Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cause and Effect

Here is a video from earlier in the week...

Baby Magnet

We are aware of the dangers of having a pond (and of having a pool). What small child wouldn't be attracted to this:

This alone should convince someone to buy our property. Ooohh.. pretty water lily.... honey we HAVE to have this house!

Anyway, it's nice to see some healthy, happy life flourishing in the pond... and to be honest, Lucy loves looking at it (safely in our arms) too. We will watch her very closely at all times - we always do.

Top Ten List

Top Ten Things I Learned About Owning a Home

10. You love the house when you buy it, and then proceed to change everything.

9. You must have a place to put coats, besides the guest bedroom.

8. If you live with a guy, he will attempt to convert an old house into a 21st century technological hub, running wires and cables through walls that clearly don’t want them, but the digital music and wireless Internet is worth it.

7. If your basement has a drop-panel ceiling, leave it alone. You don’t know what’s hiding up there.

6. Kelly was right about the pool boy thing. It’s the only way to go. Hot tubs from here on out.

5. Before selecting a house, make sure there is a good spot for the Christmas tree.

4. Old with Character is better than New and Boring, but you'll be doing a lot more work.

3. Hardwood floors are nice if you have a dog, awful if you have a baby.

2. No matter how long you live there, about the time you get everything just how you like it, you’ll be preparing to move.

1. The previous owners were giving away a big part of their lives to a couple of young, clueless kids. A million stories, momentous events, and priceless memories happened in this home, and with the initialing of a document, it was passed on to someone who would wipe the slate clean and start creating their own. Bittersweet… and now I understand.

Careful What You Sign

Today featured a story about a woman who is battling with her ex-husband over "custody" of a few frozen embryos they created when they were together, still planning on having a family (through in-vitro). Just before the procedure, he withdrew his consent and a year later they were divorced. Now she wants to have a baby, one she already created, with her ex-husband. He doesn't want to be an anonymous sperm donor, and he doesn't feel that it's right to bring a child into this particular relationship, since if he created a child, he would want to be a father to that child. The contract indicated that in the case of divorce, the embryos were to be destroyed (that was the option they selected).

Well, it's not really a custody battle, since if the man won "custody" I am not sure what he'd do with frozen embryos.

Woman's case: the procedure was to be done the day after the contract was signed, so there weren't going to BE any embryos to destroy (weak, since I think this is a case of her signing something she didn't think was going to ever happen. Big mistake). Even her lawyer says that by withdrawing consent from a "consent form" it makes the contract basically void. Then why is there an item on there for "in case of divorce..."? Woman just didn't expect Man to back out of the deal. Regardless of what they thought was going to take place, they signed a contract! Unfortunately now she feels these are her children and is going to lose them.

His case: Rock solid.

In other NEWS, have you ever put a note in a helium balloon and sent it up into the sky? No? Me neither. But this kid did and it found its way into the hands of someone quite special... and she wrote back. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hammock-Grocery-Yogurt Day

Yesterday Lucy and I went to the mall with Grandma Carla to look for a dress for me to wear to my cousin's wedding. I found a few that I liked, but one in particular that I just felt the best about, and it was the cheaper of the options. Luckily it was a short search, because Lucy wasn't loving the mall that day.

Then we went home and she took a short nap... then went outside and we put her on the hammock for the first time (we were carefully holding her so it wouldn't be dangerous). I think she liked it. She also went to the grocery store (a first) and sat in (the appropriate spot for infants in) the cart! I know it's odd she hasn't been to the grocery store before, but she has been to Target (and the mall, and the greenhouse, and loads of other places). For a long time, Ron just picked up groceries on his way home from work on Fridays. She was in this stage for so long where she was too big for her carrier but not big enough to sit in the cart. Anyway, she was really entertained for a while, until we got to the checkout where she got scared from all the noise and commotion, and was holding her arms up for me to take her out of the cart and carry her.

After her dinner, she had yogurt (banana cream flavored) for the first time! She LOVED it.

I'm sure she had plenty to blog about last night....

