family portraits

My friend Marisa, who had her baby on April 8th, asked me to do family portraits for them again now that their family has increased by one. Here are some of my favorites.

spring colors...

I'm admittedly not a flashy person, especially when it comes to clothing. I'm a jeans & t-shirt kind of girl, and typically the only jewelry I wear is my engagement & wedding rings and a pair of earrings. Since I started making jewelry, I've taken to wearing the occasional necklace or larger earrings, but on the whole, I'm pretty low key. 

My color palette for clothing is usually natural tones: browns, black, grey, white - maybe a dark blue on occasion. Well, spring brings out the the brighter side of Rachel, and my wardrobe changes pretty dramatically - kind of like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. An icy, windy, bitterly cold cocoon that I like to call WINTER. 

Today I wore a yellow shirt to school. A bright yellow shirt. I cannot believe the compliments I received on this shirt! Several female teachers commented on it, several teenaged girls squealed about it... and one male student walked into the room, took one look at me and announced very matter-of-factly, "You look like a highlighter." 

I wish I had a neon pink shirt to wear tomorrow...


listening to...

"In Your Atmosphere" by John Mayer -- Where the Light Is - Live in Los Angeles
On the same album, listen to his version of "Free Falling." 

Further affirming my desire to see him live...


weekend update!

What a great weekend it's been! Doug & I declared this weekend as our "date weekend" since it's been forever since we've had a weekend with just the 2 of us. Friday night we did our "urban camping" - always fun "getting away" in your backyard! Saturday we spent the morning at a park about 30 miles away, then when it started raining we went to an outlet mall for some sweet deals. We watched Australia last night, which was a lot quirkier than I was anticipating, but I enjoyed it. I'm in love with the little boy, "Nullah," in that movie, as usual. 

Today the weather was glorious. We went for a walk after church and then sat outside reading for awhile. I finished Franny & Zooey a bit ago, and I started Absalom, Absalom! today. We'll see whether I finish it or not...

This afternoon we had a bowl-a-thon for the Jamaica mission trip, which was pretty fun. My first game was pretty bad, but I bowled around 115 the second game (which is quite the accomplishment for me). After one of my turns, I had one pin standing, and a woman bowling with us was like, "Uh oh! You know what they say about leaving up the 5-pin!" I replied, "No, what's that?" She smiled wickedly and said, "You're gonna get pregnant!" I'm really confused as to the correlation, but if that's the case, Doug & I will have to send out another support letter to our family & friends!

One last, random thought: on Friday, one of my [15-year old male] students asked me what a "cross-dresser" was. Awesome.


earth day is katie's birthday!

Happy Earth Day, but more importantly, happy birthday to Katie!


Love & miss you, KT Beth! 


good things

1. s'more pop tarts - seriously & completely deserving of the #1 spot.

2. the color yellow!

3. the intentionally-wrong-word game with one deborah a. townley, even via email

4. being done grading essays*
*with the exception of those brilliant, precious lovelies who decided not to use either footnotes or parenthetical references, so i'll have to grade those papers once they turn them back in with said citations!

5. how green the grass is after it rains all day

6. listening to old mix cds and re-discovering old beloved tunes

7. mentally creating a movie of my life & brainstorming the soundtrack. possibly to be a blog post at a later date.

8. running at doug and knowing he'll catch me regardless of which way my limbs go

9. 33 days until summer vacation

10. okay, i admit it. seeing those somewhat zombie-like, yet still smiling bundles of excessive juvenile hormones at 7:40am on a miserably rainy monday morning. 


real life moments

Last night I was lying in bed on my stomach with my head turned away from Doug, trying to fall asleep. Suddenly, Doug leaned over to me and started singing to me...

... the theme song from the G.I. Joe show.


Also - I can't believe I forgot to post about this earlier! 

On Easter Sunday we attended the church I grew up in (where my family still goes). At one point in the sermon, the pastor was talking about the healing of the demon-possessed man, and he said, "And then Jesus cast the demons into the bay of pigs." 

Oops. Although that would explain a lot.



gorgeous sunny day: check

playing in the dirt: check

cleaning up a playground with friends from imprint: check

walk around old village looking at yard sales: check

bocce with doug: check
doug tossed the white ball and it rolled into the old log, as shown. yellow ball is mine! however, doug won the game 11-9. 

lying on a blanket outside grading: check

ben & jerry's coffee heath bar ice cream: check

pink nose, cheeks & arms: check

little italy night with the girls: check

fabulous saturday: check!


warning: a tirade

Dear People To Whom We Sent Support Letters For The Jamaica Missions Trip:

WHAT?! A "missions" trip to JAMAICA?! You've got to be kidding me! JAMAICA?! All they do there is smoke pot, listen to reggae & lie on the beach, mon! Clearly this is just an opportunity for a bunch of kids to go on vacation together for 9 days. And what type of "missions" trip has students building classrooms for a local church, putting on a VBS, ministering at an orphanage and to shut-ins, and doing sports outreach in the community? SPORTS outreach?? That sounds FUN. Serving Jesus is NOT supposed to be fun. I mean, students in high school don't even understand the concept of serving or missions. 

Although - last year the youth group went to Jamaica for a "missions" trip, and it transformed the youth group. I suppose we have seen some of the students really mature in their relationships with Christ. 

And I suppose that there are maybe some problems in Jamaica that missions trips can assist. Turns out Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates per capita in the world. And I suppose, like many tourist attractions, Jamaica is a land of extremes - opulence v. poverty. And I suppose that there could be some opportunity for construction aid, since Jamaica also frequently experiences devastation from tropical storms and hurricanes. 

