Friday, August 31, 2012

No cake left unturned

Bill surprised me on our anniversary.

We went to eat at one of our favorite restaurants (it didn't hurt that we had been given a gift card to use). We were seated at our table and the waitress handed us our menus.

I was looking at the specials, and the wine, and the main dishes. I glanced up at Bill.

He had this odd grin on his face.

I smiled back.

I kept looking over the menu, trying to decide what I wanted. Did the shrimp fresca sound better than the crab cakes?

I glanced back at Bill to see if he had made a decision.

He still had that odd grin plastered to his face.

I smiled back.

Then I asked him if he was okay. Maybe he was having a stroke and I wasn't recognizing the signs.

He pointed to the top of the menu and said, "Look!"

That was when I realized it said, "Our staff would like to wish Bill and Emily a very Happy Anniversary!"

"Oh!", I exclaimed.

That was what he was waiting for; me to notice this wonderful gesture he had made. That was very sweet. I felt very special.

Even if the people next to us were wearing ripped blue jeans and tank tops and their hair looked as though it hadn't been combed for several weeks.

Then he had mentioned that he had already taken care of dessert.

Halfway through my salad, I said, "Do we have to have dessert?"

Twelve years and Bill couldn't believe those words came out of my mouth. (It was Sunday, so we had already eaten Big Sunday Breakfast.)

After the waiter had cleared the plates from our main course, I saw him walk back out with a cake.

It looked like the top of a wedding cake.

I looked at Bill and said, "A cake!?"

Sure enough, one of the people in his networking group is a baker. He had asked her to make this cake.

He had wanted it to look like our wedding cake. But he couldn't find the picture, so he told her to do her best.

It was topped with two strawberries, one was dipped in dark chocolate and decorated to look like a tuxedo while the other had been dipped in white chocolate and looked like the lace on a wedding gown (to my friends who are better at taking pictures of their food than I am, I had already eaten the "tuxedo" strawberry when I thought to take the picture, my apologies).

Look at the delicious, chocolate layers. Yum!

The waiter very kindly boxed up the rest of the cake and we have been eating it ever since.

After our dinner tonight (we just ate salads), we pulled the cake out of the fridge. Bill asked if I wanted to use paper plates. I told him, no. We were going to finish this thing off, so why waste plates?

Eventually we tipped the cake over onto its side so that we could get smaller (normal) sized bites.

Here is the result!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Twelve years

Our house does not have good lighting.

Then again, we're not professional photographers.

Here's our photo from our anniversary.

I sported a linen skirt and a pearl bracelet. I don't know why I didn't think to do that sooner.

Of course the anniversary that is "clocks" would have been interesting... I guess I would have worn a lot of watches.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

the perfect summer morning

The brilliant blue sky.

The dew on the grass
like sparkling diamonds.

The gentle breeze.

The brown squirrels chasing
each other across my path.

The beauty of the flowers
blooming in our garden.

This is the perfect summer morning.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

clean spaces...

My lists have lists.

I lost my desk again.

I started scrapbooking on the dining room table. Then we had company. My scrapbooking stuff has taken over my office.

Bill wanted my office.

He's not getting it.

And no. I don't think that by keeping it messy will keep him from usurping it (that's the second time today I've used the word "usurping" - make that 3).

I must have a fear of clean spaces.

Yup. That must be it.

At least it gives me something to blog about.

Monday, August 27, 2012

a study of sculpture

Two weeks ago (really? It flew by and doesn't seem like it was that long ago) Nancy came to visit. We went to Meijer Gardens and walked around East-town and East Grand Rapids. We had a lot of fun, despite it being cooler and the light mist that fell while we walked around the Gardens. I did not have my camera, but knew Nancy would. Here are a couple of silly pictures we took.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

here's to twelve

Happy 12th Anniversary Bill!!

We're headed out to the Grand Rapids Art Museum for some culture and we'll have a lovely dinner later this evening. Nothing spectacular, it's just #12.

According to Hallmark we should celebrate with Silk/Linen (traditional) and Pearls (Modern). Please send all gifts to our home address. We will accept COD's but do not accept cable cash...

time to cruise...

... in the 'Vette.

Bill got it running again a week ago. Just in time for the 28th Street Metro Cruise. We took a couple of passes on Saturday. It was hot and since the car runs hot, it was really hot. But it was fun. There were a lot more people in Wyoming and very few people toward the Woodland mall.

