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Living in Kansas City...dreaming of Napa.



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Monday, February 14, 2011
Im greatly vexed

I have no comment about how long its been since I last blogged here. I have no excuse except for a zillion of them but no matter.

My brain is full, so here we find ourselves again, dont we?

Its been a brutal Winter so far. Lots of snow and ice, even more than usual. In December and January we liked it because it made us feel cozy. Now it is merely a nuisance and keeps us in doors when we want to be out. The snow is piled high along the side of the roads and has turned an ugly brownish gray color and we look at it as we drive by and only wish it were gone. We have no lingering memories of its beauty. Its funny how quickly it turned for us. We are fickle beings, arent we? It reminds me of our Christmas tree. It was a tall, lovely tree, decorated with sparkly lights and hand placed decorations and we sat in front of the fire and admired it almost every night. But there was a day when I pulled into the drive and saw the tree lying by the side of the curb, covered in snow and turning brown and it made me feel sad at how quickly things change. I dont even remember when it happened, but it did and Im sorry for it.






That's not what is vexing me by the way. Although it did vex me some what when it happened.
What is well and truly vexing me is what happened today while at our local Target store. I know Ive shared happenings with you before from that store but today.. something so monumental happened that it has occupied my brain fully for the last 8 hours or more.
While in line at the check out, there was a man in front of me with a cart full of items.
Instead of reading the gossip magazines as I usually do, I glanced at the contents of his cart.

  • 23 bags of frozen peas (no more, no less)
  • 3 rolls of paper towels
  • 6 gallons of generic brand bleach
  • 2 packages of Trident Sugar-free gum


Ok, so you know how my mind works and I began to try and work out what he was doing with this stellar combination of items. I wanted to give him a medal for the outstanding-ness of his selection. I pondered and pondered... peas, towels, bleach.. Next I moved to the man himself. He was older, perhaps in his late 60s or even 70s with wild hair and a beard. But he was wearing normal clothes and comported himself quite sanely in my humble opinion. He didn't even mind that I was eying his coveted stash of peas and bleach. In fact, at one point, when the checker scanned the 19th bag of peas, I looked at him and said cheerfully, "THAT is a lot of peas!"
He simply smiled in an insane sort of way and said, "YES! YES IT IS!!!"

Theory:
He is a serial killer. He kills people by making them eat more frozen peas than the human stomach can handle. Then he cleans up the mess (I dunno, ruptured stomach or something) with paper towels and bleach and then calls a cab to make his get-away after chewing on some Trident gum to ensure his breath is Oh-So-Fresh.

Secondary Theory: He likes peas and dazzling white clothing and Trident teeth. Paper towels were ancillary.

As you may be able to tell, Im still greatly vexed by this experience. Its midnight and Im thinking about it still. What say you?



How about a little food?

This is a pork ragout I made out of pork butt and bacon... slow cooked for a whole day with garlic and other herbs and some good red wine. I hand made the pappardelle  pasta which turned out wonderful and served it with some great french bread and a good Chianti.



And the finished product



And.. next- dinner at Michael Smith- absolutely FANTASTIC! I didnt get pictures of all the food because we kept forgetting to take pictures but this photo was of D's dinner which was lamb chops in a wild mushroom and red-wine reduction sauce. I had the duck which was equally amazing.



Next we have my famous stuffed mushrooms which I usually make for special occasions because they are so fattening. My excuse this time was that it was Tuesday in February which seemed to us, as good a reason as ever for large quantities of dairy products stuffed into fungi.



And last but not least on the food front- was dinner at Chaz. This photo is a picture of my entree which was medium rare duck over fingerling potatoes and topped with a vanilla butter sauce. I wasnt sure Id like the sauce but it was simply AMAZING!
We also had stunning, mind blowing pumpkin raviolis in a sage, brown butter and brown sugar sauce that I would go back for... just to have THOSE again!





Just back from a week in Orlando, FL. What a great time we had! It was 4 days of fun with me and D and his Aunt and Uncle who live there, and then 4 LONGGGGGG days of meetings for work that seemed to never end. What is the point of flying a bunch of type-A, hyper people to a beautiful place like this and keeping them locked up in conference rooms for 9 hours a day???  At least they fed and liquored us WELL. Open bar every night for 5 hours. UGHHHH

D and I decided to make the best of it by going 4 days early and seeing the sights and Uncle E and Aunt B showed us an amazing time! We got to see Disney, Epcot and Universal as well as having a great Super Bowl party at their lovely home.
Here is a picture of the resort  where THE COMPANY put us up. Not too shabby even though we didnt get to see much of it.

View from our room:





Filed under: OTHER

Its late and as usual Im tired but I wanted to share this with you because it makes me laugh and come up with an entirely new story for it every time I look at it.

I caption it:

"We were just playin.. and well... "



Can you caption your own story on this one?

