Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Life in the 21st Century, continued

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I'll never forget Maria's excitement the day she learned you could play solitaire "outside of the computer."

A couple of weeks ago when we went to the 25K race John was in, we met some of the people that he communicates with on-line in the runner's forum on This is called meeting people outside of the computer.

Today, I realized that when Edward wiggles his fingers over the invisible keyboard in the air, he is trying to talk to me!

I read that story about "The Stranger" to my 3 kids the other day - the one about the stranger this guy's parents had allowed in the house and he could do & talk about whatever he wanted even if it wasn't in line with the family's values and it turns out his name was "TV." He also had a little sister named "Computer." My kids were mesmerized by the story, probably because I was actually reading them a story!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Life in the 21st Century

Back when I was a kid, I would dream of having a set of encyclopedias so I could read them all the time. It was almost what I wanted most of all - strange, I know. I'm sure some people can relate to this. If I ever wondered about anything, I would maybe be able to get to the public library in a couple of weeks to get a book about it, but by then, I would be wondering about something else.
When our kids were little, we managed to get one of those sets of encyclopedias at the grocery store that were about a dollar each and they would come out with a new letter every week so that it took you 26 weeks or a half of a year to collect them. Our kids loved them and even the neighbor kids would borrow them for school, even after the internet became so big.
Now I look at my kids, and whatever they are wondering about, they have only to google it. If we wonder out loud what the weather is, whoever is closest to a computer will give the answer. If we wonder why our cat always appears when I'm chopping onions, we can find out just like that. And today, the ultimate geek thing of a geek wife married to a computer geek happened. This is not a pretty picture:
I ran over a sprinkler head when I was mowing and I told John on the phone when he was at work. I told him I could go to the store to get a new one, but as it turns out, it's a bit more complicated than that. He needed to know exactly what kind it was, so he told me to go out and take a picture of it and e-mail it to him. So that's exactly what I did, and it took me about 2 minutes because I'm kind of a nerd. But then, I had to blog about it which made it take a little longer, and the good thing that happened in the meantime is, it started to pour down rain! Now it is not so imperitive that I get a sprinkler head TODAY, but I still will... after it stops raining.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Brother & Sister Fireworks

Edward brought his cello home from school yesterday since they are done with orchestra for the year. The following video clip shows him playing it at home along with Maria & her violin because she is getting ready to play in a string quartet for her 8th grade graduation next week. The piece they are playing is from the Royal Fireworks Suite of Handel, and it is a mother's dream come true.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sissy 2

I can't believe it! I went grocery shopping at Meijer this past Thursday and there in the produce department standing near the Tofu, I saw her again! I wrote about Sissy before here. This time she was sporting a colorful pink and brown jungle-themed outfit. I thought , that's got to be Sissy, maybe I'll see the red cadillac with SISSY plates in the parking lot.
I finished my grocery shopping and went out to the car, not thinking to look for the cadillac, but there parked in front of my face was a blue cadillac with license plates that read "SISSY 2". I am not making this up!
So it must be either her 2nd cadillac or her twin sister's car. Next time I will ask.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sophomore Finale

Edward was excited to be playing in the South Christian High School Commencement ceremonies last night even though he still has just over 1 week left of school. You know, the daaa-da-da-da-daaa-daaa(Commencement Suite) about a billion times. He had to wear a tie to play his cello in the orchestra and we went to get his shirt and tie from his 8th grade graduation - they were puny and he looked like Shrek when he grew in to a monster and burst through his clothes!
So we had to get an old shirt of John's and a tie from John's closet - we chose his Calvin/Harry Potter tie, and now the thing was to tie it, but we managed. (John was still at work.) The nice thing is, he fits in John's shoes, too.

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Edward at G minus 2 years.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Auger

I wish I didn't even know what this is, but I do. This past Monday, we were experiencing some ugly blockage in our house akin to the intestinal obstruction I endured a few years ago. Yes, it was quite like that and almost as painful.

Our trash was overflowing and there was nowhere to go with it because the trash can in the garage was full til Friday. I was cleaning up after supper, but the food garbage and water would not go down the drain and the garbage disposal just spit it back to me. Soon, both of the drains in our double sink had pools of liquid in them and were staring back at me like a dog with goop in its eyes. Then, the dishwasher filled with warm stinky water. John unscrewed the pipes under the sink to look for a clog and he ended up replacing them because they were rusty. He also tried some Drano. But things just got worse like when you're trying to clean up a Christmas Tree and the whole thing falls over spilling the water underneath and staining the carpet, dropping needles and breaking ornaments and scratching the wall, all this when your wife and newborn son are in the hospital. But that's a different story.

