Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I have been thinking about the new year coming. I have made decisions - not resolutions, but decisions about how I will make changes. Change is the operative word in the country and for me.

I have started a new blog which can be reached from the sidebar - under the title Feeling Fine in 2009. I am currently laying out my plan and will post follow up entries of my progress - and, if necessary, failures.

If you want to join in - we will make it a group effort!

Friday, December 26, 2008


I note that a few fellow bloggers have been posting each day during the Christmas and Hanukkah festivities. (Congrats Jenn!!) I have barely had the energy to to read a few posts, much less to write one. But I have tried to pay enough attention to record a few highlights. The girls are snuggled on the couch watching the Yule Log channel.

Tom came down with a bug on the evening of the 23rd and did not accompany the rest of us to my sister's home for Christmas Eve dinner. When we can home at about 9, he was entranced by the televised Yule Log. We had a good laugh at him, but then, slowly, we were all drawn in. Particularly because he swore it was live and there was someone tending the fire. He said the fire tender occasionally poked the fire or put new logs on to burn. One by one we snuggled down to watch and after about an hour - the fire tender placed a new log on the fire. We cheered and clapped and got ready for bed.

The next morning Tom and I were up before 6 and hung out listening to holiday music and watching a real fire (the Yule Log broadcast did not resume until 8am.) The kids finally rolled out of bed at about 8:30 and the aftermath may be seen in the photo above. I made a big breakfast and then went "off duty" for the remainder of the day.

Friday morning we popped out of our beds and made a trip to San Francisco to visit the newly remodeled California Academy of Sciences, I had purchased tickets Santa put tickets in our stockings. Along with approximately half the population of the Bay Area, we toured this wonderful new facility, watched the show in the planetarium and toured the aquarium. I found the sea dragons enchanting, but the kids dragged me off to visit the living roof, an acre of native California plants covering the roof of the building. You can see above that it was a lovely day.

We ended our outing at a fun Cuban restaurant called ChaChaCha in the Haight neighborhood. It was colorful, hip and the food was good.
A nice day with my children - and now no plans. Sigh. I hope I can finally relax and get some quality sleep!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



This has been a fairly uneventful year for the Walkers. With everything going on in the world around us – a bit of the “same old” at home is actually a good thing.

Maggie and Zac are celebrating their 21st birthday in the photo above. Zac traveled to Philadelphia to spend a few days with his twin. They are both doing well in school, work and relationships. Maggie has not been back to CA for a year and we are very excited to spend time with her – her plans include a couple of trips to the wine country. Zac is excited to finally be taking his upper level math classes and continues his volunteer work for which he was featured in an article in the CSUMB Alumni magazine.

Ally has continued her interest in fashion, friends and social life on and off the web. She has a boyfriend and will be eligible to take driving classes in March. Yikes. She continues to be interested in drama and directed a scene for a program which they performed for her high school and the middle schools in the area.

Tom moved to a nice new office and continues to enjoy his law practice. He has developed a major passion for bikes and takes very long rides around the area. I am still enjoying my work at Kyle Design, I do a lot of writing to market the business and I started blogging, too.

Our very best hopes and wishes for all our friends and family in the New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008







Sunday, December 21, 2008


I am skipping the Sunday Supper Post because I spent all weekend making cookies - I will be taking a big platter to share at work tomorrow. Maggie made the gingerbread (double batch) and her sugar cookie dough on Friday night, I made dough for 3 more cookies on Saturday and Sunday I baked all day.

Part of the day I played Christmas music and part of the day we had the Seattle Seahawks football game on. We lived in Bellevue Washington for several years and had season tickets for the Seahawks in the old domed stadium. Our seats were so high up we could touch the ceiling of the dome.

Maggie is drizzling white and dark chocolate on sugar cookies. Zac just wants attention.

I bet they wish they had the dome today because they played in blizzard conditions. We reminisced about living there when it snowed - the kids loved it, I dreaded driving in it. But it was so beautiful and didn't stick around long enough get old.

Anyway. Cookies!!

These thumbprint cookies are rolled in coconut and filled with jam or Nutella. I also make rugelach (with cinnamon, almonds and mini chocolate chips) and gingerbread cookies with and without frosting.

Zac has added a comment here:

Zac is the favorite of the three children, with the most obvious talent, writing and arithmitic skills, and good looks. He derives all this from his mommy, who makes excellent dinners. His dad probably had something to do with it, but not much past adding some DNA to the equation. As for the other two children... lets not go there.

Maggie has added a comment here:

Hilda, the dog, is more likely to be described as the favorite of the three children. Zac is indeed talented(at bringing home laundry from college) has writing and arithmitic skills (but only if that means writing witty math jokes) and good looks (did he mention he has a twin sister? twin. as in looks remarkably similar).

Ally adds:

So now that you've recieved your entertainment for the night, here comes the truth; Ally is, of course, the perfect angel child, who is not only the most popular of the three, but the most attractive. I let my older siblings think they have the looks and the brains, but in reality, they don't stand a chance! But I'm not gonna lie, Hilda's got it going on...

My 3 clowns...

Monday, December 15, 2008


These last few weeks have strained my planning abilities! During the holiday season I usually leave the house before 7 and roll back home 10-12 hours later. I have been making use of the slow cooker that Tom bought this summer - but really, nothing needs to cook for 10 hours!!