I cant promise to blog every day but I do miss this place so will work harder to blog more often. New job is awesome, school is harder than I expected and everything else simply keeps chugging along. I want the Winter to be over. I wish for the Spring and crack the windows in my kitchen from time to time even though its cold, just to remind me.

I hope you all are well and had a fabulous Christmas!

Dont eat too many frozen peas.











Posted at 2/14/2011 12:44:09 am by Alexus
Something To Say?  

Sunday, November 07, 2010
Sunday pondering

WOW a lot has gone on since I last posted here. Particularly in the realm of politics.

(This means Dark, you can skim over the top part.. ;)

We watched the election returns with a very good, very expensive bottle of wine and were only disappointed in a few cases. More than anything I could hope for, I wanted Harry Reid to lose. Of course, he didn't. In my opinion, we put forth a weak candidate and I don't say that because she was a Tea Party favorite- (I'm a Tea Party fan in most cases) I say that because she appeared to have a screw or two loose in every interview or debate I watched her in. No matter, she lost. We did the happy dance here in the F. household including Bailey when we knew that Nancy Pelosi was going to have to hand her gavel to a Republican so that made up for almost everything else.
It was a very good night.

Then we had the rallies by Colbert and Stewart which were supposedly designed to mock the Glenn Beck rally. From what I saw of them, they looked like a bunch of people who were out to have a good time more than anything else and isn't that the beauty of America? I can illustrate this by some of the signs held by the attendees at the rally.











Seem like a harmless bunch to me, but what do I  know.

In California, the Comrades that make the rules there have decided to outlaw toys in Happy Meals from McDonalds. Of course, they know better than we do what is right for our children. What amazes me is that we have been allowed for so long to make our own decisions! How have we and our children survived? Well thank heavens all that pesky decision  making has been eliminated for us.






In other politics, we saw Dear Leader, President Present come on national television the day after the election and try to act humble. This is something of a challenge for him and he didn't do a very good job of it. Of course his spin on the election, which he called a "Shellacking" was that the American people simply didn't "UNDERSTAND" his ideas. It wasn't that they rejected those ideas- we just were too stupid to get them.
It is this kind of elitist, disdain for all things American that turn people off from Obama. While I get that not all people educate themselves on the issues before they vote, Id venture to say that in this particular election, people on both sides took the time to understand and to VOTE. We spoke with our votes and what I heard was pretty clear. WE DON'T WANT YOUR SOCIALIST, EVER-GROWING, INTRUSIVE GOVERNMENT. No thanks. The polls continue to reflect this message and its one that Obama doesn't get.




I told you it was a big week. We also saw the "indefinite suspension" of LIBERAL LOOZER Keith Olbermann. MSNBC suspended him for making donations to a bunch of  liberals that everyone on earth knows he supports. While I don't agree with their decision, they were within their legal rights to do so. What has been even more entertaining than that, has been watching the absolute melt-down of the liberals over this. I need only go over to visit the wackos at The Huffington Post to get my giggles. Every day there are posts by the unwashed masses there calling for people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to be "REMOVED FROM THE AIRWAVES" as soon as possible. There is wailing and gnashing of teeth over the "evil these people spread on TV and radio" and how they must be stopped. However, when a  liberal is fired, its pure, blatant censorship. Pointing this out to them, using their VERY OWN POSTS from days before makes no difference. I actually had someone respond to me on a message board there saying that censorship was indeed a good and liberal thing when it gets rid of evil conservatives, but was very, very bad when it pertained to a liberal. Her excuse: "The media is full of conservative voices. All media is controlled by the right."

 I wonder if she typed with with a straight face?




For a little drama around the home front, we have had some fun with our landscaping company. They asked for a list of all the "Fall clean up" things we needed done to the yard.

We sent them this:
1. Prune and shape all bushes and trees.
2. Clean out dead ivy in gardens.
3. Remove dead shrub that has grown over the sidewalk in front.
4. Mulch all flowerbeds.

What we got:
Day 1, Thursday: pruned bushes in front yard.
(D called and asked about the other items)

Day 3, Monday: pruned bushes in back yard. Left the rest.
(D called to complain about the remaining items)

Day 4, Tuesday: Cleaned out dead ivy. Left the rest.
(D called again...)

Day 5: Thursday: Manager comes out to view the remaining items and apologize. He promises all remaining items will be done and will not charge us for a replacement shrub. I carefully show him the dead shrub in question along with the other items.


Day 6: Friday: Healthy shrub in front garden is removed and replaced. Dead shrub still there. No mulch, anywhere.

In order to be helpful, I prepared this handy graph for D which shows the likelihood of him getting all the needed work done by the landscaping company.




Day 7: D gives up and gives The Beast my helpful graph.



