For the past few days I’ve been debating what the best thing about vacation could be narrowed down to.  Is it the lack of snow and the 90 degree sun that replaced it?  Is it the complete lack of decisions that I need to make?  Is it my adorable man friend strutting around in his speedo?  I cannot put my finger on it.

I had been counting down the days to head out to Costa Rica since we booked our plane tickets a month prior, wondering what it would look like, what we would do, see, experience.  But since I have not fully practiced fortune telling, there was no telling until it happened.

And then we got to the airport in Chicago at 4am and Ryan and his dad started talking about the time Ryan walked through an airport with assault rifles (military reasons, people) and I was like Well I guess I won’t be going on vacation since they clearly are not going to let us through security.  And then I squeaked out in a frantic voice, “Can you guys talk about that later when we are not in or near an airport?”

Thankfully they let us on and Ryan met a baby and stole it from the lady next to us, so he was temporarily preoccupied.


We avoided all of the most fearful things of travel: snow storm delays, short layovers that lead to missing flights, losing luggage, but we came close to each.  So when we finally arrived to San Jose, Costa Rica, we high-fived each other in jubilee, hopped in the cab for our hour ride to Jaco, and stopped for a six pack of Costa Rican beer to enjoy on the way.  Because we could.


Blah blah blah, we stopped and saw T-rex sized crocodiles that I couldn’t get good photographs of…now here are pictures of the trip thus far:



view  of the Pacific Ocean from our spot at the pool


first sunset (awwww)


With his speedo and my nearly uncontrollable hoo-has, we fit in quite well here.





me getting a massage on the beach, with all my side-boob glory


flea market coconuts, rum not included

And tonight we are going to celebrate the engagement of Ryan’s brother, Steve and his beautiful fiance, Jaime.  This morning Ryan wandered in to the bedroom Jaime and I share after she went out for a run on the beach with Steve.  We had dozed off and woke up to Jaime knocking quietly, and then throwing the door open and jumping on us shouting, “I’m engaged!”  To which we responded with screams (okay, that was just from me) and hugs and tears and joy.  It was the most beautiful 7am wake-up I’ve ever experienced.

Coming down here, I totally expected to get a killer tan, but this vacation has also had so many unexpected surprises.  From the people we’ve met (including, but not limited to the crazy New York boys, Brian from Canada, all of the local Ticos, and Steve and Jaime’s dear friends Chelsea and Robb) to Steve putting a ring on it after cordially dating the woman of his dreams for five years.  It’s been a trip that has warmed up my frigid Michigan heart to the very core.

And it’s not over.

With my rum and coke, from me to you,


Being an old fart in college and things I can no longer silently ignore

The other day in class, I was talking with my peer editing group.  We had covered our subject matter and had started chatting about our lives.  I looked at the girl next to me and asked, “Any plans for this weekend?”

“Yeah,” she replied.  “I’m celebrating my birthday.”

“Happy Birthday!” I responded, “How old are you?”

“I’ll be 18!”

I stopped, mouth agape, before setting my head on the table while mumbling, “holy shit, I feel old.”

This is what returning to college at 26 is like – with a lot of moments where I just want to set my head on the desk and cuss.

But it’s also been refreshingly not at all like this at the very same time.

Also know that I understand that 26 is not impressively old to be returning to college, but I hope you understand that if you haven’t done this, it does feel impressive, from time to time.

And though I do feel a bit out of date, out of place, out of the loop in my classes now and again, there are also a majority of moments when I feel like I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I love what I’m learning, I love my professors, to whom I make sure to write mushy e-mails about how great I think they are and “thank you so much for being a teacher” (no, I’m not majoring in Kissing Ass, I’m just naturally a professional at this.  Ask my boss).  I love my campuses, a beautiful blend of city and country (this is also something I would NOT have said during my previous college years).  All of these things have molded me into this brand new optimist of higher education.  It’s true, miracles do happen.


view from GVSU’s downtown campus


view from the second floor of GVSU’s new library in Allendale.

Despite this incredible new development of me absolutely loving school, there are still some things that boggle my mind.  Some things that I just can’t wrap my head around when it comes to college and it’s students.

The first being – Why the hell are people perfectly okay with wearing pajamas to class?  I counted the other day and five, yes FIVE of my peers were wearing sweatpants, sweatshirts, and looked completely disheveled; like they woke up, took a piss, put on shoes and walked to class.  I will never understand it.  You are in public.  I repeat, in PUBLIC.  Show a little respect and at least throw on jeans.  I mean, just pretend that you give a shit about your education.  Your professor put pants on, the least you can do is reciprocate the gesture.  Remember that phrase “dress for success”?  No, clearly you do not.

