The ramblings of a woman,
wife, & mother, who loves:
Jesus / my man / the three,
learning about parenting /
mamahood / childbirth,
cooking foods healthy /
international / yummy,
pretending to garden /
write / design,
attempting to run /
exercise / lift weights,
enjoying traveling /
camping / adventures,
finding ways to love /
serve / sacrifice for others.

It is not to say she does these things
with style or grace, or even skill.


My Life as an Extention of Seinfeld - At the Dry Cleaners.

January 30, 2008 - 1:02 PM

Events often happen in my life that are like an episode of Seinfeld (running a car out of gas, going to the doctor, etc).  Recently was one of those, yet again...

We have issues with dry cleaners.

One dry cleaner we went to, shrunk 5 of Josh's nice dress shirts and then refused to admit they were shrunk and pay for replacements. I argued with the manager forever, but he wouldn't go for it. The shirts were still technically within range of the shape they should be as he measured them and even though they have always fit my husband and now they don't, he must have grown in the arms (at the age of 28) and the shirts did not shrink. We left them and went to another dry cleaner.

The other day, Josh noticed one of his shirts had a rip in the sleeve. At first he thought he did it until we noticed the same rip on another dress shirt. (And it may have also been on a third but I had thrown that one out already since I thought it was our fault.) Once again, I was back to the dry cleaner.

Mind you, the dry cleaning manager lady and I are tight. We are always friendly and chatty over the last several years and she even knew that we were going to her shop since the other shop ruined our last shirts. But when I took the shirts into her with their obvious rips in them, I found myself in the episode of Seinfeld...

Jerry walks into the dry cleaner with a dress shirt that is obviously meant for an 8 year old and brings it to his dry cleaner's attention. He says to the dry cleaner that he does not want his money back he simply wants his dry cleaner to admit to the fact that he made a mistake and shrunk the shirt because it is painfully obvious that the shirt would not fit Jerry as is. The dry cleaner refuses for a while but under Jerry's insistence and promise of not wanting anyting other than a confession, finally whispers that, in fact, he had shrunk the shirt.

This was the episode I lived out on Monday. Taking back Josh's 2 dress shirts that had obvious holes in them, one of which still having the dry cleaner's tags on it and having to argue with my good dry cleaning lady friend. I had called her in advance so she knew I was coming and she was definitely ready for me.

She immediately cast off the holes as Josh's fault for having a desk job and the sleeves in that spot wearing on the side of his desk. I insisted that could not be the case since the holes were in the same spot yet on different sleeves and it did not look like there was wear on the opposite sleeves in that spot. She insisted, it was because he works a desk job. I insisted that the fabric in that area is not worn and there is no previous sign of wear and that the holes are obviously made from something other than wear. She insisted it was his desk job. Wasn't it odd that they both happened to give way of wear at the same time, the same dry cleaning tags, and even though the ages of the shirts are different. She finally conceded to hold them to talk to her boss. Yada, yada, yada.

Well, today, a miracle happened!

She called and conceded! And they are going to pay for the shirts! Something never impossible on Seinfeld!

In Seinfeld, if she conceded, he would have had to jump through all these hoops and then maybe the check would bounce because Seinfeld would then be responsible for the dry cleaning place going bankrupt because then people would hear of the refunds and everyone would go back and demand their money and then for some reason the owners would then sue Jerry for damages and he would go to the court but not have any nice dress shirts that are clean but his puffy shirt and the judge will think Jerry is mocking the court and hold him in contempt... or something like that.

(I need to have Bev teach me how to startch dress shirts and make them last myself!)


January 17, 2008 - 10:34 PM

And there was much rejoicing!

Ever since I saw Ratatouille I have longed to find their recipe for the ratatouille dish they serve. I have many cookbooks with "a" recipe, but they do not look anything like the movie. One recipe, I realized I had even made before but it looks like the dish that Ego ate as a child, not like Remy served. In theory, it looked simple enough I could've made it up, but I really wanted to be sure and I really wanted it to taste as delicious as the movie made it look.

And there was much rejoicing!

The kids then checked out a Ratatouille Movie Cookbook from the library and they have been making recipes from it all week. It too had a ratatouille recipe but it was no different than the other versions I have, only less ingredients since it is a kid's cookbook. The boys said that if I made the recipe just like the movie they would eat it... they had to eat their words and almost some ratatouille too.

