Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Heart Summer, but.....

I'm really treating (or torturing) my readers today with two posts in one day. It turns out that I have some time today to post, and I have a few topics in mind.

I LOVE Summer! I really do. Summer is more relaxed.  It usually includes a vacation. There are lots of outdoor activities (including swimming!). I love it. But.... for the last week, I have been finding myself wishing for Fall. I hate even admitting this. Its painful to even write, but it is the truth. I keep asking myself why I would wish for Fall.  These are the reasons I have come up with.

1. Pumpkin Bars! Last year I tried this new recipe I found online at: Also, I found this organic pumpkin at Hy-Vee, and it is absolutely fantastic. However, I truly feel like pumpkin bars can only be enjoyed in the Fall.

2. Cinnamon and Pumpkin smells! I love a good candle or scent. In the fall I always have a cinnamon or pumpkin candle burning in the kitchen. I love that smell!

3. Halloween Candy! I love Halloween Candy! (Not as much as Easter and Christmas, though!) I love starting to buy the candy in September and acting like it will last me all the way to the end of October.

4. Decorations! I have some super cute Halloween Decor. I currently do not have any summer decor. In fact, I don't believe that I have had any decorations out since January. Also, I love picking out a pumpkin for the front step and some fall mums.

5. Fresh Air! Maybe it has been the 90+ degrees that we have had for the last three weeks, but I am ready to open some windows and cuddle under my blankets in bed. The man-made breeze is no comparison to that Fall breeze.

Maybe this week I will bake some pumpkin bars, buy some Halloween candy and light a cinnamon candle in hopes that I stop wishing summer away.

Happy Birthday, Tony!

Can you believe it? My little nephew is turning 4 on August 3! In celebration of his birthday, and because it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we had ourselves a little pool party.

No, this is not a left over Forth of July Cake. This was a special order Costco cake just for today's occasion. Anybody who knows Tony knows that he is obsessed with flags. When Tony and Grandma went to pick up the cake this morning Tony said "Oh, a Flag Cake! Please don't cut it, Grandma!" By the way, if you have never had a Costco cake, I, of course, highly recommend them. Not only do they come with a delicious pudding middle, but this bad boy only cost $17. (This is the only size).

Of course having a cake this big means you should invite lots of guests to help you eat it. I'd say we did pretty well.....
This is only about half of us. Sure, Tommy and I enjoy the pool when it is just him and I relaxing, but honestly, the best part of having a pool is having guests over to swim. Its fun to catch up with friends and family, and nothing beats the smiles and laughter coming out of the kids. Mostly our guests include my aunts, uncles and cousins. I'm nearly the youngest on both sides of my family, so most of my cousins have kids (and lots of them). I love that my cousins' kids would never otherwise never know my name. Now they come running in the house saying "Hi, Dawn!" I LOVE IT! Tommy said to me today "You know, I'm so glad that we have your family over, because your cousins are actually really nice people."

For his birthday, Tony treated us to a brave jump off of the diving board. Can you believe this kid wouldn't even go down on to the bottom step of the pool 4 weeks ago?!

Of course, it was about time that Tony took the plunge off the diving board considering my two year old cousin, Rylee, has been doing it for months!

I hope you all found a way to enjoy Sunday fun day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekend Fun!

After one of the worst weeks of my life, I did not know how my weekend was going to pan out. I left work about 45 minutes "early" on Friday only to have one of my "bosses" call me because one of my clients (who I had called earlier in the day and never bothered to return my call, and who owes me over $3000) was flipping out. Guess what! All of my clients freak out- all of the time. After 45 minutes of talking my client off the ledge, I was ready to give up already on my weekend.

On Saturday I woke up at 730 and thought about going into work (have another trial and contempt hearing this week). Tommy was already on his way to work. But that is when I made a big decision. I was going to enjoy my weekend.

First on the list- I didn't roll out of bed until 1130. I thought about cleaning my house a little bit, but instead made my way down to the basement where I took a 3 hour nap.Once Tommy got home from work we went to Huhot- which was beyond amazing. We also ran some fun errands together and made a stop at Cold Stone Ice Cream to get a to go order of our favorite Birthday Cake Remix. I then realized that season 7 of Weeds has started and watched the first few episodes on You Tube.

My Sunday has been equally as amazing. Tommy and I went to our traditional Sunday morning HyVee breakfast. I, again, considered going into work, but that's when my parents showed up, and we spent hours laying out by the pool! Tommy and I spent an hour cleaning the house together. I cant believe how much can get done when both him and I clean together. Laundry that hasn't been folded for weeks is done; floors have been cleaned, and some more unpacking (yes we have been in this house almost a year) was done.

Now for some amazing Sunday night TV. If my job is going to ruin my Monday through Friday, I'm sure as heck not going to let it ruin my weekend!

