My Room

"Everyone carries a room about inside them. This fact can even be proved by means of the sense of hearing. If someone walks fast and one pricks up one's ears and listens, say at night, when everything round about is quiet, one hears, for instance, the rattling of a mirror not quite firmly fastened to the wall." -Franz Kafka

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Earth Day 2.0

Saturday we spent the day hiking at Hoffmaster State Park with Racie and Dan, and then the four of us went to House to watch Planet Earth and have dinner with Miranda. It was a great day.

Christine and I spent the morning making white chili and guacamole for dinner, then we headed over to Miranda's to plug in the crock pot and meet up with Racie and Dan. Being us, we took the scenic route.

The only person I know who is more directionally challenged than I am is my spouse, and she makes the same claim. As she was driving, I told her that I knew a better way to get to Racie and Dan's than the route we usually take. So we passed the exit we took all last summer due to roadwork, and when we hit the next one, we got off the highway. Only for Christine to exclaim, "We're not going to Racie and Dan's!" So we turned around to get back onto the highway, only to get on going in the direction we had just come from, and because nice weather in Grand Rapids means 131 shuts down, we couldn't get off and turn around until we were almost back where we started from.

So I called Dan to tell him we were running late, only for him to tell me that they were also running late. We finally parked in front of House within seconds of each other.

Dan graciously drove so that they could get an annual pass for their car once we got to the park. Conversation on the way was lively and interesting as usual. I'll spare you the details since this isn't the blog where I welcome debate.

As we neared the park, we passed an ice cream store with a sign that said:
Happy Hour
Ice Cream
2 for 1
It was nearly two, but we figured we'd be more in the mood for ice cream after hiking, so we pressed on.

The weather was beautiful, and we hiked two of the trails, one to the dunes and the other along a boardwalk with nearly 500 stairs. I usually count stairs, but I lost track. Back at the visitors' center, we saw polliwogs and snakes and taxidermy animals. It was very much as I remember it when my family used to visit on a weekly basis.

On the way home, we stopped for ice cream, only to discover that the bottom line of the sign had been changed to "Sandwiches $1." What a load. But we bought ice cream anyway, and not in sandwich form.

Back at House, the chili smelled amazing, and we watched several episodes of Planet Earth while enjoying chips and guacamole, which turned out surprisingly well for my just throwing together what I thought sounded good. I'm glad I'm getting to the point where I can trust my food instincts.

I slept unbelievably well last night. I'm not used to so much exercise, but I hope to one day say that's no longer true.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday, Monday

Today at work was a day of computer issues punctuated by meetings. Not fun. I'd love to go into detail, but unfortunately, somebody reading would surely know the person I complained about or lampooned mercilessly, so I will simply leave it as I hate meetings, and I prefer for my software to work the way I need it to. But given the state of the economy, I am happy to have a job at all, especially one that I can (for the most part) leave at the office.

I also appreciate that my job can be done while listening to audiobooks, which is how I connect my current work life with my degree in English. A few weeks ago, I started listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Having just read (and loved) Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, I thought this would be a good follow up. And I'm sure it would be. Unfortunately, the book was read by the author, and while I've heard she's a great writer, she is not a great narrator. So I gave up and brought the book home and asked Christine to return it to the library (she was studying there on a regular basis -- she is not simply my book courier). When she got to the library, she noticed that the first CD was missing and asked me to bring it home from work.

I didn't have it at work. Neither did I have it in the car, in my backpack, or in the case of any other audiobook. Now, in addition to my overdue book fines' single-handedly making up for my library branch's shamefully low funding (I would support a candidate who wanted to raise taxes for libraries and museums, but that's not a popular platform right now), I have had to purchase two books in as many years due to water damage (I carry them to work in my backpack with my coffee thermos and water bottle). So far they have been books that I liked, so it seemed worth it to me, but I was now faced with having to purchase most of an audiobook whose narrator made me want to eat my own head. And I had nowhere else to look for that disc.

