Thursday, June 30, 2011

the great make-up incident of 2011


My title says it all.

But just for fun, here's what happened in 2006 (it's not make-up, but similar in fashion...).

I have a problem with shakers.

The sink doesn't look so bad. Trust me. It was bad. Perhaps not as bad as the mac and cheese... still, what a waste.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

my new pants

I had a pair of linen capri's that were given to me by my mother-in-law. Let's see, that would have been several years ago, I don't think it was in 2006 (?) when we surprised her for her 65th birthday. It was probably the time before that which was just a quick trip in September of 2005 (?)... wow, I cannot remember. That is not good. At any rate, I really think it was the September trip, whether that was in 2005 or not, it was hotter there than I had packed for (really, it was Vegas. What did I expect?) so Mom gave me this pair of capri's. They were fantastic. I started using them in the summers as my "walking pants". They were baggy, had deep pockets (for the house key, iPod and phone), they were cool, as in temperature and letting my skin breathe, and they were comfortable.

I wore them once or twice this year before realizing there was the beginning of a hole starting to form. Um, it was in the crotch area, I really have no idea how that part of pants gets worn, but there it was. And then it just ripped open. I happened to be out gardening. Good thing the pants were baggy.

So I had to replace them. I've realized now that I really need a pair (really? Why do we call pants/shorts/jeans/trousers/etc a "pair"???) of shorts. "Running/Walking" shorts. Workout shorts. Like what we just bought for Bill.

I happened to be on the Victoria's Secret website one day and happened to find a pair of linen capri's, sorry, they call them "cargo crops". I did not buy them.

Then Bill went to workcamp, and I was left alone. I thought about those linen cargo crops. I thought it would be nice to have another pair of linen cargo crops to replace my linen capri's. I bought them. And I bought a pair of linen cargo pants too. They're on back-order, but the cargo crops came and after washing them, I am wearing them. They're wonderful. I'm not a clothes connoisseur, but I don't belong on What Not to Wear either. They're perfect for summer.

Now here's the best part. See the belt in the picture? I had forgotten about that when they arrived. I opened them and tried them on. Then I went to wash them. I read the instructions, "remove belt". Wait? Where's the belt? I checked and it does say a belt is included. I checked all the packaging, but there was no belt. I called and spoke with a very nice man. I explained the situation and he informed me that they come from the factory that way (with the belt). So someone forgot to put the belt in with my pants. He told me I could send this pair back and he would re-ship a new pair to me, at no extra-charge. Well, I've been looking forward to getting these pants, so I told him no thank you. That is very nice, but too much hassle. Had they been able to send the belt separate, I wouldn't have minded. He offered again, and again I told him it wasn't a big deal. I didn't need the belt, I just thought it was worth a shot to call and see if they could send it. Then he told me, for being so kind he would issue me a $5.00 gift certificate.

Oops, I have to back up and let you know that I got both pants for less than $40.00 total and had a free shipping offer. Now I have a $5.00 g.c. and a $10.00 coupon that came with the pants. I'm so happy!! I need pants and shorts. And instead of spending tons of money, I'm saving tons!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

finally, my summary of Conference (really, it's not boring)

For those of you who read my blog and weren't in our church on Sunday; this is the "report" I gave summing up the 2011 West Michigan Annual Conference:

"I had the privilege and honor of filling in last minute at this year’s West Michigan Annual Conference. Our church was represented by many people in many different capacities, including pastors, retired pastors and the other laity members; Carol Ann and Nagnon.

You can find all the reports, assignments and other business online at the Conference website, or talk to one of us. The Weekly Pulse from June 7th included pertinent information as well. But I want to focus on the overall Conference, not the nitty gritty details that we sat through.

The theme of Conference was “Take My Hand” and there was a daily theme to reiterate our purpose. See, Listen, Stretch and Touch. We had outstanding speakers, both from within our own Conference and from as far away as Texas, Germany and even Africa.

The one thing that I believe God has put on my heart to share with you is this: I have a voice. My generation and younger has a voice. But we aren’t going to change anything if we don’t speak up. We have to use the voice that God has given us.

What we might not see here is the decline in the church. No one can pinpoint why, at a time when Christianity is on the rise, are our numbers in this denomination declining. It is my hope, using my voice that we are working toward a change by talking to one another. We must use those daily themes of seeing what is going on around us, listening to those around us, stretching our minds and hearts to both listen and see what is going on around us and then to reach out and touch those around us.

There was a short video that we saw during Conference. It was put together by the U.M. Board of Global Ministries in partner with the U.M.W. You can find it online at I encourage you to find it and watch it. Again, the website is Go ahead write it down. It encourages us to help. Not “for” or “to” anyone, but with everyone. Whomever we are helping, be it the poor, needy, homeless, unemployed, widowed, orphaned, lonely, the list goes on and on. It’s not about writing a check. It’s about being with them, knowing their name, knowing their story and hearing their voice.

Together, as a community sharing the love that Jesus taught, we can make a difference. Right here in Grand Rapids, throughout West Michigan and throughout the world.

Thank you for giving the three of us the opportunity to represent this church at Annual Conference and allowing me to share what I learned there. Praise God!"

Monday, June 27, 2011

ain't no sunshine...

All last week while Bill was gone, it was cloudy and rainy. For about fifteen minutes on Friday night the sky teased us with a peak of blue sky. Then it was quickly covered back up by clouds. On Saturday morning I woke up to gorgeous blue skies and sun. But I already blogged about that, so I'll fast forward.

