Last Post

Another “last post”!  It feels like I just got done writing one of these.  But while the last “last post” closed out our New Zealand adventure as we returned to Peoria, I’m happy to say that this post really marks the beginning of a new life for Angela and me.  As you’ve heard or inferred from the most recent posts, we’ve relocated to Oregon.  This is a wholesale uprooting:  resigning from our jobs, selling our house, and starting fresh in the Pacific Northwest.  There will be lots to report, and the blog format has served us well so we’ll continue with it.  (Sorry Facebook… your ephemeral updates will just not do.  And I won’t even discuss Twitter.)

You can now visit and bookmark our new blog, Oregon Life.  It has just been created and may change significantly as we decide what to do with it, but even in its current lean condition it is a good channel that will let us post about how things are going.

Lastly, as with NZ Life, the Peoria Dispatch will remain here forever.

Bye Peoria, hello Salem!


Peoria to Salem

Leaving Illinois and entering Iowa (picture courtesy of my cheap old cell phone) Continue Reading »


Bye-bye Peoria

I’m heading off now…  did not get a chance to finish my blog last night so oh well..  I’m going out to say goodbye to baby and tommy and the neighbors.   Oregon… here I come.


Last Night in P-town

Well folks,  it has been a good 12 years living in Peoria.  I am sitting in our family room on the floor.  The house is completely empty except for a few of my things.  I have a freschetta pizza in my freezer and a little container of orange juice.  Frozen pizza will be delivered to the Kleimenhagen’s at 7:45pm this evening. As for the OJ, well that will be breakfast tomorrow.

Let’s see,… 1998 was when I joined Caterpillar after college.  Yup, wide eye and eager ;-) .   I sure had a lot of fun at work and at home.  Lots of tennis, swimming and running over the years.   I ran steam boat race twice,  and ran Race of the cure every year since 2005….

To Be Continued (after pizza delivery)…………….



books Over the 2009 Christmas Holidays,  I decided to write a program to help track the books that I have read over the years.  I wanted something plain a simple… but online, so I can access it anywhere I go.   After searching the web and trying out a few different web services, I decided to write my own version.   Goal for the site:

1) Track books that I’ve read.

2) A waitlist so I can remember the books I’m waiting for (new in a series,etc)

3) Some means to see the number of books I have read over the years and over months in the current year

4) Can link to Amazon or Bookmooch

It is now life at http://urbooks.org.   I need some testers so if anyone of you are willing to try it out, that would be awesome.   Volunteers please!!!   Send me ideas too :-) .   Thanks in advance.


Package from Home

There is nothing like receiving a care package from home.  It doesn’t matter how crumpled the package looked like nor does it matter that the content of the package is not something expensive.  My mum has been sending me a care package for Chinese New Year for the past 15 years.  Every year the package received look battered and bruised,  there were years where J and I just used a spoon to eat cookie crumbs.  The cookies were turned to crumbs on its voyage from Penang, Malaysia to Peoria, IL, USA.  The parcel that I receive this year was in such a good  shape compared to years before that I had to take a picture.  Since it’s Chinese New Year and Valentines,  I thought I’d share  a little piece of love and happiness from home with all of you.

IMG_2408small Happy Chinese New Year.

With Love,



Freezing Rain

Freezing rain must be one of the oddest phenomenon.  Icicles hang from the side view mirror and on the bottom of the car.  Walking on the sidewalk is so treacherous I feel like should have worn shoes with spikes on the sole for friction.  I need something that can grab onto the ground that is frozen solid.

I can still hear the rain outside splattering on the window and I can see it turned to ice.   It is just so odd to see it happen in a few seconds.  I’m not planning to venture out again until tomorrow morning.  Hopefully when we wake up in the morning the driveway will not be a sheet of ice.  Keeping my fingers cross.



Jim and I would like to wish all of you who visit this site a very happy New Year.  May the new year bring you joy and happiness.

Best Wishes,

Jim and Angela



Fall at Tanner’s Orchard

tanners It’s our fall ritual; every year in late September or early October, Jim and I would visit the apple orchard.   It’s quite a large orchard located about 25 mins north of Peoria City.   As we enter the store,  there is always two huge barrel filled with freshly made chilled apple cider.  The taste is simply lovely, the sweetness of the cider melts in your mouth.   The main store sells all sorts from apples, to jams, to soup mixes and cute trinkets.   One other main attraction in the store is the bakery,…. “love apple fritters,  hmmmm YUMMY”.  I’m sure most visitors go to the orchard first but we decided first stop should be the bakery :-) .  Oh… I should not forget to mention, they have yummy apple cinnamon donuts.

Don’t worry folks, we did pick a pack of apples.   We chose to walk (of course trying to convince ourselves that would be enough to burn of the fritters ),  but families could ride in a tractor wagon to the orchard.   There were rows and rows of Jonathan,  Golden Delicious, Fuji,  Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, etc.   The trees were full of apples and I plucked them to my heart’s content.   I love going to the orchard and it’s one of the few perks that I really treasure living in a small town.  Nothing like fresh apples from the orchard!

tanners1 tanners2

catlogoYou can catch Jim Owens on NBC’s “Meet the Press” tomorrow morning (airs at 8am central).  It should be interesting.  To date I’ve seen him on a number of interviews, but they’re usually pretty focused, such as the CAT opinion on the “Buy American” clause in the stimulus package, or some statements about layoffs.  Tomorrow’s show will be a roundtable to discuss the economy with host David Gregory, and CEOs from Google, Xerox and CAT.

“Meet the Press” is in my opinion the best of the Sunday morning shows (it was better with Russert though), and is watched by millions.  It’s great to have the head of CAT be one of three CEOs in the discussion, and I think this sort of press can only help to company (unless he screws it up).

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