Pink Peonies

This post requires a bit of backstory...

I love history, especially old architecture. Michael loves movies. Ann Arbor has two historic theatres - the State Theatre (opened in 1942) and the Michigan Theatre (opened in 1928). One weekend, one of Michael's favorite movies, True Romance, was playing at the Michigan Theatre. He was so excited to take me, and I was so excited to see the inside of the theatre! It was gorgeous! So much of the original still intact with a breathtaking lobby staircase and chandeliers. It even still has the original pipe organ, which is played before evening movies Thursday - Monday. It was a great evening for both of us, sharing things that we love.

Months later I was at Painting with a Twist and saw that you could do a painting of Michigan Theatre. What was weird about it, though, is that on the display canvas they had in the window, they had True Romance painted on the marquee! I was like oh my gosh this is perfect! I have to paint this for Michael! So I did - listing on the marquee True Romance and one of my favorite movies, Roman Holiday. It was super cute!

Fast forward like six months and we find out that Roman Holiday was going to be playing at the Michigan Theatre on February 14. How perfect is that? Naturally, we made plans to go. There was a special reception before the movie for members of the theatre... this detail will become important a little later.

After the movie, we were standing outside and Michael commented that I should take a picture of the marquee to match my picture from when we saw True Romance and the painting I had painted. I was bummed to see that they had already changed the marquee to list upcoming movies, but when I turned around, Michael was down on one knee! Of course, I said yes!

Later I found out that my dad's cousin was at the theatre that night. A friend of hers is a member of the theatre and invited her to the reception. She said that they were given little chocolates with the Michigan Theatre marquee stamped on them from Schakolad Chocolate Factory. Wouldn't that be the most perfect wedding favor? They obviously already have the mold, so we wouldn't have to get anything specially made. I thought that was such a cute idea to incorporate something we love/our engagement story!

We're planning a Fall 2017 wedding but Michael needs to meet with his advisor to hash out his last few semesters before we make a final decision. I keep going back and forth between having a small ceremony and reception (about 60 max), or doing a courthouse wedding with a dinner of about 30 afterward and using the money to go to France. Either way, we're going to France, but when depends on what we do wedding-wise. After Lucie's, we both just really want to keep it super small and simple and as stress free as possible. The idea of spending all of that money on people we rarely see just doesn't sit well with me. I don't care if we're blood relatives - if we don't ever see each other, why would I want to invite them to my wedding? I want a wedding that feels close, like a backyard BBQ. Just the people that are in our lives.

Anyway, I'm sure there will be tons of wedding talk in other entries, seeing as I can't quite make up my mind just yet.

The last big thing going on with us is Maisie, our 3-month-old Shih Tzu/Pomeranian mix. She's an absolute doll and has been wearing us out! She was rescued from a puppy mill and her foster moms pad trained her, so right now we're working on teaching her how to potty outside. We've had her for like three weeks now and she's doing alright with it. There are very few accidents in the house anymore, so she either goes outside or on the pad.

Isn't she the cutest?!

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Audrey - with balloons

Recap #2

In July of 2014, I bravely left my job at U of M Hospital after 7.5 years. It was scary to leave something and some place I knew so well, but it was way past time for me to move on. The department had been falling apart for years, and while I managed to stay out of a lot of it because of my unique position supporting the Administrative Manager, my mental health was suffering.

I was offered an administrative position on the academic side of the University, in the School of Public Health. To be honest, I really didn't understand what biostatistics was until months after I had started the job, but I'm so glad I took the leap and accepted the position. I started out in the department's front office, which has two people in it - the Student Administrative Associate Intermediate (me) and the Secretary Senior (Wendy). A main part of my job was to support Student Services, which meant I did a lot with admissions (MS and PhD level) and events like Prospective Student Day, Open House, etc. I also handled the travel logistics for weekly seminar speakers (mostly external) and general upkeep of the department like supply ordering, room reservations, and miscellaneous faculty and student requests.

During the summer of 2015, the department held its first summer research program (Big Data Summer Institute), spearheaded by our Associate Chair. The two of us built the entire thing from the bottom up, recruited a stellar cohort of 28 undergraduates from top institutions around the country, and brought them all to Ann Arbor for the month-long program. It was a huge success and a great accomplishment for me, and as a result, we have received well over $100k in funding from NSF, NIH, and other places to continue the program. This year we were able to accept 45 participants and extend the program to six weeks.

