30 December 2008

Movie to See

It's been a long time since I've seen a movie - in the theater. I just watched the trailer to Slumdog Millionaire and am thinking this needs to be the next movie I see. I'm totally in the mood for the beauty of a proper Indian story complete with crime, drama and love! Looks like the soundtrack has a good mix Indian dance music and some stuff by M.I.A.  May be my plan for New Year's Day!

27 December 2008

new beginnings

I ran outside for the first time in probably a couple months today. It had also been a couple weeks since I'd been to the gym and had done anything beside shovel snow as exercise. I'll have you know shoveling the amount of snow we've had has not been a piece of cake. It was like a part-time job there for a while.  The good news, I didn't die doing just under 4 miles like I thought I might. I've still got it in me to run a few miles.

My plan is to run in the Resolution Run on New Year's Eve. That's a four mile race around Reeds Lake. It also kicks off my training season for the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25k in May. Just putting it in writing so I stick to my plan. Part of the fun of kicking up the running again is getting some new gear to make running outside more of a pleasure than a pain - since running at the gym has not been enjoyable at all. It's too easy to just stop when you want - when you're out running on the road, if you're 2 miles out, you have run the 2 miles home. At the gym, you can just stop! Looking forward to getting back into a training routine, racking up the miles with a purpose. 

# # # # #
Completely different subject: I know from experience that "more will be revealed when the time is right," but I'm soo curious to know what's going to happen next! Just need to let it unfold and enjoy the process.

23 December 2008

Sweet Sewing Project

All the cold weather we've been having has inspired me to get creative in my fight to stay warm. I had a the idea to craft a draft dodger drape for my back hallway. Fabric requirements: had to be light color, had to have some visual interest as it's about 9' floor to ceiling, had to be heavy enough to actually somewhat contain the cold air coming from the garage, and it had to be a decent price. 

Here's what I found. I really like the texture and just the hint of color. 

Here's how the finished project looks. It was a quick sew, just a hem on each end. Used a tension shower curtain rod to hang it. Oh, and this is fun: there are stacks of pennies sewn into the bottom hem to keep it anchored on the floor. 
Since I finished it and put it up a couple hours ago, I've gone into the back hallway to see if I can tell if it's any warmer. When you put your hand on the other side of the curtain, it's definitely colder! So it must be working. Love it when I can actually make something I need! 

Stay warm!

22 December 2008

Snow Report

This wise old Buddah is in my back yard. 
Can you see him? He is back there, just chillin' out. Literally. I feel like I should have brought him in for the season! 

syrup, it's what's for breakfast!

My niece and nephew like to have what they call "Syrup Breakfast" because, as my nephew pointed out they're, "Syrupean". They do, in fact, come from a family that loves anything you can liberally apply syrup to. I made and ate plenty of pancakes, French toast and waffles when I was younger. The fried peanut butter sandwich could also be included on the Syrup Breakfast list - although I prefer it for lunch! 

One of the best gifts I ever received was my own waffle iron. I think I was 9 or 10 years old. Most fascinating pancake experience was on a trip to a relatives with my grandparents - we stopped somewhere for breakfast and the pancakes I ordered were as big as the plate. A dinner-sized plate. That blew my young mind!

This morning, at my house, it was French toast. Whipped up my recipe with egg, half and half (I usually use milk or soy milk, but had the half & half), cinnamon and vanilla. Oh, and the bread was sesame semolina (a couple days old makes the best FT).

20 December 2008

Things you might now know about me.

1. i secretly (not so much now) like the smell of self tanner when it's doing its "tanning" business.
2. i apparently need others to point out when men are flirting with me. or the men have to be ridiculously obvious. when it's a waiter somewhere, i just assume he's doing his job - working for a good tip.
3. i have cousins by marriage that i haven't seen in years. (long story) i wonder where they are and how they're doing. 
4. winter driving (and even thinking about the prospect of driving in a snowstorm) makes me very nervous. it's the only time i drive like an old lady. 
5. the oddest thing in my fridge is an unopened can of mango pulp. my sister in law gave it to me when they moved out of state. that was about five years ago. 
6. i sometimes have dreams that are like movies or TV shows - i'm not in them at all - just watching what's going on. i once dreamt an episode of Roseanne.
7. i rarely answer my door if someone knocks when i'm not expecting anyone.
8. i like wearing corduroys to work because they are as comfortable as jeans, but aren't.
9. rolling my eyes is one of my involuntary responses when i think someone or something is bordering on ridiculous. i've been doing it since 3rd grade, thanks Mrs. Fry for pointing that out. trying to become aware of when i do it, so i can not do it.
10. i punched a boy in 7th or 8th grade. he had been teasing me relentlessly and that fist of fury came out of nowhere. definitely not pre-meditated. his friends separated us and he left me alone after that.

