Saturday, December 31, 2005

De-decorate Day

I have declared today De-decorate Day, but so far, Kev is the only one that knows. Both the kids are still sleeping. I've been drinking coffee and typing, and Kev just went outside. He is now shoveling snow. We got about 3 inches last night. Yay!

Last night, I was thinking that I still like the Christmas decorations and maybe we would leave them all up until next weekend. But this morning, I got up and suddenly wished for my house back. That's how it happens every year. I'm sure the kids will be thrilled to carry all the boxes upstairs then back downstairs again today. I'm just thrilled they're old enough to help out so much.

We usually have a New Year's Eve dinner with my sister, JoAnne, and my other sister, Kathy, and her family. But my niece and her friends have planned a special party, since they're all home from college for the holidays, and my nephew has a party with his girlfriend or something. I actually don't mind. The dinners were always a lot of work because we would plan a special, fancy menu. And they were a lot of money buying all the ingredients. They were super fun, too. We would have a contest of some kind, like ping-pong or Chutes & Ladders, or something. I would get a trophy declaring the winner, like the World Ping-Pong Champion (Kev won that year). We always would play Gestures. Fun times. This evening, the 4 of us are going out to dinner and then going to see a movie together. I'm looking forward to it.

But first I have to get the kids up and around. On Christmas, we had a family discussion wherein I told them how we always find time together during the week to watch TV shows that we really like all together as a family. We love Thursday nights! I told them that I would like to find a half-hour or even 45 minutes two or three times a week where, as a family, we go out to the pole barn and work out together. We moved all of our equipment out there this past summer. We have accumulated a lot of it. Bike, treadmill, NordicTrak, NordicRow, weight machine, etc. I just want us to do something together that doesn't involve the TV or spending money, something that's good for us that isn't reliant upon the weather outside. Board game nights are fun, but I wouldn't want to do that real often, and certainly not twice a week. I want a routine of our working out together. Plus I love being out in the pole barn. And we can all use the extra exercise. So far, we have done it once. And it was very enjoyable, and we all felt good about ourselves and each other afterwards. This morning will be twice. Just gotta get the kids up...


Because we live at the end of a "no outlet" dirt road in the country, we seem to get more than our fair share of pet drop-offs. People, for whatever cruel, insensitive & stupid reasons, drop their unwanted dogs and cats off. The cats usually turn feral quite quickly, but not the dogs. The poor dogs. We have had to put down a few that have come up to the house because they were too far gone and suffering so badly. One had gotten so cut up in the woods somehow that her coat was coming off in patches and she was covered in maggots; she smelled so awful because she was rotting. Barely able to walk, she made it to our back yard area. Kev took one look and went & got a rifle. It was so sad, and here it is, about 15 years later and still makes me want to cry. And I can still remember the stench. She was a cocker spaniel. Poor dog.

One drop off became one of our favorite dogs ever, Einstein. He was the smartest dog I've ever met. Reilly is super smart, and so is my folks' dog, Toby. But Einstein... he was a genius. He was old when he arrived at our house, but he lived with us for years. He died 5 years ago. We miss him.

Because of all the state-owned land North of us, we get a lot of lost hunting dogs up to the house, too. I found a beagle recently, and she had a nice collar with an engraved name plate. The owner was so happy to get her back. With her had been 2 other beagles, and they were lost, too. I heard one baying off to the West of our place and called the guy. He found that one, and then he found the other one. She was where they had left their coats in the woods, which they did hoping for exactly what happened... the dog found their coats and stayed there. The guy stopped by our house after he found the 2nd dog and thanked me. When he got home after finding the 3rd dog, he called to thank me again. Then the following Saturday, one of the other dads at the basketball game came up to Kevin to tell him his buddy said "thanks"... turned out he knows the owner of the beagles, who had told him the whole story & he realized he knew us from the basketball team. Happy endings are nice.

