Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Harvest

One of our first memories from Waco is the afternoon I decided to surprise Dan with a trip to Waco's local winery. Neither one of us had ever heard of it before, but I found it online and thought that the free tasting it promoted would be a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

When we first pulled in the driveway, we were a little nervous. There were no real buildings, only trailors. But there were plenty of vineyards and when we got the tour, we could see that the four trailors they have (plus a giant shed) are more than enough to make their wines.

We got to know the owners, who are a Swedish couple named Ulf and Inga. One of the most interesting things about them is that Ulf is the Chief Medical Director at the VA here in Waco (which is a really, really big deal) and he was actually a doctor in Sweden, then had to complete his residency, etc. all over again when he moved to the United States! So this guy is a doctor. With a successful winery on the side. Wow...and I think I feel busy?

So anyway, Dan and Matthew took wine tasting classes there last year and we've gone to several events they've hosted. Last Saturday, they invited us to help them harvest the grapes! We got there bright and early and went to work.

First, we had to remove all the nets covering the grapes. If they don't put nets over them, the birds will come and nest in the branches and eat all the grapes.
Then, the beautiful grapes were exposed and we worked our way down the rows cutting them off! The variety we harvested is called Norton grapes, and used to make some kind of wine. (Okay, so I'm going off memory here, and I totally forget what kind of wine they are used for.)

Of course, we happened to get stuck with the most dense row of grapes. Even with five of us working on it, it still took us about twice as long to do one row as everyone else! And we really were working hard!

Well, Dan was working hard at least... (see next picture) :-)

Just kidding, I was working hard too! Here's a picture of both of us, laboring away.
Finally, around noon, we were all done! All the volunteers brought the grapes into the shed and then Inga served us an amazing home cooked lunch, with homemade meatballs, bread, hummus, salads... and of course, plenty of wine. All of the grapes we collected went into buckets and they processed them in the afternoon. Look at all the grapes we harvested!

Anyway, it was a wonderful time overall, and I can also now say with complete confidence that I never want to be a migrant worker.

Here's the link to Tehaucana Creek's website if you're interested:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fall Semester Begins...

On Tuesday, I started my new classes for the fall. I am taking "Developmental Psychology" and "Psychological Statistics."

I'm really excited about the Developmental Psych class. We get to learn about childhood basically! It's focused on both general development (parenting, self-esteem, peers, etc) and childhood disorders (autism, ADHD, ODD, etc). Because right now I'm thinking I want to work with kids, this will be really relevant toward my work - and even if I don't end up going into it, it is still helpful for now with my work at the Speech Clinic and still very interesting!

The Statistics class should be fine...we'll see...I'm reserving judgment on this one for now. :-)

I'm also TAing a class for the first-year graduate students! The class is called Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and it's basically learning one approach to therapy. That starts this morning, in about a half hour actually. I'm leading the Lab portion of the class. I'm a little nervous about it - an hour and a half is a long time! What are we going to do for that long?!

Dan is chugging away at his second week of teaching. I can't believe how hard he's working - he's been going in at 7 and getting home after 5 every day! He's taking it like a champ though and this year has been going well so far. He's got 5 classes and about 50 kids total (they have small classes at his school) and he's teaching Spanish 1, 2, and 3. So far so good but I'm so glad it's a 3 day weekend coming up because he (and I) can really use one!

You'll also be glad to know our air conditioner is finally fixed. It broke last Thursday and the maintenence man tried to fix it pretty much every day through Monday and somehow never succeeded. Finally, Monday night, he got it working, but the thermostat was disconnected from our wall and he couldn't fix that until Tuesday. (Yeah, can you tell we live in a cheap apartment?) So our apartment went from sweltering to FREEZING - on Monday night we were both shivering all night long with blankets over our bed!! Haha, but I can't complain, because at least we have air conditioning again and now it's finally fixed for real.

