Graduation. I Did It.

I did it. On December 20th, I walked into Crisler Arena, and wore the traditional cap and gown and hood of a University of Michigan Graduate. After 10 years...I did it!

Can you see me? Underneath the sign for "Natural Resources & the Environment".

The procession of all the REALLY important people...

The speaker at commencement? Jeff Daniels!!!
Me...holding the school's sign...on the way up to the stage.

And walking back to my seat, after shaking hands with the Provost (whom I have never met), and the Dean (whom I have never met).

My proud son...

Acting goofy!!

Me and Joe...after I graduated...in front of the whole Arena.

The closeup of my hood...the color is Russet.

Good news...and a possible future (part-time) career

So, sometimes when a door is slammed in your face, something else might present itself. And...it did.

In a roundabout way, and because of a good friend whom I owe massive baked goods to...I was offered an Adjunct Faculty Professor Position at Lawrence Technological University. Holy Crow. I still can't believe it, even as I type it out!!!

I will be teaching one class this January (GIS and Land Use Planning) to Civil Engineering students. However, LTU has asked me to develop some other courses for this Fall - in Sustainability, Ecological Design, Environmental Ethics, or something similar.

It isn't going to pay the bills, but this has opened up my mind for so many possibilities for the future. I don't know what I am going to do...but I am excited for some of the potentials that I might be able to pursue...

And Yes...you have to call me Professor from now on!! :)

Bunk Beds and Hunting

Santa made an early visit to the Lawson House this year...to deliver a Bunk Bed. Boy, this was interesting.

First, let me tell you WHY Little Joe wanted a bunkbed...

To. Be. Closer. To. His. Yellow. Grandma. Yes - you read that correctly.

He called my mom (Denise) his "Yellow Grandma". Not sure why, but he did. Anyways, before she passed away, she was quite spiritual, believing in spirits that return to the world that we live in, and making sure that their loved ones are safe. And, according to him, she visits him. Often. And sings to him. And hangs out near the ceiling in his room. So...he wanted a bunk bed, so he could sleep on the top, and be closer to her. (Yes, let the tears commence...)

So, now we have a bunk bed in his room. The boys went away for a Saturday (hunting), and I had a girlfriend help me pick up the bed from ArtVan, bring it home and assemble it over the course of a long afternoon. Ugh. But...the boy is happy!!!

And - here are some of my favorite pics of the boys...on their way up north to go hunting!!
They sat in Dad's blind for a few hours. Well, maybe 2 hours. According to Little Joe, they saw 6 DEER!!!

The Inevitable...

Well, for those of you who I haven't told...

It. Happened.

I received my official layoff papers. Yep. I am officially laid off as of January 8th. However, I had a lot of sick days to use, before I lost them, so my last day at the office was December 18th. And I am (cough, cough) sick until January 8th. At which time, I will be unemployed. I will be receiving all of my vacation days paid out, so I essentially have a total of 6 weeks off, paid.

However, that doesn't mean that I am not busting my rear end to find a job...I am following lots of leads, and I REALLY hope that the right one presents itself. The Holidays are a tough time to be looking for a job. Nobody thinks about work during the Holidays. Heck, I certainly don't want to!!

So, I am going to be doing things around the house, spending time with the family, working on things that I have wanted to do for a while, make wine, organize files, clean out the basement, etc. So...if you are in the area, give me a call. I have NOTHING on my calendar for the next few weeks...and I'd love to see ya!!

No Cheating.

I learned my lesson the hard way. I thought I was being so coy, so sneaky, and I figured that everything would be OK...

Yeah, right.

I thought that I could eat some of the frosting off of the top of a cake that we had at home. Yes, I realized that there were little crumbs of cake (i.e GLUTEN!!!!) on the bottom of the frosting...but I thought that didn't matter!! Stupid me.

I was so sick the next afternoon. My stomach was cramped and I felt miserable.

So - lesson learned...and this is my warning to myself!!! Do Not Eat Anything That Has EVER TOUCHED ANYTHING WITH GLUTEN!!!!!


The Little Artist AND the Vintner.

Little Joe came home from school with this piece of artwork. He was extremely proud, and I thought it was quite colorful...until he started to explain to me WHO the artist was whose style and precedent he was following. HUH? He said it was Keith Haring.

Who? Keith Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s.

So...I did what any proud mom would have done. I framed it, and hung it in the kitchen, for all to see.
And, on the Vintner front...My husband is freaking AWESOME!!! He gave me my Christmas gift early this year...because he wanted to make sure I had something to keep me busy. He So Rocks. He got me a whole wine-making setup. SWEET!!!

There is a place in Livonia, only about 4 miles away. I never even knew it was there...but he found it!! I'm going to start with a Chardonnay. I'll be sure to put up pics and blog about it. I'm not sending all my readers a bottle though. sorry.

Christmas Tree!!!!

We decided to get our tree this year on a weekend that was nice and warm, and when Big Joe would be home...(it IS hunting season, you know!!) So...we went to get the tree early in December.

We drove to a U-cut place on Willow Road, owned by some friends of the MIL. They grow Douglas Firs...which are PERFECT for hanging ornaments - they are soft. (Friendly Firs!!)

