Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Gale Family List

10. I’m too busy to write a real holiday letter, so I’m cheating by making a list. I once vowed to never write a holiday letter. This doesn’t count does it? I don’t like breaking promises. [You are probably asking yourself, “Why can’t she just send a picture card like everyone else?”]

9. I have been terrible at keeping up with friends and family this year. I used to email, I used to keep a blog, and I used to be on Facebook. These things require time and maintenance. I don’t have the energy for either these days. BUT! I will try to be better in 2011.

8. We bought a house and moved into it. We gutted the master bath, we painted the inside, we painted the outside, we installed all new interior lighting, and we got new landscaping.

7. Carter is 5 and started Kindergarten this year. He also played soccer in the spring and summer. He’s trying tae kwon do this winter.

6. Ben and I both still work for Ford, nothing new here. We are happy to have jobs. We’ve been working on the new 2012 Focus for the past 3 ½ years and it will finally come out this spring.

5. Though our travel is not nearly as exotic since we are no longer in Europe, we did make it to LA, DC, NYC, Portland, Chicago, and Cincinnati.

4. I participated in the Michigan Breast Cancer 3-Day. I walked (almost) 60 miles in 3 days and raised close to $3,000.

3. We want you to come visit us. We have lots of room and promise to feed you. And, yes, we mean you!

2. We adopted a sweet kitty in the spring. Her name is Shelby.

1. Our family is growing by one in 2011! Gale baby #2 is due to arrive the middle of June. We should know January 19 if the baby is a boy or girl. Carter is super excited, but really wants a brother.

Monday, August 30, 2010

In Over My Head

So much has been going on here at the Gale household but I’ve had no time/energy to blog.  You are all probably wondering about the Breast Cancer 3-Day and Carter’s birthday…not to mention all the other stuff going on.

I can barely keep up. Where has the summer gone?  Carter starts Kindergarten in a week. 


Can you believe it?  I certainly can’t.

I am just barely scraping by these days. 

Here’s a picture of our lawn to prove that point:


Yes, we are those neighbors.

How awful is that? 

I’m struggling to be a good mom/wife/employee/friend/daughter/sister. I’m not sure I’m succeeding but I do know I’m exhausted from trying. Clearly, as evidenced above, I’ve given up trying to be a good neighbor/home owner. 

And blogging, well that’s down there on my list right after lawn maintenance. 

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Wrong Number Text Pages

Do you ever get text pages on your phone that were intended for someone else?

I just now got a text that said, “Hi Pastor Mark. This is So-and-so. Just wanted to see if you have time to meet today.”*

I wanted so badly to call this guy and find out why he so desperately wants to meet with his Pastor on a Saturday morning.  Then again, I have enough going on in my own life that I don’t need someone else’s burdens.  I sent him a reply page telling him he reached the wrong person. I didn’t want him thinking his Pastor snubbed him in a time of need.

Ben has received “booty call” text pages.  He doesn’t respond to them and I wonder if the girl thinks the intended recipient is not interested in her.

I used to receive wrong number voicemails on my work phone all the time.  It was some poor kid looking for his mama to pick him up.  It was such a sad voice. He never left a call back number so I never knew how to call him back and say he has the wrong number. Gosh, I hope his mother eventually picked him up.

I also once got a voicemail on my phone from someone trying to go through the 12 step process and was in the apologizing step.  He left a long message and was asking for the girl to call him back so he could apologize properly.  He left a number but I never called to tell him he had the wrong number. I always wondered if he moved on to the next step properly without getting to apologize to the girl.

What about you? have you ever received a text page in error?  Do you write back?  Any interesting wrong number voicemails?

*names changed to protect the innocent

Saturday, July 03, 2010

18.6 Miles, Oh My

Thus far my 3-Day training has been going pretty well.  I haven’t blogged about it because it’s really not that exciting.  It would go something like this:

I woke up on Sunday morning around 6am so that I could leave the house at 6:30. I met Lara (my 3-Day partner in crime) at Lower Huron Metropark.  We walked and walked and walked. And she talked and talked and talked.  And just a little over 3 hrs later, we had 12 miles done.   It was pretty easy.  I even did it one Sunday shortly after a bout with the stomach flu and it was no problem. And then a week later I managed to do it after a bout of food poisoning (how unlucky can a girl be?) though I had to cut it short just shy of 12 miles so I could make it to the bathroom. Too much information?

Anyway, my point is that all this walking is really nothing to write home about.  It gets done.  It’s uneventful. 

I really should stress, though, that Lara is a great walking partner because she keeps the conversation going which makes the time fly by.  I could not be doing this without her.  Thank you, Lara, for helping me keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I should also mentioned that Lara is in WAY better shape than me and I’m sure I’m cramping her style…or at least her pace.

At this point in our training, we are supposed to be doing some really, really long walks so Lara and I thought it would be good to sign up for one of the official training walks.  Maybe we could learn from some of the coaches and from some of the walkers who have done this before. We signed up for a 17 mile training walk. 

Today was that walk.

This walk kicked my ass.  There is no other way to say it. 

We walked about 8 miles and then stopped for lunch.  I was feeling pretty good at that point.  But then I really struggled after lunch.  I was just so overheated.  We were supposed to only walk another 9 miles after lunch but we missed our turn around point and ended up walking 10.6 miles.

To be fair, I think we managed to keep a decent pace.  Certainly not as brisk as when we would do the 12 mile walks together, but it was nothing to laugh at.  And, though there were many times when I wanted to just cut Lara loose because I felt I was dragging her down, I was not the slowest person out there.   Yes, I know it’s not a race and the point is to simply finish. But what kept me at the pace I was going was the thought that the faster I walk, the faster I finish, which means the faster I can get into my air conditioned car.

18.6 miles in total today.

Upon returning to my car, I took off my shoes and socks to put on a pair of flip flops. I found a nice pair of matching blisters. HUGE blisters.


I’m definitely getting nervous about the actual event but what I am thrilled about is that I’m only $128 from my fundraising goal of $2,300.

Now I think I need to start raising some money to cover my podiatrists bill.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Soccer – Week 5

F I N A L L Y ! ! ! ! 

Good weather.  And it made all the difference in the world.  Everyone had a blast.  Carter participated in the practice, played in the game, and was thrilled to wear his jersey.  There was no crying and only minimal whining.   It was actually an enjoyable Saturday morning and not at all a taste of purgatory like some of the prior weeks.

It’s really fun to watch Carter do the drills during practice.  When he’s focused, he’s quite good.  The problem is that he has the attention span of a Labrador puppy.


Carter is goofing around before the game with friend and former next door neighbor, Bennett.


