Saturday, June 30, 2012

Everything but the ribs...

Dinner tonight was all homemade.

Everything that is except for the ribs.

What did we have?

A salad with lettuce picked from our garden plot and dressing made from scratch. The dressing is light; made with mayo, lemon juice, olive oil and a few other ingredients that make it perfect for summer.

The croutons were also homemade. I frequently buy Italian-style bread at Meijer for croutons. If I don't use it right away, I freeze it. Then I pull it out when I want to make croutons. Of course it's best when you can let the bread sit for a day or two before making croutons out of it. The older the bread, the better the croutons.

The tomatoes and olives were from the store. But we are growing tomatoes in the garden so we'll have homegrown ones soon enough.

I made my slightly famous beer-battered onion rings. They are always good, but tonight they were especially good.

Then there were the ribs.

In case you hadn't noticed; most of the food wasn't homemade. We didn't grow the onions, grind the flour, or brew the beer. But nothing came preassembled, so we're calling it homemade.

Back to the ribs. Bill made his special dry rub. Then he made his special sauce. We call it, "Bold Bill". It's not too hot (as in spicy), but it starts out sweet and gives a little kick at the end. It is delicious. Together, the rub and the sauce, make these ribs superior to anything I've ever had.

That is saying something. After all, I am the girl who, at her Junior Prom, wore white gloves and ordered a full rack of ribs at dinner. I didn't spill a drop.

I know ribs. Don't worry, next time you come visit, there's a good chance we'll make them for you.

Friday, June 29, 2012

thirty cents worth

Instead of two cents worth, you're going to read thirty cents worth.

That's what I found on my way to the garden plot this morning! Three shiny dimes. They were on the sidewalk, sort of in a row. I kept looking around to see if I was on Candid Camera (some of the young adults have sworn they'll do that to me someday), but I didn't see anyone hiding or snickering. Then the dimes ran out. 

Three is a pretty good haul when you're on your way to pick some of your own veggies.

But that's not my thirty cents worth. My thirty cents worth is about this heat and the Ozone Action Days (or whatever your city is calling them). It is obvious that, along with people who litter, there are people who completely disregard this whole water/lack-of-rain "issue". 

I'm not against watering the lawn.

I'm against watering the lawn in the middle of the day.

If you happen to know one of those people, please pass this along to them. They should know that they're not doing any good by watering between noon and 4pm.. The water evaporates before it really has a chance to soak into the ground.

So these people leave their sprinklers on for four hours.

And their grass is green.

Good for them because now, when there's a fire down the street, the chance that there's not enough water pressure is higher just so their grass is greener.

We have reduced the lawn watering to once a week. And we do not water in the middle of the day.

But we may have chosen to drive the Corvette to a couple of Open Houses a couple of weeks ago (it wasn't this hot though, that's just suicide) instead of one of our more fuel efficient cars...

There you have it. My thirty cents worth.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

helpful hints and blogging blunders

I have been completely off my game...

I haven't checked PW's blog in weeks. My life has been miserable, depressing, sad, and definitely fewer calories.

Just kidding.

I think I somehow managed to get by without reading her blog. I baked cookies. I made her potato salad. I cleaned the house.

Somewhere in between I caught up on her blog.

I feel better now.

As I was folding laundry (no t-shirts, just sheets) I was thinking about mentioning her, and how much I would love to meet her. Wouldn't that just be something if she found my blog (which is really quite boring compared to hers) and invited me out to the ranch? 

Why would she invite me? 

Because she would see how much I love food, and her blog, and everything she writes. 

She might find me witty.

She might find me amusing.

She will likely never find me at all. 

But I can dream, can't I?

On another note I thought of some more helpful hints to share:

Don't vacuum above your head with your mouth open. You don't know what could fall into your mouth...

Don't breathe in while eating salsa. It hurts. Trust me.

That's all for today.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

mushy fruits

If a fruit or piece of fruit is mushy, I tend to not eat it. I don't know why, I just don't.

But I was just eating some olives and I popped one in my mouth. It was mushy. Yet, I still ate it. It doesn't make sense does it?

Do you eat mushy fruit? 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sami's poem

Sami wrote this poem for me after I informed her that I would be making No-Bake cookies for the Workcamp Trip (specifically for her; Bill will get his own batch of cookies and the kids will get their own cookies).

