Monday, October 13, 2008

90% of a Decade

Eric reminded me today that we both forgot our dating anniversary last week on October 8th! We've been so preoccupied with program development and classes at Bethel, renovating our new house, and gearing up for yet another move that it completely slipped our minds! We usually have a small celebration where we at least go out to dinner to commemorate the day, but this year the evening was spent grading papers and watching an episode of "Chuck" online. We might have had some ice cream.

The reason Eric even remembered it was that he was thinking about what a beautiful fall day it is...very similar to many of the fall days during that semester in 1999 when we spent a lot of time talking walks together (sometimes skipping class to do so!) while enjoying the cool breezes, bright colors, and flitting grayish clouds overhead. Fall always reminds us of the beginnings of our relationship, which is one reason why it's such a special time of year for us. (See my post from 9/12/07.)

So nine years later, here we are, working at Bethel and living in the same neighborhood, enjoying the exact same breezes, colors, and sky that we did in that fateful fall of 1999. Here's hoping for many more to enjoy together!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Book Report -- In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

My friend Andrea was reading this book, and after hearing a brief synopsis from her, I was intrigued. Not the "I-have-to-read-that-now!" kind of intrigued, but the sort of curiosity about something that you know will shake up your life a little bit, even if you don't really feel like shaking things up. Deep down, I really like complacency. It's comfortable. It feels better to be a little ignorant and keep living life the way you always have than to stumble across new information that shocks you a little bit into making some changes.

Which, of course, is what this book by Michael Pollan did, to some extent. Now, our household has been on an on-going quest for a healthy lifestyle ever since Eric and I got married. Little by little, we've been educating ourselves on finding the right balance of nutrition and exercise to keep our bodies and minds working as well as possible. So it's not like I've never thought about the things In Defense of Food pontificates on. Pollan just gave me a little more information...."food for thought," if you will.

The premise behind In Defense of Food is that we Americans don't eat like we were intended to eat as human beings, and we need to get back to the basics. Pollan suggests a mindset that is driven by reminding oneself to: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." In other words, eat mostly real, whole food, not "food products" created by science. Don't stuff yourself; it's just not healthy. And while there are some definite health benefits to eating meat, dairy, and grains, try to focus more on eating plants instead. For more information, read the book. :)

While Pollan didn't convince me that all "food products" are evil, he did convince me to at least think more carefully about the food I purchase and consume and its affect on both my body and the environment. For instance, I'm trying to frequent our local farmer's market more often for my produce than my local mega-mart. The food I can find there comes straight from the earth and has mostly been raised without pesticides and fertilizers...and is a heckuva lot cheaper than visiting the organic section of the regular grocery store. Thankfully, South Bend has an indoor farmer's market that is open three days a week, so I can actually fit this into my lifestyle in a more convenient fashion. Also, instead of going straight for the nutrition facts on food labels, I'm trying to worry less about the fat/protein/carb/calorie content (although those things should still be considered in a balanced diet) and concentrate more on exactly what is in the food I'm buying. Ideally, an ingredient list should consist of mostly food. I know, I know, that sounds crazy! But all those food derivatives (high fructose corn syrup, sodium bicarbonate, maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, to name a few) are simply not food.

So anyway, I came away from the book having learned some things, as well as having more questions pop up in my mind to be considered in later research. But for now, I'm taking to heart his admonition to eat food, not too much, and mostly plants. What do I have to lose?

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Ian's been meeting a lot of cousins lately!

Last week, we went to Plymouth to get together with Eric's cousin Beth, who was visiting her parents for a few days from southern Indiana. We hadn't met her youngest son Jay yet and wanted the little kids to all have a chance to play together. We went to a nearby park, then had a delicious lunch prepared by Aunt Rachael (Eric's aunt, who is also a good old family friend of my family from way back when!). We were able to get the kids to sit still long enough to get this shot of Ian, Jay, Annabelle, and Joey:
Then yesterday, Ian and I drove to Fort Wayne to meet my brother's daughter, Kennice. She's such a cutie pie! For the few hours I was around her, she seemed quite content and happy. After Ian ate Mom's delicious dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans and homemade applesauce (before which he was Mister Grumpus), he enjoyed playing a little bit with his baby cousin. It was a fun evening! So here are some pictures of Kennice and Ian:

My mom and dad with their two grandchildren:
Fun times, all around!