Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Powells Go to Chattanooga

When presented the opoprtunity to see the President of the United States in person, I can't imagine not moving heaven and earth to accept, regardless of the party affiliation.  I've been fortunate twice in my life so far to do just that, first in high school when President Bill Clinton spoke in our gymnasium and again yesterday, when Jason, my mother-in-law, Mary, and I had the chance to attend Obama's jobs speech event at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Chattanooga. Here are a few pics taken during the event, something we'll all remember forever.  

POTUS working his way through the crowd. Mary had the chance to shake his hand and was thrilled to meet a President once again after meeting Gerald Ford years ago.

My handsome husband

A passionate delivery of the jobs speech

Special thanks to Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton for making the wait much more enjoyable.

POTUS greets Lydia Flanders, the Amazon employee who had the honor of introducing him.

Finally, here's one of several stories from The Tennessean regarding the event yesterday, including a couple of quotes from Jason and Mary.  What a day! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Best News

Most people who know me as an adult don't know that, for my family, being surrounded by health issues was the norm for many years.  From my dad, who was a paraplegic as a result of a car accident he had in his early 30s (when I was Sophie age, a little over two years old) to my mom, who was diagnosed with kidney disease when I wasn't much older, and then my dad's two bouts with cancer, first when I was 16 and finally, terminally, when I was a 19 year old college sophomore. 

It wasn't until the worst of those medical situations were behind us that I realized there is life outside of that particular framework.  I don't feel sorry for myself or wish things had been different; it was just the way it was.  What I am is grateful for every day now that my family doesn't struggle with disease or injury. 

All that leads to the truly amazing news my mom received at her annual visit to the Mayo Clinic.  For the first time since 1984, she crossed the line from partial remission to no kidney disease. That's a long way from the doctor who originally told her she'd never see me grow up!  I feel so thankful that she received this good news and I'm reflecting on what it means to know that almost 30 years ago, a terrible doctor gave her a death sentence that she could have accepted but chose not to.  I'm also thankful to my mom for choosing to fight for her health and find the right medical team to see her through this long and difficult journey.  I love you, mom!

I hope good news finds all of you in the days ahead and thanks for letting me share a little piece of our happiness!   
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Odd Jobs

I read a post over at Babble this week about the odd summer jobs of celebrities and I thought back to some of my own gigs over the years.  Here we go:

Starting with High School:
  • Jack's Discount Store Cashier and Hot Dog Mobile Server in Galesburg (miserable, hot and ended up in the ER after passing out on top of the buns one particularly hot day!)
  • Classic Kids children's clothing store sales in downtown Galesburg
  • Bergner's men's and children's department sales at Sandburg Mall 
  • Kastle Kreme - quite possibly the best summer job ever.  Working shifts with my best friends, getting a birds-eye view of all the action and who was seeing whom all summer plus free ice cream and the best waffle fries in the world.  Con:  working for an elderly pervert!
  • A box factory.  Yes, a box factory.  I assembled boxes inside of other boxes in a factory with no a/c.  First world problems, I know.
 College, all in Bloomington-Normal except Rippy's:
  • IWU Office of Student Life, freshman year work study
  • IWU Alumni and Development, various summer jobs including entering the +4 digits to alum zip codes
  • IWU IT Department work study answering phones and troubleshooting in the computer lab
  • IWU Information Line operator.  One summer, wasn't asked back because I wasn't nice enough on the phone!
  • Carlos O'Kelly's server.  I lasted exactly one day.
  • Killarney's bartender for three years.  I'm looking at you, Liz Grad, with our pleather pants! Right up there with Kastle Kreme as far as best jobs go.  Working for cash, free drinks, and a birds-eye view of a whole other kind of action!
  • Babysitting.  One family that shall remain nameless once tried to offer me a measly $170/week for 40 hours of childcare for their two kids.  More first world problems, but come on!  I realize 10 years later I'm paying time-adjusted prices of $13/hour for a babysitter and a small fortune for full time childcare but that would have been a real bargain for them.  That's $4.25 an hour for watching TWO kids!
  • Construction company marketing for the guy who built La Bamba restaurants
  • Rippy's in Nashville bartender and server - for exactly 89 days until I would have had to take classes and get a real ABC card.  I gave myself a deadline to find a job, and I managed to meet the challenge
That's a lot of odd jobs.  What were your most interesting, dreaded, memorable and fun?  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Countdown to Baby Powell #2 Begins

We were thrilled to find out in early May that we are expecting another baby, and it feels great to finally be able to share the news with friends!  After finally having our first appointment and ultrasound last month at 12 weeks, we started talking about when to tell Sophie and how to share the news.  We decided to tell her on our vacation in Seagrove Beach last week, when we'd have plenty of time with her to answer any two-year-old questions and tell the rest of our friends after our return.  Sophie is elated about being a big sister, although she is skeptical about the possibility of a baby brother.  We'll find out one way or another next month and there's a 50/50 chance we'll spend the ensuing weeks trying to convince her a brother will be great!

We had a relaxing and fun week at the beach, with lots of nice runs on the beach, great food, a little sunshine and lots of pool time and sandcastle-making time.  

Now that we're home again, we're settling back into our routines and enjoying the difference a week made in what our CSA box is bringing us!  This week we had a variety of green peppers, eggplant, cabbage, corn, peaches, tomatoes, blueberries, cucumbers and a few types of squash.  Such great summer foods!  Last night, we had this Tuna and Orzo dish, modified slightly:

Orzo-Tuna Salad with Tomatoes Recipe
Original recipe as posted on Taste of Home

1+ cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 T minced basil
2 cans light tuna in water, drained
1 cup cubed part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 T olive oil
3 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions, drain and cool.  Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and add tuna.  Fold the tuna mixture into the orzo, then fold the cheese and cherry tomatoes into the mixture.  

I thought it was slightly under-seasoned and added a little more salt and pepper to taste.  I also cut the corn off one of cob (just for myself, would do one cob per person otherwise) and sauteed it on medium heat for about 4 minutes with just a dab of butter.  

This weekend one of the most important people in my life is getting married, and I can't wait to be a part of her day.  More to come on that next week!  Have a great weekend!