I found a guy online who claims he had THE recipe they use in the movie. I don't know HOW he knows this is THE recipe but I couldn't find it anywhere else in my short search so I went for it...

rat-a-tat-tat, bad lighting can't see colors

It is definitely not as fancy as the perfect one they can create with computer animation... my eggplant, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes were not all magically the same diameter and I did not make the actual vinaigrette suggested because of time... but OH MY! It was delicious!

rat-a-tat-too, almost all eaten up, better ltg not center

How did the kids like it? Well, they were not all excited to it eat and I was prepared to have them try it... that is, before I tried it. Once I tried it, I did not want them to eat any of it, I wanted to enjoy it all myself.

Oh, how this recipe had all of my favorite ingredients.
Oh, how the simplicity made taking seconds and thirds a delight.
Oh, how the colors heightened the taste.
Oh, how my head was swooning for spring and the garden.
Oh, how I cannot wait to make this recipe again!

Did I really follow the recipe? Well, ok, you know me... I did change the recipe and cheat on some things, BUT in essence it was the same and it was absolutely delicious! (How'd I cheat? Take for example the Piperade. I used a cup of a really nice brand of pre-made roasted pepper and herb sauce since when I added up all the time it would take me to make this dish I was looking at a 4+ hour project for dinner! Yikes! But, I do have extras of everything and think on Sunday I will make the piperade from scratch as suggested to see what that adds.)

So... here's the address of the guy who claims his recipe is THE recipe. If you find another one that sounds and, more importantly, tastes better... please let me know!

Rock the Caucus Alice and Iowa!!! Take 2

January 4, 2008 - 9:42 AM

"First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (`the exact shape doesn't matter,' it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no `One, two, three, and away,' but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out `The race is over!' and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has won?'"

We caucused! What fun!

Unfortunately for the kids, and Josh, ours was not as eventful as the Dodo's Caucus-Race. Though, having heard and then watched on CNN, it seems the D-Caucus-Race may have been just this eventful. Bummer!

We treated our kids to a wonderful night of caucusing R. Now, the D's had told us we could bring our kids but the R's had told us nothing, so we were hoping for the best. This year, over 80 people showed up in our precinct where-as last time they had less than a dozen I think?  And this is also amazing since we live in a highly D populated city.

Happy Caucus!

I actually did not decide who to caucus for until right before we got there. I was reading stats up until the last minute. I finally took to heart something that Josh had said to me. I don't remember the exact quote, but the essence brought me to the point that I wanted to vote for a person, not because I thought they were going to win or because I knew casting a vote for them would keep someone else from winning, but because I believed that my vote counted, was for something I truly believed in, and hopefully would send a message to the other candidates that they could grow in.

And so, I caucused R. It wasn't until we got in there that I knew what an R caucus was or that I knew how different it was from the D's. The D's in IA have to have a certain percentage to get on the ballot and if you don't have that % then you have to go vote for not your first pick. The R's in IA vote by secret ballot and all votes count. This, made me even more glad to have caucused R - I really wanted my vote to count.

And the boys? Well, they really, really wanted to vote for their Dad but they had to be 17. They definitely learned a lot about the democratic process. They got two compliments for sitting so well from other parents who chose not to bring their kids. And Miriam? She was fairly wiggly in our little section but wasn't loud to the whole room so she survived. She loved looking at the guy sitting next to Josh tattoos the best she said, he had an octopus on his hand that she really liked. (And no, it wasn't Jason's tattoo who sat right behind us too, ;)!)

Rock the Caucus Alice and Iowa!!!

January 3, 2008 - 10:02 AM

"`What I was going to say,' said the Dodo in an offended tone, `was, that the best thing to get us dry would be a Caucus-race.'

`What IS a Caucus-race?' said Alice; not that she wanted much to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that SOMEBODY ought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined to say anything.

`Why,' said the Dodo, `the best way to explain it is to do it.' (And, as you might like to try the thing yourself, some winter day, I will tell you how the Dodo managed it.)

First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (`the exact shape doesn't matter,' it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no `One, two, three, and away,' but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out `The race is over!' and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has won?'

This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.'

`But who is to give the prizes?' quite a chorus of voices asked.

`Why, SHE, of course,' said the Dodo, pointing to Alice with one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her, calling out in a confused way, `Prizes! Prizes!'

