Saturday, November 29, 2014

Things I can't wait to do...

I am not complaining. Please understand, I know how blessed I am to be healing. Every time a wounded soldier is on tv, I am quickly humbled and reminded of my minor discomfort. But it doesn't stop me from thinking of what I'm looking forward to doing once I can use my left hand again.

Tie my shoes.
I've been wearing slip-on shoes. Or boots. At first I wished this had happened in the summer so I could wear flip flood, but I quickly realized winter is better. Pants hide my legs which were bruised and are now hairy. I can ask Bill to tie my shoes but the last time I did that we went shopping. I left him in the coffee shop and walked around by myself (he was meeting a friend), and when I went to try on clothes I realized I couldn't. If I took my shoes off, I couldn't get them back on.

Wash my hands.
Yesterday, I asked Bill to wash my right hand. It felt so good to have the back of my hand washed, I didn't realize how much I had missed it.

Put on lotion.
This goes (pun necessary) hand-in-hand with the hand-washing previously stated. This time of year, no matter how much we run humidifiers, is so dry. I can only put lotion on my finger tips, thumb, and a portion of my palm. It's not enough.

Put in my contacts.
I cannot hold the bottle of solution in my right hand and hold my contact. It won't work. Instead I've been wearing my glasses. I am glad that I replaced them just a few weeks before the accident.

Wash, exfoliate, and dry my left hand and forearm.
Whew, it's not in a cast but it sure smells like one. I took off the "arm sock" and brace and soaked my arm/hand last week. I'll soak it again tomorrow, but I'm guessing this is just the smell of dead skin cells. I really hope I'm the only one that can smell it. And if I'm not? Everyone has been very nice to ignore it. Or run out of the room gagging without me noticing.

Cut my own food.
Again, I can hold my toothbrush or a piece of paper, but anything heavier is too much for my now very weak left hand. Cutting food is out of the question. Bill (or someone sitting next to me) has to cut it for me. Fork-tender is a much appreciated form of cooked food that I am currently interested in. Or soup. Or sandwiches.

My few years of piano lessons are coming in handy. But a keyboard on a computer is obviously different then a piano. My hand often blocks letters and I think I'm hitting one key, but I actually hit the one next to it. Which can sometimes be obvious to spell check, until it's a word like of or if. I've used the delete button quite a number of times. Or I've hit enter too quickly and shared complete nonsense.

There are plenty more but, as I just shared, typing is difficult and I'm ready for a break.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

snow legs

On my way to my HPC meeting Wednesday night, I had a flashback to driving in New Jersey. In that flashback I remembered how every day, driving on the Parkway, drivers would slam on the gas and then slam on the brakes. From twenty feet forward, to a complete stop. It was almost everyday that I couldn't wait to come back to the midwest.

And here I was Wednesday evening, on 131, not doing what had caused me great stress all those days in NJ. With all the snow and cold, drivers were being courteous, everyone was leaving plenty of space between them and the car in front of them, no one was driving like an idiot, everyone was going the right speed, no one was slamming on their brakes, everyone was paying attention. It was like a choreographed dance of the snow cars.

Bill calls that "snow legs"; what we need to find in order to drive safely through the winter. You may know the term as "sea legs" which we became familiar with on our cruise seven years ago. But here, in the winter, we need snow legs.

Who knew we'd be finding our snow legs so early? Of course after last winter, how did we have time to forget?

This leads me to my snowflake request of years past. I don't need them this year. However, if you have incorporated them into part of your Advent activities, or need something to do on a snow day, I will gladly accept them. I'm just not making my usual plea.

Friday, November 21, 2014

not just a cold remedy

In church the Sunday after my car accident, a peer told me that when she was a dancer she used Vicks VapoRub on bruises. She said it's the witch hazel that's in it that helps draw out the bruising. I figured I'd give it a try, what was it going to hurt?

Do you know, it worked?! I've used it off and on since, and while it didn't magically make the bruise disappear, it has definitely made a difference.

And now you know!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Airbags and seatbelts

Many of my readers know about my car accident. My car/airbags saved my life. I'm not being dramatic.  It was a very serious accident. I haven't written about it, not because I'm having PTSD, but because I'm typing one-handed.

I have a fractured left hand. Other then a banged up right knee, which is still bruised two weeks later, I had one small cut over my right eye. That's it. I am so thankful.

The last thing I remember (I'm guessing I closed my eyes) is seeing the car turn in front of me. I don't remember the actual impact or the airbags going off. From what others have told me, I'm even more grateful for that.

It's been very interesting. I guess I'm part of, or conducting, a social experiment. When someone sees my hand, they ask what happened. When I tell them it was a car accident, nine out of ten people go on to share about a car accident they were involved in. Today, at the checkout at Target, was no exception. Except she was not as lucky as me because her accident was long enough ago that her car did not have airbags. She showed me the scar across her shoulder and motioned to the entire length across her body where the seatbelt had bruised her. She was going 25mph. I was going 50mph. We both had tears in our eyes for the other as we realized how lucky we both were to be sharing this with each other.

I posted a picture of my car on Facebook, or what was left of it. I'm not going to post it here, because it can be very upsetting if you haven't seen it. I think most of you have though. I'm going to pointedly not post it as a way to move on. I don't need the picture to remind me. For at least the next two weeks I have the brace on my left hand as a constant reminder.

To end with a bit of humor, we live in a decidedly two-handed world. The humor comes if you were to be a fly on the wall watching me do the simplest things like button my pants or unscrew the lid to a jar of peanut butter. Knees, teeth, and my left elbow have become quite handy. Every time I use my teeth, I think of my dentist. I'm sure she wouldn't be happy. But sometimes that's all I can do!

Stay tuned, I have a lot more time to think, so I'll be writing a few more posts!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

still giving thanks

It was only back in January that I tried writing daily posts. You can read that here.

I have not done a very good job of keeping up with that. Nor have I done a terrific job of saying what I'm thankful for in each post. Sometimes, I think, it's been obvious. Perhaps the less obvious times I have tried to point it out.

At any rate, when I went searching for that original post, I thought it was late fall or early winter that I had started. I was actually hoping I could tell you in this post that I was "close enough" and give it up while I learn my new job. Yet, much to my chagrin, not only was it not late fall but I've only written about two hundred thankful posts.