My Dear Emily Crocker,
Her cookies make her a true rocker!
If I'm craving something sweet -
Her yummy no bakes are the perfect treat!
Oh, I would swim across huge lakes,
For a couple dozen no-bakes!

Monday, June 25, 2012

the birthing pains...

I'm back at it.

Scraping paint.

This time off the exterior windows and trim.

Bill has re-glazed the windows in the dining room (if you forgot, you can read about it here).

They look great! But the paint has been peeling off as it bakes in the heat. And only God knows how long the paint has been on there (and the Almighty ain't tellin'). It's time to freshen up the windows so they last another eighty years.

This means scraping off the paint. 

I've been told by friends and family that a woman forgets how much pain there is during childbirth.

I've never given birth to a child, but I do think there's something to forgetting pain.

I have forgotten how much pain I'm in when I scrape paint.

We will do a house project, like the living room, and when we are done I will make some statement about how I don't want to do anything like that for a long time.

Only a few months will pass and then we decide it's time to start another project... something like the hallway upstairs.

And it's the same old routine.

A few months have passed since I finished scraping (but not yet painted - that will be an indoor project for the winter), so it's time to get those windows spiffed up. We have to paint them quickly so the exposed wood doesn't get exposed to too many elements.

My goal to have the windows scraped and painted is the end of July.

For the one set of windows.

I'll take pictures. I don't know if there's a before... I'll look.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

where we go to have all the fun...

 We bought patio furniture in late April. It was delivered on the 9th of June (it was back-ordered). Then, you'll recall, I was in Indiana visiting family. And then it was too hot to enjoy outside. 

Now, we've finally been able to use our new patio furniture. Here it is! You really can't tell how pretty the material is. It's mostly green, not yellow as it appears in these photos. That just means you have to come visit to see how it really looks!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

lost in a good book

When I can't stop reading a book, I know it's good. It doesn't happen with every book I read ("Vanity Fair"). But I do enjoy it when it happens. 

Reading is good for you.

Is there a study on that?

There should be.

If you read a good book this summer, let me know! I'm always looking for suggestions.

If you haven't read a book in a long time (or ever), go try it. It's fun!

I have to go make a long list of books I want to get from the Library.

Friday, June 22, 2012

retirement and friends

We drove to Detroit today for a retirement party. Bill's former boss (when Bill was in Operations) Ron has retired to Traverse City with his wife, Cindy.

We've known Ron and Cindy as long as we've known John. 

Since I don't think I've ever blogged about this before, I will now:

   Jenny and I have known each other since college. We met in one of our Historic Preservation classes. We found out it was a small world when we discovered that she is from Birmingham, Michigan which happened to be where Bill was living at that time. Since then, Jenny and I have been friends. 

I have blogged about Jenny before, she and John host the annual Halloween parties that we go to. They also host the holiday parties for work and Jenny hosts a cookie party that I have attended off and on the past few years.

We met John when they were dating. They had gone out to New York City and we were still living in Toms River. We met up with them for dinner and a show, Spam-A-Lot, which was amazing! (Side note: we saw David Hyde-Pierce, Hank Azaria, and Tim Curry!)

Shortly after that, they were engaged. Then, six years ago to this day, we packed up and moved to GR. I made it to Jenny's shower, bachelorette party and we were at their wedding that year.

Then, in 2007 the four of us went on the Mediterranean cruise. 

In 2009, we went to St. Joe for Jenny's birthday and a wine tour (I managed to blog, albeit briefly, here).

Needless to say, we've done a lot with Jenny and John and I consider them close friends.

But this started out for Cindy and Ron, so good luck to them as they relax with family in TC. I'm sure I'll get to see them in the spring when Quota heads there for the annual conference!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


There are a lot of things I could write about the word "rotate". Instead I'm appealing to the females in my audience (Hi Mom!).

I'm too efficient with the laundry. I constantly find myself folding the same five t-shirts over and over again. 

They happen to belong to Bill.

I rotate through my drawers, digging down to the bottom of the pile to find the t-shirt I haven't worn since 10th grade (I've blogged about t-shirts before here and here).

There's nothing wrong with how Bill chooses his clothes. I just realize I'm very efficient when it comes to keeping clothes clean. 

I'm pretty sure I have enough that I could go for an enitre month wearing a different t-shirt every day and never run out. 

Bill has just as many t-shirts. He has an entire container full of them in the attic. Those are reserved for Workcamp though.

