Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pictures I took at that birthday party

My co-worker's name is Susy--her parents are Italian, but she married an Irishman or Scottsman, so her last name is McLaughlin. : )

The birthday was an Elmo theme (hence the cupcakes). They had a moon bounce with a slide (hence the shot of the little girl sliding down the slide.) :)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Calvin & Hobbes

Some of you may already have seen these. They're still funny. :-)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My frist Liberian wedding

Talk about a cultural experience! It started with the wedding beginning over one hour late. The groom's parents were lost, and when somebody was sent out to find them, that person got lost so they had to send a second person out. :)

This first picture is of the groom singing to the bride as she walked down the aisle. (If you click on the picture you'll get a bigger version.)

I think the best part of the wedding was when the mother of the bride said, "Speak up!!" (insert Liberian accent) when the bride failed to say "I do" loud enough. I guess the mom figured that if they went through all this to get the daughter married, mom wanted to make sure she heard her say the words. :)

I was sitting in the front pew, so all my pictures are of the very front. I was in the front, by the piano, because another girl from the church and I got asked to sing in the wedding two days before. The soloist couldn't make it, so this 12-year-old got asked first, when she declined they asked me. I then asked the girl if she wanted to sing with me (which we've done in church before) and she said yes. It was only the first verse of "Abba, Father".

The ring bearer and flower girl sat on the steps ("Hmm, I wonder where they got that idea from?" ;) I thought that it was cute that the ring bearer had to lean way forward to look at the little girl. I think he wasn't paying attention when she came down the aisle and had to see who was there.

I thought he looked a little bored here. :)

More pictures (you can only fit so much on one entry)

Don't forget to click on a picture to see the bigger version.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I can't stop laughing!

I got this e-mail from our project manager today:

Hi All,
Please welcome Uwe Gross our new " Cutover Manager " from Capgemini. Uwe is a seasoned cutover manager and will be working closely with you all on the cutover activities.

Chris is wondering if this person's nickname is "Yuck". :)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I'm off to my first job... job, that is.
A girl at work is throwing a big party for her son's first birthday. She invited everyone at work, and told me that if I was going to go, she'd ask me to take pictures. We decided on a price, and I'll probably be there from 5pm - 8pm.
I'm sure you've guessed that I'm going not for the party, but for the opportunity to "be a photographer" and get paid for it. :)
I don't think I'll ever consider myself a true photographer until I can quit my day job, and do what I like full-time.
What I love about pursuing this, is that I can do it no matter where we end up living and also choose how much time I spend doing it.
Anyway, I won't go on about this...even though I could go on for a very long time. :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nate Eckman's wedding

Did anyone else get a wedding announcement for our cousin's wedding? We got one in the mail yesterday and had no idea who it was for at first. It just says "Monica and Nate" and I did not recognize him at all. The wedding's on Oct. 7--anyone going? :)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

World Trade Center movie

I loved this article about the rescue of the last 2 survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center. A movie about it is playing in the theatres.

Just what Liz wanted

Here you go, Liz: a recipe with your favorite ingredients (tuna and Cream of Wheat!).

Tuna Cakes

1 c. milk
1/2 c. Cream of Wheat cereal
2 cans tuna in water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/4 c. finely shredded carrot (about 1 small carrot)
1/8 tsp. pepper
6 lettuce leaves
6 tomato slices

Bring milk just to boil in med. saucepan on med. heat. Gradually add cereal, stirring constantly with wire whisk. Return just to boil; reduce heat to low. Cook 1-2 min. or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 5 min.

Add tuna, eggs, onions, carrots and pepper; mix well. Shape into 6 patties.

Cook on nonstick griddle or in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 3-5 min. on each side or until cooked through and lightly browned on both sides. Serve each with lettuce leaf and tomato slice. Makes 6 servings.

Need some more ideas?
Apple-Cinnamon Muffins
1/3 c. sugar, divided
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. Cream of Wheat
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. apple juice, divided
1/2 c. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter, melted
1 small apple, peeled, chopped (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove 1 Tbsp. of sugar; set aside for later use. Mix remaining sugar, flour, cereal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large bowl until well blended; set aside. Remove 2 Tbsp. of the apple juice for later use. Beat remaining juice, milk, egg, and margarine with wire whisk until well blended. Add to dry ingredients; stir just until moistened. Gently stir in apples.

Spoon evently into 12 greased medium muffincups.

Bake 18-20 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan; brush tops with reserved juice. Sprinkle with reserved sugar. Serve warm.