I've felt guilty these last few weeks. I have intentions of writing something, but the end of the day arrives and I'm too tired. I need my rest.

I will try to carve out time to write something. I have a problem though. When I pick up my laptop to write a blog post, I think, "Oh I'll just check my email quick." The next thing I know two hours have gone by, I never wrote a post and it's way past my bedtime.

Knowing this happens, the other nights when I do have time, I don't even pick up my laptop because I know I won't write anything and I'll just spend time checking email!

With that in mind, please extend me grace. There are three of you who read this and you can all email and ask me what is going on if you miss me that much. I'll keep trying.

I am thankful I'm not being graded on this.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


I know. A long awaited post. What happened to me?

As indicated in my title, the total is four. As in, that's how many part-time jobs I now hold.

On Monday, I started at Baker Publishing Group as an Administrative Assistant for the Visual Communications Department.

Think that title is long?

My other titles are (in order of shortest to longest titles):

  • Wedding Coordinator
  • Jr. High Youth Director
  • Administrative Assistant to our Associate Pastor for Adult Education

I constantly define that last one because I am not the admin assistant to the Associate Pastor. That would require more hours. Hours more like the new job. Also defined as a full, part-time job. Get it?

Let me explain; my AA in Adult Ed. is four hours/week. My AA in Visual Comm dept is up to 30 hours/week. If I were assisting our Associate Pastor in full capacity, it would be more like 30 hours/week. But it wouldn't be fair because no one else on staff has an assistant. But the other ministry departments have full, part-time or full-time staff. For instance, the Children's Ministry? Full, part-time staff person (I think she works 35 hours/week). Youth Ministry? Full-time, plus others below her in specific areas of ministry like me in Jr. High.

Now that I've explained that, let me explain that I am not crazy. Four part-time jobs is not too many.

For Wedding Coordinator, that's a consultant job. I'm paid when there's a wedding. We only have one on the calendar for 2015.

Jr. High Youth Director, it's ten hours/week for the school year. Most of the work takes place on Sundays. Plus, I have already planned out Sunday mornings through the school year. Sunday nights are planned out through December.

AA in Adult Ed, honestly that job may not exist after the end of the calendar year due to budget cuts. If it does continue, I have worked it out with my new boss that I can work half a day and then go work my four hours at the church, one day a week.

Hence my lack of blogging. I was visiting mom and dad when I got the call from Baker. I came back home and we have just been busy, busy, busy.

Last Saturday was the .1k and it was a blast. Team Bald Ego formed once again. We had a fundraising goal of $500. By Friday night, we were $225 short of the goal. The date was earlier (last year in was in November) so we had fewer team members.

Bill and I were taking a walk and I thought of a few other people I could ask to donate. When we finished our walk, I sent out an email.

One of those people is a Quotarian. She donated last year and has always been a great supporter of me.

Before I went to sleep that night, I said a prayer. I asked for a fundraising miracle.

Saturday morning, I was drinking my coffee, checking my email, and mentally preparing for the race ahead of us (just kidding). I got a text from the Quota member asking me how to donate to the .1k. I walked her through it. (I think it takes longer to donate than it does to race!)

About ten minutes later, an email popped up telling me I had received a donation. It had put us over our fundraising goal! We had been given that miracle!

Bill, Heather, Kathy F. (she was there somewhere, we never did find her), Chandra, Jason, and Addison were all a part of the team. We have decided, for next year, we will dress up. We are Team Bald Ego, after all.

Needless to say, I did not take any pictures of the race. We still had a lot of fun. We hope to come back next year with a bigger team. If you can't make it, you can still donate! I'll keep you posted on information.

I could have made this into two posts… to make up for my lack of posting. But I didn't. We'll see how often I can keep writing. Come back tomorrow for another explanation. I promise it won't be as long.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

String [cheese] Theory

I love pasta. If I had to pick my favorite pasta dish it would be this one. It has all of my favorite things; creamy sauce, shrimp, tomatoes, onion, garlic…

Or it might be this one, creamy orzo. When I make it, I add smoked sausage. Oh yum! The peas put it over the top.

Maybe I should categorize my list of pasta favorites.

Lasagna: from Paula Deen. Although my version is from Shannon and we've both modified it.

Fresh Rollatini: I had this once at a restaurant (and had no idea what it was before that), came home and googled it. I found this recipe which was pretty close to what I remembered from the restaurant.

Alfredo: This one is so simple and pure. I have other alfredo recipes that are thick and filling and delicious.

Then there's this next one, also a pasta dish that I had no idea what it was until I saw it made on tv. Capellini al Forno. It's like a pasta pie. Don't make it for just two people though. Make it for a group of four or six.

Okay, so what do all of these pasta dishes have in common? If you're lactose intolerant, it's your enemy.


Cheesy Mozzarella, cheesy Parmesan, cheesy Romano, cheesy cheese.

Cheese which turns into a gooey mess the instant you put it into a sink full of hot, soapy water.

That's not actually my theory. It's fact.

But I love cheese, so I'm going to keep making pasta. And I'll keep washing dishes. And I'll keep having gooey messes.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

birds of a feather

Two weeks ago, we went to a soccer game for one of our college students. As we were leaving, a large bird landed on a light pole. Bill and I guessed it was some kind of hawk. We looked it up when we got home and here's what we found.

I'm just now getting around to writing about it.

It was very large, but very pretty.

I was concerned it was checking us out. It was probably attracted to the silver aluminum pan that I had made krispy rice treats in and had given to Maria. It flew off without attacking us or the treats.

I don't think Atticus could have caught this bird. I think it would have been the other way around.

While I'm talking about animals, that's been the suggestion for our house name, Animal House. We live on College, the movie was about college. Atticus brings home animals (or like the opossum, they wander into our yard/onto our deck), the movie is named for "animals". I happen to like Animal from the Muppets, so it fits there too.

There was only one vote and it was for the name. I guess we'll name our house Animal House. We should start using frequently. We'll see if it catches on!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall at the Gardens

I went to Meijer Gardens yesterday. I haven't been there since August and wanted some good autumn photos. What better place to take them?!