Little Joe...standing in front of the still standing tree. Yes, it was entirely too tall to fit in our house, but it had such great shape...

Little Joe helped me with the ornaments...and hung most of them on ONE BRANCH. I had to explain to him the theory of BALANCE...and why you can't hang all of your favorite ornaments on the same branch.

We also had a bit of a mishap this year...I had a big "cleaning/donation" session this Fall, and gave a TON of boxes to Purple Heart. Including:

The. Tree. Lights.

Yup...I gave away all of the tree lights that we had...stupid me. So, I have been slowly replacing them. I borrowed some from our neighbors, only to find out that they were still using those big outdoor lights that get ridiculously hot when plugged in. My wonderful husband suggested that I not use those, as he didn't want the house burned down. Nice.

And the finished product...

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Oh dear goodness. I found a local bakery that makes GF peanut butter cookies! They aren't labeled as such, but I called the bakery (it's actually a woman and her daughter that are doing this as a small business venture...) Anyways, YUM!! dipped in a little bit of chocolate, and soft and chewy and PERFECT!!!! http://www.suezdelites.com/ Check it out!!!!


Detroit's Urban Core -

This is a part of a rant I had about Detroit and the loss of it's urban core.

Maybe this MIGHT be some of the D's problems? Too much land to handle????


Isn't this FUN???

Today's horoscope:

Be thankful for what you have. A recent change may have you doubtful, but time will show this change was for the better.
Hmmm..  Today is my last working day at my office.  Am I sad?  Yes.  Am I happy?  Yes.  Am I scared out of my mind?  Yes.  Will I be OK?  Yes.  I have alot on my mind right now, and I have SO much that I need to get done.  For work, for school, for life in general.  And I know things are slipping through the cracks.  My sense of stability is gone right now, but I can't let that stop me.  I need to pick up the pieces and keep going.  I know things will be tough for the next few days/weeks/etc.  I have SOME options, but none of those options are the perfect option...sigh. 
Much love to you all...I will be putting up a slew of pictures from my blog backlog over the weekend. 


Concertgoing - an open letter to Mom.

Dear Mom -
You would be be so proud of the choir if you saw them now.  I mean, I know that you were probably there watching anyways, but I really want you to know how amazing they were last night.  First of all, the concert was at Pease.  The acoustics there are great - MUCH better than Emmanuel!  But, that aside, the choir gave a fantastic performance.  The soloists were beautiful, there was one woman that I didn't recognize who had a solo...she started out very quiet and shy, but she had the sweetest tone to her voice when she really came in singing.  So pretty. They did all the favorite christmas songs, a few new ones that I hadn't heard before...but overall, it was wonderful.
I brought Little Joe with me, you know how I want him to be exposed to music as much as possible.  He thought that the auditorium was really cool - but mostly because we sat way up in the balcony.  The view was great up there. 
After intermission, the band came out and performed...they only did 3 pieces, but...WOW!  The first piece was an amazing organ piece that shook the entire auditorium.  Little Joe thought that it was too loud.  They finished with the Russian Christmas piece by Reed.  I remember when I played this - the horn was is AWESOME!!  The band sounded great - the brass section really played well...such a big sounding piece...but they didn't overdo it at all.  (Little Joe still covered his ears though...I think he is sensitive to loud music). 
But the best of all, was the finale...with both the choir and the band performing Handel's Messiah 'Hallelujah Chorus'.  Holy. Crow.  Of course, everyone stood...(as we had learned that on March 23, 1743, The Messiah was performed for the 1st time in London, England. Present was the King of England. The king was so moved by the singing of the "Hallelujah Chorus," he spontaneously stood to his feet and remained standing until the end of Handel's masterpiece. (And when the king stands up, EVERYBODY stands up.) Ever since that day, it has been customary for the audience to stand whenever the "Hallelujah Chorus" is sung.)
Anyways - so, everyone is standing, the choir is singing their hearts out, the band was playing, the organ pulled out all the stops...and....
Little Joe turned around at one point and said to me "Mom - are you crying AGAIN?" Hee!  He knows me too well. 
I hope that you had a chance to listen to the concert - I'm sure that you would be so proud of the choir - they have done a fantastic job.  I didn't get a chance to talk to many of the members - it was late, so we didn't go to the afterglow at Tower Inn - maybe next concert. 
Love you,


Feeling Humble and Insignificant..

I can't tell you what they all are - but I know most of them.  And...wow. 
This is the top 100+ photos of the last decade from the Associated Press (AP).  Check it out...and bring the tissues. 



I've been absent for a while...Sorry. My life kind of got flip-turned upside down. but, it will all be OK.

Positive#1: I will be teaching a course at Lawrence Tech Univ. this January.
Positive#2: Little Joe and I watched our wedding video together last night.
Negative#1: The ax fell. I was laid off, and my "official" last day is January 8th. (I won't be in the office after December 18th though).
Negative#2: I have a chemistry paper due in roughly 56 hours. That I haven't really started.

There are a ton of things that I need to add to the blog...all in good time. Pictures, funny stories, sad stories, you know, life. Please be patient with me as I sort out things right now. I have lots to tell you -