Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve 2008

Well, another year has come and gone and tonight I am going to celebrate!

I have plans for a rip-roaring party, the likes of which I have never experienced.

Tonight I am spending New Years Eve with the boy scouts of Troop 282. We are having a video game all-nighter. I am going to kick some teenage video game butt! Ok, well since they won't have Galaga and Centipede there, I may have to take a back seat on some of the games, but let me tell you I am psyched for an opportunity to throw housework and responsibility out the window, spend hours doing nothing but gaming and calling myself grateful that these days I don't have to worry about running out of quarters.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best purchase EVER!

This was one of my better purchases. It's a hat and glove tree. I saw it in a catalog and "just had to have it!" It sits right at my front door near the heater vent. Everything gets dry quickly. The nice thing is that it is so convenient that the boys just walk in and load it up. It has had LOTS of use this year as we are at record snow fall levels.


Besides, it goes with my Christmas "tree-scape"!




Monday, December 22, 2008

I feel old and slow.


Today we bought two new pieces of electronic equipment. They are supposed to work together. The outcome will be shock and awe. I told Pat, just go to bed hon, I will read the manuals while I am sitting in the orthodontist's office tomorrow and figure it out.


Aging sucks!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Resolutions, Already? Part 2

Yesterday, I posted an introspective regarding Veronica.

Today, here’s the humorous part.

Standing in front of her casket, I was talking with a friend, telling how I had seen Veronica raking leaves in her front yard the day before she died. I was inquiring as to the details of her passing. (Reminder: sudden death, me in front of casket) I was told that in the evening she and her husband had gone to a Halloween party of which her costume was the most hilarious in attendance. When they got home, since the children were being cared for at a grandparent’s home, she decided to shampoo the carpets. *note my disgust for cleaning.* Shortly thereafter, her heart stops and she dies.

I blurt, “Well, that just shows that cleaning will kill you!” Immediately, my hand smacks over my mouth in horror. The friend tells me not to worry, Veronica would have thought it was hilarious. I sure hope so!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Resolutions, Already?


These past few days I have been thinking about people. Specifically, how the people I meet affect me and how I can learn from them. Before you click over to another, more interesting blog…


I want to tell you about a woman I knew that died unexpectedly at an early age. Her name was Veronica. Tonight I was talking about Veronica and that one of the things that was said at her funeral was that when she was talking to you, it was as if no one else existed. I experienced that with her. I wasn't a close friend by any means, but during the few conversations I had with her I was the center of her world while we were talking.


I was moved to immense levels of grief when she died. I barely knew her. However, on occasion, I had been the center of her universe. I knew I never would be again.


It is important that we treat each other with that same consideration. During the Christmas season, focusing on others should be the norm.


The most profound concept of this entire situation with Veronica is that her giving of herself always uplifted the recipient. It never uplifted or glorified her.


A goal. Something to attain to. Focusing on others.


Is it "New Year's Resolution" time yet? Why wait?


Monday, December 15, 2008

My confession

In an earlier blog, I had indicated that I was going to be coordinating the worship music for a women's retreat in January. After hiding the fact that I was diligently practicing and depending on a miracle, I decided to lead the music myself. This is a stretch for me, but over the past few weeks I have been practicing my guitar daily, building confidence, working at learning new songs, building confidence, conferring with a fellow worship leader, building confidence, and lo and behold, I am really thinking I can do this!

My dad is visiting with us for a few days. It was practice time for today. "Oh, Dad, did I tell you what I'm doing? -yes playing and singing in front of about 40 women. I am going to do my practicing in the room right here with you, ok? "

Then it started. The uncontrollable giggling. Not the funny ha-ha type giggling mind you, but the …Oh crap…What have I done!?...nervous…what's a guitar?...I'm dying here…giggling…

Uh, oh. I found out the hard way that public playing is going to take some actual practice. Perhaps if I invite my neighbors over under the auspices of signing up to join a pyramid scheme they won't be too offended to find out that they are actually being subjected to an impromptu concert! It will work! Yes, YES! I am sure it will!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Giveaway opportunity

Ryan over at "This Is Reverb" put up a post the other day about giving. The first part of his post featured a woman that is participating in the Giving is Awesome challenge for photographers to reach out and bless someone during this season of giving. I contacted the photographer that I worked for over the summer and he chose to participate too! Check it out. It is a great program.

To find out more about the program click here:Giving is Awesome

To go directly to my photographer friend's website click here: Aspen Photography…and for those of you that are following along, this is the website that I worked on putting up over the summer.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas gift

Today my dad called and asked what I would like as a Christmas gift. Since I had just looked out my back window, it wasn't too hard to figure out what my answer would be.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mind feeding the squirrels, but these four knuckleheads will have my feeder empty by this afternoon.
A squirrel proof feeder is high on my list this year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas memories (sans photos)

First, I am so impressed by any blogger that is able to put a post up on a daily basis. When my life turns to chaos, the first thing to go is my blog, well, first it's my sanity, and then it's my blog.

Last weekend, we put up the Christmas decorations and it was a rather sentimental time. I enjoyed getting out the decorations and remembering where they came from. It was also nice because the kids decorated the tree this year and that made me happy. While I was rummaging through all of the special items, I was thinking, “Ooh! I should blog about this!” I wanted to include fabulous pictures of all of the items, but I just can’t figure out how to get good depth of field going with my point and shoot camera.

