Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sorry Sunday and nickels

Skylar says "I'm sorry" quite a bit. So I told her every time she says it, she owes me a nickel. But if she catches herself and says something different ("oopsies" is acceptable) I will give her a nickel. I'm guessing I'll be buying ice cream by the end of the week.

After church and a mac and cheese lunch, we were invited to the pool (seriously, pictures will be posted tomorrow). We hung out there until it was time for Girls' Bible study. Skylar came with me because Uncle Bill is in Port Huron today and will be in Saginaw tomorrow.

We're getting ready to watch a movie and eat popcorn!! Yum.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Skylar's 2011 Summer visit!!!

Day one

I drove to St. Joe to have lunch with Jenny. We had a nice visit and tried a new restaurant. It was good. Then I met up with Cyndi, Jerry, Skylar, Daphne and Dayton. They had gone to the beach and I met them at Culver's. Skylar and I headed back to GR and were back by 5pm. We decided we needed to get dinner, and that required going to either the store or [another] restaurant. We chose the restaurant. Bill found a coupon, so that helped. When we got home, she asked if we could take a walk. Considering how much food I ate today, I said sure. So we took a 2 mile walk. I'm excited that she asked about it.

We just showed Skylar her first Droopy Dog (she said she's seen it before) video. She showed us our first Duck Song video. This is going to be a fun week!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grand Rapids or bust!


Wake up was at the normal time, 6:45am. Breakfast and cleanup went quickly. We were the last Group to leave and it couldn't have been 8:45am by the time we pulled out of the church parking lot.

A huge thank you to Jenny and Kelsey who were fantastic! Mike and Sandy did an awesome job too. They were very caring and so patient. They were amazing leaders and it was great fun serving with them.

We stopped and filled up Big Red and Bite-sized Big Red with gasoline. We had almost made it to Mt. Pleasant when we (the girls) got a phone call from the boys. They needed to use the restroom. McDonald's it was. We loaded up on coffee (for me) and more food (seriously, did anyone stop eating the entire time we were gone? I'm pretty sure they ate in their sleep too) and got back on the road.

Our short trip wasn't delayed by any other stops and we had the vans unloaded and cleaned out by 12:15pm. Parents were happy to see their delirious offspring. The youth were happy to get their care card envelopes. Hugs and goodbyes and we're back to normal.

I will work on posting pictures at some point. Maybe later today if I don't take too long of a nap.

Juliette was super happy to see me. I've never seen a cat act like she does. She came running down the stairs the minute she heard my voice and hasn't really left me alone since. Atticus gave me a little sniff of approval and he's sleeping soundly on the bed.

Now there's laundry to do, care cards to read and relaxing. Thanks for sharing our adventure. It was a super fantastic week!!!

Day four, Bay City

Yes, I did miss blogging yesterday. Thursday, July 28th, Week of Hope, Bay City

First, we had breakfast duty. That meant getting down to the kitchen by 6:30am. We had six volunteers, and two leaders (myself being one of them). Things went smoothly. Other than being awake earlier than "normal".

Crews #1 & #2 went to the Center where we picked up Crew 1.5 and went out to Crew #2's site. We rocked it out in one hour. Then we went over to Crew #1's site and wrapped that up in about a half hour (if that). We went back to the Center to have lunch and our devotion together. Then we finished making the sections for the ramp that will be installed next week at a Habitat House. We loaded the trailer and took it over to the site and unloaded the trailer. Before saying goodbye, we handed over the care cards (watch the video, it's fantastic!) we wrote for Crew 1.5. Harold, Crew #1's leader from the Center looked at me and said, "we've had groups all summer helping us. This one was the best one." He got teary and I got teary. That was so awesome to hear.

We piled back in the van and I shared that with the crews. Then Jason and I treated them to ice cream over at Shamrock. If you're ever in Bay City, go get some ice cream there (the corner of 5th and Jackson...), it's delicious.

We went back to the church. The boys from our youth group went and showered. I happened to be standing next to the red shirts when church maintenance man asked about his ladder. Apparently a crew borrowed it last week. Jenny and Kelsey gave each other the "oops" look and said they knew where it was and they would get it back. I volunteered to drive to get it, because our van was empty. I took Joy and Zoe and we headed over to shower before I ran my errand. I dropped them back off and picked up Kelsey. We got the ladder (which was perfectly fine and even housed a couple of earwigs) and brought it back to the church.

It was tacos for dinner. Mine got a little messy. By a little, I mean a lot. I had way too much liquid cheese, but it was worth it. We (Chandra and I) spent the rest of our free time writing more care cards. They came down at 11:45p and we wanted to get them all written. I made it. With minutes to spare. Batman and Spiderman tore through the hallway ripping the care card envelopes down, stowing them safely until this morning when they were turned over to the youth leaders.

