Thursday, September 30, 2010

Please put the lid down

For those of you who were lucky enough to have escaped watching the video of what happens when you flush a toilet, consider yourself lucky. It is forever ingrained in my mental imagery. Here is a link where you can at least read about what happens. I ask you to please read this, and then consider how many times you've brushed your teeth after flushing the toilet without putting the lid down.

This is not about men who don't put toilet seat down. This is about the lid and covering the toilet and all that splashes out of it when it's flushed. (by the way, I think I know more men who put the lid down than women)

We have a poorly laid out bathroom. It is cramped and has inadequate storage. As a result our toothbrushes are relegated to the toothbrush holder that sits on a ledge that wraps around two of the walls. Those two walls are adjacent to the toilet.
see photo of shelf

The toilet is below. The shelf sits on top of wainscoting which is probably about five feet tall. So it's not that close to the toilet. However, when you flush a toilet, all those microbes fly out and land all over the bathroom.

The reason I bring this up is because in our other bathroom, a small powder room, we have a mirror hanging on the wall above the toilet (did I mention it's a small powder room?). This morning I noticed splash marks on the mirror. Ew. That means someone forgot to put the toilet lid down when they flushed. This is for the good of everyone that I share this with you. I'm not pointing fingers, I simply ask that you please put the lid down when you flush the toilet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


There is a woman who created a scrapbook that let's you journal your life for a year. You take a photo every day and then you journal a little bit. Each page of the scrapbook has enough space for one week. By the end you've completed one year. One of my fellow Quotarians is creating one of her own and I have been captured in several of her photos. I really like the idea, although the idea of making another scrapbook when I have three unfinished ones is a bit daunting. However, this woman also created an online version because it was such a popular idea. Instead of paying for all of this, I decided I could probably just do it on my blog. Which means I will have to maintain a daily post. If there is anyone out there who reads this, other than all the spam, you know that I am not fastidious about blogging. To get me in the habit before I begin my year, I had a thought which I decided to share. (I am also trying to decide when I should start my year. As my friend pointed out, she was going to wait until January 1st, then realized it doesn't have to be a calendar year, and is in the process of journaling her 10th year of marriage, so it doesn't have to be anything special.)

Yesterday on the radio, the dj was reading a study about the states that have banned texting while driving. According to the study, there have been an increase in accidents in those five states with said ban. It went on to say that the increase is possibly caused by teenagers trying to hide that they're texting while driving.

We all hear or have seen the crazy things that people do while driving. I know I have been very tempted to text and after having attempted it decided I was not going to do that ever again. It's too dangerous. For those who think they can do more than one thing while driving should really have a friend record them driving while distracted and see how well they actually do. Not how well they think they do.

I digress, that was not my original point. What I wanted to discuss was one of the things in particular that I have heard of women doing while driving. No, it's not shaving, although that is VERY scary. It's using one of those eyelash curlers. Seriously?? I can't use one while standing still in front of a mirror. I've tried. And I'm a contact lens wearer, but I see that thing coming at me and I flinch faster than Bill does when he tries to use eye drops. No way am I going to use one of those things. Honestly, my eyelashes could benefit from using one, but that thing is dangerous. I nearly ripped out all of my eyelashes the one time I did try it. Obviously I wasn't using it right, or else I wouldn't be so terrified of using it. But this is why I am very scared at the thought of someone using one while driving.

When did driving your car become secondary to everything else?

Monday, September 27, 2010

for Alex

Our friend Alex is planning to visit us. It will be her birthday while she is here. I would like to do something nice for her, as far as cooking goes, while she is here. She got cheated out of one of my delicious meals the last time she came to visit. She had asked if she would get to eat one of my delicious dishes during her last visit, and while I promised her she could, she ended up visiting with her husband's relatives who also live here in town. So they missed out. I am going to make it up to her. *rubbing hands together* I am already thinking of what to make!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I love cooking, have I mentioned that? We had friends who came to visit this past weekend and I made a creamy risotto for the first time. It was amazing. I am making that again, soon. This time I'm adding shrimp.

Back to Alex, I have many choices of favorite dishes to fix. Help me? She will be here Saturday and Sunday. Saturday for breakfast is easy: my chocolate chip pancakes (or blueberry or both) with the homemade cinnamon syrup. Lunch will be a lighter affair to save room for dinner and dessert. Alex is going to have to tell me what she would like for dessert.

