i've only just begun...

I said goodbye to Doug at 8:00pm on Friday night - I'll see him again on Thursday evening.

In the meantime...

For breakfast yesterday, I had a peanut butter/chocolate chip granola bar.
For lunch yesterday, I had cashew chicken at the Chinese buffet in Wegman's.
For breakfast today, I had Reeses Puffs.
For lunch today, I had a peanut butter sandwich.

I miss you, Doug, I really do, but what can I say? While the cat's away... this mouse is all but bathing in peanut butter.


My brother, Ethan.

I'm home for the week with my family.

Earlier this evening, my mom mentioned that I should read through Ethan's journal for his English class. I had previously read some of the ridiculous papers that he's turned in, but they didn't even prepare me for the journal entries. After reading them, it's a wonder to me that he passed his class - say nothing about finishing the class without the teacher physically harming him in exasperation. The journals range from sarcastic to ridiculous to flat out lies (like the one about the time he was kicked in the head by a horse named Black Death when he was 6 years old? Or the one where his friend made him do drugs at age 4?). Poor, poor, poor Mrs. Bieler...

Here are some excerpts:

Week Two: A person you admire.
"This journal entry stumped me. I just couldn't understand what it was saying for the life of me. I mean, I could read and comprehend all the words except the last one. Finally I looked up this word, "admire", and soon realized the source of my confusion. Admiration is when someone looks up to another person and respects them. That was my problem. Ethan Bannister doesn't admire anyone, everyone admires him. That is a very famous quote and it's true..."

Week Five: Describe a place you know well.
"One place that I know extremely well is Albion's town cemetary. A person of my profession, a hitman, often spends time in cemetaries cleaning up the job. When I'm not burying my victims, however, I do get the rare opportunity to take in some of the sights of this resting place..."

Bonus Entry: Peer Pressure.
"... When I was about four, a so-called friend pressured me into doing something terrible. My "friend" offered me drugs and told me I would be cool if I did them. So I did. After I got high, then she, my friend, got me to do something even worse than doing drugs. She got me... to shoot an elephant! ..."

Then... then there was week 3. Mrs. Bieler must have thought that Ethan had mellowed out after his two previous entries. I can just imagine her reading through the entry and feeling her heart warm - the use of detail, the intricacy of the the imagery...

Week Three: A certain scene I witness today made me think of...
"This morning I woke up bright and early as usual. However, rather than enjoying a fresh brewed cup o'joe, I decided to go outside for a stroll. I bundled up to stave off the biting cold. I walked outside and headed for our pond. The sun was peeking up over the horizon, and I heard the soft plops of the ice dripping off of the trees. The air was cold and burned as I breathed in. When I exhaled a dense cloud enveloped my head until I walked away and it dissipated. Just before I reached the pond, I spotted a robin. Its red breast pulsed softly with the beating of its heart. It struck me, as I watched this pretty little bird hopping from branch to branch, just how much it represented. The robin is famous for being the herald of spring, and in the same sense, being the hope of escaping the clutches of an icy world. As these thoughts ran throuh my mind, a hawk swooped down and devoured the robin. What did this scene make me think of? That there is no hope."

Poor, poor, poor Mrs. Bieler.

... At least she can't say that he's not creative...


prayer request.

My little sister Emily found out today that she has a benign tumor on one of her ovaries. She will have surgery within the next week. She's not in pain, but I think she's just emotionally overwhelmed. She's a real trooper.

Please pray for her and for my family during this time. 


another new beginning.

Well, Doug & I are saying goodbye to our first home together. We're moving pretty much a block away, so hopefully I'll still be able to come over and steal the spinach that I planted - if it ever grows, especially after it HAILED today.

Our adorable 1st home.

The back of the house - leading to our main entrance.

Going up the stairs...


"Breakfast nook"

Bathroom - you can see the entrance in the picture of the kitchen above. To the left, in between the counter in the foreground and the kitchen sink.

The living room, as seen from our bedroom.

The 2nd bedroom - our office. 