But before our Super Heroes arrived, we had evening program. It was the last time we sat with our crews. We did affirmations and had a great time. Then we had youth group devotions, which despite a few drops of rain was also a fun time.

Lights out was at midnight. Which all of the leaders absolutely adore (note: extreme sarcasm). The kids had way too much sugar all week long and will probably crash for the next two weeks before resuming normal blood sugar levels. (Seriously, their sugar intake was out of control!)

This is why a post didn't get written for Thursday. Not a lot of free time when you're busy writing care cards.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day three, Bay City

Day 3 – Wednesday, July 27, 2011- Week of Hope in Bay City, MI

Today, crew #1 dropped crew #2 off at their site. Crew #1 drove out and got started on the rest of the wheel chair ramp. By lunch we had half of the railings up and almost all of the boards screwed to the deck. We took lunch and did our devotion. The other guys (from the Center) kept working. By the time we got back over to the ramp, they were almost done. We jumped back in; some cleaned up, some screwed in more supports and the rest screwed in the boards to the deck. By the end of our work day, we have two things left to finish. First, the 4x4’s need to be cut down level to the railing. Second, the last board, which extends onto the concrete, needs shorter screws. We didn’t have any on site, so we couldn’t finish that last board! Talk about frustrating. So close, yet not finished. But we’ll get ‘er done tomorrow!

Crew #2 has a couple handrails left to hang and then their finished. The “other guys” told us that we’ll work together again tomorrow. That will be fun. Although it is supposed to rain…

After showers at the “Y”, we had a little free time and then it was bbq pulled pork sandwiches for dinner, with baked beans. We are the last “camp” here, so we’re getting the end of all the food. For instance, currently there are two 3 gallon tubs of ice cream sitting out on the table so the youth can have it. It’s 10:20pm as I type this in the cafeteria.

After dinner, our group (along with the other UMC that’s here) had “Hospitality” Duty (hehe, duty. Yup, I work with the jr. high) which meant cleaning the bathrooms and common areas. Then it was time for evening program. We dug a little deeper (spiritually) and had some emotions come out. Devotion time was good. We are having a great week. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Not because it’s taco Thursday, or because it’s the last official day of workcamp, or because I only have one more day to write care cards, but because I can feel the strong bonds that our youth are creating.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day two, Bay City

July 26th, Day 2, Bay City

Okay. Last night I slept down in the common area. It was SO much cooler. As in, when I woke up cold and with a leg cramp, I said "thank you God!". Even though it wasn't enough sleep, it was cool, quiet sleep. Glorious sleep.

Today, Tuesday Crew #1 and Crew #2 did rock, paper, scissors to decide who would stay at the site that had all shade, and who would go out and be in the sun all day. My crew won the shade. Then we got to the disability center and followed our "leaders" out to the site. They took us to the shady site first. Now, I'm the only one who has permission (so to speak) to drive Big Red (the church van). So it was either leave my crew at the site while I drove the other crew to theirs or switch sites. Even though rock, paper, scissors had clearly decided this. I think I knew where I was about to spend the day.

So my crew, willingly gave up the shade and we drove out to the sunny site. It was a beautiful day, not a could in the sky, high in the mid-80's with a pleasant breeze. I bought sunscreen and applied it. I encouraged my crew to do the same.

We worked diligently on the wheelchair ramp. However, the "leaders" weren't too willing to give instructions or hand-off tools. So I had to push, encourage and gently force my crew to take charge. And I ended up sitting aside, watching, but not dictating or bossing them around. That is extremely difficult for me.

We broke for lunch and I encouraged everyone to try their hardest to do the work. After lunch and our devotion, we ended up sitting around more than we had before. When I finally gave up and decided to try working, I used the electric drill which had WAY too much power for me to handle, drove the screw so far into the board we barely got it out, and then managed to get a metal shaving sliver. I redeemed myself when I used the saws-all (or reciprocating saw, someone will have to tell me the difference) and notched out the board to go at the top of the corner deck.

We left our site and picked up crew #2. We made it back to the church and then left to take showers at the "Y". But first the girls had a mission. We had to go pick up the cake that I had ordered. Jason's birthday is tomorrow, but we had free night tonight, so it made more sense to have a cake for him tonight. We got the cake, and because we thought ahead we brought a cooler, and the cake went in there. Jason had no idea.

We ate at Rally's. It was delicious. Although Ken and I agree that the fries are best when they're cooked in not-so-fresh oil. We could tell the oil had been recently changed. Oh well, it was still greasy goodness.
We went to the Bay City Mall theater to see Harry Potter Part 2. Yes, you may remember reading about that here. We took the youth to go see it. I would say it's tradition but this was the last movie. For now.

