Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mini Class Reunion

(Back row) Marlea Yarusevich, Wendi Kitstiener, Elena Giordano, Christopher Malgaret (front row) Leina Williams Lebron and Michelle Rogers Pleasant

We have had had a wonderful time in Florida. I have been a bit under the weather as has Keith's girlfriend, and it appears we both have sinus infections. Other than that though, this trip has been wonderful. We went to the beach yesterday and then today I spent some time with my wonderful friend Joan VanWyck. We have seen two movies so far: King Kong and Fun with Dick and Jane. Both were good and recommended. I think tomorrow we are going to see Narnia.

Two nights ago, I also got together with a few of my old high school friends -- ten year's after our graduation. The picture of this is included above. We had a great time. It would have been even better to have more people there, but Leina did a great job of organizing this.

I have broken my rule and this year. Because of the number of books JB received both as gifts and as "returns" from loans he gave out earlier, we have to ship a box home. I swore I would never do this, but I don't see any other way to get home.

We leave Saturday morning. I just checked the weather in Rochester. It's in the 20's and 30's. I think I can manage that! I hope I can manage that.

Monday, December 26, 2005

A few photos from Christmas

Well Christmas has come and gone. Above, you can see just a portion of the gifts waiting to be opened.

This year we stayed at my parents' house on Christmas Eve which was a first. We opened up our gifts ourselves here on Christmas morning and then headed over to the Kits for 3 hours of gift opening. We got some wonderful things. I was blessed to get some scrapbooking stuff which I really needed, some candles, natural soaps, a toaster that also cooks eggs, gift certificates, earings, and a bunch more stuff including 2 World Vision gifts! Jb got, well, mostly books, including this FABULOUS book (go Elizabeth), illustrated below:

Even though that picture is all that is really needed for today's blog, here are some more pictures to share with you from Christmas day.

The battle has begun: Air Force or Army? Grace now says both!

Mom opening the calendar that we got her. Each month is a different photo of a different child and their family.

John and I arrived early enough to get the couch for two people! Couch #1 illustrated above features (from back) Katie, Matt, Danielle, and Matt. A blow up of Danielle's shirt is depicted below. It does NOT say what it appears to say, but I thought it did.

Couch #2 features (from back) Grant, Elizabeth, Gabbi, and Ray

Grace and her Uncle J.B.

Ray with our gift: a Victoria Secret .... er, a gift certificate taped into a V.S. Catalog!

A gift from Matt. JB's drink of choice and Wendi's drink of choice!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Photos from the Cruise

Here are the long-promised pictures of the cruise. I also wanted to share MY Christmas gift from JB.

When we were dating, and I was leaving for college, JB gave me a promise ring. Half way through college it was stolen, and he replaced it. Two years after that, one of the stones fell out, and I haven't worn it since.

While we were snorkeling, JB suddenly exclaimed that he saw something in the rocks and dove down. He emerged with a ring! I couldn't believe he found a ring in the ocean! I looked at it. I couldn't believe he found a ring that looked just like MINE in the ocean. I looked again. It was my ring! He had replaced the stone and pretended to find it in the ocean. Awesome gift. JB is one awesome dude!

Anyways, here are some pictures from the cruise. I don't need to tell you who everyone is -- my brother is the young tall guy, my dad is the older tall guy, then there is my mom and "AD", Adrian, Keith's girlfriend.

Keith posing with two other people are our servers at the dinner.

Here you are!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Back from our cruise

Well I do not have pictures yet, but we are now back from our cruise!

We arrived at the port and were on board by about 2:00 on Monday. However, 4:00, our departure time, came and went, and we were still sitting in port. Actually, by Tuesday evening, the day we were supposed to be in Key West, we were still sitting in Miami on the boat.

Many of you saw heard about the Chalks plane crash with 20 people on board. Well, it crashed right where the ships leave for the open ocean, and the investigators wouldn't let us leave until everything was finished. We in fact could see the details from our ship.