Do you know what depth of field is? That’s where your subject is in focus and everything in the background is all blurry. Do you know why I so desperately want to take a picture with MAJOR depth of field? It’s so I can take a picture of the thing I want in focus, but then all of the crap that is sitting around it is out of focus so maybe you won’t notice all of the crap that is lying around.

So since just telling you about the items and not including pictures would be extremely lame, I decided to tell you a story that I remembered while digging through the Christmas boxes.

My friend decided she wasn’t going to get a Christmas tree one year. I can’t recall why she and her husband made this decision, but I was stunned! How could they not have a Christmas tree in their home! I bought the stuff to make and decorate a small artificial tree for her with lights and decorations. Then I took it to her house to put it together and set to work, all the while, just telling her it was a project I was working on for a friend. I got the whole thing finished and realized I had neglected to buy a topper for the tree. Excitedly, she told me she had just the thing, and ran downstairs to get a bow for the top of the tree. As we finished the tree and admired our work together, she asked, “Who is this tree for, anyway?”

“YOU!” I said.

Tears flowed.

The giving memories are just as fulfilling as the getting memories. I hope I will have an opportunity this season to surprise someone with a gift like I did that day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Loving Well

My church is putting on a women's retreat in January. I was asked to serve on the committee as a worship coordinator. We decided it would be good for all of the people on the committee to preview the DVD that we are using for our teaching. The teacher is Beth Moore. She is rather well-known in Christian circles and so I was kind of excited to do one of her studies. I started the DVD, out came the southern drawl and the staged intro materials.

UGH! I thought! This is going to be a loooong weekend.

Then it cut to the part that was recorded in an arena in front of 19,000 women. Let me tell you this woman can speak! I watched four hours of teaching and it was moving!

I am really excited about the retreat. I think God is going to change some lives!

Friday, November 21, 2008

My saucy day.

Today I spent my daytime with my home girl Cheryl. We swore we were not going to spend the entire day together errand-running and shopping, but there we were, minutes before the school bus was to arrive to deposit our precious children, still chatting. (At this point I must mention that when I came inside and looked at my clock instead of Cheryl's minivan clock I realized we weren't cutting it as close as I thought.)

Cheryl and I have a history of solving the world's problems- if only they would take our advice.

There was, in fact, one problem that was not solved today, and that is the problem of my iPod.

My iPod has been misbehaving and I just kept hoping it would go away. Today I found out that it probably won't. Last time I looked in to this I was at the Mall of America with them. We visited an Apple store. No luck. Today I visited an Apple store in my home town. I tried the recommended fixes, no luck. I need to schedule an appointment with a "Genius". I hope this will prove fruitful. (Apple=fruit=fruitful, get it?)

Applesauce, anyone?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Games kids play

Tonight is seems as though the evil monsters neighborhood children discovered the age-old “game” of ding-dong-ditch it. I got hit four times in two hours.


I. Was. Not. Amused!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Google street view


Have you noticed that Google Maps has this interesting feature called street view? Perhaps this has been around a while and I haven't really taken notice. Tonight Spencer and I were poking around looking for directions. We found some interesting items.

This reader is quite frightened because you can actually see their cat sitting on a perch in the window.

This website actually collected cool things that were found in Google street view.

Some people are concerned for child safety over Google street view.

These people even made a funny video about Google street view.

Enjoy! (but you may want to keep your curtains closed, just in case!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fear sucks.

I came to the realization recently that I am living with some fear. Fear of the yard. Since I fell and injured my knee after cutting the grass 1½ years ago I have been avoiding the yard. Like the plague. My yard looks terrible because of it. I have always LOVED to be outside and playing around in the dirt. Now, not so much. I thought it was just because the mess that had become my landscape was overwhelming to me. I finally figured out that deep down I am afraid. Afraid of getting hurt again.

I knew I just needed to get back out there. We were planning on doing yard work tomorrow, but now they are calling for snow.

Undaunted, I headed outside and grabbed a rake. The city confirmed that the vacuum truck will be by later today.




Unfortunately, it has been so long that I forgot you are supposed to wear gloves while raking! Ouch!




I wish I could get the city to use that vacuum truck on my house!



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Friends, more than just a TV show.

Sometimes I go days at a time without having contact with a girlfriend. I am not a real "girlie girlfriend" type. I'm ok with that. But sometimes, unexpectedly, all of the stars shine brightly and I am truly blessed with spending lots of time with my girlie girlfriends. It's been one of those fabulous times. I have had weekends, breakfasts, dinners, long chatty phone calls, crazy 20-in-one-day email chains… It has been wonderful! To all my girls…thanks for being in my life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

iPod sync

I got a new computer...almost a year ago. I have been gradually moving all of my files from my old computer to the new one. In the past, when I have purchased a new computer and had to move files, it has been an emergency because the old one blew up or something. This time is different. This was a straight upgrade.

Most of the file transfers have gone quite smoothly.

Today I hit a wall.

I needed to sync up my iPod.

iPods are temperamental.

iTunes sucks.

I have, on more than one occasion, unintentionally erased ALL of the music off from my iPod.