Yesterday was another sunny day. All day long it was sunny and not too hot. The perfect summer weather. This morning started out partly sunny and then the clouds rolled in. With the clouds came the rain. And here I sit, looking out at another gray, rainy day. Most of the people I talk to; neighbors, friends, people at church, have all given up on watching the weather. Three different opinions, three different forecasts, and none of them are correct.

It's Monday. I hope this week bring more sun (I really don't mind the rain, it's less I have to water the plants, I just prefer a good variety, not clouds every day for an entire week, aren't we punished enough in the winter???) and I know the heat is coming. It's been nice to not have to run the a/c. Welcome Summer. It's about time!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

berry stained fingers

I have berry stained fingers.

Mom and Dad gave me fresh picked black raspberries, I have now purchased thirteen quarts of strawberries and sixteen ounces of blueberries. Mom and I made seven jars of strawberry jelly while I was there last weekend. The rest have been frozen or eaten. I ate the raspberries in my yogurt this past week. The blueberries were baked into a Blueberry Crumb Cake as a thank you to Nancy for all her help on Friday. (And yes, I realize the photo is red raspberries, I'm on my laptop and this is a picture from the Farmer's Market that happened to be on here.)

I noticed that my fingers have a purple tinge along the nail. I've used a scrub (sea salt), washed with soap, had my hands in dishwater and there's still a slight tint. Oh well. I decided this is the new look for the city girl/Farmer's Market shopper/at home baker.

Bill made it home with the youth group last night. They skidded into the parking lot at exactly 7:05pm, which is what the GPS said earlier in the day. Well done! They all have that unshowered God glow about them (if you've ever gone on a mission trip, you know exactly what I'm talking about). Bill has mounds of laundry that he has threatened to burn, but has managed to get some of it in the washing machine. We just had breakfast with all of them (because spending an entire 24 hours away from each other is more than they can handle) and now we're just going to enjoy the beautiful day outside.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Clean Sheet Day

It's Clean Sheet Day here at the Uebbing house. I don't actually hang my sheets out on a line to dry (but I have thought about it). They just get stuffed into the dryer like all the other clothes.

I do have the windows open. It's finally sunny. In fact, it's gorgeous out. I've already taken a walk with a new friend, Kerri. We walked four miles! I've had two breakfasts (yogurt before I left and poached eggs when I got home), my list is made and I know what I need to get done today, before Bill gets home.

I'm hoping to have time to watch "Singin' In The Rain" because I didn't watch it last night. I had the Cubs game on instead. Which was fine, because I don't mind talking during a movie I've seen plenty of times, but I'm in the mood to watch this movie. And Heather E. and I were too busy talking, so baseball in the background was fine. I'm hoping to get the lawn mowed sooner rather than later. The part that's shaded by the house is still wet, so I'm giving it time to dry out before I try mowing it. I have a few errands to run (a few things Bill requested; bourbon, a cigar and one of his prescriptions... that's a different blog) and then hopefully the grass will be mostly dry. I already told Bill I'm not mowing the backyard because Atticus has discovered a taste for birds and there is currently one in the backyard. Until it gets moved, I'm not mowing. Sorry. I don't do dead animals. In fact, check out this post from when I found our poor Felix (oops, I read it and still got a little teary, but what I failed to blog about was how I had to go get Nancy because Bill was in Detroit. She came over and wrapped him up and carried him to the garage, where I had to keep him until Bill got home later that week and we buried him).

Okay, well that took a different direction than I had planned. Back to clean sheet day. It's such a great feeling to climb into bed, into those crisp sheets, (crisp? does that really describe the sheets? Hmm, maybe a better word is "fresh"? They're really not very crispy...) it's just so delightful. I'm sure Bill will appreciate it a lot. Since he's been sleeping in a hot school room with several teenage boys, on an air mattress. Yes, I think this is a good clean sheet day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Behind closed doors

Nancy came and helped me reorganize the kitchen. I had tried, but had failed. Things had been moved around and it just wasn't working. Having someone here to help me would do the trick.

We started by taking everything out of the cupboards and putting it in the dining room. Then I had the job of going through and finding the things that we don't use more than twice a year.

Then, in her infinite wisdom (and love of organization) Nancy asked me what I wanted to accomplish. Each space had its own problems, so it became easier to point things out as we went. We ripped out the old contact paper and cleaned out the cabinets. Then we put contact paper back in, only to run out after one cupboard. Time for a list! Then it was off to the store.

We ran to Target first. We bought a container for the stuff that will go in the basement (look out Bill! That's our next project, organizing the basement), and we bought contact paper. The contact paper is polka dots, not white like what is in the cabinets, but it's better than nothing. We also found little dividers to go in the smallest drawer (it's only eleven inches wide, so most regular drawer storage pieces are wider.

Then we ran to Bed, Bath and Beyond for a shelf thingy (really, that's what it's called) and the door thingy (hey, we were on a roll). We not only found both of those, but we also found white contact paper. I will return the polka dots.

We came home and had lunch because it was already 1:30p! Then while I washed a couple of important dishes that would need homes, Nancy put in the contact paper. Then we started filling the cupboards. We started with the big stuff and worked our way down to the miscellaneous items. By the end we had an entire shelf left! Don't worry, we filled it.

What you won't see is the result of our work. It's all behind closed doors. However, if you come and visit me, I may show off what's inside because it's so much better.

Editor's note: this picture is from last year, but it was the best picture I had of our cupboards and it shows my distress about how the cupboards used to look (really, it has nothing to do with the sink full of dishes. I promise).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

can you tell I'm alone?

For the most part, my posts have been relatively short. That is until this week. I have no one here to talk to, so I'm putting most of what I have to say in words. I've gotten very wordy. I'm sorry.

Thank you for reading. I'll try to keep my posts shorter. It's just that things keep happening, and I have to tell someone.