17 December 2008

Tales of a 4th Grade Private Eye

When I was in fourth grade, Mrs. Brown  (who's husband's name was Charlie, which made me crack up back then) gave us an assignment to write a letter to a business person and ask them about their work and if they'd consider visiting our classroom. In looking for a suitable business to write, I found the Fat Man International Private Detective Services. The name and cartoonish logo of a fat man tip toeing with a briefcase sold me. While the agency's principal detective was not able to come visit my class, he did send me a response. I've thought of him and his work often over the years.

More than 20 years later, I'm still intrigued by the idea of having access to information most people don't, finding people and bringing them to justice and uncovering useful information people need in order to make important decisions.  Maybe I watched too many Magnum PI episodes when I was younger!

I know real-life detective work is nothing like what they show on TV. That's not the part that intrigues me. It's about finding the truth and helping people. I've dated a few men who helped me hone my own detective skills.  I learned to keep my eyes open. Recognize patterns. And most importantly, trust my gut. I bet if I wrote back to Mr. Fat Man, he'd say intuition plays an important part in pulling a case together. Intuition is something I was born with.

You have to know where to look next, what would make sense in someone else's world, how to pick up on the unspoken and the right questions to ask. I'd say too, you've got to care about the information you're looking for. Having a knack for cars, faces, names and remembering things other people would have long forgotten probably doesn't hurt either.

I should write Mr. Fat Man and see if he needs an apprentice. I'm not in 4th grade anymore, but I'd still like to hear about his work and see what it's really all about.

14 December 2008

Sunday Sampler

It's been a quiet weekend. Unlike last weekend though I actually left the house (stupid snow) and save for a short Saturday evening gloom streak, it's been pretty good. Here's the scoop:

Saturday met up with my friend M for some lunch at Gaia. Hadn't been there in a while. Their Build Your Own Burrito (and famous Gaia cookie) was my reward on long run Sundays when I was training for the 1/2 Marathon. Great refried black beans, sticky brown rice. I don't know their secret, but their brown rice is ALWAYS better than mine! Top both with melted cheese. Sides of sour cream, home made spicy chutney, lettuce, tomato and onion. Tuck it all into tortilla bites and you're on your way. So good and so good for you! Whole grains, beans, veggies and just enough sour cream and cheese to be a little naughty.

Worked on Christmas card project.
Talked to my nephew for his 8th birthday! It's ridiculous how fast those 8 years have gone! From all reports, he had quite the party. When we spoke, he sounded like a kid who had been partying all day, tired, but happy.

Today there was the weekly trip to Meijer. Ran into a friend I haven't seen in ages. He and I were in a friend's wedding together YEARS ago. He and his wife (? he didn't say they were married, but said "we" several times while we chatted) She was in another aisle, so I didn't get to meet her. We're basically neighbors. It astounds me how people can live so close to each other and NEVER see each other. Like how one of my high school crushes lived in a house one street away from me for a while. He was basically in my backyard and I never saw the kid!

Currently making dinner. French Onion Soup is simmering until the apple crisp is done baking. YUM! I can't wait!

12 December 2008


I just need to say that I love my co-workers. They make me laugh and laugh and laugh! Just got back from lunch and it was a laugh fest all the way to lunch, during lunch and back to the office. It's not like stand up comedy funny, it's the kind of funny that happens when you spend ALOT of time with people. Go figure, I spend 40 hours a week and sometimes more with these kids. It's a good thing I like them and even better that we laugh so much when we're together! Definitely one of the best parts of my job.

Carry on.

