About Me

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I live on 6 deeply wooded acres in the boonies of Middleville, MI. I'm married to an amazing man, Brian. He's pretty much the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm a big animal lover. I have 5 cats; Bella (6), Cognac (3), Georgia (3), Maggie (2), & Auggie (8-9mos.) We recently lost our kittens, Aesop & Amelia, to a battle with Feline Leukemia. I feel the need to mention them. They were amazing beings that showed unconditional love like no other cats I've had. I also have Cheech (9) that I'm fostering. We have two puppies; Charlie & Henry. Having a blast! I'm a dabbler in photography, photo shop, & crafts. I'm kind of a bookworm/nerd/geek. Yes, I have read the Twilight Series. No, I'm not obsessed. I love Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, C.S. Lewis, and L. Frank Baum - among others, obviously.

Friday, July 17, 2009

We Are Home.. And It Feels Good

I didn't really have the time to type a day-to-day journal type blog entry... I really only had the time to type my last two posts while on the cruise.

I'm incredibly happy with being home though. Brian and I spent around 19 hours in airports. The traveling part kind of sucks... But once you get to your destination, vacation is pretty awesome...

Anyway, the cruise was phenomenal. We got to see some awesome things.

We cruised through / to:
The BC coastline
Juneau, Alaska
Skagway, Alaska
Glacier Bay
Ketchikan, Alaska

The food was fantastic. I didn't know that food could taste so good. The food on the Lido Deck was amazing... And somehow the food on the Rotterdam Dining Hall was even better. My favorite was the lasagna.

While on the cruise we didn't get to see any bears or punch any in the face... (previous blog.) No moose, either.

We did however see whales, Orcas, Bald Eagles, and the noses of Sea Lions skimming the water. The one time Brian and I left the camera in our room we saw a baby whale playing with its mother... And it jumped out of the water...

The ship was gigantic... It had several large areas to eat, two pools, two tennis courts, a large auditorium, a movie theater, a large jewelry store, a casino, an art gallery, a library, an extensive dvd collection, and more.

Now I'll be posting some pictures...

This is the Marjorie Glacier in the Glacier Bay. Want to learn about about Glacier Bay? Click Here.

This is a picture I took of the ship while we were docked in Skagway.

Brian and I. I bought that hat in Skagway. If you ever go on an AK cruise, bring at least one hat. It was so windy at times that this was the only way to keep my hair down and out of my face.

Beautiful water.

Mirror fun!

There were a lot of refective surfaces on the ship.


I love this shot.

Brian and I in Skagway.


My Dad is a huge railroad/locomotive buff. And naturally, I am too being raised by him. Most of the train pictures I took were for him because I knew he'd be elated. And he really enjoyed viewing them. As soon as he saw this one he said, "Oooo! Narrow gauge!" I know what it means, but if you don't click here. Which means, my Dad has got a pretty good eye.

Judging by the stamp, I'm going to say this track was put down in 1970.

Me next to a train.

Towel animals! There was actually a book to buy where you could learn to make them.

This is me... I think we were cruising to the Glacier Bay area. It was particularly windy that day...


This is what we could get of the whales picture-wise. It'll have to do I s'pose.

I never felt so small. Being next to the giant mountains and glaciers was surreal.

There were two Orcas swimming together when we were exiting the Glacier Bay area. We learned that they are in the dolphin family even though they are nicknamed as a Killer Whale. For more info on them, click here.


This is a sea lion nose skimming the surface of the water. Sadly this is all we saw of them. The ship cruised by a nursery that housed several mother sea lions and their many pups... But it was a protected area until the pups are older so we couldn't approach it.

There's a bald eagle perched on the square shaped structure by that little dock... It looks like a little speck. I'll have to attach an enlarged version later on...

This is me standing by a wooden man and his gun in front of a Tongass store in Ketchikan.

Brian and I chilling in our room. Notice how relaxed we are... No stress. And yes, he's wearing a Godzilla shirt.

Me picking a monkey towel's boogies. This little guy was so cute. He had so much detail.

I'm going to have to go ahead and rescind my previous blog statement where I mentioned that I wasn't too impressed with Vancouver. After the cruise Brian and I went on a 3.5 hour tour of Vancouver. It's actually quite lush and beautiful. They have acres upon acres of amazing gardens for the public. We went to Stanley Park there. To get an idea of how big it is, click here, to see the aerial view.