Why? I don't know. I don't ask. He also has a drawer full of them. I'm just going to stop doing laundry so I can have a nice change of scenery when I fold them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

drivin' on sunshine

Yesterday I did my grocery shopping. I had another appointment later in the morning, so instead of going to the "nice" Meijer I went to the one closest to our house. It used to be affectionately known as "International Meijer" which is probably the nicest name I can use in my blog.

There is nothing wrong with International Meijer, other than it's a smaller store, doesn't always have what I need, and has a parking lot that should be used in driving schools.

I did not have the most pleasant experience at Meijer yesterday. The people who work there are all very nice. Three employees went out of their way to help me. I was able to find everything I needed (with the exception of milk and it's not that I couldn't find the milk, they were out). I even got moved to a new check-out lane which is when my experience started going bad.

The woman behind me didn't even let me start putting my groceries on the conveyer belt before she reached out and grabbed the item-seperat-or (does that thing have a name?). She plunked it down where she wanted it to go, so I started putting my groceries on at her end, instead of toward the cashier. I had a cart-full of groceries. I don't know where she thought my stuff was going to go, but I decided I wasn't going to go any faster.

I think the cashier was on my side. He rang everything up v e r y slowly. I think he even mis-scanned a few things just to get her goat. It worked. She was clearly annoyed. I smiled and thanked the cashier and told him to have a wonderful day.

My ride home was uneventful although it was still full of people who have decided that anytime they're in their car, driving should always be second. But I made it home.

Today, I ran a few more errands. I hit almost every light green. Every time I needed to pull out onto the very busy street, there was no traffic to slow me down. There were a couple of people who pulled out in front of me but each time, instead of staying in my lane or going slow, they sped up and pulled into the other lane. When I hit a red light, I was first in line. 

Dare I say that the Full Moon effect is countered by the First Day of Summer effect? I don't know what's going on, or what karmic event I did to deserve this, but I appreciate it and have been singing praises all day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

just a blog

I have not gotten dinner started.

I did not find any pictures to use in a post today.

I am going through my pictures and deleting ones I don't want or need anymore. 

This could take awhile...

Bill, when did you want to eat dinner???

Monday, June 18, 2012

back to the bricks

As I mentioned the other day, my laptop has decided to stop working. Bill (my Tech Guru) needs more time to figure out if it's just a virus or if it's something more. 

This means I'm spending more time back at my desk. On my computer with all my photos (there are only 8,000 stored on it).

So I thought I'd share a picture of the bricks that line the garden. You remember; the ones that the grass grows between and takes over...? Here's the link back to a post I wrote.

And here's the brick lining.

We call it Atticus' highway because he walks on it, not the grass. 

And now it's thundering and lightning, so I'm posting this before we lose power.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

for dad's

Have you ever stared into the eyes of a child? Not just looked at them, but stared deep into their eyes?

I did the other night. We were sitting, across the street at Glenn and Nancy's house, outside. Another neighbor, Bernie, was there with her three year old daughter, Emily (it's a great name).

Emily had climbed up into my lap. She was very interested in looking into my eyes. It was sort of like a staring contest, except it was so much more.

The intensity and innocence that I could see in her eyes was profound.

So on this Father's Day, if you haven't stared into the eyes of your own child I urge you to do that. To look deep into their soul and remember how beautiful children are. 

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

folding chairs are a pain in the...

I have met my folding chair quota for the year. I would like to not have to sit in another one until next year's Annual Conference followed by the open houses.

Last week, you'll recall I attended the West Michigan Annual Conference of the United Methodist church.

We sat in folding chairs (granted they were plastic and we discovered that some of them had padded seats so we were somewhat relieved by said padding or at least as much as one can be relieved when sitting in a folding chair).

After today, we will have attended eight open houses each.

Each open house I attended had folding chairs.

That is a lot of sitting in folding chairs.

The good news is our patio furniture is scheduled to be delivered today!

My butt will appreciate it.

Thursday's adventures from Dayton to Dayton...

Having been born in Michigan and growing up in Indiana I have mixed feelings about colleges. My Dad went to I.U. (South Bend), so we've been I.U. fans. Cyndi went to Ball State so we also became MAC fans. Then I met Bill who attended CMU (another MAC team). When people ask me which Michigan team I like, I typically respond with, "I don't care, we're a MAC family".