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Beach Bums

With her Aunt Kelly by the water... Lucy's first trip to the beach, Warren Dunes, May 27, 2007.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Agree or Disagree, I'm Putting This Out There

This morning there was a woman named Frieda Birnbaum on Today who, at age 60, just gave birth to twin boys. She has 3 other children (33, 29, and 6) and "wanted her younger son to have siblings closer to his age and wanted to remove some of the stigma attached to older women giving birth."

While I am happy that medical technology is allowing men and women to deal with a full range of fertility, obstetric, and pediatric health concerns, as Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park: "just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should do it." When Meredith interviewed the new mom, Birnbaum said that it's a wonderful thing because it gives women the choice, and we don't have to do what society dictates, etc. Meredith asked her what she would say to people who think that she isn't thinking about the babies' future - Birnbaum said that they just don't agree with her choice because "maybe they're not a part of it, or they don't think that way..." and explained that this is the wave of the future, and they just have to move with the times. Okay. I can understand that this isn't the 1950's and women are more often postponing motherhood, to either pursue an education, career, financial stability, or other personal goals - and this is an important part of the feminist movement. You don't have to do what (the former?) society dictates... Good thing, because I think the world would suffer if it didn't have the gifts, talents, and ideas of professional women.

However, when a person decides to become a parent, he or she has to have the mentality, even before pregnancy, that the baby's (or babies') needs come first. This mother seems to be fulfilling her own needs (and perhaps those of her 6 year old son's ??) to blaze a trail for senior citizens who, if they have enough money, can take advantage of in-vitro fertilization and become parents again. Mission: accomplished! Never mind the fact that she will be an elderly woman trying to raise twin sons (!), a surely exhausting feat (in addition to her 6 year old) and since the average life expectancy for a woman in the United States is around 80 years old, these kids are in for a unique childhood. I am glad my own parents are still here to be involved, witness major life events, and can still take care of themselves while I am busy taking care of an infant. When the mother passes away in 15-20 years, who will be responsible for the teenage boys? Of course anyone's parents can die at any time, but even if she lives to be 80 years old, they will always have a special situation with their mother being as old as she is throughout their childhood. I don't know... I'm getting on a tangent here. Of course this is a subject that there is a lot to say about, and a lot of people's opinions will differ.

Some people require medical intervention to become parents, but usually these people are choosing that route because RIGHT NOW they are in their window of time when becoming parents makes sense. They deserve the chance at least try to have a baby of their own, and in many cases, families spend the life savings just to attain that miracle. Those who cannot afford it, simply cope with their disappointment and some of them choose to adopt (and almost always feel that their adopted baby was the one they were meant to raise, and believe it is a blessing in disguise).

I don't know how old is "too old" - I know women who have had babies in their late 30's... celebrities having them in their 40's... and they are handling it beautifully. But 60 is a whole new ballgame in my mind. Maybe I just need to "get with the times" ... I thought this was an interesting, controversial, social / moral issue. There cannot be laws regulating when someone is "too old" to have a baby. That's a slippery slope ... then does it apply to the father? What if the conception occurred "naturally", mandatory sterilization? That's all insane, and should never and will never happen. It is up to an individual to act selflessly, as mothers have no room for selfishness. While I support a woman's choice to do what is right for her and her family, well, in this case I think Jeff Goldblum was right.

I thought at least 2 pictures of Jeff Goldblum were necessary to make my point.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shadows and Light

Leaves Near and Leaves Far

Translucency of the leaves on the tulip tree

and a few more

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crawling Video

Okay now I have a video of her crawling - to the camera case (one of her favorite toys).

Clapping Video

Here is the video I took this morning of Lucy in her play pen, clapping her hands!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Marathon Update

I just wanted to post a link with some unfortunate news about the marathon situation: check out my other blog.

Part of me feels like a bit of a failure, even though I know that is ridiculous! There's nothing I can do - I got injured and I don't have enough time to train properly for such a long race, 4.5 months away. That doesn't mean that I can't still get back into running, for which I am still very excited. I got an amazing purple jogging stroller from Kelly - from a friend of hers at work - and I plan on putting some miles on it, even if some of those miles are relatively slow! I'm sure Lucy will enjoy the ride either way :)

My sister and my cousin are still in it, and I wish all the best for them! Also, Tiece, who is training for the Grand Rapids Marathon in late October, I hope your training continues to go well, and of course I'll be checking in to see how things are going.