Here's a sneak peek at the Japanese Garden, set to open June 2015.

 Inside and out they are showcasing mums. However, outside they haven't fully bloomed, so here's a good photo of the indoor display.

 Here's the Michigan farm.

 This statue is by the farmhouse. 

 I like the palette of colors and the reflection in the pond.

 That's the statue of Eve by Rodin. I like how she's framed by the trees.

 This is inside the gallery, the showcase for ArtPrize at the Gardens. This piece is part of the wall.

 Here's a different angle to help you understand it. 

These bricks are made from clothes, pressed into the shape of a brick. They were then stacked to look like a house that had been damaged. You can read the artist's statement here. I hope you'll take time to read it, she makes a fascinating statement.

I hope you enjoyed my visit. (And photos! I know, I'm shocked too!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In A Nutshell

Have you ever thought about the nuts we eat and the nuts we don't? I thought of this on a recent walk as squirrels ran across my path. One of the squirrels happened to have an acorn in its mouth.

I thought, they eat acorns, why don't we?

We eat pecans and walnuts. Then there are hazelnuts and chestnuts. Both are good over an open fire, only one has a song about it.

We don't eat actual Buckeyes because they're poisonous, but we make candy to look like them.

There are macadamia nuts, making the perfect mate to white chocolate chips. Macadamias also make the most expensive cookie to bake.

There's the exotic Brazil nut.

We can't just limit the list, we must include the nut of cashew.

I could keep going but not without cheating because I'm running out of nuts.

According to Wikipedia, there are forty-two.

No, they are not all for human consumption. It is a very fascinating list. If you're a nerd. Or someone who's blogging ridiculous amounts and needs a good topic and when a squirrel runs in front of them it gives them the idea of writing about nuts.

I'm glad I got that off my chest… nut.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

An Odyssey

Homer's Odyssey is epic.

We don't really come across a journey like that in our everyday lives, and if you happen to come across Medusa it would probably be all over the media.

Our move from NJ to GR was somewhat of an odyssey, it certainly was epic.

Then there was my trip to the credit union Monday.

Let me premise this story by stating for the record that Bill does not have direct deposit.

I know, I know.

Let's move on or we'll get stuck in the twentieth century.

This means one of us has to take a physical paycheck to the credit union. It is usually me. This is not a big deal until I point out that our nearest credit union location (the c.u. that we belong to anyway) is in Holland. Which is a solid forty minute drive from our home.

Fortunately, credit unions have co-ops. We can make a deposit into one of several ATMs of another credit union and the money goes into our account fee free.

The closest co-op ATM is blocks from our house.

Except that for some reason, the last two times I have tried depositing at that one, it won't take it. That's okay, there's another one about two miles away. However, that ATM is frequently down (as in every time Bill and I stop there, it's not working). But again, it's okay because there are other choices.

Let me also say they are building a new branch of our credit union in GR.

I cannot wait.

Especially after Monday.

First, I went to broken ATM credit union. Guess what? The ATM was down.

I didn't even bother with ATM that stopped taking our deposits. Why waste the gas?

I looked up another one of the myriad of ATMs and found one in close proximity to our house. As I drove toward it in the pouring rain, it became clear I was headed into a sketchy area.

I arrived at said ATM only to discover there were no envelopes. I was flustered, it was raining hard, and a car pulled up behind me.

Forget it. I drove to Holland.

Did I mention every time a person pulled out in front of me, they would go slow. Of course the closest car behind me was nowhere to be seen so these people could have waited. But they didn't.

Then, on my way out to Holland, traffic inbound was backing up because of construction. I took the back roads home. I drove through parts of our fair state where I could have come across some interesting characters (like in the Odyssey).

I made it. And I found out that we can use the mobile app to deposit checks. I'm going to try that out next time, instead of driving all the way to Holland. Of course the new branch will be open in December.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

So they say. Then there are pictures we take during youth group.

I don't know if one thousand is enough… or too much.

Anyway, without further ado, here are a few photos from our ArtPrize Scavenger Hunt last week:

 I can't just post the pictures without descriptions.
I picked this one because of the reflection in the window. 

 I decided I needed to be a part of this photo. Perfect!

 I love how the girls decided to stand… Did they do that on purpose?

This piece is in on the side lawn of our church. We painted flowers two weeks ago that are now a part of it. You can't see the flowers we painted though, they're out of the shot to the left of frame.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

C is for Cookie

Make these cookies.

Double the recipe and add an extra 1/4 cup of flour.

You will not be disappointed. Unless you don't like chocolate.

But make them especially if you like chocolate. If you do, add one cup of semi sweet chocolate chips and one cup bittersweet.

I recommend eating these cookies with a tall glass of milk.

Oh my.

They are really good.

My problem, and yes it's a problem, is that we're taking these all the way to St. Louis. How am I supposed to sit in a car for eight hours with these cookies taunting me. Oh sure, I'll put them in a bag that will go in the back seat so I don't have to stare at them.

But I'll know that they're back there.

I'll be able to smell them.

I'll be able to sense them.

Seriously, these cookies are that good.

The recipient (one of our former students now at college) may only get crumbs…

To keep that from happening, I put some in a container for her and some in a container for us.

If I share any with Bill.

I know what I'm making for the next cookie swap!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thank you, and goodnight.

We're still working on the naming of the house. Do we smash a bottle of champagne against the outside when we name it?

My mom has come up with a winner… I'm going to discuss it with Bill, then I'll share.

Tuesdays are my work days, so still no photos.

Tomorrow is HPC, it's going to be a long meeting. I spend an entire hour going through the packet. Yikes. So unless I find time in the middle of the day, I likely won't get pictures on here tomorrow either.

By now, would you expect anything different?

Someday I'll surprise you. Today is not that day.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Name That House!

I do have pictures from yesterday's adventure. Lots and lots of pictures.

Unfortunately, what I didn't have was time to put them all on my computer and then onto my blog. Don't worry, I won't put all of them on here. I'll pick out the best of the best. Hopefully. Then I'll post those.

Instead, what I want to write about tonight is naming our house.

Every house has a name. The British are well-versed in naming their country homes.

No, we're not British, but it's a cool idea. It's a fun way to invite people over. It was just in a magazine that you should name your house.

