Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's For Breakfast? Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Pecans

Yesterday I had a craving for Coffee Cake and I was in the mood to bake so I pulled together a few Coffee Cake recipes and here is what resulted.

For Cake
1/2 cup soften butter
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups sour cream or vanilla yogurt

For Filling/Topping
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter, chopped into small pieces

In a large bowl (or using the kitchen aid) cream together the butter, applesauce, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1 cup white sugar until fluffy.

Add vanilla to the sugar mix.

Add eggs, one at time.  If you are using the Kitchen Aid, just add one at a time.  If mixing by hand, add an egg, stir, repeat for until all four eggs are incorporated.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add about a fourth of the flour mix to the sugar mix.  Then add about a fourth of the sour cream (or vanilla yogurt) to the sugar mix.  Repeat until all the flour and sour cream have been added to the mix.

To make the topping/filling, combine the pecans, cinnamon, brown sugar, and cold butter in a dish.

In a greased 9x13 inch cake pan or a bundt cake pan, spread about 1/3 of the cake mix, then top with 1/3 of the pecan mix.  Repeat two more times.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes.

Doesn't that look delicious?  It has a nice nutty and cinnamon flavor and crumbles a bit when you stab it with your fork.  Make this Friday morning so you have a nice Coffee Cake to wake up to on New Years Day!


I posted a printable version on You can like to it here. Feel free to review on this post or on!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's For Dinner? Italian Pork Roast - with Pictures!

I posted this recipe last year without pictures so I am reposting it now since I remembered to take a couple of pictures this time.

This is a very yummy roast that is fairly simple to make and doesn't take much time.  I highly suggest you give it a try very soon.
2 1/2 to 3 pound Pork Roast
2 tbsp Rosemary - I prefer fresh but dry works as well
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp butter
1small onion
1/4 cup olive oil

Heat oven to 350.

Finely chop rosemary and garlic together.

Make 8 to 10 deep cuts in the roast - about 2 inches apart

Insert small amounts of garlic and rosemary mix in the cuts

Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Melt butter in shallow roasting pan

Place the onion slices on the melted butter

Put pork in pan and drizzle with oil

Roast uncovered 50 to 60 minutes until the internal temp is 155 degrees. If the roast has a bone in it, plan an additional 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and tent with foil. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes until the internal temp is 160 degrees.


Doesn't that look fantastic?

YUM! Enjoy!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The 12 Days Of Christmas - Maybe A Few More...

In true fashion, we got out as much as possible leading up to the holidays.  Since I didn't want to post about Christmas all the way into March, here is one big summary post!

Our first holiday outing was to the Stages Theater in Hopkins to see Junie B. Jones, Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, and PS, So Does May.  It was very well done and funny.  And our company fantastic!  These girls have been like cousins since they were babies.
After the play, the girls got their Playbills signed by the cast.  This is May, the girl who is always getting Junie B in trouble.

The cast was so very friendly.  Mr. Stinky even posed with our little ladies!
And, of course, Junie B, herself!  I hope this becomes a yearly tradition!

Heidi also finished another session of skating lessons.  She really is better than me and is starting to gain on her dad!  She is looking forward to starting Hockey next winter.

Shawn and Heidi made this awesome lawnmower out of Fiddlestix.  It was a huge hit with the kids at our Dessert Party that weekend.

I find it very difficult to visit with everyone during our parties and I almost always completely forget to take pictures.  I need to work on that!

The Second Annual Dessert Party was a total blast even though the weather was not great.  Lots of people turned out and even more food.  I hope everyone had as much fun as we did!

We picked out our Christmas tree.  Heidi has a knack for finding a perfect tree. 

We cleared and played in epic amounts of Autumn snow, which is something this family loves.

We discontinued Daisy's Chemo Therapy after a bad reaction that took almost three weeks for her to recover from.  She went from laying around like this...
to running around and playing like this.  We know we made the right decision!

Heidi danced in her classes holiday show.  She takes it very seriously!

The class learned two ballet and two tap dances for the Holiday show.  They all did a great job!

What a cute class!

Pig got in his required amount of sleep, and then some!  Unlike the rest of the family, Pig does not like the snow.

Every year, we take in the Macy's display with Pam, Hunter, and Pat.  Now that Macy's owns that store, it's is the same display but the kids seem to take in different things each year.  I wonder what deep topic they are discussing...

