Sunday, December 03, 2006
Let me know if you know anything about any of these places. In reverse order....
20. Fargo, North Dakota/Moorhead, Minnesota – I’m embarrassed that Fargo even shows up on this list!
19. Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan – funny name, but I don’t know much more...
18. Cedar Rapids, Iowa – the “City of Five Seasons” (?)
17. Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana – I think this is the only place on the list I haven’t even heard of, apparently they make bank instruments and RVs here
16. Lincoln, Nebraska – college town, but… could I become a ‘Huskers fan?
15. Bismarck, North Dakota – North Dakota may be worse than Kansas… size of Sheboygan and it’s the largest population center for 200 miles in any direction (wow, not much else out there), don’t think so.
14. Cleveland, Ohio – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, pro sports teams, bigger than any other city on the list
13. Grand Rapids, Michigan – I’ve heard good things… somewhat close to “home”
12. Omaha, Nebraska – size of the Madison Metro area, college town (x2), museums, the College World Series (yes, I’m a fan of “weird sports”)… I may be able to do Omaha
11. Joplin, Missouri – smaller than Sheboygan, “prime location for retirement” (not yet!), close to Arkansas, Oklahoma, AND Kansas (yikes!)
10. Overland Park, Kansas – … anyone know anything about it?
9. Evansville, Indiana – small town charm, but within 200 miles of St. Louis, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Nashville
8. Kansas City, Missouri – Kansas in the name, but it’s not IN Kansas, major league sports teams, the City of Fountains, and apparently a ton of BBQ restaurants, population of almost 2 million... might be do-able
7. Topeka, Kansas – state capital, but nothing else that is real noteworthy…
6. Sioux Falls, South Dakota – population 120K, ranked as one of the “least stressed” cities, low cost of living, with relatively higher incomes, but I don’t know if I could do South Dakota either
5. Wichita, Kansas – size of Madison Metro area … but it’s Kansas
4. Bloomington, Indiana – small, but a University town (Indiana University)
3. Springfield, Missouri – size of Madison Metro area, Missouri’s “economic and cultural center”
2. Salina, Kansas – smaller than Sheboygan, geographic center of the United States, artsy/agricultural town… but it’s Kansas
1. Columbia, Missouri – halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, University of Missouri (college town!), population 92K. Supposedly this is the ideal spot for me.... I'm kind of indifferent.
What do you think? Time for me to head out of Wisconsin?
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
17 years ago you were cute enough to take to show and tell in my 2nd grade class. Today I wouldn't take you to a show and tell for being cute, but for being the best brother I could ask for! Hope you have a wonderful birthday - with no balloons at school, but I'll give you some here!
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Please don't take my ranting here to mean that it wasn't a great holiday. We had a great time hanging out in the amazingly warm November weather in Wisconsin. The meal was fabulous, wine was great, time spent together was fun. We put the top on the convertible down, and rode around town for awhile and got some funny looks and a little cold. A stop at the Monona Bait Shop for ice cream topped the ride off. Not your typical, hang out with the cousins, watch a little football (or even play if it's nice enough out), Thanksgiving, but memorable nonetheless. We capped the night with a few board games (I managed to lose every one, no matter who was on my team), and just hanging out together.
Back to the family situation for a bit now... I'm sure there are only a couple members of the above mentioned family who know what a blog is, and even fewer who know that I have one or how to get to it, so this may never get to the intended audience, but here goes anyway. The crap that tends to tear this family apart is getting ridiculous. The hurt feelings, and tear-inducing comments seemed silly at the time, but seem like nothing compared to gossip and rumor spreading that are now causing people to not even be able to see each other for holidays. Enough already. Get over yourself. Life is too hard to let this crap get in the way of some of the relationships that really matter.
Hopefully Christmas will be different...
Monday, November 06, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
Slow down enough to hear myself think.
Slow down enough to realize what I'm feeling.
Slow down enough to realize just what I want, and need in this life.
Slow down enough to hear God talking to me.
Slow down enough to realize how blessed and loved I am.
Today was one of those days where I was going through the motions, seeming like everything was fine, had my schedule for the day in my head, and was just looking forward to getting through it. I could feel my bed calling me all day long, almost counting down the hours until the day was over. What hurts so much now is that I realized how much I missed today. And then thinking more, how much I miss everyday. This mentality of "make it through the day" is so common for me lately, and I dare say not just for me. I got home after getting through the things that "had" to get done (which were really enjoyable, and I shouldn't have been thinking of them that way), and just felt drained. Was bummed. Was angry. Was feeling pretty empty. When I have the mentality of making it through the day, there isn't room for satisfaction, accomplishment, or just plain joy. I was missing all of that, even though it seemed like a good day.
This funk threw me into workout mode, and I found myself down at the Y. I had left the iPod at home, and the televisions, though they were closed-captioned and I could have followed along, weren't catching my attention which I couldn't be more thankful for now. I ended up just talking through things with God and just myself for a good half hour, not realizing that I was running (which is a great side benefit!), and felt some of the tension that had been sitting in my back for days just lift. It was like a weight had physically been taken off my shoulders.
As I walked out to my car in the parking lot just yards from Lake Michigan, I heard the waves rolling over and crashing onto the shore. I smelled the distinctive smell of fall leaves. I felt the chill in the air that made me pull my hands into the sleeves of my coat. All of this was just an awesome reminder of this whole world that exists around me everyday, and can, if I only left it, serve as a constant reminder of just how much I'm loved by an awesome God who made heaven and earth Himself.
