Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Cheer

I wanted to write an elaborate post on everything I love about Christmas prior to the 25th, but that obviously didn't happen. Instead, I worked a lot, slept a  lot, and thought about how I wanted to write this blog post. I've decided that since Christmas is over, an elaborate post would be silly, so here's the short and sweet version...

Christmas comes at the perfect time of the year. Just when everyone is starting to feel depressed because of the lack of sunshine, a feel good celebration of all things wonderful steps in to save our dreary souls....and I love it.

Christmas Lights:


They remind me of my dad hanging them every year just to make me happy and the long drives I would go on with my mom to look at them.

Christ our Savior is born:

His birth brings an overwhelming sense of peace in my heart.


The Lehr Christmas Tree

Ripon's Grand Christmas Tree

Whether they are lit up, decked to the nines, or plain and simple, I can't help but stare.

Mouse Decoration:

It holds a real candle too!

When I was a child, I pretended to be friends with this mouse and curl up next to him and the little candle fireplace to take a nap. Although I no longer take pretend naps with the mouse, it's still my favorite Christmas decoration.


The Gross Family

Tayler (the dog) always trying to be in the spot light

Lehr Family

Nicu work family
What's not to love?


The butter dish lady I got my mom

I really enjoy the giving part, especially when I find the perfect one. Okay, I'll admit I like receiving them too, especially when Danny finds the perfect one.

Warriors tickets row 2!

Merry Christmas everyone. May all yours be merry and bright.

Little Jessica: Enjoying Christmas

Friday, December 17, 2010

Water Tower Power

The importance of conserving water has been a big hit with our nation lately. Record low water levels in our California rivers, lakes, and wells sweep the headlines every summer leaving many towns around the central valley in crises mode. My sweet little Dutch town of Ripon on the other hand, is prepared for a 40  year drought.

There's a few things that Ripon has got right, one being its ratio of water towers to Riponian citizens, the other being the ratio of police officers to Riponians. We are prepared for a water shortage as well as any war that may be waged over our water.

How many water towers does one town with a population of 14,738 people (two thirds of them being Dutch) need, you may ask? Four. That's right, four water towers. Two of them being the size of large cruise ships.  For comparison purposes I will throw out this little factoid: Ripon's neighboring ugly-cousin-of-a-town, Manteca ,with a population of 65,028 has one and a half water towers. I will explain the half later.

The first water tower I will mention is Ripon's "Old Water Tower." It is located near downtown Ripon, off of Main Street, near the newly renovated fire station and is visible from Highway 99. When I started writing this blog, I was going to wow you readers with water tower facts, such as how many gallons each water tower holds, the year it was built, and how many people have climbed to the top without getting caught. Unfortunately, I cannot find such information so I will provide you with my expert estimation.  The old water tower is silver and well... old. It can hold approximately 100 average sized suburban pools inside it.  It is as tall as the tallest building in Ripon...maybe even taller. I enjoy this water tower, because it is simple, no frills or fuss about it.

Ripon's Old Water Tower

The second water tower is the City of Ripon Water Tower. It is the second largest water tower in Ripon. It is located on Jacktone Road and can be seen for miles away. The City of Ripon Water Tower can hold approximately 200 average sized suburban pools of water in it. The City of Ripon Tower is an off white color, says "City of Ripon" on the top portion, and has the city's logo on it. It is big and splashy. It is Ripon's way of flaunting it's money and power to all those who pass by.

City of Ripon Water Tower

The third water tower is the newest and biggest. Mistlin Sports Park Water Tower is big and bold. It is located inside of Ripon's highly acclaimed Mistlin Sports Park. The tower has a two level walkway around it near the base, which I don't quite see the excitement in, perhaps they are trying to avoid those crazy Ripon bungee jumpers from having too much fun. The tower can hold 500 average sized suburban pools of water with no problem. The side of the tower says "Mistlin Sports Park" and has pictures of various athletic equipment on it. The roof of the water tower is painted to look like a soccer ball, so for all of us flying our private helicopters, we won't miss it.  There is a water fountain park located within Mistlin Sports Park. It runs year round. It is Ripon's way of smacking California's water shortage in the face. It is also a fun place to take little kids. I will let you be the judge of it.