Today, I did it intentionally. Because that is what you have to do. In order to move your iPod from one computer to another, you have to erase and then reinstall all of your music. All 3180 songs worth. Hopefully it will be finished some time today. :-(

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy New Era

No matter how excited or dismayed you are about who won the presidential election, I think we can all agree that it is time for a change. Here's the deal, though. We can't expect the change to come from The White House. The change needs to come from the American people. As long as we are counting on the government to "make it all better", it is only going to get worse. We can't rely on the government to help everyone in need. We need to start putting more effort into caring for each other. This means getting to know your neighbor better, even if you don't really like them all that much. This means taking care of each other when they need a helping hand. This means, if you are in business, treating your employees and customers fairly.

For too long now, the American Dream has become the American get rich scheme where we have no conscience for anyone but ourselves. Evangelicals say they want a Christian president to uphold their values when they aren't even holding those values up themselves. Consumers want high pay checks and rock bottom pricing at the megastores. Corporations want tax cuts and bailouts without taking the fiscal responsibility.

When we begin to treat each other with respect and kindness, putting others before ourselves, change will really happen. Eventually, that change will get to The White House too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote today.


Whatever your political preference, vote. It's our freedom. It's our right.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Aliens have invaded my body.

I am not quite sure what is going on, but yesterday I decided I needed to clean out my pantry. Yes, I know. Cleaning again! I don't know where this is coming from, but I hope the aliens stick around a while because I have lots of things that could use some cleaning around here.

Quite a few years ago, I "decided" to completely convert my pantry contents into Tupperware containers. This weekend I figured out that some of those items had been in the Tupperware containers since I started this quest.

YUCK!

When I was finished, my pantry looked like this:




...and my counter looked like this.




Some of the containers will be repurposed, but the good news is that everything that went back into the pantry is fresh, healthy and a product that I will be using in the near future. (Emphasis on NEAR!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It was a good day.

It was a good day.


"So what!" You say.

"It's FALL!" I say.

"I even cleaned today!" I say.

"So." You say.

"Obviously, you don't know me at all." I say.


Fall=depression.

Cleaning=argh!


..and here I am writing a blog post with the title "It was a good day."


I even got my guitar out and dusted it off to try to figure out a song. (Boy are my fingertips sore since I haven't played in so long!) Once again, I must thank Al Gore for inventing the Internet because it was super sweet to be able to locate the chords on the Internet and they even had little pop-up's to show you how to play them!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trunk or Treat


Tonight we had "Trunk or Treat" at church. Usually, this is done from the trunk of people's cars in the parking lot. Tonight we had inclement weather and so we used the contingency plan which was to set up with card tables in the reception hall. This worked out great and I must say was warmer and dryer so I was pretty glad! The crazy thing is that people go all out decorating their space for this event. Last year (our first) we were blown away by how festive people could get the trunk of their car looking. This year was no exception. I decided to utilize candles in my d├ęcor, so I wandered around the house gathering up all of the scented jar candles that I have stashed in most every room. The highlight of my night was when one of the kids stopped by for candy, paused, and politely said, "You have the smelliest table of all!"




Very amazing things happened in church this morning, but I will leave that story to Pat as I was serving in another area of the building at the time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My solution to depression caused by economic catastrophe:

CNN

HGTV

No hope

Fresh ideas

Someone else has to fix it

Do it yourself

Same old, Same old

New trends

Dow Jones losses

Closet treasures are valuable to Someone!

Crime, politics, business

Home, garden, food

Drones reading a script

Designer wannabes willing to go out on a limb

Stop watching CNN and start watching HGTV.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Michael Pollan interview

The other day I was driving around town and heard the beginning of an interview with Michael Pollan. I was so excited because I love to hear his views. Unfortunately, before it was over, I had to get out of the car. I was elated when I found out that I could find the interview online.

The subject of this interview is a letter he wrote explaining why our food and farming system is one of the most important issues facing the next president. It was very enlightening.

If you are interested in listening to it you can get it from HERE or you can get it as a podcast from iTunes (NPR-Fresh Air-10-20-2008) The interview lasts about 40 minutes. Here is NPR's blurb about the interview.


In a open letter to the next president, author Michael Pollan writes about the waning health of America's food systems — and warns that "the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close."

The future president's food policies, says Pollan, will have a large impact on a wide range of issues, including national security, climate change, energy independence and health care.

Pollan is the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History Of Four Meals and In Defense OF Food: An Eater's Manifesto.

Instead of me rehashing his words, I encourage you to listen to the interview. The first time I heard him speak was what really got me interested in eating more whole, unprocessed food. I don't know how successful I am with that, but at least I am working at heading in that direction.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Video



Sand and Dirt (HD) from Caleb Alexander Slain on Vimeo.

A friend of mine created this video. It is pretty cool. It lasts under four minutes. Enjoy!

Busy weekend!

This weekend was probably the busiest weekend I have had in quite a long time.

Our church hired a new youth pastor over the summer. With new people come new ideas, new directions and new...paint! We spent the weekend transforming the youth area. It was quite an exciting project. The boys and I and one of Ian's friends went in on Friday afternoon to start. The room started out this color.

It ended up these colors!!



Yes, I know this looks quite scary and I must admit I was a bit sceptical when I saw the swatches, but it looks amazing! I will try to get a shot of the room. They completely rearranged everything and makes ME want to be in there!

