Sunday, December 14, 2008

peanut butter and pine cones.

 There is always something about this time of year that stirs up an extra bit of nostalgia.  

Last week when Hannah was over, we made hot chocolate, and put up the Christmas tree.  Every once in a while, Aud and I would be putting up an ornament, and go.. "ohhhh remember this one?!?" and then share a memory about it, and tell Hannah why it was special.  Even our mom popped in the room and said, "oh... I love that bunch of grapes at the top of the tree, it always reminds me of my dad" :) 

Well, if you're wondering if that Picture is our Christmas tree... it's not... But... it does carry it's own bit of significance.  You see, spending pretty much your whole life in the same city does heighten the probability that your tri
ps down memory lane will increase. 
That's the tree outside the police station in downtown.  Every year around Christmas they have a special tree decorating party.  Growing up, my sister and I would go with our girl scout troop (handmade ornaments in tow) and go for the celebration.  Saturday, Aud and I were running some errands and saw this years decorations.  You see, WAY WAY back in our day, we would spread peanut butter on a pine cone, dip it in bird seed, and it was an ornament.   On our way back from the bank, we decided to stop and admire this years tree trimmings.  The one to the right is the one that caught my eye @ first glance... and rightfully so :)

We walked around for a few minutes and admired, laughed, and tried to figure out the thought process of developing some of the unique gifts on the tree.  See, every ornament on the tree is made of edible items for animals (who probably look forward to it as much as the kids).  Some had already fallen to the ground, but it just added to the character of it all :)  It was heartwarming to see the layout of this masterpiece.  All, and I mean ALL the ornaments were all set yay high... as in not any higher than my eyesight... just high enough for the little ones reach :) it's awesome. 

what are your favorite Christmas memories?!? 

p.s. - please enjoy the pic below of what we have lovingly named, "The Christmas Sloth".  It resides out front the apartment across the way from my friend Andrea.  I'm sure it will not be a forgotten holiday memory for that family...

Monday, December 8, 2008

going organic

no, i haven't given up potassium benzoate ( the ingredient that "protects taste" in diet coke)... but i've begun to see a new twist on the importance of going organic... especially this time of year. 

I'm attempting to make the leap this Christmas. I'm going organic.  I'm working on getting rid of the unnecessary additives. I'm making a point to remind myself of the main, pure, nourishing part of Christmas: Jesus.  

It struck me yesterday in church, and then again earlier this evening when I was watching Charlie Brown Christmas.  It was an issue in 1965 when the t.v. special first aired, and continues to captivate us today.  I'm not sure how many times i'll be able to say this... but I've got the same concerns as Charlie Brown.  Commercialism vs. Christmas creates conflict in me.

Now i'm just as guilty of the next person to get swept away with Christmas... I enjoy santa, his reindeer, cookies, ornaments, stockings, candy canes, and the fake snow that gets sprinkled around our Christmas village... but thanks to pastor Chris and Charlie, I have become refreshingly aware of where I can choose to focus my attention this Christmas. 

I hope that you celebrate with purpose this Christmas season... That you acknowledge the gift of Christ, and that you have friends like Linus to remind us of what Christmas is all about.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I hate those pants

I had an, "I hate those pants" day... are you familiar? 

It started with waking up @ 8:28 on a Monday morning.  A Monday morning where I was supposed to be at work by 8:30.... supposed to be.  

Now those of you who read this blog most likely know that I don't like mornings.  I wish I did... but when you get down to it... i just don't.  Alarms going off send an adverse reaction through my body.  I purposely set my alarm early so i can take it to the clock and hit snooze as if to show it up (and yes, it does makes me feel a little better). Well those days when the alarm mysteriously "doesn't go off" (i'm often the number one skeptic of that excuse)... sends a whole new series of feelings... panic, confusion, shock, frenzy, anxiety... and often leads to the perfectly, imperfect day. 

no snooze for you... instant jump out of bed... check yourself out... do i wash my face? will it be worth it to save time if i just put my make up on now? what about my hair? does it really need to be brushed?reality check. you deal with people all day... wash you face, brush your hair (and teeth).... BUT FAST!  oh great... patient @ 9... move faster!  grab the first clothes you see... i hope they match.... one leg... then the other... man... I hate these pants. shirt. hair in a pony. i look good enough. man, i still hate these pants... The first good thing of the day is the cup of coffee that meets me at the door... the good thing about the ride to work is that it's always going to take as long as it takes... enough to enjoy the coffee :)  

