Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We put the screen printing on the visor extentions for cars

My line at the factory was responsible for putting the printing on the visor extentions for some cars. Here was the process:

Person 1: Take plastic visor extentions out of bin, rub hand across it to wipe off dust, place in machine, hit pedal with foot, wait while white block of ink is brushed across the piece, machine lifts up, take piece out pass to next person.

Person 2 (this was me most of the time): take piece with white ink block printed on it, place in machine, wipe hand across it to wipe off dust, push pedal with foot, wait while black text was printed on it, machine lifts up, take piece out, pass to next person.

Person 3: take piece with white block and black text printed on it, place in machine, wipe hand across it to wipe off dust, push pedal with foot, wait while gray text was printed on it, machine lifts up, take piece out, pass to next person.

Person 4 - quality control: take finished piece, examine carefully for specks of ink that may be an indication that one of the screens needs to be cleaned, examing text for any bleeding of ink that may indicated the same, carefully blot out any ink specks with a pin, put finished piece in bin.

Wow - interesting, huh? It was about as fun to do as it probably was to read;)

Do you have a visor extention on the visor of your car? Do you know what it says?

getting to know me in 100 days - day 19

Monday, October 30, 2006

I worked 3rd shift in a factory the summer between high school and college

During the summer between graduation and freshman year of Calvin I got a job at a local factory, hoping to make lots of money before going off to school. Again, based on my dad's advice I applied at the factory and also indicated that I would prefer to work 3rd shift since I would be paid a shift premium (higher wages for the crazy folks that work 3rd shift). And I was hired.

Luckily my friend, Rodney (or as I soon began to regularly call him, Penis) also got a job at the same factory working 3rd shift. I don't even remember how we figured that out, but it was nice. We weren't great friends before this, but good enough friends that we decided to drive the 30 minute commute together. And me and Penis became good friends because of it:)

We worked on different lines. I don't remember what he did, but every evening I reported to my line which consisted of me and 3 other people. Our line was shaped like an open-ended oval and we were physically close to each other. Working together like that for 8 hours every night meant that we talked a lot - even over the noise of the factory. We talked about everything.

Jamie was a 40-ish husband and father of a small child. He wanted to be a writer. Writing was his passion, but the factory was how he made money. He told me about the books he wanted to write. I encouraged him. I was 18 and encouraging him to follow his dreams. After I left for Calvin we stayed in touch for a year or so - maybe longer. We wrote letters. I encouraged him to write his book, he encouraged me to find a boyfriend.

Mary was a 20-ish hairdresser. She cut hair out of her home, but the factory was how she made ends meet. She was bubbly, loud and fun. She cut my hair after I was at Calvin for a while and it will forever be known as "my bad haircut" and I blamed the bad haircut for every bad thing in my life. Truthfully, I think she did exactly as I wanted, but I shouldn't have wanted what I wanted. Mary and I did not stay in touch (and not because of the bad haircut;).

As you can imagine we talked about everything in our lives, but we also got very, very goofy. One night Jamie ate a banana at break and somehow the Chiquita sticker made it back to our line (you know - the sticker with the Chiquita lady on it?). We played a game for the rest of the night, hiding the sticker on the machines and yelling as loudly as we could, "Chiquiiiiiita Woman. Where are you?!" It passed the time very well and we laughed a lot.

I don't have many other specific memories of my time working at Prince, but my general memory is happy. My body got accustomed to the hours. It wasn't miserable. It wasn't awful. It sure helped to have a friend to drive there and home with - especially when we were so tired in the morning.

But lets all admit that working in a factory for 8 hours a day for 3 months is nothing compared to working in a factory for 8 hours a day indefinitely. I was biding my time. I had an end date in sight. I knew it would end. I knew it wasn't going to be forever. Most of our coworkers did not - this was their lives.

I don't know what happened to Jamie and Mary. I wish I did. Perhaps they've moved on. Perhaps they're still working at Prince 12 years later. Who knows, but I will remember them and our time together. They, too helped shape who I am, and I am better for knowing them and for working there.

What has been the most monotonous job you have ever done - you know, the kind of job that never seems to have an end in sight and never seems like you're accomplishing anything (besides laundry, of course)?

getting to know me in 100 days - day 18

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I have a new name

Last weekend at Parkview our pastor began a sermon series on the names of God. The first one he discussed was Yahweh - I AM. I'm not going to give you his whole sermon, but if you'd like to listen to it you can - here.