This is the first year Heidi and Hunter visited Santa without one of them crying or refusing to sit on his lap.  They were happy to personally tell him what they wanted.

And they followed the personal plea up with a written letter.
The grown ups enjoy a little shopping after the display. And the kids do their best to entertain themselves.  And us!

Finally, we dressed Heidi up like this and went to the Holidazzle Parade because our friends were on the Wizard of Oz float.  It was a nice night to be outside, as long as you kept your hat and mittens on.

The Holidazzle Parade is after dark so everyone and every float is adorned with lights.  The parade it's self is about 20 minutes and the atmosphere is so fun everyone forgets how cold they are.

I hope you all take some time over the holidays to just relax and enjoy your family.  No matter what winter holiday you celebrate, remembering your family and loved ones is what this time of year is all about.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh, Christmas Tree

The Friday after Thanksgiving we ran up to the place that sells trees right at the edge of our old neighborhood.  Since it was so early in the season, there were so many to pick from.

It was a bit chilly out but nothing ski jackets and hats wouldn't solve.  We spent a good twenty minutes walking through the rows of trees, searching out the perfect one for our living room.

Heidi picked a beautiful, full tree that was even on all sides.  Good job, Heidi!

It is amazing to me what she remembers and forgets from year to year.  She said she didn't remember the tree store but as soon as we walked into the building to pay, she asked for a candy cane.  So, she clearly remembered that part!
The tree guy and Shawn loaded our tree into the back of the van.  A tree that fits perfectly in the back of the van fits perfectly in our living room.  How convenient!

We got home and Pete jumped right into the van to approve the tree.  Last year, he climbed the tree daily.  We have a very good tree stand, thankfully!  He would climb the trunk and sit in the branches!
Heidi was so excited to have the tree in the house.  But we could not decorate it until it thawed out for at least 24 hours.  The branches needed to relax a bit and the tree needed to go back to it's pre-hauling form.

I had to go to Florida that Monday so we didn't get to decorate the tree until the following weekend.  It nearly made Heidi crazy!

Makayla helped me hang the lights.  Twice.  We got all the lights up and then realized the end didn't have prongs on the outlet!  Somewhere along the way, we plugged a strand in backwards so we had to start over again.

Heidi helped place the ornaments in the high places.
 And Makayla helped by texting her friends. 

Wait.  That's not helping...

Pete hasn't climbed it yet, but he does sharpen his claws on it since he is stuck in the house most days now.  But he does approve, and that's all that matters!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Crash Course In Theology - For A 5 Year Old

On the way to school one morning, a couple of days before Winter Break, Heidi and I are listening to the All Christmas Music, All The Time! Radio station when the song “What child Is This” is played. Here is how our following conversation goes:

Heidi: This is NOT a Christmas song.

Me: Um… Yes it is. This is a real Christmas song about the baby Jesus.

Heidi: No. It is not.

Me: Heidi, true Christmas songs are about baby Jesus and Peace on Earth, not about snow and reindeer.

Heidi: Well, if Willy were here, he would not think this is a Christmas song. And if Emily were here, she would not think this is a Christmas song. Kids do not want to hear this kind of Christmas music.

Me: Songs about snowmen and reindeer and walking in the snow are winter songs or songs about Santa. You know that Christmas is not about Santa, right? It’s the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus, in the East?

Heidi: Which way is the east?

Me: It’s behind us but that’s not what I meant. Baby Jesus was born in the Middle East, like where Uncle Ryan was when he was in the Army.

Heidi: Did Uncle Ryan get to meet baby Jesus?

Me: No. Jesus was born 2011 years ago. Ryan was there just a couple of years ago.

Heidi: Why the heck was he born so long ago?

Me: Because he was. (Nice answer!)

Heidi: Who put people on the earth anyway?

Me: God did. The story goes, God made the heaven and the earth, the land and the water, he put all of the animals on the land and then he made a man named Adam. It took six days so on the seventh day, he rested. The seventh day is Sunday so that’s the day you go to church and thank God for making the earth and people. After Adam named all of the animals he was lonely so he asked God to make him a person to live with. So, God took Adam’s Rib and made a woman named Eve.

Heidi: Oh, I read that book before!