But for dinner, there are so many choices... a pasta dish? Lasagna (from Paula Deen, so there's something like seven different kinds of cheese in it), risotto, cheesy baked ravioli, the list goes on.

Or one of my many varied chicken dishes? This last weekend I cooked Chicken alla Roma (chicken with tomatoes, red pepper, proscuitto, onion in a sauce).

Or soup? I have a great homemade tomato soup (with Sherry), a cheesy beer soup, potato soup... with sandwiches? I love sandwiches.

Or pizza, or a calzone. I feel as though I should start rhyming, but I'm not quite in the mood to do that.

My recipe notebooks overflow with suggestions. What do you suggest I choose??

Friday, September 24, 2010

another homemade dinner

While I think of a clever title for this post, I will go ahead and start writing...

Bill has posted a funny commentary on microwaves and salt (or No-Salt, which exists for a longer period of time in his post that it did in actual life). I had secretly hoped he would end his rant with something positive about my cooking which has come a long way in the ten years we've been married. A very long way. I owe most of that to two people: Giada and Emeril. I "heart" Food Network and because of these two cooks, I am more confident in the kitchen. I should probably read "Julie and Julia" or at least see the movie. I have a feeling I would be able to relate.

Back to my post, it's not really a secret anymore, I just told you. Instead I'll just toot my own horn, or something and share yet another delicious cooked meal that I made. From scratch.

Gnudi and Crostini Alla Roma.

Gnudi means naked in Italian, and in this case it refers to ravioli. That just means no pasta shell, just the filling. How does that work you may be thinking. The filling consists of ricotta, spinach, parmesan cheese, two egg yolks (which are the binder) and two eggs. After mixing it all together, you shape it into flattened balls and roll it in flour. Put them in boiling water and four minutes later you have ravioli without the pasta. I love it. This was only the second time I made it, the first was something like a catastrophe in the kitchen, but I learned and I was prepared for the sticky mess that it makes. I had also made homemade marinara sauce, which I thought tasted great.

The second part of this meal (because let's face it, gnudi isn't very filling since you don't have the pasta to make you feel full) was crostini. Ciabatta bread, cut and toasted. Then take a slice of proscuitto and top it with a slice of fresh mozzerella. Back into the oven. While it's baking the second time and melting the cheese, I take butter and melt it. I add minced garlic, then drizzle that over the crostini when it comes out of the oven. Heaven. I am almost sure of it.

If your mouth is watering, give us a call. We enjoy guests and have tons of room in the dining room now that we've gotten rid of the piano!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vacation!! the last day

Here we are, finally. The last day of our vacation photos. We checked out of the hotel and waited for the bellman, then the elevator, and then the car. It took an hour to actually get out. I felt like we were in Hotel California. But we made it. We headed to Yolk, a breakfast place that I heard about, but cannot remember where. There was a wait, but it was worth it. Bill had the steak and eggs, I had the crepe platter. Wow, the crepes were so delicious. They didn't need butter or syrup, in fact when I added the syrup just to try it, that ruined them! We didn't need to eat again until later on our way home. I don't even think we were really that hungry, we just ate because we figured we should.

I digress. Before we left Chicago, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. We parked in the parking garage, so I didn't get any pictures from the outside of the building. But we took a couple of pictures inside. Here's what we saw:

The 727, and the other airplanes hanging around

a couple of clowns

the U-505, which we toured. This was my favorite exhibit. I think Bill was torn between the planes and this.

the main gallery.

That was it. That was our 10th Anniversary extraordinaire vacation. I hope you enjoyed the photos. And that it was just as boring as a slide show in our home (although we would have made popcorn for you).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vacation! day six

Okay, so these posts are lasting longer than the entire vacation. But it's fun for me to post one day at a time. First, because the photo uploader uploads the photos backward. If I want it to be easy I have to think of what photo I want to be last, and attach it first. I don't always remember. Then I have to sit here and move the photos around in the post, which should be easy, but is not. Second, I get to relive the vacation and see if I remembered everything in my journal. Third, it is hopefully less of a burden to you. I hope you continue to enjoy our vacation pictures as my memory of the vacation quickly fades into routine...