Here it is in the simplest way I can say it:
God is I AM -
I AM in control, I AM perfect, I AM forever, I AM your savior, I AM the creator, I AM... you get the idea.

If God is I AM, then it is logical to conclude that my name is I AM NOT -
I AM NOT in control, I AM NOT perfect, I AM NOT forever, I AM NOT your savior, I AM NOT the creator... etc. etc.

This is a huge thing for me. And I need a reminder. Perhaps you do, too - can't tell ya - however, I could use that reminder every day, many times a day. So I changed my name.

Monday, October 23, 2006

What I will remember about today

I had a lovely day. I went to Jen's house for coffee with BFWW and Kary and an assortment of children (who actually all played really well together). I had a starbucks waiting for me when I walked in, we chatted, we had lunch, we chatted, we sat at the table for a solid 5 hours while the assortment of children demolished Jen's beautiful house. She said she didn't care - I decided to believe her.

We had a great time and it was worth all of my time in the car (1:15 there, 1:45 back). Of course, any amount of time is worth seeing BFWW:)

But here is what I will remember for the rest of my life about today:

We left the house around 3:15 - three tired little girls and me. BFWW gave Nora and Ryann a little snack bag of pretzels for the drive home, I got the three settled in to their car seats, thought about going back into the house to use the bathroom, decided I could wait until I got home and we were off.

We're cruising down Cline Ave, about 10 minutes into the drive and I hear gagging in the back seat. I adjust my rearview mirror to see Ryann - she's gagging. I ask her if she's okay. She's gagging. I again ask if she's okay. She's gagging. She's turning red. I ask her to say her name. She's gagging. She's now turning blue. I pull off to the side of the road, throw on my flashers, get out of the car open her car door, do the finger sweep in her mouth, she's even more blue. My fingers could not move fast enough to get her unbuckled and out of that seat. The whole time my car is blocking half of one lane of the two lane road, cars are whizzing by me. The back door is wide open - I'm certain someone is going to take the door off of the car as I'm trying to get Ryann to breathe. I have her out of the car, hitting her on the back, doing the finger sweep - her mouth is clear, she's blue. I'm just about to turn her over to do the heimlich and she sucks in a tiny amount of air. I keep hitting. She's still not breathing. I keep hitting. She's finally breathing. I ask her to say her name and she cries, "noooo". She's pink again. We're both totally shaken up, but I'm still pretty calm. Calm enough to assure the teenager who stopped to see if we were okay, that we were in fact okay. Calm enough to buckle her back in, get in my seat, pull into my lane (which by now was backed up with about 10 cars behind me) and continue on my way like it was no big deal - all in a days work as a mom.

I called Dave and lost it on the phone. Still a little shaken.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I worked in a gas station in high school

In addition to working at the parsley farm in high school, I also got a job working at a gas station when I was a sophomore or a junior (don't remember). It was a local gas station that had only high school girls working behind the counter and a few guys working in the garage.

One of my friends was working there and loved it so I thought I would try to get hired. I was so nervous making the phone call to find out if they had looked over my application and made a decision. It was the first job that I had applied for and I had no idea how things worked - just went on the instructions of my dad: Submit an application, give them a couple of days and call to find out if I could have an interview.

I was hired!!! And it was fun!

Since it was the only gas station on that corner and within a couple of miles, it was a very convenient place for people to stop for cigarettes, milk, gas (duh) and whatever else they craved at the moment. We had many, many regulars who we got to know - okay, got to know in the sense that we knew they were coming in for Marlboro Lights in a box and a candy bar...

Rozema's Standard was where I learned to come out of my shell with people I didn't know. It was easy to say hi to anyone who walked in the door when I was behind the counter. I didn't feel intimidated by anyone - this was my gas station, my counter. People were friendly back to me - there were no cliques, no cool people, we just were...

I also became a little more confident with myself while working there. I was not the most popular girl in school. After my relationship with Ben ended, I didn't date guys from my class. I had crushes, but none were returned. I did, however, date older guys that I met at the gas station. My job there was a huge confidence booster for me - even though I was not hot in demand by the guys that I went to school with, I had several OLDER guys that were interested in me and that really helped with my confidence - I didn't need to date the guys that I went to school with, I had many others to choose from.