The best part of the whole ordeal is that our maintenence guy was in our apartment on his phone with we think his girlfriend, or baby momma, or something, and fighting with her in Spanish the whole time! He even had her on speaker phone! I know for a fact he has no idea we know Spanish so I'm pretty sure that was why he had such a lax attitude, but basically Dan and I just sat there pretending to be on the computer and instead listened the whole time. Dan understood about a thousand times more than I did but it was still fun. :-)

Time to go "teach!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

In Memory...

My maternal grandpa, "Nandy," died three years ago today. This picture of me, Julie, Nandy and the cleaning lady snowwoman brings back memories of the fun times we shared. We miss you Nandy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Presidential Elections

(While cleaning up after dinner....and no, we didn't have any alcohol with dinner!)

Kristi: So, if you had to pick between me and you for President of the US, who would you pick?

Dan: Oh, me probably.

Kristi: Well, I'd pick me.

Dan: Based on your personality or your issues?

Kristi: I just don't want you to be president. You're way too hot-tempered for that gig.

Dan: Me?? Hot tempered??? You really think I'm that hot tempered that you wouldn't elect me president?

Kristi: Yeah! You get all yelly for no reason, like today you got all mad at me just because you were cleaning the bathroom.

Dan: GAARRHH!! (pause) I really don't think I'm that bad. You're acting like I beat you or something.

Kristi: I think you would if it was socially acceptable.

Dan: (very offended) What?? Are you serious!? You are being so dumb. I'm gonna punch you in the (almost says face, then realizes what he's saying) I mean, uh, oh crap!

Me: Haha!! See?? I win, I'm going to be the next president if it ever comes down to choosing between the two of us!

Dan: ::grumble grumble::

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Belated (Posting About My) Birthday

Dan had his first week of school this week, and he's exhausted. Although it went well, the move to blocked scheduling has really shaken up his planning he did for this year. Instead of 45 minutes every day per class, he's now spending an hour and 20 minutes every other day with each class. Yikes! I don't really know a whole lot about the logic of blocked scheduling, but it seems like for 9th graders in Spanish 1 that's a pretty long period of time to pay attention...

So tonight we're just relaxing at home and watching There Will Be Blood. I'm not into it at all, but Dan likes it so far...which is why I'm blogging. :)

I thought I'd post a few pictures from my Waco birthday party, since somehow I forgot to do that in the craziness of July. Camden, Lauren, and Cassie organized it for me and invited our whole program out to dinner! There ended up being about 20 people...and of course, no birthday party would be complete without embarrassing the birthday girl. Here's my awesome outfit:

Do I look uncomfortable? Haha...maybe a little. Ever since my elementary school birthday at Chi-Chi's - where I had to count to three to start off the Happy Birthday song- out loud! and standing on a chair! - I've been sort of nervous (petrified?) about these types of things. But luckily everyone was a good sport and no one made fun of me too much!

Here's a picture of Dan and I, just for fun. And the below is a picture of the beautiful flowers Camden got for me that were the table decoration! They were awesome and sat on our kitchen table for a couple weeks afterward...well beyond their actual life, but I just couldn't throw them away. It's so much fun to walk in the door and have fresh flowers waiting to greet you every day.
I'll end with something new I learned at work today! Here it is, Fortune Cookie style:
Your hours of practice writing bubble letters in middle school will pay off when you are trying to impress an 8 year old girl during her ADHD assessment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What I Learned Today

#1. Never play hangman with a 10 year old who has a diagnosis of dyslexia. You will never win.

#2. 10 year old boys are very, very impressed with scars and pictures of deep gashes in one's forearm.

#3. Seriously - ixnay on the hangman.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


So I went back to Westerville and am just now returning to Waco. I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get caught up, and I already forgot to call my new supervisor at our pre-arranged time, so clearly I'm off to a great start. (By the way, the Wikipedia article on "How to Apologize to your Boss" really helped me out with the email I just sent to her!)