When our department's IT guy finished installing the correct software on my computer, I remembered that my computer had been reimaged last week. I recalled the IT office at college and how the shelves were always full of CDs and DVDs that students had left in their computers when they turned them in or had them fixed. So I e-mailed the IT guy and asked, on the off chance, if my CD could possibly have gotten mixed up in some of the software used on my computer. His reply seemed a bit defensive (I realize that I should have stated more explicitly that I do not think anyone in IT would maliciously steal one disc of an audiobook about sustainable agriculture), and he said that he had not worked on my computer in quite a while before today. I replied, conceding his point, and admitted that he was the only IT person whose name I knew, and so might he know who reimaged my computer?

Five minutes later he showed up at my desk with disc one of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I could have kissed him. Well, not without losing my job, but whatever. I thanked him profusely and threw the disc into my backpack. I'm sure it's a great book, but Barabara Kingsolver certainly has a voice made for print.

I can wholeheartedly recommend In Defense of Food, however, including the narrator, Scott Brick. As you may have noticed from previous blogs, Christine and I are very interested in real, sustainable, and organic food. In the next couple of weeks, the farmers' market will be opening and, we'll be buying a share in a CSA. I look forward to updating this blog with our culinary adventures.

And while I don't have any pictures, tonight's dinner was a sandwich on the homemade rolls with cheddar cheese, avocado spread, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard. It was quite tasty.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Day two of my return to the Blogosphere. Today was a good day, and I'd like to note it for posterity's sake.

Last night we slept with the window open, listening to the storm. I love the sound of rain, especially at night. When I was younger, whenever a storm came through, I'd sit on the porch with my parents and watch it. The neighbors across the street did the same, and we'd Ooh and Ahh over the particularly bright flashes of lightening and loud peals of thunder. Growing up in a poor neighborhood, we took our excitement where we could find it. Although I wouldn't have traded those evenings on the porch for any number of video game consoles.

I awoke around 9:00 and realized that the room was freezing. That's because at 9:00 my wife woke up and informed me that it was freezing. It's a service she provides for me, knowing how much I hate to wake up on my own time and realize for myself what the temperature of the apartment is. So she got up to do yoga (which is a Japanese word meaning, "You put the dog out; I'm busy sitting on the floor") and I got up to play Settlers of Catan online.

For breakfast Christine made polenta with butter and vanilla which we enjoyed with coffee (espresso for me, Americano for Christine). It was delicious. After breakfast, I put together rolls for dinner. As I was playing my second game of Settlers while the dough was rising, my brother (hereafter referred to as "Evan") called to invite me to my sister's (Dana's) for lunch. I told him I could be there when my rolls were done at around 1:30, and he said he'd confirm with Dana and call back to let me know what I could bring. He never called back, so I didn't bring anything.

After game three the rolls were glazed and ready to go into the oven. The recipe made too many to fit on one baking sheet, so I got out two smaller sheets. One of the smaller sheets had been put away dirty. Does this happen to anyone else? No amount of scrubbing could remove what I believe was congealed olive oil, so I resolved to use the large sheet and one smaller sheet. The problem was that the large baking sheet and the small baking sheet did not fit into the oven at the same time, which meant the large pan of rolls would come out of the oven five minutes before I had to be to Dana's and the next batch would be done fifteen minutes after I left. My wife, who stayed home to grade college English papers today, graciously agreed to take them out when they were done. I had time to split one roll from the first batch with her (they were awesome) before I left.

At Dana's I was greeted by my nephew, who smiled at me but refused to talk, and my niece, who extended her arms and demanded, "Up!" to everyone except me. Perhaps I need to babysit more often. My brother-in-law (Daryl) and soon to be sister-in-law (Kara) were there as well. We had tacos, chips and queso, and cheesecake for dessert. We discussed wedding plans, the hypocritical political positions our acquaintances hold, and whether Kara or my cousin Chris had worse taste in movies. Chris arrived shortly thereafter, and we never did settle the debate. Daryl was in another room watching the Tigers vs. the Royals, which I realized with some dismay was a sporting event, not great cats mauling European monarchs.

