Tuesday, August 24, 2010

i love my neighbors but...

I'm really really REALLY jealous of their flowers!!!!

Jealous, covetous, envious, and on and on.

They ALWAYS have beautiful flowers on their balcony. And I literally mean ALWAYS.

This is what I see when I walk home from my bus stop. The white building is my apartment building (the back side). Remember the awful green apartment building they built last year? Yeah, the green is still there, and ugly as ever. Look at those ominous clouds! ooooooooooh.

So, as you can see -- the 3rd balcony from the top is loaded with flowers. Guess who's apartment that is?

not mine.

up close. they are so pretty.

One of my goals this year is to have flowers inside and outside my apt. that last more than 9 months. You may be laughing (shorty) and of little faith, but I am bound and determined to have some!

So here's the plan. I figured -- my green-thumbed neighbors obviously know stuff about flowers and plants, as they have them all over (there's also a plant at the entrance to their place, and I've seen several plants inside as I've casually walked by a few times...). They have the same amount of sunlight and north and south windows, as I do -- so whatever it is that they are growing, technically I should be able to grow the same ones at my place.

You may remember that I have oh so badly tried to be friends with them, though it is a S.L.O.W process. But I decided that I'm going to ask them about their flowers, ask them if they would be so kind as to give me a few pointers, and then it'd be like killing 2 birds in one stone -- being friends with them and getting nice flowers.

The only two problems I foresee with this plan is that first, it's almost September, and I don't think flowers are to be planted in the fall... and secondly, I'm really really nervous to talk to them!!!! I've had such "interesting" experiences with them in the past! Oh man. But I mean, how badly do I want pretty flowers?

We will see what happens.

And just for fun... I was downtown this morning, running a couple of errands and they had these "pots" of flowers in one of the main squares. Wow. Wow. Wow. All real of course.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

my grandpa is home.

My Grandpa went to be with the Lord yesterday morning. He's finally home!

Him and most of his grand kids at Christmas a few years ago

Lindsay and him at the same Christmas

What a great example of a life fully and consistently lived for the Lord. What a blessing to have been his granddaughter.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Halle and Melissa take a walk and eat raspberries

Halle came back to Rennes yesterday (woohoo!!) and we spent a lovely evening together, making dinner, catching up, taking a walk, and eating raspberries.

We walked around the countryside right around where I live -- it's my favorite place to walk in Rennes. The roads are small and curvy, there are fields, farms, cows, gardens, and it makes me feel right at home.

I made Halle stand next to the corn to show the farmers back home how tall it was. So tall and green!

And we saw lots of berries!!

Shorty, are those mulberries? I can't tell.
Rennes has "garden plots" in different areas around the city, and people can rent these plots to have a garden. Usually there is no room in your backyard (if you have a backyard) and so it's a nice way to grow a garden. Some of them are bigger than others, and they all have a little fence and gate around them to section them off. On my little walk, the winding roads lead to one of these such garden plots. I love going down there, seeing what everyone is growing, looking at the flowers, and eating things out of one of the gardens.

I must clarify, and say that I don't eat out of just ANY garden, although it is tempting as the gates aren't locked and the fences aren't high...

I mean, how could you resist?? Look at how beautiful it is!

One of the French families on my staff team have a little garden (not the one pictured above), conveniently not too far from my house.

I consider it my neighborly duty to check on their garden and sample their products. It's a great snack as it's kind of a half way mark back to my apartment. Muahaha.

Last night on our walk, I decided to show Halle their garden, and we discovered that they had a multitude of ripe raspberries growing on their bushes! YUM!!! And it JUST SO HAPPENS that this French family is away on vacation for another week, so we reasoned that if did not pick and eat them, they would just rot and go to waste.
I suppose we will tell them about it when they come home... but a year or so ago, when they discovered that it wasn't little animals eating their produce, just their beloved colleague, they readily agreed to let me keep sampling. At least that's what I understood from their communication! Perhaps it was lost in translation? :)

Friday, August 20, 2010


There are definitely perks to living in France...

This was breakfast this morning. I met up with my friend Joanna at a little bakery. She had the chocolate filled one, I had the raisin one.

It was gooooooood. The raisin one is my Mama's favorite!