Saturday morning we had tickets for a 10am architectural river cruise. It was another beautiful day and perfect for taking some pictures of the amazing architecture in Chicago. I plan on framing some of them to add to our collection in our living room.

waiting for the tour to start

lots of sunlight pours down over the city, thanks to the setback requirements when skyscrapers first started going up

this is one of the choices for the living room

We saw this sign back at the entrance to Navy Pier. I could not resist taking a photo.

And what are they doing?

We got back to Navy Pier and decided to eat lunch, which was smart because it was already getting crowded. Then we walked to the end of the pier, or as close as we could get because it was all roped off for the Tall Ships. You had to have a ticket to even look at them and they were strategically placed so that you could not even sneak a peak from the restrooms! We decided we have seen enough tall ships and didn't need to purchase tickets, so we would walk back on the inside of the arcade. Did you know the biggest museum/collection of stained glass is housed in Navy Pier? Neither did we, but we do now!

This was in the floor

If you know First UMC Grand Rapids, this will look familiar. We have one of the last Tiffany stained glass windows and it is very similar to this one.

I love the pastoral scenes

We will never forget.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vacation! part five

This is day two in Chicago. Bill and I decided not to go to the museum of Science and Industry on Friday and we would go on Sunday on our way out of town, instead. I think it was a wise decision since the weather was beautiful. We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for our morning caffeine and took a nice walk. We walked to the bridge on Michigan and were about to cross it when I looked down. Not smart for someone who has height problems. Instead of crossing the bridge we took some pictures and walked back to shop at Crate and Barrel.

It was a nice quiet morning. We went back to the hotel and did what most people who have been married for ten years do, and ignored each other while sitting on our laptops. We decided to make a lunch (we brought a cooler full of supplies) and then walked up to Lincoln Park Zoo. Yes, it was about two miles away, but who wants to drive less than two miles? The walk wasn't going to kill us, so we set off. We walked along the lake, until we had to cross over to get to the park.

The zoo is on the north side of the park and it's free! What you can't see in this picture are the dragonflies. They show up in this photo as black spots. If you click on it to enlarge the photo, you'll see them.

We saw all kinds of animals and we took lots of photos. I think my favorite were the lions. She was out sunning herself up on the rock so everyone could see. If you look close you can see her mate...

He's not easy to spot in the shadows, so I walked around and took his photo from the other side, can you find him?

This sign made us laugh. Really?

I'm also fond of giraffes, so here is one, the other put his head down and is just behind the rocks.

We decided we were hungry enough to stop and eat on the way back. After we looked up restaurants on the gps, then looked at reviews on the blackberry we picked one and headed toward Wells Street. We discovered that we're old and we eat too early because the restaurant we had chosen wasn't open until 6pm. We kept walking, and figured since we were in "Old Town" we would find something. Almost across the street we found this.

Topo Gilgio. Italian sounded good, so we stopped here. We got an anti-pasta plate that was bigger than our table. It had salami, olives, artichoke, some kind of quiche, cheese, red peppers, mushrooms... I'm sure there was more, but I can't remember. Bill ordered the special; black linguine in a cream sauce with shrimp, scallops and salmon. I had rigatoni with pancetta in a red sauce. Both were delicious!! We had to walk back very slowly because we were stuffed and we were bringing home leftovers! We drank our last bottle of Stringio (from the winery we went to in Tuscany) and had a relaxing evening, resting with our feet propped up.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vacation! part four

Thursday, we drove to Chicago. We had bought tickets online to tour the Robie House which is on the campus of University of Chicago. We got to the house early and actually found a parking spot! We were on the 2 o'clock house tour, so we took the walking neighborhood tour and then ate lunch. The tour took us around the quad and over to Rockefeller Chapel. The Chapel was open so we were able to walk inside.

outside looking at the chapel

inside the chapel looking at the ceiling

in the courtyard of Ida Noyes Hall

We walked over to 57th street and walked until we found a restaurant that looked good. It was Medici and it was delicious! Bill had a "beef stroganoff" burger and I had the special, a meat lover's calzone. Then we headed back for our tour. You are not allowed to take pictures inside which is okay because it's currently under restoration and there is nothing special to see. Especially not after we have been in the Meyer May house here in Grand Rapids, where it's furnished, fully restored and you are allowed to take pictures. Here are a few of the photos from the outside.