Highlights of the trip:

Thursday: It gets off to an interesting start with the plane ride where, as we are waiting to take off, the pilot announces "Folks, the electronic device indicator light is still turned on up here which means that someone forgot to turn their cell phone if you all could please check and make sure, that would be great.
*Me: Snicker, snicker*
*2 seconds later: Sink into my seat and pretend I'm laughing at something I'm reading when the woman next to me actually leans down and checks her cell phone*

Friday: Went to the eye doctor for opinion #2 about why in the world I can't wear contacts anymore. Opinion #2 is, "Yeah, I think LASIK is your best bet." Opinion #2 also mentioned the fact that LASIK costs around $4500. Sweeet.... I'll be back in 2025 or so?

Saturday: At dinner, we asked the waiter what the soup of the day was. His response: "uhh, I don't know..I think it's breaded.." Us: "Breaded?!?! Can you explain that further??" Him: "Ummm, no..I just know there's bread in know, it's like breaded." The soup was actually a chicken and vegetable soup with a small piece of bread in it. I think our waiter needed a little more training. Or maybe he just needed to stop smoking pot.

Sunday: I may or may not have tried to make watermelon sorbet for my family. They may or may not think that I am a complete liar about my cooking abilities, since it turned out more like watermelon..water? Juice? Who knows, but it definitely wasn't sorbet. I swear, it worked before!

Monday: My mom used a needle to dig out a tiny shard of glass still in my arm. Sweeeet...

Tuesday: Dear Man Snoring on The Plane 2 Seats Behind Me,
Seriously?! How can you be this loud?? I see people 4 rows up turning around and glaring at you and the only reason it's only 4 rows up is because I can't see farther than that! I have my Ipod up 3/4 of the way and I think the man next to me hates me because he can probably hear every single syllable of Griffin House, and yet I can STILL hear you snoring! This has got to be illegal.

So far, I only have forgotten my Rainbow sandals and only have accidentally brought with me my mom's garage door opener.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recipe Round-Up

I've had several people ask me for certain recipes lately, so I figured I'd put them on here so anyone who wants to can enjoy them. I didn't want to post all four complete recipes, so I just have their links. Each of these is very delicious and healthy - and all have the Dan seal of approval. (Lots of the recipes I try don't get this!)

First off is one I've made about a million times in the last few weeks since I bought a bunch of zucchini at the farmer's market...and I'm still not sick of it. I love this - the combo of roasted summer squash and feta cheese is amazing.
Kalyn's Kitchen: Roasted Zucchini Recipe with Green Onions, Feta Cheese, and Basil
(note: I just realized this recipe actually does not have the Dan seal of approval. He has refused to try it based on an intense dislike of summer squash. Sorry for lying to you above)

I've tried a couple mashed cauliflower recipes that have not been successful, but this one went over really well. Probably all the cheese, but oh well - it's still packing in a lot of veggies and tasted just like cheesy mashed potatoes!

I like to make scrambled eggs and omelettes a lot, so it's nice to find a good biscuit recipe to go with them. This one is perfect - easy, healthy, and yummy. It's sort of a cross between a biscuit and a muffin, I think - it's not the perfect take-apart layers like store bought - but so good!

Finally, this is my standard pizza crust recipe. When Dan and I first got married, we realized we needed to mesh our pizza preferences somehow. Dan was eating a frozen Red Baron supreme pizza for approximately 75% of his dinners! I was not about to do that, and he was not about to give up his pizza. So, we compromised and now I make homemade pizza about once a week. It's cheaper and healthier than frozen pizzas, and if you make the crust ahead of time it doesn't take any longer.

By the way, I've found most of these recipes on It's a search engine where you just type in which ingredients you want, and all the posts with those words will come up.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Night in the Life...

4:00am: Dan and I are sound asleep in bed...I'm dreaming I'm an Olympic swimmer...