There is one thing that we can agree on.

Ohio stinks.

Across the board, whether you're in Indiana or Michigan, we all agree to root against Ohio.

Now that you know that I can get to the rest of my blog.

Jerry's oldest son is Dayton. You saw pictures of him in the post about our trip to the Children's Museum. On Thursday, we went to Dayton, Ohio. Cyndi had a meeting there so Skylar, Spencer and I went along.

It was a beautiful day, which was good because the meeting was held near the Occasionally Yours store at an outdoor mall.

Skylar took a picture of Spencer and me because he was wearing his "Cool like Auntie" onesie and his shades.

It was cute, until he started crying.

He's still cute.

Later that day, Mom and I walked to the local ice cream store. They had a new flavor, "Buckeye Classic". Since I had been in Ohio, I asked about it. It's peanut butter ice cream with fudge swirled throughout. It also had those peanut butter clusters dipped in chocolate that look like a buckeye. 

Of course I had to try it.

I had a very Ohio Thursday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wednesday at the Children's Museum

On Wednesday Cyndi and I took Skylar, Daffney, Dayton and Spencer to the Indianapolis Children's Museum.(I've blogged about the museum before.) Here's a look at what we did:

We visited the tombs and pieced together a mummy.

We stared at statues...

and danced with them...

and fell in love with them...?

We saw the Hot Wheels exhibit. You could trace a car and create custom designs...

and you could sit in a car!

There is the Lily Theater where you could act out your comedy or tragedy.

After viewing the Cosmos Canopy in the Planetarium, we went to the Museum Library where the Pacers kicked off their summer reading event. It was Spencer's first story time and clearly he was excited.

Then we traveled around the world through Lego's. It is Indy, so of course there was a race car!

We stared at the Chihuly and looked at it like a kaleidoscope.

Then we traveled around the world again, this time through sculpture in a garden outside.

(Things we saw/did but aren't pictured: the dinosaurs, the trains, the water clock and lunch.)

What a great day!

the explanation

I know.

What happened?

My laptop has decided to beak down, act up and basically stop working.

I tried Wednesday night to post, but it just kept freezing. I finally forced it to shut down. Then, once it was back up and running, restarted it. That did not help and eventually out of sheer frustration I asked my dad for a pen and some paper.

I wrote a post to post later.

Later is now when I can sit at my desktop.

However, this computer is also acting up. It will not remove the pictures from my camera. That's going to be an issue when I got to write my next post which will include pictures from Wednesday, if I can get them off my camera. 

My tech guru hasn't been able to diagnose my laptop yet. So I don't know what the prognosis is. It doesn't look good. I removed the battery thinking and hoping that would help. When I got home today, I plugged it in and turned it on. 

I checked the mouse, it seemed to be working.

I clicked the internet and it came right up. I signed in and was in the middle of replying to an email when it froze. I could minimize the window, but the computer would not do anything. I wanted to run a scan but couldn't even do that. I did a "ctrl+alt+del" cure. That brought up the window, but the stupid little circle thingy just kept spinning. I forced it to shut down and am leaving it for Mr. Tech Guru.

I decided to come work on my desktop. That was when I started having trouble with the pictures. I'll try again.

So don't worry. I'm going to post for every day that I missed because I wrote down (on paper, using a pen) things to blog.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I checked out the news from Conference. I wanted to find out how much money we raised for the Nothing But Nets/Imagine No Malaria campaign.

I'm not writing this to brag. I'm writing this because, as mom and I discussed last night (and as John Wesley taught), tithing can do amazing things.

Ten dollars buys one net.

Because Michigan still has two conferences and one Bishop, we often have good-natured competitions. One of them was how much we could raise. Our goal was $5,000.

Our conference raised $11,050!

That's amazing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gaga for goo goo

There are few readers out there who haven't already heard this. To those of you who have, I'm sorry for repeating it. But it amuses me, so I'm using it for my post.

I'm watching Spencer with Skylar, while Cyndi and Jerry work. 

Spencer is like any baby. He spits up.

Today was like a Lady Gaga concert. There were more wardrobe changes in the first two hours than I usually make in one day. He spit up on Skylar, she changed her shirt and his outfit. His diaper leaked and we had to change him again. He spit up on me and I had to wear one of Skylar's shirts.