It was one of the first houses in the city to have a three car garage!

From there we headed to the Allerton Hotel on Michigan and Huron. We were upgraded to the suite, which was awesome (you can see pictures on facebook). We had dinner reservations at Riva on Navy Pier. We enjoyed our dinner. The food was spectacular and the view was amazing.

Bill had the clam chowder and I had an artichoke stuffed with cheese appetizer. Bill had the swordfish over a creamy shrimp risotto and I had the pork chop. Of course we had dessert and espressos.

It was a lovely anniversary evening. On our stroll back to the hotel we were able to watch the fireworks that were shot off at Navy Pier.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vacation! part three

Ten years
! That seems like such a long time, yet when I look back, it doesn't feel like ten years... some times it feels like more. Other days it feels less. This post is dedicated to our tenth anniversary. I'll get back to the vacation pictures in the next post.

Bill dedicated a post to me on his blog (click here to read the wonderful poem he wrote). I wanted to take a post to dedicate to him some of the things we've shared over the last ten years.

1) He's endured the self-portraits as I've gotten better at taking them
2) We have spent a lot of fun times cooking together in the kitchen
3) We enjoy traveling together and have spent many hours in the car (how many different cars is another post...)
4) We share a love of Formula 1 racing and were able to see one of the last races in Indianapolis
5) We appreciate art and architecture
6) We have worked together on many, many house projects
7) We enjoy walking together
8) We enjoy being outside, whether it's at Meijer Gardens or in our own backyard
9) He's the yin to my yang

And the tenth thing we've shared a lot of in the past ten years is laughter. He always knows how to make me laugh, and while he doesn't always laugh out loud at my [bad] jokes, I know he's laughing on the inside.

We spent the day of our tenth anniversary doing many of those things listed above. We drove to Chicago for a long weekend. It seemed fitting since we went to Manhattan for our fifth anniversary. Originally we had thought about San Francisco, but decided Chicago was not only closer (and would be cheaper) but that we should work our way out west. San Francisco is still on the list, but we'd like suggestions as to where to go for our 15th anniversary?? What do you suggest?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Vacation! part two

In between our two trips we were home for two nights. On the 25th we went to the last outdoor concert of the season at Meijer Gardens. We were there to hear Brandi Carlile. You can take a picnic so decided to use our picnic basket for the second time in ten years (the first time doesn't exactly count because we got rained out and had to eat in the car). Thanks again to the Osborn's who gave us this picnic basket as a wedding present! We really do like it!!

It was chilly that night, but the sky was clear and the music was good. I have to admit I didn't realize that much plaid existed, but we had fun and enjoyed the performance.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vacation! part one

Bill and I finally took a week off, together and headed out on vacation. I am including a few photos on my blog and I'm breaking the vacation up into parts. I don't think you care to see all 300 photos we took (I have officially reached 5,000 pictures on my computer - that's only from the last three and a half years)...

First, we headed to Sunbury, PA. Our good friends, Shannon and Greg along with their two boys, recently moved here for Greg's first appointment in the United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania. We met them in NJ back before Greg was even ordained! Now they've finally moved back to PA to be closer to family and Greg has his own church (meaning he's no longer an Associate, he's the head honcho)! We were going to help them paint, but it turns out their new church family took care of that. Instead we got to relax, hang out and have fun.

We walked down the hill into downtown Sunbury and saw the whole town. We decided it must be what Stars Hollow looked like after the Gilmore Girls had left, forty years later. (We were all fans of that show, so it came as no surprise that we could all picture Stars Hollow, run down and in its faded glory.) We went to church and met the wonderful and nice members of their new church family. We went and saw "The Muppet Movie" at the Campus Theater (which had no a/c and apparently one speaker, luckily we didn't mind because after all, it was "The Muppet Movie"). We played Lego's with the boys, and I had stuffed animal fights, aka "pillow fights". We ate way too much food (Shannon's birthday was on Saturday, so of course there was cake, rum cake!) and enjoyed ourselves.

Shannon and I took the boys to a nearby park. I climbed on the Squirrel for a fun photo op.

We spent most of Monday walking through two huge antique malls. These were some player piano rolls for sale.
After looking through ridiculously large antique stores, we stopped and ate at Skeeter's. While it may not have been as good as Shannon's or my cooking, it wasn't bad!