We (as in Chandra and I) weren't sure the boys would make it through the movie. Turns out, they were super and the girls, who had a little too much sugar, were the giggly, loud ones. Oh well. They did the best they could. It was still fun.

The only pictures I took today were the ones when we came back to the church to do "devotions" and instead sang happy birthday to Jason and gave him his cake!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day one, Bay City

Day 1 – Monday, July 25, 2011- Week of Hope in Bay City, MI

I am on crew #1. Jason (one of our leaders) is on crew #2. Our crews are working together on wheel chair ramps through a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities. There are a couple of extra guys working with us from Bay City, so we called them crew 1.5. They really liked that they were included. We built “World’s Longest Wheel Chair ramp” (pictures to follow).

Within our youth group, we have a couple who are on the same crew and others who are all alone. Jason and I are the only ones from our youth group who are on the same crew.

I did not sleep well last night. The room is 84 degrees. The a/c is running, but not enough. We (thankfully) brought fans. This morning, we realized that we needed to stick a fan in front of the a/c. That helps.

There are great videos. The care card videos were fantastic. I do enjoy GROUP programming (minus the music, really would it be so difficult to play the songs, I know that requires trademark stuff or whatever it is. I can’t think right now). The theme is “Connect”. How do we disconnect from our technology. How do we connect with others? How do we connect with God? I’m sure we’ll figure all of that out. Haha, the irony is I’m blogging, so I’m staying connected.

This is all I have time for. I can post every day, but it’s not wi-fi!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bay City or Bust!

We are praying it's not the bust. For more than one reason.

I'm leaving today with the Jr. High youth group to head out to Bay City, MI for a "Week of Hope". We will be doing some hands-on mission work like working at the Salvation Army and at the Boys and Girls Club. It's not the workcamp/home repair that we did last time we were there, or that the Sr. High do on their workcamp trip. We're getting off easy.

One of the reasons we hope we don't bust, is that Chandra is 7 1/2 months pregnant. We don't want her to bust.

We also don't want any parts on the vans to bust.

And we don't want the trip to be a bust. I am going to say that I am putting a lot of faith (all of it at this point) in God that this trip will change our youth. I have faith that it is going to help them move forward and that they will realize they can live one week without their video games (this is specifically the boys, the girls in this regard are very excited to go).

I hope that I can blog while I'm there. I'm taking my laptop so I can at least write a post for every day. If there is no internet access (we're staying at a church, so wi-fi may not be available) I will either find a Panera or post when I return to civilization. I hope there's wi-fi. I was surprised when they had it in Nashville.

Maybe I need to upgrade my thinking. Which reminds me of my senior year in high school; it was the fall, so it was 1995. The exchange students and I became good friends that year. I remember going to McDonald's with a couple of them and one of them tried to use her credit card to pay for her food. Not every place accepted credit cards at that point in time. And yes, this was Cicero, Indiana (the middle of a corn field according to Bill), but it just wasn't common back then.

Hence my need for an upgrade, because I completely assume that everyone accepts debit/credit cards these days. If they don't, they have HUGE signs on their doors that let you know you need ca$h. Except for the massage therapist I went to last week. She was located inside of a Physical Therapy business which accepted credit cards (according to the stickers on their door). So when I handed her my card, after the massage, I was shocked (and very embarrassed) that she only took cash or checks (don't worry, I put a check in the mail the next day and since she's a part of Bill's BNI group, she knew how to find us).

With all that being said, hopefully you'll get to read about our adventures in Bay City this week...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

guter Beitrag

Not to confuse my friend Connie, who occasionally reads my blog, but we're having a very German weekend. First, this evening we're going to an "Oktoberfest" in July. I'm not sure about the reasoning behind that one, so don't ask. I'll try to find out. The friend hosting it is German. As in her parents moved to the US from Germany. She speaks German, she makes German food and has the Oktoberfest party (in July). I think it will be fun. I hear there will be games and plenty of food.

The second reason it's a German weekend is the Formula 1 race is being held in Germany, the Nurburgring. We are fans of F1 racing. Bill will be lucky enough to watch the race, I will have to wait until I return to watch it.

Maybe the race is why our friends are having Oktoberfest in July. But I don't think they watch F1. I'm still going to ask. In the meantime, here's most of the German I know:

Guten Tag!

(the title is supposed to be "good post", I'm not sure of the translation... I googled it)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Julie, Julia and Emily

I wanted to see the movie Julie & Julia when it came out. I also wanted to read the book. One night, weeks ago, I was scrolling through the channels and saw it was showing on an Encore channel. That means no commercials. I dvr'd it. I just got around to watching it Wednesday night and I loved it.