Secondly, skateboarders and bikers on campus.  GVSU is a fairly large campus, and getting around can take some time.  This I understand, so I get that wheels make things quicker, more convenient.  What I don’t understand is your dire need to terrify pedestrians as you frantically pedal amongst the crowds.  Am I obligated to jump off the path out of your way?  Or are you going to cut into the grass and go around me?  Why aren’t you using your hand signals or at least make eye contact with me?  We end up doing the most awkward dance between feet and pedals, you topple over onto the concrete and I trip over my own hurried boots and spill coffee all over my shirt.  I wish we could all just agree to walk. (Note:  This has never actually happened, but this image flashes in my mind every time a biker comes at me)

Lastly is the inability to use words and direct them at one another on public transportation.  Yes, we’re talking conversation here, people.  The bus is an incredible tool for commuters to avoid the massive on-campus parking fee, and plenty of us take advantage of it.  Plenty as in, our bodies are touching as we cram in every last passenger we can fit.  As in, if a stranger got this close to me in any other situation, I would assume they were trying to rape me.  You get the picture.  So can’t we look each other in the eye and acknowledge on another?  I mean, simple things like “Good morning,” “Hello there,” “How are you?”

The other day I was one of the last people to get on the bus.  We could fit a few more.  Three more people slowly tried to squeeze in.  We could make it work, but there was such an uncomfortable squashing of bodies that no one would acknowledge.  I grated my teeth, I couldn’t handle the awkwardness.  The tall gentleman next to me inched closer, trying not to touch anyone.  I snapped.  “Come here big guy,” I said as I grabbed him around the waist and pulled him toward me.  He said NOTHING in return.  Still, two more people could board.  “God bless the bus, where strangers are forced to cuddle,” I attempt at humor.  Two chuckles, two nods of agreement.

I guess if I can’t text you, we just shouldn’t communicate, right?  Sorry, next time I’ll make sure to put my headphones in and keep my eyes on my feet, completely ignoring that two pairs of pants are all that separate our private parts which are being forced to grind in an awkward non-dance that would look totally acceptable if only terrible rap music was blasting over the speakers.


In any case, I’ll deal with the unexplainable and continue to throw myself lovingly to my studies.

To good grades, may they be mostly A’s


I’m sitting home on a quiet Sunday evening in my warm home, relaxing on a comfy couch with my dad and my dogs, watching cable television and mocking commercials while a load of laundry is drying in the laundry room and cookies baking in the oven.  I even asked my sister to take my socks off for me – and she did!

Then she massaged my feet and gave me a pedicure!

No she didn’t, but she did take my socks off, which was super nice.

I had meals today that would satisfy even the most gluttonous of people, enjoyed honest company of wonderful friends, and soaked in the sun at the park with fellow dog lovers.  Of course we had wine with our pizza this evening.

Now that is freedom.

My brain is not nearly selfless enough nor capable of grasping what our soldiers have experienced, witnessed, accomplished, developed, and sacrificed for our country, and continue to do so. Pretty freaking amazing.

A simple blog post doesn’t say any sort of thank you that each of them deserve, but how do you repay so many who have given so much?

To all our veterans and to those who continue to serve,

You are the most amazing blessing, the bravest of souls, the reason for our comfort.

Thank you for your service!

So anyone up for a triathlon? Spring or Summer 2013? Last time I almost drowned, so surely it’s on my “to do” list again!  It’d be in preparation for the Iron Man and marathon to add to our resume so we can apply to be in the Eco Challenge.  We will also need to accomplish some Adventure Races beforehand.  Anyone in?

I did a few lunges today and was devising a plan for how I could avoid stairs for the rest of the week to allow the muscles to repair themselves when I realized how pathetic I am. So…when in doubt, swim, bike, and run it out (etc.).

(That can’t really be anyone’s motto, can it?) 

Also, anyone up for a beer tomorrow?

(She’s so contradictory)

Yes, I know.  Welcome to my brain!

to all those who have served/are serving:

With my bedside water,



Define “Normal”

I’m often told, in one way or another, that I am not normal.

I never take it as an insult, even if it’s intended to be, because what does “normal” even mean?

To me, “normal” is boring, inside the box, scared, bland.

I’ve been called strange, quirky, interesting, loud, “out there” (sometimes to my face!) and I am so happy to report that I love each and every one of these descriptions.