Of course, it is my blog. And if I want to write lengthy posts I will. I'll just try to throw in a picture here and there. They'll be random. Like this picture of the three tomato plants. It's doubled in size since I took this photo last week. We've had a lot of rain. Now we need some sun...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

the neighbors from Mars, the neighbors from Venus

We finally had a big storm come through last night. I was delivering dinner to friends from church who just had their first baby (note: the last time I delivered dinner to another church friend, it also stormed). On my way home; the sky was very dark, trees were bent over from the wind and it was raining. Hard. I was a little scared, but the sky wasn't green, so I wasn't worried. (Does that make sense? Can you be scared, but not worried?) When I got home, I saw this
I called Bill to tell him the wind knocked down a branch, but the garage is still standing. It's a very strong (stubborn) garage. He told me to take photos. There may be a couple scratches on his car, it was too dark to tell when it finally stopped raining.

I was watching tv when the phone rang. It was Deborah, from next door. She asked if I had seen the branch, and I told her I had, and that I had taken photos but when I tried to move it I discovered it was stuck in the gutter. It's a big, heavy branch. Then I realized she was outside on the phone, so I told her I would come out.

She suggested I back the car out while she held the branch. Then, once the car was out of the way, we could move the branch. That was fine with me, so I got the keys. She was holding it and sort of moving it around. Then she said, maybe we should get Glenn (from across the street) since it was so big and heavy. I told her to go change her shirt (she had just gotten home from work and was still in nice clothes) before it got dirty and I would go get Glenn.

When we all gathered back around the tree and the car, Deborah shared her plan with Glenn. They both grabbed it and Glenn just started moving it. I helped by getting out of the way. They got it down on the ground without me having to move the car. (Do you get the title now? I'll explain it if I have to, but it's better if I don't.)

Now, staying with neighbors, I have to write about what happened Monday night while I was weeding. The neighbors to the other side are still working on their house. I was on that side weeding when Mandy walked by and we said hello to each other. When she came by the next time, I asked how things were going. She said they're making progress. Progress is good, I said.

They have a front window that is broken, so for whatever reason, I decided to ask her about that? And not in a casual, did anyone get hurt sort of way; but in an accusatory, are you going to get that fixed sort of way. Yes. That's what I asked, "Are you going to fix the front window?" She must have thought I was nutters. Of course what I really meant was, "are you going to replace it with a vinyl, less superior window, or replace the pane of glass?" She told me they were going to get new glass and then told me what happened. (We all have return air vents in the floors and theirs is covered up with a drop cloth. Well, whoever was standing on the ladder there by the window, forgot about the vent, and put their foot down into the vent, lost their balance and then fell into the window. No one was hurt, just the window.) I told her we've replaced glass and got it from Alger Hardware, they have everything over there. She said yeah, they'd probably get it from there. At this point I realized how that must have sounded and apologized for sounding like a db. She said it was okay, she knew what I meant.

I'm not allowed to talk to the new neighbors until I remove my foot from my mouth. I'm glad the other neighbors like us. Although I know my first impression with all of them was just as ridiculous. I'm glad they didn't hold first impressions against me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You CAN do it! Part two

Okay, so I forgot to tell you what my revelation was and why I decided to share my story. I have had several people tell me I look good, and ask how did I do it. I've always shrugged them off, mumbling something about walking. Well, it isn't just walking. It's all of it, all together. And when I add up all that I do, it has made a difference. My revelation came while I was doing my jumping jacks (and sweating), I thought, "It's all of it". If I don't tell people, they may start to worry or think that it's an eating disorder. Well it's not. It's been a lot of hard work. Plain and simple.

Part two is something I mentioned in a a comment on Greg's blog, weight loss is great, it also means a new wardrobe. Most of my clothes are falling off of me. Shirts that used to be tight are now balloons. If I had roller blades, I could catch a breeze and sail away. While it's great news, shorts that I bought last year no longer fit. I'm slowly working on getting rid of clothes and replacing them. The best story was a pair of pants that I bought a long time ago. They fit, but they were pretty tight. Two years ago I rediscovered them in my closet and I wore them. They're perfect for the summer, light-weight and casual. A few weeks ago when we went to head out to Open Houses and the beach, I thought I'd wear those pants again. They would be perfect. I put them on and they pretty much fell down. Okay, I thought, I can just wear a belt. They don't have belt loops. They have now been designated to the donate pile.

This is where I feel like I'm bragging, so maybe I am a little bit. I am proud of what I've done. And yes, when I've been frustrated with small set-backs (stress never helps weight-loss) I have prayed about it. I can't forget to praise and thank God. I didn't do this on my own.

Thanks to all of you who have noticed, encouraged and given me challenges. I would love to go out and change all Americans; we don't have to be overweight. So if you can make one small change, I encourage you to do it. Find someone who's willing to hold you accountable, or who you can talk to (I'm here!), or keep you motivated. Or get a dog and take it for a walk. Find a park to walk in, buy a pedometer (they're cheap! mine was $14.99). Put down the sugar, pop and artificial foods. You don't have to be on The Biggest Loser to be a Biggest Loser.

I'm about to start cheering, so I'll leave you with this: just be ready to buy new clothes. As if you need an excuse...

Editor's note: I just found some pictures from 2001. They are actual photos, so I took a photo of them. I'm not scanning them into the computer. That is too complicated. I think you'll be able to see a difference though...

This one from Peggy's wedding was my heaviest. Everyone else looks great!!

Oh, and how did this get in here? This is from our car ride Friday to my parents... hehe

Monday, June 20, 2011

You can do it! A weight loss story

I have thought and tried to write about my weight loss a couple of times. I always felt weird sharing, but I just had a revelation, so it's time to share.