In New Jersey our house was called "Dewey", named after the street. We only lived in that house for three years. We've lived here for eight years and have yet to name this house.

In fact, when we were house-hunting here in GR, we looked at and put an offer in on a house on Linden. We have since referred to that house as the "Linden" house. We named a house we don't even live in!

If you haven't seen our house, here's the last photo I took:

Not that I want to remember all of that snow… it was a lot (I do love it), it just so happens to be a decent picture of the house.

Other facts to help pick a name: we live on College Ave. Our last name starts with "U". The house is half red, half beige/tan. I'm not a fan of the spanish "rojo"because that's what we use to describe our fifteen-passenger church van ("Rojo Grande").

As you can see we have no trees in the front yard. We do have a lamppost that is frequently home to wasps.

I've tossed around College U. Not clever or catchy enough.

We have that crazy steeped-pitch roof.

Big House…

Not descriptive enough.

I don't know why this is so difficult. It should be easy, shouldn't it?

This Old House?

Hm, catchy… but it's taken.

Anybody got any ideas?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cooking for an army

I feel like Pioneer Woman.

Not in the way that she lives on a ranch.

Or has four kids.

Or has her own cooking show.

Or has basset hounds.

I feel like Ree because I just cooked enough food for a ranch. I made sloppy joes for youth group tonight. I used ten pounds of ground beef.

Let me repeat that. I used ten pounds of ground beef.

That is a lot of beef.

I'm a very poor judge of amounts. For instance, when it comes to leftovers I either pick a dish that's too big or too small. When it comes to parties, I typically have way too much food.

That's better than running out of food.

I have nightmares about not having enough food.

Thanks Depression/history class.

I'm pretty sure I have enough for dinner tonight. I planned on cooking for twenty-four. Then I rounded up to thirty when I bought buns. I'm pretty sure I could feed eighty.

There will also be chips and krispy rice treats.

After our hearty dinner, our respective groups of youth will head out for ArtPrize 2014. I have a feeling I'll have a few pictures to post tomorrow.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Look What The Cat Dragged In, chapter 17

Maybe I should have kept track of how many animals Atticus has brought home.

I don't know what chapter we're up to.

I've written eight (including this one) specifically tagged with Atticus. We're up to at least chapter eight, but there have been way more animals than that for certain.

We've had birds of all kinds, mice, a rat, and some chipmunks.

We can add rabbit to the list.

There are rabbits that someone has let out of their cages down at the end of our street.

I wondered how long it would be before Atticus caught one. Our neighbor told me about them at the beginning of the summer.

The answer was three months, at least to my knowledge.

I'm very happy to have Bill. I'm also happy that we own a good shovel.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

curtain call

Alright, so what we have here are the old curtains, the old curtains that are now the new curtains, and the new curtains.

How about pictures to help explain:

This is the office/guest room with the old curtains (which were in our bedroom when we moved into the house, but I took them down and hung them in this room where they have been ever since). 
These are white curtains.

 Here are the new/old curtains. These were what I hung in our bedroom when we first moved in but recently realized they would look good in the office/guest room. These are off-white.

 They're corduroy, I took a close up to give you more detail. The lighting wasn't the best since I was shooting in the evening and this window faces west. 

These are the curtains I purchased to hang in our bedroom. I swore I took a before-photo with the old corduroy curtains, but alas I did not. 

I'm very pleased with the changes. I really like the texture/pattern/color of our new curtains. I also like how the new/old curtains look in the office/guest room.

We're still working on the guest room. We have to finish working on it before I think about curtains/window treatments. There will be an entire post (or two) dedicated to the work on that room. I set the deadline of Thanksgiving. That is a very ambitious deadline.

That's also why I haven't been blogging. I've been busy working. There is a lot of trim to strip in that room.

I just realized I didn't take close-up pictures of the new hardware in the office/guest room… I changed that out. Click on the pictures, you can see them (just not details)!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

neighborhood cookie watch

Sometimes things don't happen and I have to think up things to write about.

Then there are days like today.

I had finished my run. I was outside cutting my dahlias. The neighbor boy headed my way with a packet.

I knew that meant one thing: it's fundraiser season.

He asked if I wanted to buy cookie dough. Of course! I told him to wait outside while I ran and got the checkbook.

When I came back outside, I talked with him a little to find out what prize he wanted.

Then, a young man rode up on his bicycle. He asked me if I had a towel. He had just eaten a cupcake and his hands were all sticky. His repetitive questions helped me understand that he was harmless. I told him to hang on, while the neighbor boy was still waiting for me to pick my cookie dough and write the check, and I went inside and got Christian (he told us his name) a damp paper towel. He used it and I told him I would take it when he was finished. Then he rode off.

The neighbor boy and I resumed my cookie dough shopping.

I chose the white chocolate macadamia nut. It's my number one choice of store (fundraiser) bought cookie dough. Mostly because those nuts are so expensive I don't buy them myself. Otherwise I'd make the cookies from scratch.

The neighbor boy told me he'd be back with his order form. This was his sister's.

Bill will get to chose a cookie dough too. (Of course, he doesn't read my blog so we could keep this a secret and I could buy two white chocolate macadamia nut and he wouldn't know…)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

lights, camera… lighting

Did you watch er?

Have you ever noticed the lighting on tv shows? Specifically dramas?

We like NCIS and CSI. West Wing and er are two others that had the same thing happen to their lighting.

The more these shows got popular, the more the lighting became dramatic. It started out bright and over-lit. As the episodes turned into seasons, the rooms got darker.

Have you been in a courthouse or a hospital? They are typically well-lit. Especially the hallways, and even at night the lights are on.

It's not like the story line explained the change in lighting. It just happened, slowly over time.

Of course I say this as I sit here watching one of these shows in a low-lit room.

Maybe Hollywood isn't so dramatic after all.

Monday, September 15, 2014

too far

The cat has gone too far.

Can cats read?

I didn't think so. But I'm beginning to think Atticus can. Or maybe he can't and that's why this has happened.

He likes to kill animals. Birds in particular. I've mentioned that.

This time, it was a goldfinch.

Hence the reading, I think he's trying to be like his namesake except that the cat has got it wrong.