Carter resting with Nana during one of the breaks in the game.  I swear these kids run the fastest when they are told it’s time for a water break.  They nearly race to the sidelines.

Aunt MB also came to the game but somehow I failed to snap a photo. 


In the final minutes of the game, Carter got to play at the same time his friend and classmate, Theo, was playing for the other team.  They were total goofballs together on the field.  They pulled their jerseys over their heads.  They pretended to shoot each other with their hands shaped like pistols.  I was laughing too hard to actually get a picture of Carter and Theo together.

Thanks to Nana and MB for coming out to the game and thanks to Mother Nature for FINALLY providing us some decent weather on a Saturday morning.

Next week I’ll have to miss the game as I will be walking 5k with my mom in the Komen Race for the Cure.  Hopefully I can convince Ben to drag the camera along and take some pictures and/or video of Carter in action. 

Hmm…maybe I can even get him to write a posting of his own.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Soccer – Week 4

The poor kid just can’t seem to get a break.   It was 75 degrees earlier this week, yet, today it was 38 degrees with gale force winds.  It was so dang cold and windy that my eyes watered the entire time we were out on the field.

The odds were stacked against Carter this week.  Not only was it frigging cold, but (because of the cold) the coaches decided to essentially skip the practice part and just play the game so we could all go home sooner.  Yep, they skipped the one part of the whole ordeal that Carter really enjoys.

DSCF3350 Coach Pat, Bennett, Carter, and Austin

Carter wasn’t too excited to play and preferred to be on the sidelines on my lap.  Truthfully, I preferred when he was on  my lap, too.  It kept me much, much warmer.

Right now the forecast for next Saturday is 65 degrees and partly sunny.  My fingers are crossed that we actually get that weather. If so, I have high hopes for Carter and soccer.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mod Podge Wall Decoration

I finally found some time to do some crafting.  The whole “moving into a new house” thing really cut into my crafting time but yesterday (thanks to all the rain) I found some time to be creative.

Carter’s room, though cute, was looking rather incomplete because of the bare walls.  So when I found three metal stars on sale at JoAnn’s, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Here’s one of the stars “as is.”  It’s a simple brown metal star, certainly not offensive looking but not what I pictured for a little boy’s room.


I used some craft paint to paint one of the stars navy blue.  The paint is still wet in the picture.  It’s not this shiny now that it’s dry.


I had some really cute red, white, and blue scrapbook paper that I had bought at a huge discount.  I used this paper and some Mod Podge to cover the other two stars.  I made each point of the star a different pattern.  I made a template of the point of out plain white paper first and then cut out the scrapbook paper to size.  I made the long ends a little wider than the point itself so that I could wrap the edges around the back of the star itself to give it a cleaner look.


I liberally applied Mod Podge to both the front of the star and the back of the paper, put the paper on the star, and smoothed out the bubbles with a brayer. I wrapped the edges and then used another liberal application of Mod Podge to the top of the paper.


I don’t have any “action” shots as my hands are usually covered in the “Podge” and I don’t want to get it all over my camera. 


I was using a fairly heavy weight scrapbook paper and so a lot of Mod Podge  is needed to get good adhesion for the wrapped edges.  I like using this kind of paper because it doesn’t just disintegrate and/or tear when wrapping around corners. 


I really haven’t found a time when too much Mod Podge is a problem.  It just means longer drying time.  For most people that’s likely not an issue but I’m so impatient and want to hurry up and finish.  For a project like this one, I suggest letting it dry after completing two of the points, otherwise you will not have a good place to hold onto when doing the rest of the points.

Once everything was dry, I hung them on the wall in Carter’s room between his closet and his window.  I can’t put a piece of furniture there because of the vent on the floor and the wall space wasn’t right for a picture, I would need something tall and narrow.  The three stars seemed to do the trick and add to the navy and red theme already in his room.


[By the way, please ignore the curtains.  I have some red fabric that I purchased to sew on an accent panel at the bottom so that they go to the floor.  I guess that will now have to be the subject of a future post…but don’t hold your breath. My to-do list is a mile long.]

This whole project was done in just a couple of hours on a rainy Sunday and cost me less than $25.  The 3 stars together cost me $21, I used 5 pieces of scrapbook paper (on sale for $0.40/piece), and Mod Podge and craft paint that I had on hand.

I’m pretty satisfied with it.  What do you think?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Soccer – Week 3

We woke this morning to a huge thunderstorm.  The thunder shook the house, the lightning seemed to be right in our backyard, and the rain was absolutely pouring down. 

Ben and I were pretty convinced there would be no soccer, but we didn’t mention anything to Carter.  The last thing we wanted to do was give him the idea that there would be no game and then have to drag him out kicking and screaming if the game was on.

Turns out the rain stopped 5 minutes before game time and the temp was in the upper 50s.  Amazing…finally some decent (not great) weather.

I am so proud of Carter today.  This was a great day of soccer for him.  Carter wore his jersey!!!  Carter participated in practice and had fun.  Well….for the most part anyway.  There was one drill that he didn’t do.  It was a game of sharks and minnows.  Carter didn’t like the idea of the sharks coming around and stealing the minnows’ balls.   Overall, though, practice was a huge success.  Carter was a champ at Red Light, Green Light and has decent ball control.  He laughed and had fun.  He listened to his coaches.

Though he still didn’t want to play in the game, I didn’t care. I was too busy beaming with pride from the improvement over the previous two weeks.

When the coach put Carter into the game, he stood where the coach placed him on the field the entire time. He just watched all the other kids run around after the ball.  He didn’t even bat an eye when the ball rolled right past him.  Carter would just look over to the sidelines at us with big eyes that seemed to be saying, “Really? I have to do this?”

We can’t figure out his aversion to the actual game given how much he seems to enjoy the drills.  I guess for today, I don’t really care….he wore his jersey!

Of course I don’t have any pictures.  After hauling my camera out to the field two weeks in a row for no reason, I didn’t feel like doing it again (especially with the threat of more rain).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vision Test Needed

Today was the deadline for submitting Carter’s registration for Kindergarten.  Of course, I turned it in on the last day possible.  And you do know why? Because it was like 40 pages long.  Besides, I was busy filling out the paperwork for summer camp, before school care, and after school care first…all of which were due a couple of weeks ago.

It’s outrageous how much paperwork I have submitted to the Northville Public Schools in the last 3 weeks.  I have gotten hand cramps from writing so much.  Clearly the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) has not trickled down to the State level, least of all the public schools in Wayne county. 

I had to fill out emergency contact cards in duplicate for summer camp, kindergarten, before school care, and after school care.  That was 8 copies of the same dang form.  All of which will be held in the same central repository at the elementary school.  And, NO!, I couldn’t just photocopy them.  They need originals because my signature is on them.