It was hard to complain when you knew that 20 families were grieving the loss of their loved one during the holidays. It was also hard to grieve because despite being in port, we were having such a fantastic time! Keith's girlfriend "AD" (Adrian Broyles) is fabulous, and we were having a great time lounging by the pool, eating, playing cards, taking naps, playing nickel slots in the casino, reading, running on the top deck's track etc. to get upset.

On Tuesday evening the Cruise Director got on the speaker and offered us an option. They had finally opened the port and we could leave. However, we had run out of time to make it to Mexico. So, we could get off the ship and receive a FULL refund OR we could stay on the ship and head to the Bahamas. In addition we would receive $100 each to spend on the ship. We debated whether we should just leave, but we were having such a great time that we decided to stay and spend our $200 drinking fine wines (JB), and going snorkeling in the Bahamas. Of the 2,500 people on the ship, 400 left which only left more room for the rest of us.

The cruise was FABULOUS despite the bad start. We ate breakfast and lunch either in the main dining area or at the buffet each day. There was a 24-hour-pizza bar and ice cream all day long! Each evening we ate a WONDERFUL dinner in the main dining room where you could order as many of the appetizers, main dishes, and dessert dishes that you wanted.

JB and I both said that this was truly the first time we really took a vacation that was really a vacation where we actually chilled out and just relaxed. We were so relaxed and work was the FARTHEST thing from my mind. Each evening we went to a show which was really good. Comedians, balancing acts, and dancers and singers. It was great. We also played a little bingo, and only came out $3 down on the nickel slots. Those are fun!

Okay, so I will include pictures very soon. Heading over to the Kits now.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Well, we made a few mistakes during our travel to Florida yesterday.

The first is, we decided not to take our coats. We threw them into our car and as it drove away (well, actually about 3 hours later in the middle of the night) I realized I left my phone in it (and proceeded to bolt upright in bed and let JB know about it.) It was two degrees outside that night, and I am worried that the plasma screen may not have survived.

The second mistake was, we decided to dress only semi-warm. I did NOT want to bring my boots to Florida. (It was the principle of the matter.) This was not the wisest move. The flight from Minneapolis to Dallas left our feet absolutely freezing (although they defrosted as we moved south.)

The third mistake was not thinking that they might put our luggage on an earlier flight and put it in a corner of the baggage claim area instead of putting it on the belt. An hour later we were still waiting for our pieces to come rolling around, only to realize that they were instead perched in a corner the whole time.

But those mistakes aside, we are now here. Fort Lauderdale! Last night we went over to JB's family's house for about an hour, then went and saw Ray, Gabbi, Grace, and new addition Nathan for about a half hour, and then we came back to the house and spent some time with Keith and AD (his girlfriend), and my parents.

Then I slept until 9:30! I was so tired, I fell asleep while JB sat and watched Iron Chef. I didn't think I would be so interested, but this morning I wanted to know who won.

We now need to do some quick shopping -- primarily for bathing suits. For some reason we couldn't find any in the Polar North before we left.

I will try to update you once more tomorrow before we head out. I am very excited.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Snow Plows are loud and aren't in Florida

I have decided that one thing I definitely won't miss when we leave for Florida tomorrow is snow plows. You get a big snow and then you get a loud scraping snow plow at about 3 a.m. in the morning.

We are driving to Minneapolis at 5:30 today. Actually we are going to stop and see the Jones', stop and see Ajit, and then get a ride to Byron & Beth Bailey's house from a friend from Bible Study. Susan and Barbara are sisters from Germany. We are going to let them use our car while they are gone so they are going to take us to Beth's house. I used to work with Beth at RLS. We are going to stay there because our flight is at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning and would require us to leave our house here around 5:00 or 5:30 tomorrow morning.