At my heaviest, I was around 200 lbs. I don't know for certain because we didn't own a scale at the time and I was in denial. I did go see a doctor right after Bill and I had gotten married and the scale there read something around 197lbs. Honestly I have forgotten. I don't ever want to see that number again. Somewhere it's on a record, but hopefully after ten years they've discarded that file.

Right after we had moved to Savannah (and I was at my heaviest), I was visiting SCAD and Trey (the Res. Life Director when I was a Resident Assistant). He was giving me a tour of the new res. hall and we ran into one of the cafeteria workers. She recognized me, and then asked when I was due. She thought I was pregnant. That was it. I knew it was time to do something.

Now that same visit was when I picked up the paper and found the ad for the Furniture Restoration job. I started working there and began taking small steps, pun intended. I would park my car at Forsyth Park, in the free lot, and then walk to work. It was probably around a half mile (assuming Forsyth Park is a full mile around the entire park) and I was doing that twice a day. Then, at some point while talking to Bill's parents, his mom mentioned Weight Watchers and what she ate for lunch (yogurt). Then at a different point in time, my sister and I also talked about Weight Watchers. I never joined, but used their idea and started mentally counting calories, portions, snacks, etc. Then in the spring that we lived in Savannah, I gave up Coca-cola for Lent. By the time we left Savannah I had lost close to twenty pounds.

We tried to walk consistently when we lived in Toms River, but it really never became routine. Then Cousin Mark had his stroke and we realized how close Bill might be to one. Working full time jobs, we still weren't eating as healthy as we could be, but by the time we moved to Grand Rapids I was making changes in our diets.

Diet; as in what we eat, not as in "we're on a diet". Working from home worried me. But I soon realized if I didn't buy it, we couldn't eat it. Then I went on the Spring Break college trip to Alabama and we learned more about sustainable farming. From there I started shopping at the Farmer's Market and was doing much better at eating more fruits and vegetables and less junk. Bill was losing weight too. He was still working at B&N, but was taking salads into work, as well as fish and chicken.

Our church had a "Walk to Bethlehem" and for each mile you walked, it was a mile that we, as the church, counted toward Bethlehem (does that make sense?). I had already started walking, but not very consistently. This kept me going. At some point I had taken yoga classes through church, and then found yoga On Demand and was doing that, again inconsistently.

Then, while I was working with the Cool Cats we often talked about personal goals. Some were fitness goals, some were school work goals and some were helping mom goals. I took a cue from the fitness goals and started doing jumping jacks as a morning break, since I sit at my desk all day. For at least two years, I have been doing 150 jumping jacks every week day.

The winter of 2008 and 2009, I did not keep up with my walking. But in 2008 I shoveled a lot of snow (that was the first year Bill was living in Detroit). 2009 had less snow fall. Both springs, I got back out and started walking. In 2008, I had made a goal to be able to run a mile, without stopping, by the time I was 35. Yes, I gave myself plenty of time. It didn't happen in 2008, but in 2009 I did it. And even though I'm not running (okay, it's really jogging) every day, I can still go out and run one mile without stopping. Walking had created that endorphin high, I can "feel" it when I don't get a walk in.

This last winter, Bill was back home and I told him our goal was to walk at least three times a week. We were mall walkers, and we did it! (Well, not in December, but neither of us gained weight, so that was okay.) Then, this spring I told him we had to up the distance because our two mile walk was barely working me. We changed the route and up-ed it to a 2.6 mile distance. Then I added the yoga for Lent (every week day I did yoga) and I added push-ups (I'm up to 15), sit-ups (30), and two weight lifting exercises for my "bat-wings" (three sets of 8 reps) three times a week. Some weeks I'm busy and I only get it in two times.

Between healthy eating, which to us is more about portion control - I learned early on, if I try to deprive myself of something, I only want it more - and we don't eat out hardly at all. In fact, now when I do eat out, I feel the affects. Bloated and yucky. I don't crave fast food, but when we're traveling, I enjoy it. It has become more of a special treat. I also take my yogurt with me when I travel, or healthy snack choices. We also drink a lot of water. An absurd amount. I buy lemons at the store year round (that's my one non-local downfall... if you really want to call it that) and like to squeeze lemon in my water (or milk, when I'm really tired... it happened once, by accident of course). It's vitamin C! I've blogged about my love of apples and peanut butter in the fall and fresh strawberries and blueberries in the summer. I enjoy hummus and carrots (I just got Dad to try that yesterday!) and I also enjoy trying new recipes. Yes. Most of them are pasta dishes. But they're filled with fresh ingredients. It's okay to use whole milk. It's okay to use cheese. Again, we watch our portions.

Yes, we mess up. Or we can't always exercise. But now it's part of the routine, so it's not a disaster if we don't walk for a week. Our weekend in Savannah was filled with bad, delicious food, yet we walked a lot too. I don't stress about it. I guess it comes down to control, in that I have control. I know that if I make a "bad" decision, I just have to get back on track the next week.

My goal was to weigh and maintain 155 lbs. I blew past that last summer and have kept steady right around 150lbs. I'm not afraid to share that. I'm 5'6", so the 155lbs is the "overweight" line on the doctor's chart. Height matters. I love Biggest Loser Couples, and that is my motivation in the late, dreary winter, but they fail to tell us how tall they are.

At any rate, I think it's just about getting up and doing it. You will fail. You need to pick yourself up and do it again. Don't be afraid to try. Start small. Don't expect big changes immediately. And give yourself goals and small rewards.