No one got hit on the head by a pole during a set change though, so that's good (but not gaga... sorry I couldn't help it).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

graduates and Hoosiers

For all of our out-of-state [Indiana] friends, this is for you.

Valparaiso, Indiana is home to the university of the same name. One of our (now former) youth will be attending there this fall. While I am wrong about the city being home to Orville Redenbacher (that title belongs to Brazil, Indiana), he and his partner bought a corn farm near there. Hence my confusion. 

Back to Valparaiso. As I listen to my dear friends of Michigan origin pronounce it, "Valpriso" I can't help but teach them how to say it the right way. Ready? It's Val-pa-raise-o. See that? It has the word "raise" in it, minus the "o". Say it with me, "Val-pa-raise-o". Got it?

I knew you could do it. Now you can remember how to say it! 

I drove to my parents house today. Along the way I passed right by Valparaiso. I'm here for the week to help out Cyndi, while she works, with Spencer. It just so happens that the young boy who was our ring bearer in our wedding had the nerve to grow up. Not only did he graduate from the same high school I did, just last night, but he was also the Salutatorian of his class. Congratulations Zach! We are proud of you.

Bill stayed in Grand Rapids to work. You remember, he's the one with the job. He was the family representative at an open house for Lexie.

I have to go now, it's time for popcorn. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

the last day

Day four: Spirit.

Tony Campolo spoke at our morning session. He is very funny and dynamic.

He made fun of us Methodists. And we laughed. We have a good sense of humor.

I promise it was really good, but let me tell you what I did after that and perhaps you'll understand why I'm not doing a better job describing it.

I came home and wrapped the gifts for the open houses. I started a load of laundry and quick made the bed (it's clean sheet day). We hopped in the 'Vette and headed over to David's open house on the east side of Grand Rapids. We hung out there with Sarah, Hannah, Chandra and Addison. From there we drove to the west side of Grand Rapids to Alison's open house. There we sat with Tyler, Gene and Kim. Alison and her parents (Julie and Mike) joined us. From there we headed to the north to Sean's open house. We sat with just about half of the church congregation. 

I am only slightly ashamed to admit that yes, I did eat at each and every single open house. It's the only way to show our appreciation. 

I mean, they bought the food, you want to help them out. They'll have leftovers. But we just wanted to make sure they didn't have too many leftovers.

Tomorrow Bill and I are splitting the open houses. But I'll blog about that... tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2012

day three: Body

Oddly enough, last year's conference themes were a lot more direct.

Now, I love a good theme, so when last year's were so well done, I expected something this year.

You know, more on the theme.

Sadly, I'm disappointed.

But I can't be for long because our sessions have been short, sweet and to the point. We were finished with all business before lunch today, with the exception of the budget. 

There was some legislation to take care of, and nominations to Jurisdictional Conference and for the Nominating Reports, but other than that; fini, finished, the end.

So where was our body? 

It's in the youth. They asked for 30 minutes and reminded us that they are just not the future, they are the present. They are present and voting.

They are correct.

We were reminded that healthy bodies make for healthy churches and our clergy are encouraged to join the wellness forum as well as attend the clergy school (they have a clever campaign for it; it's actually called "Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry").

Okay, that's some discussion on healthy bodies... but it just didn't grab me and hold me tight like last year's themes. 

Oh well. We were finished around 3:30p today. I cannot complain. Conference has been a relatively enjoyable experience this year.

I would like to come up with some deep and theological thoughts on who the body is, but alas, I cannot. My brain is still fried from all the work we have done (I did read ALL the reports, talk about information overload) and let us not forget it is Open House season. My brain is also fried from writing very nice things about each of our graduating seniors and wishing them the best. 

I'm not used to this much work in a day.

But I've still taken care of my body. I've walked no less than two miles every day (it's .75 from my car to the arena and another .35 to the dining room) so I have taken care of my body. That's important. I take care of me, so I can help others.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday was a busy day

Day Two: Mind

Since General Conference is behind us, there is very little for us to work on in our business portion of the meeting. There's legislation on a few items, but nothing too major. Not like last year.

We had opening worship this morning with $4,050 being taken in offerings to the United Methodist Community House which is located right here in Grand Rapids. It's actually close to our house, to be exact, it's between our house and the church.