And I was not exaggerating (at least not a lot) when I said the registration was 40 pages long.  I had to fill out Carter’s personal identification information. I had to provide a copy and show his original birth certificate and I had to provide a copy of my driver’s license.  I had to make a list of his strengths and weakness and sign a note stating that he has no know hearing problems.  I had to make a list of things he liked and disliked in preschool.  There were questions about buses and AM or PM kindergarten preferences.  There were forms for sunscreen and permission to use his photo in publications.

And then I had to prove residency in the township.  In order to prove said residency, I had to provide a copy of my mortgage statement, a copy of a utilities bill, and a copy of my bank statement.  Good grief!!  I think I provided less information when we applied for our mortgage.  Clearly there is no sneaking in to this school district. 

I am quite certain that I have seen college applications that were easier than the registration for public school kindergarten.  I kept waiting for the essay portion of the application.  I can see it now…Kindergarten candidate, have you experienced a moment of epiphany, as if your eyes were opened to something you were previously blind to? Describe this moment and your percepts about it.  Or perhaps he would opt for: Does any specific attribute, quality or skill distinguish you from everyone else? How did you develop this attribute?

[an aside…I have no idea what the word “percepts” means in the above paragraph.  Had I actually been writing a college application essay, I would have skipped right over that question and picked another one instead of taking the time to look up the word.  I’m lazy like that.]

As you can imagine, I had all the paperwork neatly filled out and in a folder.  I had all the supporting documentation paper clipped to the registration form in the order it was requested.  I also had the original cover letter with the paragraph requesting the documentation highlighted.  This is my anal retentive way.  If you know me, you should not be surprised.

In the school office submitting the paperwork:

Carla: I’m here to register my son for kindergarten

Admin: Great. Let me take a look at your paperwork.

(While she peruses my nice stack of papers, I watch the principal shredding reams of paper. I have visions of an elementary school version of Enron happening right here in Northville)

Admin:  Looks great, but you are missing the documentation for the vision screening.

Carla:  What?  That wasn’t requested in the letter. (as I point to the paragraph that I highlighted)

Admin:  (pointing to the area just below what I’ve highlighted) It says it right here in the second paragraph.

Carla:  Oh.

Who needs a vision test now?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Every 3 Minutes

In less time than it will take me to write this post, another woman in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  

In the United States, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 3 minutes. One dies every 13 minutes.

These are horrible, sobering facts.  The point of me sharing these facts with you is not to bring you down or depress you.  The point is to help you understand why I have paid $90 for the right to walk 60 miles over 3 days (see post here for more info on the 3 Day Walk).  The point is to help you understand why I didn’t think twice before committing to raise $2,300 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

My training for the 3 Day walk officially started today.  I attended a “Get Started” meeting with my friend, Lara, who is walking as well.  Given that she is SOOO much taller than me, I don’t think we’ll actually be walking together every step of the way.  Her stride has to be at least 50% longer than mine.  Lara would have to slow down to a stroll just for me to be able to match her pace.   However, she will be my tent mate for the two nights that we have to camp.  Lara and I also hope to do some of the longer training walks together to help motivate each other.

Thanks to many generous donations, I have already raised $820.  Thank you so much!  If you haven’t already donated and would like to, please click here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Name That Tree

UPDATE:  Thank you Mom & Rebecca.  Apparently my tree is a Pink Dogwood.

Does anyone know what kind of tree this is? It has the most beautiful flowers.  We actually have two of these in our front yard but I have no idea what they are.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Soccer – Week 2

Today was Carter’s second soccer game.  The weather was marginally improved over last Saturday.  The temp was in the 50s but it poured rain the entire hour.  Carter was a trouper tough and didn’t cry or complain about the weather.  I can’t say the same about myself.

I brought my camera but didn’t even take it out of the bag because it was raining too hard.

The no crying was big progress over last week.  Because of this alone, I declare the event a success.

Though we were still unable to get Carter to wear his jersey or to practice with the team or play in the game, he did practice with me and Ben. He even practiced a bit with his friend Bennett.  AND, he laughed and smiled while doing it.

I am happy with the progress but we still have a long way to go.

PS – I noticed this week other kids having bouts of crying and general unhappiness.  I guess this happened last week, too.  I was just too preoccupied with our own little problems that I didn’t notice.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

First Soccer Game, or Maybe Not

Carter was supposed to have his first soccer game yesterday.  He was excited about it when he woke up and we talked about it when we went for bagels for breakfast.  BUT…when we got to the soccer fields, the wind had picked up and there were actually a few snowflakes in the air.  It was cold –- really cold.

Carter whined the entire walk from the car to the soccer field.  He wouldn’t even put on his new soccer jersey (which by the way is very cool).  The six or so other kids on his team were great and very excited to learn and play.  Carter clung to my leg and cried.

We tried to entice him by offering to practice with him.  We tried bribing.  First with an offer of the pancake restaurant (Leo’s Coney Island) for lunch, we tried bribing with promises of a new Transformer (his favorite toy for the month) from Target.  No luck.  We tried threatening to take away TV for the day. No dice.

Nothing worked.  Carter would not peel himself from my leg.  He wouldn’t stop crying.  Sure Carter can be shy in new situations but this was ridiculous.  Other parents are running the sidelines, cheering on their kids.  They are videotaping their 4 year olds learning how to pass and shoot on goal.  All their videos have a soundtrack of Carter crying.

It was humiliating.  He just keep saying he was tired and didn’t want to play.  And the crying, oh the crying.  It just didn’t ever stop.  I wanted to dig a hole right there on the sidelines and crawl into it.

After 30+ minutes, we finally caved in and went home.  We sent Carter to his room and he was probably asleep within 10 minutes. 

Ben and I felt defeated and we were so confused.   Where was the Carter of Friday evening?  The Carter that loved soccer and was so excited to play?  No where to be found on Saturday morning.

Fast forward 24 hours and Carter has a fever and is complaining of ear and throat pain.  We had our physician family friend meet us at Einstein’s Bagels and she confirmed our suspicions:  Carter has an ear infection.

No wonder he didn’t feel like playing soccer in 30 some degree weather.  No wonder we couldn’t bribe him with pancakes, TV, or toys.

You can be sure that I feel like a horrible mother having him out on the field trying to make him play.

Better luck next weekend after a course of antibiotics.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ready For His First Soccer Game

Carter starts soccer tomorrow.   Every Saturday morning for the next 8 weeks they meet for 1 hour, during which they will practice for 30 minutes and then have a 30 minute 3 on 3 game. 

Since Carter has never really played soccer before, we wanted to do a trial run with all his soccer gear tonight.  We got him all dressed up in his cleats, shin guards, special socks, etc.