I hope that motivates you and helps you. If not, buy a Wii, hearing it sigh when you step on should do the trick!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Steaks and Father's Day

If you'll recall (and if you don't, click here), we had pancakes on Mother's Day. They just seem to go together.

What goes with Father's Day???


We're going to have steaks for lunch. Yum! Unfortunately we can't have them on the grill outside because it's raining, but that's what Foreman Grills are for. Grilling inside.

To all the dad's out there: Happy Father's Day! I hope it's raining so that you can relax and not have to do something like mow the lawn. Even if you enjoy that kind of thing. Take a day off. You deserve it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

yum's the word

I let my Dad drive my new car today. I think he liked it. I ended the ride by saying, "You don't have to buy a Ford, but now at least you've driven one."

We ate dinner at a pizza place that was amazing! It's a franchise so check them out, Greek's Pizzeria, maybe you want one near you! Mom, Dad, Cyndi and I shared the "House Gourmet", yum! Jerry, Chas, Daphne and Dayton all had a cheese. We shared bread sticks too, they came with spicy cheese (yum!) and marinara. Then, even though it was pouring rain and had cooled off considerably, we walked across the street to the Handels' ice cream. And then had to stand outside under the narrow awning to eat it. But it's ice cream, so it was worth it. I had chocolate pecan, yum!

Just to top it off, mom made me poached eggs for breakfast, yum! It's not Bill's big breakfast, but I didn't have to make it so it was yummy. Yum. It was a yummy day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

you are here

I love maps. Other than the occasional dyslexia (I often think north is always "up"), once I've looked at a map, I can get there without needing to look at a map again. I'm a visual learner for sure. And (yes, I'm bragging) I have a super sense of direction. As in, I have a lot of iron in my nose (or something) and I just know where I am. Or if I've been there once, I can get there again. (The one exception is the house Bill grew up in. He can get there several different ways and I am convinced there's some time portal that you have to go through to get there. It would help if he would go the same way twice, but he never does. So since the beginning of our relationship, I have never been able to figure out how to get to that house. On the other hand, if I were to look at a map -which incidentally I have never bothered to do in this case- I would instantly be able to get there without any trouble.)

Whew. Sorry about that.

One of my favorite things is when I am at a location that has a map (a park, a mall, a museum, etc) that says, "You are here"; I enjoy seeing a very accurate map that is pointing exactly at the spot in which I am standing. As opposed to the arrows that are pointing in the general location and are missing key elements (there's a river right behind us, but it's not on the map). It's the little things.

I google searched for a photo using "you are here" and this is the picture that came up (okay, actually I used Goodsearch, follow the link and you may enter "Quota International of Grand Rapids Charitable Foundation" and we will earn money every time you search with Goodsearch. Of course once you don't find what you're looking for, go use Google...).

I thought this photo was fantastic. And the line, "you are here" goes much deeper... I'm doing a Girls' Summer Bible study with our high school girls and I created the study based on several themes. It started with Through the Window (thanks to Greg and his post about this during his trip to Israel), then at Annual Conference (which I don't think I ever summed up) one of the theme's was The Other Side. I thought of a couple more; Around the Corner, At The Well, and I think the last one is At His Feet, but now I'm thinking I may have to change one to You Are Here. I'm going to ponder that this week and see what, if anything, comes to mind. I think it would be a nice way to wrap up the study and can easily follow At His Feet.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Listen up people!

Have you ever tried talking to someone who just simply doesn't listen to what you're saying? My favorite is when you're telling them something specific and they're agreeing with Mm-hmm's and uh-huh's and what you're telling them is something like; "I have your notebook, when would you like to get it from me?" How does Mm-hmm or uh-huh answer that question? It doesn't.

Or when you're trying to ask a question and they just don't listen; "do you want this over here?", answered with, "the toilet seat is down."


Now, I am going to be very clear; this has nothing to do with Bill. He is an attentive listener (I'm not trying to butter him up or be sarcastic, this is the truth) and I believe when he doesn't understand what I'm asking/telling him, he asks me to repeat it. We've learned this through years of frustration. I guess I should stay more calm when this happens in other areas of my life, but I would really just appreciate it if people listened to me the first time.

Maybe if I just started saying random things back, it would help. Or confuse the situation even more. I don't know. I try very hard to listen and pay attention. This is sort of like driving your car. When did driving your car become a second thought and doing something else became more important? ie putting on makeup, reading (yes, I've seen it), etc.

That's all I have for today. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

basil for the pesto

I made Pasta with Pesto Cream sauce for dinner Monday night. I'm just now blogging about it. Not because it wasn't good, oh no. It was delicious. And it was just as good when we ate the leftovers last night. We didn't reheat them. We ate it cold like a pasta salad. Amazing.

If you look at the recipe, please note that I left out the pine nuts. Truthfully, I'm not a fan of them in my pesto. I don't mind the nutty flavor, but I do prefer the earthy, basic flavor when pesto is sans pine nuts.

I used the basil that we are growing. We have a planter (as seen here in the photo) and I bought the basil and dill. I added a petunia for color.

Today, you can't even tell that I cut 3/4 cup of basil off the plant. It's happy. I'm happy. Bill was impressed. Now we have to find a use for the dill. I think I read something somewhere about dill butter. That sounds yummy. Or dill cream cheese. Awesome.

Try the pesto dish. It's perfect for summer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Flag Day

I looked up the meaning of the colors of our flag. There's a website dedicated to it.

Of course there is.

In case you are too lazy to look at the website, here are a couple of interesting facts:

"The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice."

Also this from a book about the flag published in 1977 by the House of Representatives...

"The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun."

