something worth sharing

(this is an old picture, but i love it)
My good friend Janean is living and studying in Cairo this year. Janean and I spent a few years at Northwest College together and I'm so happy to see our friendship continue even over such great distances. She has a blog, linked in my 'Blogging Friends' list on the left. It's titled Exodus to Egypt. For some great reading, some incredible stories and some laughs, you should definitely check it out.

For today, I'd like to share her latest entry titled Can You Hear?. I think it is beautiful.

Right now it is snowing so much that I can't see out the window. It is wonderful. Have a nice Friday!


what a stinker!

Dead man sends cards from ‘heaven’
Oregon man cooked up prank before his death

ASHLAND, Ore. - Even in death, Chet Fitch is a card.
Fitch, known for his sense of humor, died in October
at age 88 but gave his friends and family a start recently:
Christmas cards, 34 of them, began arriving -- written
in his hand with a return address of "Heaven."

The greeting read: "I asked Big Guy if I could sneak
back and send some cards. At first he said no; but at
my insistence he finally said, 'Oh well, what the heaven,
go ahead but don't (tarry) there.' Wish I could tell
you about things here but words cannot explain.
"Better get back as Big Guy said he stretched a
point to let me in the first time, so I had better not
press my luck. I'll probably be seeing you
(some sooner than you think).
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. Chet Fitch"
A friend for nearly 25 years, Debbie Hansen Bernard said,
"All I could think was, 'You little stinker.'"
"It was amazing," she said. "Just so Chet, always wanting
to get the last laugh."

The mailing was a joke Fitch worked on for two decades
with his barber, Patty Dean, 57. She told the
Ashland Daily Tidings this week that he kept
updating the mailing list and giving her extra money
when postal rates went up. This fall, she said, Fitch looked
up to her from the chair.
"You must be getting tired of waiting to mail those cards," he told her.
"I think you'll probably be able to mail them this year."
He died a week later.


be kind

Arrogant people do not deserve to be successful. When you abandon kindness and gentleness, you're just a jerk. End of message.


he takes the heat

"Respect your elders!" is a rule you always hear as a child. It's a good rule I think. Last night however, I couldn't help but think that sometimes the rule should be "Respect your youngers!"

My brother has now graduated from the Fire Academy. Last night he received his badge. What an honor. This boy...okay, I guess he's kinda becoming a man...but this guy is pretty amazing. He has been working so hard, sacrificing his time, his energy, his sleep, and quite often his social life to learn a skill that is incredibly admirable. And in the end...he's learning so that he can give.

So Nick, Cheers! You did it! Keep working hard, we are all so proud of you!


little angel

This little angel was born on Friday night. Welcome to our world little one. This is the new son of my friends Kevin and Amy. Amy and I have been friends for nearly 18 years so this is a very special birth for me. It's amazing when you watch your friendships reach a new level. Life is such a miracle! I've been waiting and waiting...I'm so happy he's finally here, and healthy, and perfect.
Please welcome Oliver Richard Oelke.


This was me this morning.

But I am okay.

For those of you who don't see me every day...Yes, I do wear boots like that. They are my favorite and I'm starting to think they are my lucky boots, except for the fact that I slipped on the ice this morning. I suppose that's not very lucky huh?


nightmares in bunk world

This morning someone sent out an email that said the following:

"Does anybody have or know somebody that has a set of bunk beds no longer being used?"

And then I recalled my traumatic bunk bed years. Oh the nights when my sister would shove her feet up through my mattress and throw me flying across the room slamming against the wall.

Or the time that my mattress fell through and sandwiched my sister between mattresses.

Bunk beds have scarred me for life. It's a period of life that I like to black out of my memory.

Ha ha, I'm just kidding. Those things never happened. But they're great stories eh?


sometimes i'm just not very good with words.

My coworker is always using these sillly expressions that leave me confused at first...and then I laugh. She tries to be clever and I stand there dumbfounded. I say "uh...I don't get it." Then she has to explain herself and then...well...then I just feel lame.

The other day when I was leaving she said "You're gonna make like a tree and leave!" I didn't get it. I said "What are you talking about???" Then she said "You know...you're gonna make like a banana and split!"I still didn't get it. And then...yes...wait...there it is...I get it!!! Haha, that's funny.

This afternoon she was leaving for lunch and as she walked off I said "You're gonna make like a leaf and be a tree!!!"...I mean, "You're gonna be a split and be a..." Wait...Oh forget it. I'm just not good at these word plays.


still brimming with holiday cheer!

