Thursday, May 31, 2007

a time to learn

I'm back from my "vacation" - and it was incredibly refreshing to be away from work for 7 straight days. I'm a spoiled girl - but at least it's already Thursday!
Here are some things I learned during my time off:
1. If I stay at home by myself for too long, I eat. A lot. It's important for me to have errands, or company or some big project to work on.
2. It's surprisingly easy to leave all thoughts of work at the office. I missed the people I work with - but not actually being there. (I do enjoy my job - don't get me wrong).
3. You can get infinitely more done when you're not at work. I can sleep in, watch a half hour of TLC, go to Home Depot, Target, Meijer and JoAnn (and take my time at each place), eat lunch, watch another 30 minutes of TLC, plant and hang flowers... at it's not even 3:00pm.
4. The gym is easy to go to when I'm at work, and it's on my way home. If I'm already at home - it seems awfully far away.
5. The bullfroggies in our backyard don't stop gulping - all. night. long.
6. Sleeping with the windows wide open is one of my favorite things (even with croaky-frog noises).
7. Except when it starts to rain in the middle of the night, and you have to run around the house, half asleep, and close the windows.
8. I live a pretty charmed little life. God is good to me!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I'm not really going anywhere - but I won't be at work again until next Thursday. Right now - I have plans to hang out with my friend D on Friday, and I think we'll head up to Uncle Tom's Cabin (Mark has an Uncle Tom, and Uncle Tom has a cabin on Wixom Lake) for the weekend - but other than that, I have no plans. Just the kind that don't really count. Like:
-sleeping in
-getting the house cleaned/organized
-planting some flowers/pulling weeds
-working on my sister's birthday gift (I'm making a couple of throw pillows for her - she picked out the fabric and requested them, so it's not like I'm spilling the beans on my blog)
-going to the gym in the middle of the day
It should be fun - I had to use up some vacation days before they expired. I'll try to keep blogging, but there may be a dry spell in there. So, dear loyal reader (or two), hang on - I'll be back!

lessons from the park

On Saturday afternoon, Mark and I spent some time at Rayner Park with 4 of our middle school friends. We were playing Lava Freeze Tag most of the time (a game that involves a person to be "It" who chases everyone else around the playground - if you're tagged, you freeze, but the wood chips are "lava" so you can only take one step on it at a time. This means that you must leap, climb, and shimmy your way around the park, trying to simultaneously avoid being frozen and unfreeze your "chilly" peers. It's a fun game, but I was tired and wearing shoes ill-suited to the task at hand - hence, I spent much more time being frozen than actually leaping, climbing or shimmying around the park).
During one of my frozen sessions of solitude, I watched a man playing with his two sons. One appeared to be about 8 years old, the other was probably about a year old, and fairly new to walking. Older Son was hanging upside-down, jumping off things, and generally propelling himself around the park much as any young lad would. Dad was chasing Younger Son around, making sure he didn't toddle right off some steps, or inadvertently into the tornado-like path of Older Son. The conversation Dad had with Older Son while chasing Younger Son was kinda cool:
Older Son: Dad, check out what I can do! (does some sort of upside-down flip/leap thing off the parallel bars)
Dad: That's cool, buddy!
Older Son: I can do it every time! Watch! (does it again)
Dad: Great job - but you know, sometimes it's good to do things that are hard for us. If you can do it right every single time, then you're not learning. We get better when we're doing things that we can only do right about half the time.
Older Son: (is losing interest in Dad's motivational speech) Okay.
Dad: (watching Younger Son trying to climb up a slide, land on his rear end, get up, and try again) Toddlers are great at that. They're always trying things that are too hard for them. By the time we grow up, we're not very good at that anymore.
How true! I've always liked learning things - but as I've gotten older, I've grown distinctly more concerned with being "good" at those things immediately. Makes me wonder how much I'm missing out on by being worried I'll look "stupid."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

wax on, wax off

I was at the salon Saturday morning, giving my hair some much needed love and attention, and it was lovely. I have just started going to see Jena, a fantastic gal with great big curls, a warm smile, and a really down-to-earth, open-and-honest personality that I enjoy. She actually scheduled my appointment for a half-hour before the salon opens, because she "likes to spend at least an hour with any new client, just to get a feel for what they want." Her salon just opened in November, and I know her daughter (an 8th grader) from WyldLife. I really love living in a small town sometimes!
We're in the back, shampooing my dreadfully split-ended hair, and chatting famously, when she pauses for a moment, looks at me, and says,
"Would you like me to wax your eyebrows for you while you're here?"
Now, to be fair - I've been wanting to get my eyebrows "done" for awhile now, and while I by no means have a unibrow or giant, fuzzy caterpillars sitting on my forehead... they are a little unruly and make me a bit self-conscious (in that crazy way girls get about things that no one else will ever really notice or care about.)

