Sunday, August 30, 2009

Now That's Just Good Writing!

So yesterday I tried to think of some of my most favorite song lyrics of all time. Then I had to ask myself if I really liked the words themselves, or if it was more the song (or even the point in the song when the lyrics are sung?). At any rate, here are my favorites as of right now:

And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know...that I am the Luckiest.
"The Luckiest" - Ben Folds
(pretty much love all the lyrics to this little gem)

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow,
don't be alarmed now, It's just a spring clean for the May Queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on. And it makes me wonder.
"Stairway to Heaven" - Led Zeppelin
(I think you know why I love this one.)

You love this town
Even if that doesn't ring true
You've been all over, and it's been all over you
"Beautiful Day" - U2

Well it's a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
"Moondance" - Van Morrison

A song of you comes as sweet and clear
as moonlight through the pines
Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see the road leads back to you
"Georgia" - Ray Charles

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.
I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
Theyll learn much more.....than Ill never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world
"What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong

Well, I keep on thinkin' bout you, Sister Golden Hair surprise
And I just cant live without you; can't you see it in my eyes?
I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn't mean you ain't been on my mind
"Sister Golden Hair" - America

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that its done
I hope you dont mind
I hope you dont mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while youre in the world
"Your Song" - Elton John


What are YOUR favorite lyrics?? I would love to hear them!


Brent is standing behind me, tossing out the lyrics he thinks are the best. I keep hearing things like "Hail Purdue!", "Anything by Guns 'n Roses!". I told him to write his own post. Maybe this guest writing thing will become a little more frequent!



Speaking of writing, my friend Lucy was here this weekend for a journalism conference downtown. I picked her up yesterday night and it meant that I got to enjoy the Rathskellar's Beer Garden one more time before the end of the season. We met Brent for dinner at Fionn MacCool's - yummy!



Congratulations to Ashley and Gordy who welcomed Baby Beau on Wednesday! The Ex-BKD Girls' Club is excited to meet him! Ashley, if you're reading this, please send pictures (if you don't mind your child plastered on the internet) so I can update!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Coming Soon...

Of course I'll miss summer, but the release of this song (and album) make me most definitely excited for Christmas!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Longs Peak Climb

Hi - Brent here. As promised, I am making my blogging debut today to tell about my climb to Longs Peak in Colorado last week. My friend Adam and I decided earlier in the summer to attempt to climb this 14,259 foot peak as we had talked about doing a mountain climb some years earlier.

A view of Longs Peak from the town of Estes Park at 7,300 feet

We woke up early Friday morning at 2AM local time and were on the trail by 3AM. The Longs Peak trail begins at 9,400 feet in elevation and is a 15 mile roundtrip hike/climb. The flashlight we brought promptly quit on us an hour and a half into the hike. Luckily, Adam had brought his cell phone along with him which illuminated the trail until we were able to catch some other hikers farther up on the trail. We followed these 4 guys from Texas that had functioning head lamps until sunrise.

Near Granite Pass at 12,000 feet at sunrise

Near the Boulderfield, with Longs Peak looming in the background

We continued on to the Boulderfield (which is aptly named) to complete the first 6 miles of our journey in relatively uneventful fashion. We had some great views of the surronding area as well as Longs Peak at this point. However, we would soon discover that the truely daunting portion of the hike (well, climb at this point) was to come. Below is the view of the Boulderfield: Yes, we did have to traverse over all of these boulders to reach the Keyhole (see pic below)




View from the Boulderfield to the Keyhole (notch at the top center of pic) showing the 500 foot elevation gain over a very short distance. This part of the climb is where Adam and I began to slow down and feel the effects of elevation/climbing over huge rocks, which we did not anticipate encountering prior to setting out on this climb! Our pace significantly slowed at this point, and we would have been happy just to make it up to the Keyhole.

After getting up to the Keyhole at 13,160 feet, we took an extended break, as the most challenging part was just ahead on the back side of the mountain (see pic below).


If you look closely at the above picture, you can make out hikers on this part of the climb leading from the Keyhole to the Trough(this picture was taken from the bottom of the Trough towards the Keyhole). We were basically going up and down in elevation while trying not to look down over the vertical drop on our left. Some areas on this portion of the climb were quite narrow...our motto was to not look down! Both Adam and I were struggling at this point, making frequent stops to catch our breath.

