. Simply sweet, just like Susan.
Back to dessert showdown, Donna agreed to prepare a 15 minute dessert (does not include baking). All the ingredients were measured ahead of time. Donna made a turtle chocolate cake: pouring ½ of the cake mix in the pan, bake for 15 minutes, then top off with caramel, nuts and chocolate chip and pour the rest of the mix then bake for another 15 minutes. I chose to bake the old standby, apple pie. Here’s a picture of the finished desserts.

So who won? Well I got mines prepared under 15 minutes and Donna won for best tasting. My pie was a bit runny, however both desserts were yummy and free of calories. That went well with French onion soup, chicken salad sandwiches, pineapple/strawberries/grapes.
It was a fun afternoon, nice to eat and catch up with what’s going on in our lives. The Rat Pack, we are a busy bunch of ladies. As a parting gift, all got to pick a pair of mittens. They absolutely loved them.

And wouldn’t you know it, I  have a picture of the original Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and Dean Martin.

Happy Spring and have a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day everyone.
Chat Later,
That Girl, Ann Marie

Monday, March 12, 2012

New life all around me

Weekend trip to KC was a bit more interesting this time. I had a travel companion...... a kitten, whom I was potentially taking down to live on Molly's farm. If you remember in January when Greg got his new car, I was thinking I wanted a new kitten to keep me company in Des Moines. Well- I did talk myself out it this.... that was...... until this weekend.

This kitten belonged to my neighbor's daughter who is living in a studio apartment with a friend.... but it wasn't working out all that well. Molly said she would take a new cat, but when this kitten turned out to be a real sweetheart, traveled very well in the car.... and she won over Greg and I within a day.... and currently the kitten is working on winning over our adult cat Clover.... we decided to keep the kitten for now and see if we can all be one happy family. The kitten would be a traveling cat with me- "split in two"... if she can handle it.

We named the kitten Cleopatra, or "Cleoh" for short...... it could be "Cleo"..... but Greg said a short name for Cleveland Ohio is C-L-E  O-H..... I decided the spelling would be Cleoh to honor Greg's Ohio roots. Cleoh follows Clover like a shadow..... which doesn't always make Clover a happy cat, but she has begun to warm up to the kitten a bit.

Spring is showing itself in KC big time this week. We had nice rain on Sunday and with temps in the 70's today.... things are blooming.

What I am enjoying the most this week- is listening to all the birds. My ears LOVE the sound of spring. The robins, cardinals and many more are singing morning, noon and evening.
Life is good with me this week!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog

3-7-12 happy brain
I'm glad Ann is admitting to her "madness"! Being self-aware is the first step.... but I shouldn't judge- I've got a room full of peace art ~judy 

March Madness With A Heavy Heart

Over the last 10 years, I’ve always looked forward to March for my annual DrakeSmart Europe Trip. Pre-planning my work for a 2.5 weeks absence started in December and by the time March rolled around, I am exhausted by the time I step on the plane.  Sad to say, this chapter has ended, work and financial recourses has ended my annual journey. The pre-planning and the trip is truly “madness”.

With the retirement of my good friend Joan, I will be working 10 hour days for the next two months. Last week we packed up 25 boxes of materials for the Des Moines office. I tried my best to mark the boxes, but in a hurry I’m sure it will be a while before I find that one folder, that one document and Joan’s “book of instructions”. To get a jumpstart, I worked on Sunday to un pack, sort and find a new home for all the materials. Yep, another example of March Madness.

This weekend I showed off my mittens and sweatshop to my friends and all they could say was “unbelievable”. When I look at the mittens and the mound of sweaters, I wonder if I am a bit “mad”, haha.

If I don’t watch my P’s and Q’s, my new obsession of shopping at the Salvation Army and Goodwill may drive me to the mad house, something may Dad would say. I was proud of myself that I only picked up 2 sweaters this weekend. Other things that I’m smitten with is picture frames and dishes -
Pfaltzgraff, corning, pyrex and corelle.  I’ve found an array of picture frames and for no good reason, frames with black n’ white photos makes me sad. I just don’t understand how someone can just give away a picture of their parents or grandparents. I found two photos taken in the 40’s or 50’s. If I find enough of these, I’ll make a room out of black and white photos. Yep, odd and a bit mad.

Last but not least, March Madness is meant for NCAA basketball. I do love watching the tournament, always rooting for the underdog. Last year, UNI knocked off a high ranked team and over the years, Iowa, Iowa State and the Drake Bulldogs have done well. But the madness extends to women’s basketball. This year, Des Moines is hosting the Regional Tournament on March 24th and 26th. Oh how my Dad would of loved going to the tournament. Well, since I’m mad already, I’ll be going to the 2-day tournament in memory of Dad. March Madness with a heavy heart.

