Awesome and inspiring...

Barack Obama: Closing Argument (Full Speech)

I've already voted...have you?

Do you ever wonder...

...what your babies might look like? That is, for those of you whom haven't had them. I think it's only natural to be curious what your DNA swirled with your mate's DNA would look like.

Well wonder no's handy online generator that shows you results in less than a minute. That's WAY better than waiting a whole nine months, now isn't it? Or in our case, probably closer to nine years! So, in case you're just dying to know...

Here's our results:

This is the one I think it probably most accurate, it actually looks like a couple of baby pictures of me:

Check out the eyebrows! I mean, isn't it uncanny? If you've seen a baby pic of me you know what I mean. This is the pic I used in the generator:

Well that's enough of that! I know a lot of you are waiting for me to proclaim my baby rabies! Well, not just yet, okay?

On another cheery note...gas is down again! $2.06 today! I just know we'll see it under $2.00 soon, which I made a bet on with J last month or so when the numbers seemed to drop dramatically everyday! I will say I am loving filling up our CRV for $26. I remember when we bought it just over a year ago and how I nearly cried last Spring when it was $50 to fill 'er up. Sheesh!

The temps have rapidly dropped here in the past week...we are getting freeze warnings and this morning it was about 35 degrees out. It was sunny and clear all day and topped out at 60 degrees. I like it. Fall is my favorite time of year! So crisp and clean and you can wear sweaters and boots and not get too hot. I am hoping that when I get back from Honolulu we can take a drive to see the fall foliage. It'll just be prime time the second weekend in November. I depart for Hawaii on Thursday morning and will be there for 10 days. Normally, I'd be thrilled, but in this case, not-so-much. I will literally be inside the hotel or convention center about 16 hours a day! No hope of really hitting the beach or the pool unless it's before 7 am or after 10 pm. Ah, well. At least I will be in paradise, right?

Date night

I had to attend a meeting at work this morning and J had work when we got home we decided to have a little date. Especially since he's starting his new, part-time job at Mahogany Prime Steak House and I am off to Hawaii this week for our 10 day convention. I bought shoes for it feet are not looking forward to the 16 hour days on the convention floor! I am hoping that between my new Sketchers (a white pair and tan pair) and Cole Hahn/Nike Air shoes (black) that I won't be hating life by the second day! Something tells me that even though I will in Hawaii for 10 days, it will not be relaxing! At least I'll have the peace of a king suite in the Hilton Hawaii Villages famous Rainbow Tower.

Back to the date night....we had dinner and saw a movie...The Dutchess with Keira Knightly and Ralph Fiennes. Not uplifting at all, but very good. I cannot believe what that woman went through! And it all's a bio pic. We love a nice "period" was nice to have the time out together though.

We had a lag between dinner and the movie, so we walked through the mall. There is some EXCELLENT people watching at the mall! OMG! And I now remember why I don't do malls. I gave them up about 10 years ago... seriously! I prefer store OUTSIDE the Pier One or Target. Or, even better, shopping online.

Speaking of Target...I have come to realize, it's no longer appropriate for me to buy my work clothes or shoes there. For the past 10 years, not a problem for everyday, casual clothes, but now that I have to dress for business, it just doesn't cut it. So I am having to readjust my's tough to find well-made, good looking, quality clothing and shoes for under $20. That's what I generally spend on any one item...or less! So, today, I bit the bullet and actually spent $50 on a pair of boots and $35 on a pair of Sketchers. The only time in the past that I'd spend money on clothing was either for performance gowns (always under $250) and outerwear (my last coat cost $80).'s back to Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls as well as the sale racks at Kohls, JC Penny, and Macys. And every once in a while, Dress Barn or Lane Bryant. I am slowly trying to build my career wardrobe (since I have basically worn jeans and a t-shirt or sweater everyday for the past 10 years), one season at a time. It's gotten chilly this week, so I have picked up some new sweaters, slacks, tights and boots. They should suffice through the winter...