Monday, August 16, 2010


One of my favorite things about having been back in the land of the free and the home of the brave is spending time with my cousins. I didn't get to see everybody or spend as much time as I would've liked with them. But the times we did have together were great.

and these are my beautiful sisters. :)

and my good looking brother!
These are quality people, I'm telling ya. I will miss them all so much.

Speaking of missing everyone -- tomorrow morning I board a plane that will take me back to Europe for the next couple of years. The reality of leaving is sinking in today and I'm sad to leave all the greatness that is Kansas, especially the people... I'm really excited to go back, but who likes saying goodbye and leaving?

I'm sure I'll be looking at all of these pictures a lot in the next couple of weeks! I am so blessed with such a wonderful, beautiful family.

Monday, August 9, 2010

just peachy

I know that this is a "pit"-iful blog title (HA!!), but I couldn't think of anything more clever.

My dear friend Abby called me up last week and asked me if I wanted to go pick peaches with her. Jumping at the chance to do anything new (I've never picked peaches before) I of course agreed.

And today was the day that it happened.

We had a peach of a time, both picking and eating...

Abby climbed to the top of the ladder to get all of the good peaches... but when she reached the top, there were none! someone had come along before us and picked them all. It seemed so picturesque -- the ladder, the tree, Abby, no peaches... :)

My Mom just wanted a few for eating, hence the small basket. NOT because I spent the whole time lounging in the tree.

Abby, I had a GREAT time and would "pick" you to do things with any day! :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

vacation or slave labor?

As many of you know, our loving, selfless and caring parents (please note careful choice of adjectives) decided that for the 4 nights of family vacation that were spent in the cabin, the children would do the cooking. And not just the cooking, but the clean up as well.

This was not a suggestion.

They were inspired after a visit with some friends from Iowa. They were going to have the children do the cooking, and not only that, but to make it a contest to see who the best cooks of the family were.

Their reasoning:
1) they didn't have to cook
2) what a great bonding experience it would be for the kids
3) they didn't have to do dishes or clean up.

After the initial shock of finding out that we (the kids) weren't really going to be on vacation, but rather, slaving away in the kitchen, we actually got excited. What can I say, we're all competitive, and we had faith that the grand prize we were promised for the winner, would be worth it.

My Dad was the ring leader. He arrived in Montana with a typed up chart with 10 different categories, each category valuing 10 points (making a possible total of 100 points) to grade / score us on. He was EXCITED!

These were the categories (sorry for the unnecessary, empty table...):
1. On time
2. Creativity
3. Skill level required
4. Adequate quantities
5. Level of undesirable elements
6. Overall taste quality
7. Meal presentation
8. Conversation around the table
9. Cooks' pleasant demeanor
10. Clean-up

Just a side note -- an example of the "level of undesirable elements" would be if we had too many mushrooms in our food, we would get many points taken away, as my Dad does not enjoy them at all.

We thought this to be VERY subjective and NOT at all fair, but he assured us that our Mother was there to help balance things out. She actually loves mushrooms, so our rating would be "ok".

The menus had to be planned of course beforehand, so we could take along all possible ingredients from home, just stopping at a store to get cold stuff once we arrived in Montana.

It was hard deciding what to make!! We couldn't' do anything TOO fancy, but we didn't want to make mac and cheese... although we did consider the possibility of forming an alliance -- the 4 of us against my parents and cooking mac and cheese EVERY night, you know, just to show them who was boss. But we really didn't want to eat mac and cheese every night either.

After much discussion, laughter and planning, here's what we decided on:

Night #1: Andrew and Melissa
Food: Bbq meatballs, pasta salad, baked beans
Theme: cowboy!
Exceptional quality: Each person's silverware was wrapped in a bandanna
Fun: We had two discussion questions and only the person wearing the cowboy hat could answer.

Night #2: Erika and Lindsay
Food: Make your own pita pizzas, salad, watermelon
Exceptional Quality: We could choose what we wanted on our pizzas, AND we were served an appetizer of chips and guacamole

Night #3 Lindsay and Melissa

Uh oh. We have no pictures to document our marvelous meal. I was taking the pictures for the other nights and we were having too much fun to remember to take them on our own night.


Food: Crescent chicken, salad, watermelon
Theme: Little House on the Prairie
Exceptional Quality: before our meal, we assigned everyone a character from Little House on the Prairie -- we pinned them on their backs and they had to guess who they were. Then throughout the meal we had to talk in character. :) I don't think Erika enjoyed being Nellie. Muahahaha.