We went to bed hoping the drain would resolve itself, but it did not cooperate with our wishes.

Tuesday after school, I told the kids the kitchen was closed. Then, giving in, I told Edward he could eat cereal right out of the box. For supper, I had an ever so bright idea to make a frozen pizza and serve it on paper plates to cut down on dirty dishes. This, of course added to our over- abundant trash. Then all the little cups and bowls of ice cream and glasses of whatever they were having to drink added even more to the cesspool of dirty dishes on the counter.

After a long day of work, John came home and tried a plunger to no avail. He then went for the AUGER at a nearby hardware store. This particular auger was a 25 foot silver snake-like instrument that cranks down the drain sounding like the noisy echoing zipper of a piece of luggage. He made it down the drain with the contraption while the kids (and even I) were watching American Idol. But the part that kind of got to me and made me realize I was headed on a slippery slope toward entropy was when he pulled the thing out: It was dirty and just whipping all over the place like one tentacle of a robotic monster octopus. The way it was flopping to and fro, I feared it was going to scratch the cupboards in addition to spraying mud all over the floor. And furthermore, I thought of all the germs that must live down in the drain. They were now living in the kitchen where our food is prepared. And remember, there were the 2 days worth of dirty dishes just hanging there, not to mention the constant reappearing puddles which overflowed from the dishwasher or sprayed from the pipes. It was bedlam. After 4 or 5 trips down to the center of the earth with the auger, John finally came to bed at about midnight to try to get some sleep right in the midst of the drama of the constipated drains. At this point, I was awakened from a pretty sound sleep so I went in to the kitchen to do more mopping.

The next morning, Wednesday, I came out to the kitchen but it was obvious that the kids had forgotten about the moratorium on eating. How do you dump out what's left of a bowl of cereal without a functional garbage disposal? If you dump it in the trash, you're putting milk in the trash can, if you pour the milk in the grass you dump cereal in the grass too. I felt like I was camping! Edward ate all his cereal and dumped the milk over the deck. Bridget ate her cereal dry. Maria left for Cedar Point on her class trip at O'Dark-Thirty and I honestly don't know what she ate. Sounds like a bunch of hillbillies.

The good news is John came home at lunch and poured some COMMERCIAL STRENTH GEL DRANO down the drain and when I got home from work at 1 pm the drains were all clear. To the tune and rhythm of their sweet gurgling sounds, I cleaned the whole kitchen. And I knew, things could be so much worse.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

He is Risen: No Bones About It

I read a good review here on the DaVinci Code movie by someone named Frederica Matthewes-Green (she spoke at the January Series at Calvin College in '05). Her May 19 article is called "Worse than the Book?". I liked the way she ended it:
The Da Vinci theory has everybody talking about where St. Mary Magdalene’s bones are. How come nobody asks where Jesus Christ’s bones are?


She said something like this was a good one to rent some night when you're in the mood to get lectured to about a conspiracy by someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. I thought the book was kind of fun to read and it made me wonder about how things really happened, and that's a good thing. But I think we'll wait for the movie to come out in DVD...if I'm ever in the mood for a sci-fi alternate reality. Yes, this could probably happen.

The Weather

Maria just asked me to check the weather for their class field trip tomorrow. They are going on the big eighth grade trip to Cedar Point! It's about 4 hours away from here but only an hour from my birthplace. So I went over to and plunked in the city and state since I don't know the zip code for Sandusky, Ohio. Soon the weather popped up, "Sunny & 62 degrees", so I sat back and proclaimed, "Perfect." But my ever so wise teenage daughter Maria says, but isn't that right now? So I had to go back and look for tomorrow's forecast which was almost better - 74 degrees and partly cloudy.

Here's a picture of a few year's ago when Maria & Bridget went with Grandma, 2 Aunts & 2 cousins.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Faces, Part Deux

I was thinking about the face recognition website, remember where it said I most looked like Jackie O.? And I was remembering about how much my mom looked like Jacqueline Kennedy back in the 60's because she had the bouffant hair thing going and she was a brunnette with brown eyes. (I wish I had an old 60's picture to put here). People always comment how much we look alike, except that I am a blonde haired, blue-eyed Jackie O (as I just found out). So when I got home from work today, I thought I would check it out. Based on the picture:
These are some of the people she looks like:
Liza Minelli 63%
Farah Fawcett 60%
Jacqueline Kennedy 56%

So anyway, I found this quite interesting, keeping in mind I suppose that we are all as different as snowflakes.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

