Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New and Improved

I finally figured out how to change the look of my blog (with lots of help from my mother) and here is the result. The photo at the top is mine, taken at Foster Park last Spring. Let me know what you think of the change.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Playing in the Dirt

Today I (re)discovered the joy of running around barefoot in the dirt. My mother, brothers and I spent the afternoon putting in our vegetable garden, which involved lots and lots of dirt. Shoes were abandoned very early on. It felt like we were playing in a big warm sandbox. Patrick proclaimed himself Mr. McGregor, Andrew was named Peter Rabbit (so very appropriate), and Jonathan was Benjamin Bunny. They also said that I was Jemima Puddle Duck, but I just don't see it.

We now have several kinds of lettuce, a few different tomatos, red and green peppers, banana peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, turnips, beets, and (best of all) a bunch of strawberry plants. In addition, I filled a planter with bougainvillea and nemesia, planted a few little beds of marigolds, and also a few dahlias. A few hours after everything was in, a series of storms came through and watered all of our little plants for us.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Michigan, Poisoning, and Wallpaper

(Warning: Longish post ahead!)

My mother, Andrew, Jonathan, and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Michigan on a choir tour, led by our friend Nancy Osbun. Jonathan is a member of a choir at one of the Lutheran schools here in town, and the rest of us went along for fun. It wasn't seeming like much fun when (after 4 hours of sleep) I found myself in the Unity school parking lot at 5:30 Tuesday morning. It got better. After a short performance at a Lutheran school in Dearborn, we spent several hours roaming around Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. We didn't cover anything close to everything, so my mother bought a membership and is planning on taking the whole family back up there, along with my grandparents.

We drove up to Frankenmuth after finishing at the Museum. That evening while all the little school children did their homework and Jonathan studied his Greek, my mother took Andrew and me over to the outlet mall across the street. Mmmmmmmm. I have to admit that I was not expecting much, but these were niiiiiiice outlets. The first place we stopped (after squealing our tires and doing a u-turn in the parking lot) was the BCBGMaxAzria store. I didn't know they DID outlets. We stopped in for a moment. Tragically, we only had 45 minutes to shop, and it was decided that we would accomplish more if I were not allowed to go drool all over the way-discounted designer clothes. (Oh, but I wanted to!) Anyway, we did make it to the Fossil, Ann Taylor, and Le Creuset stores.

On Wednesday the choir sang at a few more schools and we toured St. Lorenz church in Frankenmuth. It was quite lovely, but the plasma screen TVs installed throughout the sanctuary rather ruined the effect, as did the stained glass window featuring Washington and Lincoln. After we were finished inside, Mrs. Osbun took us across the street to the cemetary, which was very lovely and picturesque. We spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon in Frankenmuth where we shopped and ate lunch.

Our last stop was at Concordia, Ann Arbor, where we were given a tour of the campus. They acted as if these 6-8th graders were seriously considering their school, not just kids being led around (in the pouring rain, I might add.) We left directly from the university and headed home.

The real fun started on the way home. None of us had eaten any veggies for the past few days, so we stopped at a Crakcer Barrel to find some. The service was awful, the food was cold and disgusting, and my mother and I left with food poisoning. I was sick all evening (and over night) on Wednesday, and ended up going home from work early on Thursday because I was completely unable to face walking around for 5 hours.

Anyway, I am all better now, and I had far more enthusiasm and energy than I needed today. I discovered that I do not know what to do with myself when I don't have schoolwork to worry about. I sat around reading for a few hours and afterwards I felt intensely guilty and antsy, and as though I should be DOING something. So I stripped our bathroom wallpaper. All of it. My family found it a little strange ("Most people would go shopping- she destroys something!" says Patrick.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Literary Crisis!

I am having a problem of tremendous proportions. I started re-reading Mansfield Park on Sunday, and cannot seem to appreciate or enjoy it. I am not drawn to any of the characters, Edward (though nice) is dull, and I find Fanny insipid and boring. This is Jane Austen. I should like Jane Austen, and I don't remember disliking Mansfield Park the first time I read it. Have I grown more more picky? Am I more shallow and unable to appreciate these very quiet characters? I have no idea. All I know is that I have put the book down, unfinished, and am turning to my fluffy library books for amusement.

Perhaps if my copy had illustrations like this one I should find it more enjoyable!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Three down, one to go

I had two final exams this morning, the first one being at 8:00 am. It hurt, but I managed to make it on time. The test was comprised of 10 page-long "short answers" (short being a relative term) and two essays. I wrote for two hours straight and filled two blue books with facts about nationalism and reform movements in the Ottoman Empire, which is actually far more interesting and much less esoteric than it sounds.
My second exam was for my literature class, and we were allowed to have our books out and open. I asked the professor if it mattered that I had been taking writing my notes inside my book all semester, and that did not seem to bother her one bit. I wrote three essays for that class, over Dante, Chaucer, and Milton, and it turned out to be pretty fun- except for the fact that my right hand was getting red and swollen from the death-grip I had on my pencil all morning.
My third "exam" was a final German essay, due outside of class today. I wrote it last week, and emailed it to the professor right afterwards. Since her return email said that she had read it and couldn't wait to have me back in class next semester, I'm assuming it was ok.

After my literature final, I met my mother at Biaggi's for a celebratory lunch. After we had finished eating, we went over to Jefferson Point for some shopping. Our first stop was Barnes and Noble, where I picked out a whole new stack of beautiful, unblemished, and very delicious looking books. We also went to Von Maur to ogle the shoes. I very firmly believe that if I were to buy and wear a pair of these shoes, I would suddenly have the ability to sing and dance like Judy Garland. They are that cool.
We are such goofy girls that we also danced around while the pianist played Phantom of the Opera songs. It was somewhat ruined by this disgustingly loud woman, (wearing shorts that should not be worn unless one is with one's close family, and one's close family is blind,) who came up to him in the middle of a song, and announced very loudly that her daughter takes "pie-ana" lessons and lectured him on the importance of music.

After finishing with our real shopping (real meaning browsing) we went over to the Vera Bradley store to scope out anything we might want from the outlet sale today. My mother got a ticket to the pre-sale-sale from a friend, and that's where she is as I write this. Neither one of us is usually very into Vera Bradley and it is VERY strange that she went to this sale (really, really, super-off-the-wall strange) but she found some really cute and useful bags at good prices, including gifts..... The best part, though, is that she comes home bearing a bag of wonderfully yummy Nutty Bavarian almonds.