Good thing gas has continued to drop in price. It's now $2.19/gal. and continue to drop $0.01-0.03/day. I am hoping I see it under $2.00 soon! Especially since the less I spend at the pump the more we have to save (and buy new winter clothes, apparently). Also, J got a 25% raise at work and is taking on a few shifts/week at the steak house for added income. I put an ad out for some new students to teach a couple of nights a week. So we shall see. We really want to pay down debt and save some extra dough for when we're ready to buy a house. The housing market hasn't been hard hit here at all, but the predictions are that prices will drop slightly through 2009. So we want to be ready to take advantage of the deals when they are available.

Okay, I've rambled enough. Tonight was date night and it's not over....yet.

Ron Howard's Call To Action

Ron Howard wants to talk about the election. So does Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Cold, rainy, stormy day

Today started in the black. Literally. It was so cloudy that the sun didn't ever come out and the sky only went through a monochromatic shift of grays. I got to work at 6:50 am. I am trying my best to be an early bird so that as we "fall back" and lose daylight, I can be home with J and the furbabies by 3:30-4:00 pm and have an hour or so of daylight together. So I am trying. Today it worked. It was great getting home by 4:00 pm.

Back to the weather...we had thunder and lightening all day today. The temperature dropped from 62 degrees this morning to 52 degrees this afternoon. Brrr! I was prompted to order some sweaters and long pants on sale from today. I don't really have a winter wardrobe, save for the few items I have collected over the years for the annual NY audition trip. Living in the cold for 5 days is a little different than living in it day-in and day-out for 5 months. So sweaters and tights and long pants and boots it will be. What's odd is that I am getting all of my hot weather clothes together for 10 days in Hawaii next week for work. I depart for Honolulu a week from tomorrow. I can only imagine how cold it will be when we get back on November 9th.

Today I made my first spaghetti of the season. Here's the quick and easy recipe.

- 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I prefer Newman's Own) or make your own
- 1 lb. of ground turkey
- 1 package of Tukey Polska Kielbasa, sliced into bite size pieces
- fresh garlic, chopped
- salt, pepper and oregano to taste
- your favorite dried pasta (we use brown rice or quinoa pasta, you can also serve this over some steamed broccoli if you're laying off the pasta)

- Brown the ground turkey, season as desired, drain and set aside
- In the same pan brown the Polska Kielbasa
- Meanwhile, in a separate stock pot, simmer your sauce...add garlic and spices to taste
- Add drained turkey and Polska Kielbasa to the sauce, simmer until married
- In a separate pot boil water and prepare pasta
- Add mushrooms, chopped onions, etc. to the meat sauce if desired and simmer together for 10-15 minutes.
- Drain pasta, place in bowl, spoon meat sauce over it all and garnish with some grated parmasean. YUMMY! If you skip the pasta, serve the meat sauce over steamed broccoli for a yummy, lower carb option.
-This sauce keeps well and makes enough for 2-3 servings for two or one meal for a family. Especially if you add garlic bread and a green salad. Quick, easy and yummy, especially on a cold, stormy day.

And they're gone...

Mom and auntie returned home today. And with them, went the sunny weather we were enjoying for nearly a week. Weird. The day they arrived it was stormy and rainy. And then we had glorious, sunny skies for 5 days. Today, they flew out early this morning and it was cloudy and gloomy all day.

We had a great time...Sunday we went to church and then took them to a bunch of local open houses. Later that evening we went to see "The Secret Lives of Bees". It was very good, I highly enjoyed it. Yesterday we headed south a bit to check out Sapulpa and Sand Springs. They like the fact that they can live 20 minutes outside the city and have a completely rural experience, complete with acreage and horses. All for $200-300K.

They are seriously considering relocating here within the next 12 months. We are thrilled, of course. The way things are in CA, both of them are realizing that they don't want to retire there. And even as they prepare for their final working years, they want less stress, less polution, less traffic. We have that here. Oh yeah, and our gas is now down to $2.35/gal. I am hoping to see it drop below $2.00. It could's dropping about $0.03-0.05 a day.

