This is my brother-in-law: 

Currently he is living in downtown Denver trying to connect with and love on the homeless. He keeps a blog called Streets of Gold to document his experience and his latest post absolutely amazed me. I respect him so much for what he is doing so I had to share the link. 

Thinking of and praying for you, Trav!



feliz cumpleaƱos

So I actually meant to write a post on Wednesday, but Pixelpipe was being a pooper 
 [ turns out that the new version of iPhoto isn't compatible for some reason ] so that idea got scrapped. Luckily Justin figured it all out and got me working with Picasa so I'm good to go now [ and therefore don't have any more excuses to not post more consistently... ]. 

Anyway, the subject of Wednesday's post was going to be my love for our town's farmers market. I don't know what it is about going to a farmers market, but being able to chat with the farmers themselves and support locally and get Michigan products feels so wonderful. Not to mention it's now officially summer and all the good stuff comes out!

my favorite...obviously

Shoved one in Justin's mouth..."This is how strawberries should taste!"

Ahhhh dried kiwi!! The best...

basil to make homemade pesto

Aaaaand now it's Friday [ sorry...couldn't resist... ] so all this old news...

BUT that means that it's Justin's birthday! So, in honor of his big two six, I've decided to make a list of 26 things I love about my man [ in no particular order, mind you ] :

26) His sheer intelligence that amazes me every day...seriously - he's pretty much the smartest person I know

25) His wavy hair 

24) His tall stature

23) How he always manages to find the positive in any negative situation [ he's got this whole chasing peonies thing down pat ] 

22) The way he smiles at me when he's feeling all lovey dovey

21) The fact that his teeth are too small to bite into carrots properly

20) How he can just pick up on anything so fast [ a man of all trades, let me tell ya ] 

19) The fact that he catches all the spiders and other strange nasty bugs we find in our house

18) How great of a "dad" he is to our pupper dog
17) That he carries me to bed when I've fallen asleep on our couch

16) His dedication to anything he sets his mind to

15) How he says "thank you" to me every day for doing things for him

14) How he says "I love you" to me every day

13) That his pet peeves are often right in line with my pet peeves [ grammar, specifically ] 

12) How he'll hold my hand whenever, wherever

11) His big hugs

10) That he cleans up the dog's vomit so I don't have to...

9) His constant flow of encouraging words that come just naturally to him

8) His patience and understanding

7) How he genuinely cares and has compassion for others

6) His linguistic abilities 

5) His easygoing nature

4) How every day at some point he literally has me on the floor laughing so hard that my abdominal muscles ache

3) How great of a leader he is for us

2) The love he shows his friends and family

1) How he is truly a man of God

So, if you see him at some point [ or want to stop by here and say hi ], make sure to  wish him the happiest of birthdays!!!

Happy Birthday, Pook! You're the best!!!



high in the sky

My job does have its perks, such as having the best "office view" possible. This allows me to witness firsthand [ in my opinion ] one of the most amazing medical opportunities we have to save lives:

Aero Med is pretty sweet.

If I could get over my motion sickness, I could totally see myself pursuing that as a viable career option for at least a couple of years...



Harry's sister?

A lot of people around my age have a story regarding their introduction to Harry Potter, usually occurring around the tender age of 10 or 11, about the same as that of Harry himself when this series began. I'm a part of that lot.

I'll never forget answering the phone after walking home from the bus stop:

"Have you heard of this new book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone?" asked my dad.
"Uh, nope...definitely does not sound like my type of book..." I replied.
"Alright, well, I'm at Barnes & Noble and they have it here, so I'll just bring it home for you and you can see if you like it. Apparently it's getting pretty popular."

When Dad came home from work, he handed me [ in what my 5th grade mind perceived as ] the biggest, heaviest piece of reading material I could ever imagine myself attempting to conquer. Up to that point, I'd buried my nose in Babysitter's Club and other various "pre-teen-girl-geared" paperback hand-me-downs from my three older sisters. Looking at that hardcover with this boy flying on a broom and a close-up of " wait, is that a lightening bolt on his head?" made me skeptical - yeah, I was judging the book by its cover.

Three days later, I finished the whole thing.

I loved it. Devoured it. Could NOT wait for the next installment [ little did I know I'd have to wait a whole year - otherwise maybe I would've taken my time!]. Not to mention the fact that at the time we shared the same last name - aaaaand little did I know that that would haunt me until the day I got married and got a brand spankin' new one. Wherever I went, whomever I talked to on the phone for some sort of customer service, whenever teachers called my name or I met someone new, it was always followed up with a variation on the same question: "As in Harry Potter?" I think the worst was when people from foreign countries would look at my passport, chuckle, then in somewhat broken English say, "Ohh, Harry's sister!" All I could ever do was politely smile, though in my head I had to ask, "Do they truly think that's the first time I've heard that?!"