This is a picture of a few of the totem poles in Stanley Park. The one of the left is the more traditional looking totem pole.

Me eating "World Famous" ice cream and gazing up at the huge red cedar I was standing next to. (It was the best ice cream I'd ever had.)

We had a beautiful hotel room on the 22nd floor. It was a corner room, too. So we got an amazing view of Vancouver.

This was part of our view. That beautiful tall brick building just behind, to the right, of the bronze colored building is what they refer to as the Daily Planet building on the show Smallville. Just a fun fact. ;)

I'm kind of blogged out. I hope you enjoyed my pictures.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009

I am currently sitting with Brian on our veranda suite deck. We have docked in Juneau, Alaska. The temperature is about 70 degrees. It's all ocean, houses, trees and mountains from what I can see. Brian and I woke up this morning at around 5:00 a.m. We meant to get up at about 6:00 a.m. this morning, but forgot about the Alaska time change. The captain had made an announcement earlier yesterday that at around 6:00-6:30 in the morning we would be by a popular whale sighting area. Brian and I woke up to an amazing sun that had risen shortly before us. The nights are very short here. The sun sets a little after 9:00 p.m. Then it rises at about 4:30 a.m. We kept our eyes out for whales as much as we could. And even the ship was playing some kind of noise that Brian and I think would attract the whales. For over an hour we kept watch. Eventually we heard people making noises of excitement... And we were a little too late. The only picture we could get is of a whale tail just above the surface of the water. Still not used to the time change, Brian and I actually headed back to bed. We awoke shortly before 10:00 a.m. and made it to a lounge like area (close to the size of an auditorium) for a presentation on Alaskan wildlife. It was quite interesting learning about bears. We learned that if we get attacked by a black bear, that we should try to punch it right in the face. And if we get attacked by a grizzly bear that we should play dead. The woman giving the presentation was telling us about a woman that had gotten attacked last year by a grizzly bear. She had played dead and when the bear no longer seemed interested in her, she got up to run, only to have the bear attack her again. The woman then went on to another animal. Curiously I voiced out, “Did she die?” Which made Brian laugh. I would like to assume that the woman didn't die, but... we'll never know, I reckon.

After the presentation we went out to lunch on the Lido deck. The food is good everywhere here, no matter what deck you're on. And the dessert... Outstanding as well.

After our lunch, Brian and I came back to our room. My phone beeped. I had a voicemail from my Dad. (He was telling us to watch out for polar bears – which in the areas of Alaska we'll be traveling will NOT have any polar bears...) Apparently he had left me the voicemail almost 24 hours prior. Since we were at sea the whole day yesterday, I couldn't make a call or send a text message, even though I had a good amount of bars to do so. So, I made a call home and talked with my Mom... Then my Dad... then my brother, Robert...

After our calls, the ship was docked, so we ventured some tourist hot spots in Juneau. It is gorgeous. There are mountains all over. I bought a necklace with silver flakes in it for myself. And then I bought these two tubes with real 24k Alaskan gold in it for my brothers as gifts. I'm sure they will like them.

We went to dinner at the Rotterdam Dining Hall. Everything is elegant there. I had a seafood platter and then ribs for dinner. It was fabulous. Brian had another form of salmon. He's been eating it as often as he can. Brian and I went back to our room after dinner to find towels in the shape a dog (?) on our bed.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 9, 2009

I've been typing in a word document when I have time on our cruise... Sorry for the errors.

July 9, 2009

Well, we departed on July 7th from Grand Rapids airport. Robert dropped us off. Surprisingly I wasn't nervous at all even though I had never been on a moving plane before. I think I pretty much used most of my nerves for the wedding. I didn't even take a Xanax.

Our first flight was on a small 18 passenger plane. We flew to Toronto. It was my first flight. It was fine lifting off. The only thing that was uncomfortable was that my butt was under constant vibration because I was seated near the engine. We got to Toronto in about an hour. The Toronto airport was very disorienting. It was pretty big.

Our second flight was from Toronto to Vancouver. That flight was around 5 hours. Brian and I were incredibly tired for this flight. The plane was nice, though. We had built-in TV screens at our seats. So, on the flight to Vancouver I watched Monsters VS. Aliens and He's Just Not That Into You. By the time we finally landed in Vancouver it was about 12:24 a.m. (3:24 a.m. Michigan time.) Brian and I had a very small amount of sleep on the flight.

