Monday, July 28, 2008

And I Miss You

Well this is it. I just got home from my last dinner at Los Amigos with my best friend, Molly. This eatery has been Molly's all-time favorite here in Michigan, and she and I have frequented the joint many a time over the past couple of years. Molly leaves for her new home in Maryland on Wednesday and I will miss her dearly.

It's funny - you never know when people are going to make such a huge impact on your life. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would meet Molly and her family, and that we would (almost instantaneously) develop such a strong bond with one another, I never would have believed them. I've loved her little girls so much these past few years...and I've loved her friendship more than I can explain. Actually I can't imagine what in the world I did with my time before I met Molly & Co. They've become such a regular part of the fabric of my existence that now I don't know what I'll do without them. Of course we'll still see each other, and we'll be able to stay in touch (thanks to this lovely little Internet thingy,) but things are simply different from a distance and there's no real way around that.

My heart feels heavy and sad tonight. I cried myself all the way home after dinner. I'm happy for my friends and all the new beginnings that await them in MD, but I'm going to miss them tremendously. Even though I know it's not exactly fitting, the song "Missing" by Everything but the Girl keeps coming to mind. I've always liked this song, and somehow it seems appropriate for the way I feel right now. "...And I miss you, like the deserts miss the rain..." seems to be a very good summary for today.

I also recently got some shocking news that my nephew, Nick has decided to move ~250 miles away to a neighboring state to live with his dad and his dad's new girlfriend. This has a long, detailed story interwoven into it that has no business here on my blog, but I am completely taken aback by this turn of events. I have always been very close to my nephew and I really don' know what to to with the idea that he's no longer going to live close by. I'm still processing my feelings about all of this, and I'm not really even sure I can do justice to any of that at this point in time. I've spoken to him, and we had a rather intense conversation. I'm left with feelings of anger, sadness, confusion, disbelief, and, despite my own negative feelings, love for the kid. I can't fathom how this is going to impact our family...and what a difficult change this will be. Everyone is hurting, especially my sister and that makes me so sad. Yet again, I know I will still be able to see Nick, but it just won't be the same without him here in Michigan. Again thoughts of deserts and rain spring to my mind. What can you do?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Summer Harvest

My parents live on four acres of land and have a beautiful garden. We went to eat dinner with them last night and the meal was almost entirely home grown. I'm so proud of what they've done in their spare time! The images below hardly do justice to reality since they were taken with my cell phone. You'll have to forgive the quality a little.

I keep trying to get my mom to start a gardening blog because I think she has a lot of talent and knowledge she could pass on to the likes of me. No such luck so far though! Anyway...our dinner was fabulous, the best I've had in a long time! The food tasted so much fresher--even the potatoes we dug up tasted better than store bought ones. I can't exactly put my finger on what the difference is, they just taste better.

The peppers were by far the most abundant plants, at least as of right now. They were gorgeous, much prettier than the ones in our local Kroger's, and this is without any pesticides! Did I mention I'm really proud of what my parents have done?

My mom took all the veggies and chopped them up into a lovely summer medly. She added a little bit of fresh dill and some Mrs. Dash seasoning and the result was a delicious veggie stir fry. YUM!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Peculiar Park Incident

On Wednesday I went to the park near my house with my sisters, my niece, my friend Molly, and her two daughters. We had a good time while the girls played, but we also discovered something rather peculiar. Apparently some local kids (probably teenagers) thought it would be funny to place an old couch up on top of the big climbing rock. I actually think whoever did this must have worked pretty hard to get the thing up there. The couch was definitely not light!

After the requisite photo was taken, Molly (being the awesome Safety Queen she is) decided to climb up on the rock and check things out. The couch was very wobbly, so Molly took matters into her own hands. After making sure no kids were in the area, she shoved the couch down off the rock. We all felt this was in everyone's best interest since someone could have gotten seriously hurt if they'd tried to sit on the couch while it was on the rock.

Of course it didn't take long for kids who were present at the time to come check out the new seating. They thought the idea of their very own couch as a park accessory was pretty cool. Even the teenagers who were "playing" at the park during this time decided to jump from the rock down onto the couch. How I love teenagers and their constant desire to set good examples for the youngsters in their midst. Unfortunately I didn't capture any pictures of their antics, even though I know how very sad that is.