Me: Yeah, so then Adam and Eve get to live in this beautiful land with no bad weather, all the animals, and all the food they want. But they can only live there if they don’t eat any apples off the tree. But they do so God tells them they have to leave. They go live outside of this beautiful place, called Eden, where they have to deal with weather and finding their own food. Then they have kids, and their kids have kids, and their kids have kids. But Adam and Eve are not Jesus’ parents.

Heidi: Oh, I know that. God is Jesus’ dad.

Me: Pretty much. His parents who raised him are called Mary and Joseph.

Heidi: I know Joseph but I don’t know Mary.

Me: (I wondered who she thought Joseph was if she knew Joseph but not Mary. Probably the Technicolor Dream Coat guy. I saw that musical when Donny Osmond was Joseph. That thought made me chuckle a bit). Mary was Jesus’ mom. God put Jesus’ in Mary’s tummy where he grew into a baby and then was born in a barn. People came and gave him gifts because he was the Son of God. This is what that song was about.

People who are Jewish, who celebrate Hanukah instead of Christmas believe everything I told you, except they don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God, just that he was a man who lived 2000 years ago and did good things for people. (I was not going to get into much more than that, she is only 5!)

Heidi: Well, they are wrong!

Me: No, they are not. People can believe what they want to believe without being wrong. That’s what religion is about. Religious people all believe there is a God – some of them call it Allah, some call it God, or many, many other names. And they believe that when you die, you are judged by God who decides if you get to go to Heaven, which is Eden, or Hell, which is really bad.

Heidi: What is Hell.

Me: if Eden or Heaven is a place where the is no bad weather, all the food you want to eat, all kinds of animals and people all living together and getting along, then Hell is the opposite.

Did you know that some people believe that God is really a bunch of aliens who created the Earth and put us here to save us from their dying planet? And one day, they will come back for all of the good people and leave the bad people here?

Heidi: That would be AWESOME! We would get to go with the good people and we would never have to lock our car doors or worry about someone stealing our cats!!

Me: Well, that’s true but that’s not what I believe. (I am stifling a laugh)

(it’s quiet in the car for about 2 minutes)

Heidi: That’s just silly!

Me: What is silly?

Heidi: We have not discovered Aliens yet so I don’t think they put us here or we would have found them when we went to outer space. I don’t know anyone who would believe that.

Me: Well, again, everyone is welcome to believe what they want to. I don’t know any one we believes that either. It’s called Scientology. But there are a lot of famous people who really do believe that.

Heidi: I am really upset.

Me: Why?

Heidi: I can’t find my Frosty The Snowman Book! I think we gave it away!!

(I realize Frost the Snowman is playing on the radio now. I sigh, turn up the radio, and we both sing along to the rest of the song. Leave it to a 5- year-old to be able to jump from a deep, theological conversation, to despair over a lost Frosty the Snowman board book.)

(Please do not correct my version of how the earth was made and the birth of Jesus. Try explaining all of this to a child in the matter of 10 minutes in a way she will understand and you will probably get a similar version! This post was meant to be funny, not a religious lesson).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy 1st Day of Winter

Happy First Day of Winter!!

It's hard for me to believe that winter is just staring when we have already had around 30 inches of snow fall over the last six weeks. According to the local NBC affiliate, on 12/7 we had 16 inches at the airport.  Then on 12/11 17 more inches fell on us.  Our 30 year average is 55 inches so we are half way there and winter is just getting underway!

It sure is beautiful and if it's snowing then it's not to cold.

Look at that blue sky above the snow on our roof.  How can you not love it?

But we have gotten so much, we need to be creative about where we store it.  Like in the wheel wells.
 Or packed around the tree.  It's comforting to know the bunnies will not be able to strip the bark off the tree this year!

But most importantly, all this snow gives children a place to be Queen Of The Hill and feel like they are the tallest people in the world.

Happy Winter Everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sister From Another Mother

Let me tell you about my best friend Shannon. We met when we were in high school and working at K-Mart. I don’t remember the moment we met and I don’t remember the first times we hung out but mostly I don’t remember life without her.

She is like a sister. We have been through so much together, serious family issues to trivial clothing theft. She is a great Aunt to my dogs, cats, and daughter, and I always know I can count on her in an emergency. Out of all of my friends, she is the one who would not bail me out of jail because she would be sitting in the cell next to me. And I love her for that.

