Wednesday, February 29, 2012

midweek rambles

+ I came home from a long day at work on Monday to find this DVD waiting for me on the kitchen counter:

This is a total guilty pleasure movie of mine, and Kyle surprised me with the DVD because he knew I'd been having a rough few weeks. It's the little things...

+ Now that the streetlights are coming on a little later and the sidewalks are clear, I've been able to start my evening jogs again. I'm surprised how easily I was able to get back in the rhythm of jogging. My goal this year is to run in two 5Ks, and to build my endurance (of which I currently have very little).

+ I've watched the Academy Awards every year since I was 13, and this year was no different. (After a bit of antenea-adjusting to coax our TV into getting more than just 3 PBS channels and The Gospel Network.) At some point during the past decade, watching the Academy Awards has become less about the movies and the red carpet for me, and more about the tradition.

That being said, Penelope Cruz's dress was far and away my favorite. I just love the top.


Also, it's about damn time Christopher Plummer won an Oscar. 

+ I've been crazy for oranges lately. I eat one at nearly every meal--I just can't get enough! Maybe I've been lacking in Vitamin C. 

+ What I wouldn't give to be sitting on a beach in Cozumel right now. Is a 7 month anniversary too soon to take a second honeymoon?

Cozumel, Mexico

Happy Leap Day!

Monday, February 27, 2012


This is a new day, and a new week. Let's make it great.

Got it? Got it.

Blue skies, sunshine, and warm breezes.
They're on their way. I can feel it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

because it will

Sometimes, I just need a reminder.

Thank you for the support this past week. It means the world to me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

hiatus redux

Wondering what I did while on hiatus?

+ Mumford and Sons (I know I'm behind, but damn, are they good.)
+ How I Met Your Mother (See above. Also, thank you Netflix.)
+ Bloody Marys (Somebody has a new favorite drink.)
+ Bartertown Diner (Awesome.)

+ Neighborhood Christmas and The Annual F#*$@%& Classy Christmas Party
+ CD release party for our favorite band, The Northern Skies (SO awesome.)
+ Lovely, albiet extremely busy Christmas Eve/Day (We love our families.)
+ Lovely, low key NYE with Kyle, Morgan, and Arielle (3 words: hot dog tour.)

Stop number one of (almost) three. We're already full.

+ Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer (5/5 stars)
+ Lost in Shangri-La, Mitchell Zuckhoff (2/5 stars)
+ Bossypants, Fey (3/5 stars)
+ The Secret Life of Bees, Kidd (4/5 stars)
+ RagtimeDoctorow (3/5 stars)
+ Me Talk Pretty One Day, Sedaris (4/5 stars)
+ Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fitzgerald (3/5 stars)
+ Bitch is the New Black, Andrews (2/5 stars)
+ Columbine, Cullen (4/5 stars)

Watched (documentaries):
+ Colony (Bees.)
+ The Unforgotten (Willowbrook State School.)
+ Hey, Boo (Harper Lee.)
+ Loose Change 9/11 (Conspiracy.)
+ Cropsey (Kidnappings.)
+ For the Bible Tells Me So (Human rights.)

+ An unseasonably warm and sunny Michigan winter. (Yes.)
+ Dan Aykroyd label chardonay and stogies on NYE (Also, a UFO.)
+ Kyle as Pertruchio in Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Co. Taming of the Shrew

Photo courtesy PC Shakespeare Co.

+ Harper Lee based Dill on her friendship with Truman Capote (Love this.)
+ How to make a kickass black bean soup (It's seriously awesome.)
+ I do not like short bangs (Glad I tried them, but not for me.)

Mmm, angel food cake.
Bangs, not so much.

+ My nose! (I've wanted my nose pierced since I was 16. I love it!)
I bled. A lot.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yesterday, I lost one of my oldest and dearest friends. She was a cockapoo named Toby, and she was the greatest dog in the world.

My family and I brought home a tiny ball of white fur when I was 14. Initially obtained to teach my then-six-year-old sister responsibility, Toby quickly became a member of our family. From the very beginning, we teasingly referred to her as "Princess," because it was clear that she ruled our household. (To be fair, her majesty was not entirely to blame, as we all constantly told her what a "pretty dog" she was. An inflated ego was to be expected.)

My great-grandmother, Nanny, was living with us at the time. (Nanny lived with us for most of my young life, until she passed away the summer before I went to high school.) Nanny loved the name Toby, for anything or anyone. If she had had it her way, all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren would have bore that name. She settled for a dog instead. As it turned out, it was the perfect name, and a beautiful way to keep her memory alive.

This raccoon-eyed dog was such a part of my family's everyday life for 10 years. Toby came with us on every vacation, anticipated every holiday that involved unwrapping presents, and was witness to the many changes that a decade brings. She watched my sister and I grow up, saw my parents' hair turn a touch more gray, and was there for each of us through it all. Her fur caught our tears, and her big black eyes told us she understood.

When I went away to college, I suffered from serious pet-withdrawal. On the weekends that I came home, Toby would be the first to greet me. My mom or dad would hear my car, open our front door, and Toby would come running out. She was always so happy to see me, and had an odd way of turning her body to show me her face and her wagging tail at the same time. It was her way of saying, "I'm glad you're home, but also, look how cute I am." 

The last two weekends, I was fortunate enough to be able to make the drive from Grand Rapids to my parents' house to see Toby a few more times. She was obviously struggling, and her once bright eyes showed signs of pain. Toby was a shadow of who she once was, trapped in a body that was failing her too soon.

Toby's health had been steadily declining for a few weeks, but the past few days it was becoming more and more obvious that she just wasn't going to get well. Damn cancer. Somehow, I knew that she was gone hours before I took my dad's phone call. The weather has been beautiful here in recent weeks, except for yesterday. It was chilly, cloudy, and drizzling. That's how I knew. It was similar weather when we brought Toby home, so it was only fitting that the same would usher her out of this life. It was as though nature was mourning with us.

I saw Toby for what would be the final time last Saturday. It was a sunny, unseasonably warm day. Kyle and I pulled up to my parents' house in my car. So much has changed in 10 years; but the things that matter, the family who loves me, has always held constant. On that final day, my dad opened the door and out came Toby, wagging her tail and welcoming us home. 

Breath easy now, Pretty Dog. <3

All photos courtesy of my sister, Svet.