I will leave you with a favorite conversation I had this week. After telling one of my wonderful attorney friends about my bad day in Court and how the opposing counsel said he felt like we were in the twilight zone, my friend responded: "Well, if you found yourselves in the twilight zone its only because he booked the tickets and drove the bus there!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I just quickly read this book before I started this post. I had not read it since the late 80s. I don't remember what I thought about that book after I read it in elementary school. After reading it now all I can think about is how whiny and annoying this Alexander character is in this book. Please, if the worse thing that happens to me in a day is the cat doesn't want to sleep in my bed and I saw kissing on tv, I would call the day a success.  

Dawn's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I woke up this morning at 330 am, and I could not get back to sleep. At 6:30 I went to get dressed for Court and realized that my suit needed to be ironed or steamed. I knew it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

There was no milk for me to eat my cereal for breakfast and no fruit to eat for breakfast. Then I drove to the Courthouse only to find the car right in front of me to get the last parking spot in the lot across the street. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Court was supposed to start at 9am but the Judge did not arrive until 10am.. I asked the Judge to dismiss the other parties' case since they had violated every rule of civil procedure. She denied my request and told me that she couldn't figure out how to say my married name so she would just call me Ms. Van Wyk. Then the Judge called the custody evaluator who hated my client the most reliable and best witness she had ever heard testify. It was becoming a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

The Judge then told the parties from the stand without hearing an ounce of evidence from my client that she was going to rule against my client. The Judge then stopped my cross examination and told me my questions were not relevant. When I told her why I thought they were. She then asked me to quote the code section, I requested the Code to give her the exact code section and she denied my request. Then I considered walking out of the Courtroom because of the Judge's ridiculous behavior but rethought my request knowing she could throw me in jail for six months. This was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Monday, July 18, 2011

10 Things

Takekawa's Favorite 10 Local Restaurants:

1. Mi Mexico (University Ave and I80/35 WDM). There are plenty of good Mexican restaurants in Des Moines, but Mi Mexico is by far our favorite. We always share the beef fajitas with corn tortillas. The flavor is out of this world. Warning- if you like the typical "white folk" Mexican, like Tommy would say, this is not the place for you. The cheese dip is not that great and the waiters are all Hispanic and the English can be somewhat difficult to understand. Beef fajitas are about $10.00.

2. Jethros. (Drake Neighborhood) The first time Tommy and I went here we didn't think it was that great. We have since learned to love this place. Try the Drake location on Tuesdays for half-price wing night (Thursdays for Altoona). We always get the bbq rub and Parmesan garlic wings. Also, the waffle fry nachos are to die for! on Tuesdays 20 wings is $9.

3. Hickory Park. (Ames). This isn't exactly local since its a good 20 minutes from Ankeny, but Hickory Park is always a fantastic choice. Tommy and I generally share the pork baby back ribs. They are smoked perfectly. Also, try to the sweet potato fries. Try not to get too full so you can enjoy the ice cream menu made with Blue Bunny Ice Cream. A full order of BBQ ribs runs about $18.

4. Tasty Tacos. (multi locations in metro). Who can resist a flour taco with the fresh grated cheese on top?! It almost makes you forget about the beans that are mixed in with the meat. This is always a great lunch choice. The only thing that would make this place better is a drive thru. (1 flour taco is around $3).

5. South Union Bread Company (Downtown). This place is only open from 11 to 2 M-F. Go early or late but don't go between 1130 and 1- the line is out the door. Lovely toasted sandwiches on fresh bread is fantastic. I always get the philly cheesesteak sandwich. Be sure to order one-half sandwich as they are quite large. (1/2 sandwich is about $5).

6. Miyabi 9. (East Village). Tommy was so pleased when he learned about this place from one of his Japanese clients. Tommy loves this place even more because of its strong resemblance to sushi restaurants in Japan. I generally am not a sushi fan, but this place is great. We generally order a few sushi rolls to split amongst ourselves. I think the average dinner is about $20. If that is over your budget, try lunch. The bento boxes are fantastic and run about $10. Whatever the case, make sure you get the tempora veggies!

7. Johnny's Italian Steakhouse. (Jordan Creek Towncenter) We have only been here once but the food was out of this world! I ordered the ribeye steak. I cant remember what Tommy ordered. The meat was so tender and cooked to perfection. (Average meal runs between $40-$50).

8. HyVee Breakfast. (multiple locations). I know this may not count as local since there are HyVees all over the midwest, but we have made it a tradition to eat Sunday breakfast there. Tommy and I always share the Number 8 (2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 sausage) and we add a side of hashbrowns. (Runs about $6 for a breakfast meal and $2 for the side of hashies!). I usually do not like breakfast, but HyVee has changed my mind.

9. Jade Garden (Ankeny). This was a favorite place of mine growing up. We would always meet friends after church for the Sunday lunch menu. The ownership changed a few years ago and since that time the place has suffered some business loss. If you are looking for a traditional Chinese buffet- this is not your place. The egg drop soup and crab rangoons are the best I have ever had. (Dinner meal is about $8).