Truth be told (and why not tell you here?) this was part of why I started blogging for a year. Julie did it, plus she cooked every meal in the cookbook. I thought, "how difficult can it be to just blog?"

On every level I could relate to Julie. Well, except the government job. I do not have that. And I think if I were stuck in a job like that I would have been fired a long time ago. I am a City Commissioner though, does that count?

This isn't a movie review, so I will pass on sharing my thoughts on some parts of the story line, etc. because overall I liked it. I am not writing to tell you to go read the book or watch the movie. Especially if cooking isn't your cup of tea. But for me, it was right up my alley. I want to cook all the time. I really enjoyed the movie. Now I just have to finish my long list of books so I can go read this one!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

a post is worth a thousand words

And so is the title. I've come to realize the importance of my posts' titles. It has to be relevant to the topic, and if I'm being quirky (which most of the time I am) I have to use better "labels" or tags. I've tried going back in my 400+ posts to find certain things I know I've written about. It's not easy. And I haven't found all the ones I've looked for. Some I have. And when I do, I link it for you. Of course I would hope that you would go back through my archives and just do some light reading on your own. But assuming you don't have the time (or for the three of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning), I'm not going to make you do that. Therefore, when it's relevant, I try to do the dirty work for you.

And the searching begins. Blogging every day for a year is a large commitment. Having blogged for four years prior to this complicates things. Did I actually write about chick peas before yesterday? Or did I only think that it would be a good topic to blog about??? I don't know because I can't find any titles or labels that could possibly relate to that topic. One would think "chick peas" would be a good label, or even "hummus". Maybe "friends". Out of those three possibilities "friends" is the only one I've actually used and none of those five posts had to do with the tv series.

Maybe I should go back through and re-read, then re-label all my posts...


I don't think so.

If I mention that again, please call someone. I need help.

In the meantime, I'll try to figure it out and will still link to old posts when necessary. And I'll try to do a better job with my titles... Or I'll continue exactly what I'm doing now, which is naming them so I get it. Which is how I've found most of my references to older posts. Not through the labels, which is what they're there for, but through the titles. Maybe I'll just try to do a better job labeling my posts.

Do you really care?

I didn't think so.

But now I wonder how many words are in this post...

1603 characters according to Word. So a post, in this case, is worth 1,000 +

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God Bless the salsa

I've referenced "God Bless the Chick pea" before. It's from a Friends episode early on when they had a crossover with er docs. Noah Wyle and George Clooney are the guest stars. Monica and Rachel get into a fight. George Clooney's character (I guess it would have been Doug), says to Carter, "God bless the chick pea". They're eating hummus. It's a great line, I use it all the time.

I just made this salsa. And all I have to say is, "God Bless the salsa". Or "God Bless the Tomato". Or, "please God, bless my tomatoes."

So I have a lot to say about the salsa.

It's supposed to sit in the fridge for an hour. You know, let good things happen. Well, if anything better happens while it sits in that fridge, I'm gonna die and go to heaven (because according to Rob Bell, we're all gonna go there, that's another post when I finish the book).

Of course I had to test it and make sure the seasonings were "just right". I added a little more cilantro and garlic (at Bill's request).

IT'S AMAZING!!! As in, this is the best salsa I have ever had. If you like salsa and have always wanted to try making your own, this is a good start. I will attempt to use my own tomatoes if any of them ever ripen. But even if they don't, it's good to know that the San Marzano tomatoes are brilliant in this. That also means I can make it in the winter.

I've not mentioned this before, specifically, but maybe you've picked up on it; I'm not a "semi-homemade" sort of person. Most of what I make is from scratch. While I don't want to go back to the Pioneer Days, and as much as I loathe technology, I enjoy the 21st century. I also feel like we lost something when WWII ended and factories began making everything (I'm talking food here). While I have never been a fan of a certain ground beef in a box meal; I've bought, eaten and cooked my fair share of processed foods. It's convenient.

But it's so much tastier, healthier and fun to make things from scratch. I have a brownie recipe I make from scratch. Better than any box brownie I've ever had. I have a chocolate blueberry cake recipe I make from scratch. Delicious. I've even ventured into fresh pasta.

Yes, I do still like my convenience and don't have the tools to create my own macaroni, so I will buy the canned/frozen options when it's warranted. I also don't have the yard space to grow my own garden. But that's what the Farmer's Market is for!

If you have tried (and maybe failed) making something from scratch, let me know. I am happy to share recipes, secrets, tips and hints. I have some great recipes. I love to share them! Nothing is a secret here.