As we drove slowly, through traffic filled with classic and new cars, we heard the weather report. "Sunny, warm" etc, and "Today is an Ozone Action Day"; that caused us both to bust out laughing.

Really? Perhaps we'll just call that a wash. There were not enough people staying at home to make up the difference for all the pollution those classic cars added yesterday.

For all that I'm a "green", recycling freak, tree-hugger, I turn my other cheek when it comes to classic cars.

It's fun.

Friday, August 24, 2012

pain in my neck

As in, the pain in my neck because I slept funny.

Although it is sort of funny following yesterday's post. It would have made sense if I had hurt myself carrying that watermelon around.

But I didn't.

I'm trying to work through the pain. I've massaged my neck. I've taken a few ibuprofen. I've been drinking a lot of water (one more reason to drink lots of water, it keeps your muscles from tightening up because of dehydration).

We'll see if yoga helps.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

big melon

This is the watermelon my Mom brought with her when she came to visit last week. She went to a family farm (I went to high school with their son) and Michael went out and picked the watermelon.

You can't get any fresher than that.

It was super heavy.

I should have weighed it. I just thought of that.

It was super juicy.

It was delicious.

Look at how red it was!

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And I shared it. I shared it with the neighbors, with the other families at camp, with the Girls in Bible study, and with Heather W. It fed a lot of people.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

pictures from camping

Oh the beautiful lake...

Bill and Em watching the sunset.

Emily pretending to have her senior picture taken (again, many, many years later -shush!)
Amy holding Cora who was massaging Bill's head.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

when it rains...

... it pours.

Would anyone else like to offer me a job?

No wait. Don't answer that. I shouldn't speak too soon because I have an interview on Friday.

However, the current count is three.

Three part part-time jobs.

I am the new Jr. High Youth Director, in charge of all things related to the Junior High in our church.

I will be the Wedding Coordinator at our church come 2013. I am training right now and have a pretty good handle on all things wedding in our church.

Today, I was asked to be an Administrative Assistant to our Associate Pastor. I think that's the job title. It all happened so fast, I'm not really sure.

I could have said "yes" to being her chair tester. Or Editor. Or something random like that.

Between the three jobs I'll be working somewhere around fifteen hours a week.

That is total.

For all three.

Hence the job interview on Friday.

I won't say anymore because I don't want to jinx it.

For all of you whom I have mentioned this interview; I was completely wrong on the job. It is not the Assistant for Funds Development.

That's all I'll say. I'll let you know more on Friday, after the interview.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Human interaction...

... and why we need it.

Because going to a parking lot, taking a ticket, going into a meeting, getting a green ticket that will get you out of the parking lot for free, inserting the correct ticket first, inserting the green (free) ticket second, having it rejected, inserting it three more times each time having the machine reject it, swear that the machine voice is actually sounding more and more irritated that you haven't paid the total of $8.80, pushing the call button on the box, waiting for a human to answer the phone, talking to the human who fixes the problem by letting the gate up after asking you kindly to put your ticket into the damaged ticket box

is why we need humans. Not machines.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

scratches, sunburns & spiritual satisfaction

Actually the weekend did not occur in that order.

It was spiritual satisfaction, sunburn and then the scratch. And more spiritual satisfaction thrown in here and there.

I was planning on the spiritual satisfaction.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day and ended up being warmer than I thought it was going to be. I went down to the beach. I took a nice long walk with Katrina and Brent. And somewhere along the way I got the sunburn.

The scratch is a mystery. I discovered it today, after we got home and unpacked. I was finally getting around to cleaning up. Huh, where did that come from? It could have happened at camp. It could have happened while we were packing up the car. It could have happened while we were unloading the car. It could have happened when I picked up Juliette to give her some love.

The three things sum up the weekend nicely. It was a nice time, despite my lack of sleep (it was cold at night, I'm not being a wuss, think mid-40's). It's now time for me to head off to lead the last Girls' Summer Bible study. Ice cream will be involved.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

the sheets on the bed

It was clean sheet day before we left. And we have a house guest while we're gone, so I had to change the sheets on the guest bed too.

The sheets I used for that bed are so soft. I love using them.