How about some food?
We had dinner at one of our favorite places the other night called Room 39.
I had the duck and D had pan seared scallops. D says that my duck is better which is why I love him and why I'm making it for his birthday dinner this week!




The Beast had a little fun this week after a package was delivered. Of course, she assumes that any and all items delivered to the house are for her, along with the containers. Luckily I was able to salvage my item while D amused her with the box.



AND FINALLY... something USEFUL!

This may be the single most valuable invention. EVER. Are you tired of having your lunch stolen by greedy co-workers? Sick of looking forward to that yummy ham sandwich and finding only an empty baggy?
Finally- a baggie that is pre-printed with mold on it. Simply put your sandwich in, deposit it into the communal refrigerator and never again worry about someone stealing your lunch.
I love it. I must meet this inventor. MUST.







Posted at 11/7/2010 6:11:52 pm by Alexus
Something To Say?  

Saturday, September 25, 2010
Rainy Saturday

The Hubster is out wowing a crowd with his sax at a wedding tonight and The Beast and I are chilling together. We had a cold front move through yesterday and are enjoying the cool 54 degrees even though its been lightly raining most of the evening. For dinner tonight, I finally used up the last of the garden tomatoes and made some tomato basil bisque which was fantastic! I also grilled some shrimp on the indoor grill that I just tossed in olive oil, herbs, garlic, bread crumbs and a little Sriracha sauce for spice. I love having an indoor grill even though I hate having to clean it!

I'm always a little sad when the seasons change but this summer was so hot and humid that I threw a little party to see it go.







Im having a really nice Beringer Chardonnay now while The Beast drools on my feet and barks softly in her sleep.



We have been watching "Chopped" all evening. Its the show where professional chefs are given a basket of 4-5 weird ingredients and have to make a meal. They can use other ingredients too but the meal must contain all of the secret ingredients. The ingredients in the last competition were Blue fish, , passion fruit, ginger snap cookies and beef jerky. LOL
The winner simply amazed me. He made a breading out of the cookies he ground up and pan seared the fish with the breading on it. Then he took the beef jerky and fried it in some bourbon and sugar (like bacon bits), added vinegar and passion fruit, blended it and made a vinaigrette that he poured over a salad that he put the fish on top of.
I have NO idea how he came up with any of that but he won the round!
Im now disgusted with the amazing creativity of these guys so am turning it OFF.

Blahhh.


If we had a credible, unbiased media in this country, the New Black Panther/Justice Department voter intimidation case would already have brought down Obama's lawless, racist regime. But even deprived of oxygen, this outrageous scandal continues to grow:

Information obtained from the Obama Department of Justice by the Washington-based government monitor Judicial Watch appears to document that a political operative participated in the decision to drop large portions of a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party that essentially already had been won.

Judicial Watch announced in a statement … that it has forced the disclosure of the existence of documents "indicating [ultra partisan Obamunist] Democratic election lawyer Sam Hirsch was involved in the DOJ decision to dismiss its voting rights case against the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense."
In case you've been relying on the MSM for information, the case is about New Black Panther thugs, including the charming King Samir Shabazz, intimidating voters during the 2008 election. Here's video:






Nope.. no voter intimidation here... nothing to see.. move along..

In the aftermath of the open and shut case being thrown out on orders from above, former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams revealed that the DOJ under the "post-racial" Obama will not prosecute cases of human rights abuses where the defendants are black and the victims are white — a state of affairs that no reasonable person of any color would tolerate.

As with Watergate, the cover-up is expanding the scope of the scandal. Already, a level of political involvement has been revealed that was previously denied by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez. More revelations await, if investigators are tenacious enough to chip through the Manchurian Moonbat's trademark "transparency."

Story thanks to Moonbattery



The Last Best Hope

(expect goosebumps)




Written and created by Ben Howe



Things I dont need



From our friends at Etsy

"Hand-Made Customized "Face" Wall Clock - TRULY UNIQUE! Hand-Made AND TRULY ONE-OF-A-KIND"

How about a horrifying clock of grandma that will live on in your nightmares for the rest of your life?

Also from Etsy



Italic

"Beautiful hand sculpted figures that are made from your picture. These figures are created from your photo in cold porcelain. These figures are something you can not find in stores. One of a kind gifts or decorations. Great for home or office!"

I adore the fact that she points out you cant get these in stores. Unfortunately, she doesnt know WHY.

And- underwear, well.. .for the foot. We present The FOOT THONG. I could only sit here and imagine what sort of person would create this and the thought process that went in to it.





Signs of the times








Alright. The Beast and I are going to watch a movie in bed with an entire bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. (for me of course)


WHAT?

WHAT???



Posted at 9/25/2010 10:55:36 pm by Alexus
Something To Say?  