Once a large, gray hound came up to the house. She had a real expensive collar, also with an engraved plate. I called the owner, and he came right over. He lives in a small town about 30 minutes away, but he was at our house in about 15 minutes. It was a hunting dog that he had just purchased from a breeder in Kentucky, something like a "blue tic hound" or whatever... I'm not up on my hunting dog breeds. Anyway, the dog cost him a small fortune, something like $3,000 and this was about 10 years ago. It was his first time out with her, she took off on him & he lost her. He was thrilled to get her back so quickly. He did offer to give me a reward, but I told him it wasn't even a long-distance phone call. That time was memorable to me because I couldn't believe anyone would spend that kind of money on a dog. She was a beautiful dog, but...

This past Thursday night, something on the deck caught my eye. It was a short-legged black and tan beagle. He's an old guy, with gray on his chin. And yech! does he stink. I think he got into something dead in his travels. Thus, we have dubbed him Stinky. He has a thick collar on, but it's filthy. He has at least 2 injured paws, and he has trouble decided which one to limp with. I think he was an inside dog, because he doesn't have a winter coat, and he shivers if he's outside too long. We made a bed up for him in the garage, and he seems happy. He seems to have such a sweet nature, and he also seems pretty smart. Joycie is already in love with him. She has been wanting to give him a bath, but the "found" ad starts in the paper today, and I want to see if anyone calls. If not, we'll give him a bath this afternoon. I told Kev this morning that if no one calls, then we'll probably end up keeping Stinky. Of course, his reaction was negative. But he is outnumbered, and truthfully, I think he knows it. Though he will try to send the dog to the Animal Control. Stinky is so old, no one would take him. Plus he's got a full set of balls, and for anyone to adopt him from Animal Control, they'd have to agree to get him neutered. No one will do that for an old dog. Going to Animal Control would be a death sentence for Stinky.

Anyway, he seems to be a dog that's been well taken care of, and an inside dog. My hope is that he is someone's beloved hunting dog, and that they'll see the ad in the paper and rush to call us. I'm praying for a happy ending for Stinky, and though I would keep him, I really don't want a 4th dog. The happy ending I want for Stinky would involve a reunion with his loving owner.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

iLove iPod

Joycie has been loading up her iPod, and I know she already has more than 500 songs on it. That girl has such a wide variety of songs that she likes. Every once in a while she'll say, "Mom, you have to listen to this one." So right now I have her iPod in my ears, and I gotta say... I'm lovin' it. The song she wanted me to hear is beautiful, and I've listened to it over and over...

It truly is amazing to me that this tiny little unit can make such a big, beautiful sound in my head. A far cry from the days of my youth when I would record songs from the radio onto my far-out cassette player. I still have all those cassettes. I kept them in a navy blue cardboard box that my Dad brought home from work one day. They're still in that box. Somewhere around here.

And also today I learned that a chanticleer is a rooster. Joycie knew that. My girl is beautiful AND smart!

Joycie has been letting Sammy listen to songs on her iPod nano, too. He LOVES it, way more than I do. He saved his birthday money and most of his Christmas money to buy one... he was $70 short, but I floated him a loan and against my better judgment, we ordered one for him today. I sure hope he can take good care of this tiny expensive object. I have warned him that the first time I find it on the floor, it becomes my property. And I'd love to have one. Not enough to fork out the $250 at this juncture, however. Still waiting for all the bills to come in after Christmas and we've got property taxes looming on the not too distant horizon. Maybe with my March bonus from work... Or maybe off the floor here real soon...


Christmas was wonderful. Joycie and Sam are old enough to be a big help and to understand that coffee comes before unwrapping presents. Dinner at my sister & brother-in-law's was perfect, and we had a lot of fun. My oldest sister and her family were out of town, so we missed them, but we had Christmas with them the week before, so it wasn't so bad.

We all had dinner together (and beverages... Bob had picked up a very nice pinot grigio!), the kids opened gifts, adults had our Chinese auction, then we all played board games and later watched a movie together. The Chinese auction was great... too funny. Everything was at an easy pace, and the day was fun.