We All Have Faces

So Bridget & I were looking at and the Celebrity in You thing they have there. (Thanks Meaghan for the site) and we decided to see who she looked like. It gave us quite a few, but I thought Emma Watson was the closest:
Emma Watson was Hermione in the Harry Potter movies. I'll have to remember this next time I see one of those movies, but for now, I think they resemble each other in that they each have 2 eyes, a nose, and a mouth. They do use computer algorithms to match pictures so it could be kind of accurate. And they do give the percentage of resemblance which I think was about 65%. This same website said Edward looks like the teen heart-throb Jessie McCartney, and Maria looks like Carrie Underwood! So then we decided to check a picture of Bridget when she was older and it said she also looks like Carrie Underwood.
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So check it out if you have been wondering who you look like. I did myself, and it said I looked 74% like Jacqueline Kennedy!!! That was exciting. We did about 5 different pictures of me and they were all coming up Jackie O! Then it said John looked like Peter Jennings.

So there you have it. You now know who could play us (if they were still alive) when the movie comes out (if it ever does).

Saturday, May 20, 2006



The only thing the picture above has to do with today's entry is that it has a picture of a sign in it. This actually was taken a few years ago during a really great moment when we came upon this town in the Netherlands which has something to do with our last name. But that is an entirely different story.
Today, we had a sort of garage sale out in our driveway. John spent a lot of time fussing with signs around the neighborhood, rigging them up with old cardboard, feltmarkers, tape, string, golf carts, telephone poles, you name it. He had a big one in our front yard. It was about noonish when he marched out toward this sign and said, "Seinfeld's on!" I thought that was really strange that the Seinfeld show would be on in the middle of a sunny Saturday and why would John care in the middle of the garage sale? So I said, What? And he said, as plain as mud, emphasizing each syllable, "The sign fell down." So ok then.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Art Show

Last night, John & I attended our last elementary art show. It is our last because our Bridget, our youngest, is in her last year of Elementary School. I guess I've said that before. (I must be excited about it.) At the art show, she quickly found some friends to hang out with:

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We enjoyed looking at the art work and listening to the fifth grade orchestra. I took a few pictures along the way.

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Bridget with her teacher, Mr. Leugs.

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Bridget playing her violin with her friends in the fifth grade orchestra.

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Edward pretending Bridget's violin is a Kitty Cello because this is what big brothers do.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Mother!

Baby Bev
Today is my mom's birthday! This picture was taken many years ago, and it is really cool that it has now been preserved in binary code and presently is available in cyberspace. Here is another great picture if you are still wondering how old this Happy Days girl could possibly be (hint: she's older than me):

P.S. I called my mom this morning and left her a message singing Happy Birthday in a Marilyn Monroe fashion. She didn't recognize it when I talked to her later but said she thought I had a really good voice, as only a mother would say.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


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Toni brought baggies of fermented goop to work a couple of weeks ago for us along with a recipe which instructed us to squeeze them, burp them, add more ingredients to them and basically babysit them for 10 days! My imagination smelled right through the plastic bag she gave me which in turn made my stomach feel weird. But she gave us a sample of the bread she made from this goop and it was really quite good, so I proceeded with the experiment. Ten days later, I made the bread, called Amish bread, and I was happy I did.

Then Sharon looked up the recipe for a "starter goop" on the internet, but we decided it would not be the same if you made it from scratch. She said the kind you get from a friend has a "history", and I liked how she said that because it is kind of like how we share a history with our friends. But then I thought about how so many of my friends in these days wouldn't want to be bothered by a recipe that takes 10 days to make, or rather, I wouldn't want to bother them. Or maybe the problem is that I just don't want to be bothered to put it in baggies and make copies of the recipe and bring them over to my friends. We are in such a rush. We don't share our history. And we are not Amish.

But for awhile, we Family Institute people are babysitting our dough, recycling it back to each other, and making our bread. The bread becomes so precious when it is finally made that it can hardly be wasted. Sharon could only spare us each a 1/2 of a piece that she made with applesauce today because her son loved it so much, but yet she really wanted us to try her new addition. We were so excited about it. And we are becoming old friends with Amish bread in our history.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Big Red Button Game

This game is so fun to play, it's embarassing to say. See if you like it, too.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A Cool Thing

In church yesterday, we sang an old hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and the band added a tin whistle which was so great. I was very, how should I say it, touched, inspired, moved? It was just that good.
So after church and our great Mother's Day outing, I was at home checking in with one of my blogging friends on the total other side of the world, I mean a perfect 12 hour difference in time zones, so that I could probably dig straight through the center of the earth to get to her house, and she had already posted an entry for Sunday since she is 12 hours ahead, and what do you know, she said, the song in church that really touched her today was, are you ready for this? Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing!