Sunshine here we come. I can also promise I will not get woken up by a snow plow for at least two weeks! Yipeeee!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A nephew

Well JB's brother Ray and his wife Gabbi had their second child today -- a nameless boy who weighed seven pounds or so (can you tell I got the details through men?!). They were scheduled for a c-section on Monday but instead had their c-section this morning after Gabbi started having contractions last night.

The early arrival means the baby is currently still nameless. John thought Raymond Nathan Kit. and that he would be called Nathan but that hasn't been finalized yet as far as I know. I also know that Gabbi still has laundry on her floor that she didn't have time to do. (Gabbi told me this on Instant Messenger before they left.)

I will post more when I know more.

I will also try to post some pictures of our snow storm! We heard 10 inches but I don't know for sure.

Congrats Ray & Gabbi!

P.S. The blue font is for a boy. Get it?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Pics from the weekend

It's Tuesday night and with Tuesday comes, Karuna.

Karuna is currently rearranging our shoes by the front door. There doesn't appear to be much rhyme or reason to her organization. She moves them from one side to the other and back again. I gave her her Christmas presents tonite. She didn't seem very impressed. The wrapping paper, however, was very exciting.

We are currently preparing for a large snow storm which is supposed to come in over night. I am going to try and take some before and after pictures out my window (if it isn't too dark) to let you see the progression of our snow storm. Anyways, I promised some pictures from our weekend adventures and here they are!

Calvin the heart surgeon reacts to the news that John's heart is pumping well!
(Actually this was his reaction when he gave a correct clue in the game but the first explanation was much more exciting!)

John explains how Calvin operated on his stomach instead of his heart. "I thought he was a heart surgeon, but he was obviously confused." (Another joke! This is "Time's Up" in action!)

Dinner and deep discussion. On the agenda: Equal taxation (with or without representation -- doesn't matter), medical care: a right or a privilege?, embryo freezation discussionation.

More discussionation of deep topics. This is one of the rare moments that Karen is not giving her two cents (just kidding Karen -- we respect your quiet contemplation.)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Quick caps of days gone by

We've had a fairly busy weekend.

Saturday morning: Tara and I went and did our Saturday morning step class. This class is tough. It's 45 minutes of advanced step and 45 minuts of toning. However, what's more tough about it is that we have to get there at 8:00 to reserve a step for the 8:30-10:00 class! Yikes. But with a partner, I am much less likely to roll over and go back to sleep when the alarm goes off. (Who am I kidding? I am usually up before the alarm!) JB goes as well (not to step -- "Are you crazy?" <-- JB's words). He bikes or runs for an hour and then reads in the atrium (which is not an aviary as I have accidentally called it on a few different occasions. There are NO birds in there) until we are done.

Saturday evening: We went to a Christmas party for the CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Association) Bible Study that we attended. It was at the house of our physician sponsor. We had a wonderful evening and I ate way too much food."Operation Bikini" went out the window. John's response when I told him how many brownies I ate: "What kind of soldier are you anways?" Oh well.

Sunday: We went to 9:00 service and then I went to work from 10:30-12:00. Later that evening we had the Jones' and the Wans (Calvin and Karen) over for dinner, dessert (thanks to Lesley -- I can always count on her for that), and then a game of Times' Up. Dave has become unstoppable in that game while Calvin improved each round thanks to Dave and JB memorizing what was on the card! Nice job.

Monday: After work, JB and I went over to Ron & Ebby's where Tara joined us for the 3 hour Survivor finale. Good job Danni (the winner -- do you NOT watch Survivor?) We ate Italian together and had a good time telling everyone to be quiet so I could hear every detail of the finale. I am a fair bit finatic.

I do have some pictures from our weekend that I need to post. I will work on that after work today. We are expecting a very large snowstorm tomorrow (Wednesday). It is supposed to finish up by Thursday evening. Praying for NO snow on Friday or Saturday so our flight leaves with no problems!

