Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Advent Sunday

Nothing much new to report here. It's Sunday -- the Steelers are playing (currently losing, but attempting to tie it up), we did some baking (flaky cream wafers), and it's getting increasingly closer to Christmas. It's Advent season! Unfortunately, the church we've been attending doesn't do the traditional Advent candles, and I've missed it. Oh, for the days at CCC when Mrs. E does a children's message.

So, yesterday Dan and I decided to go to the 5 o'clock "contemporary" service at another church. I was really hoping for candles and a Christmas season message, and boy! Did I ever get it, and more besides! We actually attended their annual Christmas concert, which was an amazing production. There was a choir of about 50 adults, a string and brass ensemble, skits, images, a toddler "Jesus" who looked like he was going to bolt from the stage, and even a live sheep. It was a great Christmas celebration.

Our favorite part of the whole evening was "Mary Did You Know." Having the whole choir really added to the song. They could actually communicate the urgency of the questions, the majesty of the concept, and the overall simplicity of the song. It was awesome. (The choir also did Emmanuel off of MWS Christmastime CD, which was exciting.)

We are so excited to be leaving Wisconsin for a few weeks. Nothing against Wisconsin, you know, but we are looking forward to celebrating Christmas with friends and family. We have presents piled on the spare room bed, cookies made in a plastic containers, clean clothes waiting to be packed, and lots left to do! Dan's finished with all of his schoolwork, but I've got a bit left. That and I would like to make two loaves of bread, pack EVERYTHING I need (for 3 weeks, it's a lot!), wrap Dan's present(s) so he doesn't peek at them, sweep up crumbs so no mice take up residence, tidy up the rest of our house, pack snacks and lunch for the car, go to class, and... well. I guess that was all. Maybe I won't sub tomorrow.

Dan is cheering for the Steelers to not tie it up, but to win! And I am going to go finish dinner so we can attend a Christmas concert at GWC tonight. Although the beautiful snow which was covering the buildings and trees has (unfortunately) melted, I am still in the Christmas spirit.

In light of that, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

somewhat boring.

Have you ever had a blah day? You know, the one were you really don't feel like you did much? Today that was me. Yesterday that was sort of me too. This is the first week of me not having to go to work. It also has been cold and windy outside. So much that classes have been canceled for two nights in a row. No work and no class. I did work on some homework for awhile, but that was boring and wasn't all that difficult. Final projects are sometimes just pulling other things together and formatting. Did I mention that I have been bored? Hilary did make some cookies the other day so I have been busy eating those, but other than that I haven't been doing much. Tomorrow I vow to be productive or go to the gym and lift for an hour.

Here are some of the cookies, although these are the boring non-decorated, non-iced, non-sugared ones.

And the reason for the elliptical and stationary bike yesterday...

I think I just may have to get me one of these! I know I won't, but it does look fun to try. Maybe I should just look around for used cross country skis for the winter months, oh, and a parachute to pull me around. All this wind would sure make it easy, I think the house is going to fall over. Hopefully tomorrow is more exciting!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The goose is getting fat.

After only 2 full days of me actually considering running in this 22 mile run I have come up with an excuse/dilemma/problem: the average high temperature doing the crucial training period which I consider after Christmas until the end of April is approximately 41 degree, the average low, vientitres. Now that I have posted this I am sure my brother-in-law (no pun intended) will be sure to comment on this while my sister-in-law thinks the temperature is no big deal.

I do want to do this, I think. There is another thing that adds to my decision making. I have a weight room with equipment and a treadmill. Granted those things aren't awesome, those things also happen to be not what I was talking about. Recently I have managed to land a few pro-deals from some companies that makes running, in my opinion, somewhat affordable. Now I know running isn't expensive compared to biking or climbing, but when it comes to running things, I have nada. I could land gore-tex trail running shoes, nice winter running tights, and a nice hooded, thumb hole shirt and a mid-weight jacket for right around $150. If i just got the shoes and tights it could be $90. But, either way, that is green that I would rather spend on these, laced up with some 355's.