Wonderful, happy, enjoyable & relaxing Christmas. Ahhh...

Tonight we're celebrating Christmas with my in-laws, Kev's dad & step-mother & family. It'll be short and sweet. Which is nice.

So now I'm back at work, and while most of the other departments in our building are skeleton crew, our department is almost full staff. This is a really busy week for us, trying to get everything done and all the W-2s perfect. For me, it's hurry up and wait today... trying to balance files and having to wait for jobs to finish running. (Thus the blog post.) Yesterday at work was a zoo. Ugh.

Joycie & Sam have decided to brave the shopping today, anxious to spend some of that birthday & Christmas money they have. I'm meeting them for lunch and going to do a little shopping of my own. My sister, Kathy's birthday is Friday, and for once, I know just what I want to get for her.

There was only one hitch at Christmas... we were supposed to get a lot of nice snow on Christmas eve, but we woke up to a foggy, misty/rainy morning and no new snow. We still have some old snow, but it is sure looking gray & crappy. It's still warmer and rainy today. C'mon sky, gimme snow!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I had to get up early to get the Swedish meatballs in the oven, and now I'm wide awake while Kev and the kiddos are sound asleep. The house is so dark and quiet, it makes my typing on the keyboard sound too loud.

I making the meatballs for our family Christmas dinner. It's kind of a tradition in our family to have them at Christmas. I don't know what it is about this recipe that makes the meatballs "Swedish," but they're very good. It's ground ham and pork together with ground corn flakes cereal, then bake them in a sauce of dark brown sugar, dry mustard, water and vinegar. You have to baste the meatballs with the sauce every half hour or so. It's yummy. The house is beginning to smell like sweet vinegar and baking ham.

My sister, Kathy, is having everyone over to her house for dinner. We'll open gifts there, too. The nieces and nephews all get gifts, and the adults do a Chinese auction. It's gonna be a fun day!

And now, I hear Sammy has gotten up. (My loud typing probably woke him!)

Here's comes Christmas! Yay!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'm Done! (almost...)

I'm done with Christmas shopping, paying, lugging home and wrapping for Kev, Joycie & Sam! Yay! And as of this past Monday morning, I wasn't even half-way done yet. I was sick with the 'flu last week for almost 4 days, and then spent the weekend trying to get caught up on my job, so this week has been a flurry of catching up. I just finished more than 2 hours of wrapping.

I have pretty much all my shopping done, just a couple more little things. I finally got a box mailed out to my best friend in Texas, just this morning though, so there's only a slim chance of it arriving by Christmas... very slim. She is well used to me being late all the time. I think this is the 3rd Christmas in a row that my package has arrived at her home late. My best friend is very patient with me.

I still have to wrap all the gifts for my family and my in-laws. I've done all of the shopping and will do all the wrapping, with no help from Kevin. But since he's been working midnight 12's this week and also quite a bit of overtime a week ago, I cannot complain. He provides plenty of moral and monetary support.

So now I'm pretty much back on track. I am usually finishing up about this time, always a few more little things to buy or make. Christmas day itself is what stops me. Which is why I don't ever try to start shopping early. I'd just keep going...

I actually got our Christmas cards mailed out today, too. I took my own advice and made them on my computer with preprinted everything. No handwriting at all. Period. Return address labels and recipient address labels. No handwriting. I enjoyed it! Simultaneously with experiencing twinges of guilt for not penning a personal little missive. But I squashed that by reasoning that this was the only way they were getting a card, so deal with it. I even included a wallet-sized photo of the kiddos, which I printed last night. It was not a great picture, but I could not find one great photo of my 2 kids together. I searched through the hundreds of pictures I've taken this year. And then the color was off on the ones I printed anyway. Oh well, better luck next year.