After lunch, I kept suggesting a game of Settlers of Catan, which got a tepid response, so when Evan and Chris went outside to "have a catch," I left to run some errands. We had run out of the organic dog food we started buying when we realized we love our dog (Lily) and probably shouldn't be feeding her sawdust and reconstituted fish bits. She loves it and has much more energy and much less body mass. It also make her obnoxiously regular. I'm grateful that we live on a ground floor apartment, but picking up a bag of poo in my pajamas is not how I want to greet the world every morning.

I got home shortly before Christine who was taking a break by doing the weekly grocery shopping (I've done it the last three weeks in a row and was just plain not going to do it today). I did help bring in groceries, including oil which I needed to make mayonnaise, and we made dinner together.

Dinner tonight was portabella mushroom burgers on the aforementioned homemade rolls, topped with caramelized onions, feta cheese, artisan lettuce, homemade mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard with roasted potatoes. It was delicious. While we ate, we watched the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders. Now Christine is on the couch sleeping off a migraine, and I am playing my fifth game of Settlers of Catan and enjoying my two-day writing streak. Soon I must wash dishes, hang up my work clothes, and go to bed.

It's been a good weekend.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm back. Let's see how long it lasts.

My New Year's resolution this year was to write more. The year is nearly a quarter over, and so far, I am not meeting that goal. I've had several people ask me if I'm writing, and I am writing this to let them know that no, I am not.

I was very prolific in college, but since then, I haven't written much more than a Facebook status or a response to a meme. The reasons for this are, 1. in college I got paid to write. Not much, but the satisfaction of writing things I knew my readers wouldn't read otherwise made up for that somewhat, and 2. in college I had deadlines.

When I was assigned a paper in college, I immediately began thinking about what I would write. I thought about it constantly, yes, even when it looked like I was just watching TV and eating grilled cheese sandwiches and French fries out of a to-go box (that was a great semester). Then the night before the paper was due, I would sit down and write it. It never turned out the way I expected it to, but it was usually good.

Now, no one pays me, and I don't have deadlines. Several people have offered to set deadlines for me, but the problem is that if I failed to meet their deadlines, nothing would happen. I wouldn't forfeit payment or waste my tuition. I'd just say, "I didn't meet the deadline," and nothing else in my life would change.

I do, however, see a light on the horizon. I'm not getting paid to write this, and it's not due at any time. But I wrote it. And I like it. I'm gonna chase this feeling.

Friday, August 03, 2007

This sucks

I know I keep saying I'm back and then disappearing for months at a time, but the stuff that's going on doesn't seem worth writing about.

We moved into our new apartment a month ago, and since then, both the job leads that seemed so promising when we moved led nowhere. I had done two phone interviews and one face-to-face with each. One e-mailed me five minutes before 5:00 on Friday to say that they wanted someone with more marketing experience. Did they expect me to have picked some up between the first and third interview?

I did get a job at Cornerstone for a week, though not the one I originally applied for. I was an RA at the journalism institute. I had a lot of fun, but didn't make much money (why is it that the jobs that require you to work the longest always seem to pay the least?). The last time I took temporary work at a camp, I broke my leg, so this time was much more successful (although worker's comp sounds pretty good right about now...).

I spent the week with high schoolers who had chosen to spend a week of their summer at a writing camp, so i was pretty much in my element. We played Egyptian ratscrew (which I of course won), talked about Harry Potter (all I really want to talk about right now), and I was able to offer advice for college (don't major in English if you want a job).

When I'm not applying to jobs, I've been doing a lot of cooking. We had an awesome cream of mushroom soup last night made from baby portabellas. I'm also rereading the Harry Potter series. I just finished Goblet of Fire and hour ago. I realized while reading book seven that I couldn't remember a thing about book six (probably because I was hopped up on Vicodin when it came out), so rather than just reread book six, I am reading the entire series. I am trying to do so quickly to absorb the entire story rather than having it broken up into sections. If you enjoy good stories of any kind, I cannot recommend the Harry Potter books highly enough.

Well, that's all from me for now.

