Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Schmed Rest

In other news of wild life-changing events, I bring you a post dictated by my honeypie!

So I said I was going to update you after appointments - well, this appointment was not without (what do I want to say...) adventure? The ultrasound tech at my regular doctor's visit measured my cervical length and it had shortened further, so when I saw the doctor, she took me off work and wanted me to go to Ingham Labor and Delivery to get things checked out, make sure I wasn't contracting, et cetera. Barry wasn't able to go this time, but luckily, I was able to talk my mom into going, so she was there to help me keep it together while I let them know at work. (Most of you know that I've really been hoping not to have to go on bed rest so that I can spend as much time with the boys afterward as possible. Now that I'm here, I know I'm doing what's best for all of us, and it will all work out regardless.)

Of course, they were very understanding at work, so we headed over to Ingham. Luckily, we stopped for a Whopper on the way which ended up being the only thing I had to eat for almost 24 hours! I spent about two hours at Ingham before they decided that my cervix was short enough that pre-term labor was a real possibility, and I had to be sent to Sparrow (where they have a NICU).

The ride to Sparrow was something I've never experienced before and hope to never experience again. The ambulance drivers were a couple of characters, which made it easier to deal with. They had the lights and sirens going the whole way - they called it the green light express. Luckily, Barry was able to get to Lansing on time to meet me at Ingham, so he knew what was happening and was able to meet us there when we got to Sparrow.

At Ingham, they had started me on a magnesium drip to prevent labor which they continued at Sparrow (and is also the reason I couldn't have anything to eat). Barry stayed with me until about 11:30 or so, and we thought I'd try to get some sleep (ha ha). Between the blood pressure cuff inflating every hour, the catheter being uncomfortable, and a painful IV, that's the longest night I've spent in a long time.

I was just barely waking up this morning meeting my new nurse when the high-risk doctor at Sparrow came in to talk to me about my options. He thought that because my cervix was the problem and not that my body wanted to go into labor, he thought a cerclage was the best option. Even though they aren't normally performed after 22 weeks, we decided this was the best way to keep the babies in there as long as possible. I should mention that this whole time, both boys look great and seem to be measuring just the right size, if not a week or two bigger!

So now, here I sit, on bed rest in Sparrow, as I dictate this to Barry, because of course, he's been by my side all day, doing whatever he can to make me comfortable. [And so handsome, too! -bcc] The doctor thought I might be able to go home to bed rest Monday at the earliest, so if anything changes between now and then, I'll have Barry update the blog to let you all know.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

House Get!

In the interest of getting something written, I'm excusing myself from writing well. (I'll use Arial to indicate how poorly this prose was thought out.)

On our way to my folks' for Easter, we saw a house back in March or April of 2008, and went to an open house that June. Financially speaking, we shouldn't have been looking at houses then, but Beth fell in love with it, even though the listing price was way more than we could even think to afford. So after seeing what a "best-case" house at the top of our potential price range was, we got all our moneys and debts under control.

Initially, the homeowner was trying to sell the place herself, and when she listed it with a realtor, the price only went up. Heartbreak! Panic! Something. We kept looking back at the listing, and when it finally came down, we decided to talk to a few lenders and a realtor who had been nothing but patient with us in our early stages of looking.

Once we got pre-approval from a lender our realtor had highly recommended, we saw some comparables in August. Nothing came close to this house in any criteria (square footage, number of beds and baths, amount of work we'd need to put into it). The place was immaculate when we initially saw it, and after seeing some dumps, we had a whole new appreciation of what this place was. We decided we wanted to put together an offer and met with our realtor the next day.

Everything was going awesome from the time we wrote our offer (Aug. 31) through the home inspection (2nd week of September). We just went back and forth with the homeowner once to come up with a price we could all agree on. Inspection went great - no surprises, and the homeowner had taken such good care of the place that we shouldn't have much to worry about for years.

Even after making ourselves "golden borrowers" (lender's words), we had a crazy time trying to buy this house. From the appraisal forward, the whole process has just taken f-o-r-e-v-e-r. The appraisal came back $11,000 lower than we had offered, which meant that we'd either need to bring a whole lot more money to the table or get the seller to agree to a lower price. Fortunately, we were again able to come to a number we were all satisfied with after just another round of negotiation. We settled on a price and a closing date, signed a bunch of contract addendums, and thought we were in the clear.

We would have been, too, if it weren't for things going slowly with the lender every step of the way. We were asked for a ton of documentation 72 hours before our initial closing date, including a bill of sale for a broken waverunner (cash deposit of $500 in our bank account; buyer was out of state tending to a sick relative) and cancelled checks Beth deposited for the canoe trip. We had to provide new copies of bank statements, a letter of explanation about Beth's legal name (versus the name on the check written for earnest money), a copy of our marriage license - you name it, they asked for it.

Protip: When applying for a mortgage, be ready to provide documentation on any deposits you make that aren't from your employer!

Ran around, got stuff, took a day off in case anything came up on the day of closing, and... had to delay closing because our loan was still in underwriting. Had to write a contract extension because of it. So the long bank weekend (Columbus day) came and went, and things were looking good for closing on Wednesday - so good that I took the day off, and Beth made up time ahead of Wednesday afternoon to get out and get the deal done. No closing. (I got some work done on the car, so it wasn't a total loss.) At the end of the day Wednesday, all the involved parties got things set for us to close at 8:30 this morning.

When we showed up at the title company this morning, we figured we'd have plenty of papers to sign - but the underwriters (in Texas) hadn't sent everything over. We got through everything with the homeowner (who was leaving town) by 9:30, then we waited. When the documents finally arrived, no one could open them since they were locked with a password owned by someone at another branch office. By the third hour, things seemed laughable. By four, flat out ridiculous, and this was before we even had a final settlement amount for our down payment and closing costs. Everything after that was just waiting for phone calls and the Federal Reserve. Yeesh.

Protip: Don't wire money! Just go get the check!

Anyway, I was there all day and spent three vacation days, but now we own our dream home. We'll be moving within the next 30 days, just in time to get things set up for the boys.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shame on me

I haven’t written on here in so long and there is an excuse for it… good or bad, there is one. There has been SO much going on that I felt like I would be doing an injustice if I didn’t blog about each piece of it. I started a blog about our pregnancy from the beginning to the 20 week mark - that was my plan. It’s not finished… so much happens in that time! I’ll post it someday, these boys deserve it! But here's what's happening now... 


There are so many things in pregnancy that I was not ready for. I have a lot of friends who have children and I’ve never been shy about asking what it’s like, some of them even share more than enough information on their own. I thought I knew there’d be things I couldn’t prepare for, but for the most part I knew what was to come. One thing I was definitely not ready for is the worry. And I know it will never let up, from here on out. I try to keep something in mind that a friend said though, she said that “they’re counting on you to be have positive thoughts, be relaxed and take care of them while they’re in there”. It’s been a bit easier keeping that in mind. Someday I’ll go back to all the things I learned being pregnant myself… but for now let’s continue with the present story, or I’ll never get anything documented!


Which brings me to the 20 week mark… yes, its two boys!! Barry is more excited about it I think than he’s letting on. He has playmates for life… we’ll see how long dad’s stuff is “cool” ;) Of course I’m thrilled that they’ll have a playmate for life, I won’t have to buy two sets of clothes and actually maybe I’ll save some money since it’s not two girls… let’s face it, girls clothes are cuter. We won’t have to worry about splitting their rooms up any year soon. And I couldn’t be happier about my two boys. I already have a bond with my special little guys – I just know they’re bound to be momma’s boys ;) I spend a lot of days wondering what they’ll look like. Will they have the same hair color, eye color, will one be a whole head taller than the other? Will they both be hockey players, tuba players, boy scouts, or fulfill their dad’s dream of playing Burning Wheel one day? Will they both like the same things or will we forever be running in two different directions? Or will they look so much alike that they’re mom has a hard time telling them apart?!? I can’t wait to find out! In the mean time... here's them, showing their stuff! (I wonder if they'll be mad at me someday for putting it ALL out there on the internet?)