Carter was thrilled.  He thought the shin guards were so cool.  I had been nervous that he wouldn’t like the shin guards or like the cleats.  He was happy as could be.  He immediately wanted to go outside and practice.


Carter is actually pretty good at dribbling, when he’s not laughing or giggling to hard too pay attention.  He still doesn’t really understand why he can’t use his hands and keeps forgetting this rule.


Here he is yelling, “GGGOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLL!”  I think that’s the couple of years in Germany coming out.  [Please ignore the fact that he’s pulling his shorts out and it looks like a skirt.]


Am I officially a soccer mom, now?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

In case my sinus problems aren’t signal enough, this view from our back deck confirms it:  spring has sprung.


From our magnolia tree:


One of our many tulips:


I love this time of year…it’s so beautiful.  If only my nose could appreciate it, too.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lego Entryway

The first time we went to Legoland in Germany, we bought a bunch of Lego key chains.  I selected the plain bricks as my key chains, but Ben picked out mostly Star Wars key chains (and later, Carter became addicted to them).

The second trip to Legoland we came home with a key chain holder.  Ben finally got a chance to hang it up today and I made a magnetic memo board to hang next to it.

Lego entryway

To make the memo board, I bought a 12” x12” piece of stainless steel from Home Depot.  I spray painted the edges white and used Mod Podge to adhere a piece of cute scrapbook paper to it.  I applied two more coats of Mod Podge and then sprayed the whole thing (front and back) with clear coat.  It was ridiculously easy.   The Lego magnets were another Legoland souvenir.

I think it makes a whimsical, yet useful, addition to our back hallway.   Besides, I can’t think of a family better suited to have Lego home accessories. You should really see the floor of my family room! 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shelby Update Part 2

For the last week or two, I have been suspicious that Shelby has been spending time in the guest room bathroom sink.  Perhaps it’s the hair that I’ve found in the sink…I don’t know.  My mother and Carter found her sleeping there the other day, but I had yet to see it myself.

Until today. 


Connected to this bathroom is a really nice guest room with a queen sized bed that has a down comforter with a flannel duvet.  Wouldn’t that be more appealing to a cat?  Apparently not Shelby.  I shouldn’t complain as cat hair is easier to clean from a sink than from bed linens.

PS – should you come for a stay at our house, don’t  be surprised if the sink in the guest bathroom drains slowly.

Shelby Update

I have received several requests for a Shelby update.  I wish I could tell you that she is totally integrated into our family and that she seeks us out for attention.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  Shelby is still extremely skittish and does her best to avoid us.  When I can find her and nab her before she runs off, she likes the attention she gets.  She purrs loudly while I brush and/or pet her.  She will even snuggle into me and stay with me willingly (if only for a few minutes).


This is where I can find Shelby most often.  She’s sleeping behind the pillows on the couch in the living room.  It’s a warm little spot away from the commotion of the rest of the house.  When she’s here, Shelby will actually let me walk up to her and pet her.  When we encounter her elsewhere in the house, she’ll run away before we can even get close to her.

There is plenty of evidence, though, that Shelby is becoming more comfortable in our home and that she’ll eventually come around to us.  She is a voracious eater.  Nearly every morning her food bowl is licked clean.  Her first couple of weeks here, Shelby hardly ate at all so I take the empty food dish as proof that she is becoming more relaxed. 

More importantly, though, is the evidence of play.  The past couple of mornings, I have found her cat toys in various rooms of the house, though she appear to favor the guest powder room.  This morning I found a toy in the bathroom that had been at the bottom of her toy basket.  I would have loved to see her rummaging through the basket trying to pick out a toy.

I have to remember that my cat expectations are skewed.  My last cat, Corky (who died 1 year ago today), was quite possibly the most friendly cat ever and very laid back.  According to my father, “Stick your finger in his eye, he doesn’t mind.”

So perhaps Shelby is just being a “regular” cat and expecting her to greet us at the door after work is unreasonable.

Nah, I’m still holding out hope.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Trying to Save the Ta-Tas

Those of you who are my long time readers know that I am passionate about Breast Cancer research (as exhibited here, here, and here).  And those of you who actually read my blog by coming to the website and not through Google Reader, may have noticed something new on the sidebar.


I did the craziest thing today.  I signed my self up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure here in Michigan, August 13-15.   I'll walk 60 miles over the course of three days with thousands of other women and men.  Net proceeds from this event are invested in community-based breast health programs and breast cancer research.  The research funded focuses on decreasing breast cancer incidence and mortality in the next decade.  I've agreed to raise at least $2,300 in donations.  So over on the sidebar is a link to follow if you are interested in donating to this wonderful cause. 

I recognize that the event is still 4 months away and so you might thinking it’s awfully early for me to be asking for donations.  This might be true but think about all the training I will need to do.  I’m certainly not in great shape and so I need to get my rear in gear ASAP.  When I mentioned training, Ben kinda laughed and wondered aloud, “who trains for a walk?”  Well, when it’s 20 miles a day for 3 days in a row…I’m certainly going to train.  I need to get in better shape and develop some stamina.

I will periodically blog about my training progress and perhaps give you some breast cancer facts over the next couple of months.  Please join me on my journey, at least in spirit.  Your words of encouragement will be an incredible source of motivation to keep me walking.

And don’t forget to “Feel your Boobies!”

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Green Toes

For some strange reason, I felt the need to paint my toe nails a “non-conventional” color.  I chose Lickety-Split Lime.

green toes

It just felt appropriate for Spring.

What do you think?

Sunday, March 21, 2010



This is Shelby.  She is still in hiding but allowed me to take a picture.  We have her in the library with the door closed.  We are hoping this gives her more of a feeling of security.  She has everything she needs in there…though she’s not eating, which is totally stressing me out.

She spent the morning under the bookcase.  She had to have been so uncomfortable.  Now she’s wedged herself between two moving boxes and the wall.  Shelby will let me pet her & scratch behind her ears.  Despite being so scared, she doesn’t hiss or swat at us. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cat Scratch Fever

So what does one do when recovering from the emotional stress of a miscarriage?  Adopt a kitty.

OK, so we were planning on getting a cat anyway.  It’s been nearly a year since Corky passed away and we thought it was about time.  We were planning on doing it after Easter but decided to pull it ahead a bit.

For the past few days, I had been searching for suitable cats.  Through that I learned of several adoption days going on today at various pet stores around town.  At one pet store, they only had brought two cats for adoption but several dogs.  While the cats were cute and extremely laid back, we just weren’t making a connection.  We learned that this shelter had over 50 cats back at their facility and so we made plans with them to stop by later in the day.