It's a comforting reminder on days when I let the world catch up with me. I'm quick to turn on the TV as soon as I get home, so I have some background noise and don't have to deal with the stuff filling my head. I'm quick to turn to the latest book I'm reading, or spreadsheet I'm working on at work, instead of concerning myself with what's really going on in my heart. I'm quick to call the friend who comes to mind first when I'm angry, or upset, or just down rather than turning to God in prayer.
As much of a bummer as what was going on in my head and heart earlier today was, I couldn't be more thankful for the chance it gave me to slow down, catch up with God and myself rather than the world, and start to re-prioritize and re-familiarize myself with what matters.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I've gotten used to just ignoring the comments about my career choice, but I will admit the stuff he shows me that "engineers do" is normally pretty amazing. Especially this.
I've heard that there are no computer graphic or digital tricks in the commercial, and that everything you see really happened, in real time, exactly as you see it. It took 606 takes, $6 million, and 3 months to complete, but is pretty damn cool!
Almost makes me want to be an engineer dad!
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Just upload a photo of yourself, and run the face-recognition program to find your "celebrity look-alikes" - based primarily on facial structure, nothing else, thus Kate Hudson, Laura Bush, and myself look alike in this case. (Check out my profile/collage at the link below!)
My look-alikes (starting with the most alike):
1. Kylie Minogue
2. Kate Hudson
3. Stacey Keibler (of pro-wrestling and Dancing with the Stars fame!)
4. Laura Bush
5. Renee Zellweger (She had me at Hello - I still can't think of her in anything besides Jerry Maguire)
6. Bridget Moynahan
7. Jenna Elfman
8. Kate Bosworth
Check it out and let me know who you look like!
Sunday, September 24, 2006
I've been giving people who really don't mean that much to me way too much power to influence the way I feel about myself. I've wasted way too much energy on worrying about what these same people think, and being concerned about living up to their expectations, when 1) I'll never be able to do that given that I don't even know what those expectations are, and 2) even if I did, it really wouldn't matter. Granted, these are people who have definitely had a place in my life and heart at some point in the past, and have given me experiences in which I learned about myself, and the way I want my relationships to work. They've taught me valuable lessons, but, for all intents and purposes, have come and gone from my life, yet I let their hold on me remain. The fact that I'm not getting anything from them, but letting them take from me - energy, time, and peace of mind - has weighed heavy on my heart lately, and is definitely the struggle of the day/week.
Thanks for letting me get that out there.
Now for a little fun after being a little hard on myself (in an effort to NOT be so hard on myself), a random poll.
What's the best reality tv show on the air this fall? OR... is the reality tv craze over and you don't care about any of them?
Post your answers in the comment section! My answer (in case anyone cares) after 5 answers have been posted first!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
It's an awesome thing to know you're making a difference in the life of a kid who could use it and looks up to you. Not that T. is in a bad situation, just that she can use and appreciates a little more one-on-one attention than she gets at home. It doesn't hurt that she's a pretty cool, outgoing, fun, creative kid too!
Monday, September 04, 2006
I went back to Madison this weekend to see Matt's football game (against West, LaFollette won 21-0!) but didn't get home in time to see him before the game. I'm not sure if he saw be during the game or not, but he definitely saw me after. I was hanging around by the bus waiting for the guys to come out of the locker room with the parents who brought the post game bag lunch stuff, when these big, gross, sweaty football players started streaming out, swarming the coolers looking for food. I wasn't even really paying attention, when one of them started jogging right towards me. My little (ok, he's pretty big) brother, ran right up to me after the game, passing by all the other guys, the parents, even the food, and gave me a huge hug saying hi and thanking me for coming. At that point, the fact that he was soaked in sweat and smelled horrible didn't matter. The fact that he was my brother did. I don't know if he knows how much it meant to me (I think he does - as much as my being there meant to him), but in that moment, my 16 year old brother made my weekend.
Thank you Matt. I love you brother!
Friday, August 18, 2006
... who will be there to hold your hand when life comes crashing down?
... if the people you love really know it?
... if the people that you think love you really do?
... how brightly your light is shining, and could it shine brighter?
... what is the toughest battle you'll have to face? ... if you've fought it yet?
... if you're getting the benefit of the doubt?
... if the words you say are being taken completely wrong?
... if it's possible to capture the feeling of pure joy?
... what the next page in the book of your life says? I don't know, but I know it's good!
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I was back in Madison this past weekend. Not for anything in particular, just because it was a free weekend where I could spend some time with the fam. I just realized, again (why do I forget it sometimes when I'm not around them for awhile?), how blessed I am with the family I have. We just got to spend a lot of time together, hanging out - a trip to the Farmer's Market, a little shopping, cooking out a couple times, mini golfing, real golfing, playing cards. Nothing spectacular in and of itself, but together made for a great, relaxing weekend. So, thanks Mom, Dad, and Matt! Love you guys!
Another note about an awesome family (not mine personally, but related to me!). I met a beautiful, 15 month old little girl tonight, who for only the past week has been with a family who truly loves her and is taking care of her. It's a story that first breaks your heart, and then restores hope that there are caring people who are willing to sacrifice a little to help someone else out. To make a long story a little shorter, C. has a relative who had 12 children, but has since decided that she is unable (or unwilling) to take care of them and needed to get rid of them. This sad situation came to a head last week when a 5 year old girl was found by police, unable to tell them where she lived, she was taken into protective custody, when about 15 hours later her mother finally reported her missing. Thankfully, the courts realized they needed to get all of these children out of their living situation. D. and C. were called as potential foster parents, and in one of the most selfless acts I could think of, agreed to parent this 15 month old girl who desperately needed a safe place to live, without a second of hesitation. For the past week, she has been in their home with them and a big sister who love her like crazy, and are looking forward to the possibility of adopting her sometime in the future. While the act of the first mother is completely unthinkable, the awesome love of D., C., and S. is even more amazing, and makes me so thankful that I have people like them in my life! Can't wait to see more of you guys and your new little girl!
