Wednesday, December 26, 2007


If I had my way, it would be Christmas every day of the year.
The constant reminder that we are the receiver's of God's gift.
The idea that we should "follow the star".
The "newness" of the day.
All of these things are what make Christmas special to me. As I've grown older, I've had to accept that it is no longer about the presents. That giddiness of being a child and waiting to see what Santa has brought is gone. Now it is about experiencing God's love. I'm the receiver of His gift everyday, but I'm most reminded of it at Christmas time.

I hear the bells on Christmas day. I need to listen to them everyday. This is why, if I had it my way, it would be Christmas everyday.
For that reason and simply because I love the colors. I love the decorations that adorn the house. Reflecting on that, it is this time of year that makes these things special. If I left them out to rejoice in Christ's birth everyday, would they lose their special meaning?

Maybe next year I'll fill every room with Christmas items, to remind me of the importance of the season. For now, sadly, it is over. It is time to clean up the pine needles and put the ornaments and decorations back in the attic. Where they will lie peacefully until next year. Until then, I need to remember my gift. Everyone is a receiver of the best gift of all.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday, the 15th

The Party

There were over thirty friends and family that braved the snow storm to come celebrate. The theme was White Winter Birthday Bash. Heather O. created Wally, seen here, the marshmallow snowman.

We had a white chocolate fountain which was delightful!

We also had white cheese, it was yummy!

Dave, Greg and I are enjoying a toast! I have white wine, of course!

Here is Bill, cutting the cheese. That joke got a lot of laughs.

There were also many, many cheesey pictures!

Rachael, Mike, and the birthday girl!

I'm taking a moment to ponder my twenties... not really. I'm just posing for the picture.

Sami and I get a good picture.

Jenny, John and I. All in white. What a happy family! Hey, we survived the cruise together, we're closer then family!

Sami, Heather O. and I. This was the third try. Sami took video of the singing and me blowing out the candles. I was trying to take this picture on the video setting... We were pretty giggly.

The cake, which did not burn down the house, was chocolate with butter cream frosting!

Perhaps the most memorable moment for everyone, was when there was a knock at the door. It was around 10pm, so I was excited that people were still showing up! When I threw open the door, there was Eddie.

In a very surprised state, I screamed, "OH MY GOD EDDIE!!!!" We haven't seen him since we lived in Savannah, five years ago! I was so surprised, I started laughing and crying. I had screamed so loud that it had echoed down the street. I am honestly surprised that the cops didn't show up!

This had to be the look on my face!

I had such a great time! It was so much fun to spend the evening with everyone! I even turned on the karaoke, and we sang, loudly and off key to "Sail Away". I will spare you the video. It did not turn out so well...

And that was the best party I've ever had!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

That big day! Emily turns 30!

I know, you've all been waiting to hear about my birthday. Because I haven't talked about it enough for the past year. I made a list of 30 things to do (the idea came from my friend Shannon, who turned 30 in August). Here are some of the things...

A countdown down at midnight with a toast to my 30's (it was a raspberry sparkle-tini)

I popped popcorn and strung it and hung it on the tree.

This is bright and early (around 9am) after the flower delivery man brought me my 30 flower bouquet. Yes, I answered the door in my tiara (another thing) and my pajamas. I think he got a good chuckle out of that. I received another bouquet later (purple roses & carnations from Tammy) in the day, and yet another on Saturday (2 doz. white roses from Heather W.)!

I opened all my birthday cards on my birthday. I usually open them as they come in, this year I waited! It was not easy to wait...

I am eating peppermint ice cream, yet another thing checked off the list.

We took over thirty pictures on my birthday (another item on the list), but most of them are the same thing, they would make a good flip book.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

365th day (+ ten years)

My last happy un-birthday of my twenties. You know, from Alice in Wonderland. I'm still not ready to turn thirty. I'm trying to figure out what I did in my twenties.

