Sunday, July 31, 2011

Welcome Lucie Bella!

We have a new addition to the family! I would like to welcome Lucie Bella Haskell to our family.

Lucie was a stray kitty. We have tons of stray cats that come to our yard to eat and sleep (Kurt has a kitty house with AC and heat for the strays), but none of them ever come near us. Until Lucie. I was out one night after work and saw her near the front door. She did not run right away like the other strays did, so we called her. She did not come right away, but eventually sauntered over and kinda let us pet her. The next night, same thing. Before long, she was waiting for us at night, asking for canned food. She was also cuddling and demanding attention. Before long, Kurt brought her into the basement and she is now--after being checked at the vet, getting her shots, and getting fixed--living in the house. She is pretty nervous of the pugs and has been hanging out on the kitty condo in the living room, not really coming down, but, she is purring a lot and seems happy. Anyway, I think Lucie is a pretty smart kitty to adopt us! We are great feline parents. :). The only thing wrong with Lucie was that she was a little bit anemic, so she had meds for that. She was also realllllly skinny, almost bony, when she first came to the yard, but I have been working on fattening her up. The pic of Lucie above is when she was still outside and had not adopted us yet, but you can tell I already kinda liked her! :). we had just worked out and came home on the bikes to her waiting for us to get attention......

So, last Sunday was the Paul McCartney concert at Comerica Park. Loved seeing a concert at the baseball stadium outside. Only bad part was a tiny bit of rain right at the start, but other than that, perfect weather and night. The concert was awesome, and Paul sounds the same live as on the radio. He was awesome, and it's hard to believe he can put on a show like, at 69 years old! He was all over the stage and the show was almost 3 hours. We had great floor seats in Row 25 center.

Work week was crazy, as usual. We ran in a 4 Mile race on Friday after work in Southgate. I ended up placing, but the race was HARD. It was over 90 degrees out, even at 630 PM when the race started. I am not good with running in the heat like that, and I had to stop and walk a couple times becuz I felt like I was going to pass out. So, I was not expecting a medal, but I still got 3rd in my age group! I guess a lot of people had a hard time with the heat like I did. Kurt did really well too, and only came in about 1.5 minutes after me. We went and had dinner afterwards in Monroe, which was super yummy. I am getting better with eating out, making healthy choices. We really enjoy relaxing at dinners out, so I am trying to make good choices so I dont feel guilty about it. Saturday, I had lunch with friends, then Kurt met me and we drove to Birch Run for some outlet shopping. Kurt needed some new suits and has gone from wearing a 46L suit and 38/32 pants to a 40L suit and 33/32 pants. Crazy. We stopped at all my fav stores too, and I got a cute white suit coat and black skirt at BCBG (WAY marked down, I think the suit coat was originally $198 and I got it for $45), a dress, two shirts, and a tank at Ann Taylor, running shorts at Reebok, and a suit coat and skirt at Banana. There were a ton of good deals, as the stores are already getting fall stuff in and HELLO, its 95 degrees outside. We had dinner at a really good sushi place I found on Yelp while we were driving, where I had the house soup and a roll called a Firecracker Roll that was incredible. Great service and prices. wish the place was around my house or office! Today, we worked, did stuff around the house and grocery shopped. I got in a 12.25 mile bike ride this summer, which was really nice. The weather was just gorgeous, and I just randomnly picked roads to drive down, and saw some parts of Newport I don't think I have ever seen. Love the bike, although I can't wait for temps to cool down so I can run more outside again instead of on the treadmill. My attention span is really short on the treadmill.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

So, with the crazy hot weather this week (which I refuse to complain about because I would much rather have this than Michigan winters), I have been a little bit stir-crazy not being able to run outside. Since I am so not a morning person, I have no desire to get up early and run before work, and even later at night, it has been too hot (at least for me) to run outdoors. So, my workouts this week have been biking outdoors or working out in the basement gym. Boo. This morning though, I woke up at like 715 (without an alarm, go figure), so I decided to take advantage of that and go run. It was prob already like high 70s and super muggy, but I was determined. Ended up getting in just over 5 miles, which made me really happy. Followed it with an immediate shower since I was drenched in sweat, but that just means more calories were burned off, right? :). We ran a ton of errands today in Monroe and downriver, and then went on a bike ride today, when we proceeded to get drenched from a storm for about a mile of it, but whatevs! It was still fun.

My husband is an addict. To slushies. I think we have been to the ice cream place on bike rides like an average of three times a week. I think he has tried almost every flavor there. Tonight, he had a flavor called "Graveyard" where they mix several flavors together, which resulted, I guess, in a black cherry like taste.