The character is Atticus Finch. That's it. Nothing more. The title is To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus the cat must be confused.

He killed the finch. Then he ate the finch.

I've never seen him eat a bird before.

I got very angry with the cat and banged on the sliding door. I guess that annoyed him, because he left. And he took his dinner with him.

He may not realize it, but that was his dinner.

I get it. It's the circle of life. I just wish the cat didn't enjoy his circle of life, on our back deck, with the pretty birds.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Curtains, cookies and chaos

Okay, I've been MIA.

First, Jenny came to visit Wednesday-Thursday. We went to Founders for dinner and ordered what turned out to be an absurd amount of food. Before that we had done a lot of shopping.

I'm looking for window treatments for the guest bedroom. Since that room is not even halfway finished, I decided to buy new curtains for the home office/guest bedroom.

I bought new curtain rods, which I know I like. I bought a curtain panel to bring home to see how well it matched since I was no longer looking for window treatments for the room in which I was originally planning on buying them for. I wasn't prepared to change the home office/guest room curtains, so I didn't have any idea of what color I would need for that room. Jenny and I guessed and it turned out to be a bad guess.

I returned the wrong-color panel today. No harm no foul. While I was out today, I stopped by another store and found curtains that would be great for our bedroom.

Wait a sec. Would the curtains in our room look good in the home office/guest room?

They sure would! This means new curtains for our room.

I bought the one panel that was at the store that will now go in our room. When I got it home I hung it to see how much I liked it. I had already liked it a lot in the package, and I liked it even more hanging in our room.

However, the store only had the one panel so I quickly got online and bought three more. I'll have new window treatments [hopefully] by the end of next week. And the home office will have "new" curtains too. Eventually the guest bedroom will have new window treatments but first it needs windows, a fresh paint job, a finished floor, a scraped and painted ceiling, and the furniture moved back before I think about window treatments. However, Jenny did help me figure out exactly what kind of window treatments I want (not curtains although as I've typed all of this why would I have different window treatments in one room when the other two have curtains… I have time to think about that one), so I can at least work on getting them ready for the eventual finished product.

Tonight, we went out for our friend's birthday. We went to the Winchester. We had a very good time.

Tomorrow, we're going to a CMU game.

Today, I baked cookies to take with us tomorrow.

We also helped a friend, who had foot surgery, put air in her tires and take out her recycling.

I had an eye doctor appointment.

So you can see, I haven't had much time to blog and I certainly haven't had time to work on the guest bedroom. I'll have time next week… or at least I'll keep telling myself that.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Food for Thought

Warning: this post may make you hungry.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love food?

Only a few times?

Oh, no? More than that?

Well, it's a fact. Everyone eats in one way or another. (I'm not excluding those who have to use feeding tubes, it's the ALS awareness as well as those who have surgery and such… too dark?) Well everyone has to eat whether it's solid or pureed. And I love food.

I made a dish tonight that's for lunch tomorrow. Jenny is coming to visit. She showed me this awesome kitchen gadget
If you like cherry or grape tomatoes, you need this.

She took me back to the little shop in St. Joe where she bought it and I found one hiding on a shelf. It's also good for regular grapes, large olives, and anything else that size that you want sliced.

I don't know if I have written about the dish I made, so I'll just mention it again. It's Quinoa with Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella.

It's yummy.

I had a blt and corn on the cob for dinner. It'll probably be one of the last for the season. It was also yummy. But the good news is apple season is upon us. Apples won't fit in the kitchen gadget, but that wasn't the point of this post.

I also made my blueberry chocolate cake.

The blueberries were the last of the season too. I don't remember getting fresh blueberries this late in the season, but I enjoyed every last little one.

It's still technically summer, so there should be a few more grilled dinners.

Food, it's what's for dinner.

I'm thankful for our farmers and our food.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's that time again… let's go for a run

The .1k

It's happening October 18th. I'm asking you to donate to this amazing cause.

Or join our team. It's a blast.

Click here to do one or the other.

Seriously, check out last year's race here if you didn't read about it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

car games

On my way to and from my parent's house, I played the license plate game. It's much more fun now because there's an app for that.

I reached 43%. Not bad for a trip to the neighboring state. I was a little disappointed that I didn't see any Wisconsin or Minnesota. I usually see one of each on any given day. Oh well. Maybe next time my odds will be better.

I did see Washington which is a tough one. And lots of Ohio and Illinois. I double checked, I did mark Indiana and Michigan. That would have been embarrassing to have not checked off those. And yes, if you play this way; I did see each of them in the other state not their home state.

I like car games.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Football, Parades, Pork Tenderloins, and Presents (not alliterative, but almost)

Can you smell it?

Not the smell of rain.

Or the crisp air.

Or fall…



It's here.

We're going to watch CMU play next weekend. They beat Purdue today. Hehe

Next week they play Syracuse. We'll see if they can do it again.

MSU is currently playing Oregon. And U of M is playing Notre Dame. It's an exciting evening in our house.

I do love football, but I gave myself a pedicure. Ha!

I'm trying to relax before my "first" day tomorrow. It's not my first day, it's my third year. And it's not my first day back this school year, I've been working for a couple of weeks now. No, tomorrow is what we call "Homecoming Sunday", the first Sunday back after Labor Day weekend. Our activity schedule starts to get back into the swing of things.

We're kicking the school year off with one service and a lunch afterward. Then we'll have youth group. Sunday school will start next week. I have one more week to find more teachers. Want to teach Jr. High Sunday school once a month? They don't bite, I promise. In fact, they're awesome!

No? Okay, then will you at least say a prayer that someone else will step up and fill the spot? I'm not going to worry about it. That won't do me any good. But I am going to start asking everyone I see.

I didn't blog the last two days because I was in Indiana for the Pork Festival!!! The last time I was there was 2008 and lucky for you, I wrote all about it here.

I also have anniversary presents from my parents that I need to go open. All in all I have a lot to write about but it's late and this post has gone on for long enough.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

the other ice bucket challenge...

The video is not yet available.

But they did it. Oh my did they.

You'll remember my ice bucket challenge… it went out to Sami and five young adults.

Something you should know about Sami. She's clever and creative. She wasn't just going to dump ice on herself and five others. Oh no. She put thought into it.