God Bless the salsa!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


We attended a wedding recently and while we sat waiting for the groom and bride to dismiss us, Bill remembered advice he gave to another couple at their wedding a few years ago. He told them it wasn't easy. It was more difficult than they thought and if they ever needed to call us, they should.

We don't all have the exact same experiences, but in most cases we can empathize with our friends. In some rare cases I have found that we have shared the same experiences, which we laugh about.

Bill and I were also just musing over why our friends choose to confide in us. What did we ever do to "deserve" their trust? Yikes! Should we be able to figure out that answer? Or is it just who we are? I offered that we have never hidden our emotions. We don't try to pretend that everything is perfect all the time. We don't always have a smile on our faces. I don't think we take our anger out on our friends, but we don't hide it either. We know, and we understand and then we grow with each discussion (some people call them arguments).

We certainly don't have all the answers and we continue to struggle. On top of that, we're the lucky ones who don't have kids thrown into the mix. We see so many people whose marriages aren't strong, go and make the decision that children will make things better/make them happier/fix what's wrong/fill a void. And we look at each other and ask how? How will that help who you are? We also know people who have fixed their relationships. And yet others who are just discovering their problems, yet we saw the neon signs flashing long ago.

All I know is that communication is the key. Read books, find a counselor, get help, call your friends. Don't try to "fix" it all by yourself. We aren't meant to be alone in this world. We can help each other.

Lean on me and I'll lean on you. And together we can get through this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

entering the last quarter

I still have a lot to blog about. But I'm entering the last quarter of my silly goal. August 1st will leave me four months left of blogging every day.

Yes, my math is wrong. Did you catch that? I hope not.

At any rate, it's slowly winding toward the end. The halfway point came and went unnoticed. Even I didn't mention it.

So I say I have a lot to blog about. One of the things may hit too close to home. I really don't know who reads my blog, but it appears that there are many readers. The irony of what I had wanted to blog about today is that, here, Bill makes a very similar statement. Hm. I doubt we are thinking of the same thing. Although it wouldn't surprise me if we were.

I'm going to debate on whether or not to write about it. For now, enjoy your Monday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

summer heat

We have friends with a pool. I've mentioned them before, Chandra and Jason. We are fortunate enough that they are allowing the Girls' Bible study [that I am leading] to come hang out there today. Yes, we will have Bible study around the pool. Apparently there is a water-proof Bible out there. I don't own one, so I won't actually be getting in the pool with my Bible. We'll have the study part itself away from water. We'll hang out in the pool to cool off. And have fun. But mostly to stay cool. The heat has reached us here in Michigan. It's summer and it's hot.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday in the 'Vette

Bill saw that there was a classic car show in Sparta today. It was only from 9a-2p. I had errands to run, so I said we could go up there, if he wanted to come with me. We set out around 10:45a. We stopped at a couple of places and ended at the mall. It's Hallmark ornament premiere, so being a fan of Hallmark, I had to stop and pick up my ornaments. Since we were at the mall, Bill asked if I wanted to have lunch at Olga's. We both love Olga's and don't go there often, so I said sure. They have a "new" (as in new to me) menu option that is half an original Olga and fries. I didn't need the fries, but I didn't want an entire gyro. It was just the right amount of food for me.

I digress, I got side tracked by food. It happens.

So we set off for Sparta. We made it by about 1:45p. We drove through town, only to see it was set up for a parade. It's Sparta's Town and Country Days. We did not find (or see for that matter) any classic cars. We parked and walked through town, thinking we might stay and watch the parade. We got some homemade ice cream and surveyed the situation. It was easily 86 degrees by this time. Since everyone in Sparta still smokes (which is so much easier for me to complain about now that Bill is an ex-smoker - seven and a half years smoke-free!), we decided to head back home. While we still could.

We did see four Corvette's parked at the Brann's at 131 and Leonard.

And we are slightly sun-burnt.

The best part will be ending the evening with the fresh corn-on-the-cob I bought at the Farmer's Market yesterday. We'll be having blt's too. My favorite summer dinner. Yum!

(this picture if from last summer, don't worry I'm not that sunburned!)

Friday, July 15, 2011

are you sure it's not the 13th??

Oh my goodness. What a week. I did decide the only way to cap it off, is if today were the 13th. It feels like a Friday the 13th. Plus it's a full moon. That's why the only way this day could be better is if it were the 13th. I know I'm not alone. I've had a lot of response to my blog about the craziness that has been going on. (Thank you to everyone who's said something!!)

But it is finally Friday. Congratulations to D.d. and Jon, who will be wed in Holy Matrimony later this evening. We are looking forward to celebrating your new life together!!