For the next 11 hours we were in the Vancouver terminal. It was boring and uncomfortable. I managed a nap here and there. And I think Brian managed a 15 minute nap. Despite it being early in the morning in Vancouver, there were quite a few people. At around 5:00 a.m. their time people started showing up more. There was a group of Middle Eastern men, several donning turbans, talking so loudly that Brian and I couldn't manage a nap at all.

At around 10:30 a.m. Brian and I made it to Bay 12 where our shuttle bus would be picking us up to take us to the cruise ship. Unfortunately, Carnival was having an Alaskan cruise at the same time. So, we were mixed in with more and more people.

We drove around 40 minutes through Vancouver. The bus driver informed us during the drive that 40% of the people living in Vancouver are Asian. And you could tell. There was Asian writing on most shops and businesses. And I think I saw three different Starbucks Coffee shops on the way, too. Honestly, I wasn't too impressed with Vancouver. There was construction literally everywhere on almost every street. And the gas prices in Canada are so much more outrageous than the US. So people were walking.

We eventually got to the pier. And from there they pushed guests for BOTH cruises into the same area and didn't separate us out until the end. I felt as if we were quarantined, too. The workers pushing us every which way were not too polite. After about an hour, we finally got through and were free to go to our ship.

At this point, Brian and I had been up for just over 30 hours. We were tired and didn't feel like dealing with anyone. They served us a meal on the Lido deck as soon as we arrived. Then informed us that our stateroom would not be ready for about two more hours. So, Brian and I were pretty restless. That was what we wanted most so we could sleep. We hung around near the elevators on the Lido deck and walked a little before our room was ready. We sat down and slept almost the whole time before we had to do the emergency practice drill; complete with life vests.

After the emergency drill we went back to our room and slept for a little bit longer. Then we managed showers. Since I recently had gotten my hair cut and it no longer takes an hour or more to straighten it, I decided for the dinner that I would wear my hair straight. Since I don't personally own one (because my hair was so long and it was time consuming) I decided that I would use the hair dryer that was available in our stateroom. After about 15 seconds in use, sparks flew out and then three pieces of searing hot metal spring fell out onto the floor. So, I decided not to use that again... I managed to get ready. Dinner in the main dining room was casual dress, so we went there. It was a gorgeous room. Complete with chandeliers and a big portion of the ceiling had lights twinkling so close to the roof that it looked like stars. Our waiter, his name sounded like “Whit Whit,” was awesome. And the food was fantastic.

After dinner, Brian and I came back to our room and managed to see a portion of the sun setting. It was pink and purple hues.

This morning we woke up and decided that we would explore some of the ship. We woke up at around 8:00 a.m. (their time) and went to the Lido deck for breakfast. I had some froot loops and some fruit and Brian had some smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers on a dry bread. We couldn't find a table to ourselves for breakfast so we were seated next to an older couple. Brian told me that when I got up to leave to get fruit that the older woman was going on and on to her husband about how disgusting smoked salmon was.

We managed to get online briefly here later on in the day in the Explorer's Lounge. The internet wasn't entirely that fast and I think it took me about 8 tries refreshing the page to get my facebook to load. And it took me about three times to just update my status. We were online for mere minutes and it cost us around $12.00.

Still feeling tired from traveling, we slept for a good portion of the afternoon. Since we have a veranda suite, we get movie rentals for free. (Currently we have Bolt playing.) So, we've rented a couple of discs here and there and just had them playing. We are loving the peace and quiet here in our room. We figure we have a whole week to explore the ship more and more.

We've taken mostly pictures inside the ship today. As we're traveling more north and the temperature is a little warmer in the morning it has caused a lot of fog. Almost to the point where we can barely see 10 feet out in any direction.

After our dinner tonight we got back to our room and there was towel in the shape of a sting ray (complete with computer print out eyes – which I have saved and put on my phone for laughs) on our bed. Next to it were a couple pieces of chocolate.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sighs of Relief

I've had a wonderful day. I'm not worrying about anything. I'm leaving on my first plane ride tomorrow, and I really am not nervous...

Friday we did our set up. Special thanks to my friend, Jon, for getting up early and helping out with all of it. I really considered Jon to be part of the bridal party. His responsibility was to video tape the wedding and to walk around with my Canon and take as many shots as he could.