Anyway, the 20 week ultrasound was a huge event. Barry was there and we planned on both moms’ joining us. Barry’s mom thought that his grandma might enjoy being able to experience something so special and we immediately agreed. Then it worked out that my dad was free during that time on that day, so he was able to join us too. I figured he may have some added interest since he grew up with twin brothers. When would he ever have the opportunity again? So including myself and the US tech we had 7 people in the room! We got to see all their parts and even witnessed baby B punching his brother in the butt! ;) Everything checked out fine otherwise too. We all went to breakfast together to celebrate. It was a great day!


About that time my belly started to really let loose… it was starting to FINALLY be to the point where there was no mistaking that I was pregnant. And since then it's just gotten bigger, about a week ago I had 3 people at work all on the same day say “wow, you really look pregnant!” Barry and I went to the MSU hockey game Monday night and for the first time I had a stranger ask when I was due… yup, it’s real! Not that it hasn’t been real the whole time, but like I said, there is no denying it now!


Along with a growing belly came movement. I thought that I felt something for the first time on our way back from Houghton after a delightful WMTU wedding, August 23rd. I was driving and felt this odd sensation in my belly… I knew I’d never had gas like that. It was a couple of weeks before I thought I felt anything again, then for about a month there were these odd little sensations. One of weirdest things was when I’d be walking and stop and then it felt like my belly continued moving in that direction. Just in the past couple of weeks, and more so in the last week I can really feel them kicking and punching in there. I can’t tell what’s what, but they are definitely doing something!


So… shame on me… I’m finally writing something when we, for the first time, didn’t get a gold star at the doctor. I had another ultrasound on our anniversary, the 6th. With twins there are more risks so there are more ultrasounds and more appointments. Barry wasn’t able to go with me this time, so I went on my own, which was fine – it isn’t terrible news, just news. My cervix is shortening. Right now that doesn’t mean anything, other than it could be a sign of pre-term labor. The good news is that the protein they tested for to see if my cervix was actively doing anything was not present. They advised to rest as much as possible, but thankfully didn’t put me on bed rest. Take it easy – no exercise, etc. and don’t ignore any signs. They’ll check again in two weeks to see if it’s still shortening. If it is then there’s a possibility that they’ll put a stitch in it so that it can’t shorten any more. Huh you say? Yeah, we’ll deal with that, if we have to. So yeah, shame on me… but at least now you know what’s going on! ;)


In other news… oh, only that we’re BUYING A HOUSE!! And not just a house… the house that we’ve looking at and I’ve been moving into mentally for over 1 ½ years! Barry has been working tirelessly over the past couple weeks with the lender and realtor to make sure we can close tomorrow. Even now I’m sure he’s on the phone with someone getting last minute requests to the lender. We had our 2nd anniversary on Tuesday and while he got home late from work and he had to scarf a bowl of soup before rushing off to our prenatal class, there is no doubt that my love for him grows stronger every day. The closing has been postponed a week and while our frustration with this last minute pain in the butt stuff is increasing frustration, it's gonna happen!

We've been to several beautiful weddings this summer, had a very successful canoe trip, played for an entire week at Burt Lake, spent some time with family, registered for all things baby, and mostly enjoyed our time together... while we have it ;)

While we obviously have other things going on, I'm going to do my best to at least post something after doctors visits and since those will be every two weeks now this blog should be semi-regular again... now if only I could be! ;P

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Life and Death

Irony is something else… just yesterday I wrote of daydreaming by the shores of Burt Lake and actually "publicly announcing” that we’re expecting our first child. Then the same day, later that evening, my dear Grandfather passed on. He was 95 years old, just. Apparently it was peaceful and I have no doubt that he had love surrounding him when he went. Everyone in his home told me every time I was there that Walter was one of their favorites. I have no reason not to believe them, they’re caring, big-hearted people who have an extremely difficult job, and enjoy it. I believe he was one of them that made it easier for them to.

My grandpa, Papa as we called him when we were kids, wasn’t really the type that you crawled up into his lap and fell asleep. But he was definitely someone you knew cared deeply for you. I think nearly every time we were at their house he’d get on the floor with us and build a car wash out of wood blocks for Danny’s matchbox cars to go through. He could ALWAYS pull a quarter out of your ear, no matter how many times you asked or even if you caught him off guard, we were none the wiser. I remember him being a busy man, I so wanted to help him tend to his roses that he took such good care of, but instead he found helicopter leaf after helicopter leaf for me to through into the air from the never ending supply in the back yard.

I’m finding this hard to write now - I truly miss him. He had that same gentle hand that Uncle Mike had, with just a touch, everything was alright. I knew two different Grandpa’s, three really. The one I mentioned, when I was a kid. Then when he and Grandma moved to Florida we were lucky enough to visit quite often. Those days I remember being amazed that his nightly walk was so important, and even more amazed that watching golf on TV could be so fascinating. And in those days when they would come visit here and I gave up my bed for him not once was a special note to me missing after they’d gone, thanking me for something I’d gladly done.

Then, when we FINALLY convinced him to leave “sunny Florida”, as he so affectionately called it, and move back to Michigan I knew another man. One that was proud and grateful all at once. You could see he did not like giving up his independence, but was also glad for the help. He did both with dignity, something I hope I can remember well enough to carry with me for the rest of my life. We had a lot of fun while he was living at mom and dads. He was always happy to see you when you stopped in and did his best with small talk. He had the best one liners, even the last visit Barry and I had with him on our own. I can’t repeat it; it’s no good without his delivery, but wow. He was full of them. Still to this day one of my favorites was when we were all gathered to celebrate his birthday (after he’d been with my parents for a summer, long enough to have eaten 6 meals a week straight from the grill) and not being one to lavish in gifts and celebrations was shown his birthday cake… “Bill probably grilled it.” Oh man, if you could have seen his face. Just a week and a half ago we had another wonderful celebration for his 95th birthday that I think he enjoyed quite a bit.

He didn’t change much after he moved into the home. He quickly won the hearts of the employees there (who happened to be mostly female) and gained a friend in each of them.

I’m thankful that we were able to tell him about our incredible journey to come and how thrilled he was to hear that we’re expecting not one, but two babies; I’ll just have to imagine what he looks like holding them.

I love him very much and he will be missed greatly.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1 1/2 weeks away!

So I find myself sitting here daydreaming about Burt Lake. And then in awe that I’m 31 years old and I still get just as excited about it as I did when I was kid. I’ll have to check with my mom about how long it’s been, but I’m fairly certain we’ve been going for about 20 years. The kind of excitement hasn’t changed either, the things we do hasn’t. I think the thing I still look forward to most is spending a whole week with my family, getting to see my cousins, my aunts and uncles, friends of all of ours. There is an unmistakable bond created by just being with extended family. You don’t have to say anything, you just interact, fun on each other a bit, play like you’re 4 years old again. And it’s all the things really.

Like driving to town with my dad because we need bread and it’s a foggy morning anyway, no good for swimming (of course it’s great for fishing but he recognizes that us kids need to escape for just a minute and happily takes us on his errand). Not like my mom who does her best to stay at camp not leaving unless absolutely necessary (or for ice cream), get as much relaxing in as can possibly be all the while holding down things at camp just like she does at home, which I also admire.

It’s things like sitting by the campfire and listening to each others stories, sharing games and the best part, just sitting with each other. Sometimes we talk about our best friends, sometimes we talk about each other, sometimes Uncle George will give his opinion on something like it’s the worlds bible, no one says much, all you can do is sit and reflect on how that could possibly be. Sometimes it’s scary at how much sense it makes, its so matter of fact you can’t argue.

It’s watching my mother-in-law finally get her time to relax and read a book by the lake in the sun, early in the morning. Admiring all the things my father-in-law can come up with the fix whatever problem you might have, truly boy scouting in the woods. It’s watching my husband bond with the family I’ve known my whole life and making them his, and him theirs. That brings a tear to my eye and I realize everyday how lucky I am for it.

I look forward to watching the next generation, Jackson and Cameron, play together in the water and run through the grass. And I look forward to watching Jake react to the sand for the first time. I also look forward to my own children someday experiencing all those same things. I look forward to playing volleyball and giving Aunt Debbie a hard time about making us follow “the” rules. Something that any place else you’d never allow such a group to play a game and call it a “sport”. Some may call it sport…

To me, it really is this magical place where the fog settles over the water and everyone is happy, all at once, and together. Not to mention it’s the magical place that Barry asked me to his wife!