In reality, I think I'll be running. Maybe the half-marathon?

In other news...I am done with work for 2009. I've given up, thrown in the towel, paused for a month long work free, unfortunately, pay free vacation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Proper Prior Planning Provides Positive Picture Posts

This was me unwrapping Hilary's creatively wrapped pre-present.

Late Fall=International Harvester=windy house=super drafty windows=slippers and blankets

A cold, cold morning looking out towards Yerkes Observatory, the view from our back door

Thanksgiving 2008! Although this is not a very good representation.

A cold run, Dan prep run #1. A 22mile run May 9th? Graduating on the same day? Sounds like it could be something, now I just have to convince my right ankle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All in a Morning's Run

I've been running a bit more frequently since we moved here, for a couple of reasons. For one, there's really no good reason NOT to run, as I'm working only part time. Also, Williams Bay is a great place to run. People keep their dogs on leashes or in fenced yards, and this is a very big deal to me. Another reason? There is a trail around the lake.

This trail has varying levels of maintenance, due to the fact that property owners are mandated to have some sort of trail that connects from neighbor to neighbor. In other words, it's up to the property owners to decide what kind of trail they choose to install and maintain. In some places, homeowners have brick paths; in other spots, it's a dirt trail. I normally run through a couple of beaches, on some dirt, and along gorgeously maintained paths with mansions alongside.

On Halloween, the weather was incredible -- the kind of weather parents wish occurred on every Halloween. It was warm (in the 60s), sunny, and there was a nice warm breeze. No parents had to force their child to wear a snowsuit underneath his or her costume. I'm sure parents were happy, and kids were happy too. I was so excited to go running, in fact, on this beautiful day, that I skipped down the stairs in our house and smacked my head on the door frame, resulting in a cut tongue and a painful bump. I almost let that deter me, but as I was all ready -- my shoes were even on -- I wasn't able to excuse myself, so I set off for a run.

On this day, I decided to run downtown and along the other side of the bay. Normally I run immediately to the lake and run along the trail on one side of the bay, but I had my adventure on. And here is the following run, in pictures.

Happy exploring! Dan and I are off for an adventure this weekend -- camping in the UP of Michigan. We'll let you know how our adventure turns out.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A weekend away

Last weekend I was at a conference in Baraboo, WI. It was a CAA conference at a cool place with some cool folks. It is always good to be around people who value and love what you value and love. It was also a great networking time, I even got a quazi-job offer, which at this time we are not sharing. At the conference we watched a video and talked about the disconnect that students in college are feeling these days. We talked about the idea that college students don't know what the heck they are doing in school and how they all feel pressured to do it just because. Now not everyone of course, but some. And now, the video...

So, what do you think? Creative, different, challenging, curious, or stupid?

We discussed if we as outdoor education professionals are part of the solution, and if so, how to get there.

Anyway, Hilary went to visit Kate and Jon in Minneapolis so on Sunday after the conference was over I went for a walk in Devil's Lake State Park, right across the street from where the conference was held. As a one car family, I had to wait to get picked up, but I had 5 hours, so a long walk. Some pictures so you can appreciate the beauty.

Does it look like those rocks would move apart? They do by the way, I was there the previous day helping teach an anchor lesson and we moved the rocks with only 2 people.


Next on the agenda, eating lunch, going out to do some running around, and finding Hilary a bike by Spring 2009.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


No, your eyes aren't broken, you saw the price per gallon. We did have $0.38 off per gallon though, but still.... Why the low gas prices? (We appreciate it!) Why do I think just under three bucks is cheap? Anyway.