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!


Happy Mother's Day to my mother over the miles!!! I hope she is having a good day! She now has a new baby as you can see above. Her name is Beatrix and she is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She has the sweetest personality, but she probably can't get breakfast in bed for my dear mother!

We went out to lunch at Applebee's and John took a picture of me with our lovely children. In church, they stuck a microphone in every mother's face and they had to tell how many kids they had and their ages. I added that since my youngest was in her last year of elementary school, I received my last school-made mother's day card/project, and Bridget said that I did my usual - caused a scene. The overhead projector said "Mothers Make Memories" (?) so this was what I was doing - making a memory, Bridget.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Race Day

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John & Edward walking to the Big Race.

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John crossing the street on his way to the Big Race.

John, Edward & I headed downtown this morning before 7 am because John ran in the Fifth Third 25K Riverbank Run. This race is the national championship for 25K's, and there were over 5000 runners! It takes 5-6 minutes for them all just to cross over the start line and it is an amazing sight to see.
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The Amazing Sight

Since it is in G.R. it is fun to see many people that we know there. Even the president of Fifth Third Bank who was a friend of mine at Calvin was there (of course) & I talked to her briefly. She was there to hold the finish line up.
John finished the race at 2 hours and 3 minutes which is about 7 minutes faster than last year! (He was in about 1100th place out of 5000.) I was having difficulty getting pictures of people with the combination of cold, drizzle, rain, umbrella, excitement, slow shutter release, people, but I managed to get one of John right after he crossed the finish line.

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He just crossed the finish line in a white shirt and light gray shorts. The building on the left behind the finish line is where I worked for 15 years.

The end of the day which is really the beginning but looks like the end.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What IS that?

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I could have done a better job of photographing this salad, but oh well. I made it yesterday after I got the recipe at work. (We opened our staff meeting with a short "Cooking Class" yesterday.) Bridget had a softball game at 5:30 pm, and this worked out so well because I put it in the refrigerator for the family to eat it when they could. I took some to the game in a plastic cup and just looked so together and organized and well prepared, like I am usually not. (John, can you spare 50 cents for popcorn?)

2-3 chicken breasts (cooked and cubed)
½ c. slivered almonds
8 oz. Coleslaw mix
1 pkg. Ramen noodles (chicken flavored)
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ c. vinegar
1/2 c. salad oil
Flavor pkg. from Ramen
Mix together almonds and broken Ramen noodles in pan. Brown in oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes. Add chicken to coleslaw mix in a large bowl. Boil ingredients for the dressing for 5 minutes. Pour the hot dressing over the chicken & coleslaw. Then mix in the almonds & noodles.

This was so good that I actually made it again tonight for supper as a side dish. As we were all sitting around the table, I told the kids it was just like eating a bowl of cereal. It really did give me the same after taste as a bowl of Shredded Wheat. And I was amazed at how the kids all proceeded to tell of a time when I told them the lasagna tasted like ice cream, or the spinach tasted like candy, or the squash tasted like pudding. I never mean to be deceptive about it at all. It's just that when it tastes so good, I have a need to express it to the kids in terms that they know.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Gift


"I inherited your book on living; it's mine forever - what a gift!" Ps.119:111

Last night at our PTO meeting, I read a devotional by Eugene Peterson about this verse because I loved how it showed the greatness of viewing life through Scripture as opposed to the speculation and conjectures that take place apart from the Bible. I wanted everyone to be excited about joining in on God's work and the meeting that was before us! Our meeting lasted over 2-1/2 hours and it ended with chocolate cake. This is exciting...our Principal is turning 50 and this is a great celebration of life considering that she has been battling cancer for over 5 years. We did get a lot done in the meeting thanks to this very Principal being there.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In Your Dreams, Leo

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Yesterday morning, Leo, our clawless wonder, was outside stalking a rabbit. He quite often will bring home baby bunnies, mice, or birds but this particular rabbit was as big as he is. It was just funny to watch him think about it. He proceeded to watch the girls get on the bus and then he came home.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Blessed to be a Blessing

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Last night, Edward played his cello in an orchestra concert at South Christian. They played several pieces including American Reel, The Cuckoo & the Nightingale by Handel, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, and the Navy Hymn (Eternal Father Strong to Save). Before he left for the concert, I wanted to take his picture in his tuxedo, so I said, "Edward, tulips & tuxedos... that doesn't happen very often." He very graciously posed for me in our front yard:

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In church that morning, the pastor had talked about Galatians 3 and how Abraham received the blessing from God and all nations would be blessed through him and that by faith, we also receive the promise of the Spirit. At the end, when we stood in a circle, different people had been asked to read a blessing and from our family, Edward read the blessing from Hebrews 13:20-21,

"May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen"

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Edward & Maria washing the van together on Saturday.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Tiptoe-ing Through the Tulips

That's Edward in the light blue shorts on the left in front of the pack.