Alice had no idea what to do, and in despair she put her hand in her pocket, and pulled out a box of comfits, (luckily the salt water had not got into it), and handed them round as prizes. There was exactly one a-piece all round.

`But she must have a prize herself, you know,' said the Mouse.

`Of course,' the Dodo replied very gravely. `What else have you got in your pocket?' he went on, turning to Alice.

`Only a thimble,' said Alice sadly.

`Hand it over here,' said the Dodo.

Then they all crowded round her once more, while the Dodo solemnly presented the thimble, saying `We beg your acceptance of this elegant thimble'; and, when it had finished this short speech, they all cheered.

Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so grave that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not think of anything to say, she simply bowed, and took the thimble, looking as solemn as she could."

~Quote from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland,
ch. 3.

Unrecorded Sound bytes from Faithwalkers 2007 - Take 1

January 1, 2008 - 2:18 PM

We sat down to lunch near part of a family of 14, 12 kids and 2 parents. The majority of them were all sitting around the table next to us. They were all sitting patiently as their father and older siblings brought food from the buffet, some of them quietly sharing chairs with little ones, etc. Once they were all seated and eating, the mom and 4 others ended up being some of those sitting with us. I said to her...

"I am going to assume your children are not perfect and you work really hard to train them to obey."

To which she replied, "That's all I do all day."

To which I replied, "You are doing an amazing job. It really shows!"

This struck me on a variety of levels and the truth behind it.

The first thing to note was that I wasn't actually thinking when I said the comment. Not that I wasn't thinking as in I was being stupid, but that it came from deep within my heart and before I could stop myself, the words came forth. In this way, the statement really spoke to me, even though I said the words.

I was really struck by the comment about "assume your kids aren't perfect." My husband always reminds me of this but I need to keep reminding myself - kids are not perfect. They are sinful little mini-me&yous running around. Well, maybe your child is perfect, but I know ours aren't. They are not content little passive creatures that rarely speak and just read books all day long. They are going to mess up, break things, push things, etc.

Then the part "you work really hard to train them." Which I know was true of this mom, and is oh-so-true of so many hardworking moms I know, and to which God spoke to my heart, "That includes you, Dana." Now, our kids were not perfect angles at Faithwalkers the whole time, there was still insanity, but I was really proud at how well they did. Someone commented to me that it must be easier when their older, but the truth is, that God really showed me, was we worked really hard for the last 4 months of the school year to get the kids to sit quietly during 6 hours of seminars a day. Again, our kids are not calm by nature, they are crazy like their mama and sitting does not come naturally to them. For me, it was as if God was saying, "See, all that hard work that you do all day long, it is not in vain." And while it was not all "perfect" it was showing progress and that was a huge encouragement to my heart.

That ties in with her response of "That's what I do all day." Amen, sister.

Then my additional response of, "You are doing an amazing job." How much moms need to hear that! One of the speakers said to me that she just wanted to hug all the moms and tell them good job AND OH how much that is needed. You moms out there ARE doing a great job! Your daily decision to get up, love God, love your husband, love your children is amazing! Staying at home, training them, teaching them, it is not soap operas and bon-bons. (Not to forget, going to work and raising children and maintaining a home is intense too!) Motherhood is hard work, watching your children, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, teaching them right from wrong, lots of tears you have wiped away of theirs and yours. Good job Moms, next time I see you, let's give each other hugs and shed a few tears, ok?

The last thing that struck me was what this mother of 12 said to me next, "We once had an high impact dinner, so that really helps. We were all out to dinner once and the kids were behaving so badly we left the restaurant without eating and went straight home without dinner." Brilliant.


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About Me and This Blog...

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2012 to CA, MN, CO
   Ladies Trip to Napa Valley
   My Parents Rode in a Plane!

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2012 to MN and CO
   Vacation to the North Shore and Cabin
   Boulder for the Summer
   Life in Boulder

Begin Our Adventures of Winter/Spring 2012 to UT
   The Drive to CO/UT Begins
   Vacation in Moab
   Living in Moab / Denver

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2011 to CA
   The Drive to CA Begins
   Living in the SF
   Living in the Suburbs
   Coming Home to IC

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2010 to Eastern Europe
   Life at Czech English Camp
   Travels in Germany & Austria
   Travels in Czech & Poland


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