10.  ???? Tell me your favorite local restaurant so I can fill in this slot soon!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Awesome Jobs?

Like the days of the week, I spend considerable amounts of time during the week thinking about a job that I would rather be doing than practicing law. I have a bad habit of believing that every other job out there is less stressful than mine. I am trying to learn that stress is probably more about the way I handle stressful situations then it is about how stressful the job is itself, right?! I often try to remind myself that although it looks like the person performing that job has a great life, I do not know the details of that job and it could be as stressful as mine.

Here are some jobs I often find myself getting super jealous over:

Lawn Mowers. No, not the machines. The people. Think Perfect Cut, A+ Lawn Care. How awesome would it be to sit on a mower, put your headphones on, and drive around all day in the sun?  When I find myself getting jealous of this job I remember that it has been rainy this year. Are they earning less money? Are they really busy on the few sunny days that we had in June? Is there a lot of competition out there for lawn mowing companies?

Barista. I haven't been as jealous lately because I have drastically reduced my trips to Starbucks (and increased the money in my bank account). Those jobs seem pretty great. And I hear that Starbucks offers health insurance and other benefits (almost makes the $4 cup of coffee worth it). Here are some things that are maybe stressful for Baristas: Hours!! I am not a morning person. I can get up by 7 am, but not a minute before then. Baristas probably have to get up around 4am. Job growth would probably be another downfall of the job. What do you do after you have mastered all the drinks? How do those skills apply to the job market? Also, who wants to deal with people before they have had their first cup of coffee?

Counselor. Yes, I have since learned that my business card says Attorney and Counselor at Law. And many days all I do is counsel. Its not great. I was a fool for ever thinking that would be a fun career choice. I had previously focused on the fun part of listening to people and working with them to solve problems. The problem is, those people just suck the life out of you!

Stay At Home Mom. You knew this one was coming. The thought of having time at home to actually not just get the laundry washed, but actually fold it. Not make dinner from a box but from scratch. To not have the stress from your job going through your mind rather than focusing on time with your family. I have since learned that these jobs are not as glamorous as I once thought. Some stressful things I have learned about this job is the financial sacrifices of a one income earning family. Also, the feeling like you never get a break because you are working/being with your kids 24/7. (Although the summers at the pool, mid-afternoon naps and folded laundry still seem pretty fantastic!)

For now, I will keep practicing law. Because like I always tell my friend Andrea who is in her last year of medical school... My clients may lose their money, kids or freedom, but at least when they leave my office they are still alive!

What jobs do you think seem dreamy?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


This may come as a surprise to you, but I like Wal Mart. This is not something I'm totally comfortable with. In fact, I waited a few days to decide whether I would really admit to this. I hear people complain all the time about Wal Mart. I want to dislike it, but I can't! It's fantastic. When Tommy and I lived in West Des Moines we could go to Wal Mart every week. Now that we have to travel more than point five miles we do not get there as often. In fact, most of our shopping takes place at Dahl's or HyVee since it is so near our house. I hate that fact. I know I am spending too much money when I shop those stores, but they are so convenient that I end up going there against my better judgment.

Tommy and I went to Wal Mart for the first time in a few months on Sunday. Here is a rundown of what I got for $125:

1. 3 bottles of lotion;
2. Toothpaste;
3. Bug Spray;
4. Sun Screen;
5. Hair ties;
6. Nokia Phone;
7. 60 day supply of vitamins;
8. 10 pack of Viva paper towels;
9. a dozen ears of corn;
10. baby carrots;
11. 8 jars of spaghetti sauce;
12. 2 boxes of cereal;
13. bag of Doritos;
14. vinegar;
15. Canola oil;
16. 1/2 gallon of organic milk;
17. 1/2 gallon of limeade;
18. 8 hot dog buns;
19. those yummy frosted sugar cookies;
20. 2 lbs of bananas;
21. chip dip;
22. And a few miscellaneous items I cannot decipher from my receipt  (total items sold: 39).

If you aren't impressed yet, consider this: when you take away the nokia phone, vitamins, and paper towels, my bill would have only been $60. I can never escape HyVee for less than $50 and that is just filling up a shopping basket not a shopping cart.

The main reason why I even went to Wal Mart is because they have my favorite spaghetti sauce (hence why I bought 8 jars of it) for $2.50 each. This same sauce is $4.99 a jar at HyVee.

I'll admit that I do not buy meat and limit the produce I purchase at Wal Mart. And maybe its because I am shopping the West Des Moines Wal Mart that is only a few years old, but I do not find it dirty. I do not find the shoppers any more or less dirty than the ones I run into at any other store. I dont find the help any more or less competent than any other store. I truly save so much money when I shop there. I'm not too good for WalMart, are you?