The second pet store we went to today had at least 15 days available for adoption.  I instantly fell in love with a pair of Russian Blue kittens.  They were about 5 months old and brother and sister.  I asked to see one out of the cage and as soon as the lady handed one over, he immediately flipped out.  Determined not to drop the little guy nor let him escape, I held on for dear life. 


He bit and scratched the heck out of my hand.  I was bleeding rather profusely from my right hand.  I found some hand sanitizer and paper towels and continued to look at some of the other cats.  About 15 minutes later, my right hand was swelling up…and rather fast.

At home, the disinfectant and ice did nothing to bring the swelling down and my pinky starting turning blue.  I decided it was time to hit the Urgent Care Clinic down the street.   Just in case I haven’t received enough medical attention in the last couple of weeks with multiple respiratory infections and a miscarriage, I got a tetanus shot today and another round of antibiotics. (I had Ben take some photos of my grotesquely swollen hand but the pictures just don’t do it justice.)

Way to take advantage of my medical insurance.  President Obama himself may show up on my doorstep and accuse me of abusing the health care system.  Perhaps I’ve had more than my allotted share of healthcare for the year and I’m to be cut off for the remainder of 2010.

Did any of this discourage me from adoption?  No way.  We had a 5pm appointment at the original shelter,  Friends of Michigan Animal Rescue, which is a no-kill shelter for dogs and cats.  FMAR was a wonderful place that houses nearly 50 cats and 12 (?) dogs.  Despite the sheer number of animals, it was incredibly clean and stink free.  And the volunteers were extremely patient while we hemmed and hawed over which one to take home.

We finally decided on Shelby, an 11 month old brown/black tabby.  Shelby was one of several kittens that was found at the Ford Wayne Assembly Plant last summer.  She and all of her siblings were named after Ford vehicles (Fairlane, Flex, Pinto, Comet, …). 

Shelby was very sweet and affectionate at the shelter but is a little freaked out here at our house.  She is currently hiding underneath a couch and only ventures out when it is really quiet.  We are hoping tomorrow that she’s a little more comfortable here in her new home and that she allows us to snap some photos.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Insomnia House Tour: Family Room Edition

I am having a bout of insomnia and so I thought I would share with you some pictures of our new house.  We moved in about 2 and a half weeks ago and haven’t posted anything about the house.  I’m sure you are all anxiously awaiting a home tour, so I’ll start with the family room.

You ready?

Isn’t our family room beautiful? 

What’s that?  You say it’s a little dark?

I guess you are right.  The blue LED on our computer really does give off much more of a glow than represented in this picture.

This is what our family room looks like between the hours of 2 and 4am.  I know because I have been sitting here in the love seat staring at that very wall for the past two hours.

I hope that you have enjoyed this little view into our new home and that you come back for future editions of Insomnia House Tour:  Kitchen, Master Suite, and Dining Room.  Unfortunately, there will be no Basement tour in the near future.  It’s really a mess and I don’t want you to see it that way.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Today was supposed to be a happy day.  I had been planning on telling you that I had my first ob/gyn appointment and that we are nearly 12 weeks pregnant.  Ben and I were both so excited.  And it’s been so hard keeping it a secret.   But I can’t write that post.

I can’t write that post because I have had a miscarriage.  My body has let me down.  I feel betrayed by it.  Not only did I miscarry, but I apparently did so weeks ago.  Yet, my body continued to act pregnant.   I feel duped. 

I am sad beyond words and I am angry.

My body betrayed me. 

It let me pass by that eleven week point and feel confident that I would make it to the second trimester.  We were nearly there!  It allowed me the time to think about how to write the “announcement” post and how to tell our friends and family.  My body allowed me the time to sort through the boxes of baby gear that have been in storage for the last couple of years.  It let me daydream about setting up the nursery.  It let me bond with the baby I thought was growing inside.  My body gave me the time to wonder if it was a boy or a girl…and we will never know. 

And, Ben.  Poor Ben.  He was so strong today – my rock through all of the poking and the prodding and the ultrasounds and the waiting and the crying.  I can only imagine how he must feel.  Like someone just yanked the rug out from underneath him.  He wanted this baby so badly and, yet, he has to be the strong one.   It’s not fair to him.

Why am I sharing all of this with you?  Why would I post something so painful and personal?  Because I can’t actually bring myself to talk about it….out loud (sorry if I’m screening calls).  Because I am hoping by putting this “out there,” by acknowledging this in writing (if not through actual voice), that I can get it out of me.  That I can throw it out and move on.  That maybe I can find closure and heal.

To all of my friends who have ever miscarried, I can only apologize for whatever inadequate words of “comfort” I offered up at the time.  Because now I know that’s exactly what they were:  inadequate.  And I am sorry.

I understand the facts and that this was not a viable pregnancy.  I understand the biology behind this, but my emotions don’t give a shit about science.  I know that many, many women have miscarriages (15-20% of pregnancies end this way) and that I am not alone.  I am not unique, nor do I deserve any special attention.  In fact, I am extremely lucky because I already have a wonderful, healthy child. 

But it doesn’t make me hurt any less.  

It does not make getting up and going to work tomorrow any easier.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Here Kitty, Kitty

Ben:  Do you think you look like Mommy?

Carter:  No

Ben:  Do you think you look like me?

Carter:  Yes, but I’m not furry.  You are furry like a cat.

My sides still hurt from laughing so hard.

Color Career Counselor/Personality Traits

So I’m home sick, again!  Seriously, I wash my hands and take a daily vitamin. I sleep at night and eat vegetables.  What is wrong with me that I’m sick again?

Anyway, since I’m home and supposed to be resting, I’ve been doing a lot of blog reading and web surfing.  I came across this Color Career Counselor quiz.  It is supposed to tell you what you should be doing based on your like/dislike of some colors they show you.

According to the website, “The Dewey Color System® is now the world's most accurate career testing instrument.   This report based on your personality traits indicates your two most enjoyable day-day-day occupation skills.”

I’m not so sure about that.   I’ve copied my results below.  I happen to think they are way off with the first one (claiming I’m Nonconforming, Impulsive, Expressive, Romantic, Intuitive, Sensitive, and Emotional) suggests I should work in art, drama, or music.  Ha! Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am not well suited for a such a career.   Somehow I think the second choice (Witty, Competitive, Sociable, Talkative, Ambitious, Argumentative, and Aggressive) is much more accurate…especially the argumentative and aggressive part.

Take the test and tell me what you think?  Did it capture your personality? 


Best Occupational Category:  You're a CREATOR

Keywords -- Nonconforming, Impulsive, Expressive, Romantic, Intuitive, Sensitive, and Emotional

These original types place a high value on aesthetic qualities and have a great need for self-expression. They enjoy working independently, being creative, using their imagination, and constantly learning something new. Fields of interest are art, drama, music, and writing or places where they can express, assemble, or implement creative ideas.