Saturday, September 18, 2010
The Party Of Alex




Just finished a rather tedious discourse with some raging liberals over at the bastion of wacko-leftists called the Huffington Post. Of course, they immediately attack a conservative any time one posts there but I like to rile them up now and then and between the three or four other conservatives writing, we easily rendered them silent with pesky things called facts. One question I get over and over again while posting there and on other liberal sites is why I am a Republican.

This isn't an easy answer because I believe my party has been almost as big a disaster at times as the "other guys." Also, my Mom taught me to never blindly follow any one and think for myself. Its gotten me this far, hasn't it? So, here is what I wrote to one flaming liberal who actually fanned me afterward so maybe there is hope.

I call it my declaration.

I have found no party that perfectly fits me. So I chose the one closest to my beliefs (for now). I'm for conservatism on spending and for smaller government. I believe in capitalism because it works. I believe that America is exceptional. I believe in God though I think God is many things to many people. I believe government is necessary to rule over anarchy so I pay my taxes but I'm tired of paying more than a third of my hard earned money towards waste and corruption. I don't mind giving people a helping hand, but it should be my choice, not someone else.

I believe our government is a spider web that is ever increasing in our lives and I don't support that. I'm tired of corruption (on both sides) and obscene government spending/waste. I believe in personal responsibility. I believe that my family and I can decide what's right for us- better than anyone else. I am against amnesty and for stronger border security. I'm pro capital punishment, particularly for people who commit crimes against children. I support gun owner rights. I'm for a strong military, though I want us out of both current wars.

I support the constitution which says that ALL people should have equal rights and that includes gay adults who want to marry. I believe the people who want to build the 9/11 cultural center have the absolute RIGHT to do so but personally feel its inappropriate. I believe that women have have the right to an abortion, though again, my personal opinion is that is the wrong choice.

The way I see it, I fit somewhat like a round peg in a square hole but most certainly on the side of Republicans and conservatives. Before I head out to dinner with The Man of My Dreams, I wanted to make this public declaration. I'm considering starting a party of my own. The Party of Alex!

This message was approved by me.

Posted at 9/18/2010 6:53:37 pm by Alexus
Something To Say?  

Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Chock-Full-O-Blog


Just back from 5 days in Vegas. We had a great time, basked in luxury and gave Steve Wynn most of our money. So, we decided we must return home and work to earn more money to give back to him next time. If you haven't had the opportunity to visit The Wynn,  I highly recommend it. We love Vegas and have stayed in many of the resorts there but this one was by far the most luxurious! We celebrated my birthday, my new job and Labor Day all in one! We splurged and got a Tower Suite which was very cool because its where the celebrities stay. They even have their own private entrance and drive for your limo so no paparazzi will see you when you check in and out. It also has its own private pool and private pool cabanas which was OUTSTANDING!

We pretended to be "someone" for 5 days, occasionally wearing big sunglasses and hats and skulking around as if we didn't want anyone to notice us.

No one did.  :(

A couple of photos:

The entrance gardens



The living room of the suite




The "Master bath suite"... we even had a "GUEST" bathroom complete with phone and television in it.

David, of course took all his important "calls" in there.

I couldn't get it all in the photo but the left side has a men's sink/vanity and dressing room and to the right, there is the same for ladies! I suppose some people travel with that many clothes and shoes that they need separate dressing areas and closets??





Bedroom at night.. too bad it was blurry- we didn't take a real camera.







And my blog would not be complete without some PHOOOD PHOTOS!

Dinner at Bartolotta- Kobe Beef fillet Mignon over creamy horseradish potatoes, broccoli rabe and baby carrots.



Spicy Lobster Pasta from Stratta  (link)





Seafood pasta from Bartolotta  (link)
You really MUST take a look at the place, outdoor pool side dining for dinner in private cabanas! I'm attaching the photo we took with the camera as no "real" cameras are allowed because there are often celebrities there. It was GORGEOUS! Floating silver spheres on the water, our own private tent and people bringing us FOOOOOD and WINE!!








My birthday cake and special dessert from "Alex"  (link)




WOW what a trip! The casino comped us about $1k in free food and stuff so even though we lost about $1k on gambling, I suppose we sort of broke even if you don't count the room and airfare! We are looking forward to going back SOON!


WORK

The job is going well... I spent the first 90 days studying and traveling which has been good for learning the job. Starting this week, I actually get to go out on my own and meet with my clients so I'm thrilled about that. My first big activity is tomorrow in Des Moines, Iowa where we are sponsoring a big golf tournament for a large law firm there. I get to do stressful stuff like drive a golf cart, drink beer, give away prizes and pay for the big dinner at the golf club! Not bad for a days work!



SURREAL LIFE

A few weeks ago I got my hair kind of chopped off because it was so hot. I decided my avatar should also reflect the chopping so here is how my hair looks now. I only wish I were as young and "waif-like" as my avatar... *sigh*  I took the photo in front of the lighthouse I imagine my Mom lives in now.  :)




PASSAGES

We celebrated my actual birthday at a fabulous place here in KC called EBT. My hubby took me out for a romantic dinner even though he was sick all week and on antibiotics. I ADORE that man!! The food photos didn't turn out very good but I did get this shot of our table side Bananas Foster with a candle!