Night #4: Andrew and Erika
Food: Enchiladas and salad
Exceptional Quality: hmmmm.... My half of an enchilada was not made from a tortilla shell, but from left over pita bread. oops. I guess they were trying to use up ingredients. I would've docked points.

So those were the meals! We all got scores over 97%. My Mom assured me that she would've given us each 100% just because it was "so wonderful to see you all working together in the kitchen". My Dad had other views.

And guess who the overall winner was?

scoring a 98% on both his nights.

Of course now he thinks he's the best cook in the family. Forget that he had help from his dear sisters. Oh dear.

Oh, and the grand prize? We have yet to see that...

I suppose it was a good experience. If I must say so. :)

And just for kicks, on the first night (before our cooking contest started) we made Dad be in charge of the meal. His meal consisted of: a roasted chicken from walmart, bag of chips, salad and watermelon. please note Erika and Lindsay's look of disdain at the non-homemade food. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dorsch Family Vacation. Holler.

I just got back from one of the best EVER family vacations. While it is true that there haven't been too many of them with all 6 of us together, we all agreed that this was one of the most fun, relaxing, family-bonding and memory-making ones we've had.

The trip started out with picking up our dear brother Andrew from the airport in Denver (he's a resident of Minnesota), and then with a van full of Dorsches, we made our way to a beautiful cabin in Mammoth, Montana. We returned to Denver 1 week later to drop Andrew back off at the airport so he could get back to Minnesota. We made wonderfully interesting, historic, entertaining and insightful stops along the way, as you will soon see.

Our whole family LOVES history. And, having played the Oregon Trail computer game millions of times when we were younger, we were beside ourselves with glee when we found out we could go see Independence Rock in Wyoming -- a famous, halfway mark for the pioneers as they traveled West. We (the children) of course wanted to climb to the top and survey the land as the pioneers had once done. And, being the grown up, mature, and obedient chlidren that we are, we decided to NOT heed our Mother's advice of putting on our tennis shoes, and instead, ran up the rock barefoot. The final outcome -- we all got multiple heat blisters on the bottom of our feet. OUCH. When asked about the state of her feet, the young, but wise sister Erika painfully said, "they hurt".

We felt it was all part of the Pioneer experience, as they endured much suffering and pain (heat blisters probably being the least of their worries). But, feeling like we could better sympathize with them, we all limped back to our car, and continued on our journey.

The next exciting, historic stop was Custer's Last Stand (Battle of the Little Bighorn). This was especially exciting for my Dad, who is a wealth of knowledge in all historic battles. I didn't really know what picture to choose to capture our experience, as the majority of the pictures I have are of tombstones, and markers where men fell... This is a marker (not a tombstone) where Custer was killed on the battlefield. He and all 217 (or so) men were killed.

We finally made it to what would be our home over the next 4 days -- a wonderfully, cozy, beautifully situated cabin in the mountains of Montana. Lots of fun ensued.

The traditional arm wrestling between Father and Son. Guess who won? :) Leave your answer in a comment and we'll see if you are right!

Oh, and I should explain the bandannas... Andrew and I gave them out to our family on our "cooking night" (I'll share more about that at a later date). It was quite the family trend to wear them day after day!

Lindsay thought she found gold at the old mine. :)

Aren't they just the cutest? So lovey-dovey and bandanna-ey.

picture taken AFTER the hike. we're of course faking the tired-ness... :)

have you ever seen the movie "A Man From Snowy River"? It's one of the greatest movies of all times, and a definite family favorite. Lindsay was re-enacting the part where Jim finds the hoof prints of Jess's horse Kip. She's recognizing the horse by its horseshoe. She's so mountain-man like.

Please feel free to have a big laugh at my hair standing straight up on top of my head. The irony is that we're standing in front of "Old Faithful" at Yellowstone... the hot spring that shoots up into the air...

The Teton Mountains, which, to me are prettier than the Rockies. GORGEOUS!
Of course, no Dorsch family vacation would be complete without singing along to the soundtracks of Fidler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera, Newsies and Oklahoma!
And then, just one short week later, we were back in Kansas. Flat Kansas. But isn't it beautiful?

I mean, Dan, don't you think this rivals the beauty of Bozeman or Billings, MT? :)