So I picked my pride up off the floor, and told her that yes, I would love to have my eyebrows done if she had the time. And I must say - she did a lovely job.
By the end of my hour, my split ends were no more AND my dream of having my eyebrows groomed by ripping hairs out of my face with hot wax had come true. And I couldn't be happier. Jena and I have started (what I hope will turn out to be) a long-term relationship.

Monday, May 21, 2007


My grandfather Rodney (aka Papa/Grandpa) got to go home and meet our Savior on Tuesday, May 15th. Mark and I went to Illinois for the visitation and funeral on Thursday and Friday. Mark was a pallbearer(all the grandsons were, with all the granddaughters as "honorary" pallbearers, which really means you just walk behind the boys carrying the heavy casket and kinda feel bad that you're not helping), and I read two passages of scripture in the service. Grandpa was a veteran of World War II, so he had an official military send-off at the cemetery - guns, flags, salutes... it was really cool.
Obviously, everyone was mourning - but it was so cool to look through old pictures and hear my grandma tell stories about how they met and when they were first married. Those kind of things need to happen more often. I found a picture of my grandma in 1947 (she was 22, I think) that looked almost exactly like a picture of me taken a few years back. It was really neat. I think we lose history a lot - old stories don't seem important when your life is so full of deadlines and projects and meetings. But our stories don't mean much without those who came before us - and it was good to remember that.
A co-worker told me this morning that I seemed really peaceful. I feel peaceful. My grandpa is kicking around heaven right now - and that's a very good thing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

pictures from New York

For those that asked (okay, just Julie)... Here are some pictures from our trip to New York (State, not City):

Joshua and Ashley were in a fort (the corner of the room) and a monster (Mike) was after them.

Maggie liked playing in the dirt at the park (and climbing on stairs and shooting off the ends of slides...) She's a tough cookie.

This picture of Timmy makes me laugh. It's his cross between the Emperor-from-Star-Wars and the Unabomber-look.

This is everyone - six adults, four kids, one camera on a timer... not bad!

Monday, May 14, 2007

angels and phones

I think my grandfather is getting ready to trade in his earthly body for a perfect, strong, heavenly body. I don't really think he'll look much like this little angel-guy right here - but I couldn't find a picture of an angel that looked much like my Papa.
He had a stroke nearly four years ago - it left him (for the most part) unable to speak, and completely unable to move one side of his entire body. He's been in a nursing home ever since.
Two things have been running through my mind since I got the phone call last night that it "wouldn't be long."
One - that my grandfather, who has been bedridden for nearly four years - will soon be in a magnificently glorified version of his earthly body. He will be strong, healthy, able to walk - and, of course - he'll be with our Creator, which tops everything else. I found myself praying for that last night - for his release from this world and the life he's been limited to these past years; and thanking God for the eternity that's waiting for him.
Two - Papa (what we all called him when we were little - he graduated to "Grandpa" a few years ago) always carried a knife in his pocket. Not a pocketknife - but one of those retractable blade doo-dads that carpenter guys use. Therefore, he was the one I took every toy to - you know how they package kids' toys in impossibly strong plastic that will sever your bones if you try to break through it yourself. Papa just had to pull out his knife - and that Care Bears CloudMobile was mine to play with ASAP!
It's funny what you remember.
In other news - our office got new phones today, and the funny beeping and new rings have given me an oh-so-slight headache. But it's cool to have fancy new phones.

Friday, May 11, 2007

you know you're friends when...