How are you?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

I have been too long away from the blogosphere, relegating my brief posts, friend comments, and inane video to exclusive online clubs such as MySpace and Facebook, and even those contributions have been few and far between. You may remember when not a day went by that I didn't contribute something to these cyber pages. That was when I was in England, studying what I loved and enjoying (most of) the culture surrounding me. Somehow, living in a basement and working at a bank has made me less prolific in my blogging.

My life is about to change, however, and during times of transition, I reach out to the blogging community... or my parents, their blog friends, and a few Europeans who still occassionally check to see if maybe I'm not as boring anymore. After two years in Illinois, Christine and I will be returning to the G.R. (don't call it that), Grand Rapids, MI, my hometown and the city where Christine and I met.

We began considering a return about a month ago. Christine was very stressed out with graduate school, and I suggested she take a year off to recharge. In that same conversation, Christine mentioned that the university we had attended in Grand Rapids was hiring a writer/editor. I pursued the job, Christine deferred her admission into Northern Illinois University's doctoral program, and we made plans to move to Grand Rapids for a year.

While I was waiting to hear back about the job, Christine was offered a funded position at Western Michigan University. After days of deliberation, she accepted the position. After weeks of being jerked around, I learned that the job I was pursuing was offered to someone else. You really have to question the value of your degree when you can't get a job doing what you're trained to do at the university that trained you to do it.

We plan to move back to Grand Rapids in June, which means looking for a place to live and getting a new job in the next couple of weeks. We could use a lot of prayer, and if you have any leads on proofreading or copy-editing positions, please let me know. I don't want to work at a bank anymore.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Meme from My Mom

My mom mentioned that she wanted me to post this one because I was Home Schooled.

Year of High School Graduation - 1999. And I partied like it was.

1. Who was your best friend?
Steve Rodenburg.

2. What sports did you play?
Looney Tunes Basketball on my Super Nintendo.

3. What kind of car did you drive?
I didn't get my license until I was 19, but then I drove a Mercury Tracer wagon.

4. It's Friday night, where were you?
Cast party.

5. Were you a party animal?
I went to a lot of Youth Group all-nighters, where I would often select the movies. I believe I was single-handedly responsible for the guidelines that only educational movies could be shown at church functions.

6. Where you in the "In Crowd"?
I was the coolest kid in my graduating class.

7. Ever skip school?
Only to go to my full-time job.

8. Ever smoke?
In High School? No.

9. Were you a nerd?
I was the biggest nerd in my graduating class.

10. Did you get suspended/expelled?
I lost TV privileges once in a while.

11. Can you sing the alma mater?
I'm not fluent enough in Latin to know what that means, but if it's referring to the fight song, it was I Want It All by Queen. I don't think I realized it was a gay rights anthem when I chose it. It is now featured in a Dr Pepper commercial. Take that, Wyoming Park High School.

12. Who was your favorite teacher?
My mom.

13. Favorite Class?
Going to the library to decide what to learn. One day I decided to read a classic book a week. I selected Silas Marner. When I met my mom at check out, she had had the same idea and picked another copy of the same book! Weird. She read it; I didn't. She didn't enjoy it, but she's glad she read it.

What was your school's full name?
Haskill School for Brilliant Teenagers and Their Whiny Little Sisters.

15. School Mascot?
Flying Fox.

16. Did you go to Prom?
Yes, I took my sister, my parents chaperoned. No, the answer is no.

17. If you could go back and do it over, would you?
I enjoyed most of it, but no.

18. What do you remember most about graduation?
That my life did not change significantly.

19. Favorite memory of your senior year?
Nothing comes to mind.

20. Were you ever posted on the senior wall?
I was posted on the refigerator.

21. Did you have a job your senior year?
I had a job that started the week after I graduated from 8th grade and that I quit to go to college.

22. Who did you date?
Dating kissed me goodbye.

23. Where did you go most often for lunch?
The kitchen or the breakroom at work. It was also pretty easy to talk my teacher into going for Chinese.