But most of all, I love her because she does not take herself very seriously. She has a knack for doing things that are embarrassing and when most of us would keep that embarrassing moment to our self, she posts about it on facebook, sends out a mass email, or tells everyone she knows. Like the time she updated our company’s issue tracking log by pasting in a link to a Christmas Wish List item. There was a pretty good chance no one would have noticed but she made sure they did!

Wait. Maybe she was just trying to get her Christmas Wish List out to a wider audience… Hmm…

Anyway, she is also able to talk people into doing just about anything for her. She never asks for anything huge but if you ever need something returned without packaging or a reciete to a store that has a strict no return policy, Shannon is your gal!

A few weeks ago, she was craving something sweet so she dug out a Quaker Granola Bar with Chocolate Chunks. She was very upset when she discovered there were no Chunks in her Bar. So, she sent them this email:

Where did you put my chocolate chunks? My granola bar was missing them! They are not nearly as tasty without the chocolate! When you locate the chocolate chunks, please forward some to me.

And got this response:

I'm sorry that the bars in your box of Chocolate Chunk were missing the chunks of chocolate. I can imagine how disappointed you must have been when you discovered this.

All she really wanted was for someone at the company to get a good laugh out of her plight but she got one better, a coupon for a free box of granola bars.

Next time I buy a car I am going to bring this girl with me.  Maybe she will get me a free freshener.

Friday, December 17, 2010

An Unplanned Vacation, New perspective, and a Happy Hanukah

Yesterday, I talked about how I got my extra day in South Florida. Today, I will tell you the saga.

I had been sitting the in airport for just over two hours, awaiting my flight from Fort Lauderdale to Minneapolis. Delta Terminal Two consists of about 12 to 15 gates, a Dunkin Donuts, two gift / magazine shops, an ice cream cart, and a place that sells sandwiches and gyros. It’s not a place you want to spend more than about 20 minutes, forget about two hours.

I was lucky to find an outlet and a piece of floor, so I grabbed a gyro (which totally sucked because I had a gyro at this amazing Greek place two days prior and I never want to eat a fast food gyro with cucumber sauce that comes in a plastic cup ever again), and pulled up a piece of floor to catch up on the last three episodes of Glee.

I was about half way through the third episode when a coworker of mine approached. She had been sitting across the terminal and it turned out she was on my flight to Atlanta. Atlanta was home for her, it was a pit stop for me.

We chatted for a few minutes and watched the passengers from the incoming ATL flight deplane. They would clean up the cabin quickly and we would start boarding in a few minutes. We took turns running to the restroom while we had someone to watch our bags and discussed her team’s desperate need for more staff. All was going well. I find this coworker to be extremely funny and witty. We bonded on a trip a last year while watching The Biggest Loser and running on the treadmill. This trip, we enjoyed Authentic Mexican food and bonded over fresh made Guacamole. Both experiences were equally memorable.

It’s the most fun I have had in an airport in many, many months when the man at the gate announces that we will start boarding as soon as the mechanic gives the all clear. Probably about 5 minutes.

We discuss how I am certain I am not making it home. She looks at my boarding pass and says that as long as my gates aren’t 4 miles apart, I will be fine. I insist I should just go find a cab.

Ten minutes later the man announces that the mechanic is not able to reset the light but he is still trying, should be 10 minutes and will be on our way.

Twenty minutes later, after I have fully convinced my coworker that I am not going home, the gate man explains that we will not be taking that plane anywhere and everyone should come up to be reticketed.

There are about 10 gate agents there to help us. It is the first day of Hanukah and there are about 30 people flying from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta and then on to Tel Aviv, they get first priority. Some people are made about this, I am offended that someone could be made about this.

I hang out in line with my coworker and finally insist she call Delta to get rebooked before the next flight fills up. Her phone is dead so I loan her mine and within about four minutes she is rebooked. It would have been faster but the touch screen on my phone takes some getting used to.

She apologizes for ditching me, tells me that if I make it to Atlanta she would let me stay with her but since she lives so far out it would be better to get a hotel, I thank her sincerely for the offer, and tell her to hurry up before she misses that flight.

When it is my turn in line, I explain to Oscar, the gate agent, I want to get home but I don’t want to spend the night in Atlanta. If he is going to make me stay somewhere, I want to just stay here. He books me on the direct flight home the next day at 1:22 pm, arraigns a hotel and a shuttle, and gives me two $6 food vouchers. I ask him if I can have my luggage and he says, “Not unless it is an emergency.”