Exploring Green Country

Yesterday we took Auntie and Mom on a drive to explore the area northeast of Tulsa: Catoosa, Claremore, Owasso and Skiatook. It took the better part of the day. They wanted to see "the country" that might possible make a good place to retire. We saw some lovely properties with room to grow, their wish is to buy a place with land so an additional bungalow may be added, creating a sort-of "family compound". We stopped in Clarmore for lunch at Gin's Apple Dumplings restaurant. Our hopes for some good, homemade Southern cookin' were not fulfilled. The food was undercooked and bland. We made the best of it and ate enough to stave off hunger headaches and then hit the road. Next time, we'll be sure to get into town before two o'clock so we can try Dot's Cafe, which was recommended by the Chamber of Commerce when we stopped in for information on the town.

At Rogers State University looking at Claremore----------- In the mouth of a big red hippo! Hilarious!

We got back to our midtown home around 5:00 pm, mom and auntie were amazed by the Friday afternoon traffic on the highway. There was none! They also thouroughly enjoyed seeing that this area is lush, green and rolling hills. Nothing like they had imagined. I think many folks think Oklahoma is brown, flat and dusty, like the old pictures from the Great Depression. It's really too bad, but in a way, I am grateful, it's like our own discovered treasure. Coming from California, Oklahoma is so many things that the Golden State isn't....wide open, uncrowded, fresh air, clean water and abundance of space. The pace of life is slower here, just a touch, and the traffic? There's really none to speak of...

So, although I will always love the City by the Bay, I can see myself settling in here where there's still wide open plains where Buffalo roam. Of course, I am city girl at heart, so Tulsa the perfect fit. We can be at a lake or out in the country in less than 20 minutes, but we can also be in downtown, in the thick of it all, in leass than 10. Plus the cost of living is so much more reasonable! Gas is now down to $2.49. J got a raise last week...25%! So we should be feeling more comfortable in the coming weeks and months and finally get down to the business of paying off our debts and saving money for a house. We spoke with a loan specialist and he said that with our credit we could qualify for a FHA 3% down loan on a home. So, that's our plan...perhaps for 2009 or early 2010, since the experts are forecasting that home prices will continue to drop in 2009. Tulsa hasn't really been affected by the national housing slump, but we really won't be ready to buy for 18-24 months so if things come down just a bit, that will be a bonus for us.

Gas is $2.65 today...will it keep going?

Gas is down again, but after today's rally on Wall Street crude oil us up to $81/barrel. So this begs the question? How long will our lower prices at the pump last? Some pundits say it's because demand is down. Maybe. But I doubt that it's down enough to have dropped our prices over a dollar a gallon in a couple of months.

I think no matter where you are politically, we can all agree that GREED is the reason we're all suffering right now. I hope each of us can take responsibility of our own greedy tendencies and do what we must to correct our wrongful ways. For us? That means no longer using our credit cards. If we want something, we pay cash. And we're aggressively paying down our debt so we can be debt free sooner rather than later. We're also eating at home 99.9% of the time and have put a freeze on spending. We're only shopping for necessities and frugally at that. We want financial freedom. We want to live simply but comfortably. And when the time comes that we have a little extra, we want to be able to donate it to worthy causes. It's a goal. For now? We're happy to be saving money at the pump. Very happy.

Makin' Chilli...

Today's the day...I am acknowledging that summer is fading and autumn is here. Mind you, it's 77 degrees today, sunny skies with white fluffy clouds are overhead. But there is a slight breeze, which cools the air and rustles the already turning leaves on their branches.

Here's my recipe...I made it up myself and have been making it every October, November, December and January for the past three years.

I try to buy as many organic and low-sodium products as possible for this.

1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 lbs of lean, ground turkey
Fresh, chopped garlic, about 1/4 cup, maybe more
Cumin, about 1/4 cup, maybe more
Chili powder, about 1/4 cup, maybe more
Cayenne pepper, 2 big heaping tablespoons
Black ground pepper, 1 tablespoon
Salt (to taste)
1 can whole black beans
1 can whole pinto beans
1 can whole kidney beans

Open all of the cans of beans, drain, and set aside. Open cans of tomato and set aside.

In a large stock pot, over medium heat brown the ground turkey with about two tablespoons of fresh chopped garlic, two tablespoons cumin, and two table spoons of chili powder. Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne paper.