After painting until 9pm on Friday, we came home and crashed. Then the boys and I got up and were downtown by 8:45 to walk.

As soon as we finished I headed back to the church to paint some more. Ian had his friend over to celebrate his birthday and then it was up early to sing this week at church.

Needless to say, I crashed for about an hour when I got home on Sunday afternoon.

Pat made it home safe and sound and now I am ready to start the week, although I really feel like I need a vacation instead!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Walking, second try.

Today was the big walk day. Yes the ACTUAL day when all of the rest of the walkers were there. I got an unexpected surprise. The boys decided to walk with me! Pat is at scout leadership training for the weekend so the boys and I have been hanging out, just the three of us. The walk went well, and at last check had raised over $72,000.00 for the American Cancer Society for breast cancer!

We had a rather interesting experience on the ride home from downtown Grand Rapids. The highway we use to get home parallels the Grand River. As I glance over to the east, I notice movement out of the corner of my eye. I realize what is going on and alert the boys to the situation. By this time, I am having trouble keeping track of the traffic on the highway and the action on my right.

I can hardly believe what is going on, but I am keeping pace with a seaplane that is coming in for a landing on the river! As we watched the plane land and leave a trail of spray in its wake, Spence announces, “…and they say nothing exciting ever happens in Grand Rapids!”

Well, it sure was exciting for us!

P.S. The newspaper reported $150k raised with over 2000 walkers! (edited 10/20/2008)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cymbalta. Change your tune!

Have you seen those Cymbalta commercials? Have you heard that haunting dreary tune? Have you seen those sad depressed faces?

They say "Depression Hurts". Yes. It does. But not as much as those commercials do!

The commercials ran last winter and really got me down. I was so thankful when they finally quit showing them.

The other day, from in the kitchen I heard that stinking song again! Argh! I thought they had dragged that commercial out, dusted it off to show it a few times, but NO! They got a whole new set of depressed people to show us. They kept the same song and the same voice over, (yes dear, I know it was a cost reduction) and just found a whole new group of depressed people to shove in our faces. I am sure they realize these commercials make us depressed. I think it is all a ploy to sell more Cymbalta. Nobody really needed the stuff until they started showing those commercials!

Please, Cymbalta people. Play a happy tune and put me out of my misery!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I am such a goofball!

I was all set to do the Making Strides walk tomorrow. Even put up a blog post. (deleted it!)

The walk isn't until next Saturday. I must say, it would have been easier to find a parking spot tomorrow than it will be next Saturday. I am feeling rather stupid right now. Oh wait, we aren't supposed to say stupid anymore. Doh!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Logo editing 101

I love my job at the Photography studio. One of the reasons I enjoy it is because I get to do all kinds of fun stuff. We are in the process of launching a new website and I have been having a blast learning how to to make it work and generally playing around with it.

Today I got to edit our existing logo in order to make it work for the website. It needed a little tweaking. I would love to post it on here, but the teaking that was required was to make everything transparent and white so it would show well on the colored background of the webpage.

I will post one version of it that I made with a colored background.





Ooh, Aaah. Isn't it pretty!

Once we get the website up I will ask y'all for technical feedback. Stay tuned! We are almost ready!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Who's school project is this anyway?


















Spencer is in the "structures" magnet at school. The highlight of the magnet is that they get to build (drumroll please...) a structure! Spencer originally wanted to build a Stuckey's model, but his teacher encouraged him to break new ground, so he decided that his newest love is diners.

Naturally, he decided to immortalize Rosie's Diner, a local establishment off US 131, Exit 101. (Now he is coaching me with directions as of course, I have no clue about exit numbers!) For those that are not local, Rosie's is the actual diner that the original Bounty paper towel commercials were filmed in and was moved to Michigan along with two other diners! If you would like to know more, you can check out their site HERE.

With the directions to use items currently found around the house, we discovered ourselves scrounging for boxes, shiny silver items and other supplies. I was pleased that the only item we needed to purchase for the entire project was in fact, silver spray paint.

I did my best to let it be Spencer's project and not mine, but boy it is hard! Ian helped as well with some creative input and much running around looking for supplies. Dad (wisely) was gone for most of the heavy project work!

Monday, October 6, 2008

ABC presidential choice poll

This year I have had a particularly difficult time trying to decide which candidate's carefully crafted, made for media statements I agree with. I think it is important to know why you are voting for someone. (The color of the tie they wear in the debates does not count as a reasonable reason!)



My dear friend Cil sent me a link to this quiz you can take. It really helped! Grab a cuppa Joe and take this quiz. It took me about 10 minutes, but I am kinda indecisive!



ABC Match-o-matic (Click here!)

ABC has a test at the above address to see whose campaign statements, McCain's or Obama's, you agree with most. They don't tell you who made the statements, of course, but a statement made by each candidate on the same topic (economy, immigration, judiciary, etc.) will be side by side.
You just pick which statement you agree with and, after selecting all 13, you'll find out which candidate's philosophy you support.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Five

Ryan D. over at http://www.thisisreverb.com/ is doing a five challenge.


Here are five reasons why I like to read Ryan's blog (in random order):


1. I enjoy his beautiful photographs.

2. The way he expresses God in real life amazes and encourages me.

3. I never know what to expect when I read his posts, but they always invoke an emotional response. (love, pain, humor, etc.)