And on a completely random note: have you ever noticed that Lego people faces look a lot like emoticons? Maybe it's just my phone font that makes them appear that way.

|: )

sort of. Okay, maybe not really. But it's close.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

a visit to the dentist

Bill and I both had dentist appointments this morning. We have always kept up with our appointments and maintained very clean teeth. I was distraught when I had to have my wisdom teeth removed, shortly after we moved here. I was the ripe old age of 28. It wasn't too bad, and Bill enjoys making fun of me coming out of anesthesia (I repeat questions). A year before that I had my first cavity.

Today the dentist told me we have to watch a four teeth. That four of them could get cavities. What!??! Four!! I'm not pleased with that. I take good care of my teeth and every single dentist we have ever gone to (at last count, just since we've been married, would make that six) have told both of us we have great teeth.

*whining* I don't want anymore cavities.

Whatever. The best part is I'm pretty sure Ellen DeGeneres is moonlighting as the hygienist there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the full moon syndrome

Chandra called me this morning. Her car had died. She wondered if I might be able to take her to get a shot that she needed (she's pregnant). We worked out the details and before too long, I was on my way. Immediately, the people driving their cars were doing ignorant things. I said to myself, "it's not a full moon yet... but it sure seems like everyone is driving that way". I took Chandra where she needed to go, and after more odd things happened, mentioned my thought to her. We sort of laughed it off.

I stopped and got gas and paid $3.85. Yesterday, it was $3.58, of course it had gone up. Later, after I dropped Chandra off at her house and passed the same gas station, it was $3.57. Did they raise it just for me?

Then, because this day wasn't full enough, I picked up Molly and we drove out to a pool party. More people driving like they had full moon syndrome (I've blogged about it before, here).

But we made it just fine and had fun. I "won" for getting in the pool first and then was the last one out. I don't know what I won, but I did. Maybe a wimpy polar bear club title...

I took Molly home and, finally, headed home myself. I was almost home, when all of a sudden, without notice a major intersection was closed off. There was a police car, but from what I could see, no accident. It appeared that there were work trucks (like for tree removal or the electric company, we'll go with electric company). That was all I could see. Yellow flashing lights, no firetrucks or ambulances or other flashing lights other than those of the police cars at the small strip of yellow tape telling me that I couldn't proceed.

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Turn around, go through one of the scariest neighborhoods late in the evening, over massive speed humps (as our city likes to call them) and finally get to the street that will get me back to our house. I made it. But the full moon syndrome strikes again (it will be full on the 15th).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the new lib dub

I have so many things to blog about. Like how I stepped on a cat toy and seriously hurt my foot. Or how the CFL bulbs, which are supposed to last longer, have lasted less then three years in our bathroom light fixtures. Or that it's summer and I love blt's. Or how well our tomato plants are doing.

Instead, I want to share this link with you. It's amazing. Please watch it. It was on the news here. And in the city where shootings seem to be gaining popularity, as well as Mother Nature's wrath, this will bring a little smile to your face. Enjoy! (And in case you haven't seen the GVSU version, click here). Our city is really getting into these lib dubs...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tyler's photoshop

This is from the Senior High Mission trip.

I wasn't actually there. Bill went. These are all the girls that went. Most of them come to the Summer Bible study I lead. I thought it would be hilarious if I was Photoshopped into the picture. Enter: Tyler. He's amazing at Photoshop. The picture of me is from our vacation (Bill and me) last summer to Sunbury, Pa.

I wanted to make it look like I was there, but sort of obvious I wasn't really there. Thanks again Tyler! Your work is fantastic. It's perfect. It makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

the cake monster within

This is why I feel completely inadequate when it comes to decorating cakes.

Here's this website

and here's a picture of the cake I tried to decorate...

so, do you see the difference? I can drizzle... and that's about it. You would think (at least if you know me and know the crafts I have made) that I could do what she does. Yet, I cannot. How sad. It's a good thing my cakes taste good.

a review of our week in food

I'm not going to go through every single day, because not every day was noteworthy. I'll hit the highlights.

Thursday night; we had grilled cheese sandwiches that weren't yo' mamma's grilled cheese sandwiches. I used Italian bread, Fontina cheese, olives, tomato and pesto. Yum! It actually would have been a little better had I used the grill as a panini press instead of just the frying pan. But you live and learn and they were still tasty!

Bill made ribs last night.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Goodness gracious


He made a dry rub, then he used the rest of the dry rub in the sauce. Amazing. I know my ribs. You're reading a blog by the girl who went to Junior Prom with elbow length white gossamer gloves, and when dinner came she ordered the ribs (a full rack). And then she ate those ribs without getting a drop of sauce on her dress or her gloves. Yes. I think I know my ribs. I've had them in St. Louis, Kansas City, Tennessee, Alabama, and every place in between.