11 December 2008

this old house

I have a running mental list of things I'd like to do around my house. I've probably written it down and lost the list several times, so committing it to the interwebs seems to make sense as I'll always know where it is and can come back, make updates and I can scratch things off the list. Mind you, it's a bit of a "wish" list, so it may take a while, but what's the point of a wish list if you can't put down everything you want? In no particular order:

  • Concrete counter tops in the kitchen. I've wanted this one for a while and completely realize that doing such an update could actually lead to an entire kitchen overhaul - installation of a garbage disposal, new sink, getting my dream industrial range (or just finally switching from electric to gas)! See how the one item snowballed?!
  • Paint most of the interior of house. House was freshly painted when I signed the mortgage about 8 years ago, so it's time to update and refresh.
  • Replace front door with something like this. It's very much like what I already have, but it's not 80 years old and it's insulated!
  • Eventually pave the driveway. Would make a world of difference in the winter! 

I love my house, it was exactly what I was looking for when I bought it and today it still fits the bill, just could use a few things to make it even better! We'll see how it goes. Painting will likely happen before anything else. Always an easy place to start.

10 December 2008


I have a friend who used to ask, “how’s it feel to want?” whenever I’d talk about wanting something outside my reach.

Whenever I find myself consciously thinking about the things I’d like to happen in my life, energy seems to stagnate and time seems to stand still. Letting go of the when, where and who always seems to produce some sort of movement. Miracle? Maybe, or maybe it’s just the simple act of carrying on with life today, playing the cards I’m holding. rather than thinking about the one card I still need for the perfect hand that allows that next thing to happen that will lead me where I need to be.

Clearly, I’m not talking about attainable goals where I do a little work each day and then can experience the fruits of my hard work. I’m all over that. I’m talking about wanting the things that I have absolutely no control over.

Today, I’m going to do my best at being here in the moment. Let go and see what the universe really has in store for me.

08 December 2008

Hot and Not

Hot: Buying North Face gear on eBay. How fun is it to get things in the mail that you got a good deal on?
Hot: The prospect of having nine whole days off in a row around Christmas with no definite plans! A road trip north is a distinct possibility though.

Hot: Running into an ex and not being the one who feels like you've been punched in the gut.

Not: Realizing there might be a family of living creatures in your attic. Squirrels? Racoons? Could it be the Littles?! I'm not sure and I don't want to look. I'll just wait until they come chomping through the wall.

Hot: Walking in the snow to your chosen destination rather than risking life, limb and VW by driving the roads of ice-treachery. Wish work was within walking distance!

Not: The indent left on one's calves after wearing knee socks. Totally dig socks that stay up, but leaving a mark?! Come on!

Hot: Kings of Leon. Got tickets to their January show in East Lansing! Can't wait!

Not: Current-day Christmas music. And the radio stations that play it 24/7. I prefer the old school Holiday tunes.

Hot: The collarbone-grazing length hair that a few celebs are currently sporting and that yours-truly is considering. 

05 December 2008

Trikes for Tykes

This afternoon I had the distinct pleasure of being one of Santa's helpers. I helped build tricycles all afternoon, that will be delivered to children who are currently in foster care or group home type situations. A total of 200 bright, shiny red tricycles were built today, exactly like the kind I had when I was little enough to fit on that tiny seat and turn the peddles. 
I was happy to be included in an effort that will bring some light and happiness to children who have been in situations that were, no doubt, quite dark. Reflecting on it now, I'm sad that there are kids who are in need anywhere. Parents who aren't with their kids because they've somehow been deemed not fit to care for them. We built 200 tricycles, that's 200 kids right here in Kent county who were/are in situations that will affect them forever. There are more who won't get tricycles. There are more who aren't even in protective care. Building tricycles is a small gesture, a small stone thrown in the pond. I pray for a big ripple from that small stone. It's got me thinking. What can I do that goes beyond? How can I be part of the bigger ripple?


In my stylist mind

Mom-jeans are not flattering on anyone. Whatever shape you happen to be, there are flattering jeans available that do not come up to your armpits and taper at the ankles.

Another denim-related note, the Texas tuxedo (aka the jean suit ), jeans, with either a denim shirt or jacket may actually only be fashionably acceptable in Texas. I’ve never been and have no immediate plans to go, so I cannot confirm that suspicion. I can only tell you there are far better ways to wear denim. Just ask. Seriously. Tempted to pull on your favorite jeans and a jean jacket? Call me and I’ll talk you down, steer you in a more fashionable direction.

This one is completely my own revelation, but maybe it’s happened to you – whenever I have thoughts of chopping my hair to a more manageable length – I suddenly have some good hair days where the length is working. I do need a trim, but it’s like the hair knows its days might be numbered, so it starts behaving and looking extra cute.

