Monday, July 30, 2007
We have 14 of these cards altogether; we found loads of them at an antique store north of Holland a couple years ago! During a search through bins in the basement I found our little collection, and thought I'd share these four (look at the names - you might have to click on the photo).
I never collected them as a kid in the 80's, probably because I found them so creepy (still do!).
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Ron and Sarah were telling the story of how they met, during the introductions of each couple. They met on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. She and her friend saw these two guys who spoke English, so they figured "they'd be safe with them".
"Little did I know, how safe," added Sarah.
Goodness knows I don't understand the intricacies of their relationship, but it works. I guess I don't need to know how. It was a sweet little moment that slipped past a lot of people... including me.
We went down at 12:30 or so (she in her crib, me in my bed) and it's is now going on 3:00 PM. I just woke up, and Lucy is still napping - that's alright with me, since we're going to the Hiddema's at 5:00 and the more rested she is, the better. It'll help her win all the baby competitions she'll have to undergo. ::sigh::
I think all Lucy is worried about is how she's going to score some more frosting off peoples' cake. Like she even knows what's in store for later this afternoon...
Geez, I can't believe I took a nap! I never take naps.
There is also a children's book about a little girl with two different colored eyes - one eye "the color of root beer while the other as blue as a lake." Sounds familiar. The book is about a girl who uses her special eyes to look for the (sometimes hidden) beauty in everyday things. It sounds like a nice story for any child!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Ron did a lot of planning and work, as did my sisters-in-law, but I ended up talking care of a lot of details. It made for a busy last couple of days, but it was definitely worth it, because it was obvious how touched they were that we put this together.
Besides ALL of the kids and grandkids, many of their friends, and extended family made it as well. We had lots of food, music from 1967, and a "Not-So-Newlywed Game" to test 3 couples on how well they knew each other.
It was fun to test out my new camera and I quickly learned one thing: I have a lot to learn about my new camera! I got some good shots, but a lot of not-so. My favorite thing, of course, was to get photos of my nieces and nephews just being themselves.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The guy who was working is a former student of Ron's, and was on the Robotics team back when Ron coached. He's been out of school for a few years, but he remembered me, and we talked a bit. Then he sold me the camera I wanted... he recommended a case that came with some other neat stuff but I passed on that for now, and opted for the cheapest case available. It works fine since I only have the 1 lens, and all the other stuff I need fits in there. I already have one large [diaper] bag to lug around...
Still waiting on my CF (memory) card - 2GB - to come in the mail. eBay was the route for that. Meanwhile, I am trying to familiarize myself with the camera, and I can still take pictures with it, which I can see for a couple seconds before they disappear. This way I can play around a little, and figure out how the heck to use all those neat functions!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
As my previous post stated, we ordered a new digital camera the other day - a Canon Rebel XTi. We saw an ad in a digital photography magazine for a company that (obviously) sells cameras. Comparatively, this company: BroadwayPhoto.com, had the best deal. So here's what happened:
Ron placed the order with our bank card. The screen he got said, "ORDER COMPLETE - THANK YOU!" and had the order number, etc. as well as some standard fine print. Little did we know that fine print included something about the company contacting us regarding any adjustments to your order, etc. etc., but since we didn't even see such a message until after the order was submitted, it seemed inconsequential, standard for Internet shopping type stuff. I know, I know...
The next day (today) Ron received an e-mail asking him to call an 800 number to confirm the order. We thought it was processed and shipping via UPS (2-3 days), so immediately red flags went up. This seemed quite strange, so he started Googling the company and quickly found they have a sketchtastic reputation as a "bait-and-switch" scam. They want us to call so they can attempt to sell more accessories, or that our camera is the Japanese version and the US version will be more expensive... and all sorts of other outrageousness. If you refuse, according to other victims, they send you oddball crap anyway, and then charge you a "minimum" 5% restocking fee (which could be as high as %15), and do not refund shipping charges. When it's all said and done, they could charge your account for hundreds, if not thousands, more than you were expecting... Ron, take a deep breath...
Since the e-mail arrived in Ron's inbox too late for him to actually talk with someone at 'customer service' he called National City (24-hour service) and explained the situation. We're not going to be charged, we're not going to call BroadwayPhoto, and if by some chance (slim, but you never know!) we receive a package from them, we'll simply return to sender, unopened. A new bank card has already been ordered.