#1 Song the Day You Were Born

Bored? Looking for some Internet fluff? Check out this site and learn what was the #1 song the day you were born.

Mindy: Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes (5-12-81)
Ron: With a Little Luck - Paul McCartney & Wings (5-26-78)
Lucy: SexyBack - Justin Timberlake (10-1-06)

I must admit, Lucy has the coolest one.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Officially a Crawler, and Clapper!

Today Ron and I wanted to get a lot of work done, so my parents watched Lucy for most of the day. We were quite productive, and I've already started doing touch-up painting, which is crazy, since that's one of the last things on the list. While I have begun painting things, Ron is still doing some finish work here and there, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. I still can't believe we've been putting these things off this long. At least we're finally motivated.

When we went to get Lucy I started playing with her and "lured" her with a toy to see how her crawling was going - and to my amazement she actually crawled across the floor, like a real crawling baby! She used to get around through a process which involved the following moves: sit, fall forward onto hands, scoot legs under self, repeat. Now she knows how to stay on her hands and knees, and by moving those particular body parts she can go where she wants to go. As you can tell by the fact that I'm trying to explain to perfectly intelligent adults what crawling looks like, we are quite excited and proud! As long as she has a toy, a shoelace, or food to entice her, she is doing really well...

... and in the same day, she picked up another new skill: clapping! She is getting better and better by the minute. I've been trying to teach her this for forever, but she is too strong and resists anyone trying to hold her arms and 'clap' her hands for her. I will try to post a video of her crawling and/or clapping added to this post sometime tomorrow. I just wanted to share this with my handful of readers.

She also pulls herself up in her crib and soon we will have to lower the mattress again... any time she is on the floor, or crawling, she wants to pull up onto something. We're so happy, but also getting nervous about our hardwood floors. She is definitely going to keep me on my toes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Crafty Idea

I have been going through all our "stuff" and found countless old cards - birthday, anniversary, congratulations on having a baby, thank-you notes, all kinds. Many of them have beautiful designs, and some of them were probably fairly expensive.

Sometimes there are nice poems, or handwritten notes inside, or just a funny phrase...

The problem is that whether they're attached to some sentimental event or not, it's hard for me to throw away a card that someone was thoughtful enough to give. I try not to be a packrat, and I despise clutter, but over the past year, cards have become an issue around here. I have been collecting many, especially the ones we received after Lucy was born... which is where I got my idea:

I eventually plan on making a scrapbook for her, and since she is almost 8 months old, I am obviously already really behind. I wanted to keep all her cards, but realized that they're pointless to save unless they are somehow being enjoyed. I got the idea to use the cards (even though they may be partially cut-up in the process) as embellishments in her scrapbook. This way the cute artwork, and even the little handwritten notes from friends and family can be added to the pages, so we will always remember who was nice enough to send us a card.... oops - just kidding - we will always be able to enjoy their kind words!

So if you ever plan on scrapbooking, or feel guilty throwing away a $4.00 card (which someone no doubt spent 20 minutes agonizing over at Hallmark), put them to use... and clean out that junk drawer!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


In light of our attempt(s) to rearrange our living room, I am offering some quotes from familiar people about television.

We have struggled to find a way to situate our couch, chair, end table, bookshelf, and entertainment center - and the deal-breaker is always how various furniture is angled toward the television, or how we can hook the cable up to the television in a particular location...

... and it dawned on me, our lives are revolving around TV in more ways than one. While I love certain shows, I worry that we are addicted... like one could be to alcohol. Do you enjoy a glass of wine? Or do you need a glass of wine? Well, I need a glass of wine, I'm afraid. I like Matt Lauer to tell me what's going on in the world every morning. But I also need feng shui. Therefore, we're considering banishing the TV, at least until we have a different living room that allows for harmony among furniture, decor, and media. I think TV has a lot of positive things to offer, if you want to sift it out, but once you start picking and choosing, the line between "fun" and "junk" is blurred. I love the news, I love the dramas, comedies, Jeopardy!, American Idol, This Old House, Bert and Ernie...

Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover. ~Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little. ~Ray Bradbury, The Golden Apples of the Sun

Television: chewing gum for the eyes. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Your cable television is experiencing difficulties. Please do not panic. Resist the temptation to read or talk to loved ones. Do not attempt sexual relations, as years of TV radiation have left your genitals withered and useless. ~Matt Groening, The Simpsons

If you read a lot of books, you're considered well-read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well-viewed. ~Lily Tomlin

When we say "War is over if you want it," we mean that if everyone demanded peace instead of another TV set, we'd have peace. ~John Lennon

I believe in love. Yes, I believe in love! Love! Money! Love! I believe in poetry! Electricity! Cheap cosmetics! I believe in the sky over my head and my silver shoes beneath me! I believe in Las Vegas! I've been there! I know that it exists. I believe in you! I believe for you! I have a vision! I have a vision! I have a vision! I have a vision! Television! Television! Television! Television! ~Mirror Ball Man (Bono), ZooTV

No final decisions have been made. We might not be able to take such a drastic measure, but if we do, it'll be okay - summer TV is mostly reruns.


For the past couple of months, I have been checking out Dooce, a blog written by a woman named Heather Armstrong, who lives with her husband and daughter, and their dog, in Salt Lake City.

I found the word "Dooce" in the list of blogs linked on other friends' blogs... Who is this Dooce person, and why are all these random people somehow connected with her? I had to find out for myself, so I started reading and got hooked. I don't know if anyone of my blogging friends actually knows her personally, but it's hard not to feel like you do in a way, when you follow along with her experiences day to day. She is such a talented, funny, and candid writer that you want to see what happens next... the story is her life and it's actually a good read. She illustrates with truly beautiful photography.

A couple weeks ago I added Dooce to my links, so I guess you could consider me a fan. Even though she's a total stranger...

But be warned: if you start going back to her earlier posts you may end up reading her entire blog (which doubles as her career thanks to the ads), and she has had it since 2001. With multiple posts each day... you do the math.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


This morning I was informed by Brett Thomas that an 8-month old girl went missing from the 2800 block of Taft Ave. That is the same street we live on - but it doesn't connect. There is a sort of "break" in the road at a point between here and there. That section is off of 28th street... but it still made me perk up and listen carefully, since it's not that far, and grab my phone in case I saw anything suspicious. A mother apparently had a bad migraine last night, and last saw her daughter playing in front of their apartment complex around 10:30 PM, with a mentally-disabled cousin. This morning, both were missing.

She said the cousin was barely capable of caring for himself... good thing HE was left in charge of her precious infant daughter.

I watched footage of a distraught mother being consoled by neighbors and family, and thought, what a nightmare! Since her daughter was missing, I was sympathetic and worried, hoping and praying that someone would find the baby, and even the cousin too.

Now I just learned the Amber Alert has been cancelled (everyone is safe and sound)... and my sympathy has all but vanished. How could she entrust her little baby girl with an individual who can't possibly know how to take care of her, outside of an apartment complex, at 10:30 PM, in a relatively unsafe part of town, etc. etc.? Migraine or no migraine, common sense should prevail.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Yesterday was Mothers Day. Since it was my first Mothers Day, it was hard not to reflect on the mother-child (especially mother-daughter) relationships I have witnessed, or been a part of...

My own parenting style is influenced by how my mother raised my sister and me. I think that it's impossible to avoid, because that is the "way" we have always known. It almost always makes women more like their own mothers. I know this isn't something we strive for, but it just sort of happens. I never realized the amount of love, fear, and pride she has had in her heart, watching us grow up. All those emotions are on full-throttle from day one, and after experiencing those emotions on a daily basis myself for the last several months... I'm humbled.