Tonight was round two of my holiday baking. I made my second favorite cookie, Eggnog Cookies. Yum! These are so tasty. I would post the recipe but I don't feel like typing it out right now. Let me know if you'd like it and I'll email it to you.

Mom taught me how to make these little candies. Recipes from moms are always special ones.

On a different subject, I got a second job, Yay! Now I shall be a Receptionist by day and a Chili's Waitress by night/weekend. It's about time! I've been applying to places for nearly a month. You'd think people would be anxious to hire for the Christmas season but apparently not this year!
I did apply at a certain restaurant and I thought the job was mine. After speaking with the manager for 40 minutes she surprised me with a 150 question personality test. She said that my scores would reflect whether or not I'd be a good fit for their company. A personality test for a waitressing job??? Anyways, I had to answer yes or no to 150 of the most bizarre questions imaginable.
Here are a few that I remember:
Yes or No--I personally know someone whom I wish was in prison.
Yes or No--I am frequently grumpy for no reason at all.
Yes or No--I am often so annoyed with people that I wish I could just put them in their place.
Yes or No--I wish I was a hostess at a night club.
Just in case you are wondering...I answered NO to all of the above questions. But somehow I managed to fail the personality test. Yes, it's true, APRIL CARDINAL failed a personality test. I never thought I'd have to face that sort of failure. I got over it though...nothing a spoon and some Breyers vanilla bean ice cream wouldn't fix. Just kidding. I can't help but wonder if I should have answered yes to the above questions.
So my experience at Chili's was quite different. I was practically hired on the spot. The words were something like "I like you, you're hired." Nice!!! I'm excited to be serving again. It's work that I miss. It's challenging but fun. I guess I most enjoy the interaction with so many different types of people. Oh, yes, and the extra money is nice too :-)


beautiful aren't they?

Round one. Ricotta Cheese Cookies. 3 hours, cookie dough in my hair, hair in my cookie dough...(ha ha, just kidding) and I even found helpers for the sprinkle part. These happen to be my favorite Christmas cookies! Please enjoy the recipe below.

2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bow, with the mixer a low speed, beat the sugar and butter until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Reduce speed to medium and beat in the ricotta, vanilla and eggs.

Reduce speed to low. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat until dough forms.

Drop dough by level tablespoons, about 2 inches apart; onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 15 minutes or until cookies are very lightly golden (cookies will be soft).
When cookies are cool, prepare icing. In small bowl, stir confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Spoon icing on cookies and sprinkle with colored sugar or candy sprinkles.



My friend Bethany shared a link that made me laugh a little and then inspired me to create...or rather, I just substituted my own pet. It's funny how we can all relate to cattitude.

Meet my cat Solomon to whom I am a slave.


This has been my weekend...activites and thoughts...and weather. This is a very random entry, you might lose brain cells just reading it.

On Friday I went to hear the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra perform Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Before Beethoven they performed Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. It was such a great experience. I sat there with my eyes closed and my body swaying back and forth. So many people brush aside classical music thinking that it is boring and old. I find it to be such an art!

Then Saturday morning it started snowing. I had to drive home to my parent's house. It took me twice as long to get there. I was driving 30 mph on the highway and still praying that I'd be safe because I could not see anything!

Why did I have to drive home? Well...two reasons. 1) My dad needs to look at my car. 2) My friend Jen was throwing herself a b-day party and I was invited!

And boy was it a party! Jen, the talented woman that she is...cooked a 7 course meal for all of her guests. A little backwards right? It's HER birthday and she was cooking dinner for her friends? But she insisted, and we enjoyed everything! She is such a good cook and we are all encouraging her to start her own business.

Here's a picture of Jen and myself.

So tonight I was shopping for dinner groceries and I thought of two things for which I am thankful.

After 7:00 p.m. the grocery store gives their leftover donuts away for free!


The avocado is a wonderful fruit!

If I could, I would plant an avocado tree in my front yard...if I had a front yard...

Right now I am sitting at a coffee shop downtown, thinking about heading home for the night. I'm looking out the window and this is what the street looks like.

I love winter weather! It's so beautiful!


We are redecorating our kitchen!!!

Tonight I decided to make a pot of chicken tortilla soup. Oh boy. It ended up being a huge process and then the lid flew off the blender and tortilla soup exploded everywhere. Baffled, I pulled myself together and refilled the blender and pressed the button and it exploded again. A ha! When you blend hot liquid you have to leave room for air or else the heat creates too much pressure and it just blows up. Who knew??

I contemplated leaving the splatter. It was quite colorful and I thought maybe Katie and I could start a new fiesta theme in our kitchen. But then I climbed up on the counter and started wiping off the ceiling, and the light bulbs, and the cabinets, and well...everything...