So, a lot of lessons in this week's blog entries, between the dishwasher thing and this. We're going to a nice big-box store where you get what you pay for. Maybe it's going to cost a bit more, but it's worth not having the headache. I'm going with the "older" Canon Rebel XT kit, which, although the megapixels are lower, is actually an excellent camera. The 2 megapixel difference between the XT (8.0) and the XTi (10.1) is negligible, and only matters for super-large prints, and even at that point most humans cannot detect a difference. Sidenote: For anyone who doesn't work for National Geographic, megapixels start to "plateau" around 7 or 8, and beyond that, it's just a buzzword to convince people that one camera is 'better' than another). The older version (Rebel XT) actually has some nicer features... AND it's slightly cheaper, so between the "downgrade" and the "big-box price" we're going to end up paying about the same. But tomorrow, I should be walking out of Best Buy or Circuit City with my new camera, and no worries. Yay!
Crappy Reviews of Broadway Photo.com
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I will confess now that we've jumped back into the 20th century, our washing machine's motor broke, and it was going to cost MORE to replace the motor than to just buy a new one. We could never justify it before, but I spotted some used appliances in someone's driveway (one benefit to living in Wyoming) and we checked them out - a washing machine in perfectly good shape for $60!!!. Needless to say we went to my parents' house, got the truck, and I was doing laundry AT HOME that night.
Our dishwasher has been out of order for a while. I can't even remember how long. I think Lucy was still in my belly. Anyway... Ron was sanitizing bottles for a batch of home brew when it started leaking all over the floor. No soap involved in that process, but clearly something was wrong. We bought a bargain corner replacement and that leaked too! Word of advice: used dishwashers probably have a bad gasket because it dries out and becomes brittle. Buy new. So that's what we did... and it works! (Queue the "Hallelujah" chorus of Handel's Messiah). Those two additions should also help our house sell.
The other purchase is a new Canon Rebel XTi, which will be nice for more "professional" looking photos... which I'm hoping to get more into. I still love my handy little Canon PowerShot but this is going to give me some different options, as well as quality. The price listed on that site is not what it cost us, because Ron and I searched around enough to find a great deal, and it's not even a used one! I just wanted to show which one I'm getting. It should be here later this week and I can't wait to test it out! I'm so grateful because this is something that I would never allow myself to get, because there are more "important" things to spend money on, but on the other hand, sometimes it's nice to do something fun and I hope to put it to good use (and maybe even make money someday).
We can be negative and focus on all the bad things, but today I'm going to try to be more positive. We can see that our neighborhood has some wonderful people, and so far everyone we've met is extremely friendly. Several homes are being remodeled and made nicer, and for the most part people keep their property looking good (even if they have to paint over gang signs). When it comes down to it, the neighborhood you live in doesn't change the fact that the human experience is playing out, and it really looks similar no matter what your street sign reads. Today when I looked out our front window, I didn't see small houses and lots of cars. I saw this:
...and for a second our neighborhood was actually quite a beautiful place.
Maybe it's because I envision Ron running next to Lucy when she someday graduates from the training wheels (maybe a tad less hunky, tan, and shirtless... but you get the idea). It struck me as so classic and adorable. It's just one of those simple everyday moments that suddenly seems so much more powerful now that we have a child. As they were riding up and down the sidewalk, I couldn't resist snapping a photo from the window. He let go and she rode really far before deciding to put her feet down on the ground to stop... and they were both so proud! Ron said he wanted to go out there and clap for her.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I didn't take any photos because I had the camera in the diaper bag and didn't feel like getting it out, plus Lucy was really squirmy and tired, and I also felt weird about photographing the house when it isn't ours. It's a bank-owned home, so no one lives there, but I still thought it would be unnecessary. Besides, we saw what we needed to see, and having pictures to stare at would only add to the obsession. Okay, so this is definitely THE house. I hope all the renovating that would be necessary scares off other potential buyers. I don't know what is in store for us, and maybe this house isn't where we're meant to be. I still have faith that we'll find the right place. However, it's all too easy to get caught up in your own desires, and I can't deny the fact that we both love this house. All we can do is wait for an offer on ours!
Speaking of outgrowing: I wanted Lucy's shoulder straps on her carseat adjusted up a notch, so they were higher up on the back of the seat, and Ron went out to the garage to do it, but the instruction manual said the carseat only allows that to happen if it's in the forward-facing position. So we had to decide, is it better to keep Lucy rear-facing till she is 1 year old, or have the straps fit properly? I guess our tall girl is going to have the be a rebel and face forward. She seems to love the new perspective! Of course, I also love being able to see her in my rear-view mirror and she seems so grown up now, just from facing forward (I know that sounds crazy). My mom took the picture on our way home from Holland today... Lucy was sleeeeeepy.