They are not new. In fact, they are older than me. There is a picture of my sister, in bed. In this picture the bed has these sheets on it. This picture was either taken before I was born, or right after I arrived.

They don't make sheets like that anymore.

There is another set of sheets for the guest bed that are new. Much newer. We bought them when we got the bed, so the sheets are no more than eight years old. (Hey, that's newer than the other set of sheets!) The elastic on the "new" sheets is shot. It has been for about six years.

I think it's interesting that the elastic on the set that is thirty-some years old is not shot. In fact, the elastic feels like new. Like it could go on forever.

I will state (for the blog record) that both sets have been used. Somewhat equally. The older set has a few years on the newer set. Neither has been stored away. In fact I had used the newer set more frequently because I liked the pattern and color. Then the elastic dried up (or does whatever it does) and I started using the "old" set more frequently.

Because the old set of sheets were made to last.

If anyone finds sheets like that, please let me know!

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's time to go camping!!

This will be our home for the next two nights.
Rain or shine. Cold or colder.

We are going camping. I wrote this before we left. It will be nice to "unplug" for awhile.

We're going with our church again. I'll have to write more about it when we get back. We know what to expect because we went last year. But there are twice (maybe even three) times as many people going this year! That is exciting. The unfortunate side is the weather. It's only supposed to be in the low 60's on Saturday. That is NOT good beach weather.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Last Saturday

As I mentioned last week, we (Quota) had camp for our new Junior Quota (JQ). Here are some pictures. Everyone had a blast! We roasted hot dogs over a campfire (ahem! It was too damp to have a real fire, so we may have used a grill. But we didn't use charcoal for the s'mores. We put logs and had an actual fire), made s'mores, went swimming, had crafts, a scavenger hunt and had a photo booth.

Here's the entire group!!!

Here are the brave counselors.

This is me enjoying my s'more (and I managed to keep it neat... usually I'm pretty messy).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

short and sweet with no point

I have had a long day.

I have a lot of photos captured on my camera.

I am too tired to write anymore.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A lot of fish in the pond

Mom came up to visit. She got here last night and will head back home tomorrow in the early afternoon. Today we went to visit Grandma.

We had a nice time. On our way out of town, we stopped by the cemetery to visit Aunt Beulah's grave and to find Grandpa's grave. We found them and then we also found Grandpa's grandparents, the Geidemann's. It is a very pretty (but small and modest) headstone. I wish I had my camera. Next time I go to Niles I will take it with me.

Not many of you will know this, but we don't spell Geidemann that way anymore. Grandpa's dad dropped the last "n".

That's all.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the title of this post is referring to Shark Week that is currently showing on a tv near you (at least near me).

Monday, August 13, 2012

it's the 13th

You know what that means!!!

Nancy came to visit!

We went to Meijer Gardens. Then we stopped by Art of the Table, which I have never been to. It's a wonderful store. I could spend hours and loads of money in there.

Then we had lunch at Cherry Street Deli, one of my favorite places to get a sandwich.

We walked around looking at the few shops that were open. Then we headed over to East Grand Rapids and shopped there. We also stopped at Jersey Junction for ice cream.

We headed over to Groskopfs, because it's another fun place to shop. You never know what you'll find.

Burton is closed, so I had to go home a different route. I chose 28th Street. I asked Nancy how she felt about Pier 1, and since she feels the same as I do, we stopped in there and wondered around.

Window shopping was fun! It was just what we both needed.

Even if it wasn't a Friday.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

You can call me...

Today is my first official day on the job.

Yes. I have a new job.

I am the Junior High Youth Director at our church.

I'm either crazy or... I don't have an "or". I'm just crazy.

I had no idea that five years ago when I volunteered to help Heather O. with Sunday School and then youth group that it would lead to this.

I have been looking for a job since March. During that time I was in a Bible study class where we looked at our Spiritual Gifts. I've already taken a S.G. class (and led it, twice) but this was different. I started to hear God's call which I had ignored twice before.

Ever hear the phrase, "Third time's a charm"? Yeah. Me too.

As a Christian I have always believed that God will take care of me. As I've matured, I've also believed that He will show me the way [in life].

You can't hide from God.

Really. You can't.

He'll find you.