I ask “Are clean underwear, deodorant, and a toothbrush considered an emergency?”

“No.” He says.

Ok, well, I guess that settles that.

I take my boarding pass and my vouchers and head out to find the shuttle. I recognize a few faces gathered around and struck up a conversation with a gentleman in his mid-60’s. He had been living in Colombia for the last four years, since his wife passed, and he was now coming home to stay with his daughter for a few years. We talked about the weather in Colombia. He told me how people typically purchase one cigarette at a time from a man selling them on the street because that is all they can afford. A person with a pack of cigarettes was considered rich.

I asked if he drank really good coffee the entire time he was there. He explained that Colombia’s other major crop is sugar cane so any time you had fresh brewed coffee it contained sugar. It was like drinking crack, he said. Men walked around with coffee tanks on their backs and belts with cup dispensers on them. You purchase your coffee from them for a few coins a cup. I imagined a coffee man walking around downtown Minneapolis and chuckled.

Before I knew it, we had been standing there for almost 45 minutes. Where the heck was this shuttle?!

Oh! An excuse to use my fancy smartphone! I jumped on the internet, googled Hyatt Place in Fort Lauderdale, and gave them a quick call. After being disconnected twice, “The driver is on the grounds,” is what I am told.

I am doing fine in my fleece jacket and pants standing out in the 55 degree evening. But its winter at home and I have a hat and mittens in my backpack if it gets to cold. The rest of the group, however, were freezing and I was afraid they would become ice cubes pretty quickly. Ten minutes later, I call again. “The driver is on the airport grounds” I am told once again. “Tell him to hurry up” was my reply!

Five minutes later, after confusion over the other Hyatt Place shuttle, and me mentally trying to figure out how to get all of my new friends into a cab without leaving any of them behind, the correct shuttle arrives and whisks us away to our swanky hotel.

On the ride over, I am sitting with a gal who was in town for one day to have a job interview. Her flight down from Tallahassee was delayed and delayed and she didn’t get into Fort Lauderdale until 30 minutes before her interview. She had to hightail straight from the plane to the interview but she said she thinks she nailed it. I could tell she was bummed out that she was not getting home and worried because she was going to be over a hour late to her current job. Not to mention that she had not eaten all day and didn’t really have money to buy any food. I gave her one of my $6 vouchers. I am not clear why everyone didn’t get a voucher but I was told we could use them in the hotel. I was still full from my crappy gyro and was only planning to buy a bottle of water anyway. She was so grateful; I thought she was going to cry.

There were others on the shuttle who were also on the flight but we had not met them at the meeting place so we didn’t know them. We exchanged some stories about how we got to this shuttle and how many of us called the girl at the desk when we learned that the one man on the shuttle, who was not a displaced passenger, had the last name of Hyatt. We spent the rest of the ride asking him why his company didn’t send us a shuttle before we froze. He is not part of The Hyatt Family but he took the joking in stride.

When we arrived at the hotel, I asked for a toothbrush and toothpaste since mine was already on its way home. She was happy to accommodate me but got annoyed when she realized that all of the people behind me now wanted the same thing.

She explained that breakfast was complementary and would be served from 6 to 9:30 if anyone was interested. And there was made to order food available 24 hours a day. As I started to walk towards my room I overheard Mr. Colombia telling another gal that he was glad for breakfast because he could not afford to eat tonight and I instantly handed over my other $6 voucher. It was the least I could do. He was so kind and interesting.

He thanked me so much and promised to name his next son after me. I told him he didn’t want a son named Kara; Sue was a maybe, but not Kara. I wished them all good night and headed up to my room.

It was a very nice hotel and I had a great view of a dirt track. My only complaint was the proximity to the highway where people seemed to be drag racing in their loud cars. Luckily that stopped by about 10 pm.

After making a few phone calls to let Shawn know I wasn’t coming home, I booted up my laptop and made my way down to the lobby for a bottle of water.

I found the entire displaced flight crew all gathered around the bar ordering food. They were having a great time but I had socialized with strangers enough for one evening so I grabbed my water and got in line behind another man from the flight.

He was piling up candy bars and bottle of Dr Pepper. That was when I noticed his yarmulke. It was the first night of Hanukah and the only kosher food in the place were the packaged candy bars and soda. Man, did I feel bad. I paid for my water and left the lobby, wishing him a happy Hanukah. He was the person who should have been complaining but he wasn’t.