I really liked the card I came up with... mostly because I kinda sorta copied one that was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift catalog. I used a photo of our front yard with snow laden branches and Reilly running through the snow, printed in black & white with a red border and "Warm Wishes" below it. Joycie and Sam thought it was very cool.

Kev and the kids just got home from their shopping trip in town (for their gifts to me), and now they're downstairs in a wrapping frenzy. The pingpong table is pretty handy. Sam has resigned himself to no pingpong until after Christmas.

And now I need a beer.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

We got about 3 inches of snow last night. Beautiful sparkly diamond filled snow. It was a gorgeous morning. Coming onto dawn this morning, taking Sammy over to my folks, I turned onto their long, straight driveway, which is bordered on both sides by fields. It was all a beautiful virgin blanket of snow. I got to make new tracks! A long straight shot up the drive, forging my own path. I love doing that.

I hope we get more of this kind of wonderful blankety snow and that it stays for Christmas.

Kev is at work (until midnight), and Joycie & Sammy left to go pick up Derrick, go have pizza and then go to the basketball game at the high school. I have the house to myself. Ahhh.....

- Why am I trying to teach my dog to lay on the sofa? I like to have him lay up on it with me, which Kevin hates, and it annoys Joycie (because she has to vacuum, as that's her chore). Reilly has been limping around lately like he's an old dog. I think he's hurt himself running too long with Barney outside. I guess I want him to be comfortable. We've been leaving him out to roam the house free while we're gone, trusting he won't begin chewing on books again. I just finished watching last night's 'Without a Trace' episode, and I had Reilly up on the sofa with me. When I got up, he went to jump down, but I had him stay on it. He just looked so comfortable, and now he's sound asleep, stretched out. Kev would be so pissed.

- Why am I goofing off on the computer when I have about a zillion things on my 'Christmas To Do' list? More than just Christmas. I have yet to buy a birthday gift for my best friend's son, whose birthday was October 1st. I want to be able to mail the package to Texas next week.

- We finally got our Christmas tree this week. We had planned to get it last weekend, but Kev got called into work, day 12's both Saturday and Sunday. (Pay check was pretty nice today.) And since he's on afternoons, this week, the kids and I had to go Wednesday evening & get the tree without Kevin. That's the first time ever. Not so fun. I wanted to get about an 8-foot tree, but ended up with a large 9-footer. Big, full tree. It's beautiful. We always get a Fraser Fir because they hold their needles very well. $63 for the tree this year. We used to get 12-footers, but decorating a 12-foot tree takes twice as many lights and garland as a 9-footer. And it takes up a lot of room, since the circumference at the bottom is so large. And twice as much time. Actually more like 3-fold. Anyway, Joyce and I got the tree in the house and standing up, though it leaned. Kev de-leaned it, & put the lights and garland on it yesterday. Now we're trying to figure out when to put the ornaments on it. Kev is suggesting tomorrow morning before Sam's game, but they have to leave the house at about 8:30 am for Sam's game, so.... uh, no. Getting up, and getting the kids up, early at 7 am on a Saturday morning to cheerfully put ornaments on the Christmas tree??? Nope. We still have about half of the decorations to put up around the house, too, and here it is only about 2 weeks from Christmas. I'm going to blink and have to de-decorate already.

- Will I even get around to Christmas cards this year? I mean, hell, I never got to them last year. Well, that's not exactly true. I got them made, but never got them mailed. I make my own cards, and have done now for years. I enjoy it. So why don't I get it done... Hmmm.... Some of my friends send the most awesome photos and poems and 'family letters'. Truly creative and entertaining. I've done that a couple of times. But that shit's hard to keep up. Some years, I just don't feel that creative. And then it's like, gee, last year we got this great letter and this year just a card, what's her problem. I imagine everyone thinking that. I have a friend who takes a photo of her 2 daughters and always sends those photo cards out with the preprinted greetings and valediction & their names. The envelope is addressed with a label. The return address is also a label. And the photo card always arrives early in December. And her 2 daughters are beautiful. They live far away, South Carolina now, and so I just love getting their Christmas card. And how easy is that. My friend has always been known, not only for her beauty (which she's passed along to her daughters), but also for her brains; she's a smart one. I should take a page out of her book. I wonder if I can let myself do that. Last year I didn't send cards because I just plain ran out of time. All that handwriting everyone's names at the tops of the card (inside), with a little message and signing our four names, hand addressing the envelopes... it's a lot of time. If I made cards with preprinted everything and could just stick them in an envelope, I could probably enjoy getting the cards done. Hey, I think I have a plan.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A hybrid personal philosophy...