Grandma England - Julia P. BlashillOn the other side of the family, Ron's mother (Sarah) is the matriarch of a growing extended family, four children, eight grandchildren... she is as happy as any grandmother could be. She has so many reasons to celebrate Mothers Day, and deserves a little special attention and thanks for all she gives to us. This year, however, she spent Mothers Day on an airplane, on her way to England... after hearing that her own mother, almost 97 years old, has taken a turn for the worse. A family member sacrificed financially to get her a plane ticket to see her mom. Sarah needs to see her mom before she passes away, which could be very soon. I can't imagine what the mind of an older woman is like, having to think about your own mother passing on. Sarah will struggle with this, but her mother has lived a long and fulfilling life. I hope that she finds peace in being with her over the next couple of weeks, if they are her last. I never met Ron's grandmother Julia ("Grandma England") but I feel connected to her in a small way. She is Lucy's great-grandmother. Seeing children at the beginning of life, and thinking about an old woman nearing the end... I suddenly feel like I'm standing in the eye of a storm, beautiful, calm, and frightening.

I remember wanting to have a baby and wondering when or if that was going to happen. I promised that if I could have a baby I would never take her or him for granted, trying to bargain for pregnancy. All too easily I broke that promise, since the days go by so quickly, and we have this amazing child that keeps us busy, laughing, and exhausted. Last night I snuck into her room quietly while she was asleep, and it was like I was seeing our daughter for the first time again. (As cliche as it sounds) I kissed my fingertips, reached into the crib, and gently touched her.

Baseball Game

view from our seats - focused on backstop netting

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was quite eventful... Friday Ron's parents and their friends Kurt and Susi from Germany came over for dinner (outside) and we had a lovely time. Susi last saw us when I was pregnant but just starting to show. She really loved holding Lucy and Lucy loved pulling Susi's necklace off (magnetic clasp). She was so good the whole time! Way to be a happy baby, Lucy! I think they were impressed with our home and our yard, which looked good since we spent a lot of time on it over the past week. They left and about 15 minutes later, my sister and her boyfriend arrived for a weekend visit from Chicagoland. We hung out talking for a while, and then finally went to bed. Saturday was my 26th birthday, so we celebrated by going to a Whitecaps game at Fifth Third Ballpark...

Mindy and Kelly
Kelly got box seats down behind the backstop, just onto the 3rd base line. Since we were right up against the front, we had a place to set our beers! The game was pretty good, but the Whitecaps ended up losing in the last inning. Then there were fireworks! Between each inning there were lots of SHENANIGANS (Amber, I had to use that word because that is the only word to describe it). It's nice for the kids. Lots of silly games and things to keep people entertained. Ron and I plan on coming back for more games when Lucy (and other future children) is old enough to enjoy them. After the game we went to my parents' house to make s'mores outside. We all went back to our house afterward smelling like a campfire. Mmmmmm....

Sunday we skipped church and went to Legends for breakfast (Lucy was pretty well-behaved but kept reaching for my omelette, silverware, placemat....). Then back to mom and dad's to give out Mothers Day cards / gifts, and just to hang out some more. Kelly and Heath took off early afternoon to head back, and the rest of us went to Grandma and Grandpa Hiddema's for May birthdays and Mothers Day, barbeque etc. A LONG day for all. A Long weekend...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rise and Shine!

Lucy must be waking up earlier because it's light out earlier. There's no other explanation - she went to sleep quite late last night (9:30) and was up at 5:15! UGH! I let her play in her crib and make noises until I finally got up at 6:15 and fed her an earlier breakfast. The thing is, when I went down to her room, I walked in and discovered her sitting in her crib, pacifier in mouth, smiling. She wasn't even propped up against the side (note: her getting up into a sitting position and staying that way hasn't happened before, since whenever I try to "make" her sit on the floor she fights me by stiffening her body and refusing to bend at the waist).

Seems like suddenly she's coming up with some new tricks. I tried to work with her on her crawling this morning and sometimes she decides to go on her hands and feet (as in the downward-facing dog), instead of hands and knees:

which results in either her dropping back down onto her knees, or if her arms give out, dropping onto her face. She's been practicing yoga like this for a couple of weeks, so this is nothing new. This morning, her arms unfortunately gave out in a rather dramatic fashion, which Ron was still home to witness. The poor girl started crying and had tears streaming and everything. No more crawling practice until later today! I carried her over to where she could see our dog Killian and she stopped immediately.

Also, Happy Birthday, Bono!

PS: That's not a photo of Lucy...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Stolen Blog Post

i so don't need a blog: random

It takes a special person to see deeper meaning in the city's symbol of the Calder sculpture and a wavy blue line representing the Grand River. But she's right...

