Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Old Dreams Remembered

This past weekend, the road I traveled to take the girls to their pool party led me to the home of my best friend from childhood, Martha. She is as "Martha" as they get - not so much in the Stewart sense of the word, but more in the Mary & Martha sense (and yes, her sister really is Mary and very true to form). When I popped into her kitchen, you would have thought I was the long lost queen of Prussia. I hadn't seen her in probably 2 years though we live 15 minutes apart. She proclaimed, "I think of you all the time!" and I know this is true because I think of her all the time too - someone who is so important to you in your childhood years is always there in your memory.

I thought it would be a quick pop-in, but it turned out to be and hour and a half visit, and only this short because they were getting ready to leave for vacation that afternoon and I had a splitting headache. We talked about the past year, the things our kids were doing, the trips we had been on, the difficulties of getting older. I remember playing with "Barbies" in her purple bedroom and we both dreamed that someday, we ourselves would be married with families and live in Grand Rapids. And what do you know, it came true? And now, the playmate who I had dreamed with about our families has had a hysterectomy? Am I that old? An especially great thing about Martha is how she became the Nurse she was destined to become, and how we eventually always talk about health issues, and it was good because now I know of some things I need to attend to. I found out other things from her like how one of her daughter's good friends had been killed tragically during the past week, and how one of her daughters doesn't like math, how she has actual blue hydrangeas in her back yard, and how she doesn't even know what a blog is. We sat on the benches that her Dad made until the bright sun made us hot. She had to get ready to go, and I had to go back home.

I left happy just knowing that she was still there.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy 68th Birthday!

Dad, 2003, in front of the car dealership in The Netherlands where he was born a long time ago

Actually, 68 is not very old when I consider how many of my friends have parents in their 70's and 80's! Hope you have a great day celebrating in Celeryville!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Good-bye, Alejandra!

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3 closed mouth smiles of girls with orthodontia?

This morning, John & the girls left for Chicago to take Alejandra to the airport so she can return to Spain. I'm kind of sad, but I know we can be in touch through e-mail, and next summer, Maria will probably go to see her in Valladolid, Spain.

Edward & I stayed here to help out at the Riverfest today. It looks like a beautiful sunny day to be enjoying God's gift of water.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Long Wet Goodbye

This Sunday, John & the girls have to bring Alejandra to Chicago O'Hare Airport so she can fly home to Spain. (I should stay here for the Riverfest at our church Sunday.) So we are having our last weekend with her. Friday evening, we had her new favorite "American" supper, Chicken Kiev, and afterwards, we tried out the water apparatus that we had to rent for Sunday - it's called the "Flusher." When you hit the round red target with the ball, 2 gallons of water fall on the victim's head. We got this instead of a dunk tank - it's much easier to set up and more fun.
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Edward winds up, hits the target, and down comes the water on dear sweet Bridget.

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Alejandra, always game, gets soaked too.

We all took a turn and then went out for ice cream, so it was like our own mini river fest.

Oh, it's a long wet goodbye because this afternoon, Bridget is bringing Alejandra to a pool party, and this evening, Maria is bringing her to another pool party. In other words, don't pack your bathing suit yet, Alejandra.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

World of Bobbie

My cousin Bobbie is back to her blog after "9 months" of inactivity - she has some exciting news! Check in & offer congratulations!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thank You

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i thank you god for this most amazing day
for the leaping greenly spirit of trees and a blue true dream of sky
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes!

–e.e. cummings

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More Clouds in Space

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Most of the time, I'm the spaced out one. . .
Today after work, I was going on my walk and talking to John on the cell phone. We were talking about someone we wanted to call to invite over and John had their phone number. So I asked him for it, and then he asked me if I had my cell phone. That's because I sound really real on the phone, you know.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Eighth Natural Wonder of the World

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Last week we had these mega-ultra-puffy clouds for so many days that made even a corn field look like a wonder. I thought if only there was a flat field to photograph, and then I thought of this field nearby, actually on the way to the grocery store.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Summer Eve in the USA


