Friday, December 29, 2006

It's Finally Here!

Yes, the iPod has arrived. She (yes it's a she) is so small and slim and yet so filled with power and space. Ahhhh. Now I need accessories. I need a case and a car converter and speakers and a radio dock and...

Today was busy at work again. I got most of my end of the year stuff done and then proceeded to clean out the back copy room. I threw away about 3 heavy duty garbage bags of stuff we'd accumulated over 3 years of work. It feels good to get that room organized. Now if only I could get motivated to clean the storage room. That room scares me.

I heard my mom swear for the first time in recent memory tonight. We were talking about a frustrating issue in her life and she said "*ss*holes". Shocking! I know! It's funny when your friends swear but it's just plain wrong to hear curse words coming from your mommy. If only she knew what has come out of my mouth these past 6 months. Heh.

Tomorrow is my family's Christmas shin dig. I am finally done with all the shopping and stuff associated with this but am going out with my mom tomorrow to shop and get a wedding present for upcoming nuptuals. I also need to pick up some photos at Walgreens. Not sure what Mom needs to get.

We are having friends over on New Year's Eve. Our tradition is to struggle to stay awake until midnight and then everyone leaves at 12:01 and we go to bed. Yeah, we are just that wild. Party on!

Let's see what else is there to blog about tonight? Um, I synched my iPod and uploaded my music, podcasts, and photos; I paid some bills; I did laundry; I organized all the photos in my laptop according to month and year; and that's about it. I lead a glamerous and exciting life.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Waiting on the iPod

Canoe Racers On Parade
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
This is the photo that won me third place in my hometown’s photo contest. I like it but I don’t think it’s anything special. In perusing all the photos I sent in for consideration, I can find at least a half dozen that I like better. Still, I’m not complaining. I did mail back the other honorable mention award. I emailed the person on the chamber that contacted me first and she emailed me back saying they would find the person responsible for that particular photo and get the gift certificate back to them. I hope so. If my photo won something but was attributed to someone else, I would be so pissed. I hope they find the person that took that photo.

Yesterday a woman from the MDA magazine contacted me by email and wanted information on what it’s like to live in an apartment when one of you is handicapped. I emailed her back all the info I had. I hope she uses our experience in her article to help others who may need the information. In the meantime, the info I gave her spurs me to contact our management office to see if they will implement some accessible things to this apartment in order to make things easier for Bob.

Work was busy again today. I was crazy busy until I stopped to look at the clock and saw it was 4pm. Wow! Where did the time go? Tomorrow we get off early. I am going to go and do a little bit of last minute Christmas shopping before my family Christmas shin dig on Saturday. I like work when it’s busy. I especially like work when I am doing the job I was hired to do and not a bunch of crappy made up jobs to fill time.

Speaking of the family Christmas shin dig, my Grandma called me tonight to ask where my parents might be. She was expecting them and they weren’t there. I got worried thinking my grandma was farther gone that I believed. But she told me my dad had had a business meeting in Prairie Du Chien and had told her they would just come to her place directly from the meeting rather than go all the way home and come back here tomorrow. Dad called around 8:30 to confirm they were at Grandma’s and he had indeed changed plans. Mom said she had emailed me the change of plans but I don’t think so. I think I would have remembered that. Or maybe I suffer from her illness of just skimming email instead of reading it in depth. Whatever. They are here and they are safe and everyone is happy.

I am taking next Friday off in order to be available to help Bob’s sister with the memorial preparations. If she doesn’t need me, I will be there to help Bob buy a suit. He doesn’t have one and I think he needs one for his father’s memorial service. I’m not sure where we will come up with the cash, but we always have what we need, so I’m not too worried.

The iPod still hasn’t shown up, though through completely anal refreshing of the tracking page, I see that it’s been shipped. Man, I wish it would get here already. Last night Bob and I worked side by side in our office, all the while listening to the music I’d uploaded to my computer. Bob asked me if it was all music I had picked. I said it was though that most of it was from CDs I’d uploaded versus tunes from the net. He then said, “You know, you have great taste in music Babe!” Funny how after 5 years of music there are still things that can surprise you about your spouse.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Tree Shakeup

Don't all the cats look calm and peaceful in that photo? Yeah, looks are deceiving. I came out to the living room this morning to engage in my usual morning ritual. What did I find? Why, I found the cat tree tipped over, the Christmas tree knocked into the wall and ornaments scattered all over. It looked like Christmas exploded in our dining room. I managed to right the two trees and put some ornaments back. I don’t usually take the Christmas stuff down until New Year’s weekend so I don’t want to clean it all up and put it away. I just put the majority of spilled ornaments in a box and set it aside for when I clean it all up on the 1st. Naughty little monkeys!

Today work was much like the old days. We finally did some good business and I was busy on my actual job ALL DAY! No filler work, no looking for something to do, no picking up stray projects. It was awesome.

We received word that Bob’s dad’s funeral is tomorrow at 11. His burial is Saturday in WI (he is going to be buried next to his 2nd wife and yet his 3rd wife still lives), and his memorial service is the 6th. We are bringing meat and cheese trays for afterwards. His obit should run on the 4th or thereabouts. Bob’s sister has taken on almost all of the planning and arranging of the details. I have offered our help; hence the meat and cheese trays.

The other day I was in our local grocery store. I was in the cat food aisle when this distraught lady came up to me. She began to tell me the life story of the new kitten she adopted from the Humane Society. Turns out said kitten is no longer eating. She wanted to know what she should do. I don’t think I looked like someone who should know these things, but as luck would have it, I do know some about these things thanks to a husband who was a certified vet tech. I asked the lady if she implemented set feeding times or if she just left the food out all day. She said she left it out all day. I told her she should begin to use two set feeding times, once in the morning and once in the evening. I asked her what kind of food she was feeding the kitten. She told me and I said she should really go to the petfood warehouse and purchase one of the two or three better brands of food and NOT to switch it. Once she finds a brand, she should stick with it. Then I told her she could buy some wet food that day and see if the kitten liked that. If she did, she should mix it with the dry while incrementally increasing the dry until it was all dry. I know some experts think cats should only eat wet food but I think the dry is fine. It helps with teeth and their poos aren’t as gross. She thanked me as though I had just given her the secret of life and went on her way. When I got home, I told Bob what had happened and he laughed and said he is glad he had taught me something in our 5 years of marriage.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Good Sleep

Sisters Sleeping it off
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Much like this photo of our now full-size kittens, Bob was able to get some really good sleep last night. I don’t know if it’s because he was exhausted from all he went through over the holiday weekend or if it’s because of his new Cuddle Ewe under quilt. Whatever it was, I am thankful. He does really like his Cuddle Ewe though. He said it’s like sleeping on a cloud and it makes his hospital bed feel like a bed made for a king.

I forgot to mention that for Christmas dinner, I made spaghetti pie. You make your noodles and sauce like you normally would. When the noodles are done, you mix them with 2 already beaten eggs and a half cup of parmesan cheese. Then you spread that “crust” into a pie plate and top with ricotta cheese and your sauce (I added meat to our sauce). Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes then add mozzarella cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes. It was a new recipe for us and quite tasty. Upon completion of his portion, Bob declared that I can make it again. Heh. We thought a meal of some kind of Italian food would be a nice Christmas Eve dinner tradition. Not that every year will bring spaghetti pie. I was going to make a baked ziti but found this recipe and thought it sounded easy and yummy at the same time.