While not such good news, please keep a couple families in your thoughts and prayers. The L.'s and the B.'s (for their sake, I want to keep their names private) could definitely use it... I'll be thinking of you guys.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Well I haven't blogged about it before, but I've taken a new position at work. I'm making the jump from finance/accounting to marketing. Even though this whole switch has been in the works for over a month now, I hadn't realized, until this week, how much it would affect me.
There are definitely things about my job in accounting that I will be glad to be rid of. A lot of the technical stuff I do is not what keeps bringing me back everyday. I don't think, however, that I realized how much I appreciate the relationships I've made while in my position.
I'm gonna miss the guys I work with! A.D, and T.F. - as much shit as you guys give me, I've grown to love it! While I know all the harsh comments they've made to me about leaving the department are in fun and well intentioned, I don't think you guys realize that leaving you isn't going to be easy! I won't miss loading China P&L's, or dealing with T-Bone's "little assignments", but the absence of stupid comments, and daily news deliveries (which I just learned today will stop when I'm no longer in finance -is that true Andy??) will definitely leave a hole in my day at work.
Here's hoping things won't change too much, and I won't be completely forgotten. And in honor of my ACT being signed, and the whole move being official, here's the Top 5 things I'll miss the most about Engines Accounting.
4. L.R. beating a path down the hallway with some random, crude joke, or comment about hurricane/himmicane. Wait... I'll be even closer to him now that I'm in Marketing. Oops.
3. Are your greenbook pages done yet?
Time Out.... I won't really miss any of those things. But these, I will. Sincerely this time.
2. "Cognizant" "Ascertain" "Expunge" "Preconception (foreplay?)"
1. My great co-workers. Thanks guys!
Monday, July 31, 2006
Friday Night was the Sheboygan Alumni football game - guys 10 -20 years out of high school reliving their Glory Days (Sing, or at least hum, a little Bruce Springsteen here - it makes the story so much better.) We're talking 2 hours of full pads, full contact football. Even graduation years versus odd because the rivalry between the two schools is so intense even a decade or two out of school. Before it was gametime though, the night called for a real Sheboygan fry-out. (Or cookout/BBQ for anyone not from Sheboygan or Manitowoc counties). Brats and burgers on the grill - the only thing that would have made it better would have been if there were Sheboygan hardrolls to have the classic double brat on.
*A side note on brats and other sausage type meats. A spicy, mexican pork sausage - chorizo - is the new addition to the Sausage Race at Miller Park? It signed a "contract"? And it wears a sombrero? Granted the Sausage Race is one of the more entertaining parts of the game, the buzz this thing has gotten, including a press release quoting the GM might be a little much.
Back to the Fry-out and high school football. Despite the lack of hardrolls, the grilling was fantastic - nice job Andy. I was impressed. But, some of the best entertainment of the night was still to come. Off to North High School for the alumni game where T.F. and T.B. played for the evens, and were just beaten by the odds. A few of the highlights - some tripping over the chains when running on and off the field, even it was just to bring a tee on the field, and K.F. dancing in her swimming suit while she cheered for her dad from the stands. Nicely played guys - there's always next year guys - another chance to "Obliterate the Odds"- and I'll be at the game cheering again!
Saturday started with a haircut and pedicure - a little being girly never hurts.
Then it was on to Chicago to meet up with the Great America gang for the first time in four years. Starting the summer after high school graduation, we went to Six Flags together every summer for three years. When we got busy doing the college thing, the tradition fell apart for three years, only to be revived again this past weekend. The trip was typically a day trip, including some good stories surrounding the road trip part of the day, but with Ryan living in Chicago now, we were able to spend a little more time just chatting and catching up. We all met in Skokie for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (there's the obligatory chain restaurant name drop!) and a little swimsuit shopping - Ryan and Jas even helped. The dinner, conversation, and night spent at Ryan's condo in downtown Chicago were great. Floor to ceiling windows staring straight at the skyline aren't a bad thing to fall asleep to!
Sunday morning brought the Great America Subway run - this time done by Ryan and Jas - normally a Kate and Linds job - thanks guys! On the way to Gurnee, we ran into a little storm and a guy in green, velvety spandex pants... nothing too out of the ordinary!
Besides being as hot as death, and me not being able to handle rollercoasters without getting sick anymore, it was a great time. Records for number of rollercoasters ridden were not to be broken on this trip, and there were more than enough cases of swass and swits to go around, but it was a great time nonetheless. I knew some of the charm of the place had worn off since the last time I was there, but Andy probably put it best with the comment about there being sweaty, white trash in the rollercoaster seat right before you, and you sit down without really thinking about it (until the day after when you start regretting things like that!). Who knows if there will be another trip, but hopefully the reunion of four friends who grew up no more than two miles from each other but now live in four different cities (three states) will continue.
One last side story about the trip (Sorry Linds, it just wouldn't be a complete recap of the day without it!). Tradition says we eat subs together in the car with the best air conditioning at some point in the afternoon. With the cooler in Ryan's car, but Linds' new Rav 4 having the best AC, we decided to eat in hers The problem comes when you unlock the car, start it, turn on the air conditioner, lock the door, and then shut it. That situation requires talks with three different police/security officers, and a little Macgyver action. A little thing to remember - if it's 100 degrees out, and you lock your keys in your car at Great America, you're in a better situation if you have started the car before you shut the door. If it's running, the park security will open your door for you for free. If it's not, they'll hand you the number for a locksmith and wish you luck.