One man, trying to make his way to see his kids after four years in Colombia. One man, trying to make it home for Hanukah.

It really puts things in perspective.

I spent the rest of the night searching for the number to get Heidi into morning care at school and clearing my calendar for work. I slept the best I had in many, many weeks with no alarm to worry about. I spent my morning sipping coffee, working from the hotel room and at noon I packed it up and headed for the airport.

My perspective where it needed to be, I was extremely productive in the time I did get to work and I was not at all stressed out when I returned to the office on Friday.

My flight home was very nice. No one sat in the seat between me and the lady by the window so we had plenty of room to stretch out. And she didn’t smell like Patchouli like the man next to me on the flight down.

Delta and Google had teamed up to give us free WiFi during the flight so I checked in on Facebook for a few minutes.

And lastly, there was an in flight movie! Grown Ups, which I had been wanting to see. It was so funny, I am sure everyone around me thought I was nuts for cracking up constantly.

When the man behind me dropped his extremely heave, too big to be a carry-on, right on my head, I didn’t even yell at him. When he rubbed my head because he felt so bad, I didn’t even grab his hand and tell him not to touch me or I would rip his hand off. I just sat quietly, popped a few Advil, shed a silent tear, and waited for my major headache to pass. Once the shock wore off, I told the man I was fine. Really. He didn’t need to feel bad.

In the end, I truly believe I needed some perspective in my life. I needed to get stuck in Fort Lauderdale for the night, meet Mr. Colombia and the man trying to make it home for Hanukah and the girl on her job interview. I even needed to get bonked on the head with a heavy suitcase. Just to put my crazy, busy, stressed out live back in order. Just to make me confident again as I faced more hard decisions about Daisy. Just to get me ready for the holiday season. I have wished Shawn a Happy Hanukah every day since I returned home, just to keep me in check.

This was a long post but maybe my experience will be the reminder you need that it could be worse, life goes on, and what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.

Happy Hanukah everyone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

30% Psychic, 70% Who Knows What!

Have I ever told you that I am about 30% psychic?

I would be much better but I really don’t know that I had a premonition until after it happened. It’s a skill I want to hone in but I just haven’t really found a good place to add it to my mile long To Do List. College Education should probably come first…

My favorite example is of the day Shawn nearly severed his toe. This was way, way back before people had cell phones, when I was renting a house with my three best friends.

One of my roommates, Shannon, and I had gone out to dinner while Shawn was at work. We were driving home and I had this horrible feeling that we were going to get hurt really and it was going to be bad. So, I kept telling Shannon that she needed to drive carefully because I didn’t want to get in an accident. Thinking I was just nervous because I am a really bad passenger in a car, she told me we were fine and continued to drive home.

And we were fine. We made it home in one piece, no accidents or even near accidents. But I could not shake this feeling that something bad was going to happen.

We went in the house and started to settle in for the night when Shannon hit the play button on the answering machine. Yeah, I told you this was a long time ago! There was one new message from Shawn.

He had been closing the door on a trailer when a piece of sheet metal came crashing down on his foot, nearly severing his big toe and crushing the one next to it. He told me he would be heading to the ER once the job was done.

Once I finished listening to the message, the feeling was gone. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized that the feeling of dread was connected to his toe.

Over the years, I have had many more times where I had some type of premonition but didn’t really get it until after it was over.

I travel fairly often. I never start to pack until about the night before I leave. When I am packing I start to get this butterfly feeling in my tummy. Every time I have had a trip cancel at the last minute, I realize the butterflies were never there. And last January, I was supposed to fly to South Florida, work from that office for three days, fly home for one night and then fly to California for vacation. Something like that should really get me stressed but I was so calm that when I got the stomach flu the night before I was leaving for Florida, I was not at all surprised. I rescheduled my trip and went to bed for three days awaking just in time to take our family vacation. I could have saved myself a rebooking fee had I foreseen that one!

My most recent premonition was also a travel related experience. I had gone to Florida for work again. I needed to be home for a personal appointment on Thursday night but I also needed to spend one full day in the office and one full day in a training session. So I planned to fly out on Monday, spend all of Tuesday and Wednesday there and fly home very late on Wednesday night.