Last night I made my friend Laura’s recipe for “date” chicken (a recipe she would make for men she was dating. I worked because she’s married with 2 kids now.). Basically it’s just chicken breasts coated in a mixture of bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning and then baked. After baking for 30 minutes, add a mixture of butter, white wine, and parsley. It’s one of our favorite dishes. I added mashed potatoes, some stuffing, and green beans with rosemary. I haven’t been really doing a lot of cooking for Bob lately and I thought that having a couple of days off would be a good reason to get back into the cooking swing of things.

I thought I had missed my annual opportunity to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Imagine my surprise and delight to find it showing on NBC on Christmas Eve. Bob hadn’t yet come home and dinner was made, just not baked. So I settled in to watch one of my all-time favorite movies. I see it every year and every year I cry when Mr. Gower beats George and at the end when George sees the impact his life had had on his friends and family. This year I was struck by the determination Mary had in loving George her whole life, even when it seemed as though he might move far away. I also grieve with George the loss of what he thinks of as his dream and purpose. He intended to set out to make a name for himself. He wanted to build the large, the huge, and the grandiose. Instead, circumstances and fate seemed hell-bent on keeping him in Bedford Falls where through determination, integrity, generosity, and grit he builds bridges of love, friendship, hope, and faith. In the tangible, he builds houses and homes for those otherwise reduced to living in slums or renting. In reality, he builds men and families and friendship. He truly is the richest man in town and I always hope by the end of the movie he actually sees that. I always wanted an epilogue or sequel that shows how his quiet, steady life affected his family, friends, and town 5, 10, 25 years later. Man, I love that movie.

I spent the better part of yesterday downloading iTunes and then using an iTunes gift certificate to download songs onto my computer. Everyone in the world must have been doing the same thing since it took me several tries to download some songs. I kept getting an error message saying there was a problem with the store and to try back later. I even exported songs from some of my CDs. I think I might need to clean off my computer to find more memory. I have TONS of photos and now lots of songs stored on my hard drive. I think I need to invest in a jump drive to back everything up so I don’t lose it. I can’t wait until my iPod arrives and I can then synch it to my computer and then get my music to go. Bob and I had fun rocking out to some of my old 80’s music and some of the new tunes I had downloaded.

It’s Tuesday but it feels like Monday. Oh, how I wish it were Friday though. Still no word on the funeral/memorial service details for Bob’s dad. Bob is doing remarkably well. I think he’s been grieving the loss of his dad for a long time. Bob’s dad left their family when he was quite young and he still grieves that loss. Then, later, when Bob was older and reconnected with his dad, well, it wasn’t the magical Disney reunion and that hurt as well. Still, Bob loved his dad and was able to convey that to him more than once in that past 10 years, so that’s good. We actually expected Bob’s dad to pass around this time last year after a bout of cancer and subsequent surgery and treatment. The fact that he pulled through and lived an active life for 11 more months is really a testimony to his strength and determination to live the best life he could up to the end. Thanks to those of you who have sent your condolences. I have passed the on to Bob and he wanted me to say thank you. So, thank you!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Bob's Dad and Stepmom
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
We got the call this morning. Bob's dad passed away around 11 last night. He got to spend Christmas with the birthday Boy.

Other stuff seems so unimportant right now, but other than receiving that phone call, we have had a very nice Christmas.

Bob loved the presents I got him and said he felt completely and utterly spoiled which is exactally what I was going for. He deserves to be spoiled. I am happy to make his day.

I got my iPod. Any suggestions on songs? I actually haven't received it yet. I got the money for it and ordered it online. It should be here something this next week. I don't know what the momentous first song should be. Any suggestions, please email me or leave a comment.

In the meantime, please love on your family, tell them you love and appreciate them, and have a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas Eve

Still no word from Bob's dad. He must be hanging on. Bob said he would hang on until Christmas day and he seems to be doing just that.

Bob went Christmas shopping for me today. Typical male. Hee.

I baked cookies today. You know Santa needs fresh ones, not store bought or stale cookies. I baked my very favorite cookies. They are called Peanut blossoms. They have a Brach's chocolate star in the middle and are quite yummy. I made enough to give to 3 of our neighbors and still have enough left for Santa and us. However, true to form lately, as the mixer is beating and I crack an egg into the mixture, half the shell falls in. Instead of turning the mixer off, I managed to hit high speed and mix the shell into the batter. I think I got most of it out though. Still, if our neighbors or Santa eats one and tastes a shell, well, that's about par for my course.

Bob bought battery opperated lights to string on his wheelchair. He likes to get into the spirit. Tonight we opened one package from each other. He opened the box of business cards I made/ordered for him. I got a holiday projector from him. Yeah, you read that right. A little projector that projects a message onto an outside wall. That's his idea of a good Christmas gift to me. Not that I don't like it. I do. It's just that as a gift, it's not exactally what I would choose for myself. However, it is right now projecting a message of "Happy Holidays" to all on our outside balcony wall.

Merry Christmas Eve to all and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Day Before the Day Before Christmas

Lights Afire
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
The day started with a call from Bob's sister. She said Bob's dad was now unconscious and his breathing was labored. They don't expect him to hang in there much longer. Yet, it's almost 9pm now and we still haven't received the call saying he has passed.

I had a lovely morning after that phone call. I tuned our satellite TV to the classical Christmas station and read a book I had on loan from the library. I had my book, my coffee, and some lovely Christmas music and it was a great way to spend the morning.

Once Bob woke up, I helped him get ready to go to the station and then I got our laundry pretreated and took it to the Laundromat. It takes me about 3 hours to get it done.

I had JUST gotten home and put everything away when I got a frantic call from Bob. He had had an accident of the colonic persuasion and needed clean clothes stat. I grabbed some and ran them over to him at the station. I put his dirty clothes in a plastic bag and took them to our building laundry room only to find it occupied. Just want I wanted to do, more laundry. But poor Bob. His tummy is not happy. I hope he makes it through the rest of the shift OK.

The mail brought fun stuff yesterday and today. In the past three days I have received a birthday gift card to Pier One, a thank you gift card to Barnes and Noble, a Christmas gift card to Target, and dozens of Christmas cards, notes, letters, and photos.

The mail brought one more fun surprise today. Months ago I entered a photo contest sponsored by my former home town's Chamber of Commerce. Today I received word that two of my photos had won! One photo won 3rd place and one photo won honorable mention. The only problem is that I didn't take the photo that won the honorable mention. I don't know who took it, but I sent my award for that photo back to the Chamber of Commerce with a note explaining why it was being returned. It's kind of a bummer, but at least the photo that is actually mine won 3rd place! Score. This is the first time in my whole life that my photography has won anything. It's a very nice Christmas present to me.

Today I was thinking of Bob's dad and of family and of traditions. Bob and I have been married for five years and we don't really have any traditions of our own for the holidays yet. We do put up/out the Christmas decorations during Thanksgiving weekend and take them down/put away New Year's weekend. We spoke yesterday about the next step in pursuing adoption. The next step is attending an information meeting at the agency. Bob said he was excited to go to that meeting. Then he asked if I preferred a boy or a girl. I said I had no preference. He also asked if I preferred a baby or a child and I said I no preference there either. We both agreed that we would go to the meeting to gather what information we could and proceed from there. We talked about starting a tradition of opening family presents on Christmas Eve and saving 1 present from "Santa" and stockings to open on Christmas day. Maybe by the time we actually have kids, we will actually also have traditions.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bob and his dad

Bob and his dad
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Bob's dad is dying. He's been sick for a while so it's not a big surprise. What is a surprise is how long he has managed to hold on and keep going.

