Monday, October 31, 2011

Welcome to Grand Rapids

I live on the outskirts of Grand Rapids, Michigan and I think it's a great city! It has a population of 188,00 and is the second largest city in Michigan.
The last time I was walking around in the downtown area I took some pictures to share with you so you could see our city.

Grand Rapids is built on the shores of the Grand River, the longest river in Michigan.

There is a park downtown, along the river. This walkway is filled with pavers that have dates which are significant in Grand Rapids history.

This is our Public Museum

You can walk along the river downtown, where they have preserved a natural green space.

I love seeing the old buildings.

Grand Rapids was the birthplace and home of Gerald Ford before he became president. This is his presidential museum and is also where he and Betty are buried.

This picture describes Grand Rapids well - old and new coming together in a beautiful way.
If you ever get the chance, come visit Grand Rapids!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Master pumpkin carver

Do you carve pumpkins? Now that our kids are grown we don't, but we used to. Our pumpkins were the standard ones, with a triangle nose and a toothy smile.
I've got some pumpkins for you that were done by a master carver. His name is Ray Villafane and I think you will be amazed by his work.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fun, fun fun...

At risk of sharing too much information, I have to tell you I'm not looking forward to tomorrow. I have to have a colonoscopy, not because I'm having any problems, but they like you to have one when you turn 50. I've procrastinated for a while, but I'm finally going to behave and go in. Someone sent me this e-mail that I had to share. Hope you think it's as funny as I did!

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!' I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies. I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.
On the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground. MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet. After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.
The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough. At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked. Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.
When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate. 'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,' I said.
And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like. I have no idea. Really!! I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors.
I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cooking Thursday

I'm sure you've all had Snicker Salad, the one with apples, nuts and pieces of Snickers candy bars in it. I just found a recipe for a healthy version of it. No nuts or Snickers in this one, but it's really good!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Taffy Apple Salad

2 boxes instant sugar free butterscotch pudding (4 serving size)
3 cups skim milk
1 container fat free Cool Whip, thawed
5 large, tart, crisp apples

Mix pudding mix and milk together, then stir in Cool Whip.
Core Apples and cut into chunks. Stir into pudding mix.
Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

*Makes 10 servings; 123 calories each.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

She is finally here!!!

I have such exciting news! My grand-daughter finally made her entrance into the world!
She was 13 days overdue and we think she wanted to make a grand entrance.
Of course - she is the most beautiful baby in the world. :)

Her name is Alaina Jo.
She weighed 7 pounds and 8 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Here's the proud Daddy. Laura was exhausted and didn't want her picture taken.

Heather was thrilled to meet her new niece!

Bob is thrilled to be a Grandpa.

And I'm loving it too!

She has long fingers and toes. Her Daddy is 6'6" so she may be tall.

How do you like Heather's shirt?

Those cheeks look like they were made for kissing.

We are blessed and are thanking God for this wonderful blessing.

"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well"

Psalm 139:14

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The weekend

We had a fun weekend! Bob's nephews son came on Saturday and stayed until Sunday evening. It was so fun having a little person around again. The house was full of activity and noise. :)

He's a cute little guy, very agreeable and funny. There was a lot of laughter around here!


Sunday afternoon the temperature was in the 60's, so I called my sister Cheri and asked if she wanted to go for a hike. We went to a park that neither of us had walked at before.

The leaves this year have been unusual. It seems that a lot of them have fallen already, but then there are areas that look mostly green, as you see in this picture and the one below.

Here is a little splash of color.

As we were walking, we came on this crazy little building. When we went to the front of it, we discovered it was an old two seater outhouse!

Aren't these cool roots?

In this area of the park, many of the leaves had fallen, with this one tree still holding out!

I love this bridge!

This picture looks like it was taken with a fish eye lens, but this is really how it looked. The park was full of hills and ravines - we did our fair share of hiking up long, steep hills!

This is my street - back home again, another weekend done.
Thanking God for time with family and time to enjoy the beauty around us!

PS - no baby yet!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pendulum Waves

My daughter Laura shared this neat video clip with me.
I think you'll enjoy it too!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Slow Cooking Thursday

The recipe I'm sharing is one I've made for some time. I got it as a diet recipe, but my whole family likes it - bonus! It's healthy and easy - and it makes a big pot!
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons chicken soup base (I use Orrington Farms brand)
1 quart V8
4 cups water
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
1 can mixed vegetables, drained
1 small bag shredded coleslaw mix
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 bay leaves

In large crockpot, stir together V8 and soup base. Stir in water and add rest of ingredients. Cook on low for about 8 hours.

Makes approximately 16 cups, 43 calories per cup.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Not so patiently waiting...

Some of you have sent me messages wondering about the baby. Well - I have no news. It would appear that our granddaughter is perhaps a little stubborn!
She was due a week ago, and as of now, she shows no signs of wanting to be born. Laura says she feels like the watched pot that doesn't boil.
I was good and patient until the due date came ... and then went. Now I'm thinking about her every time the phone rings. Laura had another ultrasound and a non -stress test which told them everything was fine and baby just wasn't ready to be born yet.
You can be sure I'll let you know when she is born. Hoping it's soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall in West Michigan

We have had such a beautiful Fall here. Last week the weather was gorgeous - warm weather and sunshine all week. It was perfect for lots of hiking in the woods, taking in the colors of Fall.
All but the first picture was taken down my road.

"I'm so glad I live in a world were there are Octobers.
It would be terrible if we just skipped
from September to November,
wouldn't it?"
L.M. Montgomery - author of Anne of Green Gables