I look back now and see the seeds that He planted. From when Heather O. left for her new full-time youth ministry gig and asked if I was willing to step in (my answer was a resounding NO!), to after Kahana left and I was once again asked if I was considering this (again, a firm No), to this summer when Chandra made the difficult decision to step down so that she can focus more on her family and job (which should be her priority and I applaud her efforts as she tried to juggle all of it this last year). My answer was more like a, well no.

And then I weighed my options.

And I looked back at the five years I've been volunteering.

And so I put my resume together.

Oh! I have a LOT of experience.

It really came down to a push from Bill. He said something like, "Are you gonna apply or what?"

I did. I had my interview. I received a call shortly after that from Laure offering me the job.

It's not a typical job. I'm not a "typical job" kind of worker. It's a part-part time job. As in ten hours a week (well, I'll get paid for ten, I will try very hard not to go over that by too much... anyone who has ever worked in ministry is laughing on the floor right now, they know the truth).

But I can still do all my volunteering.

I can still scrape and paint the windows.

I can still get my daily walks and other exercise.

I can still get dinner on the table by 6pm every night because Bill and I are practicing for when we're 85!

So that's my new "job" and it officially starts today. Wish me luck (and pray)!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Monday night, I went to a stamping party. We made ten cards (well, I got eight made before I came home).

I'm posting this today because I will have very little time to post. I was at Unity last night until late (we saw Needtobreathe!) and today is the Junior Quota Summer Camp. I'll take pictures to post on another day.

The lighting has been very poor lately, the rain has come to stay. That's okay. We need it. The lawn is finally green again

Friday, August 10, 2012

peanut butter

I made peanut butter today.

How difficult could it be? The natural stuff you buy in a jar is just peanuts, right?

I looked up how to make it online. It sounded as simple as I thought.

Start with peanuts, I chose roasted.

Then I shelled them and put them in my food processor.

I turned it on and let the peanuts and machine work their magic.

Ta da! Peanut butter!
Now, was it worth the hour it took me to shell the peanuts verses the cost of a jar of natural peanut butter? Probably not. But I was watching the Olympics, so it's not like I should have been doing something else...

I'm going to keep trying this with different types of peanuts. I'll try to remember to let you know how each batch turns out!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Only Thursday

Oh boy, I am in trouble. I just titled this post, "TGIF". Obviously I changed it, when it occurred to me that it is not actually Friday. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, this has happened.

I already had two cookies at the reception after the Arts Alive performance, I think it's time for a root beer float. Because we have plenty of fixings for root beer floats.

And because for a few seconds I thought it was Friday.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Root Beer Floats

Monday was National Root Beer Float day.

Did you know that?

I didn't until they said so on the radio.

That meant action!

Like I need an excuse to drink a root beer float.

I started with nice frosty mugs (pardon the dark photo, it was evening and the kitchen is on the East side of the house, but I wanted to take pictures, so they're dark).

Then, to make a proper Root Beer Float (according the radio dude), you pour in the root beer filling the glass 3/4 full.

Then you scoop in the ice cream.

I've actually always made them opposite and you know what? This way does taste better!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

it's "camp" week

This week is our church's version of VBS. It's called Arts Alive!

The Jr. High youth are helping to build a shed at one of our member's house.

It does not hurt that she has a trampoline, big back yard and a swimming pool.

You'll see from these photos that we worked and had fun.

That's where I was yesterday and where I'll be Thursday. Then, on Saturday, Quota is hosting a "camp" for our new Junior Quota. I hope to take pictures of that too.

Monday, August 6, 2012

the fruits (veggies) of our garden!

I promised you a picture of the tomatoes I picked from our garden. Here is the photo! Yay!

It's a week full of camp. I'll blog about that later. Forgive me, I have to run off to another event.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Olympic Dreams

I will likely never be an Olympic Athlete.

I'm not trained in any particular sport, nor am I young enough to start.

Instead, I watch the Olympics; cheering on these brave, strong athletes.

And dreaming of my own Olympic debut...

in the bed-making contest,

or, in the teeth-brushing sport,

or, even in dish-washing.

Yes, all of these average, common place, every day tasks could be an Olympic sport.

And who knows, if they ever do make it to the world stage, perhaps I'll qualify.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bill's uneventful day...

Today was Bill's carpal tunnel surgery. It was scheduled for 7:30am. We had to be at the hospital at 6:00am.

I woke up at 5am.

The hospital is eight minutes from our house.