Now Rozema's Standard is a BP (I think). In place of the garage with high school boys smoking Basic cigarettes and hanging around, there is a Subway. In place of the cute, flirty, high school girls behind the counter, there are regular people back there doing a regular job. Its just another gas station. But for a few years of my life it was MY gas station, I had MY parking spot, they were MY regulars, and I took steps to becoming me.

When thinking back to high school, can you identify one situation, one job, one friendship, one event that you see now as the beginning of you becoming you?

getting to know me in 100 days - day 17

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fishing for compliments

I've had a few people ask me where I have been. The answer is simple - I've been around;)

Actually, I was having some internet problems last week (note to self: do NOT download things off of the internet even when Google says its going to make your internet run faster) and didn't have access. While not having access, I really found out how much time I had been spending on the computer and neglecting other very important things in my life (like the walls of my kitchen, the kitchen floor, the ironing, the laundry, the burnt out lightbulbs, etc. etc.)

Hence my absence.

Even after I got my internet back, I've been staying away in the hopes that the bad habit wouldn't come back... like an addict faced with the drug of choice, I have to walk around my computer and not sit down otherwise I'll get sucked back in.

In the midst of it all I have been rethinking my blog. Should I really be doing this? Is it worth it? Do I need it? Do people read it? Do people enjoy it? Do people miss it when I don't post? Am I going to continue?

So here is where I start fishing for compliments and where you have to take part in this post... I'm going to give you a quiz - you can either answer it in the comments section or you can email your answers directly to me at jddykstra@comcast.net. Your answers are vital to my research in regards to the continuation of my daily blog. After reading your responses I will decide and you will either see this post for the rest of your life, or you will start getting fresh posts on a (semi) daily basis beginning next week. Here we go:

1. Do you read my blog?
2. How often do you read my blog?
3. Do you like my blog or is it one of those blogs that is kind of like a train wreck - its really awful, but you can't stop checking it to see the horror of it all?
4. Do you want me to continue?
5. What do you like the best about the blog?
6. What don't you like?
7. Do you normally leave comments?
8. Why don't you leave comments?
9. Do you have a blog? Address please?
10. Do you like weekend challenges? Do you take part? Why or why not?
11. Are my children cute? (yes thats a trick question).
12. How did you find my blog?
13. What other blogs do you read?
14. Does your computer freeze or have issues with my blog?
15. Anything else you'd like to share?

Please, please answer my questions. I'm really trying to figure this out and want your answers to help me decide.

You'll find out my answer on Monday:) Have a good weekend - BFWW is coming this week! Yea!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

11 Months

Our little Bug is 11 months old - wow! That means she's almost a year:) I know that sounds really stupid, but holy cow, she has grown up so fast!

She is really becoming a little toddler now. She isn't walking yet, but she is getting into everything and playing with big toys and tries so hard to be a part of what the big girls are doing. She is adorable:)

Every morning she wakes up, stands up and looks out her bedroom door and yells for us to come and get her. And no one had better dare walk past that door without coming in to get her, or we'll all hear about it! She definitely has figured out how to make herself be heard in the midst of the other chatterboxes in our house...

Off to breakfast we go. She gets a bottle and whatever else I can think of to feed her. For a while it was toast with baby food on it, but she got sick of that, right now she likes gerber puffs with some rice krispies. She soon gets sick of sitting in her chair, though, and starts yelling to get out so she can explore. She may go right for Woof's water dish (if we haven't put it on the counter yet) or the tupperware cupboard or maybe the refrigerator magnets. All occupy her for a good amount of time before she's off to find something else to do or look at (or put in her mouth).

Throughout the morning she makes her rounds between getting in on the big girls' action and trying to find out what I'm doing. She often takes a detour into one of the bathrooms so she can look in the toilet and hopefully splash around in the water for a while... and when I catch her she gets very mad that I put the lid down:)

At 10:00 she seems like she's ready to keep going, but as soon as she sees her crib those tiny hands immediately go to her eyes and they begin to rub - like magic: See the crib, rub my eyes, get my pacifier and listen to Baby Tad as I drift off to sleep...