This week has been busy. Last weekend my parents came out to visit. It was fun seeing them. We went out to dinner, went to church (my second time since out here), watched the Steelers win, and went fishing. I almost caught myself a delicious bass. I had it in and close but it swam under the dock and snapped my line on one of the posts. I really want to catch that fish sometime. Maybe it lives nearby. I do feel bad for my parents as it rained almost the entire time they were here. I am glad they came though. Hilary made a delicious apple pie that was amazing!

Don't you want some? I am home alone tonight. Hilary went to a concert tonight with the youth group because they needed an extra driver. I hope she is having fun at the meet and greet with the BarlowGirls. Some pictures to finish this off.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Different strokes, confusion.

Tonight you get to go inside the mind of Dan. His thought process sometimes goes like this.
While thinking about Christmas present ideas for himself, he thought of a tool box, which he really does not want after some thought, but it led him to look at the best tools around, SK I figure. Guess how much these tools cost, the complete set...go ahead, I'll give you time...
you are wrong by the way, try $1,468.03, nice try though. And in my sick mind I thought, I could use those, why not have the best? Crazy, unless your a mechanic I guess. Hilary and I have been thinking a lot about how our country and lives revolve around money more or less, or at least how Americans value money, expensive cars, and good schools and neighborhoods. Huh? So my brain is scattered. I sold my car last night in less than 30 minutes. He showed up at 6:45, I drove it with him down the road, he drove it back, he offered me money and pulled it out of his wallet. I went inside, signed over the title, wrote a little letter saying I sold it for X amount of dollars to Y person and we both signed it. I then emptied my truck and took off the plates. He gave me the cash, I gave him the title and the keys, bye bye Jetta, you will be missed. German performance gone. Jeep maybe in a year!?

something else I stumbled upon doing research for class that I like and it may make you think, maybe not. I am of course a recreation administration major who loves experiential education and hands on learning, an advocate of non-academia type testing, nature, and all things adventurous/wild. I'll let you try to make sense of my thoughts, because I have yet to do it. A little video.

I have no questions for you. I have no answers.

367 Days of Marriage

On Monday, Dan and I celebrated our one year anniversary. It has been a wonderful year of ups and downs, dreaded decisions and unexpected adventures. And we've happily made it thus far, but only because God has been faithful to us through it all!

We decided to spread out our celebration, beginning on Friday and continuing through Monday. Dan, ever thoughtful, informed me that we were going on a surprise date on Saturday. A surprise! I spent a majority of the week guessing what we were going to be doing -- hiking? a picnic? walking around the lake? Apparently, at some point I actually guessed what we were going to do, but Dan was so convincing with his offhanded "maybe" that I forgot what I had guessed when he told me (on Saturday) that I had already guessed it.

Anyhoo, the surprise was not ruined. After lunch, we hopped in the car for our surprise adventure date, and ended up at an Apple Festival! I LOVE apples. Crisp, beautiful, tasty, delicious, nutritious... I could go on and on. (In fact, one of my professors at Houghton wrote me a little poem about an apple after I jokingly left one on his desk during Modern British Poetry. Unfortunately, I think it was deleted along with my email account at Houghton. Otherwise, I would include it for you today.) Alas, Dan has some issues when it comes to eating uncooked apples (have you ever heard of someone's lips getting red and itchy when eating one?), but he loves me so much that he brought me there.

But just perhaps it was also the allure of fresh apple cider doughnuts and apple cider, both of which we sampled/devoured. We also picked a ten pound bag of apples, mostly Cortlands, which I love. (Duh.) I've been steadily diminishing our stock since then, but Dan made me promise to bake him a pie. Maybe that was an ulterior motive as well. It was really fun to pick our own apples. I don't think I've picked apples since I was a little girl, visiting Uncle Dave and Aunt Amy. Every time Dan and I go to pick fresh produce, we dream about having our own land with fruit trees and bushes and a big garden. Last year we made and froze many quarts of applesauce, something we'd like to do again on a regular basis in the future!