Each year when we drive down Brutus road, leaving the campground, EVERY year, I have to try my best to hold back the impending stream of tears. The only thing that helps is knowing that there’s next year.

So I know I haven’t posted in long while. We have actually had our fair share of excitement. I still owe you an update on lots of things, including my doctor’s appointment – all blood work came back great. My cholesterol was still lowered, my folic acid was off the charts and in fact that same day we found out we were expecting our first child! But, more on that later. I have a feeling this blog may be shifting a bit in content ;)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Birthday presents!

It's been so long that I didn't ever write about our great trip to Traverse City... wine touring (Barry's birthday present)! We had lots of fun...
let's just say that we ended up with 14 bottles of wine! :) We highly recommend the Old Mission Peninsula over Leelanau too, at least for tasting. 

And before that even, we went to the Lion King (my birthday present), which was AMAZING! I'd heard it was good, but I had no idea how good. This is a photo courtesy of Jackson who spent the weekend with us

Obviously it's a little late to write about what actually went on, but these pictures are fun to have! :)

Oh, and as a follow up to yesterday, you'll have to wait... just like me. The doctor had something come up so I have to wait until tomorrow. I'm so curious to see how running has effected things, if at all! Anyway, I'm sure I'll write about it... at some point.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another great one in the books!

Seems like they just keep coming, great weekends that is! How glorious it is to have some Spring, finally! Last weekend was great, of course, because we spent it celebrating two of the best Mother’s any couple could have. Barry and I always consider ourselves so lucky that we found each other but that we also found some pretty great in-laws in the process. We spent Saturday with my mom which worked out well so that we could all be together since Jackson was going to be spending mother’s day with his mom. We went out for breakfast, did some very rainy flower shopping, had a nap, and then a terrific dinner. Sunday we drove to Trufant and had grilled burgers (made by mom? but I think she likes to do it!) with the whole family… mmm!!

And wow, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted anything… I won’t bore you with every detail (although we’ve had lots of fun and we wouldn’t call it boring! ;) But we did run our 5K the weekend before Mother’s Day! It was a lot of fun, mostly because of the people ;) We (I; Barry probably would have been much faster had he not stayed with me, for which I’m very grateful he did! I probably would have walked half of it had he not been with me) finished right about 40 minutes, which I realize is not great, but faster than the walkers! I’m approximating we walked for about 7 minutes of those 40… now we have something to shoot for next time… guess we’d better sign up for a next time soon! We finished up the race with lunch in Royal Oak with the other 50+ people on team K-rock and then had a fabo night in Hamtramck with some of the WMTU crew at the St. Florians strawberry festival and then drinks at the Roosevelt Bar. Those guys are pretty great hosts! Also that weekend we got to spend Friday night with baby Jake, who I’m sure looks totally different now, since that was 2 weeks ago! Then got to spend a lot of the day with the Vanderford’s on Sunday, which was awesome since we haven’t seen Madeline since her first birthday and now she’s 18 months! Missy drove out and spent the day too – she and I talked a little bit on facebook about how weird it is to miss people so much more if you haven’t seen them in so long when you finally do get together! Must mean you miss them for good reasons J

I suppose this weekend didn’t start off so great, but only because I decided to start it Friday night by watching Marley and Me. I knew it was sad, but I also heard it was good… so I had to see it. I was stuffed up for an hour afterward, but it didn’t effect me so that I thought about it all weekend… it’s just such a sad part of the cycle. But it got better and better from there…

Saturday morning I went to have my blood drawn for my physical coming up. I know this sounds crazy, and it’s not normally this way, but I’m looking forward to my appointment. While I’ve gained a significant amount of weight back since I quit smoking, I still eat healthier than I ever have. I’ve also been “running” periodically, which is probably the most regular exercise I’ve had in some time. And I’ve been taking folic acid for at least a year in anticipation of someday being pregnant, and supposedly the longer you have it built up, the better. So I’d really like to see what the doc has to tell me. I’m hoping for good news, for the most part, I know shedding some pounds has to be a priority, but other than that I’m thinking I’ll like what he has to say. Let’s hope I don’t get my hopes up just to be let down! I’m not anticipating that though :). Barry and I met my mom, Danny and Jackson downtown for a parade celebrating Lansing’s 150th year! It was nearly 3 hours long and would not have been worth it without a 4 year dancing around to the music and entertaining us. And if you’ve seen my face, or Danny’s or my mom’s or Jackson’s even, we were surprised (pleased at the time because it was so cold!) by the sun. We’re all pretty red. That’s the best (easiest) time to get burnt, is when you least expect it. Barry got home at about 7 (he left the parade a little earlier, escaping the burn, to play some D&D) and we just started talking about when we might do for dinner when I decided to call over to my parents to see if they were as red as I felt. Yes. It ended up that we were invited over for pizza and a fire! S’mores on a May night have never hit the spot so well!

Sunday we wound up at a new park to run that a friend recommended. It has a 5K trail that we opted not to run quite yet… we’re still building back up from our week off after the first 5K… oops. But it was a nice park, good run, my hips are still angry, but they’ll get over it – they usually do! My mom and sucked it up and wore our red faces to the East Lansing art festival and craft show later in the afternoon. TONS of people, cool stuff, a couple of really neat purchases and another yummy dinner at the folks, most importantly a win from the Wings and entertainment from Jackson wrapped up the weekend :)

Two and a half more work days and we’ll be on the road to Georgia to hang with family and celebrate two graduations! Cousin George from UGA and cousin Charlotte from high school. Let’s just hope there isn’t never ending fruit to cut up this time! JK Aunt Sue, I meant it; I’m bringing our melon baller! ;)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


We ran for 20 minutes, all at once, and didn't die!! For all of you actual runners, in shape people I can hear you clap, clap, with  little or no enthusiasm (actually, anyone reading this probably is actually clapping for us cause you're all great - but for the story, something, something). If you're as out of shape, and shapely, like myself, this program really is something! Each time we've had to "level up" I get really nervous, like I think I can do it, but it'll probably hurt, and what if I can't? So far each time it does hurt and we do it anyway. I really felt ill this morning, like really... I'm one of those people who HATE running! You want me to go from running at 8 minute intervals twice to running for 20 minutes straight... without stopping?!? OK. 6 weeks ago I had a pit in my stomach when we had to go from running 90 seconds to 3 minutes. The program knows what it's doing. 

Barry runs faster than me, but because he's the incredible husband he is, he normally runs ahead a bit, turns around, runs back behind me a ways turns around and catches up again... so we (I) have the support around for most of the run. Because we've both been increasing our running time we had to both start carrying our own stop watches (which works out well since we just use our iPods and can then also listen to whatever pumps us up). The way this program works and the way we've been doing it is to walk "briskly" for 5 minutes before any segment and then stretch a bit too. (This is going somewhere, promise). Sometimes I time the 5 minute walk, sometimes not. Last time I didn't. So we start out on our run and the first two minutes I'm like OMG... how am I going to do this for 20 minutes?!? And then my body just kind of gives in... okay fine. I get a rhythm, don't look at the watch, there's no point in being defeated. I have to skip a song on shuffle... 12 minutes!!! WOW! That was cake, I CAN DO THIS! At about 16:30 in Barry passes by me and I ask if we should turn around soon, he says "not quite yet..." and keeps on going. I'm thinking, what's wrong with you, we only have about 4 minutes left, we just ran for 16 min... the car is back the other way... STOP. I wish you could have seen my face, I wish I could have. I timed the five minute walk... I was JUST now half way. Well, guess you just keep going... and I did :) It was a nice feeling, when it was over. I'm sure I'll look funny tomorrow when I try to walk, especially after about 2 1/2 hours of yard work yesterday, but WE DID IT! Just as the rain was starting too, felt good at the end! :)

On a less happy side note - we run at Granger park, which is about a 5 minute drive from here, it's got lots of paved pathways and some of it's hilly and open, some of it's flat and wooded, it's not in our neighborhood, it's nice. Some jerk kids decided to go through the pathway and knock over every trash can and bench. Seriously? The city creates this great park... and this is the best thing you can of to do on a Saturday night? I'm sorry... I'm sorry for you. Good luck. We'll keep running anyway. 