She's a mom.

She's the Sr. High Youth Director.

She's the Young Adult Leader.

She has learned to be F.A.T. for Jesus (Flexible, Available and Teachable).

She loves Pinterest.

She decided to use her children's slip and slide.

Except it's not just your normal slip and slide. It's a racer slip and slide.

Two people go at once and end in a small pool.

The pool was filled with ice.

It was spectacular. And it was not easy to film it without shaking from laughing so hard. But I think I did okay. We shall see. When she gets it edited and posted, I hope I can share it. (She has to edit it because after she did her talking, I stopped recording to make sure I was actually recording because her camera doesn't have a flashing light or any indicator to show that it is actually recording. I didn't want them all to slide into ice only to find out I didn't record any of it. I was recording, so we had the second shooting of them sliding. Now she has to edit the two separate pieces into one.)

I think seven of the young adults ended up doing it (I was too busy recording, I didn't count). I should probably make another donation to Well House for that. It was totally worth it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I've been making cards again.

It really is nice to have everything in the dining room. As I mentioned before it's convenient. I can get everything out and put it away quickly. It may be a little unsightly, but I'll just pretend that doesn't bother me.

Oh wait, it doesn't.

Back to the cards.

Here's a thank you:
 Here's a thinking of you:
And this one may be my favorite card I have ever made. Can you guess what/who it's for? I'll give you a hint, count the number of heart-shaped balloons.
If you still aren't sure, go back to Aug. 26th. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

long weekends and projects around the house

The day has finally come, we replaced our upstairs hallway light fixture!

You may recall this happened:

It happened Aug. 16, 2013 as I was finishing the last bit of painting over the home office door. I backed up into the light fixture.

Even though I knew it was there and I had been carefully avoiding it every single time I climbed up or down the step-stool.

Until this time.

Since then, we just left the two bulbs hanging there. Greg moved in. Greg moved out. We didn't want to replace it during all of that in case there was another incident.

A friend of mine, Julie, works in a lighting store (I actually don't know if it's a store or something else, let's just go with store) and when I asked her if we could replace the globe she bluntly stated it would be cheaper and easier to buy a new fixture. Don't even try to replace it, she wisely stated.

As our anniversary present (fourteen years is animals/gold jewelry, but eighth anniversary is bronze so we're just six years late for that gift, you can read more here) was this:
Bill installed it today. Ta-da!

No more putting my head through it.

Also, because it's a holiday weekend, I'm having homemade ice cream.

I made a few days ago, but I didn't blog about it! Here it is.
Yum! Vanilla. I don't think I can wait any longer...

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Be sure you go back (scroll down) and read yesterday's post. I wrote it today. I just didn't post-date it.

Today, after church and Bill's Big Breakfast, I worked on the gardens. I weeded the garden on the south side of the house.

Then I went behind the garage.


 This is the before.

I have completely neglected it. I don't see it, so it doesn't exist, right? This is partly why we want to move the garage back closer to the property line. We don't need this garden. It's not a secret garden so much as it's a jungle.

It's Atticus' hunting spot.

It's a tree farm. Want a Redbud? We'll sell you one. Or several.

Since we probably need a permit for selling trees on a small, urban lot, I just attacked the wild garden with a shovel. 

There were plants in there!

And lots of weeds. And lots of vines. Aggressive, thick vines.

It's also our dumping ground for large limbs (since the neighbor behind us doesn't like it when we burn dry wood in a container). Those large branches, etc are still back there. 
As you can see I did get a lot of it cleaned up.

Now it's time to relax. It's a holiday weekend!


This is where we were on Saturday:
 We were at the Gilmore Car Museum.

You can read more about it since I linked it for you. I won't bore you with history or how many cars they have. What I do want to share is that for as long as it's been around Bill and I have never been there. And we've been back in West Michigan for eight years and this was our first visit.

It was amazing. Particularly if you like/appreciate cars. More specifically classic cars.

We went with Nancy and Dave (who live in Kalamazoo). Nancy has been there with her parents because they are MG owners. Dave was also a first-timer. Although, there are so many cars, Nancy pointed out that she did not remember seeing many of them.

We definitely got our value (we had buy one get one free admission coupons) and were there for about three and a half hours. We didn't make it through the entire exhibit but we had to leave because they were closing.

There is a new exhibit opening in three weeks, the Cadillac Collection. I guess we'll just have to go back.

By the way I took many, many photos of cars. These are just a few examples.

Friday, August 29, 2014

on time delivery

Have you ever looked at the blue post office drop box and wondered, do they really pick up the mail at the precise, posted (ha, pun intended) time?

I dropped off my Jr. High mailing at one of those boxes today. That is what I wondered as I walked away from the box. It was about ten after five. Did they already pick it up?

Will it still go out tonight?

I'm not in a rush. The mailing can wait until tomorrow. It was just a thought I had...

Would it be suspicious if I sat outside the post office one day waiting to see if they really do pick it up at the exact time?


If not suspicious, perhaps weird.

I won't do it. But I will continue to wonder, is the service prompt?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lego crazed

For our anniversary we went to the Lego exhibit at the GR Public Museum. Here are a few pictures.
It was an exhibit on tall buildings. This one was so tall I couldn't even fit the entire thing in the picture!
And famous architecture.
Here's Chi-town!
Each building had its own history as well as a fun fact. But since it took me two days to get the pictures from my phone to my computer, I don't remember any of the fun facts. I do remember that Grand Rapids is ranked number 1 in its size for the number of LEED certified buildings. 

These were mighty impressive. I enjoyed going. 

It makes me want to pull out our Lego's but that means losing our dining room table. 

Oh the dilemma. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


We were nominated and we accepted.

Bill gets "Best Husband" award.

Today is our anniversary. Last night, he came home with a dozen roses, participated in this challenge (which I did not ask him to, I was taking one for the team), and took care of the dead mouse in the attic.

We're not keeping score, but he's the BEST!

Happy 14th anniversary to my hubby.

And thanks to all the ladies from high school, college, and after who didn't give Bill a chance because I have him now. (If you know us at all, that's perfectly acceptable for me to post…)

Monday, August 25, 2014

behind the screen

I've mentioned a few times that Atticus is a great hunter. He gets mice, birds, the occasional rat… and they all stay outside.