We bought an inversion table last weekend and have been using it. I think it is actually really helping Kurt's back issue. He is upsidedown in it right now, haha. I have been using it too, and think it is helping with my issue with running and my one nerve in my back. My Mom has one and her and my stepDad love it, and my Mom was telling me she thought it would help Kurt's issues, and she was right! Thanks Mom!

This week was pretty busy and full. I had a ton of court. Had dinner with my lawyer friends on Wednesday night in wyandotte at Solero Cafe and Tequila Bar, which was fun. Got a massage on Tuesday night at Blu Water Spa, which was desperately needed. Then, got my hair done on Friday night at Daybreak Salon, which was WAY overdue as well. Ended up getting like three inches cut off, and instead of simply blonde highlights, got some strawberry blonde highlights mixed in. Really like it, although Kurt said he does not notice a difference at all, LOL. Today, we went to Blu Water for Kurt to get a massage, and I got a mani-pedi, which was also way overdue. I seriously have no time to get anything done and feel like I caught up on everything beauty-related this week alone. At least I am caught up for a while. :).

Tomorrow night, we are seeing Paul McCartney in concert at Comerica, and I can't wait. we have great floor seats, and I have been wanting to see him ever since I had tickets last time he was in town and sold them.

We are trying to figure out our Labor Day trip. I have mostly been looking at Central and South America, but may look at Canada and some american spots as well, since it's a pretty short trip. Nothing is really a front runner yet. And *someone* I know really needs to get on picking out destination for the Christmas trip, which is usually booked WAY before now.

Oh, made a new recipe tonight I have been wanting to try, Quinoa and Black beans. Turned out AWESOME. I used jarred cilantro (1/4 cup) instead of fresh, as I had no fresh, but other than that, followed the recipe exactly. anyway, super easy. I made mine with ahi tuna and Kurt's with tilapia. It would be good though, on it's own, with any fish or meat, or as a side with a mexican meal. Highly recommend.

Oh! One of my favorite high school friends, Becky, had her baby this week! Ended up being a c-section, as the baby was over 9 pounds, she was 12 days past due, and my friend is tiny (only 5'1), so I guess baby Nick was not going to come naturally. Sounds like everyone is recovering and doing well, and baby Nick looks super cute. cannot wait to meet him in real life. Guess I need another quick trip to San Diego? Would love to run on the beach again........

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend. Oh, will be posting about an addition to our family soon! (and no, not a human baby addition). Stay tuned......

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wyandotte Run and Updates

This weekend, Kurt and I ran in the Wyandotte Portofino Art Fair 5K, Saturday at 800 AM in Wyandotte. It was a nice race and I was glad it was early, as it was already super hot at 800 AM! Kurt broke his personal record for time, and I placed second in my age group. Our friend, Paul, was there as well and got 2nd in his age group. So of course, we had to stay so I could get my cute medal. :).

Sunday, I had breakfast at Denny's with two of my school board friends. They had wanted to take me to a goodbye breakfast from the board. It was really nice. I totally cheated with eating and had some amazing pecan banana pancakes. I love pancakes with fruits or nuts baked in.......totally reminded me of the amazing pancakes I had in San Diego in April, at the place overlooking the Bay........worked the rest of the weekend on Saturday and Sunday, boo. Sunday night, we lost power from 730 PM to 106 AM, boo. Some kind of brown out in the area.

Kurt bought a bike rack for the back of the Jeep, so we can now take the bikes to the park and ride, which we have done one time now. It's nice, because of the no cars being there. When we ride around the house, there is some traffic, which I hate watching for. Anyway, we are up to riding about 6-10 miles at a time, and really, I think we could go much further, we just decide to go home at that point. I am so thinking I need to train for a tri. I can totally do the running and I think the biking, and the swimming would not take much for me to get since I pretty much grew up in the water. Something new to think about anyway. Maybe next summer. I have not signed us up for any 5Ks this weekend, and I am a little concerned about the heat and might not do one. We are signed up them a lot of other weekends, including our first 10K in August. That will be interesting. I also found this awesome American Lung Association stair climb, but don't know if anyone will do it with me or not. You climb up and down the 70 flights of stairs at the Renaissance Center in Detroit. Everyone I ask about it thinks I am insane though, LOL. I may *make* Kurt do it with me though. :).