Sunday evening:

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Who cares if I am tall?!? I am bleeding for crying out loud!

So JB and I went to Hobby Lobby the other day. Not somewhere we have actually ever been before but our godson Sam wanted art supplies for Christmas so we ventured out.

While there, we spotted candles 50% off! We meandered down the aisle, pulling off glass lids and smelling them, filling our cart with cheap candles.

It was the fifth candle that did me in.

I twisted the lid, that glass broke, and I sliced my palm. My doctor-to-be husband grabbed my hand, and immediately noted that I did not need stitches. I agreed (and I am a professional with this type of stuff you know) , but we both realized we needed a bandaid or a paper towel or something -- fast. My palm was filling up with blood while we stood there.

John started looking for someone to help us and just about this time, this young Hobby Lobby employee came down the aisle. John asked her for a bandaid. She looked at my hand, saw the pool of blood, looked up at me and said (and I quote) "Oh my gosh your are freakin' tall!"

Now those of you that know me well know how I feel about this. I think telling someone they are tall (or asking them where they find clothes that big, or how the weather is, or if they play basketball, or how big their feet are, or how they found a husband their height, or if they are on stilts etc.) is the same as telling someone they are fat or ugly or short. I think allowing your child to stare at someone because they are tall and encouraging them to do this is the same as reminding them to point at the midget or the guy in a wheel chair when he passes you in the mall. I also think turning around and saying, "Well yes she is tall isn't she. I betcha she's as tall as your daddy. I betcha she plays basketball," is also unacceptable.

I have gotten in discussions with many of you reading this about just that topic. If you are a guy, you don't think it is a big deal. My brother could care less if someone says something to him about being tall. I don't feel the same way. Many of you don't agree with me and many people in the general public feel the same. They think being tall is considered a good thing and therefore, staring is permitted. This got me to thinking about other physical attributes that could be considered good things. Is it okay to encourage your child to stare at a woman with a large chest? Is that a good thing? What about someone who is very skinny? Isn't skinny a good thing? I don't know. I think the whole, "it's okay to stare at you and make comments about you because tall is a good thing" is kind of a crappy excuse.

We didn't respond to the woman in the Hobby Lobby aisle. I was too busy concentrating on my precarious walking as we followed her to the frame shop to find a bandaid so that the blood stayed in my palm. JB was actually a little fired up. When we climbed into the car later he said, "I couldn't believe that girl. I thought she was going to say, holy cow look at your hand and instead, while you are bleeding, she's worried about how tall you are."

I have to say that one of the perks with living in the north is the decreased frequency of tall comments that I get here. I was actually on the elevator the other day with two other women who were close to my height and one short male doctor. When the other two women got off on a floor he said to me, "you know you are in Minnesota when you can ride an elevator with three six foot tall women." There are a lot more tall women here than there are in the south and there are especially more tall women here than there are in the mostly Hispanic south Florida area.

When I tell people how often people comment about my height in south Florida they are often shocked. But it is the truth. I have decided that to prove this, next week, when I head home to Florida, I am going to compile all the comments I receive and the frequency I receive them and post one blog that details the rudeness. I think this will also make receiving the comments slightly more enjoyable because they will add to proving my point.

Now that I say this, this will probably be my first Christmas of no comments. I'll probably be walking through the mall getting mad at people for not saying something. Speaking of the mall, sometimes, people appreciate your tallness at the mall. I vividly remember one time, when I was about 12, that a little boy let go of his balloon in the mall. My dad walked over and decided to help. Unfortunately, even he was a few inches too short. He laughed and told the parents that the only way he could get the balloon is if they let him hold their kid above his head to grab it. Before we realized it, they were handing them their son and my dad was holding him high above his head as the year old little boy grabbed his balloon and stopped crying. Everyone in the food court started applauding. That was a good tall moment.

So anyways, about those tall comments. Tune in later for more.

Oh, and just to let you know, my hand is fine ... and so are my feelings.