Packing Bins

Ron picked up some gray Rubbermaid storage bins, so we can start get organized (I'm sick of our storage room being a pile) and put things in them that we know we want to save. I gave Lucy a little blanket she can curl up with. She's all set to go! Don't worry, I won't put the lid on until it's time to put this bin in the back of a pickup truck.

(I hope no one is taking this seriously)

A Whole New World...

artistic little image
This morning Lucy actually crawled, technically. She lunged forward and collapsed after just a couple of moves, but she did it... a little! She will probably get better at it over the next couple of days, and will soon be all over the place. From what I hear, it's just "all of a sudden" they figure it out and become instant pro's. I can do some baby-proofing, but something tells me she will discover hidden dangers that I can't even predict!

The timing isn't too terrible though, since we're beginning to de-clutter and super-clean our home in preparation for putting it on the market. There will be less breakables and personal mementos around for her to scatter, and although I want her to explore freely, I want it to be a safe envirement for her... and not go around behind her "undoing" what she does. Exciting! Scary! I'll keep practicing with her and she'll soon be crawling - and then I'll think, "Why was I in such a hurry to help her gain this skill!?"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Kelly's Back

Kelly is back from Ireland and posted her photos here.

Kelly at the Cliffs of Moher
I guess in this case, the grass really is greener on the other side. She had a good time, but is glad to be home, and I'm only starting to look through her 239 photos she posted. She was even at the Cliffs of Moher!

Tulip Time

tulips at Centennial Park
Yesterday I spent the morning and early part of the afternoon in Holland with my mom and Lucy, checking out the tulips. We went to JP's for a drink since it was still a little chilly at 9:30 AM, and then went to Centennial Park. There were lots of cute children dressed in Dutch costumes, and many beautiful tulips.

Call Me!Of course, Lucy wasn't all that excited about a bunch of flowers. I was trying to get some nice photos but she seemed more interested in flirting with the cute Dutch boys she met at the park. She did all she could to stay awake almost the whole time we were there, but she fell asleep in the stroller eventually, if only for a short time. I am not complaining though, because she didn't cry once.

The rest of the week looks kind of touch-and-go with rain, so I'm glad we went yesterday. The weather was perfect and the tulips still looked good. It was nice to walk through Holland, Hope's campus, and the park.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Cutest Thing That I Ever Did See....

Last night at Mark & Susan's we were watching one of their digital channels with oddball videos and such, and this came up. If you like kittens, or Fatboy Slim, or anything cute... or good music... please check it out right now!!!

While you're at it, check out some of his other videos, like That Old Pair of Jeans, all pretty entertaining. I miss MTV. We don't get MTV, but if we did, we still wouldn't see any music videos. I should say, I miss MTV of the late 80's and early 90's before reality shows took over...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Annika Celeste

Tuesday, May 1, 2007, at 12:47 a.m. Mark and Susan had their second child. She was 7 lb. 15 oz., 20.5 inches. Everyone is healthy and doing well. We're very happy for them and excited to meet our new niece Thursday night when we go to visit them at home. The photo was taken by Steve at the hospital.

Big sister Sloane is probably really busy helping her mommy with the new baby...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Luck of the Irish

This morning, on my favorite morning news show - Today - I tuned in to see Matt Lauer at the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland! The views were indescribable, and I'm suddenly extremely envious of Kelly, because that's probably very similar to what she will be seeing on her bike trip! Matt flew into Shannon (same as Kelly) and is traveling all over the western side of the country.

This is all part of a yearly expedition called Where In the World Is Matt Lauer? where Matt travels to amazing destinations that are kept a surprise from the viewers until he is there. Yesterday he went to the Boeing Assembly Facility in Everett, WA. It was really interesting to see all about how the planes come together, and the new 777 being built. The facility is so big, workers ride bikes from one place to another, it has its own weather system (clouds, rain even), coffee shops, dry cleaners, sleeping facilities, med centers, restaurants, just about anything you'd need to live. Not to mention the giant commercial airplanes being built! It was cool to see that, since a good friend of mine from high school - Kevin Price - is a mechanical engineer for the company.