4. His recipes look fabulous. (although I haven't tried one yet!)


...last but not least...


5. My site stats go crazy when I play along on his linky games.



Thanks Ryan!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sansone, Fey, Palin, Huh?

Is it me, or is everyone beginning to resemble Sarah Palin?









Today I did my walking video, and my first thought was, "WoW, Leslie Sansone kinda looks like Sarah Palin.










Of course we all know that Tina Fey looks like Sarah Palin.










But the other day at work, someone told me that I look like Sarah Palin. REALLY!

Yep, I've got it nailed! (Especially the glasses!)


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I am so humbled!

No posts for over a week and then three in one day...huh?

When I sent out the request for donations for the Making Strides walk that I am doing, Pat included it in Photo of the Day. Through a chain of his relatives that I can't quite wrap my head around, I received a donation from one of his relatives that coincidentally was walking a 3 Day walk in the Twin Cities. I could go on and on with my rambling, but below is her recap of her walk. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy. (A tissue or shirt sleeve might be necessary too!) It is worth the minutes of your time!

Dear Supporters,

Yes indeed we crossed the finish line. There were victories and defeats along the way, but the bottom line is we made it, all with smiles on our faces. A big thank you for supporting the Twin Cities, 3-day, 60 mile, Susan G. Komen breast cancer walk. A whopping 7.3 million dollars was raised. Just blows the mind doesn't it? I have not heard a final number, but it has been reported there were anywhere from 3000-3500 walkers, with crew support of 400-500 making this walk all happen seamlessly. It is difficult to put into words the experience. We were greeted all along our route with, vehicles honking, hi-fives, tears, smiles, whistles, flags, banners, posters, mist water to cool us, treats of all kinds (including Iced coffee from Caribou Coffee), thank you upon thank you for walking, chairs to rest our weary bodies, foot massages, photographs, lemonade and drinks of most all kinds, chocolate, young and old alike, encouragement came in every form imaginable. I must tell of Jody's couch. It was well worn red velvet and large enough for our team, "Hope's Path" to sit together while Jody's husband took our picture. Jody's couch appeared on the route no less than threes times each day. Same couch, same hi-five, same entourage with Jody's husband, carting that precious couch of honor and dignity in memory of Jody. Three days of walking and talking. Asking, why are you walking? Or answering, why am I walking? The clear common goal was foremost in all conversations. Talk about a united front. Please forgive the play on words! Couldn't resist!Each and everyone, welcomed back into camp every afternoon with cheers of victory. From the first to return to the last, each walker was received with jubilation. All were victorious. Our last day, Sunday, with five more miles, our excitement heightened as we caught the first glimpse of our destination through a break in the trees. There was the end of our journey, our goal and our finish line. With each step, the anticipation grew. At about two blocks to go, we watch the ten person team ahead of us lock arms and silently walk as one unit to the finish line. The closing ceremony at the Minnesota Capital would turn out to be an awesome event. The mere logistics of dealing with thousands of walkers and families of supporters was a monumental feat. The medical and crew walked ahead of us. The walkers who were not only walking, but also survivors wore pink tee shirts and congregated in one area in order to enter last. In tribute and honor, we knelt on one knee and raise a well worn shoe as our pink tee shirt companions passed. I have never received such awesome outrageous treatment or been involved with a group of people so focused. This indeed has renewed my commitment in humanity. It is a good thing to enjoy each other without reservation. So where do we go from here? Business as usual, I think not ever again. An experience such as this has far more magnitude than ever allowing a back to normal life style. I will never forget my new friends, though most I never knew their name. I will always remember the close bond and oneness. I am proud to have had a part in his humungous endeavor. I am the same me, but most definitely different. Another dimension has been added. I am thankful for it and grateful to all who made this possible. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!

Sincerely,
Your walker,
K. J.

I walked away some pounds, and crappy attitude, too!

Yea for me, I did it. Of course the biggest exercise was clearing out the space and finding the DVD. Tomorrow will be easier because that part of the exercise is done.

The lady even said, look at "her"she lost 60 pounds on the "Walk-Away" program. While I don't think I will be starring in videos anytime soon due to my weight loss, I do think I will try to stick with this.

You have my permission to keep me accountable here folks!

Exercise, yes really!



I am doing this today!!

By posting it, now I am committed.

I will report in later as to how out of breath I got!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cooking class

Last Saturday I took a cooking class. It was fabulous! When I first saw the ad for the class, I was a bit bummed because it was for stocks and soups. Spencer doesn't like soup and I usually get stock from a can or box. (Since taking the class, using stock from a can or box seems like a sacrilege right now!)

I was amazed how much I learned. I wish I could post it all here! I think the funniest part was that what we made for stock was pretty much what I was serving for soup. Wow. Chef said that when you simmer for a while there should be no flavor left in the veggies, that you should strain out the veggies, throw them away and add in fresh veggies and the rest of your ingredients to make your soup. What a concept!

He also suggested making a big batch of stock and freezing it in containers to use in recipes later. That sure solves some problems too.

I am excited for the class next month!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My kid is so smart, no really, he is.