I heard an interview recently on N P R's F.resh, with H.arold R.amis. He said something that caught my attention. At first, I thought it was insightful. I was interested enough to go online and listen to the interview again, to write down the part that caught my attention. And insightful it may be, but now (and I'm not completely sure why), I find what he said pretty amusing. I sorta feel like I should be smoking dope, or maybe opium, as I read it. Stretched out on a chaise with a brightly colored, fringed scarf nearby. Bare feet. Plump pillows. Highly intelligent companions, though all slightly stoned.

Anyway, here's a man who is older, and I'm sure he feels he is growing intellectually, spiritually or whatever, but after reading what he said about 5 times, I feel like he's stuck in the 1960's.

So now that I've set the (my) stage for you, here's what he said:

"... well, I've been creating a hybrid personal philosophy that's kind of a blend of existential psychology, Buddhism and progressive Judaism. And I kind of describe myself as an existentialist in the sense that I believe that the essential task to leading a good life is to discover meaning at all times; meaning is not given to us. There is no universal meaning to life that applies now and for always for each and every person. That our job - and it's a tough job - is to figure out what it all means, and to fulfill a personal destiny that we each figure out for ourselves."

And then he related all that to the movie, "Ghost B.usters"! Um, maybe that's the part that cracks me up.

Just to refresh my memory, because sometimes I have an idea of what something means, but through time, I can create my own possibly slanted definitions, I looked up a few words.

existentialism: A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts.

Buddhism: The teaching of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases, and that enlightenment obtained through right conduct, wisdom and meditation releases one from desire, suffering and rebirth.

Judaism: The monotheistic religion of the Jews.

Monotheistic: The doctrine or belief that there is only one God.

And thus ends my lunch break at work.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Five minutes of perfect

I work in an office building that's quite old, a "modern" old; built sometime in the 1960's I think. I suppose the old heating/cooling system in this old building is the reason for the great fluctuations we experience in room temperature. Sometimes the temperature inside this building seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with the season of the year or the temperature outside. It's downright crazy.

This morning, in our pod, it was cold, changed gradually to chilly, had about 5 minutes of just right, then zoomed past warm all the way to too hot. Now, it's at too damn hot. Sauna level. Perfect. Just perfect. Right at lunch time. So now it must be nap time because I'm sleepy as hell. I'm in hell. If hell is, indeed, hot.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Winesap in Winter

The Pond in Winter

The case of the barking seal

My 11-year-old son has just gotten into "IM'ing" the last couple of days. He and his good friend, Jacob, have spent hours IM'ing. That's fine, it's new, I'll let him go whole hog on it. But I warned him that at any time I would demand to see the conversation thread. He would never know when. I also explained to him to never, ever, ever write anything that you wouldn't want the classmate you're talking about to see or anything you wouldn't want me to see.

I told him the story about how once when Joycie was in middle school, someone had printed off a whole IM conversation, took it into school and caused Big Time trouble with it. Thankfully, Joycie wasn't involved in that (because she wasn't IM'ing at the time), but some of her friends were and the animosity it caused was pretty long-term. What a mess.

So Sam and Jacob are busily IM'ing each other, but they are also calling each other. I'm in the kitchen and I hear Sam talking to Jake about a girl. Sam has hooked up his friend, Sammiejo, his classmate, with Jake (who goes to another elementary school in our district). Jacob and Sammiejo met at Sam's Halloween party. Sammiejo thinks Jake is cute.