I talked to Bob's sister who has been with their dad and she said it shouldn't be long. The doctors were going to do this and do that but instead just decided to make him comfortable until the end. He was bleeding out of his mouth and nose yesterday and his organs are slowly shutting down. It could be days. It could be hours. But the man Bob knows as his dad is not long for this world.

Bob hasn't had a close relationship with his dad partly because of proximity but mostly because of history. Yet he loves him and made his peace with him years ago. His death brings the end of hoping for more and yet all that could be done was done.

I wish him peace as he crosses from this life to the next and hope peace and healing can come to every member of this broken family before it's too late.


Pine Encased in Ice
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
We did get our snow but it came after the rain, sleet, and ice. Everything is sparkly because it is encased in ice and then topped with wet, fluffy snow. It truly is a winter wonderland. I just need to get used to walking on slippery surfaces again after last year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Snow Has Come

snowy road
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
I know Colorado got hit with some big snow so this is nothing comparatively speaking, but we are getting some snow ourselves. It started out as rain icing over the trees, signs, lights, and wires. An hour after I got back from lunch, it turned to snow and came floating down in the largest flakes I’ve ever seen. It looked as though someone had sliced open hundreds of feathered pillows and dropped the contents from a great height. After a while, the flakes started coming faster and faster. We could not see passed a few feet in front of our windows. A bunch of people left work early so as to avoid the idiots on the drive home. However, if everyone leaves early and is on the roads, does that suggest that some may be idiot drivers themselves? Just wondering.

Bob surprised me by dropping by to take me to lunch. We went to an Irish pub just up the street. It was exactly the right kind of food for today. Stick to your ribs comfort food that was warm and hearty. Bob had the fish and chips and I had the potato leek soup with a nice grilled cheese on rye. So good. Bob did say next time he visited this particular establishment he would like to try the bangers and mash. I said I would like to try the shepherds pie but then was also thinking the corn beef and cabbage sounded good so who knows. Anyway, it was a nice surprise to eat lunch with my husband.

When Bob stopped by, he had just come from seeing the Orthopedist. It ended up being kind of waste of time. The doctor basically told him what he already knew and then told him there wasn’t much beyond physical therapy that they can do for him. So he is going to go to PT and see how that helps. I was hoping this doctor could/would at least write him an RX for a new wheelchair seat cushion but he said Bob would have to go through his MD MD for that. He only sees that guy once a year, and isn’t looking forward to an extra visit there at all. He is fed up with doctors. Especially when they tell him stuff he already knows and then tells him they can’t really help him. This is the one area where I feel so helpless. I tend to harp on him to see a doctor because that’s the only way I know to help him. When the doctor knows what’s wrong and how to fix it, it’s a huge relief. When the doctor is a clueless clod, well, the helplessness just increases tenfold. The next doctor’s appointment I need to nag him to is the one who has been keeping an eye on his hernia. It’s been bothering him a lot lately. He admitted today that he puts off calling because he’s afraid the doctor will find that it’s more than just a hernia. I told him that even if it is something other than a hernia (which I don’t think it is) then it’s better to catch it early and take care of it. I think it can wait until after the holidays though.

Bob and I were just asked to be on the committee for one of the major MDA fundraisers! It’s called the Stride and Ride and is basically a walk to raise money for MDA. We happily accepted. I just can’t say enough good things about our local MDA. They work really hard and put in some long hard hours to make sure families and people struggling with MD are taken care of and have what they need. We hope this year’s Stride and Ride raises more than ever. Give early and give often!

The Official End of Birthday Week

Laurie, Lisa, and Karra
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
I had a lovely dinner with five of my girlfriends last night. It was a lovely dinner. We met at Chevy's where I proceded to eat my approximate weight in chips and salsa. I love their salsa. I ate so much that I had no room left for dinner. I ordered it anyway so I could eat some yummy food for lunch today.

These women are the best. They have loved me, pursued me, accepted me, and pampered me this entire hard, blechy year. Not only that, but they surprised me greatly by presenting me with a gift certificate to a local spa. It was a large enough gift certificate where I can enjoy a massage and a manicure. I've never had a massage, let alone a massage at a spa! What a huge treat. Bob said that as part of my Christmas gift, he will add some money to it so I can partake in a spa package!

Anyway, dinner started at 6 and I didn't end up leaving until 9:30 and only then because it was late and I'd promised Bob I'd bring him something home to eat. It was a blessed time of fellowship, laughter, sharing, encouragement, and care. I am blessed and so lucky to know these women. They are among the kindest, smartest, funniest, and most caring people I know. I am not worthy to carry their shoes and yet they love me and seek to bless me. What an honor.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Food Buffet at Work

Holiday Food Buffet at Work
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Do you work somewhere where there is a lot of food during the holidays? I do. The insurance companies we work with send us all kinds of holiday goodies. Yesterday we got a giant box of cookies, cakes, bars, breads, and candy. We also got a huge basket from Harry and David that contained more candy than fruit from another company. And there is the requisite tin of popcorn. And it all sits on the filing cabinet in front of my work station. I can't wait until January.

For some reason today I was easily irritated. Everything seemed to get under my skin and prickle me. If I hadn't just finished my princess lady time, I would swear I was PMSing. We have a woman in our department who has asthma and she coughs and coughs and coughs and coughs all day long. Usually I can tune it out, but today every cough set me on edge. Oh, and it's not just a little cough like heh heh heh. No, it's a full on barking cough that requires her to use every muscle group in her body to express. She sneezes in much the same way, but thankfully does not sneeze so very often. That was just one thing that irritated me today. I am glad I was able to leave that at work though and not come home and take it out on Bob.

A former co-worker came over for dinner tonight. We had pizza and salad and a lovely conversation. She is the one we would call to sit with the cats when we went out of town and the cats seemed to remember her. She sat on the floor and they all crowded around her, pushing her hands for more petting. She's the best. I miss her a lot and am glad we are continuing to keep in touch.

Tomorrow night a group of my girlfriends is meeting me at Chevy's for dinner. This is a belated birthday shin dig and I can't wait. Usually December is so very hard to get people together, but these gals have been diligent about getting together for my birthday so that's nice.

We continue to collect Christmas cards. I tape all the cards to our front entry way and all the photos to the back of our front door. As difficult as it is to get the cards from my friends with kids, I love seeing them grow and change from year to year. We got a card this year from some friends we hadn't heard from in a while. The last card we had included a photo of their son. This card showed two progeny. I hadn't heard they had a second, so that was a nice surprise. Others' kids are starting school, learning sports, and just growing up. I can't wait for the day when we can add new little faces to our Christmas card. (sans fur of course.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Week Ahead Looks Good

I think there is a sign on our van inviting people to just pull out in front of it.  Either that or it’s actually an invisible car that happens to make its inhabitants invisible as well.  I took my lunch hour and went out to get the last of Bob’s Christmas presents.  I thought if I took a later lunch hour, I would miss the crazy lunch shoppers.  I was wrong.  During the Christmas shopping season, there is no such thing as a shopping slowdown.  On my way to Tar-zjay, no less than 3 vehicles pulled out in front of me JUST as I reached their corners.  I almost hit a car turning left in front of me.  I was driving a big burgundy van…it’s not like it’s my usual tiny gold Hyundai. What is WITH these people?