Anyway, following the first book, I'm pretty sure I managed to get my hands on each of the next six the same week [ if not the day after ] that they were released. I never went to any of those midnight release parties at bookstores, but my mom would always somehow manage to get one for me. When that last one came out in the summer of 2007, I was actually working abroad in Central America and could not for the life of me find one to buy in an airport [ sold out, you see ]. When I arrived back home, I was greeted by a copy left in my room by my mom...though I couldn't bear to start reading what I only knew was the end of this long journey. Eventually after a month of having it just sit and stare at me on the shelf in my dorm room, I opened up book #7 and read to my heart's desire until the very end [ although I took my time with this one, and it lasted a week and a half ].

I never got into the movies very much - I still haven't even seen the sixth one - though I am excited to say that Justin and I just got tickets for the part two of the final movie. Yes, we will be joining the ranks of all the other HP crazies and attending the midnight showing on opening night, July 15.

Okay, I was just about to write about how sad I am about this over-a-decade-long relationship coming to an end and realized this is actually way too long of a post to write about my affinity for all things Harry Potter.

I'm kind of embarrassed now.

Don't judge.



Oops...I did it...again...

Too much on the title? Sorry about that. I'm just a sucker for Britney, that's all. I blame my parents, who bought me tickets for Christmas when I was like, 9 years old. All that I can remember of that strange event was Brit swaying to and fro atop a raft thing that floated above the crowds. Oh, and the fact that LFO was the opening band - "I like girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch, I'd take her if I had one wish, but she's been gone since that summa, since that summa..." Such fine, creative musical artists, eh?

Brit and the boys of LFO...keeping it classy since the inception of cheesy 90's pop stars and preppy boy bands...

Anyway, back to the reason for the title.

So at some point last month, a co-worker [ fellow receptionist ] put in her two weeks notice, resulting in a hustle and bustle to cover her shifts until a replacement could be found. On one of my days off, I got a call about filling in an early Monday morning shift in mid-June. To be noted, the early shift starts at 5:30am as opposed to my usual 2nd shift that starts at 12:30pm.  Meaning, I would have to get up at 4:15am in order to shower, do something acceptable with my hair, dress myself as appropriately as one can pre-sunrise, smear any semblance of makeup on my face and operate a vehicle in order to make it for clock-in on time. Sounds fun, right? Well, with it being summer and out of school [ aka plenty of extra time on my hands ] and wanting to make some extra moolah, I accepted the challenge.

So you can imagine my surprise as I stumble into the office, much-needed coffee in hand, and am immediately greeted by the replacement. I knew we had found a replacement, but what someone failed to inform me was that the replacement had been given ALL of the previous co-worker's shifts, including the ones that were others were asked to cover just in case a replacement was not found by that time. Bottom line: I was not scheduled to be at work at 5:30am today. Once again, I showed up on a day when my name was not on the schedule.

This time around, however, I stayed. The replacement graciously let me take the shift, arguing that I'm a student in need of all the extra hours I can get. In my embarassment / post-slumber stupor / caffeine-deprived state, I thanked her and made my way to my desk.

Schedule mishaps, that's just my prerogative.



everybody sweat now + I can't live without my planner

With temperatures reaching 90°outside today along with 70% humidity [ and therefore close to about 85° inside our non-air-conditioned house ], I think it's safe to say that summer has officially arrived in Michigan.

This little guy has been getting a workout this past week...yet even our drinks are sweating bullets.

Poor pupper...trying to stay cool and relaxed in our sauna of a home...

 Pre-commute to work, though still quite flushed 

While riding my bike to work in said sweltering heat and humidity, I couldn't help but think how much I was looking forward to sitting on my bum all day at my desk, basking in the free A/C. By the time I arrived, not only was I a hot sticky mess, but sweat was literally dripping down my legs [ I know, that is so attractive ]. Walking through the automatic double doors, I was greeted with the sweet rush of refreshingly cold and heavenly bite of moving cool air. Oh, how I looked forward to cooling off and then freezing my bum off for the next seven hours... 

My hopes were dashed after about 15 minutes of confusion and finally coming to the realization that I was not scheduled to work today. I had agreed to switch shifts with a co-worker and instead of working my normal Tuesday, I'm doing an off day later this week. The only reason I forgot all about the switch was because I didn't write it down in my planner - those of you who know me are well aware that this is very uncharacteristic of me, considering I write EVERYTHING down and ALWAYS have my planner with me. You know what, though? I blame it on the heat. 

So back outside I went, into the outdoor oven, onto my baking bicycle and rode my sad little self back home, where I promptly stripped down out of my now-soaked work clothes and into a swimsuit. A half hour and 34987321093874 steps up and down stairs and sand dunes later, I could be found lying by the breezy lake. 

In conclusion, even without the free air controlled climate, my day turned out alright if I do say so.