Last week I made a run into Costco for a few things, it is just across the freeway from the studio and is fairly quiet during the early evening hours. I picked up 2 of the roasted chickens and a few other things and tried out the new self service checkout. It was very slick.

I served chicken for dinner with some "smashed" tiny red potatoes and green beans - they cook in minutes. I shredded the meat off the other chicken and put the ingredients for Chicken Tetrazzini out for the next night. I usually put it together and then bake it. But I did a quick stovetop version and added a veggie and dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes.

Doubling things up is a real time saver for me. I always buy 2 of the chickens at Costco and plan 2-3 meals around it. When I am browning ground turkey or beef, I cook double the amount I need and put half of it in the freezer. When I am stuck for a quick meal, I can use it for quesadillas, enchiladas, taco salad, tacos, tostadas, nachos and I think you get the idea.

When I boiled the potatoes for dinner the other night, I boiled extra and put them in the frig for fried potatoes on the weekend. I made extra bacon to go with the leftover chicken from the tetrazzini recipe - so I made quesadillas with chicken, sliced green onions, monterey jack and some crumbled bacon.

I know guess it takes having a fairly large repertoire of recipes, but just think about the things you cook regularly and double up to make the next me that much easier to out together!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


It is a cold and rainy night - sounds like one of those bad novels...and a great night for soup!


1 T butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

28 oz chicken broth

1 9 oz package cheese tortellini

1 14.5 oz can Italian style stewed tomatoes

1 bunch spinach

6 fresh basil leaves chopped, or 1 t dried

Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in heavy, large saucepan over medium heat, add garlic and asute 2 minutes.

Stir in broth and tortellini. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.Season with salt and pepper and simmer until tortellini are tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, spinach and basil. simer about 5 minutes and serve with parmesan cheese on top.

Friday, December 12, 2008


1. Friends and my sister help keep me sane.

2. Health, it's what I need to focus on.

3. I'm ready for some holiday cheer.

4. Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning is one of my favorite smells. To be honest, it works any day of the year!

5. The oldest ornament I have is 25 years old, purchased when Tom and I had our first tree.

6. Take some champagne, my sisters, and an occasion, mix it all together and you have some outrageous giggling.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to celebrating Tom's birthday and seeing if he likes his gift, tomorrow my plans include making gifts, writing cards and making gingerbread and Sunday, laundry and a good video.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We are happily busy at work. I am putting in 10 plus hour days ( less than last year which was insanely busy.) I am making it home at a decent hour to get dinner on for Tom and Ally, but not too much else is getting done - I'm pretty tired out.

The excitement of the holidays are beginning to creep up. I am humming Christmas tunes and I have started decorating. (I have to have some nice photos to share on Jen on the Edge's Holiday House Tour on December 20.) I bought supplies to make gingerbread and am trying to finish my homemade gifts.

Soon to be appearing at my house - sisterly hijinks's!

My Maggie is coming home on December 18 and I cannot decorate the tree until she is here. I am under orders. She is a tough but sentimental girl. She wants to unwrap and reminisce over the ornaments. Each year since our children were born we have gotten them an ornament which is symbolic of the year in some way. When they grow up and have their own homes, I will send them all the ornaments to decorate their own trees.

I am feeling that holiday spirit - now I just have to deal with the whole shopping thing, and the cards and the wrapping and the shipping and - oh, well. It will all get done somehow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Today I had professionals come into my home and clean it wthin an inch of it's life.

I am so happy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


People have started shopping - hurrah - so we all went in to the studio today to get a jump on the busy week ahead. I was there at 5am,tuned in the Christmas music channel and pretended I was an elf.

Tonight, a fast and simple but verrrry tasty favorite recipe.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed or cut in 1 inch strips
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 T minced parsley
1 t salt
1/4 t oregano
2 cups hot cooked linguine
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Dip chicken in egg, then bread crumbs and fry in mixture of oil and butter, until browned.
Remove from pan.

Add garlic to pan, saute, add broth, wine and seasonings and bring to a boil. Add chicken back to pan, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add pasta to pan and heat through, 5-10 minutes. Serve with cheese.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


My mom and I had a brief conversation on my birthday and somehow, in that compelled-to- create-friction way that families have, we spoke of politics.

My parents are lifelong Republicans - major Republicans. I heard from my sister that our mom had changed her party affiliation to Democratic and voted for Obama. Since I found it hard to believe, I asked. Turns out she voted for Obama in the primary but couldn't bring herself to vote for him in the election because of his Chicago political connections and "the way they bashed Sarah Palin." I said something like "She is an idiot" and we stopped the conversation shortly thereafter.

But I kept thinking about it. I am not sure Sarah Palin is an idiot. I think she is probably fine as as a local politician, a bit over her head as a governor and way out of her league as a national candidate. The thing I found idiotic about her is that she didn't realize that she was over her head. I am fairly well educated, I suspect I read more than she does and I couldn't have answered some of the questions she was asked - and I am not an idiot. But I know I don't know enough to run for office.

I don't appreciate her fundamentalism, and the obviously failed effect her teachings have had on her own family. I am very concerned about electing people who are determined to promote "God's will" as they define it. Her divisive political views, willingness to support racism and use her sexuality to promote herself are also unsettling.

But bottom line, I was aghast that she said yes to running for VP without any need for thought. Geez, woman, you have a family, including a pregnant daughter and a newborn. A major job in your state and very little national experience - and you didn't take the time to mull it over?

Perhaps it depends on how you define it, but if that kind of thinking isn't idiotic, it's close.