By 12:15/12:30 she is awake and having fun in her crib. The door is closed, so its almost as if she doesn't know that other people are walking around not getting her out of the crib. As long as that door is closed, she's okay playing by herself in the crib. I usually go in to get her and find all of her toys and pacifier on the ground, since throwing things on the ground is a fun, fun game right now! We go downstairs for some lunch with the big girls... they get good lunches, she's stuck with a bottle, some cut up vegetables and cut up fruit, maybe some cheese to go with it, but nothing exciting yet like yogurt or pb&j.

After lunch she plays like a champion. She is so flexible - going along with whatever we decide to do - play inside or play outside, go away or stay home. Whatever we do, she doesn't care as long as she can watch what is going on around her. She is very, very observant and if we go away she is content to sit in her stroller and people watch. She, herself, is fascinating to watch.

By 3:00, but usually around 2:30 she is back down for her afternoon nap. She sleeps, then until I wake her up at 5/5:15. She loves to sleep:)

And the rest of the night is filled with normal little kid routine stuff... dinner (same as lunch, but usually some of what we're eating, too), perhaps a bath, some playtime, then jammies, books and bed. She is in bed by 8/8:30 and then we start all over again the next morning.

She is so fun. She loves to get my attention with a smile. She claps, she does So Big, she says Mama & Dada, she yells, she chatters (a lot), she shakes her head, gives kisses, waves hi and bye, says Boo and buh bye, climbs the stairs, cries when she decides she's done upstairs and wants to come down, she plays with the dog food, she pulls Woof's hair, she giggles at Nora and yells at Ryann (with good reason), she LOVES the Fulmers, but is absolutely smitten with David. She is truly delightful and will be toddling around the house before we know it.

We love our bug and are loving the emerging personality that we are seeing every day. We were scared when we found out that I was pregnant, but our family would simply not be complete without Georgia. We love our Bug!

Here I caught her mid-nosewrinkle:
Her new favorite upstairs past-time: playing the piano:
Oh, but we cannot forget how much fun it is to dump the dog food on the floor - poor Woof!
Doesn't she look like a little girl in this one - the way she is sitting?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm wiped!

We had such a fun, busy weekend and we're all completely wiped out:)

This weekend we celebrated my family's summer birthdays (grandchildren). A couple of years ago we had a picnic as a family and enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it every year to celebrate the summer birthdays*. It is so much fun!

I can't imagine a better weekend. The weather was gorgeous, the Tigers were playing in the playoffs so we listened to baseball on the radio (and they won - so they're moving on), the kids are old enough to play together without much supervision, there were hamburgers, chips, and brats, and we were all together as a family for longer than two hours.
Dave, Mike and the kids played ball, Cara and I pushed Georgia and Andrew in the swings (Georgia swang for the first 1 1/2 hours we were there), Ryann played in the dirt and we just had the best casual non-structured time. It is so nice to not have every minute of the day planned out and nothing to do, but go home. And I love my family:)

Then on Sunday we went to a company bbq at a pumpkin farm and just really enjoyed our afternoon together as a family. The girls had their faces painted (Nora was a kitty and Ryann was a puppy), pet the animals, Nora held a bunny and then they played and played and played in the playground which had a bunch of little farmhouses and a slide. They played so much and we all were exhausted when we got home... There is a photo album of our afternoon on the left sidebar.

Yesterday I painted my kitchen so I didn't do laundry. Today I have laundry to do:) And tonight we're going out for our anniversary - 8 years today. Someday maybe this marriage thing will be hard, but as of right now the last 8 years have been a truly fun journey. Someday I will expound on my extreme good fortune in marrying Dave, and what a phenomenal husband, father and man he is, but for now all I need to say is that I love him and wouldn't ask for anything more - I am truly, truly blessed.

*A little background: I grew up in Michigan and my parents still live there. My sister and her family live in Detroit, so going back home is a good meeting place. Since her children are born in August, December, December and July and mine are born in January, May and November it is too difficult to go to GR for every birthday - if we did that we'd be traveling every couple of weeks during November - January - so we do two birthday parties a year - a summer party and a winter party. The summer party has now become the summer birthday picnic, which is what we did this weekend.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I'm sorry. So Sorry.

I'm an honest person. And you know what - life isn't perfect in my house, so I'm just going to apologize in advance - right here and right now...

If you ever come to my house for dinner, or a snack, or just a glass of water, I am apologizing right now for the fact that there will likely be one (or two... okay, maybe three) hairs in your food or drink. I cannot seem to be able to control the hair falling out of my head, or where it lands. I find hair in my food on a daily basis and I can't stop it.