I hit the roof. I believe I said something along the lines of, "I told you no "going out" crap, you're just asking for a lot of trouble. Sammiejo is your friend and Jacob is your friend. Leave it at that. Do not get involved in any of that boyfriend/girlfriend shit. If I have to say it again, you're IM'ing days will be a distant memory." I didn't so much as say it, as shouted it. I used a loud voice, because, yes, indeed, I meant that all for Jacob's ears as well. It worked, too.

Earlier this year Sam was "going out" with Sammiejo, and she dumped him on the playground in front of a group of her girlfriends. Sam, of course, acted at school like it was no big deal, but he was quite hurt and offended. I told him then the rule was No More Going Out for the remainder of his 5th grade year, just stay out of that whole drama. We've talked about it a couple of times; I reminded him No Going Out. (Why in the hell they call it "going out" is beyond me... they don't go out, it's just a public declaration of a couple, really, and the couple will, occasionally, say a few words to each other. That's it. Whatever happened to "going steady"? They don't even use that phrase at the high school nowadays.)

This past Monday evening, after basketball practice, Sam came up to me and confessed that he had asked Jacy to "go out" with him that day, and that she said yes.

I asked Sam if, while he was asking Jacy out, he recalled the unbending rule of No Going Out. Yes, he had. When I asked him why, then, he went ahead and asked Jacy to go out, he replied, with infinite 11-year-old boy wisdom, but also with a very guilty look on his face, "because I wanted to." Tears were close at hand. I could tell he was remorseful, and the guilt was really eating at him. I chewed him out anyway, then made him draft a conversation and call Jacy on the phone, and, in front of me, explain that he wasn't to have asked her to go out and that he had to break up with her. He also had to apologize.

He and Jacy have been friends since 2nd grade. Close friends. Too close, from my viewpoint, as I don't really care all that much for her or her family. Her dad has been really rude a couple of times, and her mom waffles between snubbing me and being nice to me. Thank goodness for the rule.

The very next day at school, a few girls were trying to get Sam to go out with Jenny, another girl I don't like. Jacy wasn't mad at Sam at all. Sometimes those kids will go out in the morning, break up at lunch and be going out with someone else by afternoon recess.

So midafternoon yesterday, I conducted my first surprise IM'ing inspection. The boys had some conversation about why Sam can't Go Out. Jacob definitely can, but probably because his parents both work in the same office together and never get home before 7pm... I think they have no idea of Jake's going out activities. The boys also were talking about staying overnight. First, Jacob asked Sam over, and then he suggested that he stay overnight at Sam's.

I was actually very proud of my son's IM'ing actions. Jacob seemed to start to dis another boy, and Sam just changed the subject. I asked him about it, and he did it on purpose. Good decision.

So, I said, sure, Jacob could stay the night if he could get a ride over to our house. We live so far away from most of Sam's friends, that often, I have to not only go get the kid, but also take them home.

Jake got here about 6pm last night. The boys wanted to sleep in the basement, which is right under our bedroom. I had earlier agreed, but through the evening, while they were down there playing, I kept hearing this loud, sharp, hacking and barking sound. Turns out Jacob is coughing up a storm. He said he was sick about a week ago and that the cough just won't go away. Yeah, right, that cough means the kid is still sick. Shit. Sam's been fighting the sniffles for about 3 days, so I'm sure he'll get the barking cough thing that Jake is sharing all over our house. They didn't get to sleep in the basement. I told them there's no way I'm going to try & sleep overhead of that barking seal routine all night.

I'm sure the boys planned to hang out here all day, but I've already told them Jacob is heading for home at 10:30am. In 4 minutes. Yes.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Our idea of a romantic evening

A few nights ago, Kev had a successful hunt and shot another big doe. We had a feast last night with venison tenderloin. After dinner, while I cleaned up the kitchen, Kevin went out and built fires in the woodstoves, the outside one & the one in the pole barn (the only source of heat for our pole barn).