We heard from the African University contingent. Our district pledged to raise money to be given toward that project. Then, the West Michigan Conference upped it and in total said we wanted $500,000 in pledges toward the Ubuntu Center. That was last year. To date, we have received that $500,000 in pledges. One of the speakers said that there is an anonymous donor that says if we give that money (not just pledge it, but actually bring it in) that they will match it so the Center can be built. 

It makes me want to go to Africa to see this University. They are graduating 384 (give or take, I saw a lot of number today) students this year (the ceremony is next week, again give or take). 

I led our church contingent to the "ice cream dining hall" and other than finding the coldest corner where we ate, everyone enjoyed it. 

I left Conference and headed to my monthly Quota Board meeting. That was typical and as exciting as usual. I kept everyone in order though as I had all day to practice my Robert's Rules...

I left the Board meeting to head to the "Moving On" Ceremony for the Cool Cats. This is a group of deaf and hard of hearing students we (Quota) have been working with for the last couple of years. They are moving on next year. One of them is going into the local high school where she will start as a freshman. 

It was very emotional. These students have grown up just in the few years I have known them. I wish them the best of luck as they move on to better things. I will still be fortunate enough to see them as they are becoming part of a new Junior Quota club. Check out our blog (linked above) if you want to hear more. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

city vs country folk

This is my third Annual Conference for the West Michigan United Methodist Church.

It is held each year at Calvin College.

I have learned a few things and will continue to learn more each year.

First, I know which dining hall offers ice cream. And it's not just that soft serve stuff. It's the real deal. Hudsonville ice cream from our own "backyard". I had mine today before I ate my salad thank-you-very-much.

Second, the other lay members from our church are awesome. As I talk to them and get to know them more, I find out more about them, and they're just neat!

Third, I scare people. Today, there is a group who has rainbow stoles. Everyone is encouraged to take one (and either return it at the end of conference or keep it and make a small donation) and wear it proudly. It is to show our support of gays and lesbians in the church. Our contingent agreed that those were a good idea and we each picked a stole. Then, at lunch, a woman asked me about them. I gave her the card that came with it and she read it very carefully.

I have to remember this: I'm more of a "city" girl than "country" at this Conference. And, as Bill pointed out in this post, I am clearly identifiable as such.

City livin' means more liberal. At least it seems that way.

So when this woman from a church of one hundred members asked me about my rainbow stole, I very kindly explained my position. I did not force her to agree with me. I did not try to twist her arm. I simple said, I am trying to do what Jesus taught which is to love one another. It is not my place to judge. I love all of my brothers and sisters in Christ. 

She sort of mumbled something about how this is a touchy subject and then excused herself.

That's okay. Lunch was over anyway.

We'll see what happens tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I think my left click button is going...

because of the 1200 emails. That's why I haven't blogged yet. I was going through my "sent" box and deleting them. Yikes. It's been awhile since I've done that. 

But that's all I have time for tonight (because I just spent an hour and a half deleting only a third of those) because I have to be well rested for the West Michigan Annual Conference which begins tomorrow.

Perhaps I'll be writing about that over the next couple of days.

You'll have to wait and see. I could find more interesting things to write about.

Like deleting 1200 emails...

Monday, June 4, 2012

working on that bucket list

The more I think about a bucket list, my bucket list, the more I come up with.

One of the things I'm putting on my bucket list is to go to Lake Ontario. Technically it is part of the Great Lakes and is therefore claimed by Michigan. I don't know how strongly other people from Michigan feel about this, but um, have you ever looked at a map?

I have and it appears that we might have actually been closer to Lake Ontario when we lived in New Jersey.

Now to be fair, I googled directions from both houses to Rochester, NY because I needed an end place. When I just chose Lake Ontario, Google maps told me it could not give me directions.

Here are the facts:

It is 389 miles from Toms River, NJ to Lake Ontario (as roads go, not as the crow flies)
It is 452 miles from Grand Rapids, MI to Lake Ontario (as roads go, not as the crow flies)

Now, by the time you get to Rochester, NY from Michigan (by way of Canada), you have driven along quite a bit of lake shore. 

So if I move my end marker to the closest point which is Lakeshore Road in Burlington, Canada; that makes the trip shorter. It is 328 miles. To be fair, I changed the end point from Toms River too. The closer point is East 1st St, Oswego, Canada. That is 343 miles from Toms River.

So do I live closer to Lake Ontario now? Or when we lived in New Jersey? I think as the crow flies, it may still be NJ. I can move my marker to make the route shorter and it become 333 miles. We're getting closer. So maybe it is Michigan.