Tonight, Edward, Maria & Bridget are teaching their friend from Spain about American baseball, or in truth, Wiffleball. They have taken her to a couple of the minor league games of the West Michigan Whitecaps, and she has loved these, so now they are playing for real and are having a "ball." This brings back memories of when "Eddie" and the neighbor boy, "Teddy" (for real) would play baseball for hours upon hours in the backyard, and now, since Edward is going to be a senior, I am thinking this won't be happening much more, so I better go watch them. I'm going to go sit on the deck with a glass of water now.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ice Cream is Still the Best

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The girls just returned from spending a few more days UpNorth with John's sister & family. I took the first picture above by one of the dunes overlooking Lake Michigan when we were there a couple of weeks ago. The second is the actual self portrait. The following are a few more of Maria's pictures:

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1.5 lb. Sundae with 3 cookies polished off by these 4 girls.
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Alejandra's 1st American Fish

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bridget the Camper


I wrote how last week I picked Bridget up from Camp Roger but I was unable to post pictures. She was so excited, hyper really, when I came to get her that she picked up one of her new friends. It's nice that she's so excited to see me.

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She showed me the pictures she had taken at camp and I saw a lot of girls with their tongues sticking out. Among them was this gem of Bridgie getting ready to go on her overnight campout in the woods:
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Cable Guy

My life is like a Jim Carey movie sometimes. Our internet connection, as I have mentioned before, has been like rain in a desert. When it would suddenly start to work, people from all over the house would rush over to sap whatever refreshment they could get out of it, but it never lasted for very long. Finally, the day arrived for the cable guy to come, today. You know how those service people operate, "We'll be there between 2pm and 5pm, ma'am."

I went for a walk after work and came home by 1:59 pm. The cable guy finally showed up at 8:45 pm. He installed a new modem after the lady on the phone told John, "It's not going to be your modem." I better not say too much, or they just might cut me off for good.

It does seem to be working fine for now at least.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Country, 'Tis of Thee

As I have said before, John is really good at birding, or spotting little things that fly by really fast from a far distance. Last week when we were driving on the Ohio Turnpike, he spotted a bald eagle flying in the opposite field clear up in the sky:
It turns out I'm pretty good at getting my camera out of the bag and shooting a quick picture while we were driving by. Not a great picture, but just proof that we actually saw the bald eagle off the Ohio Turnpike. Although these great birds are no longer "endangered", they are still considered "threatened" and it is a patriotic thrill to actually see one.
Speaking of liberty, I followed the the Jeep Liberty of a guy from work today and I was entertained by his license plate which reads "NJSTC4L". After he told me to put Liberty in front of it, I finally got it... it's almost as difficult as flyby photography.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Adventures on the High Seas

Yesterday, John & I & our 4 teens set sail on Muskegon Lake with John's Mom & her husband, Geof, hereafter called the Sailors. Blue sky, white puffy clouds, brisk air all contributed to making a perfect day for boating. We headed toward Lake Michigan on the channel but were greeted by huge swells, so we turned around, content to sail on Muskegon Lake. We had been filling up on cheese nips to combat potential sea sickness and we were all cheese-nip-jolly. If you have ever been sailing, you know about the pleasure of that second when the motor is shut off and you are suddenly moving only with the silence of the wind in the billowing sails. We commented on the perfection of the day.

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Sailing with the Jackie O's

We sailed for a long time and then began sailing back into the wind. The Sailors decided since it was past supper time, we should start motoring back. I was just sitting there ignorantly in front of the controls when the motor died. It wouldn't start up, so the Sailors were faced with maneuvering their boat into the marina with wind power, John out in front with a boat hook, and Edward's long legs out the side to kick off any boats we might be floating into.

As we approached the Marina though, we saw the Boat Sheriff. John's mom started tooting the air horn and we all waved to attract his attention. The sheriff first made us all put on life jackets which caused John's mother great fits of laughter as she observed John in his hastily-clad child-sized preserver. Alejandra was trying to ask me why we had to wear them and I was trying to communicate to her that it was really no big deal but it was more of a precaution.