The next part is touted as the most difficult segment of the Longs Peak climb. Over 6 hours in, we had slowed to a snail's pace as we began the steep incline that is the Trough. We would walk 20 seconds and rest for 2 minutes, which wasn't setting any land speed records. After somewhere between 1 and 2 hours we made it to the top of the Trough by scaling the last (probably over 6 feet in height) boulder and bruising our legs in the process. Below is a view of the 1,000 foot climb from the top of the Trough:

We were totally exhausted by this point. My legs were shaking from the constant climbing of boulders not to mention that we were both suffering from altitude sickenss (nausea, headache) due to our lack of proper climitazation (we were only in Colorado 30 hours prior to setting out on the trail...even though my parents insisted you needed at least two weeks to properly climatize. Who has two weeks??). We had made it over 6.75 miles and had been out there for about 7.5 hours. According to my Garmin watch, we were at 14,000 feet at the top of the Trough. All that was left was the Narrows and the Homestretch to the Summit. Adam and I at this point made the joint decision to turn around and head back even though we were so close to the summit. With my shaking legs & nausea and the fact that Adam was feeling very ill himself, we decided that we did not want to traverse the Narrows in this condition as one false step leads to a several thousand foot vertical drop. See the picture of the Narrows below...




Also, we made this decision knowing that each step we took towards the summit was another step we had to take on the way back. We both weren't sure if we could even make it back from the top of the Trough. So, relunctantly we began our decent down the mountain. Going down the Trough was just as brutal as going up, trying not to dislodge loose rocks that would go barrelling down towards hikers below, and trying to keep our balance while going downhill. Again, we were headed down very slowly. Several people passed us and asked if we were doing ok...I think Adam replied with the most appropriate descriptive word of how we felt..."like death." That is an exaggeration, but I have never been that fatigued and worn out in my life. One person even asked if we needed them to go down and get a park ranger for us...seriously, that would have been a low point in my life if it would have come to that. What was the ranger going to do anyway? Carry me across the Boulderfield to lower elevations without dropping me down a thousand foot cliff? We knew that we just had to tough it out and continue slowly.

We made it back to the Keyhole 10 hours into the climb. After another slow decent through the Boulderfield, we made it back to the marked trail and eventually made it all the way back to the Ranger Station at 5PM, a mere 14 hours since we started and over 13.5 miles traveled in total. Honestly, I think running a marathon would have been easier.

Both Adam and I agreed that this was the single most challenging activity of our athletic careers. Adam, a former Division 1 track athlete, could not recall a single practice or other athletic event that was this taxing both mentally and physically. I have been actively training for another half marathon that is coming up in a few weeks and consider myself in very good condition, however, it was not enough for a couple of "sea-level people" to make it all the way through this climb. I will probably give this mountain another shot some day knowing what I need to do differently next time. This was a great experience and looking down on 12,000-13,000 foot peaks was incredible. I will leave you with some pictures from the top of the Trough, which at around 14,000 feet, was the apex of the climb for us.






Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Trash and Lunch"

It's a Sunday evening around here, alright. I just realized it was already 9:00 when I heard Brent say "Trash and lunch....ugh!". That's what we do on Sunday nights...that and hurriedly fold laundry around 10:00 and then mope off to bed because another work week is starting.

We both had a great weekend, although Brent's was more exciting than mine. He went to Colorado with his buddy Adam on Wednesday night and stayed through Saturday afternoon, and I went home for the weekend to hang out with Big Lou. On Friday night I hung out with Ashley and Becca in Auburn and on Saturday Mom and I made trips to Shipshewana and Fort Wayne. We both needed fabric from Yoder's - my house is in need of some major window treatments and Mom has some projects in mind using retro/vintage fabric. Looking through all the bolts of fun prints causes you to start coming up with possible projects just so you can buy the fabric. Needless to say, I ended up with a lot more than I planned to buy, but I also have a master plan for our extra bedrooms now too. I can't wait to get started on my curtains!
Our Fort Wayne trip was equally successful. I found a duvet cover on clearance at Macy's AND the pillow shams were on clearance, too. How often does that happen, seriously? Usually all you find on the clearance table is one bed skirt, a pillow sham, and then no other pieces of the set. We picked up a Casa salad for dinner and grabbed Cherry Limeades from Sonic. Can you believe that our closest Sonic is in Avon?? It seriously takes me almost an hour to get to Avon. In this day and age, it's hard to believe that I can't get a Cherry Limeade whenever I want! :)
(Although I realize this is also saving me from having to buy bigger pants.)
I don't have many pictures for this blog, but here are a few random ones...