Then I met him out in the pole barn, and we butchered the doe. The plan was to finish a few more beers during the process, but butchering kinda puts me off drinking. I don't really like the butchering process, so I've managed to get out of it the past few years. The last several deer, Kev has butchered all by himself. It's an ugly job, so having company makes it nicer. And 2 makes it go twice as fast.

I finished grinding the burger while Kev went to take care of the woodstove and get some other stuff done outside that he had to do, like taking care of ashes. I got the meat all wrapped and labeled & in the freezer and was just finishing up the dishes when he got into the house. He was very pleased.

It was a lot of work, and now that I think of it, I'm really quite ashamed of myself for letting him do it all by himself for so long. He never complained, either. I think he thought that it was his choice to hunt, and that butchering is gross, so he shouldn't expect me to help him with his chore. He even did all the dishes by himself. But we all love the venison. I can't imagine not having venison in the freezer every winter.

Then we relaxed in front of the TV, watched a basketball game. I think Kev thanked me 5 times for helping with the butchering. Made me feel even more guilty. So then I started thanking him every little while. It became a thanking fest! What fun!

So this morning, Kev got called into work, and he's already scheduled to work tomorrow to cover for the same person who didn't show up today. He only gets 2 weekends off a month, so now he's down to 1, and this kinda sucks. (Though the overtime pay will be nice this time of year.) I had to get around and take Sammy to his basketball game. When we got home, I noticed a neck roast in the bottom of the fridge. Kev had put it in there the other night. I'm not really sure why. I got the grinder out and now I've got a pot of spicy goulash sauce and a pot of chili going on the stove. We will feast again on venison dishes when my hard workin' hubby gets home from work tonight.

Guys won't like this post...

but the wimmenfolk will.

My sister, Kathy, and her husband, Bob, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary the other day. On their anniversary, they both always take the day off and spend it together. They start with breakfast out, then do some shopping. They get some Christmas shopping done, and they shop for their annual Santa.

When they married, 20 years ago, one of their good friends gave them for a wedding present a beautiful Santa figurine. Since then, buying themselves a Santa each anniversary has become tradition. They have all kinds of Santas, and each year, they look for that one special Santa for the year. I think it's a neat tradition.

When they bought their Santa this year, the young woman at the checkout asked them if it was for something special. And so, she was treated to the story of their annual Santa purchase. She said, "Awwww, how romantical!" So everything from that moment for their day would elicit a "how romantical!" Too funny.

This year, my sister thought that her hubby was making plans for dinner & show at a comedy club. Instead, Bob reserved a private dining room at the fancy restaurant where their wedding reception dinner was held. They had 2 wait staff all to themselves and were treated like royalty. The room was lit with only candles, several of them all over the room.

Since they are now paying for a daughter in college, they had both earlier agreed that the day and the Santa would be their anniversary present to each other. However, in that very romantic setting over dinner, my brother-in-law gave my sister a gorgeous diamond ring. While my sister was overcome with emotion and tears starting in her eyes, Bob said, "Awww, how romantical!"

Later, after the waitresses had ooooed and ahhhhed over the ring, my sister said to her hubby, "Julie can keep her freakin' pie birds." hee hee

Recently, Bob's mom had back surgery and while on his way back home from the hospital, Bob stopped at a few places. Antique shops and the like. He does that on occasion; he's a philatelist. Bob knows that I have a collection of pie birds, and he found 2 & bought them for me. One is solid black and the other is a spongeware green and ivory, both very old. I don't have another like either one of them, and I just love them. It was a super nice surprise. Since Bob didn't find anything for Kathy, she didn't get any little giftie that day. I told her it was because Bob loves me more than he loves her. So now you know why I can keep my freakin' pie birds.