 Mistlin Sports Park Water Tower with adjoining water park

View from the top

The fourth water tower is the Kat Country Water Tower. The Kat Country Water Tower is halfway between Ripon and Manteca. It is on private property and surrounded by random palm trees. The water tower is an older style and serves as a billboard for the radio station Kat Country. The sign has a picture of a creepy jaguar or perhaps a panther, lurking beyond the words Kat Country 103. The tower holds approximately 80 moderately sized suburban pools of water. I am going to assume that because the water tower is halfway between Manteca and Ripon that if either city would need to utilize the tower, they would have to split the water or pay an outrageous water usage tax. We all know that Manteca would be the first to use up the precious water, seeing as Ripon has plenty of water to go around. This is probably one of Ripon's Dutch money making schemes that might actually work... and I applaud them for it.

Kat Country Water Tower

Creepy Cat

There's those palm trees...

While researching water towers, I have learned that there are people who travel the world in search of various water tower locations. They post a picture and the exact location using latitude and longitude coordinates then post their "find" online. If I were to enter a water tower waymarking challenge, I would have an unfair advantage seeing as our water tower per capita ratio is out of control.

However silly Ripon may be with its water hoarding, I rest assured that during the driest of days, my mouth will be quenched with the sweet taste of Ripon's finest water tower water. Thank you Ripon. Thank you for your water tower power.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On November

November's long gone and I still haven't told you what I loved about it. Between the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving and crazy Christmas shoppers, blogging has been put on the back burner. Better late than never....or so "they" say.

Favorite Dress: The Airplanes and Roses Dress

At the Chicago Field Museum with an earth worm

I purchased this dress on a random trip to Long Beach/ Disneyland with my dress loving friend, Melisa. This store was great, full of cheaply made clothing that cost less than a super sized lunch at your local fast food restaurant. Sometimes I'm a quality kind of girl and other times I'm a quantity kind of girl. On this particular day I was in the mood to shop, but not over spend. Everything in the store was $15 or less including my awesome airplanes and roses dress. When I first saw this dress, I noticed how when wearing it, it cleverly looked like it was a dress with a three quarter length shirt underneath. However, the "shirt" is actually part of the dress. I then looked a little closer and found the pattern was not roses with thorns as I had originally thought, it was roses with airplanes! "How magnificent," I thought to myself. I instantly felt funky/hip while wearing it. I wore my funky hip airplanes and roses dress to Thanksgiving dinner and got many, "Hey, there are airplanes on your dress," type comments.  I wore grey tights underneath to keep warm (Daisy the dog owes me a new pair for puncturing a hole in them), a pair of black flats with metallic roses on the sides, and my feather headband to tie it all together. I am thankful for the comfort, trendiness, and conversation that this dress brings to my fashion table.

Deep in conversation, probably about the dress

Favorite Activity: Christmas Tree Hunting

With so many November activities, it was hard to choose just one. I chose Christmas Tree Hunting, not because it was the most exciting, but it was probably the most heart warming. Danny and I are busy people. We do not get to spend that much time together, so when we do, we have to make the most of it. That includes doing things like picking out a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, because if we didn't get it then, who knows when we would be able to. We chose to spend our hard earned dollars within the town of Ripon...keeping money local and what not. We went to Park Greenhouse Nursery, which is a sweet little nursery off of West Ripon Road. We arrived to find some young lumberjack looking men setting up the trees. We quickly found a tall tree (every year Danny wants a tree that is, "So tall the tree topper is bent sideways in order to fit.") at a reasonable price. As with most Lehr shopping sprees, we were there and done within a few short minutes. Setting up the tree is always a hassle. It takes a few times for us to get it straight. Even now, from certain angles the tree looks a little crooked. Rather than let it annoy me, I just tell myself it adds character. The tree is now decorated and placed in the coveted Christmas Tree spot. We also got a free poinsettia out of the deal.

Favorite Nap: The Fall Asleep in your Clothes Nap

It was one of those very motivated days. I woke up early (for me) worked out, grocery shopped, cooked, cleaned, and probably did some other energy wasting activity. Around 3 o clock, I was certainly feeling the affects of my go get em attitude. We had plans later in the day so my choice was to either ride it out or take a quick power nap. Of course I chose the power nap. My dilemma was that I had already dressed and had my hair and make up done. I made a bold decision and decided to power nap in my clothes. I even kept my shoes on. I am usually a tosser and turner, so you can see how taking a nap might mess things up. I consciously laid down flat on my back, with no blankets on, in a mummy like position, and fell asleep for a half hour. I woke up from my power nap refreshed and ready to conquer the rest of the day without having to fix my pony tail or even put on shoes. It was splendid.