Overall, I'd have to say it was definitely a quality weekend. Thanks for all the fun guys!
The British scientist conducting this study didn't care about your life expectancy or how much you're hurting (or helping) the planet - but was more concerned about if you're satisfied with your situation and environment.
Denmark ranked first (followed by Switzerland, Austria, Iceland, and... the Bahamas - wonder why - who wouldn't be happy with soft sand beaches and warm ocean water everyday.) But for happiness, don't look to Burundi. They're probably unhappy because they're lonely - no one even knows they're there (or where "there" is for that matter).
FYI: The United States ranked 23rd out of 178. No mention of where Vanuatu placed.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Last Friday (over a week ago), I flew out of Sheboygan (after a long day of helping my computer-illiterate sales guys with PowerPoint presentations and simple spreadsheets - and to think I've signed myself up for working with them even more!), to meet the family in Door County. It seems crazy that such an idyllic place is only 2 hours away. It's no tropical island or black sand beach, but it's pretty nice for Northern Wisconsin.
I was there for 6 days, 5 nights, and don't have any major events to report, other than a ton of relaxing, hours in and on the lake, some golfing and shopping, and quite a few good restaurants. The place we stayed was about 50 feet from the water, with a dock right outside our door, which was perfect because dad brought the jetskis up. We were able to dock them right there, and hop on anytime we wanted. The sandy, city beach was just down the shore, and was great considering the temperature nearly hit 100 degrees most days. We did a little family golfing ("Roll your right hand on your follow through!"), saw a play in Peninsula State Park, and really just relaxed a ton - which was exactly what I needed. I won't bore you with more details on a pretty mellow trip, but suffice to say, it was a "vonderful!" trip.
Coming back to work from vacation on a Thursday isn't the best way to get back into the swing of things, luckily the folks at Engines are looking out for me! I got to come back on EB Finance Team Building Day! I tore apart and rebuilt an engine (with Lisa's help), and played a little golf at T&C with the Engines crew, and held my own with my team I must say! Thursday ended with my second Welders softball game (another win - nice job guys), and Bible Study with the girls.
The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful, so nothing more exciting to report.
One more side note on the previous post on the Happy Planet Index. I've gotten several comments (none on the blog, but to me personally) from people who have taken the survey, and I've heard of 4 scores over 50! I need to learn something from you folks! Help a girl out!
And one more request, please keep Crossroads Community Church in your prayers - it's getting exciting, but we need as much help as we can get! Thanks to all of you who are already in on it with us - it's appreciated more than you probably know!
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
The index is calculated by multiplying Life Satisfaction by Life Expectancy, and dividing the result by the county's ecological footprint. It reflects the "average years of happy life produced by a given society, nation or group of nations, per unit of planetary resources consumed," or "the efficiency with which countries convert the earth's finite resources into well-being experienced by their citizens."
The results were surprising. The tiny nation of Vanuatu (made famous with the help of reality tv in the form of Survivor) ranked first among the 178 nations surveyed. With the G8 summit coming up, it is interesting to note that none of the leading industrialized nations made the Top 50. Even more sad, but maybe not surprising, the US ranked at 150, with a HPI (Happy Planet Index) of 28.8. At the onset of the study, researchers set a "resonable target" at 83.5. However, they found that none of the countries studied scored higher than 68.2.
On a more self-revealing note, the site allows you to calculate your own HPI. I sadly scored a 27.2. Slightly lower than the US average, around that of Latvia.
Check it out at http://www.happyplanetindex.org/survey.htm at let me know how you score - hopefully some of my friends are "happier" than I am when rated on the HPI!
Also, what do you think of the theory behind the measure? Does it make more sense than the typical, more purely economic measure of GDP?
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
To get the whole story of my weekend in order, scroll down about four posts, and work your way up the page - it might make more sense that way, at least it'll be in chronological order then! Also, here are a few more random pictures from the weekend, since I can't figure out how to put more than a couple on a post!
After the parade came the regatta. Cardboard boats in the dirty Sheboygan River (where there were several dead fish floating) are bound to bring some laughs. Our boat, Superbowl Champs 2007, (keeping with the theme of "A Better World" - what's better than the Packers winning?? - Other than a Bears fan rowing the boat!), featured Lambeau Field and a huge Lombardi trophy replica. It was definitely one of the better built boats, as it required no repair jobs in between heats, and didn't take on any water. We did well enough to make it through to the semi-final round (having the 8th best time out of 8 boats to make it on to the next round - but as Zach reminded us "The last shall be first!"). I couldn't tell you exactly what place we ended up in, we didn't win (weren't 8th either though), but we got a ton of publicity, and met a bunch of people who wanted to ask questions and were interested in Crossroads, so overall the day was a success - Job Well Done Core Team! Check us out at www.crossroadssheboygan.org for more pictures and more info!
The regatta also featured the second public proposal I saw in 4 days. One pair of rowers, in a boat shaped like a dove called "A Better World Through Love" (which should have been the first hint), ended up in the middle of the course, and didn't seem to care, when all of a sudden a sign showed up in the boat saying "Be my first mate. Be my wife." Followed by a heart shaped "Yes" sign. They got a ton of cheering and applause, but didn't do so well in the race, but I'm guessing they weren't so worried about that at that point.
It was a long day in the sun and heat (which was actually pretty nice!), but I found a pretty cool Sheboygan event, and had a pretty good time. Who knew walking (not marching!) in a parade and building and racing cardboard (and polystyrene) boats could be that much fun!
Happy Fourth of July!
It's fabulous that on our country's birthday, we get a 4 day weekend. Mine was great!