5K in two weeks! :)

Oh, and in case you're curious ;) Update to yesterday - soup is awesome; some weeds/leaves gone for good - flowers can breath; coupons cut and went out to dinner instead of grocery shopping. We both figured we deserved it since husband had to spend almost all day on that beautiful day, working. Grocery shopping today, it's raining so it'll be a good day for it! I'm just hoping that rain will clean up some of the dirt mess I left yesterday! ;P

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Running and pictures

So tonight will be the third "run" in our thrid week of the couch to 5K plan. Neither one of us are very happy with the third week - you jog for 90 seconds, walk for 90 seconds, jog for THREE MINUTES, walk for three minutes, repeat once. I'm scared of the next week, I think they throw a five minute stint in there somewhere. We're still going though, and it's been really a lot of fun. Barry said to me on the way home last week that he really enjoyed that we were doing this together, he hates it while he's doing it (me too!) but it's something we can learn - together. He's pretty sweet!

Also - I was really going to make a concerted effort to get the blog updated from our Costa Rica journal, before I posted pictures... so that if you read the excerpts first you'd have an idea of what was behind the pictures. Well, I'm not getting to the journal part like I hoped, so here's the pictures (some anyway)! I did caption them so you'll at least know somethings ;) (Sorry if you have to sign up for a snapfish account to see these, but it's free, and this is the only place I have them online, that's handy).

Hope this finds everyone healthy and happy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've never felt so much peace, than when he was sitting with me. Not saying a word, just being there. My Uncle Mike knew that my Aunt Laura's passing was hard on me and I felt like he made it his responsibility to make me feel as safe (I can't think of another word for it) as possible. Of course it was hard on all of us, she was 41 and had just come back to us. But he knew, and made sure I knew.

He's going through an unbelievable battle right now and, from what I hear, is being kept as comfortable as possible. No one is ever ready for anyone to die, it's just that from the time I heard he had cancer I assumed he would beat it. I always assumed he would just be there, just like he always has been. They've called hospice, which means he's stopped treatment. I think I'm too sad to try to process what's happening, what this might mean for my mom, Uncle Dave and my Grandpa, and for Amy, Ian, Conner, Somer and Corey... for all of us.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Couch potato to 5K

In my desperate need/want to get fit I’ve been trying to think of ways to motivate myself to do so, but how? We have a Wii Fit, that’s fun, but the guy yells at me too often (which isn’t often, which is the problem) about how long it’s been since he’s seen me. I dunno really what the problem with it is, it’s fun, but I just don’t do it. We have an elliptical but the problem with that is finding a space in our tiny house to use it. Well, there’s an excuse for all of it. Anyway, I’ve made mention of wanting to try running before. I know it has great benefits and those that do it seem to swear by it for the most part. So I remember hearing about this before, looked it up and it SOUNDS fantastically easy, possibly fun. But I’m very curious about your opinions, runners and non-runners alike. Yay or nay?

I saw a group or event, I’m not sure which, the other day on facebook – friends of friends were putting together a 5K in memorial of a friend of theirs, someone that Barry went to Tech with, and I thought that’d be kind of nice to be able to participate in… maybe with Barry, possibly get him excited and enthusiastic about exercise too – I need all the help I can get and it’s not BAD for anyone to try... right honey? ;) (JK - he's already expressed some intrest, I just thought I'd see what you all thought.) Anyway, that’s the kind of thing I hope to be able to do someday, possibly in time for said event?

Monday, March 9, 2009

A little catch up

So I suppose I’ve been neglecting writing on here, waiting to post from our journal, about our trip. Or at least that sounds like a good excuse anyway ;) Maybe I haven’t done it because it might make it so final? I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s probably because I have big ideas, but they involve quite a bit of work, most of which I don’t know how to do… I don’t even know how/where to load the video onto the computer in the back of the house… hint, hint, honey ;)

Anyway, we’ve had some good times – it seems like eons ago that we were back from vacation, but it’s only been two weekends! We went to visit Grandpa last weekend (didn’t make it this weekend :( ) to check on how he was doing, (I worry SO much while we’re away, anywhere) tell him about the trip, drop off some candies we brought back for him and he played along – oohed and ahhed about our stories and he cracks me up – he said "Sounds like you had a good time. I got a haircut. Doesn't seem fair.” Shaking his head, LOL! He can barely hear sometimes and can’t see very well… but man, does he have a sense of humor, and a delivery that no matter the joke, takes me a minute to catch on at how funny it is… he’s great.

We haven’t done much, other than talk to everyone who will listen about how much fun we had, most people seem genuinely interested, so that’s nice! :) We went to see Richard Dawkins lecture on evolution and genes courtesy of Dad, which was great! I had no idea what I was in for, other than what I’ve half listend to Dad talk about his writings for years, and knew the ideas seemed to make sense and I still only completely followed about half of what he was saying (it was a “lecture”, after all), but it was enjoyable. He was funny and pretty down to earth… made what he was talking about seem like common knowledge. It was fun to be a part of.

This weekend I think was a first for me though. I saw the same movie twice, at the theatre… not to mention in the same weekend! I really, really liked Watchmen. I feel only a little bad that Barry’s initial reaction to it was thumbs down – I’m pretty sure he went into it knowing that he was going to be disappointed though. I think 99% of the time though you can only be dissapointed by a movie when you've read the book firth. But for me, it was over 2 ½ hours and it flew by. There was drama, action, suspense, love, an everything kind of movie – and the story itself, book or movie, can’t disappoint. We got mom and dad to go to the Imax viewing of it yesterday (after Barry and I saw it Saturday evening) and then had a delicious roast they had cooking, afterward. It was a nice day! The only other thing I can think to write about, right now, is that we saved just over $20 by cutting coupons! So I didn’t feel so bad about paying to see the same movie twice, we paid for one of them (and popcorn!) by using scissors! ;)

Oh my, and I had so much fun with Elaine on Friday! It was so good to have that one on one, raw girl time. You know, when you can be completely uninhibited and just… talk. Didn’t matter about what, just talk. No kids (although I love them dearly) and no husbands (we love them too!), just us. She brought wine and cheese (awesome cheese from the farmer’s market – I don’t know why I don’t make it there more often!) and then we had a drink at Mitchell’s and Barry met us there for dinner. We came home and I attempted to replicate the Guaro sour, but didn’t come close… it ended up a fairly early night anyway ;)

A very happy birthday to Grandma Cook yesterday too! :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Home again :(

Yeah, it's nice to be home to see (and talk) to family again, and to see the cats, and know that a stop sign actually means stop... but man do I miss being in Costa Rica. Pura Vida, pure life, is the saying there,  and they mean it! Barry and I talked about what kind of jobs we could get and which region we'd live in, all the way home - and it was a long day getting home. Mom and dad and Jackson picked us up at about 11:15 and we were home at about 1:00 am early Saturday morning, we left the resort at about 9 am Friday morning. Definitely not complaining though, every minute was worth it.

There's no way to describe what an awesome vacation we had... we booked it thinking that it sounded like just about the right mix of adventure and relaxation... it couldn't have been more perfect. We joked with each other, experienced new things together, ate (and drank) like a king and queen, learned a little bit about Costa Rican life, and only a tiny bit about it, I'm sure.

We had rainy weather in some parts, but were sheltered by it from either Volcanic hot springs or a swim up bar, or we just zip lined through it... we had HOT weather, windy weather, all of it was amazing! We hiked to the base of the most active volcano in Costa Rica (not active while we were there though), zip lined through the canopy of a cloud forest, saw crocodiles and monkeys, swam in the ocean and laid in the sun, and those were just some of the things we did. We drove on roads that I would avoid at all costs here, and were rewarded greatly for it. I honestly can't say enough about what an amazing trip it was. We did catalog some during our visit, and still plan to transcribe that here... but for now this will have to do. Back to reality soon.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Sorry to have skipped straight past Monteverde (the rainiest, windiest, awesomest green place we´ve ever been), but we were out in the boonies of the boonies! Pictures and videos will be forthcoming once we get back to the States, but the short version is that we are now in a beach paradise and are never coming back. Please tell Franklin and Stanley that we love them very much, as will their new owners, whoever they might be.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Leaving Arenal

We´re packed up and ready to get going toward Monteverde, where we´re staying at the Trapp Family Lodge. It´s pretty remote (it´s the closest hotel to the biological reserve!) so we don´t know if we´ll be able to get on the internet from the hotel again. Just wanted everyone to know that we´re safe and having an amazing time!