POLITICS


What would my blog be without a few political items?

First, two that are submitted without comment.






I know, kind of snarky on both of those but I'm tired and ITS MY BLOG!!!

I did find a more interesting article that I thought you would enjoy. A sign of the times,  suppose but I'm beginning to wonder if we would be better off had this been a true story?




PROGRESS



As of 2012, normal light bulbs will be outlawed in the Land of the Free, due to a deal crony capitalists at General Electric worked out with corrupt congresscritters behind a smokescreen of preposterous enviromoonbat posturing. Instead, we will be forced to use flickering, expensive, child-unfriendly, and possibly carcinogenic compact fluorescent bulbs. These contain mercury, and therefore constitute a biohazard.

What to do with the old bulbs, since they're too toxic to throw in the trash? Could they charge you with terrorism if you mail them to your representative in Congress?

(Story thanks to Moonbattery.com)



In other good news Comrades-




NORTHGLENN, Colo. -- A high school student in Northglenn is upset that campus security told him to remove the large American flags flying from his pickup truck because it might make others uncomfortable.
My initial thoughts on the matter were more about how "uncomfortable" people might be had he rammed that flag pole right up their.... well, you get it.


STUFF THAT IS GOOD





TRUE BLOOD PAPER DOLLS!!

Finally, for all of us True Blood fans...Collect them all!





Alright.. its late and I must away to IOWA tomorrow. Having never been, I am quite sure I'm in for a gastronomical and terrestrial TREAT.

See you soon!



Posted at 9/7/2010 11:42:36 pm by Alexus
Something To Say?  

Sunday, August 15, 2010
Musings



Yesterday and today I got into several heated online discussions with liberals on the subject of the Islamic cultural center being proposed near ground zero. This has been something that has weighed on me since the story first broke and its time I tried to spell out my thoughts on the matter.

First and foremost, I want to say that I will always stand on the side of our constitution. If we dont, we may as well shred it and start over. I do not for a moment believe there are legal, constitutional grounds for stopping the building of this center. If there were a group of people fighting it on constitutional grounds, I would fight against them.

My stance is a little less "important" when making the final determinations. My feelings are based on just that- feelings. I dont live in New York, nor did I lose anyone personally on 9/11 but the polls say that the majority of Americans, particularly New Yorkers are opposed to this building. THAT my friends is what the real argument is about.

We are constantly pushed to be tolerant and understanding of people who are different from us so why then, are the American's feelings now irrelevant? Why then are those who simply oppose it because its not the right thing to do- called racists or bigots? When does the tolerance and understanding begin to go both ways?

The logical side in me says there is no valid reason and certainly no legal reason for it not to be built but there is a HUGE part of me that simply says- How about just doing the right thing for a change? I have come to believe that the right thing can now only be defined as the thing "against America" at least according to those currently in charge. We as Americans must ALWAYS take a back seat, in the interest of "fairness" and proving that we are no bigots. To that I say, What a LOAD of BULLSHIT.

We rarely even get into the nuts and bolts of the reason people are suspect about this center and its spiritual leader. No one wants to talk about that. While the press wants to present the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as a moderate Muslim clergyman, some of his statements point in a different direction. Among Rauf's Huffingtonian statements: that American policy was "an accessory to the crime" of 9/11 and that Osama bin Laden was "made in America."

Rauf will also not say whether he views Hamas, which intentionally slaughters civilians, has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, and advocates the extermination of both Israelis and Jews as a terrorist organization.

He explains his reticence by saying that "the issue of terrorism is a very complex question." Rauf also has ties to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), organizations created by the Muslim Brotherhood and named by the U.S. Justice Department as unindicted co-conspirators in a terrorism-financing case.

Again, we could dismiss all of the above because he is a "man of peace" and simply get back to the discussion, not of whats legal, or even what is common sense,  but of what is right.

I read a fascinating article by a moderate Muslim professor that was a voice of reason.
Akbar Ahmed, a professor at American University who is the author, most recently, of "Journey Into America: The Challenge of Islam wrote:  "Muslim leaders need to understand," he said, "that 9/11 remains an open wound for Americans. And it is wrong to rub salt into an open wound."

Indeed that is what they are proposing but we as Americans are no longer allowed to speak out about how we feel lest we be called bigots or racists. Were a Muslim or any other religion to speak out, their feelings are to be "understood" and treated with respect. Ours are merely "ugly, hateful words."

How far and how sad we have come.



From the Patriot Network regarding the Arizona law suit:





How about a little Google silliness tonight? I tried it.. it worked! I know, I know.. now Im a racist and a bigot.