03 December 2008

Getting into the Spirit

I got home from my Thanksgiving adventure and was jazzed for the coming Christmas season to get underway. Since Sunday, I've done the following things to set the holiday mood:

  • Put up the tree on Sunday. It takes all of three minutes. Bring up from the basement. Find proper spot. It's in the living room this year. Last year's spot in the office gained a large potted palm plant to make room for the tree in the living room. Plug tree in. Enjoy the twinkle lights!
  • Listen to favorite Christmas compilation CD provided a few years back by my Marquette relatives.  It contains some of the best old-school Christmas music.
  • Put up lights around front door. All the extra lights probably help protect against S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder - lack of light during winter darkness can make you sad, yo!). I like keeping these lights up well into January. The tree will probably stay up that long too. Why not? It's festive!
  • Plan to buy wreath for the front door at Farmers Market on Saturday.
  • Ordered photo Holiday cards. First time ever doing this. The photo and the opportunity were there in front of me, so I took the bait. Good way to commemorate a memorable event this year and share it with people.

What have you done to get into the holiday spirit?

01 December 2008

Here it is!

In the last week, in two different blogs, I've come across this atrocity of language - people using "wa la" in place of the French word "voila". 

Yes, I understand that they're spelling the word how it sounds. Whether it's deliberate or not, I find it extremely ridiculous. As far as foreign words go, voila is one that's been used successfully alongside English words for years and somehow people have developed an understanding of not only what it means, but also how to pronounce it. There is no need to use "wa la" in print. There's just no excuse. 

My extreme displeasure with this lazy use of language could have something to do with the fact that I studied le Francais for six years and have an appreciation for language and the written word. Or maybe I just wanted a reason to tell you that "Je voudrais un croissant."

30 November 2008

Weekend in Review

Had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend in Marquette, birthplace of my mom. My Aunt & Uncle were, as always, wonderful hosts. They make entertaining/keeping a spectacular home look as effortless as Martha. They've probably been at it longer though. The weekend contained many things I enjoy:

  • Spending time with family is a given, but must be noted for the record. we laughed often and I heard many a great story.
  • Yummy vegetarian Thankgiving meal, in which everyone contributed something - everyone in the kitchen cooking up a wicked good meal. I made the gravy! 
  • Sleeping in a warm cozy bed and not having to wake up at any specific time.
  • The best toast I think I've EVER had in my life - two different kinds actually - chocolate cherry that my mom got at Nantucket Bakery here in town, and some delish toast made with cardomom bread my Aunt made. It's a Finnish thing and it was amazing with real butter!
  • Getting a great deal on a sweet North Face jacket at Getz's.
  • Wi-Fi
  • Walking through a tall pine forest with the dogs and ending up on the shore of Lake Superior.

  • Making it home before dark and not sliding into a ditch due to the current crazy winter storm.
  • Oh, and hearing news of a smart, cute boy.

29 November 2008

Cygnus 27

Square lights @ Cygnus. 

Went there for a friend's birthday brunch a couple months back and had a lovely time. The food was plentiful and delicious. The drinks flowed. 

I liked the decor, but found the way some of the tables were arranged didn't take maximum advantage of the view on the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids. There are high-back round booths set up in the corners  that look into the restaurant, instead of out over the Grand River. I just thought it was slightly odd, because overall you can tell a lot of thought went into the new design of the restaurant, but how they missed on table layout is a mystery. 

28 November 2008

Winter Work Uniform

A friend of mine recently posted a blog about what her uniform would be if she had to pick one for work. Benefits of the uniform being a) very little thought/time spent each morning answering the question of what to wear. b) clothing budget could be contained. Drawbacks would go like this for me a) I tend to dress based on what mood I'm in or what the weather is doing. Having a set seasonal outfit might detract from my ability to feel comfortable based on those two factors. 

I have, however been pondering the uniform and just in case a mandate came down from "I don't know where" that personal uniforms were a requirement, I am now ready. I have come up with the following looks that I would be comfortable sporting five days a week during the cold months at the office:

  • turtle neck sweater
  • pencil skirt
  • black tall boots

The colors can vary from day to day, but the look is polished and put together. Plus, I'd be warm. I HATE being cold and dress for both warmth and comfort in the winter.