I booked three days of morning care for Heidi so Shawn could drop her off at school on his way to work. When I filled out the paper work, I kept thinking, I should book her for Thursday too. Just in case. But since that would have cost me another $15 I opted to just stick to the original three days.

When I set my out of office reply on my email, it said something like “I will respond to my emails when I return” instead of “I will respond to my emails on 12/2, when I return.” At some point I reset my out of office reply to say “I am traveling back to Minneapolis and will respond to emails on my return, which I expect to be about noon central time.”

Why did I say “which I expect”? Why did I come across like I didn’t think I was going to get home?

As we were leaving for the airport, I was checking with other coworkers on their travel plans. Another Minneapolis coworker told me that she flew through the other airport and she would be transferring at ATL at about 8 pm. I told her maybe I would see her there since I am on the 9:45 pm out of ATL.

She said, “We should be gone by then. You are on the last flight out of ATL.”

I knew it right then. I should have returned to my hotel, kept the car another day, and rescheduled my flights because I knew I was not going home.

And guess what! The plane arrives at the gate and I still don’t think I am going home. And I am right.

Mechanical issues. No plane. No butterflies.

I am rebooked on a direct flight the next day. They put me up in a Hyatt, sent a shuttle bus to pick me up, and I returned to the airport the next day with my butterflies.

Tomorrow I will tell you about my extended stay in Fort Lauderdale.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

We woke up Satruday morning to a whole lot of snow. I am not talking "a lot of snow." I am talking the most snow we have had in twenty years.  It snow and blowed all day. 

Do you remember that saying the Postal Service used to have about not being stopped come rain or snow or sleet or whatever?  Well, the Postal Service did not make it to my house on Saturday and I am glad!  They do not need to be out in that blizard just so I can get my pizza coupons, four credit card offers, and a gas bill.

Sunday I opened the front door to get my newspaper and Peter ran right out. Silly cat, even 17 inches of snow wouldn't keep him in the house.  Yes, 17 inches at 8 am on Sunday morning.

The paper was just on the other side of the door so when I pushed the door open the paper slid farther away.  Heidi was brave (crazy) enough to run out in her bare feet to grab it for me.

Shawn cleared the driveway twice on Saturday and then one more time on Sunday morning.  Thank goodness for that new snow blower!

While he was clearing the driveway, Heidi and I bundled up and went out to join him.  Daisy wanted to go out with us so I put one of her "recovery" shirts on her and brought her out with us.  Pig stayed snuggled in a comforter on the couch.  Anyone surprised?

I love this picture of Daisy running around on the driveway.  She was so happy, she just loves snow.  And we were so happy to see her enjoy the snow this time since the last snow seemed to annoy her.  Just another reason why I am happy we stopped her Chemo treatments.  Sunday would have been her sick day, she would have been passed out on the couch.  But instead she was her old self, running around the driveway until her feet froze and she had to go in.

I can only think of two differences between the Daisy of Last Winter and the Daisy of Sunday - 1. the t-shirt.  2.  she is missing a leg.  But look how happy she is!!  And skinny.  That dog is so skinny!

Here is an idea of how big our snow banks got.  Remember, Heidi is an average height 5-year old!

To keep warm, she kept busy by digging out the van and

Clearing the front steps.  By this time, Pete was back in the house, do you see him in the window?
Then it was time to head over to the in-laws to clear their driveway and sidewalk.  They only live about a block from us so we typically walk there.  Since Shawn had the snow blower, he drove and Heidi talked me in to walking with her.  The picture above is where a sidewalk should be. The city had not cleared them out yet and I am wondering if we will see a sidewalk again before the snow melts in April.
Always a good citizen, Heidi helped clear some of the snow that had fallen back into the road.
And then she became a kid and climbed the snowbank.  She walked on the snowbanks almost the entire way to the in-laws house.  Up the snowbank, down at each driveway, and then back up.
Queen of the mountain!!

Always safety first with this one, she did her best to dig out the fire hydrant.

Our walk was beautiful. The sun was shining.  I think it was just above 0 degrees but with the correct snow gear on, we were fine.  I don't have ski pants so I had on yoga pants and a pair of wind pants and that did the trick!

Heidi and Shawn were outside for over two hours clearing the driveways and walking.  When they got home, they were cold but not frozen.

I know my co-workers think I am crazy for living here but come on, tell me that is not beautiful!