Oh WHATEVER. Its MYBLOG.


Things I need

This is dedicated to my friend Kathy G who I miss a lot! She had several job interviews this week so send her your best thoughts and prayers!!!!







Here is the guy Im going to call when my MAC needs work....





Visual interpretation of a stream of consciousness... I LOVE IT!




WORDS from Everynone on Vimeo.




Alright.. Its late.. it was good to see you here again!

Nite!


Posted at 8/15/2010 3:26:03 pm by Alexus
Something To Say?  

Sunday, August 08, 2010
A fortuitous seating

I traveled all week and am incredibly tired. I miss this blog more than you know and every time I think I will write, I fall asleep. I spent the last 7 days in places like Dayton, Detroit and Chicago and after a few days, they all seemed to blend together.

It reminded me of the movie "Fight Club" where the guy called the people he met, "single serving friends." Each one is a different face, in a different city, only differentiated by the single serving of wine or pretzels or coffee they shared.

Some days, I am too tired or grouchy to speak to my seat-mate. Some days I like to talk. On my flight home to KC on Friday afternoon, I planned to ignore the person and sleep the entire flight home from Detroit, but it was not to be.

He was 21 and wearing an ill-fitting suit that was wrinkled but his cheeks were pink and he had a smile that I couldn't help but notice. It wasn't just a smile, but more a glow from within. I pulled out my iPad and began to read a book when he asked what the iPad was. I was surprised that a 21 year old wouldn't know what an iPad was but he explained that he had been living in rural Japan for 2 years and had little to no information about what was going on in the US. He had only spoken with his family on a few phone calls over the years and was happy but nervous to be heading home finally.

It turns out that he is a Mormon missionary who devoted 2 years of his life to service before he heads off to college. I couldn't not talk to him after that statement!

He told me that most of the young men pledge two years of service with the goal of simply spreading the word of Christianity (not Mormonism) where ever they are stationed. He lived with 2 other young people and a "guide" in over a dozen of the poorer provinces in Japan. They were up at 6 am for 4 hours of school and then spent  another few hours just out on the streets talking to people about God. He didn't believe it was his role to convert people, nor was it his role to push any particular religion- more about sharing the beauty that is the word of God.

After several hours on the streets, they then volunteered at building homes, schools or doing carpentry work.

He told me stories about the people he met and the sights he had seen. He learned to speak Japanese fluently. He met people who had never even heard the word of God and spent days listening to Buddhists to understand the beauty of that religion. He prayed in a temple and on a street and in a tiny shack.
He slept for two years in strange apartments on a woven mat, living on less than a thousand dollars a month US, which is what the mission provided him with.

His eyes lit up again and again as he talked about the beauty of the places and the people with not an ounce of judgment visible in his face. He ate the strangest of foods without hesitation when it was offered. He sang out loud in foreign churches in very foreign languages.  He wandered streets with the fearlessness of the innocent. He worked in the rain beside people building a small bridge across a stream and thanking God, no matter what you call him for the blessings he saw.

Now he was going home and all he could think of was how his family would see him. Would they recognize how much he'd changed and grown? Would they understand that he was a changed man- and yes, a man?  The man I clearly could see and was in awe of...

I could have spoken to him for hours and not only because I was fascinated by him and the incredible guts and heart it would have taken for a 19 year old to take a leap of faith and go to such a different culture. But more than that, I was amazed at what he brought away from that journey. It wasn't how different people are, or how different their food is, or how strange their gods are...
His focus and what he told me he will always  remember- was the sheer beauty of people and their spirits.

How many of us will ever experience what he has seen or see as clearly as he does now?

When we arrived at the airport, there was a large crowd of people waiting for him with balloons and signs and amazingly- a woman he met in Japan who had been homeless. He met her on the street and she ended up coming to the US because of that meeting. His family took her in and in the fall, she is attending college here in Kansas. She was front and center in that jubilant crowd and I simply couldn't help but hug all of them and thank his parents for raising such an amazing young man.

Sometimes, seating arrangements are fortuitous. Sometimes, they leave an indelible mark on our lives.

Here is a photo from my camera phone- not very clear and could only get a few of the crowd,  but you can see him on the right and the Japanese woman next to him. His family all wore shirts with the letters of his name- David, but two of his brothers hadn't arrived yet so their shirts spelled out-
DA   D... his mother explained this to me as she cried and showed her pride.

Tonight, I'm thinking of him, sleeping in a bed not far from here, trying to acclimate to his "new life" in Kansas. He leaves in three weeks for college at Brigham Young University in Utah.

God Speed David!




Just a few food photos because I haven't shared them...

Dinner at Plaza III.....

Starting with "Colossal Shrimp cocktail"




And thick cut, medium rare prime rib....





And.. the big PAYOFF for The beast...

The BONE.