Who knew both places were basically equidistant to Lake Ontario? We're talking about a five mile difference. I'll leave it at that and go back to why I want to visit Lake Ontario.

Oh? Did you think I just want to visit there just for fun? 

No. If it's on a bucket list, doesn't it have to have a reason? Maybe not, but I have a reason!

I want to visit Lake Ontario because I have been to the other four Great Lakes. Doesn't it make sense that I go to the fifth lake?

For example: when I went to New York City on the Young Adult Mission trip (which I can't believe but I did NOT blog about it, at least that I can find) in 2010; I went to all five boroughs. We went to Staten Island to catch the ferry to Manhattan. We stayed in Brooklyn and we worked at a site in Queens. My group had a small amount of extra time one day and we just happened to be on a train whose last stop was in the Bronx. So we didn't get off at our stop, but instead rode the train to its last stop, got out, went up the stairs and outside, took a quick photo, and went back down to catch the train back to where we were supposed to be meeting the other group (at Grand Central Station). 

I've been to all five boroughs.

I've been to four of the five lakes.

I want to make it all five.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

my cameo

For those of you who are car enthusiasts, no I did not mean Camaro.

Nor did I mean a cameo appearance.

I mean the kind of pendant that hangs around a neck. It's typically a silhouette. They are carved out of shells, coral, or stone.

We visited the Donadio Cameo factory (by the way, if you click the link, choose Inglese) when we were on our Mediterranean cruise. The factory is between Naples and Pompeii. They explained the process of making cameos, and how most of the carving now is done with lasers. They are still carving them by hand at Donadio (or at least that's how I understood it, have you ever taken a tour in another country? Their interpretations into English aren't always correct.)

Bill bought one for me. By comparison, it was small, but I liked it best out of all the choices. It's a blue-ish green. I don't wear it too often and I don't wear my hair in a bun (that's just a reference to being "old-fashioned") when I wear my cameo. Hair-do aside, I don't have too many outfits that it goes with.

Not that it matters.

I'm way off track.

I wore it today. It reminds me of our trip and not wearing it that often brings more meaning.

I'm blogging about this now because I never finished blogging about our cruise. Since I wore it today, I thought I would reminisce and share the story of my cameo. 

*Editor's Note: I've been seeing a lot of photos being posted via Instagram. So I just added it on Bill's phone, took this picture to post and may be addicted...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

shhhh, it's a secret

Grand Rapids is becoming known for it's art scene.

Art Prize has helped that. But so do a myriad of other festivals.

Currently, the Festival of the Arts is underway. Music, art and food bring thousands of people downtown. Street are closed off and pedestrians take over.

Typically the weather is warmer, but since March decided to show up now, last night was dismal, today was decent for the first half and is turning out to be okay tonight. Hopefully the weather will cooperate better tomorrow.

We stopped by, searching for someone Bill knows through work. We listened to the Grand Rapids Accordion Ensemble. They sounded good. Then we headed over Devos Place to watch Sarah play volleyball. They won the first game, but not the other two. Oh well, she played very well. She's come a long way since I first watched her play volleyball in Jr. High!

We're a very busy city, it seems like there's always something to do.

Friday, June 1, 2012

dog tags and pets

It's time for a pet PSA.

If you own a pet that likes to go outside and you purchase a cute collar for the pet, please be sure that when you make the tag for the cute collar that you don't go all fancy. It's not necessary. Plus, it does not help when your pet becomes lost or wanders away. The sad person who finds your pet and is willing to call you to make sure you know where Suzie is, does not want to have to decipher, let alone fight with the pet just to read the phone number on the tag. A simple font will do. And please, make it big enough to read.

Have you ever tried to read the number off of a collar of a very excited puppy? They lick you everywhere. They are too excited to sit still long enough for you to read the number on their collar.

Or a very friendly cat? Because a friendly cat does not equate to a cat wanting you to have anything to do with that stupid collar that some other human has forced it to wear.

Both of these things have happened to me. In the case of the excited puppy, Bill was there to dial the phone while I got licked. In the case of the friendly kitty, it was raining and eventually (after I was covered with cat hair) I managed to get the phone number. Or the best number I could decipher because the font was all script and fancy.

Hence my PSA. 

Thank you.

Your neighborhood pet rescuer.