24. Have you gained weight since then?
Yes, but I've always been queen-sized.

25. What did you do after graduation?
Took a year off to work before college. I saved squat, but i bought a lot of cool Legos. They're in my parents basement somewhere.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Five interesting things about Buddy that you DON'T already know

OK, many of you may already know them, but I read my brother's blog, and so I guess I'm tagged. Also, my wife said I need to update, which means that a nagging comment from my mom can't be too far behind. Why is my family always pestering me to write? Oh yeah, because it's my passion, and they are very supportive. What a burden it is to be blessed.


1. I studied at Oxford. I took two tutorials, one in Victorian Gothic Literature and one in Greek Tragedy and Epic. I also took two seminars, one in Shakespeare and one in British History and Culture. The latter included several field trips, including Stratford, Portsmouth, and Canterbury. Check the archives for pics.

2. I have been to Paris, Rome, and Vienna. Whilst my wife and I were studying in Oxford, her parents came over during our travel week and took us on a whirlwind tour of Europe. We visited The Louvre and d'Orsay in Paris and Vatican City in Rome, or, more appropriately, in Vatican City. We drank amazing coffee on this vacation, which was wonderful after drinking Nescafe all the time in England. One day I had ten coffee drinks. Apparently I was pretty irritable that day.

3. For one as well travelled as I am, I consider myself a homebody. I love to spend the day reading or watching movies with my wife or playing games with friends. Game nights with my friends in Michigan were what I missed most while we were in Europe and what I continue to miss here in rural Illinois.

4. I majored in English writing. I did very well in all of my classes, but one I graduated, I found I wrote very little. I've recently realized why. When I have an assignment, I don't start writing until the night before it's due. That doesn't mean I put it off. The time before I write is spent constantly thinking about what I want to say. Then, with the pressure of a deadline, I sat down and the words poured out of me. Now that I no longer have that deadline, I've spent the last two years just thinking, and as my wife will tell you, I've thought of some great stuff. Now I just need to get disciplined, give myself deadlines, and write down the ideas that I've been formulating. To that end, today I purchased First Draft in 30 Days with a gift card my sister and brother-in-law gave me for Christmas (there's that supportive family again...). I've always been a bit of a snob when it came to such writing tools, but I've had to humble myself and realize that I who have published nothing in the past two years am in no place to judge anyone who has published a book, even if it is trite in spots. I read the introduction and feel that it will be a helpful guide for me. be sure to ask me in thirty days how my draft is going.

5. I am a trivia buff. The more useless the knowledge, the longer I'll retain it. Par exemple, I know who wrote and sang the "Cheers" theme song and that he also wrote and sang the theme song to "Punky Brewster." He and his collaborator also wrote the theme to "Mr. Belvedere." Click here to find out who. This information I will remember until the day I die, and yet, I cannot remember not to leave my giant size-14 shoes in the middle of the floor. Oh well.

That's a little bit about me. I hope you enjoyed it, at least more than you enjoy Gary Portnoy's music. It sounds like Weird Al singing Contemporary Christian music.

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Tomorrow is my 26th birthday. I love having my birthday in December. It fits nicely right between Thanksgiving and Christmas, making this time my favorite month of the year.

To make things even better, my birthday festivities are being stretched out over the week of my birthday. Saturday Christine and I went to dinner with several of our friends to my favorite restaurant, the Claddagh. Because that was the day we were celebrating, Christine gave me my presents when I came home from work. They included two books: The Prestige by Christopher Priest, which I spent today reading, and Evil and the Justice of God by N.T. Wright, which I spent all of yesterday reading. She also got me the DVD Dress to Kill, featuring the stand-up comedic genius of Eddie Izzard. NIU recently had a fair trade fair, and Christine bought me a black and gold foil river rock paper weight with koi and an all-natural sandalwood soap.