This is not a new development since the haircut, but has been going on for a long, long time. And instead of getting all embarassed about it when you do (and you will) find a hair in your food or beverage, I'm just being up front about it. Expect hair in your food, because it will be there.

And if, for this reason, you decide to never dine at my house I'm just going to have to accept that.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The unveiling of the hair

On Saturday morning I got my hair cut and colored. A friend of mine is going to a cosmotology school in our area which means that it is CHEAP. And she is good. So good, in fact, that she has been invited to work for some major hair/color lady in NY, NY. So my girl, Jess, is leaving me and is moving to NY in the spring. I think Jess is pretty well-known in her school for her coloring skills and I LOVE what she did with my hair.

This summer I had her color my hair for the first time - ever. I mean, I am 30 and I had never colored my hair (with the exception of my brief trials of Sun-In in high school). So I went from dark blonde to blonde this summer. Saturday, though, I wanted to add some of those trendy, cute stripe highlights - and I got them!!! She did 2 different colors and so many people walked by and told her what an awesome job she did and how cool the colors are. And now I am BLONDE!! Wow - I'm really blonde. Dave said he couldn't find me at church because its so different.

So here's the deal with the photos... I took them of myself by setting the timer and sitting in front of the camera. I took many, many photos and learned a lot while doing it:
1) My left side is my better side
2) I look the best (according to me) when my head is tilted down and to the right
3) You can't get an accurate idea of the colors based on the pictures
4) the hairstyle is not much different, but I still like it a lot.

and here is the biggest thing I learned...
5) I guess I was never so unhappy with my hairstyle as much as my hair color. While looking at photos with the girls yesterday I kept cringing at the drab, unexciting blend of blonde and brown that my hair had become. This blonde/stripe is definitely exciting me... The hairstyle is pretty much the same as I have worn it for years, but the color is amazing (for me:)

So here you go:



And just because me and Nora had so much fun taking our own pictures:

Oh and again - I felt like the smiles were exploding off of my face... man! I need to do something about that.

Homecoming 2006

My first homecoming. I stormed the Queen's car, ripped the tiara off of her head, threw it on the ground and screamed "It was supposed to be me!" All the while trying to keep my tube top covering what it should be covering (which is difficult since I don't have anything to hold it up) and my pants from showing crack. I was pretty successful in those endeavors... not so much in being the coolest kid at school.

As I came back to reality, I realized that homecoming is not so special. In fact, it was kind of boring and really cold and I was pretty sick of the bundled up ball on my lap that had no intention of being satisfied with either standing up or sitting down.

Nora had a blast and even attempted a few cheerleading moves to my chagrin. I had to stop her from doing a pyramid, but other than that she was good. Ryann was mostly concerned with what kind of snacks she could find in the diaper bag. And Georgia, well, lets just say she was unsatisfied with whatever I was trying to do. I was very fortunate to have wonderful friends with me who love my children (and me) enough to help out with them. They also helped with the 1/2 mile walk to and from the car, which was sooooo appreciated. All in all we had fun, but it was the last football-game-in-the-cold that I will attend this year.

As for the homecoming part... There were floats: The freshmen won with their "We're going to grill the Steelmen" float - a huge webber grill with proportionately huge ketchup and mustard bottles. The Sophomores had a horrendously bad tidal wave that required absolutely no creativity whatsoever and their theme was "We're going to wipe out the Steelmen". The Juniors brought us a giant toilet with several almost naked boys hanging around it with plungers shouting "We're going to flush the Steelmen" and the Seniors had "Steelmen on the Menu" along with a can of soup. It was interesting. It was also interesting that the cheerleaders did a giant cheer during halftime which not one person could hear.

And it was fascinating to watch high schoolers try to remain cool while dressed in almost nothing in the 40 degree drizzling weather. Coats people. Coats.

But the best part of the night (besides when I left) was when the announcer said (very seriously), "Ladies and Gentlemen - take a look! The BALL is exACTly at the midpoint of the field!!!!!!!!!!!!!" He was very excited and I was even more excited when he had the opportunity to say it a second time - I mean really, how many times does a ball land EXACTLY at the midpoint of the field? We saw it TWICE - and I only stayed through halftime. I should have played the lottery that night.

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