Went to Old Navy this weekend to use a Groupon I had that was about to expire. I got an adorable dress, which is going to be worn a LOT. Also got a cute polka dot tank, a white tank, and a green tank on clearance for working out. I am kinda not happy with Old Navy lately, or maybe my tastes have just outgrown the store. Anytime I go in there, it is VERY limited the selection of what I would even try on. I also think a lot of the stuff just looks poorly made and see through. Stopped at TJ Maxx as well and found a great Calvin Klein bra and a New balance workout shirt.

My dream shoes are Pucci heels. I love the patterns and yea, hate the price. Finally found some for about 80% off and ordered them and of course, don't like them on, so back they go! Hopefully, I find some for that kinda deal in the future that I like on. Super cute shoe, but just did not look right on me. Boo.

Went to the Wyandotte art fair this past Thursday with my Aunt and my friend, Nancy. Ended up buying a really kewl ring, but I had to have it sized and they are mailing it to me. Can't wait to get it! We had dinner at a really cute little place after the fair in downtown Wyandotte that had a HUGE menu. Really great place to take people when everyone is in the mood for something different.

we have been slammed at work, and I so need to get some things done....I need a pedicure, badly. I also need to schedule a massage. And I am so far past due on my hair, but I at least have that scheduled for I think? this Friday. Maybe not doing a run this weekend will allow me to catch up on some of those things? I hope so.

Oh, almost forgot. We finally got word on the property we bid on in costa Rica. I guess the sellers were "offended" by our offer, but made a counter offer basically saying "pay our price". I found it funny because almost nodody has called on their property and only one person besides us has looked at it in over a YEAR. They should be glad they are even getting an offer. And I never understand when people are offended by an offer. If you don't like it, turn it down. Why would you be offended? It's not like we put in the offer and said they personally suck or something, and the offer was not bad anyway. I am not in a hurry to buy, so I will keep looking, and when their property is still on the market in a year, maybe they will negotiate more on the price. At least we are looking and getting out there. Kurt has also started looking in Panama and Ecuador. I guess Ecuador is the new "in" place that Americans are moving to, you can get ocean front property for about half what it is in Costa Rica. So, I guess we will see. We will need to go back there for sure and look around, since our Ecuador experience is solely Quito and the Galapagos.

Anyway, hope everyone had a great weekend. Stay cool in this weather! :).

Friday, July 08, 2011


So, have not posted in a while, have been super slammed and still am. Shocker.

Anyway, we have been in Costa Rica for the 4th. More on that later.......

Recent Races
We ran in two races prior to leaving that I have not posted about yet. One was in Taylor and raised money for a local food pantry in Taylor. Our friend, Paul, ran in it as well. It was a nice race through Heritage Park, which is right near our office. Had to be there really early though, so I don't think I even woke up until the race was about over, ;). I decided to start running races slightly differently this weekend. My prior method was starting off at my normal pace and pick up the speed later on. But, I realized that I was having to run pretty fast at the end with this way to beat my prior speeds. So I decided I was going to start off more quickly, and this really improved my times. Pushing myself at the start is more tiring throughout the race, but makes me run the entire race more quickly. Anyway, placed second in my age group in the Taylor race, and Kurt placed third! Our friend, Paul, placed first in his. All in all great race. the one the day before was called the Springswell 5K in Dearborn and was the first race ever for this one. Kinda not organized, very small amount of people, but it as run. They did not list where you came in rank on this one, but they did time it and tell you your time.

Ran in another race today in Taylor at Heritage Park. when I woke up this morning, I was kinda feeling tired, so I had no idea how I would do, plus we ran last night. Anyway, the race had a huge turnout and stiff competition. Kurt was sure he would not do well since he gained 5 pounds on vacay (which he has already lost, LOL), was tired, had been sick this week, etc., but he did really well! His time was close to his personal record, he got 28:33. I ran it in 26:02. I got 4th in my age group and Kurt got 6th in his. I think I could have done better if I was not feeling kinda tired, but I was heppy with my time anyway! :).