Once the meat is browned and fragrant, drain off the fat (I use a turkey baster to remove the liquids). Add in large can of crushed tomatoes and mix. Let simmer. Add tomato paste. If the liquid it too thick, add about a 1/2 cup of water and mix thoroughly.

Now add in all three types of the drained, canned beans and mix well. Taste. Add salt and/or pepper if needed. Cover and let simmer over low

Every 1 hour or so, taste and add more seasoning, as needed until the flavor you prefer is achieved. I end up using all the cumin, chili powder, garlic and cayenne paper after about 3-4 hours of slow cooking. You might like to add freshly chopped onion or peppers, I don't care for either, so I leave them out. But I use LOTS of garlic and cumin! YUM! Season yours however you please, you really cannot mess it up. If it gets too thick, add a little water. For added kick I will add Vietnamese chili paste or Tabasco sauce.

This makes enough for two to enjoy and then have some to freeze for later in the month. Or it will comfortably feed 4-6, depending upon the appetites. Double the recipe and you have fun, cheap and yummy potluck food.

Garnish with fresh chopped onion (green or white), a dollop of sour cream or fresh Greek yogurt and shredded cheese (we use a cheddar/jack combo). Add some cornbread, tortillas or corn chips and you have a relatively healthy, low fat, high protein, soul satisfying meal. I tried mine over some leftover cheesy polenta and it was super!

My new favorite show...

The Starter Wife (USA Network) with Debra Messing (of Will and Grace fame) is wickedly smart and funny. I love the "Ally McBeal-esque" dream sequences. Even better? You can watch it for free on (and in 45 minutes, no less, with limited commercial interruptions). We're loving Hulu so much we've decided to cancel our Cable TV and just keep our high speed internet connection. Next step? Figuring out how to hook the computer up to the TV so we can watch shows together.

Here's the second episode:

Today's the Diabetes Walk: Step Out Diabetes

A handful of coworkers and I are doing a 3.5 miles walk today for Diabetes. I had set a group goal of $500 but we're only at $305. Most of that came from one gal who has lots of friends here in Tulsa (she's been here her entire life). Us "transplants" didn't fare as well.

It's not too late! Even if you just donate $5, it can make a difference. You can even do it online:

My Step Out Diabetes Page


Gas is $2.78 today...

Whoa! It drops aboout $0.05 a day. I am thrilled! The weather has been super nice too...high 70's by day, low 60's by night. Tomorrow is the Diabetes Walk...I am bummed because I really didn't raise much money, but my team did and that's good since I organized the team. I had hoped my contacts would donate $5-10 each and that would add up to something substaintail, but alas, in this current economic climate I totally understand. I will have fun and maybe next year, we'll all have a little more money to donate to good causes, like Diabetes prevention and research.

Oh yeah, we received word that we will have not one, but two visitors from CA next week. My mom and aunt are coming to stay for 6 days. It will be a lot of estrogen in the house for J, but we're looking forward to it. It's been gorgeous out and I hope we can drive out to the country and show them this wonderful "green country".

Gas for less than $3.00/gal!

Today is the day...that I've FINALLY seen the gas prices drop below $3/gallon. All around Tulsa it's $2.99. Love it! And with current economic climate, couldn't come a better time!

4 months on the job...

Today marks 4 months on the new job. It's so weird that in just 120 days I can hardly remember my life before living here and having this job. I mean I can remember it, but it seems SO long ago that I was teaching all day, getting to bed at 2 a.m. and not starting the next day until 11 a.m.

Nowadays, 11 a.m. is almost lunchtime and 2 a.m. I had better be FAST asleep or else!

Living and working in Tulsa is starting to feel more "normal". I am glad to have been able to go back to NorCal last month and get it out of my system. It was wonderful visiting friends and family, but I can honestly say, I am not missing the traffic or the high cost of living. Gas here is down to $3.15 this week. And traffic? It might get a little congested at the stoplight just before the mall or entrance to the highway and that's it! Nothing unbearable.

Ooh....on a side note. We had lunch the other day at Organicafe located at the naturalfarms store. Naturalfarms is a small store that sells organic products, many that are locally grown and produced. Their cafe is super cute and the food was delish and soul-satisfying. What's more it's right down the street from work, so I will probably check it out again in the near future.