Anyway, I managed to get the last of my Christmas shopping for Bob done.  Now all I have left to shop for are my two nephews for our family party on the 30th.   We also have a wedding on January 6th to buy for, so I will just include that in my holiday shopping “to do” list as well.  Now I just have to wrap and organize the stuff so Bob can’t snoop.

When I got back to work, I checked my mailbox and found something I had ordered for Bob a while ago and forgot all about.  Sometime this summer I made Bob some business cards but he recently ran out and asked me to make him some more.  Instead of making them, I went online and ordered some.  They turned out great.  He is going to be so surprised.  I also had a surprise for me.  I had a lovely bouquet of flowers on my desk.  I had taken the birthday flowers from Thursday home over the weekend and was at a lost as to who had sent these flowers.  Turns out, the florist messed up Bob’s original order and he called them after seeing the bouquet I brought home.  This second arrangement was from the florist as a “We’re sorry we messed up your order” gift.  So now I have a gorgeous bouquet of irises, roses, and gerbera daisies at home and a bouquet of yellow tea roses, something bright purple, something light purple, and something cream.  Thanks florist who messed up the first order!

Birthday week continues.  Tomorrow night a former co-worker is coming over to our place with pizza to celebrate and I’m meeting some girlfriends Wednesday night to celebrate.  I was supposed to meet them last week but due to burbly tummy, I postponed.  On Thursday, Bob sees his orthopedist and though I’m not going, I am anxious to hear what they will have to say about his back.  Originally they wanted to give him steroid injections, but with having a neuro-muscular disease it is not recommended.  Surgery is also low on the list because of the MD.  He doesn’t do well with anesthesia. Anyway, my semi-boring week is looking up.  I just don’t know what to make for dinner tonight.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Family Christmas

Reading the Lyrics to Carols
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Do they sing Christmas carols in your family? They do in Bob's. We had Bob's family Christmas shin dig at our party room tonight and it was a lot of fun.

Bob comes from a family of 6 kids. They were all here today. All of them with their significant others and kids. We had a roomful, that's for sure.

Instead of buying presents for everyone, we do presents/cash for those under 18 and then everyone over 18 brings a white elephant gift and we play a game. Bob ended up with a Hello Kitty dish set and I ended up with a basket, coffee mug, and lumps of coal. It was a lot of fun though. We only see each other a couple of times a year even though we all live in the area and this was a very fun time.

I did manage to clean the apartment today. I also baked an angel food birthday cake, but I think our oven is off. This is the second angel food I have tried to bake in this apartment and it, like the first, didn't work out. It came out of the oven OK but when I inverted it to cool, half of it fell to the counter. When I took the pan and set it on the counter, it just fell into a mass of angel food blah. Bob, feeling badly for me, called his sister and asked her to bring a birthday cake to the shin dig. She did and we have cake coming out of our ears now. Heh.

It was a good day overall. I wish I had another day to just chill and recover from all the work, family, excitement of today but I will be OK. This week seems to be pretty low key. The only thing on my calendar as of today is a dinner with a friend on Tuesday night. It could change, but that's it for now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Productive Day

Downtown Skyline
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
I know this doesn't count as an entry per se, but I did relatively nothing today. I got up and went to the store to get soda for Bob's family Christmas. Rainbow was having a sale on Coke products so I bought six 12-packs of Lime Coke and eight 12-packs of other for the party. The Lime Coke is for me. I feel like Elaine on Seinfeld, hoarding her Today Sponges. What will be Coke-worthy?

I also bought some stuff for the party including table clothes, plates, cups, and utencils. I also got a couple of pointsettia plants to liven the party room. I will send them home with Bob's sisters as a gift. Finally, I wrapped the last of the presents for tomorrow's party. That's it. That's all I did. I spent the rest of the day on the couch watching the Hallmark channel and TLC's Little People Big World marathon. Go me.

So tomorrow before the party I still have to clean and bake a cake. Rock on.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Very Nice Birthday

Inside Palomino
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Yesterday was very nice. My husband spoiled me rotten. He had flowers, balloons, and candy sent to me at work. He said he wanted to create a sensation and let all my co-workers know without a doubt that I am adored. I think he accomplished that. I certainly felt adored.

Later, we had a lovely dinner at Palomino. We shared a chop chop salad and some lovely bruschetta. Bob ordered rigatoni bolognese in a red pepper creme sauce. I had smoked salmon with butternut squash risotto. We followed up with an amazing chocolate tiramisu. It was a divine meal. We ate leisurely and had wonderful service. It really was a nice way to spend my birthday.

After dinner we wandered around the Minneapolis skyways looking at the lights and decorations. We missed the Hollidazzle parade, though we did get stuck in the parade traffic. I would like to attend Hollidazzle with Bob at some point. We haven't yet seen it together, though we've been together through 7 holiday seasons.

Today work was good. There is a lot of end of the year stuff going on and people are running around like crazy. Still, There is other stuff to take on. The box of holiday decorations has been sitting out in the open waiting for "someone" to put them up. I got tired of everyone passively complaining about them being out but not up so I just sucked it up and did it. I got some kudos for taking the initiative so that felt good. I got further kudos for taking all the food we've been receiving in gift baskets and packing it all up in ziplock bags so it doesn't spoil over the weekend. We have about a dozen people working in our department. Half of us are women and, well, the other half are men. The men do not do anything to tend to our work area. We have had food on Fridays and left the men in charge since the women in our area are gone by 5 and there are at least 3 men there until 7. We come back on Monday only to find the food spoiled, hard, melted, etc. We also come back to find coffee burned to the pot because the boys did not turn off the coffee makers. So I put the food that can sit out in ziplocks and the food that can't sit out in the fridge. The boys still complained because I "put the food away". Babies.

This weekend will be spend running errands, cleaning, and on Sunday it's Bob's family Christmas shin dig. The coming week is blessedly slow and the Christmas weekend wonderfully mellow.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy birthday to me!  Happy birthday to my brother Huff!  Happy birthday to Miss Muriel!  Happy birthday to Darcy!  Happy birthday to my college friend Nathan!  Happy birthday to my cousin Mark!  OK I think that does it for people I know with the same birthday as me. 

Tonight we are going out for dinner.  We have reservations at Palomino.  I hope we have a good time.  I think I am finally over burbly tummy, at least for now.  I got my free latte at the coffee shop this morning and to celebrate, I bought the drink of the guy behind me. Also, my lovely husband sent flowers and balloons to me at work today.  It was a lovely surprise I was not at all expecting.  He is the BEST!

Speaking of the best husband in the whole world, Bob got a call from his doctor and his MRI results are back. Turns out he has a slipped disk.  They wanted to do steroid injections but that is a no-no when you have a neuro-muscular condition.  They are sending his results to the orthopedist he is seeing a week from today.  Hopefully that doctor can come up with something to help. 

I am hoping one of my Christmas gifts to Bob helps in some way.  I ordered him a Cuddle Ewe under quilt for his hospital bed.  It’s supposedly recommended by those suffering from Fibromyalgia.  It’s a padding made up of 15 some odd layers of pure lamb’s wool, sewn together and quilted.  It’s supposed to keep you warm in winter, cool in summer, and make your bed comfy cozy all the time.  If nothing else, it will be an added comfort to his hospital bed.  I got a good deal on it and am excited about it.  It came in a GIANT box though.  I’m glad I had it delivered to work because Bob would be all up in my grill about it before Christmas.