Mom used to hate it when I cooked. She would find batter and splatter in the most random places, days after I had used the kitchen. I thought of my mom tonight. She would have laughed at me, and then she would have sighed with relief that this was my kitchen and not hers!


just a typical tuesday morning.

This morning it was hard for me to pull myself out of bed. When I finally finished my shower I had exactly 17 minutes before I had to leave for work. I started blow drying my hair...and Katie started blow drying her hair...and gosh-diggity we blew a fuse! How lame is that? We can't even use two hair dryers at the same time?! And then to our luck the building is out of fuses. Good grief!
Since it was still dark, I had to use candles in order to find clothes in my closet. I did find matching clothes, but I think it was pure luck.

In all of the chaos I had to postpone my coffee break which then postponed my waking-up-ness, which meant that my usual "Good Morning!!!" self was more like "...hey..."
So I finally escaped over to Starbucks and while standing in line this woman said to me "That's a really nice red coat!" I said "Thanks". Then she said "You know, if you put potatoes in a red box they won't go bad, but if you put potatoes in a blue box they will eventually go bad."



I met someone!!!!

Meet Mr. Lego. Hmm...Mrs. April Lego. It has a nice ring to it doesn't it?

I'm not kidding when I say I like a guy with a good build. This guy is definitely built! Never mind the fact that he won't look at me.

getting 5 people to agree on something is NOT easy!

What did it take??? 2 hours?!!! to decide on the perfect Christmas tree? I liked one but it was too fat. Dad liked one but it had tumors on it. Nick liked one but...well...I won't comment. Mom liked one but it was too skinny, Stacey liked one but it was too tall. Good grief! When we finally decide, no one really cares any more. All we are thinking about at that point is the hot chocolate waiting for us in the barn.
But see below, the Perfect Cardinal Family Christmas Tree for 2007!

It was really cold.

But not too cold for dad to do a little Christmas Tree jig.


i ate a banana today

Bananas make me happy.

favorite thing about autumn #32

A scrimmage in the sky. I wish I knew what these birds were really doing. With such excitement and pride they dive up and down and around. Thousands of birds, soaring together as one big united blob :) Is it the bird military doing their drills? Is it a bird dance team performing to the music of downtown traffic? Is it a race? Is it a party?
These birds have been out nearly every night for the past month. They have been making circles in the same spot of sky, right above my office building. They play, and then they are gone...until tomorrow. How many more tomorrows will they come?
Yes, this is one more reason for me to love this season. Hah, I didn't intend to make that rhyme :)


Three Times Now!!!

So I know I'm not a morning person but I usually have en0ugh focus to control myself. This morning however I am beside myself! My words are coming out all jumbled and it's really annoying!
I am sitting at my desk, savoring my winter blend coffee from Einstein Bagels, and working on some projects. The phone rings (it's my job to answer it) so I pick up the phone, press the button and say "Good na na..."
Baffled, I try to recover. "Good M-O-RNING" I say, forcing myself to enunciate. I can only wonder what the caller is thinking.

And this would be fine if it happened once, a little slip of the tongue...we all have our moments right? But I've done this THREE TIMES already and I've only been here for an hour! Good grief!


dog attack

On Friday evening I went walking. I decided to take my favorite 8 mile loop along the lakefront, stopping at a great coffee shop to write some letters. There I was, minding my own business, listening to Craig Morgan sing "The Redneck Yacht Club" and all of a sudden I was startled to a scream by a big black dog! It ran up behind me, jumped on my back and started barking and growling. It cornered me into the bushes and kept it's stare fixed on me with a vicious teeth-bearing growl.
Now, I like dogs a lot. I lowered my voice, got down on my hands and knees and started to talk gently to the irritating beast. I was without success. I was on his territory, or too close to his territory, or I was just ugly or something.

A moment later I heard some shouting. I noticed three people across the street calling the dog to come back. The dog wasn't listening. Then, just as suddenly as it startled me, it ran back towards it's owners, only to be slugged by a passing SUV. It was a terrible terrible thing to witness. The dog yelped, was knocked out of it's nerves, rolled over a few times, and then brimming with adrenaline it got up and ran off. The cars continued to pass almost as if nothing had happened. The family was screaming. I stood motionless for a few moments. Then I continued on my walk.


it came!!!

It came!!! My most favorite Christmas album ever!!! This man makes Christmas official for me. It makes me think of the car ride out to Richardson's Tree Farm, all bundled up to search for the perfect Christmas tree. It makes me think of big hearty dinners, freezing cold weather, family togetherness, and all of the real joys of life.
I know, this is a bit early, but I wanted to be prepared this year. My normal rule is that Christmas music waits until the day after Thanksgiving. Maybe I'll make an exception this year, but I'll hold out as long as I can.