Here's the finished black and white grouping in our living room. I love it! I'm on a huge home decorating kick right now, in case you haven't noticed. I figure since we've been in our house almost three years it's probably time to finish decorating it.



Shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo's.
Last weekend we went with our friends Jeremy and Ashley to the beer garden at the Rathskellar and then enjoyed the Devour Downtown menu at St. Elmo's. So much fun!




Pictures after Grandpa's memorial service last weekend...in this last one my cousin Melissa is holding her nephew Alex, while my cousin Sara and I stand ready to keep Bonnie from pouncing on Alex's face.


That's about it from me, but be watching for Brent's blogging debut later in the week when he takes over the reins and tells a little about his Mountain Climbing Adventure 2009.





Thursday, August 20, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Baby Showers!

I have had the great pleasure of hosting/co-hosting 3 baby showers just this year, and have really had some practice at the refined art of paying attention to the party details. The first shower of '09 was in January for Ashley and Baby Audrey. At the time we didn't know she was a girl, which makes a hostess be a little more creative with the theme without being too boyish or boring neutral. The next shower was for an employee at work - Christa and Baby Sabra. Carrying a large diaper cake up three floors in an old Army records warehouse leads to its own set of challenges. The last was for another friend, Ashley, and Baby Beau who has not yet arrived (but soon!).

Here are some fun ideas I've thrown into baby showers this year and others I've thrown in the past that can make a shower memorable.

The Almost Perfect Diaper Cake
The diaper cake makes a great centerpiece or decoration and is so useful to the new mommy. Best of all, it's easy to make. I like to roll up each diaper, rubberband them, and form the tiers around a cardboard tube. I use an empty gift wrap tube and ideally set the whole cake on a cardboard circle (like a cardboard cake round) for stability.



Christi and Peyton's cake in April 2008 - my first attempt.



Ashley and Audrey's monstrous cake. Becca and I had a great time making this!






Christa and Sabra's - post re-construction after the whole bottom layer fell apart. That's where the cardboard circle comes in handy.


Ashley and Beau's cake with ribbon that I love!



Not that this is a diaper cake, but this is the cute rattle cake that Carrie made for Beau's shower with the ball pan and a (sanitized) drumstick from Rockband.


Ducks in Punch
You can turn any basic punch recipe into a beautiful creation by adding rubberducks to the punchbowl. This is an especially good idea for the neutral shower when you're trying to spice up the decorations.




Hey, green ducks were all we could find the night before. But it still worked.


This duck really looks like he's taking a bath...right in our punch. Yuuuummmm.


Favors

For Ashley and Audrey's neutral shower, I made sugar cookies in the shape of hands and feet. One of each was put into clear bags and tied with pastel ribbon with feet on it and guests took one on their way out the door.




Games
You can't go wrong with a rousing game of Play-Doh Baby! Give each guest half a container of Play-Doh and give them 5-10 minutes to make their best baby. The mom-to-be chooses the winner.






Winners!!

Ice-Cube Baby is a great conversation starter at a shower where not everyone is acquainted with each other. The night before, freeze little plastic babies in ice cube trays. You know, like the baby you would find in a King's Cake? You can find packages of them in the Wilton aisle at Wal-Mart or Michael's. Give each guest a baby in a styrofoam cup and ask them to guess their baby's "birthday" and write it on a post-it. These babies will take anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour to be born, depending on how fast guests accelerate the birth by breathing in the cup, etc. Kinda weird, but kinda fun!


Other Details
We framed Audrey's sonogram pictures on some cute scrapbook paper and displayed these throughout the house. We also had name tags in the shapes of ducks and had every guest sign an autograph frame.




Hopefully this has given you some good ideas for your next baby shower! Happy showering!



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obligation Blogging

I promised a certain mother of an adorable tu-tu'd 6 month-old that I would blog about 5 days ago. Unfortunately for everyone else, this might be a real snooze-fest (as Brent would say).

It's been a pretty blah week around here. Before I say anything else, though, I would like to publicly say THANK YOU for all your thoughts and prayers (T&P) for the Pillers' clan this week. I can really feel that you care and I appreciate that. I feel like this blog has had a lot of blah going on this summer where I've been asking for T&P, so thanks for hanging in there with me. Not everyday's a party, right?