There were tons of people at this festival. Wisconsin gets a lot of visitors from Illinois, who like to take advantage of all of the "country" activities. We saw at least ten red wagons hauling kids and apples and pumpkins. A bunch of kids who were really too little to pick apples were carrying around their own apple picking bags (which could hold up to 10 lbs.). I know they were too short to reach the apples on the trees, so I guess it was just to let them feel included. But, as Dan and I were walking between rows of trees, we saw one mom call out to her child, perched in a tree, "Honey, I'm glad you're having fun, but I can't find your apple bag anywhere." Yes, there were so many kids having so much fun that they forgot to continue carrying their bag of apples. Sigh. We were hoping to find the bag, but unfortunately, the kiddo hid it so well that we were unable to. I just had to settle for snitching an extra apple to eat while we picked.

I haven't made the apple pie yet, but I plan on doing so when Dan's parents visit this coming week. (Yay!) I have many more pie crusts to make until I can compete with my momma, who makes a seriously beautiful pie crust.

Our first anniversary was a beautiful time to remember where we were one year ago and the commitments we made that day. (In case you weren't there, you can still check out our pictures on, under Dan and Hilary's Wedding. While you're there, check out my cousin's gorgeous pics under Eric and Laura's wedding.) On our actual anniversary we laid low, ordered deep dish pizza and wings, ate some still awesome wedding cake, and watched the Steeler's win. Thank you to all of you who have encouraged us on this journey. We love you all!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Grouchy Golfers and Their Balls

Daniel Bruce apparently has a passion for creeping through the woods in order to find abandoned golf balls. I didn't know this when I married him, but I discovered it because of our rather recent move and our subsequent proximity to the golf course. Our house is approximately .4 miles from the local golf course (although we could just go through the cornfield and emerge onto the course), but I prefer to go the path more traveled in this case.

Anyways, on Wednesday night, Dan's evening class was canceled and so we decided to go on a little excursion. Days are getting shorter, so we drove over (as to not be hit by a speeding Caddy on the way home) and parked near the climbing wall, where Dan brings groups!

So, we jumped into the woods and started searching for golf balls. Dan--having more experience in this game--was winning handily, when a man in a golf cart drove by. Being the friendly (western) New Yorker that I am, I waved. Apparently, it would have been better to not attract his attention. He drove over to the edge of the woods and, while still on the seat of his golf cart, asked, "What are you doing?" I looked at Dan, Dan looked at me, while the gentleman waited. Dan told him that we were just looking for golf balls, to which the many asked another question: "But are you golfing?" Dan, much to my amusement, replied that we were not currently golfing. (Neither of us have any firm intentions of golfing on this course ever, really, so the word currently was a bit of a white lie.) "Well, you really shouldn't be here," Mr. Grumpy Gills replied.

Dan and I were a bit dumbfounded. Obviously, no one was really very interested in retrieving their balls. Otherwise, they'd be out there poking around the woods. So Dan tried to reiterate, saying, "But we're just looking for lost golf balls." Mr. Cranky-Pants was not appeased and drove off, but not before he told us again that we really shouldn't be there.

As many of you know, I am a law abiding person. I don't like getting in trouble and I don't like to be reprimanded. But, in this case, Grumpy Gills the Grandpa Golfer did not persuade me to give up. In fact, I was being a bit of a whiner before he came, but after he left, I was very enthusiastic to continue our search. He didn't actually tell us that we HAD to leave, he just suggested it. To which end we surmised that he didn't have any authority whatsoever to tell us to leave. Besides, we pay tuition so he can golf on the public, college-owned golf course.

In total, Dan won the golf ball search with eight and I lost with only four. Now we only have 88 more golf balls to find before we can sell all 100 online for about $15 on ebay! As this not only was a fun date but an opportunity to be entrepreneurs, we would suggest this activity for a date when you don't have any money to spend. We'd give it four and a half stars out of ten for fun activities. Mr. Grumpy Gills made it even better, so we cannot guarantee that you'll have the same great experience! If you do try it, make sure and let us know! (But by then we'll have so many golf balls on sale on ebay that yours won't be worth anything.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Midwest, Midweek Climbing

So I had a few days off mid week this week, so we used those days up American style. We had excess, so we burned it away. I welcome you to Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI.