Suggested careers are Advertising Executive, Architect, Web Designer, Creative Director, Public Relations, Fine or Commercial Artist, Interior Decorator, Lawyer, Librarian, Musician, Reporter, Art Teacher, Broadcaster, Technical Writer, English Teacher, Architect, Photographer, Medical Illustrator, Corporate Trainer, Author, Editor, Landscape Architect, Exhibit Builder, and Package Designer.

Consider workplaces where you can create and improve beauty and aesthetic qualities. Unstructured, flexible organizations that allow self-expression work best with your free-spirited nature.

Suggested Creator workplaces are advertising, public relations, and interior decorating firms; artistic studios, theaters and concert halls; institutions that teach crafts, universities, music, and dance schools. Other workplaces to consider are art institutes, museums, libraries, and galleries.

2nd Best Occupational Category:   You're a PERSUADER

Keywords -- Witty, Competitive, Sociable, Talkative, Ambitious, Argumentative, and Aggressive

These enterprising types sell, persuade, and lead others. Positions of leadership, power, and status are usually their ultimate goal. Persuasive people like to take financial and interpersonal risks and to participate in competitive activities. They enjoy working with others inside organizations to accomplish goals and achieve economic success.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whoop! Whoop!

To many, that’s hip hop lingo for something (don’t ask me, do I look hip hop to you?).  But here in the Gale household, that’s a double case of Whooping Cough (aka, pertussis). 

Yes, Ben and I are infected.  We are gross, sickly people.

I have had a cold for the past two weeks and it has been progressively getting worse.  Yesterday I finally raised the white flag (or kleenex, in my case) and dragged myself in to the doctor.  All he needed was to hear one cough and he sent me on my way with an antibiotic prescription.  45 minutes later, Ben followed in my sickly foot steps.

I’m certain that our sweet boy brought home this nasty affliction from preschool.  Did he have anything besides a minor cold?  No.  Of course, he has received immunization shots for Pertussis.  Apparently Ben and I aren’t up to date on our boosters. 

I used to get perfect attendance awards from my workplace for not having any sick days.  These were, of course, the years prior to having a child in daycare/school.

Why am I airing my dirty germs on the internet instead of just staying in bed?  Quite honestly, I am looking for sympathy.

Sympathy because not only will we spend the next four days coughing up our lungs, but we’ll be doing it while unpacking boxes.

Tomorrow we move into our new house.  We finally get our shipment from Germany.  Stuff that we haven’t seen in over two months.  We have been living out of suitcases since the middle of December and that’s getting really old.  And on Friday, we get the stuff that has been in storage for nearly the last three  years (stuff we didn’t take to Germany with us). 

So this should be an exciting time for us in the Gale family and all I can muster is “cough, cough.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day

Carter made a very nice valentine for me and Ben today at school.  It’s a handprint on a heart.  The teacher asked him what message he wanted to include.

DSCF3172 Here’s a close up so you can see the heartfelt message…

DSCF3173Fortunately Ben is a good sport and isn’t taking it too personally.  I can’t say that I would do the same…in fact, I’m sure I would be in tears.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Home Owners Again!

It’s official.  We are home owners again.  We closed on our new house today.


Of course nothing is without a few surprises or glitches along the way.  First off, we did a final walk through the house immediately prior to our closing appointment.  The previous owner left behind quite a few things:  artwork (not my taste), barstools (also not my taste), a vacuum cleaner that smells like it’s about to catch fire when being used, a washer and dryer from the 1980s, and a refrigerator. 

The fridge was a big surprise because it was not part of the offer and it’s really nice.  It’s a relatively new stainless steel refrigerator but, since we weren’t expecting it, we had already ordered a new one.  I guess our back up basement fridge will be the one he left behind.  Certainly nicer than what we would have picked for our second fridge.

The washer and dryer being left behind is just an irritant.  Clearly we don’t want them and so now we have to dispose of them.  Obviously we will donate to The Salvation Army or Purple Heart or Habitat for Humanity (and are happy to do so) but really it’s one more thing that we didn’t want to have to deal with.

Finally, the closing itself.   Ben and I were all stressed out that our electronic transfers from some of our accounts wouldn’t make it to our local bank in time to get the certified check for the closing.  After much stress and moving of money, we were OK.  [however, I will never understand why electronic transfers are not instantaneous!]  After all that stress, the closing still nearly didn’t happen.  The network/internet at the title company was down and they didn’t have the documents printed out that we needed to sign.  I think Ben and I sat in the conference room at the title company for over two hours.  They kept promising us “just another 15 minutes.” 

In the end, it all worked out and now we are home owners again. 

Anyone interested in a 25 year old washer & dryer set?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Poopy Pants + Mind Your Own Business

Carter pooped in his pants today.  Quite possibly the first time ever.  I’m not sure in all the potty training time if he ever pooped his pants.  Sure there were plenty of wet accidents…I just don’t seem to remember any dirty ones.  Maybe it’s just selective memory.

Carter and I were spending some time at a book store while Daddy was next store doing some grocery shopping.  I’m a little burnt out on some of his books right now so I thought it would be a nice treat (for both of us) to get him some new books.    This was also going to be a consolation prize for him after spending over an hour with us at the tile store.  Carter was such a good sport while Ben and I hemmed and hawed over which tile would look best in our new bathroom.  

Nothing like dirty drawers to bring everything to a screeching halt.

So, we were in the bookstore and had just walked over to the kid’s section.  Not only is there a HUGE selection of books, but there are fun toys and a train table all set up.  Carter ran right over and played for a whole 2 minutes before “it” happened.  He walked over to me and said, “I have to go potty.”  As we were making our way over to the restrooms, I noticed Carter was walking with a strange gait.  “Carter, are we too late?” I asked.  The answer:

“Mommy, I have poop in my underwear.”


I'll spare you the details of the clean up.

I now have a pounding headache.  I need a drink.  Unfortunately, there is no liquor store attached to the bookstore, but there is a Starbuck’s.  Close enough.

Me:  Medium, non-fat caramel macchiato, please.

Barista:  Sure.  Would you like a double chocolate brownie with that, today?

Me:  No thank you.  Just the coffee.

Carter:  Mommy, can I have a cookie, please?

Me: Absolutely not.

Barista:  We have chocolate chip…

Me:  No thank you.

Carter: Please, Mommy.

Me: No!

Barista:  Oh, doesn’t he look sad.

Me: (giving him the stink eye) Just the coffee, please.

I'm sure you can imagine the rest of the conversation, including the hushed whispers I had with Carter reminding him of his dirty drawers from two minutes prior. 

