Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On the Road again

Special Note - My CFA is also writing a post about our adventure. We promised not to read each others before hand. I have no idea what direction her post will take. Be sure to check it out at Look to Him and be Radiant.


Did you hear it?
I heard it.
My CFA heard it.
I heard them calling my name and I saw their pretty invitation.

It was the sunshine and the breeze and the blue sky and the dusty roads. 
Each, in their own way, were just begging me to come visit them on a Road trip!

So at 2 a.m. the decision was made. My CFA (technically the A for assistant is no longer the case, but I don't want to confuse anyone and change her name) and I were going to play hookey from our other responsibilities and take the Jeep out for a drive.

But we were respectful and waited until 8 a.m. before we sent Insurance Boy a text to ask if the Jeep was available for a joy ride.

I absolutely love that his reply was one word - no questions asked. "Sure."

These little joy rides of mine started about 8 years ago. One summer at the last minute I needed a vehicle for the 4-H King and Queen to ride in for a parade. So I called IB and he let me borrow his Jeep. We gave it a good scrubbing and it was a super fun way to ride thru the parade. And then we took it for a joy ride and I was hooked. 

The Jeep retired from it's parade duties a few years ago when it met an untimely encounter with a deer. After that, I think it was two years before I got to drive it again. (Side note - it was not me who hit the deer.) It just took awhile to get it repaired.

One of the things that was damaged in that accident was the hard top. I noticed that it now has a new hard top. We picked it up in it's new garage and immediately noticed it's new tears in the seat.

No worries. I can fix that.

But there are lots of things that haven't changed.

The tapes that line the dash or are stuck in the glove compartment.

The proof that this is not really a leisure vehicle, but a work/farm vehicle.

And the wiper blades that live at half-mast.
The John Deere magnet is technically new, but there has always been one there. I think the original one was lost in the accident, but later replaced and joined with a guardian angle. How appropriate.

The other part that stayed the same, and always will, is the fact that my road trips are not planned. No destination in mind. When we get to a cross road, we look both ways and then pick a direction.

For this trip we turned right and headed north.

Away from Henry.

Towards the wind farm.
We went thru all of those towns.

And that one too.

What makes a day of playing hookey while taking a road trip complete?

Eating ice cream for lunch!

I have taken all kinds of road trips in all kinds of different vehicles at different times of the year.
And I must say, my favorite kind of road trip is in the jeep, with my hair blowing every which direction, struggling to push the clutch in far enough to change gears, sweating unlady like against the vinyl seat, getting filthy driving down dirt roads and listening to blaring cassette tapes. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Trader Joe's

Have you ever been to a Trader Joe's?

Please add it to your bucket list. For me.

My bucket list includes Visiting every Trader Joe's in the U.S. AND getting a T.J's in central IL.

Most of my T.J. visits are in WI.
And every time I go, I have a cart full and the cashier always makes a comment and I always say, I have to stock up since I'm from central IL.

One of the fun parts of T.J's is their flyer. It is not your typical grocery store ad. They have sarcastic cartoons and very creative descriptions of their sale items/specials.

You have to check out this month's cartoons here:

Here's a sample of their funny descriptions:

1000 Day Gouda

1000 Day GoudaIt’s Back!
If faced with the question, “What could you do in 1000 days?” how would you respond? Would you raise a couple of guide dog puppies? Would you immerse yourself in a foreign language so you could converse with an international crowd? Would you write the great American novel? Or would you make cheese?
Our Dutch artisans made cheese, Trader Joe’s 1000 Day Gouda to be specific. Most Gouda is young, but this cheese is quite mature. It’s crafted in the traditional manner, using fresh milk from the Dutch countryside. It is allowed to ripen on untreated wooden shelves, where it is hand turned by the cheese master to ensure even flavor and consistent texture throughout each wheel. At 1000 days, it becomes a full-flavored, somewhat crumbly cheese replete with fine crystals that give it a bit of crunch.
Back in November, this was our Spotlight Cheese, meant to come and go within weeks. And it did. But there was uproar when it was gone, so now you’ll find 1000 Day Gouda in our cheese section every day. Unless, that is, someone decides to buy it all at once. You know, so they’ll have enough for 1000 days…

Thursday, May 17, 2012

First communion

My niece, C, had her first communion this past weekend.

She was a little nervous about being the center of attention.

I'm so proud of her! 


Since Mass was at 8 a.m., I went down and spent the night on Saturday. My parents did too. So we had a house full getting ready Sunday AM.

The kids were up and ready early and had a while to wait for the rest of us. To help keep everyone in good spirits there was a variety of entertainment options.

This is what little J chose to do:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Details and strange art

This photo was one of the many things hanging on the walls in the reception area of my new office. There were some things on the wall that were an easy decision to get rid of. This one was on the border.

It is in a nice frame and has some bright colors and interesting design. We knew that it did not go with the new paint colors, so we offered to anyone who wanted it in their own office. When no one jumped at that offer, we started placing it in people's office.

We started with my co-worker who was on maternity leave. After awhile, we felt bad about dumping it on her, since she wasn't there to say No.

Then it found it's way to my the boss' office. We thought maybe there was hope for it there, since he didn't have anything else on his walls and it matched the brown paint. It stayed in there for a few months. Until...

He "gave" it to me for my birthday. Ha!

I took it home and found a better use for it.

I took that photo on my last road trip to WI. I snuck this back into my boss' office and waited quietly to see how long it would take him (or anyone else) to notice. It only took a week and a half. Not too bad.

Now that he notices it, it seems to be growing on him. 

I keep telling him that I'm going to make his office look nice/professional whether he wants it to or not. 

Next week, I'm getting him a new desk. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An open door & humilty

Tonight was the last night of the indoor volleyball session. Next week the sand volleyball session begins. Sadly, I will not be out on the court.

My little team of 4 for the sand league fell apart - all for the pursuit of a girl. Young S joined another team to try and impress a girl. Which meant that his Dad (our captain) did not want to play without S. The other female player was OK with not playing. Me, on the other hand is very sad.

But I'm trying to keep my eyes, ears and heart open looking for the other door of opportunity for the summer (other than work). 


Today, I had a man ask me if I was a Farm girl.

My response was that I grew up in the country on a small farm, but I wouldn't say I was really a Farm girl. Why do you ask?

You have really strong forearms, he replied.

Oh, that's from volleyball.


Year's ago, I had another man ask me if I rock climb. 

No, why do you ask?

Because you have really broad shoulders.


I'm pretty sure that I don't have any men following this blog, but ladies, please share this public service announcement with the men in your lives....

Strong forearms and broad shoulders are NOT compliments to women.


I think I need to go shopping for more long sleeve shirts.