Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Baby Jesus Chronicles

December 23, 2005: A baby Jesus was taken from a Nativity Scene outside a family's home. Eight months later, baby Jesus returns along with a small booklet showing pictures of baby Jesus traveling all over New York state.

Sounds like something we would do... :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry (First) Christmas!

Sam & I had our 2nd annual tour of Christmases this weekend, though it's our first time as a married couple!

We started off on Saturday night with Sam's parents. Sunday was with the extended Steenbergen family, and Monday was with the Zoets. Monday night Sam and I opened each other's stockings & gifts (for the first time ever married)!

Here you can see some of our booty.Sam got a baseball album and official MLB stickers, a "SAM'S" shirt (from a store in Ann Arbor), and pink Puma sneakers (there are a few other things, but they're not pictured due to space limitations).

I got my glasses (which I had opened a little earlier), a Bubble Island T-shirt, personalized M&M's (they said "This is Fun" and "My Honey"), and gift certificates to Amer's & Bubble Tea (again, I got few more things, but space is limited).

Merry Christmas to all! I hope you've all had a wonderful holiday! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 22, 2006

Baby Table!

Now that the shower-in-the-bag is completed, we can post this here. We'll keep it updated with pictures now and then so you can see the progress.

We're all excited for the new baby! Posted by Picasa

Post-Game Celebration

Jim Leyland (the Tigers' manager) being carried off the field on his players' shoulders.

Sean Casey having fun with champagne.

Kenny Rogers (the pitcher, not the singer) dumps champagne on the Fox Sports announcer after the game. Posted by Picasa

American League Divisional Series- Game 5

Sam's Dad got two tickets for game 5 of the ALDS at Tiger Stadium vs. the Yankees. The stadium was packed and very loud. It was a great experience after attending so many dismally populated games during the Tiger's bad years.

A view of Detroit from Comerica Park.

The Tiger's won (easily and convincingly I might add) and clinched the Divisonal series over the Yankees. There was quite a celebration afterwards. Posted by Picasa

This is a Large Church

Sunday we went to a super large Baptist church. They have a glass baptismal tub built above the choir loft, and it seemed well used (there were two baptisms the service we attended).

It was more of a cultural experience than a spiritual one. I appreciate my church's views more now... Posted by Picasa

Beale Street

Beale Street is the Memphis version of the French Quarter in New Orleans. It's legal to drink on the streets (though they close it down to motor traffic). It's the classic blues club location, though it's become pretty commercialized. This picture shows the sign for B.B. King's place.

When in Rome... Posted by Picasa


The other place we had to stop for BBQ was Corky's. I didn't actually take a picture of Corky's, but I did get one of the Delorean outside the restaurant. Someone had clearly broken into it: the flux capicator was missing. Posted by Picasa


The real reason we went to Memphis was the barbeque of course. One of the Steenbergen's favorites is the Commissary, located in Germantown, very near where they used to live. Sam loooooooves it! (I did too!)

It was a good thing my Mama wasn't nearby. Sam's wasn't so lucky...

The Germantown Commissary. Try the pulled pork, but save room for the banana pudding. It's as good as the barbeque sauce. (We came home with more than one bottle of the sauce.) Posted by Picasa

The Peabody Ducks

Here we are watching the famous Peabody ducks at the Peabody Hotel. Every morning they march the ducks downstairs into the fountain. Every afternoon they march the ducks upstairs to their pens. Evidentally it started with two guys, two ducks, and probably more than two drinks of Jack Daniels.

As you can see, it's quite an occaision. I'd make some crack about that, but we were there watching too. When in Rome... Posted by Picasa


So, the story goes like this:
Sam was watching a show on the best of regional barbecues on the Food Network. One of the regional stops was Memphis, where the Steenbergens lived for a year. They showed a places that Sam liked. The next morning at work Sam's Mom asked if Sam had seen the show. I guess the trip to Memphis was planned by the end of the day. (This was over Labor Day- so I'm a little behind...)

Here's the Pyramid in Memphis (get it? As if it's Egypt instead of Tenessee?). It's an arena where the local college and the Memphis Grizzlies either played or still play their basketball games. We're not sure if the Grizzlies still play there.

A view of the bridge to Alabama. This marks the closest I've ever been to Alabama. Who knew Memphis was so far away?

Looking toward downtown Memphis from Mud Island Park in the Mississippi River. You can see part of the scale model of the Mississippi River that runs all through the park (I believe it's the delta). It's pretty cool, definitely worth a stop.

Downtown Memphis. There's a trolley that runs back and forth through the center of town and a pedestrian only road. Kinda neat, but the trolley is pretty useless other than looking cool. Posted by Picasa

The Last Day

The morning after Gujo-Hachiman Sam & I were leaving to go back to the States. It was a very memorable trip, and we were definitely excited and grateful to see Meika & Mike and have them act as our tourguides.

We'll offer to babysit young 'Gus when you get back as repayment...but only after she's potty trained. :) Posted by Picasa

Raining in Hachiman

We took a taxi up to the castle in the pouring rain. The taxi driver didn't speak a lick of English, and Meika & Mike's Japanese isn't perfect either, but he was a very nice man. We thought the castle was closed, but the gate was open so we went in. Later we saw the guy running it, and he refused to let us pay our admission fee. They didn't speak a lick of English in Gujo-Hachiman, but they certainly bent over backward to make you feel welcome.

Here's a picture of the town from the top of the castle. This picture is after the rain slowed a bit. At first the pictures were looking very grey. Note the highway tucked against the mountains. As I recall, the ride to Gujo-Hachiman involved a lot of tunnels. Posted by Picasa

Gujo-Hachiman the Third

Another pretty view of houses along the river.

Many places have statues of beckoning kitties in Japan, but in Gujo-Hachiman, they have a beckoning frog! Someone was very excited about this. This may be the cutest picture I took in all of Japan.

Besides Obon, Gujo-Hachiman is also known for being the place that started making plastic food dishes for display outside restaurants (a common thing in Japan). Evidentally there is a plastic food factory in town that will let you make a lettuce leaf (we didn't find it). We did find the plastic food store, however. Sam thinks she's funny. :)
 Posted by Picasa

Gujo-Hachiman 2

Here I am enjoying the spring water. It was some very good tasting water. As far as water has taste anyway...

The Hachiman castle overlooking the town. It was raining heavily off and on the whole time we were in Gujo-Hachiman, which we rather enjoyed, since it was actually somewhat cool instead of stifling hot (we also had umbrellas).

A statue of a boy and girl doing the traditional Obon dance. If you get a chance, ask Mike to do his interpretation of the Obon dance. He's been told it's "Ch-ch-ch-choto chigaimus!" I may have misspelled that.

Note the gutter with flowing water. Evidentally these gutters were put all through the town after a large fire in the 1600's or so. Many houses still had a red "fire bucket" hanging outside their house in case of emergency. It was pretty interesting, though I imagine people who live there have to go to the bathroom a lot. Posted by Picasa

Gujo-Hachiman: Your Obon Destination

We were in Japan during the Obon holiday (the reason Mike was on vacation), and Gujo-Hachiman is a little town that specializes in Obon parties. We were originally planning to go to Takayama, but it turned out to be too far away for a day trip, so we "settled" for Gujo-Hachiman. It turned out to be the highlight of our trip!

Here we are walking into Gujo-Hachiman. It's a very traditional town (no firebombings here). Note the decorations up for Obon.

Water and the river are very prominent in Gujo-Hachiman. Also very scenic...

Looking downstream (I believe). It sure was purty.

This is a natural spring that is named after a well-known poet from the area. Evidentally it is renowned for the purity of its water. Posted by Picasa