Even though its late and my BRAIN is tired and its already almost MONDAY again....

a couple of political funnies.. because its MY BLOG and I can write what I wanna.






Finally...


A big SHOUT OUT to my friend Dark... who has like me, been on a new and epic journey.... and perhaps we have both discovered things about ourselves we hadn't known.

CHEERS!!


Posted at 8/8/2010 11:40:45 pm by Alexus
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010
And the rest....

So the second night of our St Louis get away was spent at one of our favorite French places called Chez Leon. You simply cant beat it for fresh, fabulous French food!

D had one of his most favorites- grilled lamb chops that were served with a red wine reduction and potato gratin.




I had the same thing I had last time we were there because I couldn't stop thinking about it. Roast chicken rubbed with herbs and tucked under the skin was some rich fois gras... it melted during the roasting and just made the chicken SUCCULENT!



Desert was what might have been the most amazing desert Ive ever had that wasnt chocolate! It was baked apples in puff pastry covered in the most delectable, buttery caramel sauce.... WOW





And for last night's dinner at home-  a fresh green salad with all kinds of goodies and home made shallot vinaigrette... and copper river salmon grilled over apple and hickory wood, served with parmesan risotto and haricots verts. Paired tonight with Simi Chardonnay. Looks like I moved when I tried to take the salad pic and its not quite clear. Blahh...





And finally- flowers from my garden!



Politics




Color me SHOCKED.

A new study by the Minnesota Majority found that at least 341 convicted felons in heavily Democratic Minneapolis-St. Paul who voted illegally in the 2008 Senate race. And it looks quite likely that felons gave Franken his narrow Senate victory.
The six month vote recount in the Senate race was a torturous process. The morning after November 4, 2008 election, Senator Norm Coleman lead Al Franken by 725 votes. Correcting for typos cut Coleman's margin to 215, and a recount by all the counties reduced it further to 192.
Once the state canvassing board had looked into the intent of voters and counted 953 previously rejected absentee ballots, the final total had reversed that count and handed Franken a 312 vote victory.
This should not be a surprise, especially after the results of the Minnesota Majority study. With this small number of votes separating the two candidates even just hundreds of illegal voters can alter the outcome. By any measure, felons overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

NO MOSQUE Rally at Ground Zero


The rally was organized by Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) on June 6, 2010 at the corner of Church Street and Liberty Street near Ground Zero.

Thousands of New Yorkers gathered to protest the construction of a Mega Mosque 600 feet away from the WTC in the building formerly known as the Burlington Factory - a big clothing store that closed in the aftermath of 9/11 after it was damaged by the debris from one of the planes. Click for more info.

Americans always welcome all kinds of ethnic and religious minorities as individuals - as long as they embrace the American ideas of liberty, equal rights, and tolerance.

But if such people reject American values, forfeit their individuality, and join a destructive and deceptive cult that is antithetical to liberty, equal rights, and tolerance toward others - they also forfeit their right to be tolerated by Americans. They are no longer welcome. Story and more photos at Peoples Cube.





And one more before I go... just because its MY BLOG AND I CAN POST WHAT I WANT TO.




Posted at 7/14/2010 11:02:58 pm by Alexus
Something To Say?  

I know... I KNOW!

My poor blog has been neglected but its not without me thinking of it and missing it.

Have you ever had so much information thrown at you that your head simply cannot absorb any more? That is where I am, and while I love it, I should be using this blog to empty my head once in a while.




Question- Whose idea was it for me to take a really hard core new job AND go back and get a Political Science degree at the same time? Oh.. that's right. never mind. So, Im loving it.. loving the courses but not the homework and papers due and staying up late after studying for work to get the stuff done. Not complaining you see as I know how many people would love the opportunities Ive been blessed with! I just have to keep SLOGGING away! Two semesters down, and a 3.95 average and the Deans Honor Roll!!




Work.. what can I say? They told me it would take a minimum of 1-2 years to learn all the legal solutions we offer and that is ABSOLUTELY GAWDARN right. Im studying night and day and going through more than 300 online training modules before I go to Ohio the first week of August for an in person training course. I think it helps that I already know much of this stuff but its more about how the technical tools WORK than the legal terminology.

I got to spend 2 days in the field with a colleague in Wisconsin this week and it was terrific. She was a practicing prosecuting attorney for 8 years before she joined our company and has now been with them for 14 years. She is a bulldog out there and the attorneys love her and respect her. I can only hope to be as good as she is after a little while but my impatience drives me and my new boss insane. I want to know EVERYTHING NOW- AND make a fortune!

No vacation time here this summer since I just started so will save it all for Christmas but my territory is doing relatively well and all of my firms are locked in to contracts for at least a year which should give me time to learn everything.