One way to know you've got a bosom friend:
(since most of you probably have no idea what I'm talking about - I'll provide this for you. You have to scroll down a bit to find the reference)
Kristen (my friend who lives in Rochester, NY) and I met up for a girls-weekend-out back in October. We both drove to London, ON (about halfway between our homes) for a weekend of eating out, shopping, and getting pampered. We had spa appointments (facial for me, massage for her) and then we both got our hair cut.
When I showed up at Kristen's house on Sunday, I commented on how long her hair was getting.
Kristen: Oh, it needs to be cut SO BADLY! I haven't gotten it cut since October, when we were together!
Me: (laughing) Me either.
I've managed to find a friend who is as delinquent in caring for her hair as I am. And for your information - I'm scheduled to get it cut/trimmed/chopped off (I haven't decided yet) next Saturday. The end (of split ends) is in sight!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

back to life

Not back-to-life in the "I was raised from the dead" sense... just back to routine, work, and home.

Mark and I left Sunday afternoon for Rochester, NY for a visit with friends who have moved away. Mike and Kristen live in NY with their two boys, Timmy and Josh. Scott and Heather (plus daughters Ashley and Maggie) were visiting family in NY and all six adults and four children (under age 5) spent an amazing two days together. Here are some highlights:

1. Timmy (who will be five in August) writes in full sentences, does Sudoku (a children's version with colored fish, but STILL) and creates perfect pictures on his LiteBrite (yes, they still make those!). Just try to hang around him for four days and not crack up.
2. God gave us absolutely perfect weather for our entire visit - sunshine, breezes, almost 80 degrees... we ate outside at every possible occasion.
3. Ashley (turned four in February) is a lovely, sweet little lady with an angel face, who graciously accepts every SINGLE compliment you give her. It left me wondering when we stop agreeing with people when they say "You are SO good at that!" and start with the whole "No, it's really no big deal, I actually kind of screwed it all up."
4. We (just the grown-up girls) went out to breakfast one morning, and the guys went the next day. I love love love my friends' kids, but it's sooo good for us to spend time together just being friends. I wanted it to go on all day long.
5. Maggie (about 20 months old) is so expressive - smiles that squinch up her whole face, a pout like you've never seen before, and the best head-down-eyes-up-looking-over-my-shoulder-so-coyly look you've ever seen. I wanted to hold her forever.
6. We went to the park, took walks, jumped on the trampoline - and that was about the extent of our schedule (aside from naptimes, bedtimes, mealtimes, and all other manner of "times" that young children will fastidiously hold to)
7. Joshua (turned 3 in February) sang a song about his favorite color (pink) and his second favorite color (purple) - and then turns around and leaps without fear all over the trampoline, the furniture, and anything else he can climb. He's all BOY - with shoulder-length blond hair and a love for shiny, pretty things.
8. I love preparing meals with friends - three or four people make things go so quickly - and even chopping vegetables and washing dishes seems like fun when you're in good company.
9. I got a glimpse of family life - kids running around, minivans, diapers, and snacks. While it looks exhausting, my heart just reaches out for it. Spending time with 2 4-year-olds, a 3-year-olds and an almost 2-year-old may make some people run for the hills. Me - let's just say my heart is so full.
10. It's just so obvious that God is with these people and our relationships. Mark said it well yesterday - it feels like there is longevity and trust - and not so much that we've known each other SO long (although it has been years) - but that you can just tell that we have years and years to come.

It's good to be back to my home and routine - but I praise God for an encouraging, full-of-blessings break.

Friday, May 04, 2007

...not exactly

Here is a snippet of a phone conversation I had last night...
Me: Have you checked on my blog lately?
Sister: Erm... I think about two days ago.
Me: Ooh, you should visit again and check out the pretty picture I posted of the bruise on my leg.
Sister: (pause) You posted B@@BS on your blog?!?
Me: Nooo... it's a bruise.
Sister: Booze??
Me: BRUISE. You're not listening to me. At all.
Sister: (laughing) You're right, I'm really not. Bruise is much better.
Two things I would never am most unlikely to post about. Never say never, right?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

pretty colors

To the left, you'll see the lovely flowers my hubby sent to my office on Tuesday. Blue irises and orange lilies - it makes the whole place brighter!!

To the right... this is what my right leg looks like today. The picture doesn't really do it justice - it's a lovely bruise (and a nice sized LUMP) that I gave myself yesterday when I closed the car door across my leg. Real swift, Kate. Just in time for skirts and capris.