Now you know where our flag comes from and its significance. Now, go wave Old Glory and be patriotic. We're eating sausages on the grill for dinner. That's pretty patriotic (we don't have hot dogs and don't have time for hamburgers). Maybe we'll have some Kraft mac and cheese just to top it off. Sounds American to me! With strawberry shortcake for dessert! yum!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

blogging thoughts

In reply to Bill's blog today; I threw down the gauntlet. It appears that I have sub-consciously given fellow bloggers a personal challenge.

But you don't have to do it! I'm the crazy, insane blogger who decided that blogging every day for one entire year was a personal challenge. Please, do not beat yourself up. Don't try to write every single day. It's exhausting. There are some days that I'm bored. I can't even imagine how you feel when you read my posts. I take back the sub-conscious blog vibes I put out there.

If you have a blog, I suggest you read what my best friend has to say about blogging.

Okay, so she's not my best friend. I want her to be. I also want to be Giada's friend. Best friend. Girl best friends are the best. I'm pretty sure one or two of my real girl best friends read my blog. They just don't comment. They're afraid of commenting. I mean, I would be too, if I didn't have a blog. And a Blah, Blah, Blog. And was Blog Administrator for Quota GR's blog. Which makes it difficult to follow the advice in the link above.

I sort of know what Bill's talking about. He has had some excellent posts. And I think I have too. But no one's commenting. I have been reading greg's blog and have noticed that I'm the only one commenting. I guess summer means less comments. That's okay! Stay silent, but please keep reading.

So whether you're bored, burned out, sad about reader's silence, pressured into blogging more; take the advice. Go forward into the blogging world with fellow blogging wisdom. And don't forget to have fun.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

on saying goodbye

As a product of the United Methodist Church, I gave myself a pep talk this morning that sounded something like this: "You have seen many pastors move on. You will not cry when Jennie leaves because you will see her again. She's not moving to Mars. It's not like the end of your senior year of high school and the foreign exchange students whom you became close friends are going back home and you don't know when (if ever) you will see them again. Chances are you'll see Jennie next year at Annual Conference. This is not a sad day, you won't cry."

Then came her sermon on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit and graduation speeches. It's not about you, as the individual. It's about the journey you take and who you become on that journey. It was toward the end of the sermon that my tears fell; after biting my lip and staring intently at the stained glass window, which had worked up until the end. And then I could no longer help myself. I wasn't crying because she was leaving, I was crying because her message hit home. I know who I am because of the journey I have taken. I have trusted God, and tried to listen to His voice. I have gone places I never thought I would go (New Jersey) and have turned out... no. Am still becoming the woman I am meant to be. Because each day I learn something new. Because I have friends who love me. Because I try new things. Because I try. Because I fail and I learn from my mistakes and I try again.

It's not especially easy for someone to say good bye. I prefer something like, see you later. I've not had too difficult a time moving on because of all the moving I have done. It still doesn't make it easy, but hopefully, someday, I'll get to see you again. Never say never. We made it back to Savannah!

So go ahead and make mistakes. Take the road less traveled and make a difference. It's not about finding yourself, it's about finding who you are as you change the world. And don't ever say good bye.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday's Open House mantra

I will not eat three pieces of cake...

I will not eat three pieces of cake...

I will not eat three pieces of cake...

Friday, June 10, 2011

total randomness, hey it's Friday!

I hope I'm not going to jump the shark.

I said that to someone not too long ago (Heather E.: was it you on our way to the HPC meeting??), and they laughed and said they knew what I meant. Hm, maybe that could be a topic on Blah, Blah, Blog. Which, by the way, is one of the most difficult things to type.

I digress, back to jumping the shark. Or maybe not because we might discuss it on that other blog. I'll move on.

Nestle Tollhouse. I love chocolate chip cookies. Every time I make them I think of Phoebe from Friends (you can click here to watch a really bad youtube video) and her grandmother's cookie recipe. I can run through the entire scene in my head, I won't bore you here with what would turn out to be a not so funny rendition. If you never saw it, find it and watch it. The rest of the episode is not that great, but the cookie scenes are. Especially if you like chocolate chip cookies. So I made some chocolate chip cookies for the Blood Drive at our church on Monday. I can't give blood, but I can bake cookies!

Support local farmers! I went to the very rainy Farmer's Market this morning. I meant to take my camera, but it's a good thing I didn't. My shoes are soaked, my jeans are soaked, my hoodie is soaked. There isn't a permanent roof up yet, they have just begun the fundraising campaign. So it will be a few more years. In the meantime, each vendor has a tarp they drape over the metal frame, in hopes that it will keep everyone dry. But the rain settles into the low spots and either cascades off the edge, or the vendors poke at the tarp to try to keep the cascades of water to a minimum. Not every vendor was there, so there were large sections of unprotected aisle-way where the rain was effective in drenching me to the core.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the rain. We desperately need it. It will just be nice when there's a permanent roof over the Farmer's Market.

It's Friday and we have a dinner tonight. We're going to Chandra and Jason's (it's their first time hosting!) and they have a pool. I was going to take my swimsuit, but since it's currently 55 degrees, and rainy, I may not swim. Unless that solar cover works really well and it's not lightning out. I don't want a pool, but I take advantage of access to a pool.

This weekend is Open House weekend. We have four. Three are tomorrow. It's going to be a busy day, but we've outlined the route and it's almost as if they coordinated schedules. We won't have to eat any meals at home. I hope I can limit myself to the cake... It doesn't help when it's so delicious!!

Have a happy Friday!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

the last laugh

Working from home has its ups and downs. Okay, really a lot more ups than downs.

Having a spouse who also works from home can present challenges. Or it can be amusing. Today it's amusing. Bill was out this morning and came home at noon. He is presently sitting in his office, laughing at whatever he's listening to. It's amusing to me, because (since I have no idea what it is he's listening to) it is out of context and is happening in random small bursts.

