Archive for July, 2006

“Your cats are really very naughty.”

Monday, July 31st, 2006

That’s what Juanita – family friend and occasional house-cleaner – told me when she called me at work today.

The reason for the call…? To let me know that she couldn’t remove the crib sheet for washing because Jim was in the crib, hissing and growling, and she couldn’t get him out. (Now, I’ve never seen Jim get into the crib, but maybe this is his secret daytime hobby).

Meanwhile, Minnie had hunkered down in the bathroom sink, and Juanita couldn’t get her out of there, either. ¬†Minnie, by the way, seems to have kitty laryngitis. Her meow has sounded raspy for about three days now. That effect probably did little to soothe Juanita (not a cat person) during the odd adventure with my naughty cats.

Jim in the sink – Prospect Ave ApartmentOriginally uploaded by Koog Family.

Happy Girl

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Playing, originally uploaded by Koog Family.

It tickles when someone talks to you through a paper towel tube on your tummy!

Busy Weekend – Part 2

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

At German Fest – 2006

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.

I attended a bridal shower this morning.

Then Oma, Paul, Emma and I visited German Fest at the Summer Fest Grounds.

It was a scorcher of a day, but we enjoyed the sights and sounds at America’s largest annual German Festival.


At German Fest – 2006

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.

We listened to a musical groups large and small, wandered around the cultural tent and some souvinier pavillions.


At German Fest – 2006

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.

We heard people speaking German. We ate bratwursts and strudels and drank beer.

Oh yes and Cheerios. Emma ate Cheerios.

Yep, an authentic German experience all the way around!

Busy Weekend – Part 1

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

On the train at the zoo

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.

After spending the night at Emma’s Grandma and Grandpa K’s house last evening, we attended my annual work picnic today. This year it was held at the Zoo.

To Emma’s (and my) delight, we rode the train!


Mother – Daughter Public Speaking

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Awwww.¬† How’s that for family togetherness?!

I asked my mom¬†if she’d like to join in the pain of some public speaking in January, and she said yes!

I get asked to do presentations, from time to time, on pseudo retirement- and health-plan related topics.

This time, the scintillating subject is 401(k) retirement plans (and the new Roth 401(k) plans). 

As a financial planner, I suspect she’ll appeal to the audience on a level very different (and more interesting)¬†than¬†my usual legal compliance¬†approach.¬† Thought it might make for a better overall presentation to bring in different perspectives.

At least one other benefits attorney will be joining in the mix, too.

And I’m now on a mission to recruit two additional¬†souls, before early September, so that no one of us will have to speak too long.

(Can you imagine an all-day seminar of 401(k)s??)

¬†Anyway, now that I’m a mom, myself, I have a better appreciation for all the things my mother has done for me.¬† She changed my diapers, fed me, taught me to walk and talk and take care of my cats.¬† She paid me allowance.¬† I borrowed her clothes.¬† We’ve shared hugs and arguments,¬†taken vacations together, talked about the past¬†and planned for the future together.

And now we’ll be 401(k) plan speakers together.¬†¬†

It almost brings a tear to the eye. 

Big Partner is Watching

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

So I’m driving in to work the other morning, and a package delivery truck pulls away from the curb and right into my path. I had to brake rather abruptly, and felt a flash of irritation. But it’s the kind of thing I would have forgotten about, except that. . .

. . . after arriving at work a few minutes later, a couple of other co-workers got onto the elevator at the same time I did. One of them, a shareholder who is generally known to work for a certain delivery truck client, was balancing multiple cases and files. The other person in the elevator asked him the obvious question:

“Keeping busy?”

At this, the partner rolled his eyes and said, “If I see one more [insert name of company] truck, I’m going to throw up.”

“One of those just cut me off on my way in today!” I said.

“I know,” he responded. “License 1246. I’m going to go call the company about that as soon as I get to my desk.”

(Me): “Oh. You saw that?!”

“Yes (sigh). My work for them has many facets.”

And with that, he exited the elevator, presumably to go report the bad manners of the truck driver who pulled in front of me.

Oh, YEAH, bad driver !

(karma hurts.)

Fireworks – In Sky and Suitcase

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Festa Fireworks 2
 Originally uploaded by bfeil.


It was an oddly bland week, for being so full of excess.

The heat wave let up at the beginning of the week, but the wave of work at the office is more intense than ever.¬†¬†My boss promises that if he’s hired by one more big client (he’s been on a role lately), he’ll hire a new associate. That’s code for ‘someone else to help out around the place.’ I find myself hoping for that one more client.

My hours are generally pretty reasonable, but this was an extraordinary week. Every project has been an urgent one, and the deadlines and obligations all converged into a cacophonous mountain of madness on Thursday night, when I was in the office until nearly 11:00 p.m. Paul took care of Emma all evening, while I missed her, and cursed the calculations I had to perform for an IRS filing due the next day. But it felt good to get it finished the day before it was due. And my consolation for being at the office so late was that I had a perfect, 18th floor view of one of the best summertime fireworks displays over Lake Michigan . . . courtesy of Festa Italiana.

During the summer, the festival grounds see fireworks most night of every weekend. I sometimes hear them, from a distance, at my house. But when 10:15 rolled around on Thursday, and I wasn’t at my house, it was a great excuse to roll the chair away from the computer and to take in the view outside my window. Lovely. And I’ll take that kind of explosion any day over that kind happening, excessively, in the Middle East just now.

Paul is out tonight (and has been away much of the day), busy with his brother’s bachelor party. I’m sure there are some excesses going on there.

After putting Emma to bed, I watched our current Netflix flick – Walk the Line. Loved it.¬† There were some excesses in that subject matter, I’d say. And – hold on to your hats – I drank two beers while I watched it.

Then, most strangely of all, I seem to have fallen over the cliff of some ledge of vacation-planning sanity.

I think it’s the increased responsibility at work that is driving me to fantasize and plan in technicolor fanaticism about our upcoming weeklong-getaway.

Anyone who’s ever lived with me can vouch for the fact that I am not, generally speaking, a neatnik.¬† I am guilty of being a planner, but I’ve reached a new zenith of absurdity here.

Somewhere along the way during the internet research about how best to pack for a week in Alaska, I was corrupted by the idea of Ziploc bags.

I can’t really explain it. I won’t even try. And we’re over two weeks out from departing for this trip, you understand.

But my suitcase is now 95% fully packed in a perfectly organized garden of labeled and inventoried plastic zipper bags.  I am both horrified and pleased to look upon my creation.

I think I might actually really need a vacation.

Ueber-Prepared  Originally uploaded by Koog Family.

Milwaukee Rated Safest From Natural Disaster

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

Safe Milwaukee

uploaded by Koog Family.

More evidence in support of my personal and strongly held theory that Milwaukee offers one of the best places to reside in the country; that despite (or perhaps, in part because of) being a well-kept secret.

Todays’s Journal Sentinal Online has the full story.

Mother Nature might wave her finger and offer an occasional scolding, but it’s unlikely she’ll unleash her full fury on Milwaukee, according to a study released Tuesday that ranks the city No. 1 in the country in terms of safety from a catastrophic natural disaster.

Hunting Shadow Birds

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Hunting Shadow Birds, originally uploaded by Koog Family.

Jim is an excellent hunter (for an indoor cat).

Another picture from the Weekend

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Feeding Herself!Originally uploaded by Koog Family.

Among the little Miss’s extensive bag of tricks in her eleventh month are: feeding herself, standing up (including, now, in her crib), and consistently saying Dog and Cat when she sees either the real thing or a picture.

(Well, OK, she says “do…!” and “yiow” [meow]).