Wednesday, March 27, 2013

5 Lessons I Learned from "Sheepish"

After the urging of a few friends via Instagram, where I always post what I'm currently reading, I decided to take another stab at reviewing the books I've read. Although I consider myself a lifelong reader, I often find it difficult to express my thoughts on the books that I've read. I've always wanted to be better with this, and the only way to get better is to practice, so let's just dive right in! 

Written by Catherine Friend

1) I never knew that wool could be so interesting and could have So. Many. Uses. And did you know that wool itself doesn't make you itchy, it's typically how it's treated that causes irritation? (Case in point: wool underwear is a thing. So now you know.)

2) Sheep birth described in detail is about as fascinatingly disgusting as you would think it would be.

3) Farming is hard. Like, really hard.

4) Sproinging is the term for when a sheep jumps in the air, with all four legs off the ground. This is typically done out of excitement, and I can only imagine it's absolutely adorable.

5) "Beginnings can happen anywhere, even in the middle."

Long story short: Enjoyable memoir, funny writer, small farms rock.

Monday, March 25, 2013

With a little help

Oy. I know it's only Monday, but it has been a week. 

Last Wednesday, Kyle called me at work to tell me he was having chest pains. And shortness of breath, nausea, and cold sweats. And pain in his left arm. Cue mild panic. He was driving himself to the emergency room. Three minutes later, I was on my way to meet him. 

I'm a worrier by nature, and as much as I hate to admit it, my mind automatically goes to the worst case scenario. Amazingly, I was able to keep calm and collected and made it to the hospital shortly after Kyle arrived. 

They took him back right away. Within 15 minutes of being there, they had taken an EKG and told us that his heart looked fine. Insert huge sigh of relief here. A chest x-ray revealed the true culprit--pneumonia. What? The diagnosis took us by surprise, but with an antibiotic in hand and strict instructions for bed rest, the doctors sent him on his way. Although he's still in a bit of pain and will take a few months to feel 100% again, I'm happy to report that Kyle is feeling much better and on the road to recovery. 

However, this story really isn't about our little trip to the emergency room. It's about gratefulness, and how it's ok to ask for help.

Although Kyle drove himself to the ER, there was no way I was going to let him drive himself back the 20 minute drive to our apartment. Call me paranoid, but if you're having excruciating chest pain from lack of oxygen, driving a car probably isn't the best idea. This left his car stranded at an emergency room in the suburbs, and it was stressing me out how we were going to get it back. Kyle is out of commission, and I really didn't want to leave his car sitting there for a week. I also didn't want to inconvenience any of our friends by asking them to drive me out there. 

But I had to get the car back somehow, so I turned to Facebook. I offered gas money and baked goods to anyone willing to give me a lift. Within 15 minutes, 6 people responded--happy to help, no questions asked. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Although it may seem like a small potatoes, after the stress of the week it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. (And a special thanks to Joel, who picked me up and drove me out to Byron Center after working all day.)

I'm so thankful that we have a support system in our friends, and I love that we're all willing to help each other out, no matter the circumstances. This situation was just a little reminder to me when I needed it most that there is always, always something to be thankful for. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Let's catch up.

So, what have I been up to lately? Grab a cup of coffee and let's chat.


Yes, that's me with the beard.
No, I have no idea why I'm often cast as men.
Photo courtesy Tim Motley

I've mentioned before that Kyle and I are involved with a theatre company,along with some of our friends from GVSU. In February, we performed with them again as part of the month-long Lake Effect Fringe Festival at Dog Story Theater downtown. Our company put up two comedic one-acts, written by local playwrights. I played a woman (poorly) disguised as a man, who also happened to be a marijuana-dealing friar. Because obviously

Kyle and I are among the founding members of this theatre company, The University Wits. We've been working on the board since November, and helped produce the night of one-acts I mentioned. Our next show is a murder mystery farce and goes up in May. Stayed tuned for more details! (And if you feel so inclined, like our Facebook page!)


Photo effects via PicMonkey

I've played the violin for almost as long as I can remember. It was always a struggle to get me to practice as a kid, and as a result I never felt very good. I stopped playing almost entirely when I graduated from high school, and nearly never looked back. Then on a bit of a whim in January, I decided to join a small string orchestra. We meet once a week at St. Cecilia's Music Society downtown and play anything ranging from Mozart to Gaelic Storm. There are about 20 of us, all at varying skill levels and ages. 

You guys, I love it. It's honestly the best part of my week. When I'm up on the stage, turning all of my focus to the notes on the page and my fingers on the strings, the stress and frustrations of the week just seem to melt away. I. Love. It. I didn't realize how much I missed the violin, how much it was a part of me, until I started playing again. I'm so, so grateful that music is a part of my life again. It has brought me so much happiness. 


The Fault in Our Stars
The Night Circus
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
My Name Is Memory
Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing
Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story
Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood, #5)

Images courtesy of Goodreads

Thanks to Spilled Ink, an adult reading program at the public library, I've been reading up a storm this winter. While I've basically been on a non-fiction/memoir kick since I graduated from college, I've been all about the fiction recently. (Although, my current read would probably fall in the memoir category.) I'm considering writing short reviews of the books that I read. Any suggestions which one I should start with? 


Lately, if I haven't been doing one of these things or working you can most likely find me watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Netflix; talking to my dog like he's a person; drinking coffee from Tim Horton's; obsessing over Beasts of the Southern Wild; and finding excuses  to drink wine with my friends. Oh, what a glamorous life I lead. 

But enough about me. What have you been up to? I've missed you and I'm dying to know!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Oh, hello there.

Lake Michigan, frozen over
Grand Haven, MI

Hello, friends. Long time, no blog. I've missed you. 

It seems as though taking a bit of a winter hiatus is my blogging M.O. I'm going on my third year of somewhat inconsistent blogging, and each year involves a lengthy, unintended break. I've been busy; doing anything but hibernating in this frigid Michigan winter. (Although some days that's all I want to do.) I'm trying to avoid being busy simply for the sake of being busy, but I'm also accepting that life sometimes just takes the wheel and to just enjoy the ride. 

Despite some stress and typical winter illness, life has been good. Kyle and I are getting very involved in the creative community in our little city, and I think we're both happier and more productive because of it. There is a hit of spring in the air, the sun is setting later and later, and blue skies are slowly starting to make more regular appearances in the Mitten. I'm excited for what's on the horizon, and I'm learning to take risks. 

Oh, the time's they are a-changin'.