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The good news is we were able to safely dock and eat supper with prayers of thanks for God's protection. Today, we saw the Sailors after church when we met to return Geof's wallet which we accidentally brought home in all the confusion. The problem with the boat seems to be a dirty air filter which they can replace before they leave on their next sailing adventure.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Coming Up for Air

John & I just stopped by Calvin on our way to Lake Michigan with our "4" teenagers in tow to get some internet connections. As my friend Sharon says, taking away the internet from teenagers is like taking away their oxygen. They are all doing just fine without it, but we wanted Alejandra to be able to connect with her family in Spain.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Blogger Distress

Our internet connection is very weak if anything at all this week, and of course, when John called, they said , like Popeye's Wimpy, they can come next Tuesday. Therefore, like Wimpy I may not be able to present picture-filled posts till next Tuesday!

Flash Back Friday 27

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Mom's 10th Birthday, 1952

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Letter from Camp

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Today, I get to go pick up Bridget from Camp where she has been since last Thursday. This marks the first time I have received a postcard while one on my children was still actually at camp!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Never Do This

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1. You don't have 3 days to spare for recovery,
2. You don't have to open car doors or make a bed for the next 2 days,
3. You are planning on kayaking down the river for 2 hours,
4. You want to stay up past midnight for a movie.

A wave washed over my fully clothed body, so I thought, why not go tubing in my clothes? Sometimes I can be so dumb. I will say it was a thrill though.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The 14th Annual Conger Clan Reunion

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It just hit me that I'm part of a clan. We actually had one of those pictures this year where each family wears a different color. Unfortunately, many people were missing this year. Our shirts, the red ones, say "Julia's Family" because that was my grandma's name. This is exciting because now I have a shirt with my name on it.
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And this is the camp which bears my middle name.

Seeing Things

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Cousins Eating at the Reunion

It was a long drive to get to the Reunion indeed. When we got out to the farm, the cows blocked the road as if they wanted to talk to me and pose for pictures. So I took their picture and I could tell they were happy to be included in the reunion.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


She knew we were coming, so she baked a cake.

We woke up this morning in Northern Michigan, drove for about a month, and now we are in Northern Ohio for the 14th annual Conger Reunion. Alejandra seemed underwhelmed when I told her the cornfields were as flat as pancakes. My mom baked this beautiful red velvet cake for the reunion.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday!

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Her birthday was so bright, she had to wear sunglasses to the party.

Although she is not as old as the USA, Aunt Susan was able to celebrate her birthday in style with all of us on the eve of the 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th of July

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We are headed up north for a few days to celebrate the 4th of July with John's sister's family and then down to Ohio for a family reunion. I may be able to post later this week, but not for sure. Thank God for our freedom and never forget to pray for those around the world who are persecuted for their faith.

Monday, July 02, 2007

World Peace: Ice Cream and No Blood

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I was thinking yesterday that maybe the answer to world peace is if we all could go to the beach every day and get ice cream on the way home because our American girls and our friend from Spain loved to do just this very thing. To see the sunshine, feel the water, taste the sweetness, smell the sand, and hear the waves was a common thread to us all. We are blessed to have Lake Michigan so near, and Alejandra has had similar experiences on the Mediterranean Sea.

We went to Lake Michigan for a few hours yesterday afternoon and we left feeling very content with the day. We loaded up the van with our chairs and towels and anticipation of our visit to Captain Sundae on the way home. I was trying to slip the last towel in the back when John accidentally slammed the lift gate on my head! I thought for sure there was going to be blood gushing down my face, but no, I was just in a daze and soon felt a goose egg develop on the front of my skull. Relax, I can still blog.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Acting Out Your Prayers

Today in church, Pastor Amy told us about this cool exercise she wanted us to try. After a prayer request was made, she asked for people to act it out. For instance, this is how it worked: After I suggested that we pray for a friend who was very nervous about her hip surgery, Amy asked for volunteers to play the person with the bad hip, her friend, the doctors, and 3 people to play God. These 3 got to wear white silk scarves to set them off and show His special presence. These volunteers all turned out to be very good actors showing how God was there around the friend, the surgeons, and the woman who played the person with the bad hip - she eventually walked out the back door into the sunshine with her hands spread high. And the actual lady with the bad hip was watching with tears streaming down her face. It was cool.