Special thanks to all of my bridesmaids - especially Nicole for getting there at 9:00 a.m.. I really couldn't have pulled any of this off without the help from them.

Special thanks to my Mom. She was there bright and early at Brian's house helping us load her car to head to the banquet hall.

Here's a shot of the banquet hall. We had a great time laughing while setting stuff up.

Our centerpieces.

This was what our guests saw as they walked in.


And our trellis/sand ceremony vessels.

On the day of our wedding, I was filled with nerves. I woke up extremely nauseated. I could barely get myself to eat anything. I was up at 5:00 a.m. Sara arrived at around 6:00 a.m. and started in on my hair. She was practically done with it in a matter of an hour and so we set off for the banquet hall.

We pretty much took our time getting ready. I was still nervous but managed to get about half of a granola bar down.

Soon enough, I could hear a lot of people and more commotion.
When it came down to 5 minutes to Noon... I was just done with being nervous. It was as if I didn't have a care. I was finally getting married to the man I'm supposed to be with. My Dad - who looked just amazing in his tux - took me by the arm. We stepped to the entryway where we'd be walking out of and nervously said to me, "Which foot am I supposed to step off with? Left or Right?" In all seriousness my reply was, "Dad, just wing it."

Just before walking out I did get a glimpse of a few people before seeing my handsome groom decked out in his white tux. The music started and off we went. When my Dad handed me off to Brian he started crying. I thought to myself Oh no, Dad. Don't start this. I knew if Dad started to cry that there would be no way I could control myself.

However, I managed to control it.

The ceremony flew by and I don't think I even slipped up on any of the vows I had to repeat. Our officiant did an excellent job (even though we forgot to pay you! Sorry, John!) with everything.

Shortly after the ceremony and Brian and I had our first kiss as husband and wife, we went outside for some pictures.

Afterward, we came back in where Colleen and Johnny, our Master and Mistress of Ceremonies, introduced as Mr. and Mrs. We were then seated at our head table then started in on the meal; lasagna and potatoes with vegetables. During the meal Colleen and Johnny made a speech to Brian and I about marriage and what they've learned so far since they themselves are newlyweds. Shortly after that were the speeches by the Best Man, Nate, and the Maid of Honor, Sara. Sara's made me cry the most...

From there we cut the cake. I think the cake looked fabulous. (I'll show a picture late in the post.) And went right to our first dance. It was "Oh, It Is Love" by Hellogoodbye.

It's hard for me to sum up the wedding. And I honestly can't wait for the professional pictures. (SNEAK PEEK - Click Here!)

Here are a few shots from my camera...

Those Groomsmen...


... Always being funny.

Our tables.

Our cake.

The Groom's cake. (Stargate.)

My Maid of Honor and I.

Now lets fast forward to today...

I donated my hair. I wasn't nervous at all. I didn't even shed a tear. I'm incredibly happy with helping out a child in need of hair.



My end result.


Now, Brian and I leave tomorrow night. We'll be taking the red eye flight to Canada. We're departing from GRR and then flying into Toronto where we'll have a 2 hour layover and then we'll be making another flight to Vancouver. When we arrive there, we'll be waiting around in the terminal for around 11 hours until the cruise shuttle will pick us up and take us to the ship...

Wish us luck.. And if you're the praying type, pray for us.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

This Is My Last Thursday As A Demond

I woke up this morning well rested. Today, I'll be making the rest of the pinwheels and finishing up on a few things for the wedding with my maid of honor. I also have to run a few errands in Hastings.

My Dad, Robert, and Brian all have their tuxedos...

Yesterday was my last day of work. I won't be returning until July 20th. I am incredibly excited for Saturday. I am so full of glee it's incredible.

Last night I made this:


I actually made it up as I went. I used some of the centerpiece rocks, three pinwheels, an engagement picture, and an extra sand vessel that we purchased. I'm not sure where this will be at the wedding. Perhaps the cake table? Or the gift table?


This is a teaser picture of what Brian's tux looks like. He'll be wearing a white tux, red vest and tie, with a black silk handkerchief and white shoes.

Tomorrow we'll be setting up at the banquet hall. Brian's house is just full of wedding stuff... I'm kind of looking forward to seeing it go. :) Our rehearsal is at 3:00 and the dinner is at 4:00 at the County Seat in Hastings.

Two more days to go and I'll be an "old married woman."