This room is never really "clean" so I figured, why change things now for a last photo?

Our bedroom.


Our deck. Doug is pictured here grilling steak to perfection. 

We're not moving for another 2 weeks, most likely, but I wanted to take pictures before we start packing. Thanks, little apartment, for being such a cute 1st home for us. 


wedding, sky, grudging soccer dad

We went to Chicago yesterday for a wedding. It was the perfect day for a wedding - beautiful couple, beautiful weather, amazing reception - lots of fun. After the wedding, Doug & I decided to set up the camera on top of the car to take a picture of ourselves, when suddenly, a man who was mowing his yard came over and offered to take the picture for us. Apparently this gave him the opportunity to live out his day dreams as a portrait photographer - he ended up taking multiple photos of us, giving us various posing instructions, and frequently directing Doug to "put your chin down more." Thanks for the pics, random mower guy! 

The sky on the way home was awesome:

Today we gave one of the kids in our youth group a ride home, and we stopped to look at a Jeep Cherokee that was for sale. It was in perfect condition, not many miles, fully loaded, etc and at the bottom it said, "Reason for selling: Bought a mini-van" with a frown face. Hilarious!


shattered preconceptions

Me: "Wait, you grew up in the suburbs AND you went to a private Christian school, but you never tried pot?"

Doug: "Nope."

Me: "Wow, what an anomaly."


jack johnson

Last night, Doug & I ventured to northern metro-Detroit to watch Jack Johnson perform. Unfortunately, the Nazi at the gate wouldn't let me bring in my camera, because apparently my lens is considered a "professional set." Whatever - he had no idea what he was talking about.

You would think, seeing that it was June 18th, that it would have been the perfect summer evening concert. Not so, my friends. For here in Michigan, we love to boast of 59 degree evenings in the midst of what should be prime summer weather. I have a feeling that it's not often Jack Johnson has outdoor concerts where people are wearing jackets and huddling in blankets.

Regardless, Jack put on an awesome show. I was relieved that his voice live is exactly the same as on the albums. He played "Constellations," which is one of my favorite Jack Johnson songs ever - with a sweet guitar solo and a gorgeous piano accompaniment. 

Here are some observations:
Number of men with unkempt hair wearing rolled up bandanas: 124
Number of times Jack Johnson dropped his pick: 2
Number of girls wearing flowy Bohemian shirts with tight-leg jeans: 876
Number of 40-year-old women wearing Roxy wedges: 1
Number of people wearing flip flops: total attendance minus 95
Number of 4-year-old boys wearing homemade "Jack & Me" t-shirts who said "HI!" to me: 1
Number of holes in jeans: 8312
Number of people wearing socks under sandals: 2
Number of middle-aged mothers dressed too young and dancing: at least 12
Number of lighters swayed during slow songs: 371
Number of cell phones swayed during slow songs: 839

Despite it being a fun time and praiseworthy performance, I've discovered that I'm not really a "concert" girl. I mean, under the right conditions, there are a lot of performers I'd love to see live. However, many of these are highly unrealistic. Here are my top ideal concerts, in no particular order:

-Jack Johnson: acoustic, on a secluded beach in Hawaii. Only about 15-20 people in the "crowd," which would just be people lounging on beach towels. No one would sing along. It would be about 78 degrees and there would be a light breeze. Also, fruity drinks. Girls must be wearing either bathing suits or cute sundresses/skirts. Boys must be wearing swimming trunks or just khaki shorts. No close-toed shoes allowed. Flip flops scarcely permitted. Time: sunset.