I guess you never know when an ordinary afternoon at the park is going to turn into something more than a little weird. I'm glad I had my cell phone, and even more glad my cell phone is a camera phone. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Best Book Award

My mom has now officially published her second book! It's called A Dog's Advice to Leaders: 13 Common Sense Principles to Enhance your People Skills and Make You a More Effective Leader and I am very proud of her. Some of you may remember my post about taking photos of Miss Brown back in late 2007. This book is what those were all about. It's pretty cool to see my photographs in print this way, I think the cover looks great! Now we just need to market the book so we can sell lots and lots of sure to tell everyone you know they need THIS BOOK! Oh, and stop on over at my mom's web page too, she's designing A Dog's Advice all by herself as she learns html. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Public Insight

I'm an avid NPR listener and one of my favorite programs is "The Story," which airs weekday evenings at 8:00 p.m. here in Michigan. Tonight got out of class a little early and was able to catch the tail end of today's story. When I got home I d I decided to check out the web site, and through that I found the
Without giving it much thought I signed up to be a source for American Public Radio! While I have no idea if I'll actually have anything of value to contribute; this seems like such an innovative idea, and I decided to take a plunge and see what happens. Here's how they explain it on the web site:

What you can expect by becoming a public source:
  • Up to one e-mail a month asking for your insight on issues we plan to cover — you respond only if you have knowledge; otherwise ignore the request
  • An occasional follow-up call or e-mail to get more information, if we follow a lead you provide
  • Confidentiality: We won't quote you on the radio or the Web without your permission
  • An open line for you to tell our radio programs what stories are important to you, your family and your community and help us set our coverage priorities
  • An occasional invitation to public insight meetings we hold in your area
  • No spam, marketing calls, or requests for money — your information is private and is not shared outside of a small circle of public radio journalists
Your help will make public radio coverage stronger:
  • By giving our shows access to first person information and sources, new story ideas, a wider range of perspectives, and information that helps us identify under-covered or emerging issues
  • By broadening our network of sources and strengthening our connections with diverse people around the country
  • By helping us create deeper and more relevant reporting based on a diverse range of sources
Cool beans!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I got some depressing news yesterday, which I can't really share here since it's not about me. Suffice it to say that someone very close to me is having some health concerns and complications. I'm worried, and this has made me realize just how much I take fro granted every single day. The reassuring beat of my heart; the steady, rhythmic filling and emptying of my lungs; the strength of my feet and legs...all of the constant work performed by my body, simply so that I may exist. The fact is that life is actually quite precious, and I think I need to be a little more grateful for what I've got. I was outside mowing the yard just now; and it's such a fresh, beautiful day . The sun is shining, the birds are singing, all seems right with the world...except that it isn't. The illusion of peace can be a strong one, but in actuality there is much turmoil out there in this big, overwhelming world.

On a slightly lighter note and speaking of mowing the yard, I calculated that I've mowed the yard approximately 312 times in my lifetime. This is based on the idea that there are about 24 weeks in a typical mowing season. I'll be 33 in August and I've been the designated yard girl for 13 of those years. I think it should be someone else's turn to mow the yard for a change!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Sunny Sunday on the Lake

We went to Portage Lake with my parents this afternoon. They put the boat in the water for the first time this was a beautiful day for boating and we had a great time!

Dad is in his element when he's out on the water. I haven't seen him have this much fun in I don't know how long. He really loves boating and his enthusiasm was contagious today! Of course there were the typical hiccups along the way, but once all the trailer hookup glitches were worked out we were on our way!

Mom decided to take the less windy seat on the floor of the bow. She looked cute sitting up there. In fact, the view from the bow is pretty much the best one if you ask me.

We really had a good time today, and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day in terms of the weather. This was a welcome change for me since there's been so much rain so far this summer. Despite getting to the lake later than we planned, our timing was great too. I had fun with my camera out on the water, and I think I managed to get some interesting shots, espeically around the time the sun was setting.

Even though loading the boat back onto the trailer at the end of our day was a challenge that required both Michael and my dad to have to go for an unexpected swim, we had lots of fun. I'm hoping we can get back to the lake again soon!

To see more images from our excursion, check out my photostream on Flickr!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pathetic Puppy

Our dog, Ditto has been chewing at her paws these past couple days. At first I thought nothing of this because, after all, she can be a bit neurotic at times. Then last night she got the sheets wet at the bottom of our bed because she was licking at her paws so much--can you say ewwww?! After that happened we tied a towel around her neck to try and discourage her licking. Then today I noticed she's getting scabs in the place where she's been chewing incessantly. I don't see anything wrong with her paws, so my best guess is that she has some mosquito bites under her fur or something. Well I finally got fed up with her chewing on her feet this afternoon (she would bite at them and then shake her head a little as if it was really bugging her) so I decided to get creative. Socks seemed to be the best answer. I checked to see if I had any leftover kid socks since they would be the perfect size, but no such luck. My next option was an old pair of my socks. I put them on her and secured the ends with hair ties to make them as snug as possible. I wanted to be sure not to make them so tight as to hurt Ditto's feet, but I wanted them to stay put too. This quickly got on her nerves and she was walking in a really funny way.

The solution didn't last long because she just couldn't stand the feeling of those hair ties near her paws. Here she is looking all forlorn after having pulled off one of the two socks...time for me to get even more creative!