Friday I bought a new purse. I was pretty excited because I needed a new purse. I seem to have outgrown my last one. Anyway, I got it home and started the process of changing purses. I opened it up to remove any stray packing paper and silicone drying packs. As I buried my face in the purse for the final check of things that didn't belong to me, I was surprised to find...


...a STENCH!


Eww. This was not a stench that I was going to be able to live with. What to do? I was whining about it to Ian and he said just take it back and get another one.


I got a great deal on this purse. It was on clearance. I was starting to think maybe I knew why. I stuck my nose in the purse again. Could I possibly deal with this smell? Definitely not!




Ian suggested I buy a pack of Doublemint gum, open it up and put the pieces in there. Hmmm. Interesting concept.



I am happy to report that today I am loading up my minty fresh purse with all of my stuff!


Thanks Ian! You rock!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Am I an old lady, or what?

Pat and some guy friends went on a motorcycle weekend getaway. They are calling for rain most of the weekend. It was pouring this morning before he left. I asked him if cancelling the trip was going to be an option. Nope.

I just got a call and they all arrived safely. He said there wasn't that much rain once they got north a bit. I actually am quite happy for him. I know how much he enjoys this trip. Plus he bought me flowers.

My wild weekend is going to be pretty crazy with out Pat here. It is just me and the boys. so for my excitement I decided to start a crochet project. Wow! Wild, huh! I have a friend having a baby soon. I hadn't done any crochet work in a while, so I thought I would do something special for her.

I forgot how slow the thin. thin. thin. baby yarn goes. I hope I have it done before the second kid arrives!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

sevens

One of my favorite bloggers is having a "sevens" challenge today.


Here is my list of seven reasons I am glad I married my husband.


1. He makes me laugh.
2. He supports me in everything I do.
3. He loves our kids.
4. He loves everyone else’s kids.
5. He is a hard worker.
6. He is a man of integrity.
7. He loves God.


Love you sweetie!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Not enough hours in the day


I am suffering from two issues right now. First I am crazy busy. My summer commitments are overlapping with my fall commitments and that leaves little free time. Free time for things like washing the kitchen floor. I hate cleaning. Even if I had 24 hours in a row I still wouldn't manage to get the floor clean. Anyway, with being so busy, I haven't had lots of free time to blog and even then, I feel like I don't have anything interesting to say.


Work was kind of touch and go today. The woman of the couple that I wrote the divorce post about called today and said she and her ex were going to come in together to place an additional order. Yea, whatever. Keep me out of your shenanigans!


Then, the girl whose mom has cancer came in and I asked where her mom was. She said she couldn't make it today. Hmm. I finished with her order and 20 minutes later realized that this was not the same girl, but one that looked just like her! Thank God I didn't ask how she was handling chemo this week. That would have freaked her right out!


Fortunately, I seem to have made it through the day without saying anything too embarrassing.


VICTORY!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thoughts for the day

There are lots of screaming kids at Meijer on a Saturday morning and their parents don't seem to care.

Organic spices cost roughly the same amount as regular spices.

When all you run to the store for is spices and toilet paper, you realize how much toilet paper actually costs.

Friday, September 5, 2008

So today I got called out. Called out for putting up such a lame blog post yesterday.

Why did you keep it so simple? Why didn’t you tell the story? Why didn’t you share your heart? I was asked.

Because it hurts too much. I thought.

Two weeks ago a mom and daughter came in to the photography studio that I work in. They came in to order the daughter’s senior high school pictures. The mom was wearing a turban. There was a wisp of hair sticking out the front. The turban bothered me. The wisp of hair bothered me just as much. I knew it was one of the few wisps of hair she had left after the chemo.

I remember when my mom would wear the caps. They looked so out of character. She never wore a hat before. Why isn’t she wearing her wig today? I would wonder. The wigs are HOT and make me sweat! She told me once.

I worked with the mother and daughter as they looked through the proofs. The mom was so happy that the pictures turned out so nice. The daughter was happy too. The mom and I were discussing how much time she needed to keep the proofs out to show them to all of the important people that she wanted to show them off to. She couldn’t wait to show them to her oncologist and the oncologist’s nurse. They were high on her list. I wondered how often her daughter went with her to her chemo appointments.

I went with my mom once. She had built a community there. I wish I had gone more often and sat by her side to keep her company. I can’t change that.

I looked at the mom. She told me the oncologist told her that the cancer would probably come back in a couple of years. I saw her look lovingly at the daughter’s pictures. It occurred to me that she probably wouldn’t be around to help select her daughter’s wedding pictures. The daughter was very sweet, but never condescending to the mom.

We often tell the story to my children of the day that my mom came to visit the house that we currently live in. She painstakingly sat in every room of the house. She even crawled hand over hand up the stairs to sit in each bed room. She needed to sit and rest because this was an exhausting ordeal for her.

It was the only time she was here. She said she wanted to come here because she wanted to know where we were once she got to heaven. We have lived in this house longer than either my husband or I have lived in any other house in our entire lifetime.

When the mom and daughter left, I sat at my desk. I wept.

I wept for that mom. I wept for my mom.

Now you know. That is why I am walking to raise money and awareness to end cancer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Making Strides Breast Cancer walk


I am doing a walk-a-thon in October. (Do we still call them walk-a-thon's?)