I want to give a shout out to my ROCKSTAR cousin Denette who cracked MULTIPLE bones while slalom water-skiing over fourth of July. Not only did she break bones.. but they had to get her in the boat.... then haul her back to the shore and over the docks to an ambulance. They have postponed her surgery for another week until the swelling has gone down. We usually spend 4th there with the family but didnt have any vacation this year so missed all the drama! My love and admiration to her as she is a champion skier and FIERCE when it comes to dealing with pain!

Send good thoughts and prayers to Warrior NETTY!!!!







Food:

I saved you a couple of photos from a weekend trip to St Louis that I thought you would enjoy. We went to two 5 star restaurants that we adored and we took pictures when we could.

First night was SLEEK steakhouse, owned by one of our favorite chefs- Hubert Keller. We did the Chefs tasting menu called " BEEF AROUND THE WORLD" and it certainly was!!

First course was Kobe Beef Carpaccio for D



Since I dont eat RAW meat... they made me a special first course of braised Oxtail cannelloni which was TO DIE FOR!!! It was served in a delicate red wine reduction and stuffed with oxtail and CHEESE!





Next course was Kobe Beef sliders which were melt in your mouth and this is the first time I could definitely tell the difference between regular hamburger and KOBE. It was served on a house made bun with house made pickles and shoestring potatoes.



Next course was Kobe Beef Asian skewers. These were cooked rare and basted in a spicy pepper sauce that was fantastic. We could have gobbled more than two of these!
 They were also served with fresh, tempura fried veggies!



Next course was a braised short rib in a cabernet/pinot sauce which MELTED IN MY MOUTH!!! If I had to select one course from the meal to only have, it would have been this one.




Next course was the sorbet to "cleanse the palate" for the main entree.. like we needed an ENTREE for GODSAKE! However, this was incredible... it was a basil sorbet with fresh berries and may have been the most refreshing thing Ive ever tasted!




The main "entree" was filet Mignon cooked medium rare. David's was topped with fresh fois gras which I dont eat so they put a quarter fresh lobster on mine!! WOOOHOOO!! They were served with a rich potato gratin and a wild mushroom and spinach ragout.





Yeah... I KNOW!

So finally, the desert was a combination of several fabulous items including a chocolate torte, an orange napoleon  and the most amazing cherries jubilee with fresh spearmint ice cream!
I think.. we could have died then and just been happy from a culinary perspective!! And yeah... that ice cream was as creamy as it looks!!
WOW.




Ok, I have the second night's worth of photos from a French place to share as well as dinner tonight at home but its almost midnight and I must get to bed. I promise to come back tomorrow and finish the photos as well as give a brief synopsis of how THE MESSIAH is ruining our country every single day. And you know, he has given me plenty of topics for discussion!!

Politics

Just a TASTE of political red meat...
If you arent following the fact that the Obama administration has dropped the charges against the Black Panthers who were CLEARLY trying to intimidate voters.. while carrying a BASEBALL BAT.... NO intimidation here..


You DECIDE? Attorney General Holder says- there isnt any clear evidence against the guys...(Really??)




So- Megyn Kelly on Fox News goes after Kristen Powers (weak, whiny, liberal bureau-weenie)..... and I think that Megyn DEVOURS this silly woman. I think she sends her whiny ass packing....RAWWWWRRRRRR....
What say you??




OK... SLEEP CALLSSSSSSSSNighters!!

Posted at 7/14/2010 1:46:31 am by Alexus
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Monday, June 21, 2010
I havent vanished!

Just buried in learning new stuff at the new gig! Not sure if I mentioned it back in Jan but I also decided to go back to school and get a degree in Political Science- just BECAUSE...(and you know how I love my politics!) So between learning the new job (with volumes of treatises and statutes I have to know) and studying for school, Im swamped!

Tons to blog about...and a VERY full brain! Do I sound smarter already?

I promise Ill be back soon- will blog this weekend for sure. Just to give you a little somethings-

Dinner on Sunday was Duck leg confit and grilled duck breast with truffled mashed potatoes and sauteed sugar snap peas. As usual, we ordered the duck from Hudson Valley farms and had it shipped on ice. JUST AMAZING!! Served with J Lohr Pinot Noir.




Second- we have had dreadful storms here in good old OZ, where the tornadoes roam. Nothing damaging other than some serious flooding but the worst is how it impacts The Beast. She has spent the last 3 weeks hiding under D's desk and will rarely come out for fear of thunder. See diagram.
 
Bless her pointed little head..



And finally, just because I cant blog without a few swipes at Dear Clueless Leader:





I know. I could go ON and ON but Im sooo tired and my brain hurts.

I think Im gonna need a bigger head.

This weekend!!! I promise!


Posted at 6/21/2010 10:07:36 pm by Alexus
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WAIT!! LOOK!

THERE'S MORE, MORE, MORE!

YOUVE MISSED PAGES OF MY BEST STUFF!!

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