Clearly this idiot behind the counter of the bookstore Starbucks does not have any children of his own, nor has he ever interacted with young children.  Because if he did (or had), he would have never tried to undermine me.

Why can’t people just mind their own business?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Nothing Says “Welcome Home” Quite Like…

…a certified letter from the IRS saying “you’ve been audited.”  It’s like a big, warm hug from the US Government.


We came home from work on Wednesday evening to a note in our mailbox.  The postal worker was kind enough to leave us a note saying we had a certified letter from the IRS requiring our signature waiting at the local post office. 

Somehow I knew right away that it wasn’t a fat refund check.  I’m pretty sure those don’t come certified mail.

Do you think I got much sleep on Wednesday night?  Do you think I was maybe just a wee bit distracted at work on Thursday?

While standing in line at the post office after work, the guy behind me struck up conversation.  He had two notices for packages from Amazon that required signatures.  He admitted that he didn’t even know what they were and found it odd he had to sign for the unknown.  I offered to trade with him.  I would be happy to sign for the unknown.  I would gladly take that risk.  Unfortunately, he turned me down. 

Upon receipt of my mail, I quickly walked ran back to my car where I ripped open the letter.  My 2007 tax return had been “reviewed.” And, in case I wasn’t sure what that really meant, the IRS was kind enough to put “audited” in parentheses after “reviewed.”   Oh, thank you, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant.

Per the IRS, I owed an additional $420 plus $21 in interest.  Geez, if you are going to audit me, please do so in a timely matter so that my interest charges aren’t so high.  Is that too much to ask?

This morning I had several phone calls with members of my Deloitte tax team.  These are the brilliant people that Ford has hired to help me with my taxes as an International Service Employee.  In theory, this is great because I would have no idea how to go about filing taxes from outside of the country.  Too many crazy rules and crazy things that Ford does to compensate us for our time outside of the US.  However, in practice, Ben and I have learned that our tax advisors are by no means tax experts

Around lunch time, I received a phone call from Ed, the guy who filed my 2007 taxes on my behalf (NOTE: this is not the same guy who filed my 2008 taxes nor is he the guy who will file my 2009 taxes…why have consistency?).

Ed:  I have good news and bad news.

Me:  Ok, the good news…

Ed:  The fax you sent me came through.

Me:  That’s the good news?

Ed:  The bad news is that the IRS is right.  You do owe them money.

Me:  Why?  How did that happen?

Ed:  Well, we didn’t really look at your husband’s W2 completely and so we missed some things when we filed for you.  There’s nothing we can do now.  You’ll just have to pay them.

Me: (too stunned at this whole conversation to come up with anything useful) Um, OK.  Thanks.  Good-bye.

Later, when I could gather my thoughts again without cursing, I did call Deloitte back to make sure they will cover the $21 in interest.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yet More Thoughts on Repatriation

Our corporate issued repatriation handbook says that moving home can be a bigger cultural shock than moving to the host country.  I guess the theory is that the expat is expecting big cultural differences on the outbound move and none on the inbound move.  This skewed sense of expectations apparently makes for a tough move home.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s been pretty easy “re-acclimating” to the US.  There are things from Germany that I miss (see previous post) and sometimes I sound like a pompous ass accidently saying English words with a German pronunciation.  (I had the hardest time saying “swine” as in swine flu. I kept pronouncing it schwein /schvine/.)  BUT, I feel like we are mostly back into our groove.

What did surprise me is the realization that I was spending significant effort in defending my “American-ness” or defending the USA while I was living abroad.  I guess I just got so used to being apologetic about something inherently American about me (ability to only speak English, my nasal “accent,” my large insulated coffee mug, my fondness of peanut butter) or my country (George W Bush, rednecks, NASCAR, American football, large gas-guzzling vehicles) that I didn’t even realize I was doing it.  Only after we returned and I was no longer doing it, did I realize it had begun to feel like a burden.

It’s a relief to know that millions of other Americans who shop at Costco have the same large coffee mug as me.  It’s a relief to be back in the Midwest where everyone (for the most part) sounds a lot like me.   I don’t feel any obligation to defend rednecks and NASCAR fans (I suppose that’s redundant).  I will go back to insulting them without feeling I’m selling out my countrymen.

I am American and I’m proud…but, Geez!, why all the rednecks?  They are really cramping my style at the ol’ Costco.  Their cart full of Bud Light is preventing me from reaching the Perrier.

Ooh! on a side note:  it’s so nice to be back in the land of “significant & respected personal space.”  No one is trying to give me a colonoscopy with their grocery cart while standing in line behind me at the check out, instead they are just trying to tell me about their own recent colonoscopy procedure.   Ah, America…the land of personal space filled with people who lack a filter between their brain and their mouth.


It’s easy living here in the US.  It’s easy like riding a bicycle.  Once you learn how to ride, you can get to anywhere you want to go.   You can even ride with “no hands,” listening to your iPod, and chewing gum (all at the same time!).

Living abroad is like riding a bicycle in rush hour traffic.  You know how to do it, but it takes a lot more concentration and focus to get to where you’re going.  You have to hold on with both hands and can’t afford any distractions.  Maintaining that level of focus can be exhausting and so, many times, you don’t even take the bicycle out for a spin.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Search for an Identity

We might have a new name for the blog, we may not.  I can’t decide.  At the moment, it’s titled “The Gale Gazette.”  I don’t love it…but I needed to change it.

I also spent some time looking for new blog templates.  I’m tired of what I have.  Recently, I deleted the background so that we are back to white.  I simply couldn’t decide on a new design and layout so I finally gave up.  Please bear with me while the blog facelift is put on pause.

Finally, I started to change the “About Me” blurb on the left side bar.  After deleting what was there, I completely drew a blank on an update.

It’s like I have exhausted all decision making capability in moving home and picking a new house and now I’m all tapped out. 