In any case, here is a link to my sign up page in case you are inclined to support my efforts. Thanks for considering it!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Let's go Green!



No this is not a cheer for the Michigan State Spartans or any other team that boasts green as one of their school colors. This is a cheer for one of the projects I worked on this past weekend. One of the items that I wanted to accomplish was to change over to a different computer at my desk. I had one in my workshop in the basement that I had been hoarding away from when I went to school last year. It is loaded with all of my really cool graphics software. I kept wanting to work on my stuff, but don't really like sequestering myself away in the basement. (o.k. I will admit it, sometimes sequestering is awesome!)

When I pulled everything out from my desk, and I do mean everything, I decided to reroute all of the cables as well. I told my husband that we needed to address the "power management" at the desk. This may seem like an odd thing to say to say to a spouse, but if you understand where he works, it makes perfect sense!

He had a brilliant idea. How about you figure which items need to have constant power (i.e router, modem, etc.) and put them on one power source (a.k.a. plugbar) and which items you can turn off at night (i.e. CPU, monitor, printer etc.) and put them on another source that you can shut down when you are not using the computer. This will save electricity.

Hot diggity, it worked and it wasn't even that hard! Now I feel like I am doing even more to help out ole planet Earth.

Next I am moving to the TV area. Surely all of those things don't need power all night long!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Weekend catch up, and a good night's sleep


This weekend is a catch-up weekend. Things have gotten absolutely out of hand around here!

Laundry is behind.
Bills are behind.
Cleaning is behind.
Bills are behind.
Yardwork is behind.
Bills are behind.
Joy is behind.

Are you noticing one issue that seems to be standing out repeatedly? The paperwork was piling up, I have had a couple of outstanding issues with my insurance company (and I don't mean outstanding in a good way!) and whenever I glanced at my Quicken files and my online banking center things just didn't seem right.

Yesterday I finally tackled the disaster area that is my desk and all of the receipts and bills that go along with it. Things still seemed out of whack. I was so depressed. Have I really been overspending that much? Did I really do that much school shopping? Should I have passed by the rambutan at the store?

I was in the final stages of bill paying, bleary eyed and tired, when I came to the paycheck stub that Pat brings home and dutifully puts in the receipt basket each week. It looked odd. It did not say "not negotiable" on it like the usual direct deposit stubs do.

Holy crap! I yelled, you brought home a check!

Then I found another one in the file drawer that I had missed.
Yikes! I would have found it in a couple of weeks when I reconcile my bank statement to my Quicken files, but let's just say I slept a little better last night than I did the night before.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

To burn or not to burn, that is the question.

When I first started my blog my friend recommended that I use Feedburner to burn my blog. After some research and much confusion I signed up for a Feedburner account and away we went.

Shortly after that my blog stopped posting regularly to my Yahoo home page and I got really frustrated! I cancelled my Feedburner setup and went back to just blogging with Blogger. Then of course you know that the problem wasn't with Feedburner, but with my Yahoo home page. Today I went back to using Feedburner. One of the reasons is that I have had a request for email subscriptions which Feedburner offers.

Anyway, enough techno-mumbo-jumbo! In the upper right corner there is now an email subscription link. There is also a link to subscribe in a reader such as Yahoo or Google or whatever you may use!

Email me if you can't get through on the blog and you need further assistance!
hollisterjfinklefart @ yahoo dot com

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's good to try new things.

Today the boys and I went to the grocery store.
While I had my back turned, they put something into the grocery cart. They think this is funny. Today I thought it was funny because I purchased what they bought, called it an adventure, and made them eat it.



I don't know how funny they thought that part was.

When I turned to look at my cart there was an alien-type thing in a plasitc container facing me. Actually, It was a group of about ten alien-type things looking at me. the boys were laughing hysterically!
This is a fruit that was grown in Guatemala called Rambutan. The instructions on the package said to remove the hard outer shell. A paring knife sliced through it and it came off pretty easily. These are the shells of four pieces of fruit.
The package said it would taste similar to a grape. These were white inside but they had a rather large pit or seed in the middle. I put the nickle in the picture for size reference.
It was definitely different! Spencer suffered through his complaining all the while. When he was finished he asked for something else for dessert. I said he could have an apple. He took one bite and said that the apple tasted like a piece of fluffy chocolate cake after the Rambutan.
Wow! That's some fruit!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Technology is Awesome!


Right now I am cruising down the highway doing 70 (or so) miles an hour and writing my blog. Life is grand! The fam and I are heading over to Detroit to see my brother and his family for the weekend. Pat just got this super-fabulous item for his laptop. It is a cellular internet card. He was all anxious to show it off. I was all anxious to try it out.

So far it has been amazing! We were able to get some details on a CD that I rented from the library, check out one of our favorite blogs, and verify one of the character names from the Fantastic Four movies.

Somehow, I don’t think this is what Al Gore had in mind when he invented the Internet.

So long Yahoo!

I have used MyYahoo! as my home page for a really long time. It has been great! I loved the pretty backgrounds that I could choose. I loaded my home page with all sorts of fun little widgets and gadgets and links and well, all sorts of really cool stuff.

The day I really got excited was when I began reading my first blog. Cranky Fitness. It was so cool because whenever The Crab dished out new blog material, I was right there, ready to read, because I got a cute little picture and the first line or so of what she had published. Life was good. Life got even better as I began to read more blogs and could add them to my sweet little home page. I was happy!