Saturday started off with a trip to Madison with Grandma. The plan was to bring her down so she could see Rhythm and Booms at Warner Park. Saturday afternoon, Kyle called, offering us tickets to the Mallards (www.mallardsbaseball.com) game. Not just any tickets. Tickets to the "Home Plate Suite!" That meant chairs (comfy ones) on a bar in a little deck like thing right behind home plate. It also meant all (and anything) you can eat/drink all night long - with our own waitress in the suite. It was a pretty sweet deal. After the game, the field was opened up for blankets and fireworks watching, so everything was looking good.
I saw my first proposal (well, not for me, but first that I saw of the weekend) at the ceremonial first pitch. You know the deal, girl somehow gets talked into being the one to throw the pitch. She's not really paying attention to the catcher - who cares who he is. Throws the ball, catcher then comes running in, throws off his mask, drops down on his knee and proposes. She seemed sincerely surprised, and it was pretty cute.
Matt and I got some good brother/sister bonding in during the game, and had a great time despite the Mallards losing (and blowing a no-hitter in the 6th inning). With about 2 hours between the end of the game, and the scheduled start of the fireworks, the Mallards hosted a massive kickball game for the kids in the stands (I didn't qualify), which was some great entertainment. About 45 minutes before fireworks launch, the PA announcer came on, and broke the news that the Rhythm and Booms was being postponed until the next night due to storms rolling in. Of course, a few raindrops fell as the "storm" that wasn't really a storm passed over Madison. The biggest bummer was that I couldn't stay to see the fireworks the next night. It was the first time in several years that I missed Madison's biggest 4th of July festival, but I'll definitely be there next year!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
It all started with a little puddle, something seemed to leak from the rear end of my car occasionally.
This little leak has turned into a $950 problem.
Who knew replacing a pinion seal (and "torquing" the nut on the "casing" a little too tight - I think those are the right words) could end up requiring a whole new "rear end" (that doesn't seem like a technical enough term when dealing with cars). Long story short, I've learned more about bearings and pinions and crush sleeves and casings than I ever intended, and my wallet is $950 lighter.
I was sick all day thinking about how much this thing was going to cost me, and now that the car isn't making weird noises or leaking rear end fluid, I'm sick about going back to the guy who messed things up in the first place and telling him he cost me an extra $800. Yuck!
One more rant.... on the love it or hate it show "The View." Good riddance to Star Jones. Merideth Viera will be missed (but I'm glad I'll get to see her more often anyway now that she'll be on Today rather than the 10:00 talk show), and I don't know that Rosie O'Donnell is the best replacement, but Star should have moved on awhile ago. I just hope (with her being a lawyer and all) that MSNBC doesn't pick her up to replace Dan Abrams on his old show!
*Breaking News (meaning I just heard it)* on Star Jones: Jones originally said that she would not be renewing her contract in the middle of July, implying she would be on the show for another couple of weeks. Looks like Babs has given her the boot effective immediately because her comments off camera have made it "uncomfortable for us to pretend that everything is the same at this table" - no more Star! (Her picture is nowhere to be found on The View's website - they're quick on that stuff!) It's down to three co-hosts. Rock on Babs, Elisabeth and Joy!
Sunday, June 25, 2006
This year, I can honestly say, my birthday felt different. Or at least I remember it differently than other birthdays. I didn't do anything terribly exciting, besides talking to a lot of friends, and spending some really good, really much needed, really relaxing time with my family. (If you want the details, feel free to ask, but the more important stuff will be discussed if you just keep reading.) This year, more than I can remember compared to any other year, it just felt like a day where I was completely, and totally loved.
Spending a lot of time with mom was something we didn't do that often, and when we did, it often ended up with one of us feeling hurt. Getting older, I have been so blessed to be able to learn how to relate to, spend time with, and love my mom - as my mom, as a friend, and really as an amazing woman who I can definitely learn things from.
My dad is the man I can always count on caring when I really need it, and who can always make me laugh by doing those stupid things that would embarrass me years ago, but now I appreciate so much because they are what make him my dad. He didn't fail to do both of those things this weekend, and he made me love him even more for it.
Matt is better than the best brother I could have ever imagined. He's a 16 year old, who looks forward to the weekends I can come home, and has passed up "chilling" with friends to spend time with me if we have plans - even if those plans are just running errands. The way he hugs me, and makes sure to say goodnight and tell me he loves me, are things that I've learned to value and appreciate so much lately, and have given me yet another standard (in addition to my dad) for the way I should expect to be treated.
I was also blessed so much this birthday to have a ton of friends who called just to say they were thinking of me and to wish me a happy birthday. (I'm sure this happens to most people, me included other years as well, but it hit me in a different way this year.) Those wishes and words became invaluable this year. Hearing things like "I hope you're being spoiled and loved on, because you most certainly are loved!" and "I just wanted to tell you I'm thinking of you and love and miss you!" was the best gift I could have been given. If I started to thank people by name, I would surely miss someone, so please all know how very much it is appreciated! I love you so much, and I am blessed more than I have sometimes believed. This birthday was an amzing reminder of just how awesome that feeling is! Thank you!
And another story of being loved on, in a way that doesn't really make sense today, but is incredible nonetheless.