Needless to say we were on time.

The surgical check-in was busy, but we moved right through. We were actually taken to a different waiting room, where things were much quieter. The nurse came and took Bill back, where she asked him that awkward question about abuse.

Bill & I have discussed how we joke around, but abuse it not a laughing matter. I'm glad they do this and I hope it saves lives.

The nurse came and got me once she had his leads in and he was ready to go. By this time it was just before 7:00am.

Dr. Ford stopped by; Bill was not his first patient of the morning! Then, a nurse slid open the door and Pastor Tish walked in! We were not expecting that and it was a nice surprise. Bill introduced Tish (who will now be known as "Pasture Tish" because in his sober state, that's what Bill said) to Dr. Ford, and then informed us that Dr. Ford is also a Methodist. Because we were at St. Mary's Hospital, I said, "do they know we're congregating here?" I quickly shouted, "BINGO!" just in case the Catholics overheard us.

They came (it was an entourage) and took Bill away (but not before Tish prayed with us). The nurse who came to get Bill said it would be thirty to forty-five minutes.

Almost exactly thirty minutes later they wheeled him back into the room.

I could hear Bill chatting away as they brought him down the hall.

Dr. Ford said it went really well and it was a nice and clean case.

Bill did really well and we were on our way home by 8:45am.

Thanks to all of you who knew about this and said a prayer. Thanks for all of you who didn't know, but saw it on Facebook, and sent your well wishes. And for all of you who didn't know, now you do!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

another scarf...

I received another beautiful scarf! This one was a thank you for taking care of the flowers while Iain was in Nepal! I walked over to his house three times a week, which totaled a three mile walk. I enjoyed the extra exercise.

The deer enjoyed his flowers. I managed to keep them alive through the drought, but I couldn't stop the deer.

As a thank you, Iain brought me a postcard (another "collection" that I have) and a pashmina scarf. It's an iridescent/lilac color. I am excited because I don't have one in this color! He had no idea when he picked it out how excited I would be. He also told me he had no idea that the Nepal people were known for their Pashmina.

Maybe this is why I like winter so much. I can't wait to wear my new scarf!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic sap confessions

I've mentioned that I like watching the Olympics.

And oh, have I been watching the Olympics.

There are five different channels that, at any given time, I can catch at least one Olympic event.

I'm in Olympic dream heaven.

Did you watch the USA women's gymnasts win gold? I recorded it. And when I watched it, I cried.

They were tears of joy, until the cameras showed Russia's team, who were crying tears of frustration and defeat.

I was transported back to the 1996 games when Kerri Strug narrowly out-vaulted the Russians. It was deja vu. The Russians last night even looked like the girls of sixteen years ago. The taller blond hugging the younger gymnast. It was wild.

That's my Olympic confession today. There will be more, I'm sure since there are still eleven days left of competition.

living through another person

Yesterday I lived vicariously through someone I have never even met...

Let me give you some background. Quota is the non-profit I belong to. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that, and if I have, it's been awhile. You can check out Quota International and our local chapter (yours truly is admin of our blog).

One of our members, Gwen, had asked me if I could clean her condo for her. Due to some bizarre injury and several surgeries, doing things like looking down are difficult if not impossible for her to do. Cleaning is one of those things (I like to remind her how lucky she is that she gets out of cleaning...). I have been doing this for her for over a year.

Her neighbor has been out of the country for the last three years. Jean is coming back home in just over a week. Gwen asked if I could get Jean's condo ready and I said of course.

Jean has traveled a lot. When I say she has been out of the country, I mean, she has not been in her home at all in the last three years.

I find that intriguing.

Her furniture is simple (minimalistic) and her house is very sparse. There is art on the walls from all over the world. She has something like four master's degrees. She clearly likes music (there's a baby grand piano in her living room and the upstairs bookcases were packed with sheet music and books about music).

I cleaned her bathrooms (even though the water had been shut off and nothing had been used and they were basically spotless), I dusted and vacuumed and I removed all the slipcovers from the furniture.

I wondered what it would be like to come home after three years. Will she remember what her furniture looks like? Have her tastes changed? What fun treasures did she find on her travels? Will this place that she calls home feel like it?

For a few hours I imagined what it would be like to travel abroad for so long... maybe, as the saying goes, Home is where the heart is.