More later!

Friday, February 20, 2009

We´re Here!

Just wanted to let everyone know that we made it here safely. We´re just waiting for our car, then we´re off to La Fortuna!

We´ve written a couple quick entries in the travel journal, and we´ll post once Beth actually wants me to spend some time on the internet. Ow, honey, let me finish the post before you pull me away from la computadora...ENDOFPOST

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Costa Rica Itinerary!!

In case you wonder about what we're doing when - or - something crazy happens and someone needs to get a hold of us I figure it'd be nice to have it written down somewhere, hopefully only for prosperity!

My brother has graciously volunteered to drive us to the airport this morning so that we won’t have to pay for parking. The problem with that is he’s working on the 27th – I hope my parents are available to pick us up! :)

OK, so here’s the plan:

Thursday February 19th
Our flight leaves Detroit Metro at 2:25 pm, we have a layover in Dallas and are due to arrive in San Jose at 10:15 pm.
The plan is for a representative to meet us and exchange our paper vouchers for the hotels, etc. for the actual ones. Hopefully they can actually help us with a cab to the Britannia as well.

Friday February 20th – Sunday February 22nd
Adobe car rental is supposed to meet us at the hotel in the morning to drop off our rental car.
Then, it’s off to Arenal, La Fortuna to stay at the Arenal Paraiso for two nights. We plan to visit the hot springs for sure, maybe ride horseback to the Volcano, definitely do some exploring – I hope to get to the La Fortuna waterfall too.

Sunday February 22nd – Tuesday February 24th
We’ll leave sometime in the morning to drive around Lake Arenal to Monteverde to stay at the Trapp Family Lodge for two nights. There’s a cheese factory and Orchid garden in the vicinity that are on the list of things to do. We scheduled one activity through Latin Destinations ahead of time, and on Monday we’re going to zip line through the cloud/rain forest with Sky Trek!! This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and am most nervous about!

Tuesday February 24th – Friday February 27th
Our last destination is in Tamarindo, on the Pacific Coast on the Playa Grande (Grand Beach?). We’re staying at Tamarindo Diria and upgraded to an ocean view room. Our plan is to do nothing, on the beach, for three days! The leatherback turtle nests on this beach, but only until mid February, so we may miss them. Other than that we might check out a boat tour, but not much else… (there’s a swim up bar!!)
Our flight leaves Liberia, a good hour’s drive, at 2:00pm and we get into Detroit at 11:10pm, after a layover in Miami.

I’m exhausted already! ;) And can’t wait! I feel a little bad about leaving the cats for so long, but I'm sure they'll manage, especially since someone will be at the house with them most of the time we're gone!

We’ll let you know what actually happened when (if!) we come back! :D

Monday, February 16, 2009

4 year olds and bowling

It seems hard to believe, but our nephew, Jackson, turned 4 yesterday. We all celebrated at the bowling alley, with immediate family and several of his “best friends” from pre-school. I was actually quite amazed at how well behaved and respectful the kids were. They took turns fairly well and caught on rather quickly to what must have seemed absurd to most of them. Pick up 6-7 lb bowling ball that has holes in it in the most peculiar places and try to make it go ALLLL the way down the lane that you’re not supposed to walk on or else you fall down, which we witnessed more than once. They didn’t make it ten frames before running around was more fun, but it was a good time. His parents work together pretty well, especially where he’s concerned, to throw a great party.

It’s so much fun to be able to spend enough time with Jackson that we get to watch him grow up and learn more and more. With that, comes more conversation and awareness. He’s always been good at entertaining an audience, but his banter is more and more – well, hilarious! The theme of the party was Disney’s Little Einstein’s (which someday we’ll have to record him (this is what we ended up with BTW) dancing to the theme song – it’s a striking resemblance to Party Boy, from the show Jackass, it’s quite funny). Cindy made a really cute rocket ship cake and when she unveiled it I told him what a cool cake it was. His response – “Thanks! I did it myself!” He was very serious ;)

Happy Birthday Jackson! Auntie Beff and Uncle Bear love you very much!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm so excited, and starting to get a bit nervous...

So, we leave for Costa Rica a week from tomorrow. We’ll BE IN Costa Rica a week from tomorrow!! But my brain can’t stop worrying about all the things that might go wrong!! Isn’t that ridiculous? We’re going to this amazing place and I’m worried that we’re going to get lost, if we actually have a rental car, and we have hotel reservations… etc. Why wouldn’t we? That’s a great question! I have no idea… but I automatically think the worst… one of the many reasons I’m a work in progress… always.

I think it’s mostly because this is the first time Barry’s traveled internationally, and the first time I’ve traveled internationally on my (our) own. I’ve always been with a chaperone or a parent or someone from that place… never on my own – meant to be the adult. (What?! Am I one of THOSE?!) It’s a little scary, but I’m totally looking forward to it! :)

I think I’m much more confidant in the whole rental car thing too… they are going to make sure we get a taxi to the hotel (and were honest about it being our expense so there's no surprise or wrong assumptions when we get there) and then deliver the car to the hotel in the morning, at no additional cost. I actually feel much better about that then having to navigate ourselves to the hotel in the dark!

Oh man! :D

***Also - Happy Birthday Brudder!!! I told someone I felt old because you were turning 29 - they said, "wait till you have kids that are that old!"... oh boy! Hope the day brings you all that you want, you deserve lots! :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I think my husband is funny...

So we leave on our trip in 2 weeks from today!! We're trying to finalize and figure out how much money to take, routes to take, analyze the itinerary, etc. Well, our flight gets into San Jose at 10:15 pm, barring any delays. We're renting a car. The contract says that the rental agencies open at 6 am so if you have an early DEPARTURE flight make sure you make arrangements with the rental company to drop it off. Also, there is no mention of the name of the rental company. So, we called Latin Destinations (which is who we booked our trip through) to find out how we were supposed to get our car and/or get the hotel the first night. We ended having to respond to our booking confirmation email, so Barry replied, and got the answer... his relay of the answer to me is below... and maybe I'm the only one that thinks this is funny, but I do, I think it's hilarious! :)

in an email to me from my husband...
"I just talked with Gisele on the phone and she said that the rep from Swiss Travel Services who is handling our document exchange at the airport will also be giving us the car at the same time, so we're basically on the amazing race as soon as we get on the plane! I specifically asked about the lateness of our arrival and she said that the rep would be handling everything when we meet him at the airport."

It may only be funny because I've always wanted to be on the Amazing Race - so Barry and I have joked that this trip may be the closest to it than I could handle... it'll be a great test, that's for sure!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oh the guilt...

One of the reasons I wasn’t sure about starting a blog, was because I guilt myself about everything. If I start something for the people to read, I shouldn’t disappoint. Well, I suppose it won’t matter too much if no one is reading, but I’m going to assume a few people care if we produce – so I have guilt. Anyway – it’s been a few days since I last posted, and there just hasn’t been a lot that I feel like I needed to say, publicly. There have been a few things going on though I suppose. For starters, my mother-in-law broke her foot! She was doing some sort of balancing act while cleaning, that didn’t go so well and she broke her foot (her 5th metatarsal – end to end basically) and is going to have surgery on Wednesday. For anyone - I can only imagine this would be agony. But she’s not just anyone, she’s ALWAYS going, doing, etc. She’s an exercise inspiration and has more things organized than I thought were possible to organize. She’s just one of those people that actually do, instead of talk about doing. I have no doubt that she’ll have a fast recovery, but maybe we ought to pack up some books or something when we go visit Saturday? After surgery she isn’t supposed to bear weight on her foot for 2 -4 weeks after. Yikes! She’s going to need something to do! I plan to post a picture of the wheeling cart she’s supposed to get for her foot though! ;) That will probably take at least a day or two to get used to :(

Other than that, there hasn’t been much news. Barry and I had a busy day on Saturday, seemed like anyway, but probably because most of the time we don’t start Saturday’s so early. The Holt high school hockey team hosted an all you can eat pancake breakfast from 8-10. We made by about ten minutes after 9, which is when I guess most other people did. We didn’t mind waiting since we knew it was for a good cause - and reason, most of the boys had no experience in doing anything like it before. Apparently, according to Kevin and Adam, some other people weren’t so understanding - "... this is awful!" groaned Adam. There was only one cook, and the restaurant was actually pretty full. At least they had a good lesson in what they don’t particularly want to be doing. Anyway, friends of ours made it over with their 6 month old son. Jackson was also there with Grandma and Papa and thought Aiden was pretty neat. He wanted to hold him so he sat down on a chair and I balanced Aiden on his lap. He thought that was pretty cool, and then decided that the baby might be a little too big and said his leg was hurting because the he was too heavy… lol. Aiden’s mom just got back from his 6 month check-up – he weighs 22 lbs., so I suppose it’s no wonder it was a little much for Jackson’s leg, it was pretty cute. Later on in the day, out of no where, Jackson warmed my heart a little, and gave me some encouragement – he said – “I LIKE that baby you had! Where is he?!” I'm hoping that means things will go smoothly when someday he’s not ALWAYS the center of attention with Auntie Beff, Uncle Bear, Grandma and Papa – someday :) For now though – the lot of us are wrapped around (all of) his fingers!