Today we had a “Holiday Traditions” potluck at work.  I brought cheesy potatoes and a chocolate bundt cake.  I am thankful that I do not have any leftovers to take home.  Bob was bummed he didn’t get any cake last night.  He thought I was making it as a birthday cake for me but my birthday cake is always an angel food cake with strawberry frosting so he should know better.  I AM making the angel food this weekend for his family Christmas gathering on Sunday.

I received printed materials from the adoption agency yesterday and read through them last night. There is a LOT of information to take in.  I do feel better about the background check/doctor’s note/personal life perusal based on one of the brochures I read.

      Please understand that our social worker is not expecting you to be a perfect parent-just as she knows the child you adopt will not be a perfect child!  Your social workers goal is for you to be read to begin this exciting journey of adoptionin essence; the adoption study embodies the three key components of a successful adoption: information, education, and support.  Dont minimize the importance of being well informed, educated, and supported throughout your adoption process-from the first meeting you have at an agency until your child joins your family.

I found out a ton of other info as well.  Domestic infant adoptions can take up to 2 years or more.  Their adoption study fee is based on a sliding scale according to annual income, but will still range between $12,000 to $15,000 after all is said and done.  International adoption is more than twice that.  However, we would not qualify to adopt from Thailand due to my history of depression and obesity.  We might be discounted from adopting from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Korea for the depression thing.  Korea will also not let your adopt if you are overweight.  No applications are currently being accepted for Columbia or Guatemala until 2008.  We also cannot adopt from Korea because Bob is over the age limit by one year.  So, based on this, we WOULD qualify to adopt children from Vietnam, Ethiopia, and India (but only if child is under age 1).  However, travel times and costs are prohibitive.  Vietnam travel requirements are 2-3 weeks for at least one of the parents.  Ethiopia has a one week stay, BUT they also have an escort option for an additional $2,000.  India requires a one week stay.  The country program adoption fees (not including travel costs, registration, study fees, processing fees, court, or document fees) are $10,500 for Vietnam, $16,500 for Ethiopia, and $7,600 for Ethiopia.

The next step is to attend a Saturday morning informational meeting at the agency.  We could adopt through the MN waiting child program and fees would be significantly less, but the children are older, often part of sibling groups, and many have had traumatic life experiences.  We’re not opposed to this, we just need more information. 


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Burbly Tummy, Burbly Life

Burbly tummy continues.  I get hungry, nothing sounds good.  I eat the one thing that maybe sounds good and then end up feeling nauseous for the next 3 hours.  E coli is big in our state right now but I haven’t eaten at the places named to be harbingers of the crud.  Plus, it’s also princess lady time for me right now and it could be that all my delicate insides are just adversely affected this month.  I will need to schedule that endoscopy sometime soon in the New Year.  I have scheduled my annual mammogram and annual physical for the month of January so why not make it a lady parts trifecta?  I also have continuing education classes to fit in, so I am not sure when all this is going to happen.

I received an email back from the Children’s Home Society & Family Services information coordinator.  I am feeling a little adrift on the idea of adoption after reading her letter.  While she was very honest, open, upfront, and friendly, I think the information she passed along is daunting at best and down right intimidating at worst.  Here is a portion of her letter to me:

      With Bob's health issues, we will be interested in having medical details, including a letter from his physician(s) that provides us with an understanding of the current status of his health as well as an idea of what the future holds due to his diagnosis. We will need his prognosis, a statement about his ability to parent an active child and an estimate on how his life expectancy might be influenced by his condition. With these details, too, we can go through the preliminary steps of seeking pre-approval by program. Of course, health is only one issue that is verified and reported in the adoption study. We will also be reviewing and reporting on other background and current points of concern in assessing your readiness for adoptive parenting, including financial status and history, criminal background, and more.

      We ask a lot of questions upfront so we, too, can proceed with confidence in assessing and recommending a family for adoption. If you want us to review your medical information prior to coming to an information meeting and formally registering and applying (at which time, you start paying for services), please forward to me what I described above: Bob's physician's statement about his prognosis, ability to parent an active child, and longevity, along with information about any other background issues that may be of concern. For example:

·       Have you received counseling at any time in your life?

·       Are you on or have you been on any medications for depression or other mental health concerns? Any other serious health conditions? Cancer history, for example? 

·       Do either of you have a history of chemical dependency?

·       Is there a criminal history (arrests, incarceration?)?

·       Any financial concerns?

·       Do either of you have a history of sexual and/or child abuse? Abuse against a vulnerable adult? Domestic violence, assault or other violence?

·       What is your income?

·       Do you have a plan for your child's care in the event that one of you is seriously ill or debilitated?

I knew we would have to provide a lot of personal information upfront but I did not know we would have to go so far as to have a doctor, or doctors issue a statement about Bobs prognosis or fitness as a parent.  I know this isnt the death sentence for our quest to adopt but after the year we had, I would hate to jump through all these hoops, cut through all the red tape only to have the agency deny us moving forward on an adoption.

I had counseling today and a lot of stuff came out today.  We talked about the letter from the agency and how it makes me not even want to try because of my fear of failure.  We also talked about how, since my default setting is set to rejection, Ive already made the assumption that we will never get the go ahead to adopt.  Maybe there is a reason why we dont have biological children and should therefore not go ahead with trying to adopt one.

Finally, I told Dr. Doctor about seeing an episode of Super Nanny last week where a mother shared that as a child, whenever she went to hug her mother, she was pushed away.  I thought that incredibly sad.  I immediately began to think of my own childhood and times of closeness with my parents.  As I thought on it, I realized that while my parents were there for me and available and loving, we never really did anything together.  Even when we did something as a family, we all went our own separate ways.  If we were camping, I was swimming, Huff was probably riding his bike, and I dont know what Mom and Dad were doing.  If we went skiing, Huff and I were on the bunny hill and Mom and Dad were on the expert hills.  I can remember many times of going out to eat as a family and one time sledding with my dad, brother, and family friends, and other small things here and there.  But for the most part, my memories of my childhood are filled with me doing things by myself.  This could be because I was incredibly independent as a child or it could be because my parents functioned best in relationships under conditions of separation. (Or both!)  My counselor and I talked about this for almost the whole hour and came up with some interesting revelations and theories as to why Ive been struggling.  It could be that as a child I wanted to connect with my family on a deeper level but couldnt for whatever reason so internalized the separation as rejection.  It could be that I interpreted the separation as having to do with me being a bad kid.  Whatever the reason, I think it’s one of the breakthroughs Ive been looking for.  Man human beings are complicated creatures.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Comfort and Joy

Dinner with the girlfriends might have to be postponed. I have had burbly tummy all day. I was hungry for lunch so went down to get some soup and half a sandwich. I ate the soup but the sandwich sits untouched and makes me want to hurl when I look at it. I ate some pretzels and that’s about it. I don’t think burbly tummy can take an evening of the best Tex Mex Chevy’s has to offer. Plus, it’s too good to be wasted like that. I put the call in to postpone but got voicemail so we’ll see what happens.