Then, (cue sinister music) things got a little strange. I started my own blog and placed it on my home page, but wait...that's not my latest posting. Maybe I need to refresh my page. Again. Again. Again. Again. Again. Still not my latest post. Maybe it was just my blog. Maybe I set something up wrong and it was all the fault of MY blog. Unfortunately, I realized that nobody's blog was getting updated consistently anymore.

This week I have been migrating all of my web-ly possessions over to iGoogle.

See ya Yahoo, it's been fun, but not that fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

pre-cooked veggies?


image courtesy of illiquid

We had corn on the cob for dinner. I set the pot of cooking water out on the porch after dinner so that it could cool and I could water some flowers with the water. Spencer and Ian were cleaning the kitchen when Spencer mysteriously disappeared!


When he came in I asked him where he had been. He matter of factly told me that he had watered the Z-bed with the corn water.


It was still hot!


We all got a laugh out of pre-cooking the veggies while they are still out in the garden!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My in-laws are awesome.

Well sort of. They have this great tradition that when one of them is eating at the other’s favorite restaurant, they call from the restaurant and rub it in. We get many phone calls from George’s Pizza in Austin MN. George’s is a family favorite and since none of us live in Austin any longer, it is always a “destination” to stop in and have some of our favorite pizza. This generates many gloating phone calls. The calls usually occur between the siblings, and I am kept out of the fray.

Recently, I was the recipient of a gloating call because one of the brothers was having cheese curds. We can’t get those here in Michigan. For the uninitiated, a cheese curd is a deep fried ball of cheese heaven. You may be thinking, oh I have had fried mozzarella sticks, it’s the same thing. No, it’s not...even...close. Cheese curds are WAY better! I love cheese curds. I didn’t need that call!

Once, many years ago, too many years to remember the number, my husband took me to a fair in Minnesota. “Let’s get some Tom Thumb donuts.” he says. “What’s a Tom Thumb donut?”, I ask. The crowd gasped. Well not really, but he was astounded I had never had one. Another regional item. I have been longing for them ever since. My love for Tom Thumb donuts came up in a phone conversation with one of the siblings recently. I was assured I wouldn’t get a call from some fair in Minnesota. Instead, today I got this package in the mail.



Notice the blurriness of the photo. I think I had the shakes!

Stale, who-knows-how-old, Tom Thumb donuts with instructions to add a couple of teaspoons of water, microwave, and inhale deeply.

What a creep!

How sick do you think I will get if I eat these things?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Friday!















It's Friday night, the boys are gone camping. Time for a chick flick and polishing toenails. Yippee!

(No, those are not my actual toes!)



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Divorce sucks.


And not just for the family members involved. Today I had divorced parents that came in to the company that I work for and totally sucked me into the misery that is their feud with one another. It made me mad! I was angry for about an hour because they were so inconsiderate. Then I thought about the kids that these goofballs have together and how they must run these kids through this nonsense on a regular basis. I felt sorry for them. It really made we want to put even more effort into my marriage. If not for my husband’s and my sake, then for our children. Nobody should be treated like that. Ever!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I am an addict.

Everyone who knows me knows that it is true. I get addicted to the regular things that other people get addicted to, but I also get addicted to other crazy things like scrap booking, computer games, rubber stamping, etc. Let me introduce you to my new friend, facebook.




It started out harmlessly, one friend request, it seemed simple. Before I knew it I was scouring my entire life looking for friends to send requests to.







Then I moved on to Flair. I was pretty darn excited to be so hip and knowledgeable to even know what flair was. What is flair? You are so uncool lucky you are reading this blog! Flair is this killer app item on your page where you collect buttons and put them on your bulletin board. My board is AWESOME! -note I even have Blogger flair!




Then I found out you could create your own flair! How cool is that! Pat had hired and aspiring graphic artist to design a logo set for us a long time ago. (Isn’t he amazing?) Our logo made great flair.





But then something very strange happened, I started to become obsessed! I began to see everyday objects in a whole new light, or should I say... shape! Suddenly, the pizza I was cutting for the kids wasn’t just a pizza, but a perfectly round object that could possibly become the world’s greatest flair!


“QUICK! GET THE CAMERA!” I screamed.


As I hovered over the pizza to get the perfect angle, with my starving children glaring at me, I felt guilty…as I got the perfect shot.

May I present the world’s greatest flair:
Peace o’ pizza.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The "Z" bed



















Last night we had zucchini for dinner. While this may not seem like a big deal to you, it was a very big deal for me. The reason…I grew the zucchini myself! Ok, not completely by myself, Spencer and I planted the seeds together a few weeks back. We were kind of late in the season for planting, but we proceeded anyway and last night we were able to consume the fruits (or vegetables) of our labor.

In case you are wondering about the title of this post, a couple of weeks before we planted the zucchini seeds, I had planted zinnia seeds. The zinnias were stating to sprout, so we just inter planted the “Z” plants together and deemed it the “Z-bed”

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Be careful what you wish for...

I said I wanted a clean house.
This is what I got.
Did I mention he had both knees replaced five months ago?





















Gotta have tunes...

















A "willing" helper. Really!