8:48. amazingly, not that late. I understand, it's relative... and I've even been trying to be more intentional about arriving actually on time instead of a few minutes late... but considering that a mere 21 minutes ago i was still in a deep slumber... I'm impressed... disheveled... but impressed.  I walk down the hallway, apologize to my boss, and get to work... man, I still hate these pants.  These pants fall into the category of "should still be good"... they are a reputable brad name, have yet to show wear, and for all practical purposes... should still be ok... but they're not.  They're a hair too small... and just short enough for me to feel self conscious about. i hate these pants. every time i use the bathroom, I go through a repeated ritual that is as predictable as Sean Casey up to bat... I pull up my pants... high.  I button them just shy of my belly button, place my hands in my pockets and spend the next few seconds wiggling them down as far as the waist will take them. I hate those pants. I then check the cuffs, make sure they are past my shoes... take a deep breath and leave. i hate those pants. That's the story of the day... those darn pants.  Every time i get up, sit down, walk fast, or sit still... it doesn't matter what you do, they just never make you feel, or look right.... they were on my mind until 5:11 when i returned home to put on my favorite pair of jeans...

... and put the pants back in the closet. 

Monday, April 14, 2008

Call me Kobayashi.

okay... so don't really.

maybe I should have titled it, "you could have almost called me kobayashi"... it just wouldn't fit in the title bar... and it's pretty much like trying to claim, "I almost ran marathon"... it doesn't really count if it didn't happen... right?!?

I went to Chicago this last weekend on a slightly spontaneous trip, and in the end, it was well worth it, as almost all spontaneous trips are... mainly b/c of the sandwich eating contest i almost entered.  To preface my story I will tell you my flight was delayed into chicago (yeah, i was big league-in' it) and since it had been nearly 8 hours since my last meal I got a slice of pizza, a diet coke, and a cookie... obviously being intentional about having a sample from each food group...  I was basically on the verge of paranoia that they would board me on the plane and then make me sit on the runway for 3 hours, as a storm that, "covered all of wisconsin" took it's time passing over... and i figured I needed to keep my "on board" time focused on praying that the plane didn't get struck by lightning or that the wind wouldn't flip it @ 15,000 feet, rather than using my thoughts to convince myself that my stomach lining was eating itself.  Coming to find out it was a wise move,  seeing as our plane landed at 8:06 pm :) 

Sara picked me up soon after... fresh from a hit and run.  

not what you expected.  I know.  She was the hit(ee) not hit(er)... and they were both in cars. Don't worry, the best part about the story is that when she saw him flee, she chased him down. yes she did. potentially dangerous? yes.  Did he switch 3 lanes? yes. Did she? yes.  Did he take her down side streets? yes. But is it something any of the Charlie's Angels would do in a heartbeat... absolutely yes. and for that (and the good outcome of the story) I am proud... and yes, she turned that sucker in.  He had it coming. 

So you're probably thinking, "and why should I still be almost calling you kobayashi?"  well, when we finally made it to dinner, I was given a challenge.  We went to a place in Wrigleyville called Lucky's.  They are known for their sandwiches, and the fact that the french fries come on it (don't knock it til you try it)... As I was finishing my sandwich the bartender asked how I liked it, I told him it was great and (in typical emily - joking fashion) told him I was ready for my next one... Only to find out that there is a little competition at this restaurant where if you eat 3 sandwiches in one sitting, you get your name, picture, and a nickname on the wall.  Um, Hello...  the competitive wheels in my head started turning, and the fact that my sister was sitting beside me saying, "em, you could totally do it" and knowing there is yet to be a female represented on the wall was playing a crucial part in me trying to make my brain tell my stomach it could down two more of those bad boys... and momentum kept building... bets started coming down the bar... "i'll give you $20, forth row tickets to a cubs game, i'll buy one of the sandwiches..." 

The dramatic climax to the story turns to a dramatic thud.  

i didn't do it.