Favorite Recipe: Honey Apple Pecan Pork Chops

Delicious, nutritious, and easy. Find the recipe here: http://myslightlysillyworld.blogspot.com/2010/12/thankful-heart-and-stomach.html

Favorite Irk: The Stock Market

I really don't know why, but every day I check the stock market. With a convenient little app on my  iPhone, it makes it very easy. I then read the headlines and sometimes the articles in the business section on MSNBC.com to figure out why they went up or down. November was a particularly torturous month for those who follow, or hap hazardly look at an app on stocks. There were many ups and downs, with job reports being less than stellar and worries about Europe's financial mishandlings, my little November graph looked like a roller coaster. The ups and downs made me a little woozy. I realize that looking at stocks day to day and becoming worried with every dip or excited with every jump is foolish as it's more about long term for someone like me. Still, I can't help my emotions and while I don't ever make any financial moves based on a days stocks, I continue to check the financial roller coaster daily.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Thankful Heart and Stomach

I just typed out a list of everyone I was thankful for family, friends, etc and quickly deleted it. Way too much mushy love for one blog. Know that I am thankful for all of you…today and every day.

Two weeks ago I was particularly thankful for pork. I had moved on to turkey last week, but because by the time this is posted, America will be all turkeyed out …. I will share my recipe for honey apple pecan pork chops. YUM.


Boneless Pork Chops ( I used a Costco pack so I think there were 12 million of them in the package)

Kerrygold butter (whatever it takes)




Cayenne pepper

Mustard Powder



4-5 Fuji apples

100% raw unfiltered honey

Handful of pecans


Set oven to 375 degrees.

Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with salt, pepper, and cinnamon.

Brown both sides of pork chops in Kerrygold butter in a saute pan set at medium heat. Browning takes about 3 minutes on each side. They develop a fun little cinnamon butter crust. They should not be cooked all the way through.

While the chops are browning, slice apples into 1/6th, removing the seeds.

Spread half of the apple slices into a lightly buttered pan (whatever size you need to fit 12 million pork chops).

Place browned pork chops on top of apple slices, then take the remaining apple slices and spread out between  and on top of the chops.

Sprinkle the pecans amongst the apples and pork chops. Walnuts also work well.

Sprinkle the dish with more cinnamon, a little more salt, pepper, a few pinches of nutmeg, a few dashes of mustard powder, and a pinch of allspice. For those who like a little sweet/spicy combo, add a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper.

Take the buttery saute pan juices and pour them over the chops and apples.

Take your honey and drizzle two tablespoons over the pork chops and apples. You won’t need too much as the apples are naturally sweet.

Bake the pork chops for 45 minutes to an hour at 375 degrees.

I made about 9 pork chops with this recipe, so decrease the time if needed.

The result is a mix of savory and sweet decadence that will earn praise from your husband and your stomach.

Bon appetit!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mosh Pit Mayhem

 Spontaneity is not my middle name. I surprised myself last week, by agreeing to go to an Alkaline Trio concert in Stockton, the very morning of the show. My friend Casie texted me the morning of the concert. She enticed me by texting things like, “There is a secretive underground Alkaline Trio Concert tonight in Stockton. Tickets are only $10. Tyler has an extra ticket. You HAVE to come!!!!” She had woken me from my near REM cycle daytime sleep, but I was not angered, I was excited.

I enjoy Alkaline Trio. They are a punk rock band from Illinois. It had been a while since I had been to a concert where people do more than twirl their cowboy hats. I told Casie, yes, on the condition that my friend Melisa could come along. Melisa and I had plans to make t shirts for a basketball game we are going to this coming Friday (Go Warriors!!!). It turns out the tickets weren’t as exclusive as Casie had believed, so Melisa was able to come along. She too, is an Alkaline Trio fan. I then started to feel bad because I hadn’t seen Danny for a few nights in a row since I was working.  I forced him to go too.

I was getting pretty pumped. There was something so satisfying about saying I was going to a secretive Alkaline Trio concert for $10 with my best friends that I could hardly go back to sleep. I had to think of what to wear, what type of drink I was going to have, and how much fun was going to be had.

My bubble of excitement was slightly deflated when Casandra (that’s what I call her when, I’m serious) told me that in fact, the tickets were going to cost $18 rather than the super cheap $10. I then decided to look up the venue and figure out directions. My bubble deflated a little more when I found out the concert was taking place at Plea for Peace-a youth based club. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for peace, I would even plea for peace; it’s the youth part that concerned me.

Pleaing for Peace

Granted I’m not old, I may even be considered young by some, but I am no longer a youth. Visions of pimply faced teenagers, with Justin Bieber haircuts, wearing skinny jeans, danced in my head. Since it was an all age’s event, I wouldn’t be able to have an adult beverage, which sounded so nice after a slightly hectic night of work.