My next tactic was to attach the hair ties to her collar and then attach them to the socks. This way she wasn't as annoyed by the ties and the socks would still stay in place, thereby preventing her from chewing off her paws!

Clearly neither of the dogs were too thrilled with my creativity, but I figure I can endure their penetrating, pathetic puppy stares if it's going to save us from unnecessary money spent at the animal clinic! didn't take Ditto long to decide she could live with the socks enough to play ball, and subsequently fall fast asleep on the dining room floor under my feet, which, consequently, is where she is as this is being typed. Welcome to my wacky world!

Two Words

Two words can sum up why I prefer to fight my weeds by hand, fruitless though my efforts may sometimes seem:

Hermaphrodite Frogs

Everyone needs to be aware of makes my stomach hurt.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

This morning at 2:00 a.m.

I was doing dishes after all our guests went home and this image caught my eye. Nothing too special, just a wine glass drying on the counter, but I liked the shadow cast by the overhead light so I decided to stop washing dishes and get my camera. Fun times

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Dreams & Disappointments

Last night I had dreams that both my dogs died. It was horrible, and it seemed so real that I still have a sad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I guess it's because so many things are changing for me right now...I'm generally feeling somewhat sad and rough around the edges. I was so relieved when I could give both my fur babies big hugs this morning.

So far this summer all my attempts at enjoyment have been somewhat disappointing. The family and I tried to go to the Howell hot air balloon festival this past Saturday night, but by the time we got there and spent way too much money on parking and unmentionable fair food, we heard that both the balloon launch and the dusk balloon glow/fireworks show were canceled due to high winds and threatening thunderstorms. We tried to make the best of the situation, but overall it was a big let down. Then last night I had a big party scheduled for the fireworks in my neighborhood and it poured down rain on my parade. Again no fireworks! We did make the best of that one and people came over to play games instead, but still...I feel a general sense of blah at all this.

I don't know if it's just because I'm getting older, and therefore busier, or what exactly...but it just seems like a big rip off when you put so much time and energy into an activity and you don't get the same amount of enjoyment back out. Gah!!

Because I am a NERD!

Click here to get your own nerdy certificate of you helped!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Tale of the Table

Okay so I've been trying to decide whether or not to blog about this, but I think it's too good not to! My relatives from Tennessee were in town this weekend for a visit. We hadn't seen them since 2004 so it was really great to get together. On Saturday we had a girls day out in honor of mother's day. My two sisters and I took my mom, my aunt, and my cousin to Zingerman's in downtown Ann Arbor for some of the world's best sandwiches. The place was extremely busy, as usual, but we waited in line and all seemed to be going well.

Since it was so busy we decided someone should go scout out a table. That someone was me. I found a nice picnic table in the covered tent outside, but after standing there for a minute I realized the tent was really muggy. At about that time my mom came out and together we decided to move to the picnic table on the far end, where there was a gap in the tent and a better breeze. As we got situated at the new table the rest of the family started to come out. My family consists of some big people, myself included, but still, I was absolutely shocked at the next thing that happened. My sister and mom were on one side of the table, while my cousin and I were on the other side. My sister started to slide down to make room for my aunt to sit down and out of nowhere the whole freaking table collapsed! This huge, wooden table with metal legs went down to the ground in a matter of seconds, taking us with it. Luckily no one was hurt, though for a minute I was worried about my mom's legs since she was on the end where the table ended up. The next several minutes seemed to go by in slow motion, almost like a dream...a really bad dream. We all managed the challenging task of getting out from under the table, amidst the stares of fellow diners and shock/alarm of the employees in the tent. I just wanted to get the hell out of that tent, and actually the entire restaurant...I was so mortified!! Once we were clear of the tent and certain no one was hurt, we managed to find two smaller tables outside. The entire time people were running up to us asking us if we were okay. I seriously just wanted to be left alone, but that was not to be the case.

My older sister and I went in to get drinks for everyone, and as we were standing in the line, yet another employee came up to us and (laughing) said she had heard what happened. She asked if we wanted anything and I told her no (at this point I REALLY just wanted people to leave us alone!) My sister had other ideas, and she told the girl she wanted 3 blondie brownies Zingerman's makes. The girl said that was fine and scurried off to get them. We had just finished filling our cups when none other than the store owner showed up. He was very concerned about us and wanted to make sure we were all okay. Despite the hilarity of the situation, he had the good grace not to laugh. After holding the door for me he came over to our table and asked my sister for her receipt. None of us knew what was going on until he came back about five minutes later with the $55 we had paid for our sandwiches. He said there was no way we were leaving there and paying for our lunch after what happened. I'm sure he was concerned about liability too, but thankfully nothing was hurt other than our pride. I wonder if I will ever be able to go back to Zingerman's without feeling at least a little bit embarrassed? I know I won't be sitting on one of their picnic tables again any time soon!