Perhaps when my frontal lobe returns from some R&R, I can finish the blog changes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

1 Month Home Already.

As of today, we’ve been back in the US for one whole month.  Carter said yesterday, “I’m glad to be back in Michigan.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Here are a few observations/comments about being back:

  • I actually miss driving a manual transmission.  Yes, Ben has one, but I don’t get much of an opportunity to drive it.  I still find my left foot reaching for the clutch sometimes when I’m driving my car.gerolsteiner
  • Sometimes German words come out when I’m not expecting them.  For instance, I’ll say “bitte” instead of “please” at the end of a request or when I’m ordering food. 
  • I miss sparkling water.  I never imagined that I would actually like  sparkling water but now I crave it.  Of course I can buy it here or order it at restaurants, but I feel so ridiculous asking for it here.
  • Now that we are home in Michigan, I have absolutely zero desire to travel.  Can I just stay home forever now?  I think this feeling will pass,  but for the moment, I’m really content to just stay home every weekend.
  • I’m continually surprised by strangers talking to me on the elevator or other random places.  In Germany, rarely is there small talk between strangers…and if it ever happened with me, I won’t have understood anyway.  But now that I’m back, I’m constantly talking to strangers in elevators, in line at the check out, etc.
  • I need to learn how to tune people out again.  It’s really easy to tune out people who aren’t speaking your native language.  But, being home, I feel like I’m experiencing sensory overload when I’m at the grocery store or other public place.  There are just so many people speaking English.
  • Bob the Builder is really annoying in American English.  I prefer the German and the British versions.
  • I love Target and Kohl’s.  They are proof that discount stores don’t have to be totally junky.  I do not miss the discount stores in Germany. saure pommes
  • In fact, I don’t miss any kind of shopping in Germany.  The stores here are nicer, the prices are better, the selection is better, the hours are better.
  • I really miss my “Saure Pommes.”  This is sour gummy candy shaped like french fries that I could buy in the coffee shop at work. 
  • I really, really, really miss the coffee machines we had at work in Germany.  AND, it was only €0.48 for a cappuccino or latte.

That’s enough for one day.  To summarize:

I am happy I’m home.  I miss Germany.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Soundtrack of My Life

I'm having a reminiscing sort of day (if that even makes sense).  Actually, ever since we moved home last month, I have been having random memories surface.  They are being triggered by songs on the radio.  There were really only 2 radio stations that we listened to in Cologne and so there was a limited selection of music...a lot of it being British pop (Spice Girls, anyone?).  Anyhow, since being home, I have heard so many songs that I haven't heard in YEARS.  And, like most people, music triggers memories for me. 

I heard a Tragically Hip song this morning which reminded me of the many, many, MANY! afternoons/evenings I wasted at the Rio Bravo in Dearborn in 1998.  Josh the Bartender was a big Tragically Hip fan and I shamelessly flirted with him.  Got me free Labatt Blue Light.  My friend Cheryl and I were such regulars there that Josh would have our beers waiting for us when we came in after work.  How sad is that?!  And I thought that was the coolest thing back then.  Free beer from a cute bartender….what more could a 23 year old girl ask for?

I heard another song (Hey Ya! from Outkast) that reminded me of the year I lived in Kansas City (for the second time) to work on the at-the-time all new Ford 150.  It was 2003, Ben and I were engaged and both working in KC.  We had a white convertible Mustang as our company car.  That song brought me right back to riding shotgun in the Mustang, with my hair blowing out of control, likely on our way to work on the weekend...back in the days when we were paid overtime.  The perfect thing for saving up for our honeymoon.

If I had to pick a song that reminds me of that first year we were living in Germany, it would have to be Big Girl by Mika.  It’s really quite a terrible song (read paragraph at the start referencing British pop music) but I will always think of Cologne when I hear it.

Those are just a few examples.  There are hundreds more.  Do certain songs bring back vivid memories when you hear them?  Which songs make up the soundtrack of your life?  Please share!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I Need Your Help!

I am a terrible person.  My friend Cheryl asked me to do a favor for her niece a couple of months ago.  She forwarded to me a letter from her niece which explains how she and her 4th grade classroom are collecting postcards from all around the country and the world.  There were three things I needed to do:

  1. complete a journal entry in her Travelog Journal about the city in which I live
  2. send a postcard from my city to her at her school address
  3. send the travelog journal to a friend or relative who lives in a different region of the US or another country

Easy peasy, right?  Well, I just got my box of work stuff from Germany delivered to me here in my new office in Michigan.  I opened the box and what’s there on top? 

The Travelog letter. 


I never sent it!  I am such a schmuck.  I guess I procrastinated for so long that I just got so wrapped up in the packing and moving home that I totally forgot to mail it.  D@$%! 

Here’s where I need your help.  I am going to forward on the travelog as originally planned but I need to do something to make up for all the lost time that it was packed up in a box. 

Can you, my lovely readers, my friends and family, send a postcard from wherever you are to the following address:

Carolyn W / Ms. Hooten

Westfield Elementary

901 W. Main Street

Robins, IA 52328

On the postcard can you please include the following:

  • city, state, country where you live
  • short description of the climate
  • neat facts about your town or state

I suppose if you just wanted to send a letter instead (saving yourself the step of going out a buying a postcard), that would work, too.

Thanks in advance for helping me redeem myself.  I’m feeling pretty much like dog poo right now for letting down a 4th grader.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2010. 

Are you feeling as overwhelmed and behind as I am? 

Not only is today the start of a new year, it’s a new decade.  I feel like I should have done a better job of wrapping up 2009 and putting it behind me.  And how can I do that when I haven’t even blogged about our last few trips in Europe before we moved home? I haven’t blogged about the move, Christmas, or the fact that we already bought a car and a house.

OK, deep breath.  Life will go on even if my blog has been neglected and I’m woefully behind.  *sigh* I don’t like being behind.

In case you are wondering:  NO, I have not made any New Year’s resolutions.  I think that we have enough going on this year that I don’t need to add anything else to my list of things to do.  In store for 2010:

  • closing on our new house (Jan 26th, I think)
  • home improvement projects
  • moving into new home
  • getting used to our new “normal”
  • new jobs (sort of…essentially the same job, but new place)
    • This includes the launch of the all new *GLOBAL* Ford Focus this fall
  • rekindling old friendships that have been on hold while we’ve been gone
  • traveling (just in the good ol’ US of A)
  • entertaining family and friends in our new home (please come visit us…a trip to SE Michigan is much, much cheaper than a flight to Germany)
  • Carter will start Kindergarten in the fall (geez…makes me feel old)
  • and I’m sure there’s so much more that I can’t even fathom right now

    Another thing on my list of things to do requires some reader input.  I need a new name for this blog.  The blog address (URL) will stay the same but the header needs to go. “The Gale Family in Deutschland” doesn’t seem to fit anymore.   Got any ideas?  If so, email me or leave a comment.  I would love something catchy but not too cutesy.

    In other news, we have been living in my parent’s basement for the last 3 weeks.  They packed up the car and left for Florida this morning and so we are moving into their room now.  As nice as the Aerobed inflatable mattress is, it will be sooo nice to sleep in a real bed tonight.  Even though we close on our new home in a little over 3 weeks, we’ll likely be staying at my parent’s house through most of February.  We don’t want to move until all the painting and work is done on the new place.  (Ha!  I say that now but we’ll see if I can stick to it when the time comes)

    OK, I’m off to unpack some more and you should be off to do your homework (see paragraph above re: new blog name for me).