Costa Rica Trip
Costa Rice was amazing. As usual. Flights there were perfect, we left very early Friday morning. Got there, got our rental SUV and we were off to Jaco. We booked NOTHING prior to getting there in relation to rooms, tours, etc. and just decided to play it by ear. Got to Jaco and stopped to have lunch at my fav placed in the world to eat, Tacobar, which did not disappoint. Had our normal, ahi tuna tacos. After that, got a massage at Nazareth (walkd in, appointments gotten on the spot) and rented a room via my Expedia app on my iPhone at this placed called Club del Sol, which is actually condos hotel rooms. Anyway, our room was super nice and just outside of downtown Jaco. We had a full kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, laundry room, and the pool was right outside our door. Ended up staying there two nights. We ended up, which in Jaco, cheaking out a piece of property Kurt had been eyeing online. 30 acres, two houses (one regular and one caretaker), a barn. Anyway, loved the property and the ocean view, creek running through it, hiking trails. The caretaker house and barn were total crap, and the house was OK. Plus, we were confused as to "why" the people built the house where they did. If you go up further on the property, you have this amazing ocean view and a perfect spot for a house there. instead, they built the house at the bottom of the property, practically on top of the caretaker house. Weird. The house was also odd as well, the layout--but hey, we are in Costa Rica, they do things differently. The location of this property is pretty much perfect though--about 5 minutes out of downtown Jaco, in the middle of the jungle. so, we would get the jungle and animals, but be like minutes away from my fav city ever. we ended up putting a bid in on the property and we are waiting to hear back. I have a feeling they will not take it, but we will see. You never know. We basically bid not giving much value to the house since we would most likely build a new house higher up with the view, but the people who live there seem to value the house higher than the property (from their comments while we were there). Keep you posted on that, but I am not feeling that the bid will be accepted. Ate at an awesome sushi place that night called Koi. Service was perfect here, and the food and decor awesome. Really modern place.

We drove on day two to Manuel Antonio national park as well. We were there once prior, 5 years ago. We drove there and did two hikes around the park, and ended up seeing howler monkeys, capuchins, agouti, lots of birds. Great ocean views...........Had dinner at a place called i Love sushi that night that was new from last time we were in Jaco. Before we could order, they lost power (huge rainstorm). We still ordered and the food was great. Limited on what we could order due to no power, which was kinda annoying, but hey, it is what it is. I had tuna quesadillas and Kurt had a veggie and california roll with miso soup.

Decided to leave on day three and drive to Tamarindo. another area we were at before 5 years ago on our first trip to Costa Rica. more of an Americanized, uppity area, but we wanted to check it out again. Got there and had lunch, then checked in at the Hotel Diria, right in the centre of downtown Tamarindo. Nice hotel, except for the fact that two days in a row, the electronic part of door stopped working and it was kinda a pain to get it fixed. Ate lunch that day at a place called Copacabana and had hummus with pita bread as well as a tuna taco that was awesome. Breakfast buffet was awesome there as well and included in the room. We had a room literally right on the beach, ocean steps outside the door. Love that. Did some shopping in Tamarindo, had a massage, took a tour to Palo Verde National Park where we took a boat tour and saw lots of animals--iguana, lizard, holwer monkeys, crocodile. Love just sitting on the boat looking for stuff on the shore.......lunch for the tour was AWESOME. All costa Rican food. we had awesome fresh fish, black beans, corn tortillas, fried cheese, fresh guac and fresh veggies. Super yum. Had dinner at an awesome sushi place that night. Second night had dinner at another super good sushi place called Bamboo Club. I was so proud of Kurt there too becuz he ventured off his normal california roll and tried a tuna crunch teriyaki roll that was really good. had a massage in ion Tamarindo and checked into the cost of veneers for Kurt, they are about 1/10 the price of the US. Talk about mark-up in the country.

Fifth morning left there and headed back to Jaco for the night and the casino. Ended up not doing the casino and just relaxing. Looked at another piece of property which was beautiful, but I deemed too far away from jaco and overpriced. had dinner at my fav place again and then relaxed at the hotel for the night. next morning, left for the airport and home, BOOOO. Was proud of myself, got three runs in while there, two in Tamarindo and one in Jaco. It was HOT there, so I had to adjust my speed since I was not wanting to pass out. Went anywhere from 3-4 each time, and I was both proud of myself for running in the heat and not passing out and for working out while on vacay! Ate like crap, so I had to. I don't even want to know what I gained after seeing Kurt gained 5 pounds. Guess I will find out on Sunday when i weigh in.

Click here to see all pics from the trip.

This is totally off topic, but the Lauren Conrad dress I bought at Kohl's prior to leaving? totally great vacay dress for hot weather. Comfy, cool, and adorable.