After the breakfast we had another nice visit with Grandpa – he was on the edge of the bed when we got there as if waiting for our visit. He put up with us videotaping (see just below) a couple of conversations and told a couple of pretty good jokes; I only wish I had a better memory to share them here! We headed home for a while and then back out for the high school hockey game, which turned out a win, and quite a bit of excitement; it was a really fun game to watch. It helps when Jackson is there too, he’s entertaining. Plus we got to hang out with Jonathan, who’s moved back home from Florida! Everyone but him is thrilled about that! (It makes me feel so old that I feel old because he’s turning 21 tomorrow!) Barry played around with the Kodak HD video camera he checked out from work – yet another perk of being employed by CMU Tech Ops! He was able to tape almost the entire game on one set of batteries and a 4GB SDHC. It’s such a neat little thing… and I mean little! We’re thinking of a purchase before our trip… anybody have pros/cons? Also – we leave on our trip in 17 days!!!!! :D (wowzer! I have a lot to do before then!)

Yesterday we didn’t leave the house all day! Of course we watched the game and neither of us had a team we were REALLY routing for, and it was a great football game, so that was fun. I did a little research on something I’m not sure I’m ready to blog about yet, but it just might make for a good post later down the line ;)

That's about it - if you're interested, and have been waiting, there you go ;) If not, no harm done!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I read something disheartening on Twitter yesterday:

Jesse Thorn tells me I'm bad and I should feel bad
My long-term attention span in collegiate and professional sports has always been capable of following one team per sport, and beyond that, the games might as well not even be played. Sure, I've been involved in an EA Sports franchise or two in my day, but I lack the time and interest to do anything like get involved in a fantasy football league or gamble on sports. My investment in NFL fandom is limited to the Detroit Lions, and in recent years, I've barely been able to bring myself to watch more than half the season. I think I watched more games this season than I have since 2003, and you can tell where that got me.

So, "fans" of the game such as myself really only have a few overlapping options when it comes to the Super Bowl:
  • Watch what amounts to an overblown regular season game that happens to be the last of the year (that also determines who gets the last pick in the draft)
  • Pick one of the two teams to root for by some arbitrary criteria
  • Watch for the commercials like a good American!
So, for tonight's game, I'm accepting suggestions on who (or what) to root for. Extra weight will be given to scenarios involving statistical improbabilities or anomalies. Comment here or send me a message on Twitter!


While I'm on the subject of sports, I have to bring up my favorite flash game: QWOP. It's a game about running and failure. I love QWOP for the same reason I love the Lions - just when you think you've got it under control, you find a new way to foul it up. Go play it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 things making the rounds... part two

I had seen this on facebook, thought about doing it, saw that Barry was having a little fun with it, posted my own on facebook and have now decided to copy it here too...

These are the 25 "random" things I came up with:

1. I think running a marathon (or any other sort of running race) would be neat, just to say I did it.
2. I hate running.
3. I’m very excited at the prospect of being someone’s mother. I’m also terrified.
4. I don’t think I understood what unconditional love was until I found my husband. I knew I had it at least with my parents, but I didn’t understand it. Now I’m able to appreciate what I have with my extended family that much more.
5. My best friend has been so since the 1st grade. There are few more amazing things to me, on so many levels.
6. Most dogs scare me, if even just a little bit. And I know that in 99% of the cases that’s completely irrational and I still can’t help it.
7. I like to be in control, even if I tell myself that I’m OK with not being, I know it’s definitely part of my growing to let that go.
8. I also know I worry too much, but I can’t seem to stop myself.
9. I’ve been a non-smoker for just over 1 year, after smoking for 11.
10. I mostly blame gaining almost 30 lbs. in a little over a year on quitting smoking.
11. I have struggled with weight my whole life.
12. Outside of the United States, I’ve been to Canada (if you count that), Spain, Morocco, India, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands (and soon, Costa Rica!)
13. I very much believe in karma.
14. I think cutting coupons and getting the most out of a deal is fun!
15. My favorite place to vacation is at Burt Lake with the family!
16. I probably carry too much guilt. I still feel guilty for things I did as a kid, that most likely were just being a kid. Mostly though, I feel guilty for having been mean and/or bratty to my parents.
17. My brother wasn’t always my best friend, but now that we’ve both grown up, he could do almost no wrong in my eyes, at least not much that I wouldn’t forgive him for. There definitely isn’t much that I wouldn’t do for him, or my nephew for that matter.
18. I wish I’d been a better Girl Scout.
19. I think I probably should have been born about 2 decades earlier – I think I would have been an awesome flower child.
20. We have two cats that always make me smile when they almost always greet me at the door when I get home (they’re like less scary versions of a dog).
21. It might be cliché, but I wish I’d paid more attention to what my grandmothers had to offer. I desperately hang on to anything that I do have from both of them, in lessons and objects.
22. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and attach sentiment to most every thing. I suppose I don’t apologize for it though.
23. I might be a perfectionist, to such an extreme that sometimes if I don’t feel like I can do something perfectly then I don’t do it at all. Either that, or I’m just lazy :D
24. I have next to no fashion sense, although it’s better than my rhythm, I do know it, and don’t apologize for it either.
25. I’m doing my best to learn not to care so much about what other people think.

I encourage you to give this a try, if even as just an excercise for yourself. But it's fun to pass along too... send an email or two!

Monday, January 26, 2009

25 things making the rounds

I decided to do this for the blog after seeing a friend on Facebook post this and forward to 25 people for them to do. I was not one of them, but hey, blog!

"Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you."

0. I hate when people use "random" in cases that clearly do not involve randomness!

1. One of my favorite things to observe growing up was how data storage has changed, and how it's still changing. I was in a week-long computer camp every summer when I was a kid, and one of the best things was seeing my favorite instructor go on about these fancy new 3.5" disks. "They're practically indestructible," he said, as he bent it back and forth to show off its durability. It disintegrated onto the sidewalk.

2. I've only ever broken one bone, and it was a finger. I had a splint for it, and the worst thing about it was the smell of the bandage after having had it on for a couple of days.

3. I was on my middle school track team and ran the second slowest half-mile of the team in 7th grade. I was thrilled to be moved to sprints in 8th grade, because it meant that I didn't have to jiggle all the way around the track twice before the next event could start.

4. Since my parents got us our family dog, Ben, I've given pets people names. He and Angus (cat) were great pets, if a bit mentally challenged, but I hope we made their lives pleasant. Our cats, Franklin J. Monster and Stanley T. Cat provide us with challenges every day. I have no idea how we'll discipline children.

5. I was baptized and confirmed at Settlement Lutheran Church (member, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) in Gowen, Michigan. It's true what they say, though - the best way to get a rowdy teenager out of a church is to confirm him.

6. I was a Boy Scout until I got into high school. At about the same time, my Dad became the Scoutmaster for my troop. Every part of trying to earn the Eagle rank at that point seemed weird to me, and I always wonder if this was a disappointment to him. I suppose I could ask.

7. I had an embarrassing role in a ridiculous high-school play. (I had to look up the title: May the Farce Be With You. Ugh. Upon further investigation, it's entirely likely the play is older than I am.) I stuck to doing things off-stage after that.

8. In my senior year of high school, I was given an award for being "Best Musician." I played the trombone for eight years and stopped playing when I went to college. My embouchure has been shot for a LONG time. This is one of my few regrets.