-Radiohead: in an old, worn down building (but structurally safe, of course) in Manhattan. Lots of people. Loud, jumping, but minimal moshing. I would wear a black t-shirt, jeans and my Vans rip-off shoes from WalMart. Time: 12am

-John Mayer: acoustic, in a slightly smoky lounge. 50 people max. I don't know what I'm wearing, but it's undoubtedly understated but cute, and I'm sitting at a booth. Time: 10pm

-Coldplay: in an old church in Chicago. No pews, though - they've long since been removed. A lot of people, but less than at the Radiohead show. I would be wearing some hip shirt with a message of love or peace or environmental consciousness, jeans, and probably those buddy slides again. Time: 10pm

-Damien Rice: gardens at Dublin Castle. Lots of people with blankets in the courtyard. I'm wearing something totally Euro-chic that I could never get away with in the U.S. It's a little overcast, naturally. Time: 7pm.

So if anyone finds tickets to any of those shows, let me know.


belated father's day post

Thanks for always being there, Dad. I love you!


strawberry festival, take 2

All things considered, we did alright at the Strawberry Festival. Definitely better than last year. Just like last year, a huge storm blew in on Friday night and we had to tear down quickly. Saturday was rainy and chilly all day. Despite the obstacles, we had a great time! We saw some interesting characters in Albion, watched the parade in the rain, shared a lot of laughs and made some money at the same time. It doesn't get much better. 

Jeremy & Doug doing some of the hard work.

Victoria organizing some displays. Grandpa made the awesome sign for us!

Cool shot by Doug of the sign.

Either confused or just trying to reach high enough...

Our tent.

me & V.

Dad helped me make tank tops as a surprise for Victoria. 

For more pictures, see our Good Apple blog

We were able to see a lot of family again this weekend. Friday night, Doug & I had game night with Victoria & Jeremy and Lyndsay & Andy - we played what might be my new favorite game - Wise and Otherwise. Sunday afternoon we had a picnic at the pond for Father's Day - it was the perfect day for a picnic. We'll be home again for the 4th of July!


strawberry festival

We're heading out the door for NY, and I just want to throw out one last invitation:


Come one, come all!
Watch Ethan & Emily march with the Purple Eagles in the parade (Sat. 11:30am), support me & Victoria in our business ventures, eat lots of greasy fatty food, watch for local Albion talent... maybe... and overall, just have a great time!

Hope to see you there. 


peaches & greens

Yesterday Doug & I joined a few other members of Imprint and headed to Detroit to work on Peaches & Green. Peaches & Greens is headed up by the Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation (CDC). Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera with me, but thankfully our friend Heather took hers - these are a couple of her pictures:

Side of the building - it used to be a dry cleaner.

Kevin, Doug & me, building the bathroom.

Doug being hot & strong...

Slowly, but surely.

Here are some facts from research that Heather presented at our meeting on Friday night:
-Detroit has no national chain supermarkets.
-No other major city in the US has such a "food desert" as Detroit.
-A majority of the city's residents rely on convenience stores for food necessities.

For more information, read this article in the Detroit News.

It was a pretty hot and tiring day, but it felt so good to know that we are contributing to something that is such a huge need in Detroit. 


mini golf

You probably wouldn't guess it from these pictures, but Doug won by 4 strokes. But let's talk about who wears the pants in our family when it comes to foosball, shall we?  


hockey hater

Last night was the first time in ages that no trains have gone by while I was trying to fall asleep.

It WAS, however, the night the Red Wings decided to win the Stanley Cup, so everyone and their mother was driving around honking their horns at all hours of the night/morning... thus fueling my hatred for hockey. 

Having admitted my hatred of hockey, I'm pretty sure it's only a matter of time before someone in greater Detroit (the area affectionately referred to as Hockeytown) hunts me down and strings me up for blasphemy.

And, as I'm writing this, I'm remembering that a large portion of my extended family are also professed lovers of Sabers hockey... oops.

To clarify - I did go to a U of M hockey game that was actually quite fun. I also think that hockey players are awesome skaters, and I've always been jealous of that spray-ice-everywhere brake they can do. But put me in front of a game on television, and it's only a matter of time before I'm banging my head against the wall.

Am I alone in this?


ain't no party like my nana's tea party

So, over the weekend, Doug and I discovered - via one of our good friends, the phenomenon known as Flight of the Conchords. They're completely ridiculous. Check out their video Think About It.