Getting back on the eating right thing SUCKED once we got home, but I always feel better when I eat right. I made a new goal with eating to try to eat more "natural". I am going to buy fruit and veggies for the office and house and keep them stocked. when I am hungry for a snack, I want to only grab a banana, or a grapple, or carrots, vs my normal rice cake or granola bar. That is step one. I am not going to be anal about it (i.e. I am NOT giving up Skinny Cow or Smart Ones ice cream), but I am slowly going to add more natural stuff into my diet. I am not giving up lean Cuisines for lunch just yet, because they are so easy, but eventually I would like to bring other things i make at home for lunch. First night home I ran 4 miles, and Kurt and I ran 3 miles at the par last night,

Today, ran errands, worked, worked out, took the pugs on a couple walks, and took a short nap. Tomorrow, working all day again, BOOOO, and Oscar and Vito have a vet appointment in the morning. Hope everyone had a nice 4th!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Underwear Bomber Hearing 7-7-11

by Kurt Haskell

I haven't posted anything regarding the underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (Umar) in awhile. It is not due to a lack of interest on my part. There simply hasn't been much new going on with the story. That changed today. I expect this story to heat up once again as the October 4th trial date approaches.

As always, if anyone needs a background regarding this case and my throery on it, feel free to read this blog from Christmas Day 2009 forward. Please remember that this is my wife's blog and many posts regarding our lives are commingled between underwear bomber postings. This is not exclusively an underwear bomber blog.

I received notice of this hearing last week. It was set for 11:00 A.M. today. Unfortunately for me, I had a trial on one of my cases set for 9:00 A.M. today. I didn't have enough notice to move my trial. I was hoping my trial would settle or get adjourned to this afternoon. Judge Keith was an hour late today for my 9:00 A.M. trial and had several other cases to complete first. By 10:00 A.M., I didn't think there was any chance I would make it to Umar's hearing. At 10:30 A.M. Judge Keith called the two attorneys into his chambers to discuss the case to see if there was a settlement. There wasn't, so I asked him for a one hour adjournment and he granted it (from 10:45 to 11:45). I asked my client to watch my briefcase and I ran 4 blocks to the federal courthouse. Lori was already there. The hearing lasted 45 minutes of which I got to watch approximately 30 minutes of. See below:

This hearing was scheduled for two reasons: 1) The prosecution asked to "define" the role of stand-by attorney Chambers to determine what he can and can't do and 2) Stand-by attorney Chambers request to delay the October 4 trial date due to the prosecution giving him new evidence only one month ago.

The prosecution argued its motion first and asked for ridiculous requests such as Chambers not being able to sit by or talk to Umar while court was in progress. Judge Edmunds appeared to think most of the requests were ridiculous. A couple of the requests she indicated that she would decide after taking the issue under advisement (Judge talk for thinking it over) and would give her decision at another hearing in approximately two weeks. She took these issues under advisement as between Umar and Chambers: 1) Who will do jury selection, 2) Who will do the opening statement, 3) Who will do the closing statement, and 4) Who will question the witnesses. Interestingly enough, Umar told Judge Edmunds that he and Chambers will each question some of the witnesses. Judge Edmunds told Umar that would probably not be acceptable. I wonder if Judge Edmunds forces Umar to question all of his witnesses, if that will scare him into using Chambers as his regular attorney? I can only hope. Judge Edmunds once again tried to get Umar to use an attorney. Umar once again refused and indicated that he has been making progress on his studying to become his own attorney.

The more interesting part of the hearing today centered around Chambers request to adjourn the October 4, 2011, trial date. As part of his argument, Chambers indicated that the prosecution dumped the "Most significant evidence" of the entire case on his office in June after holding it for 18 months. Chambers then went on to describe such evidence as follows:

1) A copy of Umar's passport (Apparently it took 18 months to create it)

2) A disk containing a chemical analysis of the composition of the bomb

3) Airport security video and audio

4) Four disks of DNA analysis

5)A Witness statement from a Dutch, non-law enforcement citizen, government profiler, who talked to Umar during "the time in question"

For those of you following my theory on this case, you can see the obvious tie ins between the evidence that was withheld for 1 1/2 years and what it likely shows. I am, however, very puzzled as to item 5. I am not sure what the shows, who it is, when it was, or how it's relevant. Chambers then requested all other hidden evidence to which the prosectuion indicated it would turn over to Judge Edmunds for her review within two weeks. AS IF IT WAS O.K. TO HIDE MORE EVIDENCE!!!!! Apparently, the further hidden evidence is classified as SECRET (top secret?) and requires judicial review even before it's released to the defense. If I was representing Umar, I would be beyond livid over this conduct by the prosecution. What kind of evidence in this case could be so highly classified? I wonder if it has something to do with providing a "terrorist" an intentionally defective bomb and escorting him around security without a passport?

The hearing ended with Judge Edmunds denying Chambers request to delay the trial. Jury selection will start October 4, 2011.

*Note that some of the above information was provided by Lori as I had to return to my trial before this hearing concluded.