I told myself if i didn't have that darn pizza at dtw it would have been in the bag ;)  

I haven't completely given up though... let me know if you want to carpool on my next trip to Chicago... I know this little bar with great sandwiches ;) 

Monday, March 31, 2008

I heard it through the grapevine...

i love naps.  it's pretty evident.  I mean, how much more official does truth get from a statement on your facebook profile? jk.  nowadays though it seems though they are few and far between.  I think the main reason for that is that my definition of a "nap" is a lot different than most people... in order for most to qualify it needs to get a time of at least 60 minutes/1 hour/ one 24th of a day... you pick it.... in fact, my definition sometimes borderlines "short sleep".
I think I had one today.  And it was kind of like a movie. I came home from work hurting... physically.  My back hurt, my shoulder hurt, and my emotions hurt from that MSU loss on friday... okay, so not really about the game... but a nap seemed like a good move.  I went down for my nap at 5:40ish (can people under 2 1/2 use that phrase?)... and woke up @ 9:03...  Now, I've done better.  But this was supposed to be like a 45 minute, "i'm just going to shut my eyes for a minute" naps... ahh well... I woke up feeling good :)  and the best part of the story isn't the minutes logged, no, it's what i woke up to... none other then "I heard it through the grapevine" blasting from downstairs... woofers on, volume up, and my guess... either "music hall" or "rock and roll concert" setting.  Talk about one of those nostalgic songs...  oh... I didn't realize you've never heard anyone classify that song as such... shocking.  For some reason, when I was little, I had a collection of California Raisin figurines that traveled so well that they were a staple set of toys for quite a while.  Needless to say, I got out of bed and followed the music, that if given the opportunity, might make the cut on the soundtrack of my childhood... The story ends even better... I found my dad in our t.v. room, lights dimmed,  just listening to the radio.  It doesn't seem like much... but people don't usually do that.  People don't usually come home from work and do that.  That sound system, or whatever it is, is my dads technological pride and joy.  He loves it... the collection of dvd's he has that compliments it, and the woofers that give it the extra edge.  It was one of those moments that just made me smile....  oh nostalgia... and dads that bring it back in a big way.

you might understand a little better if you watch this video... it makes my love for them so obviously understandable. 

Sunday, March 16, 2008

she was probably eating oreos...

I remember thinking that my dad was always so clever when he told us girls that we would be the only 3 three in school that would be able to say we went to Lebanon, Paris, Sidney, and Toledo on Spring Break.  We would be crammed 5 deep inside a car that barely lived up to its sedan title, but I still liked it.  I liked knowing that his statement was true, and the thought of sharing it with my peers gave me as big a rush of excitement as any 8 year old stuck sitting middle on a 24 hour drive could get... 

well this weekend aud and I took the drive down 75.  and guess where I went?!?!  jk... but not really... except this time... minus 3 people, no middle seat, and only a 4 hour jaunt. Although, as we passed some of those exits, my heart still smiled as I thought, hey... I spent part of my sunday passing by sidney :)  oh life's little joys.  
Aud and I made the overdue trip down to see our good friends sarah and jeff.  They moved down to "cincy" a little over a year ago for Jeffs job, and have recently made the decision to stay down there indefinetly.  Now, sarah and I grew up living maybe 3 minutes from each other, and although i often miss that former luxury, they are the type of people that allow you to pick up right where you left off... and it's great.  While we were driving home today, audry said, "i'm leaving this weekend feeling re-energized".... and my thoughts were... ain't that the truth.  Now don't worry, I didn't go losing my education in the south (if you can call cincinnati "the south"), but it was just so true. raw and true.  We spent Friday night talking, and only caught about 30 minutes of Saturday morning due to the fact that we slept in until 11:34am.  We didn't do much of anything all day.  we watched parts of 3 movies, watched most of the make me want to pull my hair out State game, ate chipotle (i still say it's not as good as qdoba...non antibiotic chicken or not...), took a nap, and finally left for dinner in kentucky around 9pm.  and it was fine, perfect, just as we didn't plan :)  We ate great food, laughed, and had a drink at this charming pub on mt. adams.  It was a hidden treasure (dana you would have loved it).  Not only did you have to walk down stairs to a narrow, rocky/concrete tunnel to get to the place... but it let you out at what is a beautiful garden in the summer and what they keep attractive by means of a large fire pit surrounded by chairs in the colder months.  And to get into the actual pub, you had to enter under a tarp and through some doors... and as much as I hate to say it... It felt very harry potter-ish.  I mean, as much as I can assume it would be like to be a hobbit, or an of age ron weasly.... or whatev.  But there we were... the most charming little pub i've ever set foot in... stocked full with regulars, eclectic decorations, and a live singer that was accompanied by her dad on guitar.  it was great.  On our walk back to the car sarah summed it up when she said, "I knew I could count on you guys to eat, sleep, and have a good time"... 