I had the coolest thing happen tonight. At our Core Group meeting for the church launch (starting at the end of September! Yikes!), my pastor showed us all an incredible act of love, and a really inspiring example of having a servants heart. We had just read John 13, which finds Jesus in the day(s?) before his crucifixion, just having had a meal with his disciples. He proceeds to do something that seems crazy wierd to us today - he interrupted their meal,and washed the feet of all of his disciples. This act made sense in that culture, but the fact that Jesus did the washing was pretty much out of the ordinary. Long story short (and overly-simplified in an effort to keep you reading!), knowing that he was going to leave them soon, he needed to show them "the full extent of his love," and give them an example of having a servants heart - a heart that loves on people right where they are, as they are, needing whatever they do. After reading this passage, Jeff went on to explain to us all that he was going to wash our feet, as an expression of his love, and as an example of the way we ought to be loving others. Now it's a strange (and a little uncomfortable!) thing to have your feet washed by someone else! In this situation however, that strangeness was pretty easy to get over when I thought about and realized just what this act symbolized. It was yet another way of someone showing me how much they cared, that they would humble themselves before me in that way, just loving on me! What an awesome display of his appreciation and teaching, but even more, what an amazing reminder of the way God loves me!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
This week has been the GPG finance conference, which has ended up being much more exciting than it sounds! You're thinking "Wow, a bunch of accountants sitting around discussing financial statements, I'm sure it was exciting!" Throw a trip to the spa and some food poisoning in there and things get a little more interesting!
Yesterday's lunch featured a Chinese buffet - sounds harmless enough. I've gone to those cheap Chinese, all -you-can-eats before, no problem! Now if it were Engines, I might have expected that we would be able to mess up something as simple as a Chinese buffet, but it was TAC - they know how to do these things, they serve food everyday, improving that level of gracious living! But...suffering through a morning and night of food poisoning isn't my definition of "gracious living."
To make matters worse, today was the day we finally got to play a little at the conference. After sitting through all those presentations by accountants, it was time to have a little fun - either in the form of golf or a trip to the Waters Spa. I wasn't about to let this little bout of food poisoning mess up my massage appointment. I was lucky enough to be feeling ok throughout the afternoon so I could enjoy my massage and time around the pools and hottubs. Napping in a soft terrycloth robe, taking a swim in the pool with the waterfall, and relax in the rooftop hottub, not to mention a 50 minute massage that was fabulous!
Somehow the timing of being sick was perfect, in that it let me enjoy my afternoon - but took me out all morning and night tonight! I guess it's better that way than the opposite.
One last note, the car is back at Gasper's for the real fix now! That saga should be over by tomorrow afternoon!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Screech Powers, of Saturday morning NBC fame (and now TBS reruns) from Saved by The Bell is in the news once again.
Dustin Diamond has been living in Wisconsin these days, just down the interstate in Port Washington in fact. Problem is, his monthly payments for airings of SBTB aren't enough to make his house payments!
Screech's $250,000 house is in danger of being foreclosed. He has resorted to shameless self promotion in the form of t-shirts with his mug on them to make the payments, or lose his home. (He would definitely make my list of favorite homeless people then - see post from a couple weeks ago!)
Check out the story, but please, I beg you, don't buy the shirt!
One last, SAD, note: I have two Saved By The Bell posts in the last month. Pathetic.
So anyone who has known me for any period of time, knows I have a nasty habit of worrying incessantly. That said, my car issues didn't make for a good few days. All that kept running through my mind was thoughts of hundreds of dollars going down the drain (or into a mechanic's pocket), and days on end without my car while they tried to determine what was wrong with my car and eventually fix it. To make matters worse (though I know they were trying to make it better), everyone I talked to had their own theory of what was wrong - ranging from condensation from my air conditioner, to a leaking gas tank, to some rear differential stuff that totally confused me!
The start of fixing this problem came with the last blog entry on the car - which ended up being well worth the time and ranting to post!
The first thanks goes to Droste. He read the post at work, and remembered that John R. was "a car guy." Well, I don't know John, so Droste took it upon him self to tell John that I had a "problem with occasional leaking.... from the rear axle of my car."
From here, the thanks goes to John, who offered to stop by after work the next day to "check out my rear end (or my car!)". So in the parking lot yesterday, John got down on the ground, crawled under my car, and got all dirty trying to figure out what was wrong. Even though he couldn't give me any definite answers (other than "The whole underside of your car has this film of oil on it. I've never seen anything like this."), the fact that he wasn't too worried gave me a little more peace of mind.
The next thanks goes out to Joel, who was just able to give me a good reference for a mechanic - who made Lori (his wife) feel comfortable being there. That was really my only requirement for a mechanic anyways! Dirty, gross garages are not my favorite places!
So the last thanks goes out to Brian at Gaspers Auto Clinic just off Union Road in Sheboygan! What a guy! I called this morning and he told me he was booked, and I guess he could sense the worry/disappointment in my voice, because he went on to ask me what the problem was, and tell me to just bring my car in this afternoon and he'd make time to take a look at it. (The added bonus in this little deal was that I had to leave work a little early to get it there in time for him to look at it - thanks for that too Brian!). When I got there this afternoon, he put my car up on the lift, shined a little light under there, and immediatly said "Oh yeah, no problem, it's just your pinion seal." Of course! Just the pinion seal! He topped off whatever fluid was leaking, told me to come back next week, that they'd fix it then (for under $100!), and that I'd be fine driving anywhere until then. What a guy! You're my hero Brian! See you next Thursday!
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Big news. Big, bad news. Dan Abrams (the only "Dan" that really matters) has been promoted to general manager of MSNBC. Great news for Dan - a big promotion, but terrible news for me.
This means he's "giving up his cable legal show." Dan is no longer the host of The Abrams Report. This is huge. I'm going to have to settle for seeing him on those regular NBC news shows. The worst part is, his move was effective immediately. No goodbye or anything.
Jorie and Nicole would be the first to tell you what a blow this is. They lived with me for 2 years, being pretty much worthless from 5:00 - 6:00 (or at midnight if I happened to miss the first airing of the show).
Congrats Dan. You will be missed.
that people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you.
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good.
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend.
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you,
Because I knew you,
I have been changed for good.