Then there's the lawn mowing, weed-wacking, leaf blowing (what leaves?) neighbors. The house behind us had the lawn service out again. I'm sure it's more convenient to them to use riding lawn mowers, but really? I hope they charge a lot for all the gas they waste riding around a postage stamp sized lot (say that five times fast). The small lot is only an attribute for those of us who have grass. The person behind us feeds the birds. Therefore it is dirt and random seeds, no grass. I'm pretty sure I could go out there and cut it faster with a pair of scissors.

Oh well, to each their own. And don't forget to love your neighbor, however they choose to care for their lawn.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

take a number



The first number is my comment on PW's current contest. And just so you know, from the time I left my comment to right now, there have been another 3,000 comments. But you still have a chance to win. Also, as I was commenting I saw a familiar name. There can only be one Erin Egan with three boys, two of them being twins. So I replied to her comment. Truly, I never thought I would ever see anyone on there. If Shannon comments, I don't know what name she uses as there are multiple Shannons. The same goes for Kelly. I use Emily U (just in case you look for me). But really, it's hard enough to find my own comment so I don't know why you'd look for me. I just happened to see Erin's. It was right on the screen. I think it's pretty neat.

The next number is how many posts I have saved in my blog. That really doesn't seem like at that many. I've written about this before. It seems like that number should be higher. But I'm only half-way through the year, so by the time I accomplish my year of blogging, it will be much more significant. Then I started thinking about what I will do after that...? Will I still blog everyday? It's been interesting. A constant flow of consciousness. Whatever I think to write about. I wonder if I don't make it a point to do this again, I'll go back to my inconsistent blogging, and maybe there will be a post one month, five the next and then nothing for three months. I'm going to give that some more thought. I still have six months...

And just to update you, in the time I wrote this post, another one thousand people commented on PW's contest.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cat's in the Closet...

Yeah, yeah. The song goes, "Cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon..." but for our purposes this title fits better. You can see that in the photo here.

Silly kitty. Bill opened the linen closet to take his meds and Atticus jumped right up. Then he promptly laid down on the towels. Bill did not shoo him out and he's still lying there. It must be nice and cool. Better than outside, that's for sure.

Monday, June 6, 2011

the five "f's"

I owe everything to Ford or 5/3 Bank. Yikes! It's not five "f's", but there's a five and two "f's" so it's close enough. Hey, you come up with 365 titles to 365 blogs and tell me it's easy...

I digress.

This excludes utilities. And other expenses. So just our major debt is held in those two corporations.

Quick, go buy stock in both of them. Please.

With regards to the new car, the 2011 Ford Fusion. I like it. I really, really like it. It's the first Ford I have ever owned. Less than two weeks into it and I am happy. I like the way it drives, I like the way it feels, and over all I like it. I have only one small and very minor complaint and that is the visor is either all the way to the windshield or it's sort of in my face. The way the clip is manufactured, there's not an "in-between" spot. But that's what sunglasses are for, and I think my complaint is too minor to even care about. But it was worth mentioning in my blog.

5/3 has pretty much all of our other assets. If either of them ever go under we are either really screwed or really lucky. I'm not sure. But I feel better about being debt-free than I ever have been. Even if it feels like we are still playing catch-up from Bill's two weeks in-between jobs. I know we are luckier than most people and I thank God and count my blessings every day.

I don't know if this is a plug for either company or if I told you too much. It's just what is on my desk in front of me and since I needed something to blog about (I'm halfway through the year) this is it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

sunset Sundays

It's the season for open houses. This year is the first year we have kids who were in Jr. High youth group when I started. Now I feel old. They're graduating high school and I remember when they were dorky, awkward youth in 7th and 8th grade.

To paraphrase what Bill always says, time marches on. With or without me.

I won't let it pass me by, I just might not remember as much of it. But I will celebrate these moments with the youth. They deserve it. They made it and now they're on to better things. I hope they learned a lot about themselves and continue to learn at least something new every day.

We decided that since we were at an open house halfway to Lake Michigan, that we would just go out there and watch the sunset (since that was something that I have asked to do every summer since we have lived here).

We finally went.

There was not a cloud in the sky. We packed water and popcorn (it is Sunday after all) and had two blankets (one stays in the car, the other was for the beach). We were set.

We forgot it's Michigan and it's still only the beginning of June. Once we got to the graduation party and sat down in the shade it was nice and cool. It was in the 80's (my weather app tells me it was a high of 86) and it felt nice in the shade.

But once we got out to the Lake, it had dropped ten degrees (as it has a tendency to do) and we realized we might not be prepared for this.

We parked the car and walked into town. We weren't planning on eating anywhere and since the only thing open on a Sunday in Grand Haven are the restaurants we walked back to the car to get our stuff to go sit on the beach.

It was about 7:30pm at this point and the sun doesn't set until 9:20pm we still had time to wait (not waste). I had taken pictures on the walk, so I handed the camera to Bill and he took some pictures.

And then it happened. We saw the clouds rolling in. The rest of the entire sky was still bright and vivid blue, but in the sun's direct sunset path there were clouds. It was still beautiful and the sailboat helped capture the moment.

Needless to say, we did not stay. By this point it was much cooler and we were ready to come home. We'll try again in August when it's warmer...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

pork, potatoes, beef, salad and ice cream

Last night for dinner we had grilled pork tenderloin and french fries. Then we watched "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" before bed (it's a very bad habit of ours) and saw a new way to make a salad dressing. They smoked the tomatoes and onions before adding them to a food processor with mayo and some spices (it was a bbq episode, Mmmm bbq). That sounded simple enough, we just don't have a smoker. So Bill and I discussed what we would have for dinner tonight and it included a salad with this new dressing. And a side of beef.