Like I said... it doesn't usually take much.  I look forward to weekends, just as much as anyone else... but there is something that makes them that much better when they allow you to reconnect with you best friends, and some of your favorite memories... and have them blend right together :) 

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

welcome to the good life.

I like kanye west.  sure, i'm convinced that he's arrogant, conceited, and egotistical... all while, he's busy making more money in a month (probably week) than i'll ever see in my lifetime... but I still like him.  He's got style... and there is something about his boldness that is so good at grabbing my attention. He is a talented man who is very good at what he does. 

Now with that being said, he's not entirely what this post is about.  My point in bringing him up is that he's got a song called "the good life" where he raps about things like being on t.v., ferraris, and vegas... this is his definition of the good life...  and okay, sure all those things have potential to be fun and great... but taking a step back from the wanting and wishing is often refreshing.

case in point... On sunday nights, our yellow house takes a temporary jump in occupants, by means of an 8 year old beauty/comedian/dancer/angel... (impressive resume already, i know)... our hannah.  She spends a few hours with us every week while her granddad goes to play hockey.  Our time usually consists of making up games, doing crafts, eating pickles (did i mention she had excellent taste?), and finding the ground where 8 and 24 year olds meet.  She is seriously a gift.  I love it when God uses her to teach me things, show me stuff, and hug me :)   Every interaction I have ever had with her, in her tiny, short, yet complex life has made my life that much better.  This past week,  the three of us (add an aud) decided that we would get a snack and watch whatever was on the disney channel while audry put french braids in her hair.  Well, the request was made that the hair style session wait until after the snack was done... she just wanted to enjoy it, and apples take more concentration when you want to eat them whole, and you're small.  And since it was a valid point, Aud got a big blanket and the three of us sat side by side (hannah sandwich on cousin) on the couch with our apples in hand.  As we sat there, she looked back and forth between the two of us a few times. smiled. looked at the Disney Channel. smiled. snuggled back as she wiggled herself into place, and after a sigh of contentment, said, "ahh... this is the life".

It's true though right?  I mean at the root of each of us is the desire to be loved.  Sure, it's easier to love someone we know well, but most of the time that's incentive enough to know people better.  right?  For me to think that somewhere in the equation of couch+ apple+love+blanket+ time+... there was a line of fulfillment crossed, was not only rewarding for hannah, but for me as well.  What a beautiful design.  I love it when I am reminded of how God has really thought of everything!  What a gift it is that we get to be a part of something SO big as showing people love... and receiving it.  

Sure it can be tricky, confusing, tough, frustrating, intricate and take a lot of effort.  But sometimes it's worth it for that kind of understanding of what the good life is really all about. 

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tell Me Again.

I've always liked stories... just not necessarily reading them.

I've been told I'm good at telling them... and bad... that sometimes I talk with my hands (but not as much as my sister)... and I often run off on tangents.  I think that animated people tell them best, and details are essential... and a true gift is when our lives produce stories that are better than the made up...

My mom often listens to books on tape, and for the longest time i've been amused by anyone who has chosen their profession to be that of a professional story teller (how do you get to that point anyway?!?!).  I always wonder about the reader and how he/she decides to differentiate the characters by voice... I mean how long do you suppose they actually spend on figuring those out?  Some of my favorite storytellers (that I know personally) have the gift of character distinguishment in this way, and others (as I mentioned above) by animation. 