In breaking news that breaks my heart; regular Lime Coke has been discontinued! At least here in the Midwest. None of my stores are carrying it any more. I have two 12 packs left and then I don’t know what I’m going to do. I may be forced to give up soda once again. I don’t know if I can do it.
I wrote to the Children’s Home Society and asked them to send me preliminary information on domestic and waiting children adoptions. I don’t know how long it takes to get the information, but I want to do as much research as possible. The sportscaster said he would also pass along some of their research and their info to help. Even so, it feels kind of shaky taking these initial baby steps. I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want what happened with us with Honor, the condo, and my new job to happen to us with an adoption. I don’t want to fall in love with a child and have it become ours only to have it yanked away. So, we shall see what transpires.

My nails are already messed up. I am just not used to being primped and beautified. I need to remove the polish and reapply tonight if I want my nails to stay pretty through birthday week. Maybe I should think about getting an eyebrow wax as well.

It’s that time of year again for me. I don’t mean Christmas or birthday time, either. It’s the time of year when I put in my new calendar pages and swap out my old addresses for new. This year I am taking my anal retentiveness to an all time high and I’m printing my addresses on labels and then affixing the labels to the address book. That way, they are actually legible and if an address changes, all I have to do is swap them out, saving time and space. I don’t know about you, but about a fourth of the people in my address book move in any given year so by the end of the year it’s all a jumble of yellow forwarding labels and whited out addresses.

Speaking of moving, one of my best friends from high school is getting married on Friday. If you are a long time reader, you will remember that her husband died of sleep apnea in October of 2005. She met a very nice man from another city this year and they are getting hitched on Friday. I am so happy for them and hope this brings further comfort and joy to their holiday season.

Comfort and Joy

Dinner with the girlfriends might have to be postponed.  I have had burbly tummy all day.  I was hungry for lunch so went down to get some soup and half a sandwich. I ate the soup but the sandwich sits untouched and makes me want to hurl when I look at it.  I ate some pretzels and that’s about it.  I don’t think burbly tummy can take an evening of the best Tex Mex Chevy’s has to offer.  Plus, it’s too good to be wasted like that.  I put the call in to postpone but got voicemail so we’ll see what happens.

In breaking news that breaks my heart; regular Lime Coke has been discontinued!  At least here in the Midwest. None of my stores are carrying it any more.  I have two 12 packs left and then I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I may be forced to give up soda once again.  I don’t know if I can do it.

I wrote to the Children’s Home Society and asked them to send me preliminary information on domestic and waiting children adoptions.  I don’t know how long it takes to get the information, but I want to do as much research as possible.  The sportscaster said he would also pass along some of their research and their info to help.  Even so, it feels kind of shaky taking these initial baby steps. I don’t want to get hurt.  I don’t want what happened with us with Honor, the condo, and my new job to happen to us with an adoption.  I don’t want to fall in love with a child and have it become ours only to have it yanked away.  So, we shall see what transpires.

My nails are already messed up.  I am just not used to being primped and beautified.  I need to remove the polish and reapply tonight if I want my nails to stay pretty through birthday week.  Maybe I should think about getting an eyebrow wax as well.

It’s that time of year again for me.  I don’t mean Christmas or birthday time, either.  It’s the time of year when I put in my new calendar pages and swap out my old addresses for new.  This year I am taking my anal retentiveness to an all time high and I’m printing my addresses on labels and then affixing the labels to the address book.  That way, they are actually legible and if an address changes, all I have to do is swap them out, saving time and space.  I don’t know about you, but about a fourth of the people in my address book move in any given year so by the end of the year it’s all a jumble of yellow forwarding labels and whited out addresses.

Speaking of moving, one of my best friends from high school is getting married on Friday.  If you are a long time reader, you will remember that her husband died of sleep apnea in October of 2005.  She met a very nice man from another city this year and they are getting hitched on Friday.  I am so happy for them and hope this brings further comfort and joy to their holiday season.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Birthday Week Has Officially Begun

My birthday is on Thursday. Today I got a free manicure from the salon in my building because I am on their mailing list. Tomorrow my girlfriends are taking me out to eat for dinner. Thursday Bob is taking me out to eat for dinner. Caribou emailed me a free drink coupon as a birthday present. I received a present from my brother in the mail today. Whoot! Oh, and I received my $25 gift card from my service excellence award. I love birthday week.

There is a local TV news sportscaster that Bob and I have met through all our involvement with the MDA. He and his wife adopted a beautiful little girl last year. I emailed him this weekend asking for any info or advice he might be able to give. He called me tonight and we chatted for half an hour about domestic vs international adoption, open vs closed adoption, infant vs child adoption, and his own adoption experience. It was a great conversation and he and his wife are an excellent resource. They adopted domestically through Children's Home Society and it was an awesome experience for them. Before we signed off, he said I could call him or his wife any time for more information, support, or with questions. They are so nice!

I keep thinking of a movie I saw a week or so ago. I can't remember the name of it but it was so sweet. It was about a Norweigan family who moved to Wisconsin and started a vinyard/farm in a small town. The dad gave his 8 year old daughter a baby calf. She was so in love with this calf. She named her Elizabeth and she doted on her. She fed her grain from her hand and trained her to accept her so she could ride her. It was cute really. Then, a farmer down the street had a fire and lost everything. The church leaders took up an offering and were despairing that people were only giving tiny little amounts to help. Then the little girl asked if she could give something other than money. The church leaders said she could so she gave the farmer her belove calf Elizabeth. That broke the dam. Suddenly, everyone started giving tangable items; bales of hay, calfs and cows, piglets, silage, etc. The little girl's parents were so proud of her for giving her most prized possession to someone who had need. It was just the sweetest movie and I wish I knew the name of it. Anyone?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Two Days Down

This picture should have been our Christmas card photo of the cats. This is the closest they get without actually touching. At least as far as Maisey is concerned. Daisy and the kittens snuggle together all the time.
I have spent this whole day lying on the couch moaning. The extra strength Midol is not really helping today at all. The heating pad is offering some relief, but I haven't had a period like this since high school. At least that I remember. It is kicking my butt!
Towards the end of the day yesterday I did manage to find the energy to clean the cat boxes, vacuum, and get a few straggler Christmas cards written. That's about all I accomplished this weekend.
The holidailies asked the question, "what is your favorite holiday scent?" I would have to say mine is fresh cut pine mixed with spicy cinnamon stick. We don't have a real tree this year but I do have some pine candles that I've been burning occationally. And it seems that every time I get into our elevator here at home, there is the smell of pine and needles on the floor. I always take as deep a breath as I can and inhale that beautiful scent. Mmmmm.
Another scent that reminds me of the holidays is the scent of banana bread baking. I'm not sure how it got started, but the baking of banana bread is done by my father during the holidays. Around Thanksgiving, we would start saving the cans from our vegetables and soups. Dad would mix up his banana bread and bake them in cans. He would store some in the freezer, bring some to parties, give some as gifts, and we would eat the rest. I love his banana bread. Oh, except for the candied cherries. He also puts chocolate chips in it. My favorite. Dad, if you're reading this, can you bring some banana bread to Family Christmas at the end of the month?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Warm December Saturday

This little Christmas elf is one I made when I was in high school. A woman I know made them to sell at craft sales and she hired me to help her. This is probably my all time favorite ornament and is a far cry from the felt snowman I made in grade school, huh?
Today it got up to 45 degrees here. Not that I really got to enjoy it. I woke up with my period and spent the say on the couch moaning. My cat Daisy is the sensitive one of our brood and she kept crawling on my lap as though to comfort me. Needless to say, I didn't get a lot done today. I did hang some suet for the birds and hung the Christmas cards we received. Not quite the day of industry I had planned. Tomorrow I need to do laundry and clean our place so I hope I feel better.
I made reservations at Palomino for my birthday dinner. I belong to their email club and they sent me a $20 off coupon as a birthday "gift" so we will use that. Plus, when I made the reservation, the host said that I get a free tiramisu too! Can't beat that with a stick. After dinner, we will drive around and look at Christmas lights as is our tradition. It seems as though more and more people are going all out with the lights around here so we don't have to drive as far to look for some pizzaz.
In doing my part to prepare for our discussion on adoption, I was wondering if anyone reading this has any helpful information? We are thinking that local adoption will probably be the best at this point. International adoption interests us, but that kind of travel is hard on Bob and we know International adoption costs a lot more. Still, we are open to whatever God has for us and will welcome any little child into our home and family. Please pass along any info you think would help us to make the best decision possible. Thanks!