The next time I wish upon a star, I’ll wish everyone can take a step away from normal, to see how freeing and exciting the other side is.  I hope you put on an outfit and think “I think this looks rad, even though I know it’s super bizarre,” and then I hope you wear it for the entire day, even in public. I hope when people ask you what you believe, you tell them without worrying what they may think, and when someone asks you your dreams, I hope you don’t edit them in any way, even if it is finding a cure for cancer or raising a family on the moon, or becoming a really great gardener.  I hope you don’t hold back with the people you love because you don’t like the mushy stuff or maybe they don’t like the mushy stuff.  I hope you hug and kiss and shout “I love you” in their face and make them feel so awkward with all the mushy stuff.

I hope you say what’s on your mind, even if it might surprise someone.  I hope you work to change the mold on what society expects of you.  I hope you terrify people with how daring your decisions are, and make them wish they were that brave. I hope you sing really loudly even if your voice sounds like shit, and I hope you remain positive, even when you have no money because every dime goes to student loans and dog food.  I hope no one calls you normal. Ever.

I seriously like you all a lot.


Mail from the IRS

Hi my favorite group of little weirdos!

Where the F is fall?

I bought this book about how this woman dedicates a year of her life to the focus of purposely striving for greater happiness. I was intrigued, and have heard so many good things about it.

Well, I’m on Chapter 3 and am so not interested on how cleaning out her closet made her feel so light and fluffy.

I’m pretty sure even hoarders know deep down that their piles of moldy crap everywhere isn’t very fulfilling, or that it hasn’t been the key to their happiness.

I’m horribly messy, and have been inching my way towards changing that for years, but all I can say is thank goodness I didn’t write a book on it.  Or maybe I should have! I mean if this chick can become a best seller by writing about taking her To Do List more seriously, I guess I shouldn’t disregard that idea.

In the words of Justin Bieber, “Never say Never.”

I’ll probably still finish this book…there’s some pretty good hints in there.

On a completely unrelated note, I received a letter from the IRS.  That’s always fun to see! Immediately, I thought I had committed fraud or maybe kidnapped a baby on accident and now I had a warrant out for my arrest.  Or perhaps I had mistakenly witnessed a horrible crime without my noticing and now I have to join the Witness Protection Program and leave all my loved ones behind.

I don’t think the IRS deals with most of those situations, but any time you receive anything from the government, I guess it’s best to expect the worst.

Turns out I forgot to sign a segment of my tax documents.

I’m really happy I didn’t accidentally kidnap a baby.

There are many exciting events just around the corner! ‘Tis Wedding Season for this girl! Remember that movie 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl?  Well, if you didn’t catch on after my Dresscapade, I have been in a fair amount of weddings. This month will be bridesmaid dress #7 and October will make it #8! Just trying to catch up, Katherine!

(Oh dear, she sounds bitter)

No no no no.  Don’t worry. The saying “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” does not offend me in the least.  If you said, “You’re an ugly whore, I don’t think Satan would date you!” Ehhh yeah ya might offend me just a twinge.  But that would mostly just make you look ugly, because no one says such hateful things!

Oh yeah, back to weddings. (She gets off track a lot)  I have been honored to stand beside so many of my dear friends, and could not be happier to make it to #8.  So that’s that.

Not to mention we are venturing off to visit my beloved Saugatuck next weekend for Ashley and Sarah’s Bachelorette party.  Ah the belligerent fun-ness of those wild celebrations puts me immediately at ease.

With my coffee mug raised in the air,


As you know, I …

As you know, I have four older sisters. 

“oh my gosh, five girls? Your poor dad!”

My immediate response is always, “No way, we were the bomb, not to mention hysterical.  He loved it.”

But then I really get thinking and although I generally hold my ground on my reaction, I must say, yes, my poor dad, but why do people never say “Your poor mother!”?

I think she’s the one who really had to deal with most of the girl fights, the snotty attitudes, the serious talks, etc.

She put up with a lot of combative estrogen.

Somehow, we all survived, and now my four older sisters are all very happily married with children. (wasn’t that a tv show?)

Today, I tried on three of their wedding dresses.  I have no idea why, I was home alone and going through old closets when I stumbled across these splendid, poofy gowns.  I couldn’t resist (who could?!) Even my dog stared at me like I had lost my larrys.  I was tempted to photograph and post each dress, and then realized how creepy I was being, especially since I’m somewhat of a nuptial cynic.

After the dresses I discovered my mother has kept most of our high school prom dresses, every single bridesmaid dress any of us have ever worn, (there’s a lot) and mother-of-the-bride dresses as well.  So I tried those on too.  I may have to post some of the most epic and horrific.  Perhaps I’ll surprise you with that tomorrow.

I’m not quite sure what brought on this gown donning escapade, but it was entertaining enough for a Wednesday afternoon.  Perhaps it’s because of all these weddings coming up in the next couple months…who knows.

I apologize, but that’s really all I have for you today.  That’s just how exciting my life is, I guess!