I love it when I'm on the side of already having heard a good story and I'm about to hear it be introduced to someone else.  I love watching people's faces when I know a highlight or punch line is coming up.  They are the moments I would bottle up and keep if i could :) I love hearing my closest friends tell stories of their families, weekend memories, work stalkers, great games, memories of us, brilliant ideas, love interests, ice skating with middle school kids, things I swear never happen to me, taking their grandmas to the bathroom, and even on occasion... electricity and magnetism (if it's my dad talking about it, and I just sit back in amazement at the stuff he knows)

I've recently been more intentional with unearthing the treasures that my patients (most of them 60-70+) have tucked away up in their memories.  Most of their stories, no doubt, have been told time and time again... where family members could probably recite them verbatim (don't we all have stories like that from our aged relatives?)... but to new ears, they are fascinating and entertaining.  During the time i've spent at the office, i've interacted with a woman who drove a bookmobile in Atlanta during the civil rights movement, a man who worked on the Detroit CSX railroad for 48 years, listened to a lady's struggle with her bipolar, adult daughter, and the 88 pound, fragile, pistol of a woman who almost married a champion diver 8 years her senior when she was only 17... before he died of an unknown heart condition at 25... I like knowing that our DHL delivery man can't wait to ride his Honda motorcycle this spring...and our FedEx guy has a daughter named emily :)  Some of the smallest stories I am told about, include... Shorty, Bella and Happy... dogs that are well loved (and talked about) by their owners... I look forward to take the Tigers with Clifton, and the Red Wings with Richard... And I loved hearing the story of a Grandpa who is lovingly referred to by his grandchildren as Duke... and therefore, often sports Blue Devil gear when he's in our office... Some of them bring stuff... candies, bananas, movies, books, great smiles, home brewed beer, and even souvenirs for the doctor from their vacations... 

but my favorite are their stories :) 

Friday, February 15, 2008

oh, I'm sorry... I'll be away on business...

Yes, I was a business major in college... And to this day, one of my secret loves that comes with my job, is when I can utter the 5 words... "i'll be away on business"... It makes me feel like a grown up... in a good way.  I like it.  I like just about everything that comes with it... the good, the bad, and the ugly...  

For one, it's a change of pace.   It's different from the monotony that can establish permanent residency in our lives... and often creates opportunity for moments that make you think one of two ways... either, "this is great" or  "did that really just happen?"

you can guess where they fall, in the last  48 hours i've...

packed 5 days into a carry-on. skipped lunch. sat inches from a man for 3 hours and 58 minutes who watched footage from 9/11 on his laptop at 35,000 feet. remembered what 73 degrees feels like. survived another cocktail hour (i hate those). had the option to choose one of two beds. sat on a patio. saw green. slept well. watched my first episode of hannah montana (to connect with my hannah of course). sat through 4 hours of power points (twice). drank coffee (often) with creamer and 2 pumps caramel. heard middle age women complain about being away for valentines day (eye roll). sat pool side with people magazine.  had a mai tai. make that 2. tried spinach soup. missed 5 calls in one hour from the office. took a picture of a cactus. heard an 8 year old cry. read USA today. saw a white escalade. :) . thought about a trip to the spa, saw the prices, quickly forgot. ate valentines candy. had filet mignon. a waiter that looked like joe millionaire. appetizer, salad, meal, AND dessert. heard a man say his grandma referenced his bed as a workbench (she really wanted to be a great-grandma). checked my email. listened to live music. had a doctor from montana tell me "white folk need to reproduce to help prevent us falling to 1/3 the population by 20?? (clearly i was listening well) so we can prevent an act of war", yeah i still don't know. drank wine with 2 women from louisiana. heard one of them use the phrase, " I could sop him up with a biscuit". and I have full intention of bringing it home. got annoyed at the technologically challenged. ate a boxed lunch. sat by a fire. saw a man in a leather trench coat.  heard a family of 5 say, "that must be richard pulling up in THAT car", maybe 6 times. experienced generosity... and i've still got time left.

so maybe now, the not-so-obvious has become a little more clear.  what is not to like about an experience like this?  Especially when you know it ends with going home again :)  sometimes it's good to be forced to have a temporary change from the things in our lives we grow so used to...

but until I get home... I'm still away on business.