Ten years ago, I had just gotten my retainer put on. Last Tuesday, it came off. I had my wisdom teeth taken out (only fifteen months ago).

I've grown my hair out and chopped it off at least three times, only this last time I donated it.

Ten years ago, I was in my second year of college. I was a Resident Assistant for a year and a half. I was a camp counselor.

I graduated from college with my B.F.A. in Historic Preservation and Architectural History.

I got married.

I've gone to Las Vegas five times.

I've had several different addresses (especially if you count all the ones from college) but I've lived in four different states and six different cities. In all those moves, we only lost one box of stuff.

I've been to St. Louis, Kansas City (both Kansas and Missouri), New York City, Chicago, Orlando, Pensacola, Atlanta, St. Augustine, Charleston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Windsor, Frankenmuth, L. A., Philadelphia, Hoboken, Cape May, Indianapolis, Trenton, Savannah, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Cadillac, Mackinac Island, Holland and the upper Peninsula.

I've been on a Mediterranean cruise and to Germany. I've been white water rafting. I've been to the Crayola factory. I've been to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park and Harold's Square. I've been to the High Museum (in Atlanta), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, every single museum in Savannah (honest -we took a lot of field trips in college), the Children's Museum in Indianapolis, the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, the Detroit Institute of Arts, EPCOT, the Biltmore, the Birmingham Historical Museum (Michigan), the Henry Ford Museum, Edsel & Eleanor's house, Henry Ford's house, the Meyer May House and Meijer Gardens. I was an intern at Conner Prairie (a living museum in Indiana). I've been to de Yooper Tourist Trap.

I saw The Lion King, Wicked and Spamalot on Broadway. I saw the red carpet movie premiere for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and shook Kevin Spacey's hand.

I've been in three weddings, and attended seven others, plus my own.

I did not go to my ten year high school reunion (I was at one of the weddings).

I've worked at Bath & Body Works, two different Hallmark stores (one was for my mom). I've done antique furniture restoration. I've served two years on the Historic Preservation Commission. I was a docent (tour guide) at the Andrew Low House. I was a Partylite Consultant.

I've taught Sunday school in three different churches. I've been a member of four UM churches.

I've thrown or was a part of seven surprise parties.

I've seen Jars of Clay, Needtobreathe, David Crowder Band, Sunday Drive, Jaci Velasquez, Lilith Fair, Norah Jones, Boston, and I know I've forgotten a few other concerts...

My 21st birthday was on a Sunday. My parents took me to Chili's where I celebrated with an Amaretto Sour. I've been to eight wineries.

My favorite television shows have been: Animaniacs, Friends, ER, Gilmore Girls, the West Wing, Ed, CSI, Heroes, Survivor, Scrubs, This Old House, Trading Spaces, Every Day Italian, Emeril Live!

I've painted the entire exterior of a house. I've painted three of the bathrooms, when Bill worked for Boat U.S. I painted Ann Curry's kitchen (Ann was our pastor's wife in Savannah, not the one on the Today Show) and her dark room. I helped paint the bathroom at FUMC GR. I painted every room in our house in Toms River. I painted three Noah's Ark murals. I painted my mom's kitchen. I helped Jenny paint her mom's living room. I climbed a ladder and defied falling and painted the stairwell in FUMC Marquette. I have not painted anything in this house!

I've been a bee, little Red Riding Hood, an angel, a hippie and a greek goddess.

I've only cooked one entire Thanksgiving dinner.

We've had a New Year's Eve party, two Halloween parties, two Memorial Day gatherings, a Super Bowl Party (actually two, but last year's we won't count because of snow).

I've sent over eight hundred Christmas cards!

I realize now, that in ten years, I've done a lot! There is so much more. Some things are pretty terrible, others are happy and memorable. But for now, I think that's a good start.

Here's to the next ten years!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

We interupt this program....

To share pictures of an important event!

Here I am, hanging an ornament on the tree... You may notice the length of my hair...