9. I used to believe that everyone had the potential to write one great song. Since then, Guitar Hero and Microsoft Songsmith have come into existence. Now I'm not so sure.

10. I used to take myself entirely too seriously, and I like to think that I've cured myself of that through a combination of occasional reflection on my numerous shortcomings and a good solid being made fun of from time to time.

11. Symptomatic of the previous item, I took over a radio show called "I Wanna Be Emo" not realizing how ridiculous that would sound ten years later.

12. I love playing games of all kinds. I love learning rules and systems, from anything as simple as Carcassonne to something as complex as Burning Wheel. The little "ah ha!" moments I get when I figure out an optimal play are like a drug. I'll never understand real-time strategy, though.

13. I have started and stopped playing more collectible card and miniature games in my adult life than I care to admit, but I'd buy up a bunch of Shadowfist, NetRunner, Shadowrun, or BattleTech cards if I had a regular-ish group.

14. I'm a sucker for a great deal, and I'm a little ashamed that it's taken me thirty years to understand and exercise monetary restraint. I noted a particular case of this over on Tumblr.

15. I used to be a real hard-ass about taste in music, movies, and stuff. I would evangelize things I loved and tear down things I disliked like I was some kind of arbiter of good taste. I've tried hard to be better about this. Life is hard enough for people without getting grief from me about something they enjoy. Unless it's Nickelback. They are worse than awful, and nobody is ever wrong or clichéd for calling them garbage.

16. It is heartbreaking to think of all of the amazing art that exists in the world that I will never experience.

17. I love having things in some kind of order. My room / house / office might be a mess, but I can tell you exactly where anything is, as long as it's been sorted by whatever strange criteria I decided to use. I tried sorting my DVDs once in alphabetical order by director name, then chronologically within that. It was a beautiful thing.

18. Working with a database every day might not seem like much of a challenge, but I like to think that I'm an expert at quickly mining the data that my bosses need to make decisions.

19. It's equally baffling and terrifying that only the set of life decisions and day-to-day actions that I've taken could have led me to meet the woman who would become my wife. It's also a bit scary to think that my friend who introduced me to my future wife did so mostly because she thought I would get along well with my future father-in-law. It worked, Tisha!

20. I started learning to cook a couple of years ago, and I can fake a pretty okay dinner when I need to. The dinner can even be themed!

21. As mentioned before, I had a lot of success the first time I joined Weight Watchers. While Beth and I were able to support each other on a day-to-day basis, I probably could not have done as well as I did if I didn't have my mom to talk to about my struggles with food and exercise.

22. Beth and I had wrote our own wedding ceremony. It's my favorite creative thing I've ever helped to produce, and we have amazing records and memories of it. The fact that our friends and family were there to be a witness to it is one of my proudest moments.

23. I have a real shortage of photographs from growing up. I'm sure that my folks have a bunch of them, but I'm trying to make up for it now. My mother-in-law is a tremendous inspiration for this. She makes amazing scrapbooks and is a great family historian.

24. I've only traveled internationally once, and it was by car to Canada in Summer 2008 for Beth's family reunion. We drove maybe 20 miles (sorry, 32 km), and we ended up farther south than we live. In February, we're going to Costa Rica and renting a car to get around, so it will be like The Amazing Race without all the time pressure. Should be a great first trip!

25. I would love to be a dad a year from now, but I'm not sure if I would prefer to have a boy or a girl as my first child. I'm leaning boy.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


no movie, but 3326 spins on the Wii Fit hula hoop (new record!), listining to some very recently purchased albums, some laundry out of the way, a good visit with Grandpa, and dinner at the folks, makes for a pretty good day. Great visit with Grandpa actually. He said to Barry and I, "boy, you guys saved my life the other day... I didn't know it then, but you did." ... wow.

a brighter outlook...

So since I left you last, the things I wrote about are still true... but good things have also happened. 

Barry and I went to see Grandpa Thursday night and when we got there, it was as I feared. He was curled up in bed, not really making much sense. I thought, oh no, here we go. I really don't want to "fight" with my Grandfather to get him to sit up. It didn't take him too long though, once I got his hearing aids in, for him to realize who we were and that we wanted to visit. To me, that's most of it, he just needs some company. That's part of being a human being. You need contact, no one doesn't understand that. Anyway, he didn't want to eat, and hadn't all day. So I started probing, I just can't help myself, it's part of my being a human being to KNOW EVERYTHING THAT'S GOING ON. If you know me, you know that. Anyway, he wasn't hungry. Really? So there was some juice sitting on his dresser and he thought that sounded pretty good. He gobbled down a cookie from his stash in his dresser. Then he wanted more... not hungry huh? ;) Barry went down to the kitchen and brought back some fruit an instant breakfast drink and some sort of dessert. When Barry went back down to get, still more, the girl wanted to know if he ate it all and when Barry told her he was looking for more, she gave him a solid fist pump :) Nice to know. Anyway, we ended up having a really nice visit, talking about all kinds of things, including keeping your lawn nice like Clint in Gran Torino... he Grandpa have some similarities. We plan to visit today to report on the bands we saw last night. The visit was refreshing. 

Yesterday I made, the surprisingly short, trip to Brighton for a friends baby shower. I met Tom and Betsy just once before when we met up with them at Cedar Point earlier this summer. Barry was friends with them in college (and roommates with Tom). I had already figured them to be nice people. But watching how appreciative and humble Betsy was at all of the people and effort that went into each beautiful gift, reiterated that, ten fold. I was hesitant at first about going to a baby shower for someone that I had met just once before and figuring that I probably wouldn't know anyone else, but ended up having a really good time! Also very refreshing.

Then as soon as I got home, Barry and I got in the car and drove to Mount Pleasant were we met up with friends Jason and Julee at Los Palaminos for an awesome dinner, some tax preparing, Lions, and wedding planning discussions. Then we went to the Broadway theatre to see a couple of bands that Barry knew and was excited to see, and then a couple more. There were five in all, we heard 3 complete sets. My favorite was Frontier Ruckas, very folksy, and even had a banjo player and a saw player! Mason Proper was up next & while I didn't totally get them, Barry really liked their execution. I apologize to him forever, but musical execution will almost always go right over my head. It's NOT something that's part of my being a human being. Sorry honey, but I do take your word for it! The singer was someone Barry played in a band with years ago while at Tech, so he's someone that's been able to hear Barry play the guitar, unlike his wife. Anyway, we got the chance to talk to him after their set and Jon told Barry that he had been a big influence on him all those years ago - pointing him in the direction of other great bands with a stack of CD's. Fun stuff. Great Lakes Myth Society was really good and lots of fun too. Also, the drunk college kids really like them too... we didn't stay for the headliner, which the drunk college kids like even more. I am old. I know I used to be one of them myself, but I can just barely understand it anymore. Anyway, a trip to Marty's finished up the trip. We were up two and a half hours past pumpkin time by the time we got home! SNL was already over! LOL. 

This morning I woke up to eggs, toast and coffee in bed. There's plans to go see Grandpa and maybe a movie with the folks. I'd say the weekend was pretty good. :) 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weight! Watch!

Beth and I got engaged in July 2006 and joined Weight Watchers together that fall. I was skeptical at first, and my first day on the FLEX program was awful. My boss had brought goodies to the office, and I decided to have half a bagel with a bit of cream cheese. Seeing that tiny amount of food numerically represent a fifth of the calories I should eat in a day in order to lose weight at a maintainable rate opened my eyes to how bad my eating habits had been since leaving my parents' home for college.

I reached my Goal Weight of 169 pounds late in the summer of 2007, a bit in advance of our wedding day. I had lost about 70 pounds, and did it all with the support of my wife. We learned to cook together, eat well, and kept going to the meetings. We had been so pleased with our personal successes that we actually invited our group leader to our wedding.

I'm not sure when I stopped following the program, but through the summer and fall of 2008, I knew I was putting weight back on. I wasn't going to meetings, I wasn't journaling the food I was eating, and my portion sizes were out of control. When I finally went back to a meeting last Wednesday, I found out that I had gained 25 pounds since hitting my goal weight.

There's a new program now that combines the fundamentals of the FLEX and CORE programs I was introduced to when I joined, and based on my first week, it looks solid. If I'm going to get myself back to my goal weight, I'm going to have to do a lot of hard work. I've always had a hard time wanting to exercise, and I can name about a dozen things without difficulty that I will always eat unless I'm in total control of my hunger.