On June 28 of last year, Michael and I left our ~480 square foot apartment in Ypsi and moved into a 750 square foot place on the southwest side of Ann Arbor. If I thought I was turning into a city girl before, it's only gotten worse! Rarely do we have to go more than 10-15 minutes away for anything - even my "commute" to work is only about 12 minutes (approx. 3.5 miles). We live in a quiet building of all one-bedroom apartments, tucked away toward the front of the community with an extra large sliding door that opens up into a decently sized triangle of grassy yard that is blocked by a wooded creek. We often see squirrels and all sorts of different birds eating from our bird feeder, which gets emptied within just a few days. We've even had ducks, a skunk, and a woodchuck roaming around in our little yard. It's so nice to be in the city but not feel like it! Though I do miss the trains through Depot Town and the sound of the traffic on Cross Street during the rain.

Shortly after the Summer Institute and moving, the department was granted a full-time position handling accounts. Wendy was already doing some work with accounts in the Secretary Senior position, so she was promoted to the new accounts position and I was promoted to Secretary Senior. I now provide more specific support to our ~40 faculty, assist in faculty searches, still plan events like symposiums and workshops, and provide backup for the front office. I moved to the secondary side of the front office and work closely with Jamie, who was hired into my old position.

My little sister Lucie got engaged; she married her husband Andrew on May 14. It was a little stressful and emotional but everything went off without a hitch. Lucie looked so beautiful and I'm so happy for her and Andrew. They just got the keys to their first house last week and are in the process of cleaning, painting, and moving in. It is suuuuuuch a cute house, in a neighborhood, has great trees and a great deck. The only problem is it's 55 minutes away in Adrian :( But it's close to their jobs, church, and families so it only makes sense for them to stay out that way. Our parents moved from Clinton to Tipton so they're a little further away as well.

I think I'll do the rest in another entry. Behind the cut are a ton of photos. Those of you that knew me back when I was really active on LJ should not be surprised!

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Audrey - with balloons

First of Many

Can you believe it's been almost 3.5 years since I updated this thing? Life is soooo different now! I'm so different now!

A quick recap for those I've lost touch with: I'm Sabrina, now 30 years old, from Michigan.

In April of 2011 I moved out of my parents' house and into my first real apartment. I say first because in college I lived in a university apartment and didn't have any adult responsibilities like paying bills, worrying about making enough money, etc.

Michael and I started dating in November of 2011 and by about the next Spring, he slowly stopped going home (just down the street) and moved in. Now we're engaged and shooting for a Fall 2017 wedding (depending on his graduation date).

In the Spring of 2013 we got a guinea pig. Neither of us had any experience with them but we immediately fell in love. We named him Lemmiwinks and he was the most precious thing to me for so long. We can't even really remember what we did before Lemmiwinks came along.

A couple months later, we adopted a very young pig and named him Charlie. We actually took Lemmiwinks to meet a lot of rescued piggies and he very obviously loved Charlie from the moment they met. They were the best of brothers; Lemmiwinks the dominant one and Charlie happy to hide and follow his big brother around. Our hearts were so full. But approximately 2 months before Winksy's 3rd Gotcha Day, he died. As an adult, I don't ever remember hurting as much as I did then. It happened so quickly and he was gone so suddenly, I could barely function for awhile. He was so happy, loving, funny, and intelligent. It wasn't fair that he didn't get to live a long life like that. Never, ever will we get a pet store animal again. The conditions, back-to-back breeding, and poor health is just awful. I always worried about Winks, even after getting clean bills of health from our exotics vet. We originally took him to the emergency vet due to bloat, but he was getting better by the following day (eating and pooping). But when they went to check on him, he had gone into cardiac arrest. I hope he knows how much I loved him and how precious he was to me. His care and happiness was the most important thing to us for the longest time.

Shortly after Lemmiwinks' passing, we adopted an 8-week old boar. It was actually pretty quick, but it is recommended that you quarantine a new pig for 3 weeks and I couldn't imagine Charlie being alone for so long. Someone had posted in an animal group on Facebook and it broke my heart to read that this little guy got "a carrot" or "a broccoli" 2-3 times a week. I contacted the poster and drove out to Jackson on a Saturday to get him. He was such a tiny little thing, a beautiful dark black with fur that felt like feathers. He has a little brown spot on the top of his head. We named him Salem (Sabrina... Salem... get it?). We introduced him and Charlie after 2 weeks of quarantine and they've been happy ever since. For the first week or so, Salem talked all the time. It was like he had to tell Charlie his entire life story up until that point. Charlie adjusted to being the big brother and we really haven't had any issues. Occasionally Salem will want to play more than Charlie, but that was common with Charlie and Lemmiwinks as well. Charlie's just really laid back and likes to be under his bed a lot. We see a lot of Lemmiwinks in Salem as he gets older - some of his mannerisms and the things he likes to do, how happy-go-lucky he is and chill. He was a perfect addition to our little family.

I've been holding onto this post for forever so I'll update later with what else has been going on. It's good to be back :)