Saturday morning at 7 am our house was empty. This is rare for a day when we can usually sleep in, but Bridget was at a Gems all nighter, Maria was walking 3 miles downtown for the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation with friends, I had to set up a premarital seminar downtown for work, and John & Edward went out to Holland for a 5K for Habitat for Humanity where it is Tulip Time. They were given explicit instructions to get a picture of Edward running with tulips in the background so it would fit in with my caption for the day, but they told me I was trying to write our history in Blog Headlines before it even happened! So ok. Whatever. Edward finally broke the 19:00 barrier and came in at 18:58, 13th place overall out of 375 runners. Good job, Eddie! He said the finish line came up a lot sooner than he expected, so he didn't have a chance to sprint at the end. When I was downtown, I thought about looking for Maria, but I was dealing with some internal abdominal-type issues, so I came to the peace & quiet of home. It is such a gorgeous, sunny day here in West Michigan!

I was thinking of how yesterday, when I left work, Sharon asked me what we had going this weekend, and at the time, all I could think of was the seminar I had to set up, so I just said, something, but I can't remember what. And this reminds me of how when Edward was in preschool and we would be all excited and ask him what he did today, and he would always say,"Three things, but I don't remember what they were." This is what living in the present moment is like, and when you write or talk about it, you just have to shift tenses depending upon how you feel at the time, and sometimes this can happen in the middle of a sentence.
Go Eddie, Go!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

She's starting to take after her Fast Mother

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Bridget and John went to the Pinewood derby races tonight with her GEMS group. Bridget was so excited to race her car. It was made for speed and the color red was to attract the police :) She came in 4th place out of 42 cars and only missed a 3rd place trophy by 1/8 of an inch! Fourth place gets you a blog entry with your picture in it though!

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bridgie's Shutout

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Okay, it may be a little dramatic to call it Bridgie's shutout but her team did win 6-0 tonight. It was Bridget's pitching debut this year on her new team and she did very well. She pitched for 2 innings tonight. It is so much fun watching her pitch, and since this is her third season pitching, I'm getting used to the pressure being on - she doesn't seem to mind.
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I was so excited about getting the ball in this shot below that I showed everyone in the bleachers.
The team record is 3-0 now.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tulip Time

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I took a walk in the cold drizzle today, but the tulips were beautiful, and the grass was so green! These tulips are in our front yard. We spent another evening getting wet & chilled to the bone at a track meet, but it was fun. Edward ran a good race.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Turning in to Oma

This evening, we watched Bridget's softball game at Whistlestop park. She's on a fastpitch team in the 11-12 year old girl's league. I didn't put much forethought in to what I was wearing though I did think ahead to the umbrella part, mainly because there was an actual umbrella in the van when I got there and saw that it was starting to rain. So I proceeded to watch the game in my shorts, and John met me there in his jeans. John says I always dress for the moment I'm in when I leave the house and sometimes he just plans on having a jacket along because he thinks of these things. This, in part, is why we are well suited for each other. It was drizzling and then raining and growing colder, but we were winning the game and the excitement kept me warm. Then there was the mother who yelled, I mean cheered through the game, and it was all positive. At one point, she commented that she should take aspirin before the game and that made me laugh which always makes me warmer. I got some popcorn, and the digestion of that raised my body temperature enough above freezing to keep me alive. As I was getting the popcorn, I noticed they sold hot tea at the concession stand so I kept this in mind for later warming potential. I maybe sat through another inning when the chorus of old ladies in my head nudged me to ask John for 50 cents and he wondered at how I had already blown through that entire dollar on just popcorn. But thankfully, I got the 50 cents and went over to the concession stand. So now I had to figure out how to ask for tea at a concession stand. I mean, I saw it on their menu, but to think that your basic kid working there would know what to do to make it! Suddenly, an older man appeared, and I inquired about their tea. He seemed to know what I was talking about, but had no idea how much tea could come from a tea bag, so I told him I only had 50 cents, so in other words, I could only afford the small styrofoam cup. So he drew hot water out of their brand new cappucino machine and I really wanted to interject that when you make tea, it is better to pour the hot water over the tea bag, but oh well, one tea bag makes a pretty strong cup of tea in just a few seconds in a small styrofoam cup. I thoroughly enjoyed having my spot of tea under the umbrella. Oma would have been so proud.