I know I'm not the only one who cherishes this particular album. Give a shout out if you are a fan! What feelings/memories stir in you when Roger Whittaker sings?



He was hungry.
He wanted to eat.
I wasn't listening.
He got my attention.


keep walking

Last night I walked for 3 miles. That makes 11 miles for the week (so far). I do feel great, I won't lie.

I spent most of the walk gazing at the moon. How beautiful this earth is! Oh how much we miss when we are too busy to stop and notice. The sky, the trees, the leaves, the beach, the sand...they live and breathe and they are just waiting to be noticed.



I have 5 of these. Inspire me please! I'm looking for creative ideas.
Click HERE for more pictures.


I hosted a pumpkin carving party at my apartment this past weekend. Ooh, exciting!!!

I must say, we created the coolest pumpkins ever!
Here is Rick's carved devil.

And Amanda's headless butler.

Tasha's ghosts.

Matt's winking smiley face.
And here's my autumn spookey tree.

Well done everyone, well done!


i'm bitter

This is how I feel right now. This video displays what I hate, and what I'm caught up within, all at the same time.

My doctor told me for the third time now that I need to lose 60 lbs. I'm not sure how I'm going to do that. I'm angry actually.

I've worked so hard at being happy with myself and being content with the fact that I'm not a size 7 hot mama. I've been determined not to become obsessed with diets. I've worked hard at some very healthy habits and I'm proud of my progress. Now that certain test results are in, I have no choice. I want to be healthy and if I don't drop this weight, I am basically welcoming diabetes with open arms. I've been this same weight for more than 5 years now. No bigger, no smaller. My doctor said that because I live a moderately active lifestyle I'm going to have to kick it up a few levels in order to see any progress. I have to put my body in shock or something, making it burn more caleries than my few weekly workouts are already eating up. I guess my ideals about "beauty within", "feeling good", and "being happy with yourself" don't really work in the real world. I guess it's time to be obsessed with my image. Here I go, I hope I can make some fun out of it.

Last night I took a long fast paced walk. It was lovely. I went about 4 miles I think. I thought to myself "Well...this sure is lovely. Maybe I can make a habit of this a few times a week!" When I got home and took off my shoes and orthodics I couldn't walk. The pain was worse than ever before. That is not an exaggeration. I had to soak my feet in a bucket of ice, I took 4 ib profin, and I crawled on my hands and knees down the hallway and into bed. Then cried myself to sleep. I can't win! I'm fat, and my feet don't work either. Today I am walking...painfully. But I'm walking. I guess pain is just another thing I'll have to deal with. I want to be healthy.

Pray for me.

Thank you.


hello my name is...

I came across some older photos...

When I finished school in Seattle, my dad--the amazing guy that he is!!!--brought the van out and we drove ALL THE WAY home with all my stuff. Actually, road trips with dad are always great. I look forward to them! You know all those strange places along the highways? The worlds largest thumb nail? The city where the portable toilet was invented? The worlds oldest junk yard? The actual spot where George Washington once took a nap? Yup, we've been to all of those places!

Well, on the way home from Seattle dad and I stopped at an Indian memorial site. Now, of course I should probably remember the details of this historical excursion but I only remember that it was a battleground between the Indians and the White Men. We watched some moving displays and some videos and then I remember walking around the property. I took some pictures of some of the memoral stones, giggling at the Indian names. There's something somewhat sacred about a name. People name their children with meaning in hopes that they will grow into the depth of their title. Things like "Peacemaker" or "Strong One" or "Kind" or "Loyal" are character traits that every parent would wish upon their child right? Well, what about these names? What did these kids do to deserve their names? Notice Hair Lip, or Hump Nose.

Can you feel the love? I can see it now...the little baby is born and the parents are shocked at this...well...what is it??? It's so...umm...cute. Let's call it Hump Nose.
Or how about Plenty Lice. Poor kid will NEVER live that one down!

How bad would a kid have to smell in order to inherit the name Young Skunk? Or the guy who is named Black Cloud?? What's he been eating?

Okay okay, it's fun and games on the surface but I really do admire these sorts of traditions. Indian culture is fascinating to me and I love learning about their heritage.
I think if I were an Indian, my parents would probably have chosen this for my name.
Fitting isn't it?

**Note: After this little highway adventure dad took me to see the Corn Palace! Wow, an entire building covered in corn!!!