The salad I made to go with the ribs was pretty good too. Homemade croutons, romaine, olives, tomato, and goat cheese. The tomato disappointed me, but the rest of it was good. And I made homemade garlic bread too.

This morning I had yogurt with (what will probably be the last) strawberries, blueberries and my homemade granola. It was pretty spectacular too.

I'm ready for the sweet corn. My favorite summer time meal: blt's and corn on the cob. My mouth is watering. I can't wait to see corn at the farmer's market.

Friday, July 8, 2011

the negotiator

When I was in college, a movie called "The Negotiator" was made, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. I saw it, because at the time, Kevin Spacey was the guy. Only because "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" had premiered in Savannah. There was a Red Carpet event and my roommate saved me a seat in the bleachers and we watched all the stars walk in to the Civic Center to see the movie.

Kevin Spacey shook my hand.

I decided I must see every movie that he ever made. That included "The Negotiator" and only a couple others. Thus ended my fanaticism of Kevin Spacey movies.

However, maybe because of the negotiations in the movie; in my french class [in college] I became the Negotiator. If it was a gorgeous, sunny day, none of us wanted to be stuck learning french (especially because we had all taken it in high school, so we weren't learning anything new, plus it wasn't like it was for a Master's degree or anything). We wanted to be outside in the beautiful Savannah spring weather. At some point, I screwed up enough courage to ask the professor if we did this work, could we get out a little early. It worked!

I probably got us out of two or three classes. When you only have a two day a week/ten week class schedule, that is impressive! And I do believe we all aced our final exams en francais (just don't ask me for a french word in a cross-word puzzle, I can remember how to ask what time it is, where is Spot, and how to ask for a coca-cola, but I've forgotten the rest... it was twelve years ago, I'm not using it on a daily basis... maybe this calls for a trip to Quebec).

This is all to say that we are safe. There was a big scare here in our little city of Grand Rapids. You've probably seen it on the news or heard about it by now. The hostages are all safe and the situation is over. Thank you to all of our friends and family who have been worried. We are fine and were fortunate to be no where near the locations (although part of the police chase and open gun fire was right down the street from our church).

"The real lasting victories are those of peace and not of war." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, July 7, 2011

the microwave

"We gotta install microwave ovens"

Yes. Dire Straits popped into my head this morning as I discovered that our microwave oven was not clean on the inside.

There is a rule in our house that if you're going to microwave anything, please cover it with a lid (that won't melt), a paper towel or wax paper. I follow this rule religiously. It's my rule, I guess I would be the one to follow it. It's my rule because somehow, when other people in our house use the microwave (and I won't point my finger at Bill, on occasion we have company) things don't get covered up and they tend to explode all over the interior of the microwave. Have you ever had that happen?

Have you looked inside your microwave today?

That's not why I created the rule. I created the rule because when said explosion happens, the person who caused the explosion does not clean it up. It's as if the exploded food is invisible to them. Maybe I'm the only one who can see the baked beans all over the inside of the microwave (now I'm pointing a finger). But the large chunk of bean was pretty visible. Okay, okay, to be honest I actually saw the chunk of baked bean last night when I was melting butter for my popcorn (ironically, we do not use the microwave for popcorn). I was too hungry last night to care. So this morning when I went to use the microwave, I decided to see if there was more than just the one crusty baked bean. There was.

With a big sigh, I thought to myself, why can we put a man in space, invent amazing technology like ice makers in the freezer, yet we don't have self-cleaning microwave ovens??? We have self-cleaning ovens. We have microwaves that no longer cause cancer (or melt chocolate bars) when you're standing next to it. Why can't they have a self-cleaning button? It would save our marriage.

This reminds me of the Cosby episode (as far as I can remember) where Sandra and Alvin have moved into their first apartment and Cliff and Clair go visit them. Alvin and Sandra nuke some hot dogs, for dinner, which explode. They explode like I've never seen hot dogs explode. Forget my little bean mess. I think their explosion "did in" the microwave.

At some point, go over to the Blah, Blah Blog and see what just happened. Because I blogged this. It's my fault... but I did cover the beans.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


It's blueberry season. Or as one sign on our way to South Haven read, blue berrys.

I think blueberries with yogurt are divine. I can't get enough. I have frozen a couple cups and will likely be getting more at the Farmer's market to freeze.

Last year was the first year I tried them.

You read that right. Oh sure, I had them with fruit salads, but never on their own. I had no idea what I was missing. See? You should always try new things. You never know, you might like it.