Friday, July 20, 2007
...Don't worry, we're not totally nuts, we'll still (if and when our house sells) check out some more "normal" options. No need to be hasty...
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Anyway, I have proclaimed ever since we decided to sell our house that we will move into one that is "turn-key", meaning no work needs to be done to make it the kind of place a normal person would want to live. Just hang your clothes in the closet and pour the wine. Of course, you're paying the price for such luxury. Why not pay much less for a gigantic home in Grandville that needs serious (and I mean serious) updating. Like, the kind of updating that involves tearing out blood-red carpet and enough faux-wood panelling to cover a football field. But the potential! Can't... resist... renovation!
It's on the (long) list of homes we're interested in. We're going to see Saturday night, since online photos and peering into windows only gives you about 50% of reality. If we end up getting this house, we would have a lot of work on our hands, but at the risk of contradicting myself, it might be worth it. I never thought I'd believe that about a fixer-upper again.
I'll remind myself about sleeping in a "bedroom" with nothing but the scraped-off pad on the floor, the countless trips to Lowe's, the drywall dust... but in the end, it is quite something to breathe new life into a great old house. We have many good memories of our remodeling of this one (I know there was plenty of blood, sweat, and tears... and yelling... yet I seem to forget those times). Maybe we'll never learn. Maybe we just gluttons for misery. Or maybe it could be one of the most rewarding projects of our lives. To be continued...
There is a nice article in the Lansing State Journal that talks more about his life and career. I am sure his son Zachary will do all he can to carry on his dad's love of Michigan and the outdoors.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
As for Ron's game, in the first round of playoffs, they played the Team That Shouldn't Be In Their Division, and were ahead in the 7th (final) inning, only to lose by 1 measly run! It would have been the biggest upset of all of Wyoming men's summer softball! When I got home I found Ron with a fat lip, which he acquired during the 3rd inning (d'oh!) and he said he also had a bloody nose. Sweet. I told him to ice it 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Does that sound right? It's definitely going to bruise. Ick. And yes, it was an error in the outfield that caused his injury... not a fistfight or anything cool. Oh well... at least he didn't lose a tooth.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Although this was a very disappointing discovery, we are focusing on the fact that there is something else out there, and we will be just as excited when we find "the" house for us!
Meanwhile, we have another private showing tomorrow afternoon... so we should get the house looking as nice as possible.
... one might wonder, "Why isn't it always looking nice, on the off chance someone might want to see it?" Well, ideally that would be the case, but alas, we have to live here. This results in the lived-in look that can sometimes escalate to an official mess... as it currently is...
But, we are glad to have had this much interest in the past month or so. We really are doing well in that department, considering the real estate market (at least in our price range) in West Michigan. We are just keeping our fingers crossed that all these private showings will result in an offer soon. So in the meantime, I need to find a new house to pine over.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Friday was horseback riding - and although it was quite enjoyable, a nice 90 minute ride was plenty. I think that a person's butt has to get used to something like that, but our horses were so well behaved, and they just walked in line through the trails.
Later that day we visited Frederick and wandered in and out of little shops and galleries. We also stopped for a beer at Brewer's Alley.
Saturday we headed to Great Falls National Park, of the Potomac River. We climbed down the rocky hillside to get closer to the water, which was actually quite low. There were plenty of tourists visiting the park, which has an interesting history...
After the hike, we went to Trader Joe's for some snacks, and then back to Pam and Teri's for an early dinner, before heading to the Kennedy Center to see The Phantom of the Opera. We were able to go into the Members' Lounge thanks to Pam and Teri and relax in a quiet area before the show. The musical was wonderful, and I am so thankful we were able to go. That was really the highlight of the weekend for me.
Sunday morning we actually squeezed a couple more things in before heading home: a quick stop at Tom Selleck's house before going to breakfast at the Double - T Diner in Columbia (near Baltimore) where we stuffed ourselves yet again... but that's okay because we went to Baltimore's Inner Harbor afterward and walked it all off.
I found a cute bracelet and a shot glass for Ron's collection. Then Pam and Teri took us to the airport and ... eventually our plane took off back to O'Hare. We went to Potbelly's with Kelly and Heath in Evanston for MORE FOOD, and then Mom, Ginger, and I continued on back to Michigan...