My bff Heather O. came with me to the salon. Time for a cut. Here's Heather the stylist, measuring my hair.

After it's washed, she piles it up on my head so I can walk from the sink to the chair without dripping all down my back. But I stopped for the photo op, so I still dripped.

Pippi Longstocking! Look how long it is!!

Heather has carefully measured out two ponytails at 11" each. Here she is hacking away at the second one. Her scissors were way too small to handle such a big job!

Here are my two "rat tails" ready to send to Locks of Love! I think they will go a long way. The weight of them, holy moly, they were heavy. Everyone was coming over to pick them up. No one could believe I was walking around with that much hair on my head! Well, I was.

Here's the new cut! Three years and I can do it again! Thanks for sharing this with me.

I've been talking about this for a few years. If you know someone who can donate their hair, check out this website...

Good bye long hair!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Day 2 - Villefranche, France part 1

We woke up Tuesday morning and looked out of our window, and we saw land! There was the coast of France. We watched from our window for a little while, then we decided to go up on the deck and look around from up there. After we ate breakfast, we headed for our assigned meeting place to go on our first excursion, "Nice & Monaco on Your Own".

We were tendered into the Villefranche port. From there we got on a bus which took us over to Nice. We did have a guide, Stephanie, who told us facts about the area. When we got off the bus in Nice, she told us what time to meet her back at the bus, and about the little market that was open until 1pm. There were flowers upon flowers and plants at one end. The flowers gave way to gifts, souvenirs and finally food. The market was about four blocks long. Bill and I walked up and down twice. We stopped and bought postcards, and then decided we were hungry. Should we buy something to eat from the market, or try a cafe?

We decided to try something from the market. We saw these things, and thought they looked great! We bought one avec jambon et frommage (with ham & cheese). My french wasn't too great, but I managed to place our order. This thing was tasty. (We never found out what it is exactly. Think pizza dough, with holes likes a pretzel, but not twisted like a pretzel. It tasted more like a french bread pizza, with the ham and cheese sprinkled and baked on top!) Plus it was huge! Bill bought a bag of fresh picked olives which even I enjoyed! Olives in Europe do NOT compare to olives here.

We walked around Nice. We walked over to a square with a fountain. I ordered two coca colas. We walked through a park where there was a carousel. We walked along les Avenues D'Americannes (the American Avenue) which is along the Sea. It was sunny and blue over the water. Then we walked back over through some shops and it was time to go!

The bus took us over to Monaco which was only about a 45 minute drive from Nice. (Villefranche lies between the two) Here is a picture from the bus looking out from the middle road. There are three roads that run from Nice to Monaco. We took the low road to Nice, and the middle road to and from Monaco. We did not take the high road.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dinner for twelve

Before I go any further, I would like to introduce you to our dinner companions and our wait staff. Pictured at right on our first night are (l-r): Bill, Emily, Mario, Jenny & John. Mario is from Romania. He was our assistant waiter. He took care of making sure our wine glasses were always full, that our spot was nary a crumb, and that if we needed more water or bread he would provide. The first night at dinner, it was only the four of us. Then a couple sat down: Raymond & Cecelia. They are from Canada by way of Hong Kong. Then a few minutes later, another couple sat down, Michael & Carol. They were also from Canada by way of Hong Kong. The other four seats sat empty for two more nights. Then two young ladies showed up. They had missed the ship when it set sail out of Barcelona due to flight delays. Would you like to guess where they were from? Yup, Canada, by way of Asia. They actually changed seatings, so we only ran into them when walking around the ship.

Here we are pictured with Raymond and Cecelia. They were very nice and we enjoyed their dinner company very much.

The following night, Jenny, John, Bill and I went to Chops Grille, one of the two restaurants on the ship. We can't say we had good service and the food was only so-so. However, that night the mysterious couple came and ate dinner and they never showed up again! (we can only guess that they were Asian, however they were from California.)