This is my last week in Travel Pay. Starting on Monday, I will be the supervisor of a customer service operation in our Debt and Claims directorate. I'm excited for a change and for more responsibility (like 26 people reporting to me type of responsibility...) but sad to leave the people I've gotten to know really well over the last two years. It really hit me today when I was cleaning out my file folders for a contract procurement that I have worked on since February of 2008. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into those documents that took me only seconds to shred. Eh, things change - get over it, Lindsey. It gets easier the older you get...but I'm not that old yet.

Here are a few pics from my farewell luncheon at Chile Verde yesterday:





Here's a random food event - on Saturday, Brent and I met Chris at Bub's Burgers in Carmel for lunch. The challenge - put down The Big Ugly burger and get your picture on the wall. It's a 22 oz. patty the size of a frisbee when it's raw, and a 16 oz. manly patty when cooked. Brent finished it with no problem and I wish I had ordered one too. But really, do I want to have my picture on the wall for eating mass amounts of meat? Kinda.



The good news of the week is that the sixth semester of grad classes officially ended tonight at 8:30 after I limped to the car after the Corporate Finance final. It.was.a.doozie. One more semester and I'll have three more letters to add to my name after an especially productive 2009. Let there be light!
I hope everyone has a great weekend and I hope for better blog material next week. Goodnight, you Kings of New England, you Princes of Maine. (name that movie for a bonus point...)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Robert H. Pillers

Grandpa Pillers lost his battle to cancer last night at home in Illinois. He was a community leader, a prominent businessman, a supportive family man. He was a father to three good kids; grandfather to seven; great-grandfather of three. A loving husband to Darlene. And among all his many achievements, these stats are the most important. We all had a chance to say goodbye in the last few weeks. When I had my turn, sitting with a cousin, brother, parents, and husband all grieving this important man in our lives, I knew that there is no greater success than having the love and respect of your good kids.




Robert Harvey holding little Robert Jeffery, son of Robert Eugene


Two of my cousins had baby boys last month. Their names? Sullivan Robert and Louis Robert. Yeah, we loved him.

We celebrate him today because of these things, because of the honest, hard-working life he enjoyed. And I'm happy because if we know him at all, he's having a steak and a plate of oysters right now.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Product.ivity.

I don't feel like I've talked to anyone lately, and that may be because we've gotten more done around this house in the last several days than we have in all of 2009. A strong statement, I know. But when you see this list of completed projects, you'll agree:


1.) Replaced deck steps

2.) Started and finished the dining room curtain

I couldn't find the pattern I bought a year ago when I found the fabric, so I went to JoAnn's and bought the exact same pattern again. Sounds silly, but it will take me another 6 months to find it. Totally worth the $10.
After really getting into the directions of how to sew this curtain, I realize I do not have nearly enough fabric. Sheesh. After some online searching for free patterns to no avail, I decided to wing it. I'm pleased with the finished product even though it's too long and has no backing.

3.) Hung dining room pictures


4.) Hung black and white pictures in living room - in progress as I type. Pictures forthcoming.
5.) Cleaned and organized the pantries

Oooooooh, Aaaahhhh

6.) Cleaned out the fridge (minus the meat drawer, which I forgot about)


This fridge is so clean now that I would lick it, if I had to. But I don't forsee anyone daring me to do that, since I'm not planning any 7th grade sleepovers anytime soon.

7.) Finished a 12-page Not-For Profit Marketing final
8.) Ran 6 miles on Saturday and thus kicked off training for the Fort Wayne mini
9.) Finally found/purchased a cheap end table for the living room



10.) Put up 70 quart-sized bags of freezer corn for the winter. Lori, Baleigh, and Mom visited, so I am in no way taking the credit for this one.

15 dozen ears of My Dad's Sweet Corn
Cornshuckia 2009!!

"Cut faster, faster I say!!!"

11.) Bought a running watch
12.) Ordered prints for the Italy scrapbook
13.) Ironed and put away a small mountain of clean clothes (thanks to the help of my mommy while we waited for Lori and Baleigh...)



And no thanks to Bon-Bon, who only takes clean clothes out of laundry baskets and spreads them around the house.


Ahhhhhhh. I feel so much better now. I think Brent's happy the weekend is over. He's probably hoping the coming week doesn't involve me barking orders and mumbling something about a To-Do list...