At dinner, I was surprised by many generous gifts from friends. Meredith presented me with The Little Mermaid two-disc special edition DVD. It is my favorite Disney movie. I saw it in the theatre when it first came out around my ninth birthday. Holy crap, that was seventeen years ago (yes, Dana, I had to use a calculator to figure that out). Elizabeth got me a Stephen King desk calendar. I love it. I shall bring it to work and scare away business. I received a Starbucks giftcard from Sarah, and dark roast Caribou coffee from Mandy and Ryan, who also gave me Sufjan Stevens's CD Michigan. Andrew, who knows how much I love working at a bank, gave me a book of dollar bill origami. It almost makes my working at a bank meaningful. Christine's friend Josh, whom I met for the first time on Saturday, made me a carrot cake with caramel cream cheese frosting.

After dinner, we went to a bar where new friends Kim and Karl bought me Jager shots, resulting in my first ever hangover. Overall, it's been a good birthday.

My gift to myself was the day off from work today. I get my birthday off as a paid holiday at work (pretty cool, eh?) and I took today to give myself a long weekend. As I said, I read The Prestige and listened to Christmas music all day. I also got a haircut and washed the van, not as much fun, but necessary.

Tomorrow, we're going to dinner with Christine's mom and brother. I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but they have great steaks. I'm going to get a rare filet mignon. My mouth is watering already.

Next weekend we travel to Michigan to celebrate my birthday with my family and also to celebrate St. Nicholas Day, another reason I love this time of year. Every Thanksgiving we draw someone's name for Thanksgiving, and every year I know by December 5th whom everyone has. Not by choice, mind you. I love to be surprised, but somehow, I always end up finding out. One year I almost made it, but then, on December 4th, my mom said, "I just figured out that you and I have each other this year." Thanks, mom. I hadn't. I figured now that we're hundreds of miles away, I was no longer in danger of having the surprise spoiled. Not so. My sister, attempting to make a purchase on my father's E-Bay account, was prompted with my log-in information, resulting in an e-mail notice alerting me that I had won an item I had never bid on. Fortunately she didn't have me, so the suspense remains. For now.

Happy Birthday to me!

I'm so old...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My nephew

Family Picture Day

Every fall my family takes family pictures at John Ball. Several people were taking pictures, and as you can see, we all just decided which camera we'd look at. I kept saying, "Tell us who's taking the picture," but would they? No.

Consider this exhibit J of why I'm always right.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I have been commanded by several family members to update my blog, so here goes. If it's as dull as I anticipate it will be, you have only yourselves to blame.

Life in My Room:

Monday through Wednesday I work from 7 am until 4 pm, after which I come home exhausted and watch either Law & Order: SVU, Whose Line Is It Anyway, or America's Funniest Home Videos (depending on the night) while playing Neverwinter Nights. Christine is asleep when I leave and comes home about ten minutes before I go to bed.

On Thursdays, which we both have off, we often spend the day at Borders. Christine does homework while I gather a stack of books to flip through while I drink coffee. I often wonder what the next person to come to my table thinks when they see the stack of books. Last time I left Fellowship of the Rings, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Great Readings in Philosophy, Introducing Karl Barthes, and The Movie Plot Generator. I have eclectic tastes.

Today, however, we are staying in as neither of us is feeling well, and Christine needs to be more productive today than she feels she can be at Borders, because this weekend we are travelling to Grand Rapids (or G-Rap as some have taken to calling it) for family pictures, a fall tradition. This year we will be joined by my 9-Month old nephew (as if there aren't enough pictures of him in the world). I kid. I love pictures of him.

I have been reading AN Wilson's biography of CS Lewis as well as The Lord of the Rings. I am becoming fascinated by Mythopoeia, the construction of myth. I am working on one myself that may take a lifetime to create, as did Tolkien's, but I am enjoying occupying that world, especially when work gets tedious.

In the meaintime, I'm writing a prime-time soap opera about growing up in Grand Rapids. It's called The G-Rap, and I am played by Haley Joel Osment. He's doing it for free as part of his community service. Like any teen drama, it will be hip and fresh and will introduce new teenage slang such as "Grap-tastic," "Carbonics," and "Kresgese." Look for it on the WB in the next year or so.

That last part is a lie, which is why it was interesting.