And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for
But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share
And none of it seems to matter anymore.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed for the better.
And because I knew you,
because I knew you,
because I knew you,
I have been changed...
Monday, June 12, 2006
There's some "stuff" leaking underneath my car. It will randomly leave puddles of something in parking spots - but not always! And what is the "stuff"? I have no idea!
I understand the way to solve this little problem is to have someone look at the car. But who? I don't know that I know anyone here who would be able to help me (if you're anywhere near Sheboygan and know anything about cars, please let me know!), so some mechanic seems to be the only option.
Let's see.... dirty, gross, oftentimes sketchy car places (what do you call them?!) are not tops on the list of places a 23 year old woman wants to go! Talk about a good possibility of getting ripped off (not just for getting the problem fixed, but I'm definitely anticipating having to pay someone just to look at this stupid leak) and feeling completely out of place. This is exactly what some guy is supposed to be helping me with - or doing for me! If you didn't get this yet.... Not Happy About The Car Situation! Anyone want to help?
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Top 5 Favorite (personal) Sports Memories - Little League days through High School sports are fair game.
5) Wasting a whole day of softball practice learning to climb and jump fences - with lessons from Coach Walters after he was appalled at how we were doing it.
4) Comments like "This ain't no Jenny Jones Show!" or "This ain't no disco!" from the basketball coach (who was later "let go" for hitting on some girls on the team) when we were talking too much during practice.
3) Spending whole practices running laps around the fieldhouse after a bad game, and watching AB run right out of the gym to the locker room because she knew our coach (the same one mentioned in 4) above) couldn't come in there to find her. Looking back, he probably wouldn't have had a problem walking in.
2) Spending summers at the Kennedy Little League fields, either playing, umpiring softball, or working the concession stand, and thinking we ran the place (we were about 13 years old).
1) Golf practice at Yahara and getting hit in the head with a golf ball hit by Rachel Quinn from about 125 yards out, a mild concussion and black eye, and ZB laughingat me hysterically as I was caught blindsided by being asked to Homecoming (and agreeing to go without understanding what I was doing, or at least without being able to think clearly enough to know what I had done).
I know there are some LHS folks out there that remember these... Any other good stories? Discuss...
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
After a short Friday at work, I headed back to Madison. Friday night was uneventful, but Saturday started with a trip to the Farmer's Market on the square with Sabrina and Abby Jo. There's something about a little girl (an adorable 4 year old!) that just makes life that much better all by herself. But it got to be a long walk around the capitol, when "Tina" (me) had to carry her because she couldn't see or was too tired to walk. We did find some flowers and the obligitory cheese curds and bakery though.
Saturday evening my parents had a cookout, and I hung out with "the old people" as they call themselves. The 3 couples that were over are like my aunts and uncles in Madison, so it was a great chance to catch up with them. Not to mention it was a beautiful night to just sit out on the deck with a glass of wine!
On Sunday I went to the Brat Fest (the biggest brat festival there is - even though Sheboygan is the "brat capital" and claims to hold that event here). No records were broken this year, but 182,310 brats in 32 days isn't too bad.
There were a couple trips to the lake thrown into the weekend as well - broke out the jetskis with Matt and my dad. I'm still not brave enough to pull off the 360s and sharp turns, but it was a great time anyways - especially with the 90 degree weather!
A round of golf, a parade, and a sunburn (which has already become a tan!) finished off the much needed long weekend!
It's weekends like this that make coming back to Sheboygan so much harder. More on that in a different post though.
One final note. It's a sad day. It's the end of an era. It was Katie Couric's last day on The Today Show. She will be missed. CBS Evening News, you have a new viewer come September!
(Ok, the picture is of Matt Lauer, but close enough!)
I lied, one more final note. I've been told there may start to be a blog following... if you're out there reading, drop me a line with that little "Comments" option below!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Another weekend in Sheboygan!
I'm realizing even more how lucky I am to have found the friends here that I did. Tracy and I hung out all day yesterday, filled with things that make me happy - what a friend! First, we went and got pedicures! Hot pink toes, with diamondish rhinestones - how much more fun can ya get?! The new massage chairs at "Nails World" (gotta love the names of the cheap nail salons) made it that much better too. The day was supposed to get better with a movie on it's opening weekend. Yes, I went to see The DaVinci Code. Let me first say I was a big proponent of the book. I read it about four years ago, and was fairly pushy in trying to get other people to read it. Even though I don't buy into the theories on Christianity and the bloodline of Jesus Christ, it was a page-turner - the suspense, puzzles, and code cracking were great.
Made a great book. Makes a terrible movie. Even with Tom Hanks. (And the adorable Audrey Tautou.) Two and a half hours is too long. Too many climaxes make none of them truely a climax. And albino monks are creepy. Enough said about the movie. I wouldn't recommend it.
Aside from how crappy the movie is, I'm not sure I buy into all the hype Christians (among which I count myself) are giving the movie. As bad as it is, without the controversy surrounding it, box office returns would be misearble. Also, I would put myself in the camp that says "I'm going to find out as much as possible about this, in order to better support my claims about my faith." There will be people who are drawn to the ideas presented in the book and movie, but it doesn't help me, in a conversation with them, to say I don't know anything about it and be unable to have an informed discussion with them. I don't think there is anything at all unhealthy with questioning, exploring, and coming to my own conclusions about my faith. I'm confident in where I am with my faith, and I don't think it's dangerous to look into the claims the movie makes. In my walk as a Christian, and before, I have never been scared to ask questions about my faith (*I'm not advocating a faith that tests God, but one that seeks Him for the answers to those questions we have - He's very willing to reveal Himself when we are committed to relationship with Him), and have been turned off my churches that pushed my questions aside. These are the churches that make Christianity look like it has something to hide, and thus, look more and more like those portrayed in Dan Brown's book. Let's have a faith that is open to discussion, but be sure we are prayerfully seeking God for the answers to these questions. He is a good God, all the time - even in the face of questions and trying to figure this "God Thing" out.