I have to make a blueberry pie...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

my architecture bucket list

These are the places I want to visit purely for architecture reasons:

Newport, Rhode Island
San Fransisco
New Orleans
Wisconsin (Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin)
Washington D.C. (again)
Florence, Italy

and everywhere in between.

This is just the beginning of the list. You know, places I can think of off the top of my head. If I sat down with my Preservation magazines I would be able to list more specific places and many more cities.

Monday, July 4, 2011

have a wonderful 4th of July...

Because it's Independence Day.

Because Savannah is an old city and seems to be the epitome of a holiday such as this.

Because we hung a ceiling fan without incident.

Because it is a gorgeous day outside.

Because it is summer.

Because it is my brother-in-law's birthday (which I should now point out, only because I just realized it, both of my brothers-in-law have holiday birthdays! Shawn's is St. Patrick's Day and Jerry's is today, cool).

Because we watched fireworks in South Haven last night.

Because it's time to go take a ride in the Corvette.

Because today is a great day for a cook-out.

Because we are a free country.

Because men and women have fought for our freedom.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

not the holiday fireworks

We decided we would watch the fireworks tonight. We are lame. We don't want to watch them tomorrow night because they won't start until 10:30p and we both have to get up the next morning. I think we're going to enjoy them tonight because we're going to go to South Haven to watch them. It's going to be Pure Michigan craziness, but what's the 4th of July without some crazy?

We had planned to go last night to the Kentwood fireworks, but ended up having too good of a time at the cook-out (thanks Chandra and Jason!) and Bill whined his way out of going. We would have been able to see them just fine had there not been trees in the way. We thought about cutting them down, but they were in the neighbors yard and that would have taken too much time (and I'm joking; I posted this link on my facebook page yesterday, you can call me a tree hugger or whatever, I don't care what you call me, I like earth and Mother Nature). So we didn't see any fireworks last night.

Whatever you do, whether it's a parade, fireworks, a cook-out or something else; enjoy your freedom. We can do what we want because of our Independence. Happy 4th of July!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Tardiess

It happened one morning on my way to take a walk.

I started out to meet Kerri and our neighbor Glenn was out with their dog, Syd. Glenn and I exchanged morning pleasantries. He was off to take a bike ride, before it got too hot, with Syd. I continued on only to see Sharon, three houses down, getting her morning paper. Sharon is married to Jerry who likes to use his leaf-blower (all of the time). She asked why Bill and I weren't racing to the corner (this is something we've started to do at the end of our walks and she saw us one day). I laughed and told her where I was headed. She told me she was cheering for me that day she saw us race, but Bill beat me. That happens every time. Unless I catch him unaware, which has been once.

I continued on, laughing to myself about the Sesame Street song, "The People in My Neighborhood". No, that song probably didn't come from Sesame Street, but that's where I remember it from.

Friday, July 1, 2011

the preacher's daughter

Lexie came into my life when we moved back to Grand Rapids. Our first Sunday in church was the Sunday Jennie (her mom) was given the "United Methodist" gifts. It was Jennie's first "official" Sunday. They too had just moved here. I met Lexie in January of 2007, when I volunteered with Heather and the Jr. High youth group. Lexie was outgoing, had a great laugh and an even better sense of humor (she still has all of those qualities, spoiler alert: she's not dead, she just moving. Hang on, I'll get there).

I continued to volunteer with Heather (read about her by clicking her name or here) and the Jr. High youth group and took my first U.P. trip with them in the summer of 2007. Photos from that trip are all on our Mac hard drive and thus are currently inaccessible.

However, I can access photos from fall of 2007, when I began volunteering full time with the Jr. High.

Heather held a youth group "HO-down" (because her initials are H.O. and we didn't let opportunities to use them pass). We were encouraged to wear our cowboy best. Bandanas were passed out and there is even a video of line dancing. The story was the Prodigal Son, and we broke it down into many parts. This was the week the son was forced to eat with the pigs. Hence the Ho-down. Or something. It was fun, as you can see.

Lexie came riding in on her horse...

Fun times!

Then in the summer or '08, we took what would be our last trip to the U.P. with Heather.

Here are some crazy photos (of Lexie) from that trip:

Lindsay and Lexie, I think they'd just had a romantic moment running down the beach. This was the shore of Lake Superior on our way back.

This is Lexie on our bike ride around Mackinac Island.

They move today to their new home in East Lansing. Jennie will be the Senior Pastor at University Church and Lexie will finish high school in a new school there (the new school mascot is the Trojan, pretty exciting for a double P.K. = preacher's kid).

Thanks Lexie, for the memories. I've laughed harder knowing you. And just because you move doesn't mean we love you any less, or that you can't keep in touch. It's not good-bye, it's see you soon.

And yes. You can come back and watch "Four Weddings and a Funeral".