Some scree on the approach. It reminds me of climbing the Grand Teton. Hilary liked the trail and said it was gnarly [HS: yes, you know me and the climbing lingo!]. She also said hiking in Crocs isn't recommended on gnar-nasty approaches [HS: true. Also, don't get dehydrated and wear Crocs. I almost slipped on the steep descent!]. We climbed a little bit because that is what we went to do. Two of my work buddies came as well, Noel (the guy version) and Ian (nicknamed JP for Junior Protoge), oh, and Noel's daughter and friend came too! Ask me sometime and I'll explain the situation if you care to know. (It is a bit weird) No good pictures of us climbing, so the walk out. [Dan ordered me to stop taking pictures of him while he was belaying, otherwise there would be some amazing pics of him staring at the bottom of the cliff.]
Also in this blog I would like to tell you about my awesome wife, you may know her, her name is Hilary. She made one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. She first spent about 1.5 hours making mozzarella cheese with a kit she got awhile back. Then she sat on her butt for .25 seconds. Then she began making a deep crust pizza dough, which required boiling and mashing potatoes as well as making a quasi-normal bread dough. While this lazy butt sat around doing homework [sleeping?] the wife then also prepared the pizza, but then screamed [oh please] for help when she needed sauce made, cause I'm a mad awesome sauce maker. For real dog. [For real dog.]

It is about the time during the show where the actors get tired and want to go eat ice cream soaked [I suggested choosing the word covered] in chocolate, which is what I am going to do. [Me too. Love you guys!]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We killed them ALL!

Blogging Rule #1- Come up with a good title.
Blogging Rule #2- Contents must be accurate.
Blogging Rule #3- Contents must include humor.

We try to follow all three of these rules but sometimes we fail. We shall begin.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a couple who lived in a small little white house on an old farm. At odd times of the day, small little creatures with wings would hatch, and fly around and around. This couple did not really enjoy the small little creatures with wings flying around their kitchen at odd times during the day, so they did something about it. Que awesome fight sequence music. At the odd times during the day, the couple would silently sneak up on the little creatures and study their flying patterns. They would calculate their flight plans using complex algorithms laid out on the dining room table with the help of two, yes two, TI-89's. Weapons would then be gathered and ceremonially cleansed. Then, they would wait.

And wait.

And wait. Until all was still and the moment was right. And then...

they would strike!

And then, until suddenly, there were no more.

Dead Fly Total for today- 20!

Sore shoulders from swinging the towel so much-1

Towel we have to clean because
Sir Knight Dan is amazing- 1

Pictures with amazing detail- 1
(see below)
I double dog dare you to click on this picture to make it bigger.
Tonight we had a showdown and the humans won. Hilary says she had a showdown today at lunch with these nasty creatures with a broom, at which she also destroyed. The broom is fine in case you were concerned.

Stay tuned for more awesome adventures.

Next adventure planned...

a short mountain bike adventure with the wifey. She gets to borrow one of my co-workers full suspension Schwinn. Hopefully it does not rain tomorrow.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Who is buying all the food?

So today, while opening a bag of flour, I found this...

I don't know if you believe me or not, but I think I should be getting something hidden in my food bags if I am paying so much for them.

Is it speculation? Is it demand? Is it fuel costs?
Can anyone tell me why all the food I want to buy is costly?
It's not like I'm purchasing steaks, lobster and top shelf liquor. The only thing going in the cart is off brand cereal, eggs, milk, some chicken broth, and some quick oats for baked oatmeal. No snacks or extras. I'm not sure the mid-West is being very inviting. Due to the high cost of food, We are selling the Jetta.