Off my soapbox, but still on the movie theme, my top 5 list of well-loved movies I haven't seen (nor have much of a desire to):
5. It's a Wonderful Life (I'll probably have to see this one sometime)
4. The Godfather
3. Any of the Star Wars series
2. Any of The Lord of the Rings (or LOTR for the insider cult following it has) series
1. Wizard of Oz (sadly though, I have seen part of The Wiz)
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
First, I couldn't have asked for a better time to have a long weekend - it was well overdue. I made it home Thursday night after a quick stop at Bushwood with Sue and Andy to hash over the Engines situation, and then quickly forget it when we remembered we had Friday off! It was fabulous to be able to sleep in on Friday. Lunch with Matt and Ty was great, followed by some shopping, and more brother time that night. I did a whole lot of nothing during the day Saturday (except for taking Rocky to the park for awhile), and then headed over to the Bett's for a little birthday partying for Kellie with my girls. It was a great time just hanging out with them, and kicking back around the fire with a glass of wine!
(No, the picture isn't from this weekend, but I did finally get a few pictures of all of us at Kellie's wedding last August - the first time all seven of us had been together in about 5 years!)
Easter Sunday was just the holiday I had hoped for (despite the rain). We went to early church - first time back at my Lutheran church in awhile, and then to a fabulous Easter brunch at the Concourse! Dad took us on the Tour de Madison after that - checking out the zoo and random neighborhoods downtown. It was one of those Sunday drives I hear my grandma talking about, but I don't think we've laughed that much as a family in a long time. By 1:00, all of us were at home, in sweats, and asleep on couches around the house! The perfect afternoon on a rainy day. Overall, it was a ton of family time, but without any of the fighting or annoyance that normally comes with that, and was just the weekend I needed!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
It's been a busy week, but mostly in a fun way. I've seen my Sheboygan girlfriends a lot, which has been great! We had a pretty cool girls night last Friday - complete with mango margaritas, a taco bar, and a lot of laughing, with a little crying thrown in. I'm definitely learning what the whole "Doing Life Together" concept means. I've been able to help some friends through some tough relationship, and life disappointment problems. It has been a real lesson in learning to lean on other people, and letting them lean on me too! Sometimes (most of the time!) the crap in life is a lot easier to handle with awesome friends to wade through it with you. I've shared a lot of the good stuff in life, and even some of the bad, with quite a few people, but there are a select few who have been there, and continued to be there through the really tough stuff. Those friendships mean a lot more when people continue to ask how a rough situation is going, rather than offering advice once, and forgetting what's going on a few days later. I'm so thankful for the friends I have who know me inside and out, and are willing to take the good with the bad, and love me all the same. I thank God everyday for the relationships I've formed at Crossroads over the past few months, and what they've taught me about other friendships - helping me value some more, and others less. What a blessing!
On a little lighter, and more mundane note, I've also gotten a lot of time to scrapbook this weekend - a fairly new undertaking for me! I'm certainly feeling more creative these days! A few of those "layouts" (that's scrapbook lingo for pages) may show up on the blog sometime if I get a chance to scan them. All of this has led to a lot less sleep than normal, which is only made harder with it being the beginning of the month at work! Thank goodness for a Friday off - looking forward to that!
I hope this week has treated you well - you're in my prayers!
Monday, April 03, 2006
I've always wondered if these "blogs" were just boring people trying to make their life sound a little more interesting, and that is definitely what I feel like today!
To make this a little more fun, here is the list of things I like, and don't, lately... enjoy!
LIKE - getting home from work at 6:00 and having the sun still shining
don't - getting home from work at 6:00 (or later)
LIKE - big tax refunds
don't - getting them two days too late
LIKE - waking up in the morning before the alarm (either because I haven't had to set one, or because of getting a great night's sleep)
don't - never getting to wake up before the alarm
LIKE - all the women in my small group (and the old, bigger one!) - You girls are great! Sheboygan wouldn't be half as fun without you!
don't - that we picked 1 Timothy to study this month - hopefully that will get better as we get to talk through some of the wierd stuff Paul has going on... I'm sure there will be more on that in posts to come
LIKE - fun, out of the ordinary weekends like this past one... including a shopping trip to Green Bay on Saturday with Tracy, and checking out Cedarburg with mom and dad on Sunday
don't - fasting... but doing it for a good reason (which is really the only way I would do it) helps a little
LIKE - Barnes & Noble and a good book...
With that said, it's time for me to relax and enjoy my current read! gamedayron (another AD shoutout!)
One more shoutout.... To my adopted little brother Ty - Happy (late) 16th Birthday bro - love ya!
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Plastic flip flops are the epitome of summertime, and so often bring back childhood memories. It's not likely that I wore them often as a child, however, given my mom's disdain for "that thing between her toes." Maybe that's why I've come to like them so much now, when I make my own footwear purchases. It's just that my pedicured feet look much too pretty to put inside shoes, and flip flops are so much more fun!
With that said, I can't wait for the sun to come out and warm up this Sheboygan air! Granted Wisconsin isn't the first place that comes to mind when thinking of fun summer places to go, I'm more than excited for it to be warm enough to spend a Saturday afternoon like today on the beach of Lake Michigan.
For now, it's time for me to do a little spring cleaning and cuddling up on the couch with a good book and blanket, starting to dream of those warm summer days that have to be coming soon!