EDIT: My wife just informed me that it's "Fellowship of the RING, not Fellowship of the RINGS!" in a tone that would only be appropriate had I written that I recently ate a kitten.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My Little Sister, Ladies and Gentlemen

Having a baby hasn't changed my sister's personality one iota.

Saturday, she and her husband were in town, and we took their eight-month-old baby to the Brookefield Zoo. My sister did the exact same thing to the statue of John Ball at the zoo back home.

It's true: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ooooh, Barracuda

Glass-Bottomed Boat Tour

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Safari Part I

Monday, August 07, 2006

Safari Part II

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Views from the balcony

Doesn't this look like a Corona commercial?

This is what I saw all day. Actually, I was in the ocean most of the day, but the few times I came out, this is what I saw.

I was riding the waves in, and when I was about five feet from shore in three foot deep water, I put my head under and saw that I was surrounded by thousands of little silver fish. I would swim down among them and they'd swim away and then circle behind me. It was amazing. Sadly, my digital camera is not waterproof, or I could show you.

Hunting lizards

The locals must think I'm an idiot. What I'm doing is the equivalent of tourists photographing squirrels back home. But I can't help it. I get so excited every time I see a lizad.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The weather is here, wish you were beautiful

Saturday we arrived in Aruba, where we will spend the next two weeks. I've spent the last three days eating, sitting by the pool, eating, swimming, eating, drinking pina coladas, eating, smoking Cuban cigars, and eating.

Last night we ate at a restaurant called The Buccaneer that's designed to look like a shipwreck. It has aquarium tanks all around to make it feel like you're underwater. I ate next to a shark, a sea turtle, and a kissing fish with a nasty, swollen eye. Christine's mom took a picture of us with her new camera, which has a wicked flash.

Today we're going shopping in town, and tonight a local market moves into our resort around the pool.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Happy Anniversary

Today is the one-year anniversary of my broken leg. Exactly one year (and two hours) ago, I was walking down the sandy path in the woods to the waterslide at the camp where I was working. Little did I know that in a few moments, my life would change forever.

The previous couple of months, I had been worried about finding a job, paying bills, and Christine's grad-school plans. For the next ten or so months - being unable to work, having bills covered by workers' comp, and Christine's receiving a full assistantship - I worried about how to get places that had stairs, itches that were hidden below an inch and a half of Fiberglas, and if I would be able to walk again without surgery.

A few months ago, my worries reversed yet again. After intense physical therapy, which included having electricity zapped into my leg, I was released to return to work, thus workers' comp payments ended, and Christine finished her first year of grad school and teaching (very well, I might add). Once again I had to find a job, pay bills, and try to find a way to save enough to find a place wherever Christine ends up for her doctoral study.

I reopened my accounts with Monster and and looked for editing and writing positions. I followed several promising leads, but while I had the education and experience for the jobs, I didn't have the titles that companies were looking for. My professors and contacts back at Cornerstone were very helpful, but alas, they could not force anyone to hire me.

Finally, I started looking for anything in my area for which I was qualified. CareerBuilder advertised a Customer Service Representative (teller) position at a bank in town. Having years of customer service experience, I applied. When I arrived at the interview, I was told that the position had changed and would I be interested in a position as a personal banker. With no idea what that meant, but needing the work, I said yes. The interview went well, I really enjoyed the people and the atmosphere, and a few days later, I got an offer, which I accepted.

This week I began orientation and began shadowing a personal banker at another location. At times I still can't believe I'm a banker (my educational background being in English and philosophy), but I'm really enjoying it. The company is growing, which will provide opportunities for advancement, and if nothing else, I'm learning how to responsibly manage money, which is valuable no matter what I end up doing.

Whenever I feel down that I'm not doing what I dreamed of in college, Christine reminds me that banking is just my "Bruce Wayne" face, and that my true "Batman" identity will emerge in the evening when I come home to write. She knows me so well.

Now that things are actually happening in my life, I will attempt to update more often, probably on weekends. Please keep in touch and keep us in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm such a tool.

These are my new interview clothes. Can you sense how uncomfortable I am? I hope soon to post a "First Day of Work" pic.

Wish me luck!