Here Jenny and I are pictured with our waiter, Bernadeth. She is from the Philippines. She was awesome! Well, both of them were. They would do anything for us. We miss having them there to unfold our napkins in our laps every night. Yes, they spoiled us. They didn't want us doing anything. Bill often got his dessert taken away for cleaning his crumbs off from his spot! I would get two desserts. I don't know if I gained any weight or not. I go to the doctor next week. I'll let you know! I did weigh myself on the ship on Day 2, (and I wanted to bring that scale home with me!) so I have an idea. Of course that food poisoning "diet" before we left, really helped! We did walk a lot on the ship, two miles almost every day.

I digress, Bernadeth and Mario were amazing. They took excellent care of us. Mario finished his contract and went home to Romania. He has a girlfriend that he's going to get serious about, and Bernadeth will have two weeks off for Christmas. She has two children who are living with her mother, while she works.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to Barcelona

Here we are. Back to Barcelona. After getting to our hotel in a death cab ride, we found that our room was not ready. So we took several walks around Barcelona. The city has beautiful avenues, it reminded me of Savannah. We found ourselves close enough to see the towers of la familia Sagrada. We hiked a few more blocks until there it was stretching out into the sky in front of us. I was amazed. Bill said, "take your pictures." We did not walk around it to see the original side. This is the new side, that a new architect has been designing. (Honestly, I had hoped we go on a tour later on, but that didn't happen).

Gaudi, the first architect, took his designs from nature, but more specifically the water.

The next building we walked to from our hotel was much closer. This is la casa Batllo. You can see the sea forms much better in this building.

This is the room we stayed in. It was very nice except for the incredibly hard bed. Hard, like the Flintstones. A rock of a bed. Not comfortable at all. One night and my hips were aching. Thankfully the bed on the ship was very comfortable. Our room overlooked a courtyard. On Monday morning, after breakfast, after our trip to the Post office (we mastered the Barcelona post office), before the bus came to take us to the ship; we enjoyed the school children playing at recess below our window.

Because of the courtyard we could not hear any traffic from the street. The best way to describe the courtyard is to say it had several layers. Across from us was a Catholic church, obviously there was a school. The futball court and basketball courts were on one level. One level up were the trees, one more up to the left (out of the frame) were balconies off of apartments. There was also one level down, which you can just see at the bottom left of the picture. Perhaps it went down to our hotel? We don't know.

We were able to take the bus with Jenny & John to the ship. There were lines like at ticket counters in the airport, but they had a lot of agents working and we did not have to wait long (at least in my memory). The rest I summed up in the post from the other day. Now I will go forward, starting in Day 2, Villefranche, France.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I thought I was ready to start posting pictures and stories from our trip. I managed to post about Barcelona, but then later when I was thinking about it and telling the stories to my mom, I realized I left out some fun things. I am going to think about this more and begin posting about our trip with a little more detail, more pictures, and hopefully more interest! I am also pausing because I am STILL uploading photos to Walgreens. Oie. It has been a lengthy process. Did I mention I can only upload twelve photos at a time? yup. I am also pausing a moment because I am trying to learn the upgraded software program for work. It has changed significantly and I'm very surprised that Cate made the move to upgrade. Now I must learn how to use this program, basically, all over again. (She hadn't upgraded since the late 1990's, we were only about 25 upgrades behind...)

For now, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving weekend, and I hope you have much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Saturday, November 3rd
Here we are in the Detroit Airport, waiting to board our flight to Amsterdam. We were fresh and dapper and excited! Then we flew across the Atlantic Ocean. I watched three movies, and did not sleep. We, luckily, arrived early in Amsterdam. We had about an hour and a half to get through the passport check and find our flight to Barcelona. I set off the alarm when we passed through security. I got frisked! We made it to our gate with about ten minutes to spare. We boarded the next flight and made it to Barcelona!