Friday, December 08, 2006


I originally tried to post this on Friday but Blogger Beta was having issues so it's a day late.
This is my pretty Siamese Daisy. She was sitting on my desk and my brother's birthday card. I love her blue eyes.

Today at work was a little crazy. We could only wire 1 of the 4 deposits we received because there were issues with the other 3. The banker that made the other three deposits was from the state of WA and wasn't in the office until 11 our time. I had to leave at noon. Come 11:30, the banker was frantically calling and emailing me with directions to accept the deposits as is. Considering all three deposits had suitability issues, we could not proceed. She was PISSED. Then, 10 minutes before I had to leave, one of the managers emails me that I need to count all of a certain form we have on hand to make sure we are covered for certain upcoming trainings. I emailed back to see if this isn't something that could wait until Monday and thankfully it was.

Bob picked me up at noon and we went to the U for his MRI. It was actually a very quick appointment. We don't have any answers yet. He has an appointment with an orthopedist on the 21st and hope that we will get some answers at that time.

We stopped for lunch and talked some more about adoption. We agreed to think and pray on it until after the first of the year. At that time we will come together and talk about what we think and how we should proceed at that time.

Not much is going on this weekend...which is how I like it. Next weekend is going to be crazy busy and I just need some time to chill. I am mostly done with Christmas shopping. I just need a couple more stocking stuffers for Bob, a couple more presents for him, gift cards for my nephews, and a little something for my Grandma. Then I will be completely done. I should also get some suet for the birds. Not neccessarily a Christmas gift, but something special to make their day.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Perfect Day

Handmade Gradeschool ornament
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
This is a photo of my most favorite ornament. I made it myself when I was in grade school. I don't remember how old I was, but I'm impressed that it has held together at least 30 years. It's made of felt, glue, some stuffing, and a little thread. Oh, and googly eyes.

Today was as close to a perfect work day as I have had in years. When I got to work, there was an email in my in-box saying a co-worker had nominated me for a service excellence award based on my recent performance. She said she was impressed with the number of tasks I have taken on in the wake of the mass exodus. She also said she felt the communication skills I've implemented to keep the flow of information steady in the office is impressive. What a boost to my ego! I got a $25 gift card and a commemorative pin.

My work flow was completely perfect today. I did not have any down time in which to get bored or to get into trouble. One thing flowed into the next and into the next until it was time for lunch. At lunch, the cafeteria was serving cheesy pasta shells with garlic bread and a side salad. That happens to be one of my very favorite foods.

The work flow continued again until it was time to go home. I received a work package I'd ordered last week and really needed before the end of this week. I also received an awesome CD of loon calls and outdoor summer noises. It not only features the 4 calls of the loons, it also features spring peepers, bird calls, owls, lake waves lapping on shore, a summer thunderstorm, and fish jumping out of water. I listened to it as I worked and it was so relaxing and calming. It was the perfect medicine for me on this frigid, freezing cold December day.

On my way home from work, I stopped to see Bob before I picked us up some dinner. Bob gave me some money and said I could keep the change or I could put it in our Alaska fund. I said I would put it in the Alaska fund. Then Bob said we could use the fund for something else. I asked what else we could use it for. He said, maybe as an adoption fund. Adoption fund! We are going to talk more formally about it tomorrow.

And that is the end of my perfect day.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Stacks of Christmas Cards
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
Happy Birthday Jens!

That photo shows all our Christmas cards stuffed, addressed, stamped, and licked shut and ready to be mailed. I ended up still being short about a dozen so will have to order more. Bummer.

It snowed lightly here today. Just fluffy flurries that blew around in the wind.

Bob came back from his casino trip $300 richer. Go honey! He had a lot of fun with his nephew and they hope to make this an annual trip. He can be just like a little boy sometimes. He gets so excited and bouncy.

There is not a lot going on right now. Bob has an MRI scheduled for Friday so we are just kind of on hold until then. Next week is my birthday and I am on orders to plan a place for dinner and to pick a couple of friends to join us. I don't know where to go. Maybe Palamino. Maybe Cheesecake Factory. Maybe Sawatdee. No idea. I am not really excited about this birthday really. For the first time in a long time, I am looking at it as just another day.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Holiday Shopping

I got my hair cut on Friday.  I am in a growing out phase so I just had her trip the split ends off and then lengthen the layers.  I talked with her about going back to wearing bangs but I dont know.  She told me to bring in photos of examples of bangs I like.  The only thing is, I have thick wavy hair with a mind of its own and the bangs I tend to like in photos are stick straight and wispy.  So, I dont know.  I like the haircut though.

Last night was our work holiday party.  It was held at a swanky restaurant on the shores of Lake Minnetonka.  There wasnt a presentation or any fanfare of any kind.  It was just drinks and appetizers followed by a nice meal and a dessert of crème brule.  It was nice.  The big bosses were in town and I actually got to converse with my bosss boss for quite a while.  I learned a lot about her and found her to be a nice conversationalist We have a much smaller group and the tone was a bit on the somber side because we were missing my boss due to the death of her mother in law.  However, its always nice to get out with the co-workers in a neutral space and talk about stuff other than work.

Seven of us are leaving at 11 today to go to my bosss mother-in-laws memorial service.  It is just so sad.  She died with little health insurance and no life insurance.  We are chipping in for a memorial for the family.  It is just going to be very sad.

As part of the Holidailies writing exercise:  "Tell us your favorite shopping-mall horror story."  I dont have a horror story that involves me shopping for the holidays.  However, I worked in retail long enough to have several horror stories of people doing the shopping.  They all pretty much have the same theme; customer comes in looking for something particular (usually just days or minutes before Christmas), we dont have it or we dont have enough of it, customer gets angry and blames us for ruining their Christmas.  This happened at the country furnishings store when a woman was looking for chair pads for her dining room chairs.  We had less than the amount she needed in one particular pattern and could order the rst but it was the day before Christmas Eve and the new ones would not arrive before Christmas.  She was livid.  You would think we were clubbing baby seals right in front of her by the way she was ranting about injustice and inconvenience. 

Then there was the mother who brought her children in for Christmas portraits at the department store portrait studio where I was a photographer.  Again, it was just 2 or 3 days before Christmas and she expected to get her photos back and into cards prior to Christmas and was angry and upset when we informed her the day her portraits would arrive was 2 days AFTER Christmas. 