We hope that if there was ever a mouse inside the house that he would also catch it. I don't want to think about that.

I prefer they stay on the other side of the screen doors.

This morning I cleaned up a few things and found a few things that needed to go up to the attic. We have been keeping the door closed to the room that has the attic access because that is the guest room currently under construction. I went into the room and headed up to the attic.

There are a few things sitting on the stairs to the attic, one of them being the vacuum cleaner that we just used on Saturday.

Mere inches from the vacuum was the body of a dead mouse.

I happened to spot it as I was halfway up the stairs.

I typically check for bugs.

Not mice.

There was a mouse.

I got to the top of the stairs and did my I-just-found-something-bad-and-don't-want-to-walk-by-it dance. It involves shrieking, moving feet around in an odd sort of tip-toe dance, and flailing of the arms.

Peeking back over the edge of the stairs, I made sure it hadn't moved and was actually dead. Then, risking life and limb I ran back down the attic stairs, jumped into the bedroom, slammed the door shut and sprinted out into the hallway closing the bedroom door behind me.

Someday I will have to take a picture of the attic stairs so you can understand just how risky that was.

When Bill got home, after a different risk involving ice buckets (I'll post that video later), he took care of the mouse.

I hope that if a mouse ever ventures inside these walls again, Atticus finds it and takes care of it.

I'm still a little shaky from the escapade.

 I'm very thankful for Bill.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

good books and lazy days

Lazy Sunday afternoons.

They are good for reading a book. I'm about to pick up "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood". I started reading it a few days ago. I saw the movie way back when it came out in the theater. I never read the book. On our trip to Hell my co-leader, Jen, said the book was better than the movie. Since I am continuously looking for new books to read (and trying to do a better job of it lately), I checked it out at the library. So far so good.

So forgive my short post. I would rather be reading.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


We went out for a ride in the Corvette. It's the Metro Cruise!

I didn't blog about it last year, but I did the year before.

Here are pictures I took last year.

I guess I was too busy with my fancy camera and I wasn't blogging every day.

It seemed as though there were fewer classic cars out this year. But we still got waves, and compliments, and fingers pointing at us (in a good way). It's always fun.

It was the first time I've ridden in the 'Vette this summer.

While we were headed west, toward home, through my sunglasses I spotted a rainbow between two clouds. I pulled my sunglasses down to see if it was visible without them. It was. I pointed it out to Bill. He saw it too.

I marveled at how small it was and how it was barely visible. If we hadn't been going slow because of all the traffic, would we have seen it? How many other people noticed it? 

It was a rare glimpse of beauty in an evening sky. 

It was a reminder to stop and smell the roses. 

It is something to be thankful for.

Friday, August 22, 2014

better blog now

I'm enjoying my morning coffee before I enjoy my morning run. Or something like that.

Just last night someone asked me if I enjoy running. I guess I do. I enjoy it more when I'm finished. I enjoy it more when the scale and I agree. I enjoy it more when the humidity level isn't on "soaking". I don't loathe running. I don't have to make myself do it. I get more antsy when I look at my schedule and can't find time to run rather then being relieved that I can't find the time to run. I'm already planning on what I'll do this winter. My choice is an indoor track (bor-ring) or a treadmill (which I do loathe).

Huh, so I guess yes. I like to run. Outside. Rain, snow or shine. I do not like running inside on a treadmill.

Bill told me that the Farmer's Almanac was published yesterday. It is calling for a bitter cold winter with more then normal snow.

It's going to be another long winter. I better adjust my treadmill attitude or live with the consequences.

Or stop baking so many darn delicious cookies.

Ha! That is not going to happen. I may be facing death by treadmill. Has anyone ever died because they were running on a treadmill? I may be the first.

Have I finished my run yet?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

card-making part two

The other card I made was for Shannon's birthday which is today. I didn't want to post it on here until I knew she had received it. She has! Here it is!
 The orange strip was stamped with happy birthday. I don't know why I took the picture before I stamped it. My world is a mystery. Even to me.
That's my super cute owl stamp. I'm very excited to use it for other things than an owl.

I made a frog (but I didn't take pictures of that card). I can make a sheep. A ghost. A cow. Probably a pig. It has endless possibilities. Yay for the owl stamp!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I got my craft on

I have made a couple of cards. But I didn't want to post pictures of them until the recipients had received them for the very small chance that they read my blog and I didn't want to spoil it for them.

Card #1
For Lindsay and her mom for running and cheering me on at the 5k.
Card #2
For Jessica and her family for the loss of her grandmother.

I wasn't going to post pictures of the insides since I wrote personal messages, but decided it wouldn't do any harm to share them.

I have taken to using the internet and a certain card making catalog for simple style ideas. I do the best I can with what I have (which is more than enough, I just don't have the fancy thing that imprints patterns on paper but I can cut out almost any shape).

I have also taken over the dining room. Maybe when the guest room is finished I can move my scrapbook stuff to that desk. For now all of it is conveniently located at the dining room table.

I can see the tv from there.

I can listen to music.

I can stop by the kitchen for a bite to eat.

I am trying to keep it cleaned up when I'm not working on something.

I've given it a lot of thought and have decided that a sideboard/buffet would be a valuable piece of furniture. Until we go shopping to buy one of those (and I convince Bill that we should have one to hide my scrapbook stuff or finish the guest room pronto) I'll just make do with my piles set off to the side. (The table is a great work surface because there's so much surface space, I really don't want to move to a desk, I like the dining room.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

cat scratch fever

Last week Atticus had a vet appointment. He went out that morning, like usual. But instead of coming back six or seven times which is typical, he didn't. He knew.

I had to call the vet and change his appointment. They had an opening this morning, so I changed his appointment.

This morning, we did not let him out. Again, he must have known. He zonked out on the couch. He was fast asleep until I put his harness on him.

He cried the entire way there.

Have you ever heard a cat cry?

There's no consoling a cat.

We finally made it, he got his two shots, and we were headed out the door when he decided he had had enough.

Unfortunately it was raining. I tried to put up my umbrella, while holding the cat, and my purse, and I was trying to get my car keys out of my pocket. I'm not sure which of these was the last straw, but something in Atticus snapped. The next thing I knew I was being scratched across my back.