Sunday, November 4th
This is what we looked like after no sleep, and getting to the hotel only to find out that our room wasn't ready. We started walking around. We found la Sagrada Familia (a church by Gaudi). We had espresso, and spent a lot of time waiting for our room to be ready.

This is a picture looking towards the mountains, the sea is behind me (although we were a few blocks away and you couldn't actually see it). We finally got into our room, took naps, woke up and found Jenny and John. We ventured out to find a tapas restaurant which wasn't too difficult in Spain!

Monday, November 5th
We boarded our home for the next twelve days. The Brilliance of the Seas! We ate lunch in the Windjammer cafe. Ordered wine packages to go with our dinners. Then while we waited for our rooms to be opened and our luggage to arrive we explored the ship. I actually didn't take many pictures of the ship itself. I was preserving space on the camera! (just to let you know, by the end of the trip I only had 59 pictures left!)

Back on dry land

We made it back. There is much to share! I have over 600 pictures... so um, it may be awhile before I get them on here (no, not all 600). I was loading them into Walgreens last night so I can print them and our internet went down. I plan on working on that again tonight. I will also post a few pictures so you can see the beginnings of our trip. Travel-wise, everything was very smooth for us (not so for our friends Jenny & John. They're still waiting for one piece of luggage). Of course the flights were very long, but at least on the cross-Atlantic flight we had video screens. (thank goodness, my last trans-atlantic was ten years ago and they didn't have those then!) I watched; "Hairspray", "The Mask", and "Dodgeball" on the way over and "Cars" on the way back.

Our favorite saying became, "I'm done!" It referenced many different things, mostly being done with stupid people (like the woman who stopped in the middle of the cafe to take a sip of her coffee, right in front of John who plowed into her). Unfortunately we kept "running" into those people. I can't tell you how many times we took the stairs several flights to avoid the elevators and the people who only went up one floor. We got our exercise!

Our weather was fantastic. It only rained one day, in Dubrovnik, Croatia. We heard the cruise before ours had rain everyday. We lucked out. It actually rained in Santorini too, but we were already on the boat. Every one of our guides mentioned global warming. It was a bit disconcerting to me to hear how much it is effecting the entire world. *

I will start at the beginning in the next blog and go from there!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

*Editor's note: I realize that global means the entire world. What I mean by this is how much it is in the news everywhere, just like it is here in the U.S. It is not merely a story being talked about locally, but is a serious concern and is being just as recognized everywhere, as it were, globally.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bon Voyage!

I'll be back in a few weeks. I'll have stories and plenty of pictures to share. I am so excited!!! I got a pedicure on Thursday for the cruise. I was able to cross off that as one of the things on my list of 30 things to do for my 30th birthday. The countdown is getting closer. And now for the fun part, for your reading pleasure here is our schedule (say it like shedule all British-like)

the Sailing Itinerary:

Date Port

Nov. 5 Barcelona, Spain
Nov. 6 Nice, France
Nov. 7 Florence/Pisa, Italy
Nov. 8 Naples, Italy
Nov. 9 Cruising
Nov. 10 Venice, Italy
Nov. 11 Venice, Italy
Nov. 12 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Nov. 13 Cruising
Nov. 14 Santorini, Greece
Nov. 15 Athens, Greece
Nov. 16 Cruising
Nov. 17 Rome

Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

food poisoning

I don't recommend it as a diet. However, in the week before a cruise, it does help. I will now look great in all of my clothes. Something I was actually worried about because I felt like I was the size of a hot air balloon (my jeans were way too tight, I measured my waist, it was the same, but I knew something was wrong). Yes. Something was wrong. My entire weeks worth of meals came out of me in a twelve hour period on Saturday. Yuck! So now that I've completely de-toxed my body, I get to go buy a new pair of jeans today. You know something? The B.R.A.T. diet does do wonders for one's weight. I think I'm going to try to eat it for the rest of the week.