So while Bill grilled the beef and a red onion, I pulled out some frozen tomatoes and put them in a sauce pan to simmer. Once the water had boiled off, for the most part, I pulled them off the heat. The onion (we only used half of one) was done and had been cooling on the counter. I put all of this in the food processor with an eyeball measurement of mayo (probably about half a cup, I didn't skimp), some garlic cloves, ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Next time I think I would let the tomatoes cool longer (but the beef was done, so time was not on my side) and use fresh tomatoes and maybe grill the garlic, but even so this dressing was delicious. As in, we dipped the beef in it too (this was the last of the grass-fed cow raised by my uncle).

Conference is over. We ended with an ice cream social, which meant the local ice cream manufacturer (Hudsonville) came with a truck and we each got our own pint!!! I was thrilled! A lovely way to end the Conference. That will go on my evaluation.

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's Friday, one more day of Conference

I told you yesterday that I'm waiting until Conference is over to give you a brief overview (don't worry it will be uber brief because I have not been taking notes). If you care to watch tomorrow you can find it live, online at the West Michigan Conference's website. If you are that bored, instead come to my house and clean it since I will be sitting at Conference. Trust me, you'd rather wait for my overview (or you can read the minutes which I think are also available online, if you're into that kind of thing).

A lot has been going on at Conferences all around the world. We will have to wait to see the outcome of some petitions at General Conference next April. It could be church changing (in a good, forward thinking way) or it could keep us stuck where we are. Not moving forward, losing more members and standing around scratching our heads wondering why.

Since I am literally minutes away from the place where our Conference is being held (at Calvin College, if you're a UM, you might find that amusing) I am not staying for dinners.This also means I'm saving our church money! Bill had dinner waiting for me tonight, and after we ate we took a ride in the 'Vette. I'm guessing he blogged about it, but since I don't know I will go ahead and tell you that he got it fixed today. We had broken the shocks (again, if he blogged about it, he'll have more detail/info) driving down our lovely downtown streets. It has sat in the garage for at least a month. Bill took matters into his own hands and took it in today. It was nice to go back out for a drive. Even if that meant I had to skip a walk. I think I'll survive because I've been parking in the furthest lot from the Arena and have logged a minimum of 2 miles every day. Now we just have to go watch the sunset one night this summer...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Please listen carefully

The title has two meanings.

The first one has to do with calling people and leaving messages. Someone called our house today and left a message. We don't know who they were and the person they told to call them back doesn't have this phone number. I'm fairly certain our message (which is currently my voice) says our number. And Bill and I have discussed people with fat fingers who don't even realize they dialed the wrong number. So the person just didn't listen. I always listen and I also panic when it's the generic automated message. Did I get the number right? Is this who I am trying to call? Often, I leave a message that goes like this, "Hello, this message is for ___..." Just to make sure that the message gets passed along. Instead of having a rogue child (or spouse) delete the message because they do not know who I am. Hey, it has happened.

The second meaning has to do with the theme at the United Methodist Church West Michigan Annual Conference. I am a last minute stand-in for a long-time church member and Conference attendee. His wife has been diagnosed with cancer and has started treatment. They made the decision to move into the local UMC retirement housing (a townhouse), and moving day was the first day of Conference. I have attended Conference before, so when I was asked if I could take his place, I had no qualms about my decision.

I digress, the theme at Conference today was "Listen".

I thought it was pretty funny that when I got home and listened to the answering machine, the message was from someone who didn't listen to our message.

I have some pretty interesting facts about our West Michigan Conference, but I think I'll save them all for one post, a post-Conference... post.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wait, stop.

Recently I have noticed that no one seems to want to stop, or wait for that matter, for anything. Specifically when traffic is concerned. We were headed to church last night for the Spiritual Gifts class (I'm teaching, Bill's attending - he wrote a blog about it) and a man crossed the street in front of us with his children in tow, after our light had turned green and no where near the cross walk. (I have way too many things I could say about what he is or isn't teaching his children, you can insert your own thoughts.)

Then, tonight on my way home from my HPC meeting, I was approaching a stoplight and the traffic on the other side of it was backing up. I did what I was taught to do, and did NOT block the intersection. The car behind me nearly ran into me, swerved around me, gave me the universal, "what are you doing?" and then proceeded through the intersection, getting back over in my lane, thus blocking the intersection. I can't say I was too happy about that. I mean, really? You are in that big of a hurry? On top of it, they completely ran the red light through the next intersection. They must have been very important and in a very big hurry. I got stuck at both lights and politely waited my turn in both cases.

So what happened to waiting? Everything you need to know you did learn in Kindergarten. Wait in line. How difficult is that? If you are constantly in a state of hurry, then maybe you need to leave the house earlier. And yes, I realize that circumstances may have been such that this person was important and in a big hurry. But it does not make me happy that my life is in danger because of someone else.

In high school, I once got a ride home with the woman who lived across the street from us, who was a teacher's aid. In the short ride home, someone whipped around her in the 45 mph section. I have not forgotten her response which was, "I don't know why they're in such a hurry, they're just going to get stuck at the light in front of us." And they did. I admit I have been that person, going around someone only to be right in front of them at the light. All I can say is that at least I can go the speed limit (because they are often going below the speed limit. Which is Murphy's Law. If I'm going the speed limit, the person behind me wants to go faster, but when I want to go the speed limit, the person in front of me is going slower).

It doesn't matter whether it's driving, or walking across the street, can we please try to slow it down, perhaps wait our turn and teach our children it's okay to be patient???