4:01: Dan jumps out of bed, throws the covers off and starts frantically searching around the bed

4:02: Me: ummm...(not quite sure if I'm in the pool or in our bed or what)..sweetheart? What's going on?

Dan: You don't want to know.

Me: Okay. (still too sleepy to realize anything weird about this statement. Decide I might as well go to the bathroom since I'm up, so I get up and go to the bathroom.)

4:04: I come back in, all the sheets and covers are off our bed and Dan has lifted the mattress up and is looking underneath it.

Me: okay, um seriously, what is going on?

Dan: Seriously, you don't want to know.

Me: Umm...did you have a bad dream? (looking at the bed, seeing nothing on it)

Dan: Something like that...

All of a sudden a cockroach crawls around the bottom of the mattress and skitters across my side of the bed!


Dan: (running from side to side of the bed whacking a book at the roach, then jumping around when it falls to the floor and finally smashing it. Sighs with relief.) Yeah, I woke up to that crawling on my back!

Me: (seriously freaked out...for about five minutes....then my Olympic dreams take over again)

5:00am: Dan is still lying awake, thinking about the roach crawling around on his skin...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer's almost over!

We just booked our tickets to Ohio for Christmas...we're flying out of Dallas on Sunday, December 21st and then flying back on Friday, January 2nd. That's right, folks - 12 days! Tickets were somewhat ridiculous and there was no way we could fly out of would have been over $1000.

When you move away, you don't mean to strand yourself. But it sort of feels like we're on a desert island here sometimes with the gas and airline prices the way they are! So yay for coming back.

Dan has staff training all next week, and then the first day of class next Friday. Here's his school website if you want to see how he spends his days:

I just finished my last summer class and the final exam is due tomorrow. Then I get a break from class (although not work) until August 25th! A website of my school? Okay:
If you click on "Our students," there are pictures of me and my friends :-)

Back to work on my final...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Our Weather Warning

This is the warning attached to Waco right now...




Friday, August 1, 2008

Dan's Modeling Debut...or something

Dan was selected to represent Rapoport Academy High School in the Waco Tribune Herald - nice! He did a photo shoot with the local newspaper a couple weeks ago and the section just came out. Unfortunately we missed it since we don't get the paper delivered, but here is the links\ to his shots in case you're interested! (note: you have to scroll through to pictures 10 and 11)


A couple weekends ago, Dan and I as well as our friends Camden and Matthew went to a small town called Salado, Texas for the weekend. ( It's about an hour south of us and is very pretty, relaxing, and kind of old fashioned. We got there on Friday night and checked into the Bed and Breakfast we were staying at, Inn on the Creek: It was AMAZING!

Here are two pictures, one is of the actual B&B, and one is of part of the backyard:

There were hammocks, a wraparound porch, cats, a was awesome. We sat outside in the back and just relaxed for a while, and drank some wine that Matthew brought. Here's Dan enjoying the evening:

We were sort of dressed up because later that evening, we went to dinner at The Range:

Now just to give you a little perspective, these places weren't overly fancy or expensive, but they were very friendly, nice, comfortable, Southern... Jenna Bush had her wedding party stay at the Inn on the Creek and had her rehearsal dinner at The Range! So it must be cool, right?

The next morning we got up and had a homemade Texas breakfast, including biscuits, gravy, grits...and some other more healthy stuff too. :-) Then we all went outside and just laid in the hammocks and rested for a while. (I was on the phone with Julie when Camden took this pic)

We spent the day walking down the Main Street, shopping at antique stores, home stores, jewelry stores, cigar stores (not kidding although that was all Dan and Matthew), a fudge store, and ended the afternoon at the local winery! It was really hot but other than that so much fun. Plus, we got a few neat things for our apartment that are really unique.
All in all, a great weekend. Anyone who comes to visit and is interested in going there, we'll definitely go again! Apparently the city has tons going on around Christmastime too...