I digress, this last weekend was supposed to be very busy. I was supposed to clean all day Saturday, after cooking breakfast for the Jr. Highers. Sunday, the flute choir played in church (I was supposed to be a part of that) and then, immediately after church, I was supposed to go to Grandma's to visit her, Mom and Skylar. Well, obviously I was not involved in any of that.

The Jr. High showed up for breakfast, but the adults cooked it and cleaned up (thank you again!!!). I was, as Heather said, "pretty much ready to blow chunks at any minute." I managed to wait until after they left before that party started. I had to call Mary (head of the flute choir) and explain to her 90 year-old aunt (whose name is also Mary) that I had food poisoning, "what?" "FOOD POISONING!" "You have a new position?" "NO! I HAVE FOOD POISONING!" "Oh, food poisoning, that's terrible dear." yes. tell me about it. Don't worry, Mary called me on Sunday to assure me that they did fine without me. And that there would be no practice since they had played in both services (um, I wasn't going to go even if there was practice). And that the next performance will be Dec. 16th. Sorry, I can't make it!!!

I didn't get to go see Mom, Grandma, or Skylar either. Bummer. I had a whole bunch of stuff to give to Mom. Oh well. I'll see her in December.

Yesterday didn't start out so well (the cheeseburger Sunday night, while it tasted wonderful at the time, wasn't so wonderful the next morning). It wasn't until Heather told me some of the lines from the overnight and I laughed that I finally started feeling better! (well, that and the one piece of toast I ate all morning)

I just thought I'd let you know that we leave in four days. For the Mediterranean. I am finally feeling better. Much better. Very clean on the inside, that's for sure. I'm also hungry...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

the annual Halloween party

Jenny has always had a Halloween party. This year was
no exception even with a cruise looming on the horizon. It was a great turnout! We had Mona Lisa, a cop and her prisoner (he wouldn't dance to Thriller though...). Dr. Mel Practice was there. Lily Potter, Kid Rock, Persephone, the Black Widow, the list goes on and on.

My first stop was on Friday, at Ikea. From there I headed to Toledo to visit Anna, Dan and George. I stayed the night there. Saturday morning, after a yummy breakfast of french toast, I headed back towards Detroit. I met Jenny at the cemetery in Birmingham. I was a little late due to horrible construction traffic, but Jenny and Ginger gave me a private tour and we latched on to one of the groups so I could hear a few specifics. For instance, the architect of the World Trade Center, Minoru Yamasaki, his parents are buried at this cemetery. So is Marshall M. Frederick whose sculptures can be seen all over Michigan! (pictured at right, the Leaping Gazelle, one of his favorites, and his grave marker)

From there, Jenny and I headed back to their house.
We got crescent roll ghosts ready and ate dinner. Then it was time to get ourselves ready for the party.

I was Persephone. I had my pomegranate (not pictured). And just to clear this up; Bill and I have started dressing in costumes that go together. The first year we did not. He wore a toga (talk about last minute costume, "Emily, can you go buy me a sheet?" one day before the party) so this year, to "fix" that, I "matched" him from 2003, that's where the idea came from. That and the cruise. Since we'll be stopping in Greece, I figured it was appropriate.

Jenny was a waitress, John the chef, and
Ginger was the lobster. Their special
that evening was Lobster Bisque.

Heather was the Black Widow. You didn't want to mess with her! And yes, she left her spiders everywhere, much like the feathers from a few years ago... (I know that was Greg, but he was dressed as Heather...)

Also, to keep up with
tradition, we had our
tequila shot. We always look so excited
before, and so disgusted after. But it makes for a great photo!

There was Vampire wine, which was tasty, and Drinko. The green chip is missing. It may have ended up in the trash. But that makes a good party, when you know you just set something down, and now it's gone...

The food was delicious, and there was plenty to drink. It was after all, an adult Halloween party.

That was it! We all crashed somewhere around 2am. We're looking forward to next year... Who's hosting it???

Now on to the final countdown.