Monday, February 22, 2010

Feeling Nostalgic?

I was looking through some old boxes and ran across an old video from graduation. I thought it would be wise to digitize it so that as the old VHS deteriorates – the images will remain intact. It seems to look bad already and I am not sure if it is the original quality that we put on tape or time at work already. Thinking back to the process of making the video I have to laugh and find amazement in how far technology has come. The first step in the process was to video tape each and every photo, it was such a time consuming process – put the photo on the magnetic board, affix magnets, turn on super bright background lights, hit record on the video camera, count to 10, repeat. As if that wasn’t enough, once all the photos were on tape, they then needed to be edited in Media 100, each photo had to be cut into a clip, each clip had to be time stamped – then transitions had to be added. Somewhere in that process text slides were thrown in and a soundtrack was laid down. If I remember correctly the soundtrack was obtained much like the pictures, recording it by playing the CD in the technology sound booth really loud and having a VHS camera running. No wonder when you look at the video, the quality is so shotty – I am surprised there are not more instances of shadows or background music. I am sure that we had to time the taping of the soundtrack just right so that the end of school bell didn’t start ringing. I have to say, although I laugh at the rudimentary skills we had back then, I am happy we at least had a good start on the path of technology. I can't emphasize this enough – THANK GOODNESS technology has gotten better, I would never put together slideshows or digital albums if I had to do it the old way.

Concord Class of 1998 Graduation Slideshow

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We Think It Is The Wafer Cookies!

Holland, Mich., Ranks 2nd on Well-Being Index, Topping Honolulu

Our conclusion is that they are so happy because there are so many Vooortman Wafer Cookies in the area, they are made right down the street from our house and we are always happy when we drive by and can smell them baking... ABC NEWS has a more scientific reason!

Feb. 17, 2010

When you think of happy places in America, a few names always top the list: Boulder, Colo. is known for its fresh mountain air and its healthy outdoor lifestyle. Honolulu, with its lush tropical locale, is another city that needs no explanation for why its residents are so happy. Both of these places ranked high on the 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, released by the Gallup Group. Boulder topped the list, while Honolulu came in third. But coming in a surprising second between these two shoe-in cities is Holland, Michigan -- a city on the blistering cold outposts of one of the poorest states in the union. "If a small community located in the state with the worst economy can feel good about itself, seems to me we've got hope in the country," Mayor Kurt Dykstra said. The rankings were based on more than 353,000 interviews with Americans who were asked questions about all aspects of their lives including their physical and emotional well-being, healthy behaviors, work environment, and community.

'City of Churches'

Arrive in town and ask the 35,000 residents why they're so happy and religion is the first answer. "Our churches have a lot of good, caring folks in them that are like family to us," Mary van Heuvelen, a Holland resident, said. Known as the "City of Churches," Holland has 170 places of worship and even a college named Hope. The churches form an informal network that gets practical help to people who can use a helping hand. "If you need gas for the week I've heard of several churches that will give you gas cards and help you through," Charles Bullock, who is unemployed, said. Radio host, Juke Van Oss, added, "If people are out of work we try to help them in some way -- if they are our neighbors we try to steer something their way.

Culture of Giving

The town is also very proud of its generous philanthropy. Despite its 16 percent unemployment rate, Holland has over 100 volunteer-based service organizations fanned out through the city. This is an extraordinary number for such a small town, according to Linda Jacobs, executive director of Good Samaritan Ministries. Holland along with a few other nearby towns in Western Michigan were recently named the second most generous region in the country by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, right after Salt Lake City, Utah.

Community Spirit

A strong sense of community is another reason why people here continue to smile. "There's a great community spirit. And at the end of the day, people are very optimistic that Holland, as a community, will survive and thrive," Dykstra said. That sentiment is echoed by Cheryl Koeman, who owns the Good Earth Café with her husband. "My husband and I traveled a fair amount around the country, and Holland has something that we very rarely find in other places in the country. It's a sense of community, a sense of acceptance -- making people feel like they are special," she said.

The Norman Rockwell Life

Think of Holland as a real city still living in a Norman Rockwell version of a small town. Residents here know that solutions to problems are not found in the maze of ideas that come out of Washington, but from the rewards that come from caring about their neighbors. The Dutch, who founded this city 163 years ago, have a word for this -- gezellig -- which translate to 'close-knit community.'


Sunday, February 14, 2010

A New Blog To Follow

I don't know what I used to do with all my free time before there were blogs to read. I have a new one to stay up-to-date with, my sister Erin and her fiancé Jake now have their own blog to follow ( Although we see each other every week and we only live a few miles apart, I am looking forward to reading about all their adventures now that they are engaged. Let the reading continue...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Where Were You?

Do you know where you were 25 years ago today? I do. It all started at Yen King where after a delicious dinner of Sweet and Sour Chicken, Egg Drop Soup and an Egg Roll I crawled on to my mom’s lap, accidentally kneeing her and sending her into labor. From there I was whisked off to a family friend’s house to make cookies, then to my grandparents' for some rest and then back to Foote Hospital where I got to wear little kid scrubs in order to meet and name my new little sister. Having a little sister was pretty cool, but did I mention I got a new doll and my very OWN Fisher-Price camera, I know seriously cool. Overall it was an amazing day and I can’t think of one thing I would change about it – well except we had to use the pay phone in the basement of Yen King, it was located between the creepy bathrooms and the door that hides the pets they serve for dinner – it scarred me for life. I still can’t go down there. But I digress, I am so very blessed to have such an amazing sister and I look forward to at least another 25 years with her as my best friend.