Even with these setbacks, I was determined to have a good time. We arrived at Plea for Peace ridiculously early. I was secretly happy about this because I got to people watch. My observations are mainly concerned with earlobes. A strange increase in the size of teenagers' earlobes is occurring. Stretching earlobes is the new eyebrow piercing… and I am not a fan. I just keep thinking about when these kids are 80 and have those long hanging grandpa ears with giant holes in them. To each their own, I just happen to have the soul of a 60 year old.


Plea for Peace is not what I had envisioned. It is basically an abandoned building with some random couches, two small stages, and a makeshift snack bar. I did appreciate the clean restrooms and lack of graffiti. Plea for Peace is a “graffiti free zone.” How peaceful of them.

Plea for Peace’s website boasts that it is a drug free zone. While us old folks were standing around waiting for the first act to start, I smelt “peace” in the air. Not puppy dogs and rainbows peace, but 1960’s marijuana peace. So much for drug free. Maybe they didn’t get the memo that Prop 19 didn’t pass.

A big hit to the, “I feel a little old to be here issue,” was that, Danny, who is a molder of young minds and bodies, saw some of his ex students there. Of course Danny is the young hip teacher on campus, so his students were more excited than anything.

My amazing view

During the first act, which was pretty good, I realized that I can no longer stand in one place for hours at a time, before my back starts to hurt. I eyed one lonely chair near the make shift t shirt store. It was occupied by an older lady, but I made sure to keep an eye on it. The second act, Heartsounds, was pretty good too, except that the music was so loud I couldn’t hear the lyrics. I really had no idea what they were saying. I’m guessing it had to do with butterflies and kittens.

Finally Alkaline Trio came on. The crowd cheered as I felt my personal space being invaded. I had the joy of standing right behind a 6 foot 8 behemoth. If I arched my head just so I had a nice view of the lead singer.


Soon the crazy ear lobe stretched kids starting getting even crazier. Pushing and shoving each other in a circle of death called a mosh pit. I yelled to Casie that if anyone bumped into me I was going to punch them in the face….I may or may not have been serious.

No thank you

Alkaline Trio was great…minus the comments from the band about how doing mushrooms is fun. The band did semi make up for it after realizing what venue they were at.  They warned the kids to wait to do mushrooms until they are in high school…. My inner nurse wanted to yell, “No! Kiddos no! Drugs are bad!”

At one point the band invited a member of the audience up on the stage to play guitar. An enthused Danny look alike fan was picked. This fan turned out to be more of an annoyance as he took over the microphone and hopped up on the stage for a second time uninvited. He had to be kicked off. I was impressed that the band was able to keep playing even with the freaky fan. The whole situation just made me laugh hysterically.

Normal eared boys

While us girls were giggling, I finally got to sit in the coveted old person seat. I told Danny that I punched a mosh pitter in the face and for a split second he believed me. Giggling to myself and nodding my head to the music, I looked around and felt like maybe I wasn’t too old to be there after all.

Happy to be sitting.
Love, Jessica "Spontaneity" Lehr

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bird's the Word

I have a small obsession with birds. My obsession is not with owning birds, because bird poop does not excite me. However little birdie trinkets bring a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart. I love their colors, bright or muted. I love their songs, the Sleeping Beauty woodland creature songs, not the squawk of a seagull. I love that they can fly. Who wouldn't want to fly?

I do not have any tattoos, because I am cheap and slightly afraid of needles. If I were to get a tattoo, it would be a sweet little birdie on the back of my shoulder.

Whenever I buy cards for special occasions I try to buy Papyrus cards. They have a handmade quality about them and I enjoy the little humming bird seal that comes with each card. On the back of the cards the Papyrus company explains why they use the humming bird as their symbol:

Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.

Every Christmas I try and purchase a small bird ornament for myself. Before everyone rushes off to purchase bird items for yours truly, I must warn you: Although my birdie obsession is growing, it has not expanded to the predatory and scavenger groups.

Here are some of my non pooping bird friends:

Paper bird made by my dear friend Cheri

A bird must have a house to live in

Paper Mache Duck from my thoughtful mom and dad 

One of many Christmas birds

A bird hook

Two bird plates, the one on top my mom painted

Bird spoon rack

It's a napkin holder, but I prefer it on my mantel

Guarding the window

Towel holder

Earring holder

Jewelry stand (it's all fake, don't rob my house)

Taiwanese coasters from our good friend Tom

I'm pretty sure my mom got this for me in Carmel

A bird sketch by whom other than my mother

It came with the house, but I love it

Last years Christmas present from Danny.

 I am hoping to add to my bird collection soon. Please stop me if I become one of those crazy bird people.