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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   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


Twitter found childhood friend

It’s been sometime since I wrote on the main blog, so I suppose I do owe the readers a story/update.  A week ago, I had trouble sleeping and decided to get on the internet to surf the web.   I’m definitely not the techno savvy sort of person who knows all about the latest web gadgets.   As I browse the internet and checking out twitter, I thought I’d try some names of old friends which I have lost contact with.  To my very surprise I found a friend from childhood,  and I mean a friend from 20 years ago.  Yeah… yeah.. i know.. sounds old :-) .   We used to play a lot together and visited each other after school.   After 1989, she moved to a different state.   We tried to keep in touch but after a year or so we lost contact.  Oh… it brought back a lot of good memories of us just running around ragged,  chewing on sugar cane like candy and playing fire crackers during Chinese New Year.   I sure do miss those good ol days.


A Sad Week for CAT Employees

catbwAnyone who has watched the news this week probably noticed that CAT made some negative news by announcing massive layoffs (20,000 jobs) on Monday.  I’d say a lot of us expected some sort of cuts as part of the earnings announcement, but this was nonetheless a large number.  Much more surprising were the additional 2,200 layoffs announced on Friday.  This batch was targeted right at Illinois plants, including East Peoria and Decatur.  I find it very disturbing that CAT had to put out a second announcement so soon.  Surely they would have been better off announcing 22,000 cuts on Monday, so this Friday’s news indicates that situations are changing very rapidly, and/or CAT’s management of them is not well controlled.  Not good.

Angela and I both still have our jobs.  Based on what has been told to us, we’re hopefully that we’ll escape being laid off.  But there are still a lot of actual cuts to occur to meet the 20,000 number, and they could definitely hit either of us.  So all we can do is hope for the best on that front.

As part of the 20,000, CAT offered a buyout program that roughly 2,600 people signed up for.  Their last day was Friday.  It was very sad to see people we know heading out the door en masse.  Yes they were doing it on their own accord and with some financial benefit, but it was still a somber day.  First, a lot of good people left.  Very experienced people retired, and very ambitious people used it as an opportunity to try something new in life.  I wish them all well.  But it also was a visible reminder of the weakened state of CAT (and Peoria, the economy, etc.)

Another big news story this week concerned Wall St. bonuses.  I find the large bonuses paid to bankers of failed banks very annoying like everyone else, but this story struck a really negative chord with me this week, being juxtaposed with CAT layoffs.  Let’s do the math:

$18.4 Billion (reported sum of bankers’ bonuses)
÷ 22,000 (CAT jobs lost this week)

So, with the dodgy bonus kitty, we could have paid all of the departing CAT employees over $41k / year for the next 20 years.  What the hell is wrong with this picture?  I normally don’t get too wound up over executive pay, but this situation is offensive, and made much worse given that these companies are on the Federal dole.  I think I actually agree with the core of Claire McCaskill’s idea, but I doubt it will happen.

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