After one week, I've lost 2.2 pounds, but I didn't earn any activity points for the week. For now, I feel like that's okay - my first priority has to be managing my hunger - but I need to get myself moving if I expect to be able to maintain the kind of success I had when I got to goal.

So, anyone have any advice for a sedentary nerd who needs to make time to do something he hates?

My mom says it’s gonna be a bad year...

And I suppose I should believe her, it’s just the whole thing about “my glass being half full”, I guess. She should know though, she’s had her fair share of bad years, more than her fair share, if you ask me. This came right after they had to put Grover down last Monday.

It might seem silly to someone that doesn’t have pets, or doesn’t care for cats, but losing Grover a week ago was harder than I thought it would be. He was 17 years old, and very much a huge part of my Grandma’s life, especially when she needed both Grover and Gina the most. Then they were my cats, I had every intention of taking them with me, where ever that was going to be. But they had been through quite a bit and moving them wasn’t going to be fair. Then they were my parent’s cats and had a very full, warm lapped life. It’s just hard to lose someone/something you love, even though I know he’s better off now.

Also, cancer is a bitch. Uncle Mike, Cindy, Rick Edwards, were all diagnosed in 2008. Mr. Edwards didn’t make it, and I’m not going to write about that here, I don’t feel like I can do it eloquently enough. Besides, if you were at his memorial, you know what it meant to lose him. I found out yesterday that the prognosis isn’t what it had been for both my Uncle Mike and Cindy. I’m not going into details here, I’m sure I wouldn’t get them right anyway, I don’t even know most of them. I do know it doesn’t mean anyone is giving up or losing hope. The point is that it pisses me off – it’s existence, itself. As it does anyone who’s been affected by cancer, which is everyone.

Apparently my Grandpa has decided that it’s better to be in bed all day. I can’t really blame him, he’s 94 years old, I just wish he felt better is all, really.

There was a round of layoffs at work. I made it, as did most people. But for eight other people, I hope they had a good Christmas.

Oh yeah, my ex brother-in-law is an idiot. Really, a plain idiot with no regard for anyone else. I won’t go into details (Barry may want to at some point), other than he’s hurting people I care about for no other reason than his disregard. I think the worst part might be that he actually thinks he cares about others – puts them before himself. What?

And now for the little stuff – that you’re not supposed to sweat, but I am for now anyway – I have a never ending pimple on my chin and I spent a week (most of anyway) completely back on program with Weight Watchers, only to gain .6 lbs.

It’s only January. See why I was afraid of being “mean”?

Sorry – this blog wasn’t meant to be a sad place, and I’m sure in Barry’s eyes it should include some useful information (and just might from time to time). For now though, I’m sure you’ll excuse me for using it for venting. The glass full part though? I have the most amazing husband. He loves me for every part of me… and I love him for the same reasons. I am part of this amazing network of people I truly care for and them for me. My family are my friends, and my friends are my family. Not everyone gets to say that.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Am I too cynical for a blog?

I’m worried. Can I write in this blog and not be mean? I don’t really consider myself to be a mean person; I would consider myself to be somewhat cynical though & I suppose there is some difference, although not much sometimes. I said that I thought I was becoming more and more cynical to my dad several years ago and he acted like I’d learned a new word and wanted to use it. “What?! You’re far too young for that!” He said, and left it at that. I thought for a while he might be right, but this world makes it tough. If you’ve seen Gran Torino it’s like the kids that walk by the lady with the groceries falling out of the trunk of her car and making obscene gestures or the ONE kid that runs to her aid. Do I BELIEVE in that one kid anymore? More and more I don’t. Am I Clint Eastwood? I really hope not. But it probably also doesn’t help that I grew up believing in Ward and June Cleaver. That’s how families were, that’s the things they did… in my mind. I went to Eastern High School, and Otto Middle School which probably today if you walked into either and knew me you’d think, “no way she survived”. They are different places than they were 15+ (?!?!) years ago, but a little rougher than some. My point is, I didn’t live in a bubble, but I did have an ideal for how people should act and treat each other. They (people) did act that way for a long time, and I chose fairly carefully so that I was around the ones that seemed to have the same idea in people as I did. But as time went on, people disappointed, family members passed away, I watched the news. Don’t get me wrong, please, I rather love living life. I generally like, most I even love, the people that are in my life. I do try to keep my glass half full too. It’s just from time to time people get on my nerves, some even that might eventually read this. I’ll try my best to keep those thoughts though for my sweet (poor – for having to listen to it) husband or anyone else who happens to get one of my tangents now and then, privately, if I need to get them out.

But, since I’m not entirely sure I can “not be mean”, you might hear a whole lot about our cats. Speaking of… oh okay, I’ll leave it for later when I’m not quite so salty! ;)

P.S. I wonder if it’s coincidence that I feel the need to write about this on such a historic day? I do have hope that this president will deliver on the promises of change. A brighter outlook for everyone.

Monday, January 19, 2009

An Introduction

Well, Beth opened this up with her first post and the Facebook link, so I may as well jump in.

I'm the bearded fella over in the right column. I turned 30 in December. I don't feel old, even though I'm five years past the point where I could conceive of myself as the baddest MF in the world. I'm several years into a career that is largely challenging and satisfying, analytical and specific. I have no shortage of hobbies and interests, some of which require a little creativity. I've always been addicted to input from games, books, and movies, but I've always fallen short on producing any kind of meaningful lasting output I can share with my family and friends.

I've made a few furtive stabs at writing online, but I've always leaned too heavily on hyperbole and parenthetical thought to take myself seriously. There are so many talented people already writing about my interests that it's sometimes difficult for me to tell if my thoughts and ideas about those things are my own or just a distillation of things I've read. I know that this is just a blog, but I've already taken a shot at this post three times to lay out my mission for myself: I'm going to journal my life with Beth.

While I'm not fully convinced it's a great idea to subject the web at large to my relatively unsophisticated ideas about a lot of things*, it's probably not a horrible idea for me to write publicly about my own life. I can't imagine the number of memories I've already lost because I haven't taken the time to preserve them. With equal parts optimism and narcissism, I feel I may eventually have some insight that makes the whole thing worthwhile; more likely, the page will stand as a monument to my non-commitment to critical thought. I'll do my best to prove myself wrong.

I'm counting on my amazing wife as a reader and an editor, and I'll need her support to make sure that I write as often as she does and to hold me accountable for what I say. If anyone else happens to get anything out of our writing, hey, bonus!

* Disclosure: I did register a bunch of other Blogspot domains with a few ideas in mind. I'll keep those to myself until I have some idea of what I'm actually going to do with them.

Edit: Clarified non-commitment. Thanks, Editor!

To blog or not to blog

I'm sure there are thousand entries out there that have this heading, but it's something that's been spinning around in my head for a while. As you can see Barry and I set this up eons ago... and then surprise! we didn't do anything with it. We did use our wedding website (that has since expired), so that served any purpose we needed it to.

But seriously, like I said, I've thought a lot about blogging... and wondering why people do. I LOVE to read other people's blogs! But I do feel a little like I'm spying on their private lives, especially when someone has links on a friends blog, so I wind up reading the blog of a friend of a friend of a friend. I assume that because they put it out there, they're okay with that though. Or, you might be someone like Barry, that reads blogs pertaining to particular interests, which I get (understand) more than just random entries. My interest is people, so I spy. Do I write and let people "spy" on me? I was talking about one the blogs I've been checking in on every now and then with Barry the other night and he said "you should blog..." and we remembered we had this. Obviously I'm in control of what I write, so why not!??! Besides, someday I hope to be pregnant - (not quite yet!) and I've seen blogs chronicling a mothers/fathers experience with pregnancy, and eventually a new baby, and presumably what will be an extended, growing family. I wouldn't mind a record of that... :) (Are smiley faces "against the rules" in blogging?)

In the shorter term - we got a neat Christmas gift from my brother - a travel journal. So while we're away in Costa Rica (just over a month away!) we can log our journey (because there might not be internet honey!) and then transfer it here when we're back.

Maybe we'll get ourselves together enough to set up a flicker page and link it here? Time will tell, so far this wasn't too bad :D