If you'd like more recipes with Cream of Wheat, I have a recipe for peanut butter cookies, pancakes, a vegetable bake, and a tex-mex casserole, using Cream of Wheat. Let me know, and I'll type those out for you. :-)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dad was right...of course

Dad mentioned on Sunday night during our web-cast that grandchildren should go to family reunions because it explains so much.
Well, it was a little while after that that Aunt Pam, Aunt Joyce, Uncle Lee and Tyler were talking about doctors, hospitals, and the such. I found out that I'm not weird!!
It so happens, that the hospital/dr. phobia actually runs in the family. Aunt Joyce and Uncle Jim also get woosy when there's "dr./hospital talk", and they never are the ones taking the trips to the hospital. Nick, Joanna, and Bethany are all prone to fainting, too.
It was great to hear that my issue with medical related stuff isn't because I'm's because I'm part Nichols! :)

It also clued me into the fact that Aunt Joyce gets lots of headaches...maybe that's genetic too?

First training class under my belt

Well, I went through my first official training as a teacher! It went ok, I guess. They had questions, and they did seem to understand things, so I guess it was succesful. : )

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pictures of this weekend

If you don't recognize them, I don't know who they are. I'm sure Mom could fill us in. :)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In Detroit

In Lockport

Jason played bocce with the uncles. Grandpa picked fresh corn for dinner (YUM!). And the kids climbed trees, while the aunts sat around hyperventilating about how high they were going (while simultaneously reminiscing about how many trees they'd climbed when they were young.) :)

The Saga of the $20

The saga began during the wedding rehearsal on Friday night, when one of the groomsmen offered to take the guys in the wedding party out for breakfast on Saturday morning. When everyone agreed it was a good idea, they arranged to meet for breakfast at a local cafe on Saturday morning. You have to understand that we were way up in the thumb of Michigan, in a small town called Cass City. The gentleman with whom we were staying described the local cafe as a "men-only fishing shack," if that gives you any mental picture.

Jason was grinning when he told me later that morning that, much to the groomsmen's chagrin, the men-only fishing shack did not accept credit cards. Jason was the only one of the party with cash in his pocket, as he'd had the foresight to stop on the way out of town to get cash from the ATM for tolls, meals and any other potential emergencies (such as being stuck at the local cafe without any way to pay for breakfast). Breakfast became Jason's treat.

The story didn't become interesting until the next day, when we were leaving western NY. We'd spent the bulk of what little cash we had left paying for tolls on the way to NY but knew we didn't have enough left for tolls on the way home. We bought gas at Smokin' Joe's (good ol' Smokin' Joe) for $.15/gallon less than anywhere else. But Jason was not about to pay $1.50 to use the ATM at Smokin' Joe's, so he waited and pulled in to the next drive-through ATM he saw. As the receipt printed out, and he realized that he'd paid $2.00 to use that ATM, he started grinding his teeth. That was nothing compared to how he felt when all he got from the ATM was a receipt--NO CASH. The machine never did give us any cash.

We called the 800# on the front of the machine, but the person who answered that call was only there to address security issues. (I suppose he would have been helpful if we had seen terrorists blowing up the ATM.) But he gave us another toll-free number to call for customer service. To add insult to injury, the number Jason called was for a dating service. First they stole his $20, then they tried to hook him up with someone else--with his wife sitting right next to him! Huffing, he pulled into a spot in the parking lot (the drive-through ATM was in the parking lot of a Tops grocery store) and went into the store to find someone with whom to talk. Of course, nobody could help him. So he bought some snacks, asked for extra cash back, and left the store shaking his head that he hadn't thought of that option to begin with and saved himself the $2 transaction fee!

This afternoon I found a customer service # on the bank's website and called them to find out what they would do about giving our $22 back. The lady's first (rather unhelpful) suggestion was that I go back to the grocery store to talk to someone in the grocery store. "Just because it said M&T Bank on the ATM didn't mean that they were responsible for the machine." !!! Then she put me on hold and came back to tell me that I needed to go to my own back to fill out an ATM dispute form. It took me over an hour at my bank to fill out the form to get my stinkin' $22 back, and it will take up to 30 days to process the form!

P.S. If you're ever driving from MI to NY across Canada, do not forget your children's birth certificates. Such forgetfulness provides the border guards with all kinds of opportunities to practice their tactics for deterring terrorists from entering the country.

Aunt Dora & Pattie

We visited Aunt Dora on Sunday, and she brought Pattie out to play with Joanna (Andrea's doll). Very sweet.

Fun with tie-dye

Jared's friend

Well, they got married