Friday, December 09, 2005

What's Burning?

Things I have learned in the past two and a half years:

1. Doctors are normal people.
2. A dusting is NOT snow (for my Kentucky compadres).
3. The wind is a nasty thing.
4. Soup is a very important staple.
5. Oatmel is a very important staple.
6. I wish I liked warm drinks more.
7. People can get frost bitten without being stupid.
8. People who cross country ski are dumb.
9. It looks a lot warmer outside when you are sitting in your living room.
10. You should not let #9 dictate how you dress to go outside.
11. Icicles can develop in a house.*
12. Doctors are not normal people.
13. TV's don't last forever.**
14. Garages are very important.
15. Unattached garages are rather stupid and practically defeat the purpose of having a garage.
16. Coat closets can be used for more than just Christmas decorations and umbrellas.
17. A mud room is needed for things other than wiping off beach sand!
18. No matter how careful you are, the ice will eventually win a round and your butt will lose a round.
19. Why there are so many old people in Fort Lauderdale (see #3,7,18, 21,22).
20. Hearing about laying by the pool is not helpful and does not make me "feel" warmer.
21. Fifteen degrees is cold.
22. Fifteen degrees is warm if the previous day was thirty degrees colder.
23. If you smell something burning, it could be your TV.**
24. Layering is not a "style".

*We went beyond frost this week and actually had an icicle. Today we heard it fall and break.

**For days we have been smelling something burning. Today the TV shut off on its own and began to smoke -- thus the origin of the burning smell.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Steps to Surviving a -29 degree day

Today, it was -29 degrees with windchill. While I am still adamantly against complaining about the weather, I still think that is important to educate the public (primarily all the people who live in Florida) of how to survive a cold Minnesota day. I especially thought this was important after all the wonderful emails I received today mocking the fact that it was ONE HUNDRED degrees colder in Minnesota today than it is Fort Lauderdale to educate you STUPID FLORIDIANS! (I am not jealous ... I am not jealous ... I am not jealous ... I am not jealous ... I am not jealous.)

I have two pairs of these boots -- in brown and in black. I wear these with warm socks. You can also see the tights that I wear under my jeans as well. My first winter I did not know about the tights and my second year I was still not wearing boots everyday. Now I wear boots everyday. If my boots don't match, I wear them and change my shoes when I get to work.

Okay, now pay attention. The key to warmth is layers. Here you will notice three layers. The shirt underneath, the sweater, and then the pullover jacket.

I add another layer to this with another coat.

Okay I have now added gloves and a scarf and a hat. This scarf is really not thick enough. I've been looking for a thicker one I really like.

On really cold days I wear a pullover over my hat to keep the back of my neck warm. Then I add the scarf. I wrap the scrap around my face. This can cause difficulty with my glasses fogging but it is worth the inconvenience.

On days that are not quite as cold, you have option to do the "New York" tie to the scarf. This is warm as well but is dangerous as it leaves a significant amount of space exposed.

Children, as illustrated by Karuna above, must also prepare for the cold. Karuna can't move, but she is warm!

Karuna and Wendi minus Wendi's facial covering.

Okay, this is a recent tool we have uncovered. These are heating pads that slip into specially designed socks. These help keep your feet warm when you are in the house. Cold feet is a real problem in the cold.

My friend Kristen made me the rice bean bag warmer when I told her that JB is against electrical currents running through blankets and whatnot. You put this in the microwave for 3 minutes and it keeps your feet warm for hours.

Another HUGE problem in the winter is very dry skin. We run a humidifier in both rooms but my hands are just so chapped. These are gloves that actually dispense lotion from inside them. These are amazing! Once the lotion runs out, you can actually put your own lotion on and then the gloves.

Okay, not that you know all the steps, you are ready to come visit me in the winter in Minnesota. I do find it ironic though that we had so much company from March until November and now, nothing. What's with that!?!?