I wrestled Atticus to the car and we made it home.

I have two scratches each about three inches long along my back, off to the side. Thankfully Bill was home to dress them.

Atticus doesn't have to go back to the vet for a year and a half. Next time he'll go in the carrier. I was trying to be nice by using the harness. I'm done being nice cat lady. Of course that could be the cat scratch fever talking.

Remind me of this in a year and a half please.

Monday, August 18, 2014

the results

My official time was 30:58. My pace was 9:57. Under ten minutes. That is so great. I couldn't be more proud.

The people who did it in fifteen or twenty minutes, good for them. Don't rain on my parade though. I ran it in thirty minutes and that is good enough for me.

I was going to go back and look to see if I ever wrote about why I started running in the first place. I didn't get the chance, so in a nutshell I'll recap.

In high school, I could run the mile in twenty minutes. Mind you that was something like twenty laps around the gym and was the most horrendous task I had ever done. I would have rather mopped the floor.

Twenty minutes, I knew I could walk the mile faster then that.

Before I turned thirty, I had been walking almost daily. One day, I felt like running. I started out just running to the corner. But quickly added blocks. I finally came to the conclusion that I should try running a mile since I couldn't really do it in high school. After I could run one mile, I sort of kept going.

Then I made it my goal to run 5k. For a year I have been running that distance. Now it's official and I ran my first race.

That is why I'm so proud.

Sorry for gloating, but it is my blog.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

One hundred Gifts and counting

I thought I'd write an update on my one thousand gifts.

I feel as though it's been a year since I wrote that blog.

It's been almost a year since Greg moved in. And it's been two and a half months since he moved out.

It has only been seven months since I started my list.

I have reached one hundred things for which I'm thankful. That's in my journal. I've blogged 176 times about being thankful. If I put them together I'm almost to three hundred. That's much better then the one hundred.

I have a long way to go.

I'll have to add my math skills to my list. Ha!

That's my update. Have you been keeping track?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

just out for a run...

Today was the BIG day. The 5k. The Mitchell's Run Through Rockford for Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. Lindsay ran with me. She has run in awhile. I told her not to worry that I'm pretty slow. My goal was to run it in 45 minutes. Yes, I can walk it in that time, but I had no idea what to expect. 

Would there be so many people that by the time we started it would take that long? 

I am not familiar with the course, would it feel longer and drag me down?

The only way to find out was to just do it. We registered, used the port-a-potty, and waited for the race to begin.

Which meant we took pictures. 
 Here's Lindsay. This is her, "I'm ready to run a 5k with no training recently" pose. 
I'm ready to go! 
 So was everyone else! Yikes.

We placed ourselves behind the 9 minute mile sign and ahead of the strollers and walkers (which always makes me think of actual walkers, the kind elderly people use, yet I know it means the pace at which people will be going… too funny). We decided not to stand too close to the 9 minute mile sign. Who were we kidding? 

The Michigan State women's volleyball team was there. That's not at all intimidating.

Along with cross-country teams from local schools. Good for them. We'll be back here. Pacing ourselves.

And so it began.

I started my FuelBand to keep track of our time. Of course I started it before we got to the start line. 

We started off strong, at a good steady pace. The State girls were in our sight for the first mile. We were passing people! I felt good. Around mile two, I asked Lindsay how she was doing and she said her stomach hurt a little, so we slowed our pace a bit. Mile three is along the river and is scenic, but it felt like a long stretch.

I checked my FuelBand. My normal pace is 42 (Fuel, I really don't know what that equates to… my arm movement???) and we were running at 45! Oh wow! 

It felt like a long time. 

And then we were at the end. I stopped my FuelBand. 32 minutes!!! Holy Cow! How did that happen? It felt so long, yet it did go by quick.

Deanna was great, she cheered us on at several spots along the route. She got great video. 
We did it. We survived. I have run a 5k. I will let you know my official time when that gets posted.

Then, after hanging out with Lindsay, Deanna, and Gary, I came home, showered and headed off to church for a wedding.

Just a typical Saturday.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

a trio of goodbyes


I just finished reading a very good book. It was the book I've mentioned, "Clara and Mr. Tiffany; a novel". At least in my taste of fiction; it ranks high up there. And, as many readers know, it's always sad and difficult to say goodbye to characters when you're that into a book.

Of course it was a completely different sigh of relief when I finished Anna Karenina.

There's another sigh of goodbye today. We said goodbye to Rosie. My steel blue 2011 Fusion. She got inspected this morning and we dropped her off at noon. I had no idea I would have this difficult of a time saying goodbye to a car.

I would say that Bill made me this way, but he didn't. He does appropriately describe my behavior as, "You feel too much".

So true.

The last goodbye was to our cousin Mark and his son Zach. They were here visiting while on a midwest college tour. It was sort of a whirlwind visit since they got here Tuesday from I.U., spent yesterday checking out U of M and headed off today to visit State.

Of course we made it to Jersey Junction. We wouldn't have missed that opportunity.

But that was pretty much all we had time for.

I guess it's time to go make dinner. Before I feel too sorry for myself.

ps: we didn't have internet yesterday, so that's why I didn't blog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

one mil

I hit one million "fuel" points with my Nike Fuel Band today. (Disclaimer, Nike has no idea who I am and they are not paying me to say any of this.)

Yup. I guess it was a bigger deal when it happened.

Of course if you think about it, one million points is a lot. Considering I started earning points on Christmas Day, and here I am just over six months later at one million, that rocks! Also, consider that my daily goal is 2,500. At the rate of earning exactly my goal each day, it would have taken me four hundred days to hit one million. Instead it took me 222 (according to my Fuel Band). Does that mean I'll hit two million by day four hundred? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pictures from Hell

Upon our arrival in Hell, we started exploring and taking pictures. Not that there aren't any good photo ops.

Here's one.
 Here's another one.
 And another one.
 This is inside the restaurant. Yet another photo op.

 The boys learned a lesson in Hell. Let the ladies go first when ordering ice cream. If you don't, then you have to open the door for them and bow as they leave. hehe
 And the last photo op, Pure Hell.
What a trip!