I think Kathy is pretty happy with her ring, and with her very romantical hubby!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Overheard in the women's bathroom

I heard 2 women talking in the bathroom this morning. One woman was telling the other how she's going to be a gramma again. Her daughter-in-law has a young daughter (under 2 years old, I think), and she's pregnant again. She explained that her daughter-in-law has been feeling really sick lately, but how since her son has no job now, and no medical insurance, they couldn't afford to go to the doctor. So, finally, after a couple of weeks, her daughter-in-law's mother told her to just go to urgent care and she would pay for it. Turns out she's pregnant. Yay! The other woman asked if that was what she wanted, to be pregnant, and the gramma said yes, she's very excited.

Uh... yay??? Let's see, you already have a toddler, neither parent has any viable means of income, and you decide to try and get pregnant again, or at least you decide not to prohibit a pregnancy. Hmmm. Reminds me of a movie title... let's see, what was it... oh, yes. White Trash.

Oh, yes, I did too just say that. And, I could tell the other woman in the bathroom was thinking "what the hell" just like me.

I never saw that movie, White Trash... the title was enough to put me off... I see plenty of trashy folk in my rural community, which is a predominantly white community... and the trashy folk are all white folks. With kids that go to my son's elementary school. And it's not at all entertaining.

Update on the iPod

I was able to order what Joycie wanted from the Apple web site, and it was finally delivered by UPS on Wednesday evening. Good ol' UPS. They required a signature, and since no one was home, left us a note on Tuesday. So I called, and after a phone call lasting almost a half-hour, was able to request an alternate delivery address (my folks') for the next day, Wednesday.

Got home Wednesday and there was another note from the UPS driver. He tried to deliver to our home again, and he'd make one more try. So... another even longer phone call to UPS and some bitching, and they got ahold of the driver and had him make another trip to our house that evening for the delivery. Don't think he was too happy, but I suppose he won't be until the holidays (and long hours of deliveries) are over. Yeah, yeah, he should have my job.

Anyway, Joycie was totally thrilled and had already downloaded iTunes and had a bunch of music ready to put on her new iPod nano. It's such a cute little thing. It's really, really little. Of course, Sam wants one now, but no way. He'd lose that little thing within a week. I told him not even with your own money, and that 17-year-olds are totally allowed different gift items than 11-year-olds. Get used to it.

I also told Joycie to take good care of the iPod ear phones. Replacements cost forty bucks. Her forty bucks, not mine.

All she wants for Christmas from aunts and uncles are iTune music cards. That's easy.

OK, I guess I can talk about it now...

I am the mother of a 17-year-old daughter. It's still blowing my mind. My beautiful Pumpkin-Pie-O turned 17 on Nov. 26th. 17. My baby girl is 17. 17.

So... Joycie's nickname, that is, my nickname for her, is Pumpkin-Pie-O because she was born the day after Thanksgiving, and up until then, my most favorite thing about Thanksgiving was pumpkin pie. Now, it's her, my Pumpkin-Pie-O. When she was little, she loved me calling her Pumpkin-Pie-O, sometimes shortened to Pumpkin-Pie, then later, Pumpkin. Sammy has even called her Pumpkin (it's so dang cute). When she was little, she also loved to hear the story of how she got her nickname.

Joycie had her birthday party sleepover with 5 girlfriends on Saturday, and they all seemed to have a blast. Joycie was happy (except for the part when I called her Pumpkin-Pie-O and her girlfriends laughed, so I cheerfully told them the story... Joycie groaned, although, I think she was secretly tickled). We had Chinese takeout, birthday cake, made memory wire bracelets, then the girls played board games downstairs, watched DVD's, got the beads and made more bracelets downstairs, slept late, had breakfast together (scrambled eggs and Pillsbury crescent rolls, Joycie's favorite... she ate 5 or 6 of 'em!), and then they did even more beading! It was like a party for 13-year-olds... I think all the girls are realizing they're getting older and before long, sleepovers will be a thing of the past, of their childhood. **sigh**