After thinking about it for awhile - and knowing our students and leaders - maybe it's not entirely a vacation. Granted, the students do have one "beach day" which, I suppose if you want to be really cynical, could overshadow the other eight days of missions work. 

Basically I just wanted to apologize to everyone who received a support letter - it was not my intention to ask for money for the Parton Vacation. 

But if you had a problem with it, you could have called ME before you sent a letter to our youth directors (who have worked tirelessly organizing a mission trip of 45 students and investing daily in the lives of young people) telling them that you "do not support college student vacations." 

Please - if you have any questions about anything Doug & I are doing, feel free to ask us in person (or, if that's not an option, phone, email - whatever). We're generally pretty reasonable people... 

... with the exception of an occasional snide blog post.


5 years ago today...

I started dating my best friend.

April 14, 2004

April 14, 2009 (oops, PhotoBooth is mirror image...)

I love you, babe! 


new kids in the barn

Somebody would LOVE to be left alone with the piglets for a few minutes...

Had a wonderful Easter at home. Now we're back in Michigan, and look who came with us!

Sista sista! Updates on Girls' Week 2009 to come!


scream it from the rafters


In approximately 10 months.

I haven't decided for sure on my celebration song, but I'm leaning towards "Touch the Sky" by Kanye West...


quiet weds. night

Progress: Doug has been gone for about 35 hours, and I haven't been scared or locked myself out yet! Baby steps toward adulthood.

After snowing yesterday, it was about 50 degrees here today. Tomorrow is supposed to get up to 57 degrees. That is ALMOST 60. 

We watched Slumdog Millionaire on Friday night - it's possibly in my top 5 movies. The girl in the movie, Freida Pinto, is possibly the most beautiful person in the world.

My friend & co-sponsor, Marisa, had her baby today! I went to visit her and got to see Brenden Kristopher at the tender age of 5 hours - he is perfect & absolutely adorable.

Song of the moment: "Lucky" by Jason Mraz, featuring Colbie Caillat. 

Monday was Opening Day for baseball - Doug & I celebrated with hotdogs, as per our annual tradition. I made Doug use the grill - outside in the snow.

I might get a classroom fish.

Tomorrow is my last day of school before Easter break. I'm gonna go make trifle to celebrate. 


better late than never...

I realized that I didn't do a birthday post for my beloved mother, who has spent the past 24 years of her life devoted to her children. (Just so everyone doesn't think I'm totally heartless - I didn't forget her birthday; I did call!)

Dear Mom - you saucy minx,

I'm sorry that I didn't post this on your birthday.

I don't know too many moms who would break into pools with their daughters, make kitchen rock n' roll bands, or sit through PTA meetings while "Paula Zanheiser" is on the loose.

Encourager, companion, confidante, accomplice, etc. - you're the best mom in the world.

Love always,
your Pigaletto

"You're my mom, you're my friend, you're my cousin - you're everyone!"


more of the darndest things

Today I gave my students the following bellwork: "How would you respond to each of the following? War in your homeland, deportation, religious persecution, separation from your family."

Among several thoughtful responses, I also received these gems:

"If there was a war in my homeland, I would definitely go to a pet store and get bitten by every spider there hoping to get super powers. Eventually a venomous spider would kill me."

"If I was separated from my family, I would aimlessly wander the earth. Until I find a new place I can go for Christmas."

"Separation from my family would be tough because we're all pretty tight. Also, I don't think I could live without my mom's cooking."

"If I were deported, I would go across the Pacific to some third-world country and gain support of the people until I become the head of the country. Then I would make a democracy and make the US feel guilty for kicking me out."

"Religious persecution - I would start a riot. And I would be mad."

"If there was a war in my homeland, I would open a lemonade stand and make a ton of money. Also, I would only accept American money."

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of America...


happy birthday

Love you, Dad.

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;

And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,

Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;

And make us happy in the happy bees,

The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird

That suddenly above the bees is heard,

The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,

And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,

The which it is reserved for God above

To sanctify to what far ends He will,

But which it only needs that we fulfill.

-Robert Frost, "A Prayer in Spring"


happy april

What up, Internet?! It's been a whopping 8 days since I've updated. I wish I had something exciting to come back with, but alas, I've returned empty-handed, with only random pocket lint to show for my absence.

1. Happy birthday to my favorite April Fools - Gram Bannister (91!) & Griffin (7)!

2. Masthead - a line from Moby Dick, which I am still doggedly working through, a chapter or 2 every other night... or so.

3. Today I got in a fake fight with one of my students & had the rest of the class thinking that I was seriously angry. April Fools', suckers! Ah, the things I'll do for amusement.

4. A huge shout-out to my dad for mailing me & Doug a package of Cadbury Mini Eggs - YUM. Thanks, Dad! (Sidenote: the person who does that blog behind the link may possibly be even more obsessed with chocolate than I am. Possibly.)

5. So I think I need to get a summer job, but where? I have a few factors to consider: a. I don't want to work more than 20 hrs per week, and I definitely do NOT want to work weekends. b. I don't want to do the same thing every day. c. I need to find a job where I won't run the risk of working with any of my students or encountering them on a regular basis...

6. Not that anyone cares, but I am STILL grading research papers (which were due, oh, March 9th). I loathe, loathe, LOATHE grading papers. There has got to be a better way to teach writing. Maybe I should make all my students start blogs. Then again, maybe not.

7. Doug is going to Texas next week for 3 days (his company bought a company down there) - will someone please come stay with me so I don't get scared or lock myself out of the apartment?