Car for sale!
All of this is linked really. Expensive food, car for sale, and happenings with my bike. I'm a full fledged bike commuter, a whole .98 miles I go to work and school, but not this week, my spokes are snapping on the rear end.

In other news, our old landlord, who told us multiple times throughout the year upon questioning that our gas bill was indeed the one for our apartment, was not. He informed us today via email that for the last year, yes, all 12 months, we have been paying his gas bill. A refund check is hopefully in the mail. I am curious how this gets messed up and I reckon that the poor ol' lassie who lived there before us drew the short straw as well.

Praise the Lord for honest landlords!

Happy reading, I'm off to bed.

Friday, September 5, 2008

All Things Hot (h2o, jobs, & fires)

So, you know all of those dire warnings about Nalgenes and those pesky little hormone-like things that leach off the bottles into your beverage? Well, here at GWC, they are way beyond PBA waterbottles and gave Dan and I each a cool PBA-free waterbottle. Yesterday morning, Dan decided to make tea to take to work. Well, these water bottles might not leach anything, but they definitely don't stand up to hot water very well! Fortunately, Dan was pouring the boiling water into the waterbottle while standing over the sink. As it started to shrink, he just dropped it. Really, it's pretty impressive!

As for other news, I didn't get the job as an admissions counselor here at the school. I am going to be substitute teaching, at least for a while! I'm actually really looking forward to it. The high school is right across from our house, so the commute is short. Yay!

And the most exciting part of this post: Dan and I borrowed stones from the maintenance junk area and made ourselves a fire pit in the backyard! I'm going to conquer my inability to make a fire this year... or so Dan hopes. :) Here it is (the picture also includes the piece of plywood Dan was burning). We're excited about using it when friends come over, or maybe using it to make authentically smoky STEP stew.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Home Sweet Home

This year, Dan and I are living in our own house! It's being provided by GWC, and we love it, after my initial displeasure. (It was late when we first arrived, and I was exhausted. I don't believe I was incredibly positive that first night, but obviously a lot has changed.) We're surrounded on three sides by cornfields which are looking pretty parched nowadays. Due to this, we don't have any neighbors to speak of, but we have more wildlife than at our last apartment. We mainly enjoy it because it's peaceful and quiet.

When Joanna came out to visit, she helped me do a lot of fixing up. We finished unpacking, bought paint, decorations, bar stools, fabric for curtains, and other things to make our house feel more like ours. Throughout these pictures, you'll be seeing Joanna's artistic and h
elpful home decorating abilities. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking, though. Enjoy!

This is our kitchen. Joanna and I sanded, stained, and finished the stools. Perfection doesn't quite describe them, but they useful and cute! This is where we eat breakfast. I also made the curtains that are hanging in the window, which was quite a task for me, as I have little sewing experience. Fortunately, I own a sewing machine, thanks to a good friend! I like how they turned out, although again, they aren't perfect.
From the kitchen, we walk into the dining/study room, where Dan and I each have a desk. It's a nice area for studying. We eat most of our meals out here.

Our living room is the next room, where our t.v. lives, as well as our washer & dryer and Dan's bike. (Note: all of this furniture was out here when we came, thankfully. Most of the furniture is the same stuff we had at Houghton!)
Our bathroom, although functional, is not all that beautiful, and I won't include a picture of it here. I'll move on to the upstairs, where we have three bedrooms, only one of which we really use. The other is a guest room (hint, hint!) and the last contains our clothes, the reason for which you'll see shortly.
JoJo and I painted the master bedroom "Newport Blue".
And this is the reason for the clothes bedroom... the hugest closet ever! A part of this house I wouldn't want to change.
So that's the cyber tour of our house. We do have an extra bedroom or two to house visitors, if any of you would like to come. Consider this an open invitation. We're adjusting to our new surroundings, of course, but our house is starting to feel like a home.

I'll leave you with the view from a kitchen window. Not a bad view -- peaceful and pleasant. Come see it for yourself!