The worst stories came from when I worked as a customer service rep for American Girl.  This is a popular catalog company specializing in dolls and toys for girls between the ages of 7 and 12.  At the time I worked there, there were no physical stores at all so the only way to get any products was to order them from our catalog.  It wasnt unusual for extremely popular items to sell out before December 1st and be backordered until after Christmas.  I remember one mother who called the week before Christmas.  Almost every item on her list was out of stock and backordered.  She became irate and verbally abusive.  She blamed me personally for ruining her daughters Christmas.  She got to a point where she accused me of lying to her about the items being out of stock just to spite her.  I ended up transferring her to my supervisor.  That was the worst of it.  Whats you worst holiday shopping story?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Lights

Christmas Balcony
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
I got this from my Mom.

1.) Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate but I won't complain if you add a little Bailey's to the hot chocolate.

2.) Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa must wrap them..they're always all wrapped.

3.) Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored. I used to get white but my husband prefers the colors so we go with that.

4.) Do you hang mistletoe? No, not yet we haven't. We don't need an excuse to kiss.

5.) When do you put your decorations up? We used to do it on the weekend of the 14th when I was growing up but I like to do it Thanksgiving weekend or the first weekend in December.

6.) What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Thanksgiving Turkey & mashed potatoes with gravy. And Christmas morning sticky rolls

7.) Favorite Christmas memory as a child?
I don't have one particular, although I do remember having fondue for dinner and that was nice. Also, opening presents as a family after church was nice.

8.) When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember but I did find it strange he had the same handwriting as my mother.

9.) Do you open a gift on Christmas eve? We used to open all the family presents on Christmas eve after we got home from church. But now we open them all on Christmas day. Starting with stockings.

10.) How do you decorate your Christmas tree? colored lights and lots of ornaments. No tinsel. Oh, and white and red striped peppermint candy canes.

11.) Snow! Love it or Dread it? I like the first big snow and I love a good snowstorm but I begin to dread it when it's March and we are getting intermitent warm days and then a dumpload of snow. Blech.

12.) Can you ice skate? Used to ice skate alot when I was a kid but haven't tried in a long time. I used to love to skate on the pond not too far from our house in the woods. I remember having weak ankles and not being able to stay skating long, but I liked it when I could.

13.) Do you remember your favorite gift? I remember getting a pink bicycle with a banana seat and handle bar streamers. It's a bummer getting a bike in December in MN though:-). I received an early Christmas gift in 2000 when my husband proposed to me on December 8th.

14.) What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending time with family.

15.) What is your favorite holiday desert? I like frosted sugar cookies and gingerbread and my dad's homemade banana bread (without the cherries).

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Buying a new ornament for our tree. This was started for me when I was young and my mom would get us a new ornament for our birthdays. Also, when I was young, we would put up the tree the weekend of my brother's and my birthday (the 14th) and that was nice.

17.) What tops your tree? A transluscent lighted star.

18.) Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? I love to give gifts. I especially like to give gifts that are meaningful and that will be used for years to come. I do like to receive the same though.

19.) What is your favorite Christmas Song? Oh, Holy Night. Which is somewhat surprising because we had a pastor that would sing that song every Christmas Eve at church and it would seem to take forever. We always opened family presents after church on Christmas eve and we would watch the order of service of the Christmas eve program with twitching eyes, checking off each thing as it occured. This pastor would sing every verse and sometimes every verse in Engligh AND Norwegian and it took FOREVER! Still we got through it and it's kind of a heartwarming memory for me now.

21.) Favorite Christmas Movie? I have two. Elf and It's a Wonderful Life.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday, Sunday

The Balconies both lit up
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
This photo shows our whole apartment from the outside. The balcony on the left is off our livingroom. The balcony to the right is the one off our bedroom. The small light in the middle is an electric candle. We have one in all three windows during the Christmas season.

I started our Christmas cards today. I got all the envelopes stamped and labled. I am in the process of folding our letter and stuffing envelopes. I hope to add a personal signature to each one and then send them off sometime this week. My goal is to get them all out before my birthday next week.

As part of my holidalies post today, I want to answer the prompts question: "Sunny or snowy: Which makes for the better holiday season, and why?" I think both. I'm from the midwest and have lived here my whole life except for the 3 or 4 years I lived on the East coast. Still, everywhere I've lived has been snowy in winter and I think I would miss it were I to live in a warmer climate during the winter months. I don't mind warmer weather in winter if I'm visiting a state that is warm, but it's just not Christmas without snow. Winter in MN can be somewhat bleak and grey so I prefer it snowy AND sunny. We can go days or weeks without seeing the sun so when it's sunny, it's a treat.

I remember the winter I first moved here, it was 65 degrees on my birthday (the 14th). I've had brown birthdays before but nothing like that. Yet that Christmas, just 10 days later, we had temps below zero and feet of snow. It was crazy.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Merry Christmas From the Cats

Cats nd the tree
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
This is the only way we could get a photo featuring all four cats together. Granted my photoshop skills are not that great, but I kind of like it. The lighting and perspective is all off, but it features good photos of all the cats.

Today was a day of running errands and getting stuff done. I started with folding laundry, then cleaning litter boxes. Eventually I had to go to the store and the pharmacy. I came home and made a turkey soup with the last of the leftover turkey, hung Christmas lights on our bedroom balcony, wrapped the first of the Christmas presents, and got our Christmas cards together so I can start them tomorrow. Whew.

Bob is going to Hinckley with his nephew Monday and they are coming back Wednesday. Bob is SO excited. He can't wait to go and is behaving like a little boy at Christmas. Part of his excitment has to do with the Texas Hold'em tournament there Tuesday night. He thinks he's going to win big. He's only ever played online and while he does really well with computer Texas Hold'em, I told him playing with people in person might be quite a different experience all together. Still, he is pretty good, so who knows.

My work holiday party is Monday but my boss's mother in law's memorial service might be that night as well. We are going to play it by ear I guess. The MDA holiday party is Tuesday night and since Bob will be at the casion, I will either skip it or go stag. The month is starting to roll in the business of the season.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sad News

My boss called and her mother in law passed away at 1:30 this morning.  There is going to be an autopsy and then she will be cremated.  No idea when the memorial service will be.  My heart breaks for her and I feel helpless as to how to convey that to her.  Of course we’ll send a card and will maybe send over some meals.  Other than that, what’s to be done?

December Begins

I can't believe it is the first of December. This year has just flown by and this month looks to speed by just as quickly.

I've already decorated for Christmas and our apartment looks cozy and ready for Santa to visit. I would like to make some cookies but I'm not sure I'll get to it.

My boss's mother in law is dying. She has been given maybe 72 hours. She had a breathing tube but requested it be removed. That was pretty much all that was keeping her alive and now they will remove it and sedate her. My boss's father died of cancer roughly this time of year 3 years ago so she is really not doing well at all. Also, her daughter's 2nd birthday is two weeks from today. If you are the kind of person that prays, please pray for my boss and her family today. Thanks.

This weekend I will be doing a bit of Christmas shopping. Our budget doesn't really get hit at Christmas. My immediate family doesn't not exchange presents and Bob's family does a white elephant gift exchange thing. The only people we have to buy for are my young nephews and each other. Although there are a couple of December birthdays that need to be addressed with gifts as well. My birthday is also in December. I will be 39 this year. I'm not sure I can adequately write what I am feeling in regards to turning 39, but this milestone definitely has me thinking hard about life and my place in it. At least I have a year before I'm 40.