Monday, July 31, 2006

Doesn't he look happy?

The weekend of July 22-23 my parents and I had the privilege of flying down to Atlanta, GA to spend some quality time with the Lindbergs. Our families are getting along splendidly. So much that part of the Lindberg fam came over to my parents house yesterday sans Mark just for dinner. Some of my cousins and grandparents also came. I had to leave at 7:30 to get back to South Bend but apparently everyone else stayed till almost 10. I'm so thankful that this bond was so easily created. I knew I had a fabulous family, now I have an even bigger fabulous family.

I have included one of my favorite pictures from the weekend. It is Rachel, Mark's youngest sister, and I showing Mark that we love him. He looks pretty content doesn't he?

Ok... so I was going to upload this cute picture of Rachel and I with Mark. But Blogger isn't up for it so you'll just have to take my word for it that it is pretty cute. He has such a loving family that I feel blessed to become a part of.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Avoid Generic Ice Cream

I'll admit that I'm a naturally frugal person. I will look at the display labels at Kroger that inform me of the per unit cost of an item to determine which size gives me the best deal. I've learned grocers have fooled much of the American public that "bulk" hence "bigger" is better. I discovered that I could pay $3 for 1 40oz jar of peanut butter or buy 3 16oz (48oz) jars of peanut butter for the same price. Natural inclination would say that the "bigger" jar would offer the better deal. I also discovered this recently buying 4 quarts versus an entire gallon of Gatorade.

My careful spending has also led me to try many generic items. Many of these things have worked out wonderfully. I've found products I like equally well or even better at a lower price. These are typically your staples or basic items. Items that exist in nature make wonderful generic products. Items that are man-made have a lot more room for error. It is sometimes best just to spend the money for the name brand product.

Below is a list of products I find equally good
Milk-It is really all processed the same way, who cares if it is "Prairie Farms"
Applesauce-Kroger Brand is excellent
Oatmeal-It's basically just oats
Pasta-They've got this one pretty well down
Hamburger

Things that you should just buy the name brand
Ice Cream-FMV Chocolate is more "ice" than anything else
Oreo-type cookies-They have the name brand recognition, just go with it.
Crackers-I'm not up for stale cardboard

Whatever your preference, take a moment to check out all your options. It isn't a good deal if you don't like it. $1 saved doesn't feel like much when you are missing the smooth running of creamy chocolate ice cream down your throat.

Friday, July 14, 2006

How we define ourselves

Working in a Knowledge Management Department and interacting frequently R&D, we are not the "cool" kids of the company. While well respected for our work and contribution, if you are looking for those to spice up your party people from our department are not at the top of that list.

Now we enjoy each other's company immensely and are very content to create our own protected social circle. Hence we are "cool" to ourselves that is enough. We embrace the brainy, data-oriented, researchy image assigned to us.

As we strive for knowledge and understanding, we work very hard to make sure define ourselves correctly. We used to throw around descriptors such as "dork" or "geek" at random, assuming they meant a simple affinity with scientific and technical pursuits at the sacrifice of social popularity.

Last year R&D hired a naturalized citizen from Croatia, whose first language is Croatian. He expressed some concern with the labels we had assigned our team. His unwillingness to adopt them made us question the meaning. Well upon further investigation we discovered what those words truly mean. It is humbling to have a non-primary English speaker teach you your own language.

I have included links to dictionary.com with the definition of each word.

Dork

Dweeb

Geek

Nerd

I can handle the "dweeb" and "nerd" as they match the original intent of our jest. I'm probably not going to use "geek" or "dork" again in the near future. While old habits die hard, I want my message to be clear.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Unblinding Love

As many have accused me in the recent months of having my head in the clouds, I've had numerous opportunities to reflect how love changes the way we view the world. It certainly has it's effects but I challenge the notion that love clouds our vision.

"Love is blind" is a popular expression to convey how often new love allows us to suppress/diminish our beloved's flaws that of course everyone else sees clearly. I challenge this notion. Love doesn't blind me from another's faults, but rather helps me put them in the proper perspective. It's not that I completely miss my beloved's flaws, but rather I focus on the qualities that make him wonderful.

If we examine how the Bible describes love, patient, kind, beareth all things, believe all things, endureth all things, etc...we discover that the focus is on lifting up the person we love. Christ who showed the epitome of love chose to focus on the soul of man not the corruption. He shed his blood and died on the cross to rise again, to cover our faults so that we can experience the love of God. Nobody would argue that Father sees very clearly and his love is certainly not blind.

It is man's corrupted state that assumes reality is only that which is negative. We obviously aren't seeing clearly if we don't pointedly identify the bad. I argue those who only complain or seek the negative have their eyes clouded by sin and selfishness.

Love isn't blind, it just looks at someone the way God does, as a man/woman with an eternal soul.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mixing of tastes

Eating is a pleasurable necessity. In times of financial hardship, food is viewed as a mandatory expense even if it is very primitive. Due to the enormous wealth most American's enjoy, food is no longer about sustenance but pleasure. Food is expected at celebrations of all sorts. To be truly admired, the selection must abound with different tastes and textures.

While all people enjoy some level of variety, how this variety is experienced in a single meal has two variations. We have the separatists and the mixers.

Separatists - People who prefer to eat all of one item on their plate then proceed to the next item. My brother and my fiancee are both separatists . Maybe they'll start with their meat, then the vegetable, then eat their bread and so on. The next item will not be started until the first one is completed. Separatists usually do a very good job of cleaning their plate. Some will only take each item from the serving dish as they are ready to consume it, reducing the likelihood they will dish up more than they can eat.

Mixers-Those who like to combine tastes and textures throughout the meal. I'm definitely a mixer. I'll take a bite of a hamburger then some baked beans followed by a bit of salad. The problem is my eyes are often bigger than my stomach and I take too much. Since consuming all my food does nothing to help the starving children in Uganda, I choose to waste some food before I'm willing to add it to waistline. I love the switching from sweet to salty then back again. I chase pretzels down with a can of Diet Pepsi. Usually having a bit of the pretzel still in my mouth when I fill it with that sweet flavor.

Now separatists can eat casseroles and other pre-combined foods, the foods are then just considered a single item. Mixers, like myself, may like casseroles less because it removes some of the personal creativity behind the combining of foods. I mean frozen pizza dipped in applesauce, who would have thought it could be so good.

However you experience the pleasure of food the only caution is to remember- there can be too much of a good thing!