Chat Later
That Girl, Ann Marie

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring Forward :(

3-6-12 spring brain

I decided to "spring forward" this week…. Just to get the agony over. I just hate moving the clock ahead so early in March- just went I am naturally waking up before the alarm. I couldn't believe it was 46 degrees this morning when I opened the door to get the paper.

Yesterday I discovered my first Tulip coming up. The daffodils are at least up 5 inches now. This isn’t the first time for early flowers. I had noted on my perpetual birthday calendar that back in 2000 I had flowers up this early also.

I’ve already sold two large Peace Art at the coffee shop, so last night I was busy framing more while I watch TV.  Also a gal at church wants to buy two small Peaces after she saw my Peace Art I donated to a silent auction the Senior High group had.

I think it is suppose to be another windy day today, but I hope to get out walking at lunch since the temperature will be in the 60’s. I’ve slacked off a bit on my walking since last week was colder and windy.

Yesterday I was SO HAPPY, I had a wonderful day at work. The software I use to access the medical charts, finally – after a year of being slow and misbehaving…. Actually functioned normal…. Making work a pleasure once again. This was BIG news for me and a few of my co-workers. I pray the problem has been solved, since this has put us behind schedule.

Tonight I’d going to a small gathering of neighbors to discuss politics  with a lady who is running locally for an Iowa House seat in the fall. I’ve visited with her once already when she can door to door…. And found out she had bought one of my Peace Art from the Iowa Acupuncture Clinic. Already right there- we have so much in common!

That’s my world today.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekend Report

3-5-12 summarizing brain
I tried to set up a fun weekend for Greg and I as we celebrated his birthday.
Friday night was a wonderful dinner out at the Flying Mango. Saturday morning we had breakfast at Chefs and met a Mini Cooper friend there, Roger. Greg and Roger where busy discussing the National Mini Cooper cross-country drive (New York to California) and the route goes through Des Moines on July 9th. The Mini Cooper Club in Iowa is brainstorming ideas to entertain hundreds of Mini's who will be spending that night in Des Moines.

While they were still discussing, I left to go hang my Peace Art down at my neighbor's coffee shop in the East Village- call "The Village Bean". This is a very cool place, and my Peace Art looked great on the walls- but hard to photograph well.

I'm very excited to have my art get new exposure in this part of the city.

Saturday night was dinner with friends Ann and Roy, and we went to a concert down at the Hoyt Sherman Theater- the band was Tower of Power, a group popular in the 70's..... they have a great horn section. The concert was awesome and the band, even though they have been together for 43 years, never sounded better! We were dancing in our seats.

Sunday, was pretty much a usual day with early church, and brunch over at Chefs before Greg headed back to KC. I spent some time in my art room in the afternoon, and did some reading while laying on the living room couch.... unfortunately, I turned on the TV and came upon a Monkees' marathon.... and watch way too many episodes.

Ann- aka: "that girl" stopped by, for a visit, since she had been downtown in her office working Sunday afternoon. I fed her left over beef stew chili and made a fresh loaf of cornbread. Then after a few more Monkee's episodes..... I headed for a hot bath and bed.

That's life in Iowa in early March..... Sunday we had light snow in the air, but nothing was sticking to the ground. This week we are expecting 50's to 60's!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Old treasures ?

3-2-12 questioning brain

Along with Davy Jones pictures...... Also in the old box in the basement I found these on Wednesday.
I'm wondering if old comics could be worth some $$$ now?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm a believer and a daydream believer too!

3-1-12 remembering brain

Yesterday afternoon I took time off work for our tax appointment....  and I was out early, so I was checking Facebook and I discovered my friend had posted that Davy Jones of the Monkees had died at age 66.
I was sad to hear that since I was a HUGE Monkee's fan back in the late 60's.... and as most girls I knew- we LOVED Davy the best.

I had every album of the Monkees, and in fact, I decorated my room with posters of the Monkee's from the teen magazines (Tiger Beat, SPEC and 16) I would read. I knew I still had some saved in the basement, and I went looking in an old box.

Please ignore my hair, which has been in pig-tails this week. I need a hair cut for sure.

Now you have to admit Davy Jones was every so CUTE!

I'm so glad Davy didn't died today..... today is Greg's Birthday and I wouldn't want that memory to be mixed with the happy day of Greg's Birthday.

Here was the first Birthday I spend with Greg in 1991. Greg is ever so CUTE too! Greg is my own personal "Davy Jones"......  "I'm a believer"