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
We are also going to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. I have been there once before, and it is a very impressive theater. Phantom should be an exciting show. It is the longest-running production in Broadway history, and I love the music. I've seen the movie... it was pretty good. derf. I'm sure the live musical will be amazing.
There are also unofficial plans to visit the Baltimore Inner Harbor (on the Chesapeake Bay) for some fresh seafood (crab!!!!). For as many times as I've been to Maryland (maybe 4 of 5) I've never been there... so I hope we can fit that into our weekend.
I am going to miss Lucy (I'll miss Ron too, of course!), and I will plan on calling maybe once a day to maintain a connection with the homestead. I completely trust Ron to take good care of her, so it's hard to explain my need to touch base. I'm not "checking in" on him, but this will be the first time I've been away from her for more than one night, and since she is such a huge part of my life, that's not something I can just shrug off for a few days. But, I will definitely enjoy the break from my normal routine, and I know I'm going to have a lot of fun. My MIL asked me if I was going to be okay away from Lucy, if I was going to miss her, etc. Of course I will, but I think it makes a person function better as a parent if they're able to get away every now and then, mentally recharge, and come back refreshed, patient, happy, and ready to dive back in. That and a glass of wine...
When I return I will take some time to reunite with my little family, and then I'll get right to blogging. I will have plenty of photos as usual...
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
It was really boring but I read a cool article about Blogs in an old issue of New York Magazine. If I have to go again, I am definitely bringing a sudoku bookl. I am just relieved that there won't be a messy conflict with my travel plans!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
From what I understand, most people appear for one day, and then they're off the hook. Perhaps their case is settled immediately, and there isn't even a trial to sit through. I'm hoping it's a one-day obligation, but I'm willing to "serve" through Wednesday. However, I am going to inform someone that there is absolutely no way I can serve Thursday. I hope that They are understanding about it, and don't threaten to fine or arrest me for contempt of court (both, according to my summons, they could do). I understand why random samplings of people are needed to serve as jurors (as opposed to only those who are a) desperate for money; b) have nothing else to do), but I'm not thrilled about it. Here's hoping it doesn't interfere with my plans for next weekend.
JURY SERVICE - A VITAL FUNCTION OF DEMOCRACY
Jurty Duty is one of the most important duties that members of a free society are called upon to perform. The jury is an expression of the democtratic idea that authority can be exercised most equitably only if people participate. We think you will find jury duty to be a very interesting experience and will give you the opportunity to learn more about our system of justice and how it works.
This message is on my instructions. It is meant to make me feel all warm and fuzzy about jury duty.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
We're trying not to get our hopes up, but I'm excited about there being interest in our home! We're already thinking, in the back of our minds, about when/if to lower our price, and I really don't want to have to do that. Maybe we won't have to.
Ron and I are going to get the house looking as nice as possible. It's SO hard not to get our hopes up. We are very interested in a certain home in Allendale and it feels like a race against time to try to get it. I know they had an offer which they accepted, but it fell through at the last minute because the buyer backed out! Close call! Well, back down to earth - I know when ours does sell we'll find something. Whatever is in the cards for us, I'm sure, is for a reason. Prospective buyers make us crazy! Can't help it! ** Note - they rescheduled for Monday because the husband is working super late tonight. GRRRRR. The house is super-clean and we're going to have to just keep it that way for the rest of the weekend. Oh well!
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Later on, they were playing with the same toy, and Lucy was determined to grab Lauren's lovely locks! She smiles and squeals when she "pets" things - and before we could stop her, her two fists were latched onto Lauren's hair, just like Lennie in Of Mice and Men! By the time we pried her fingers open, Lauren was crying.
.... I'm not gonna hurt him, George, honest!
I'm posting photos of them on Smugmug. Hopefully I get some more good ones this afternoon. Right now they're both down for a nap! Yeah!!!!
No, but really Lauren is a wonderful baby, and very content to play for long periods of time, wherever you put her (walker, exersaucer, etc.). She makes different sounds, has different gestures, and it's just really highlighting how different all babies are! We just put them both down for a nap and poor Lauren is trying to sleep in Lucy's playpen in the guest room. I don't think she is completely comfortable in a strange place, but Lisa said that she will sleep 3 hours in the morning, so I'm going to let her fall asleep. I gave her a stuffed kitty that rattles and she seems to be calming down. I'm going to try to take some "nice" photos of her at some point, maybe outside or something, to practice on someone else's baby. If Lucy can behave, I might be able to get a couple of them together.