Wednesday, December 31, 2008

joycie, my joycie

Joycie had her 20th birthday the day before Thanksgiving this year. It's so hard for me to believe that my baby girl is 20 years old already... and other times, when she's behaving in a particularly adult manner, it seems totally right. Our girl has become such a fine young woman. Joyce is a very grounded person; she's sensible and fun. I love it that she's living at home during college now. Both Kev and I talk often about how nice it is our girl's at home.

Joycie's birthday party started out with a bang. Literally. Mike went out back hunting, and he got himself a nice, big spike. Kev helped him with it, and both our boys were pretty darn proud...

And they both got cleaned up in time for the birthday party with family. Here's Gramma, Sammy, Joycie and Mike...

Joycie received a present from "YBA"...

The card reads...

Janet and Bob had found the stuffed deer, and Janet poked his antlers inside and sewed on some buttons to make him a button buck... it was too funny.

Sammy got his sister yet another Guitar Hero game... something for them both to enjoy...

Just how many Guitar Heros are needed anyway?... Between Joycie and Sammy, I think there are at least 5 guitars downstairs. They sure have fun together with that stuff, though... I hear a lot of laughing from them when they're downstairs playing and singing.

And here is Joycie with her birthday cake, which I bought at Meijer.

The Meijer cakes are usually pretty good... but it paled terribly in comparison to the cake that Joycie made... it's the white one in front in that photo. She said it was a Rachel Ray recipe. It was really, really good. Joycie's cake disappeared, and I threw away the remains of the Meijer cake a couple of days later...

So now our girl is 20. Next year is a milestone birthday for her, not that being legal drinking age is anything Joycie is waiting for with bated breath. It's more likely that Kev will enjoy asking her to pick up a gallon of milk and some Molson on her way home!

Monday, December 29, 2008

can't get it out of my head

Anyone who knows us well knows our family likes us our TV and movies. Big fans. With the cold weather and the colds & flu lately, we have been watching some more movies than usual together. Also because some of our usual favorite TV shows haven't had any new episodes... *sigh*

Between my recording a ton of movies from various channels and Kev picking up some DVD rentals, we have had quite a mix of movies lately. Watched a few good ones I recorded, like "Die Hard" and other old ones. Some cheesy but good Hallmark Movies, like "Generation Gap" and "A Christmas Visitor", along with Kev's rented "Knocked Up" and some others... funny how the bad ones are easier for me to remember than the good ones...

Because we saw some really, really bad ones... like:

"Far North" - I will say this movie had some incredibly talented actors and some beautiful scenery. But... Oh. My. Heck. The ending is so awful that I can't stop thinking about it every now and then. Warning: if you continue to read here, it will totally spoil the movie for you. However, since I strongly recommend you do not spend any precious minutes of your precious time on this awful movie, here's the ending... Basically, a woman raises a child from an infant as her own daughter, when the daughter is a young woman, a man enters their very secluded world and the daughter and man fall in love... apparently the mom also loves the man, so while he is out hunting, she kills her daughter, then cuts off her face from her dead body, dresses in her daughter's clothes and then puts the skin of her daughters face onto her own so that she can fool the man when he returns to the darkened teepee into having sex with her. Which he does, quite quickly, by the way, and then when he's done and kissing who he believes is his young love, ummm... well, the face moves around on the mom's face and the truth is creepily apparent. So the man freaks Big Time, and well, who wouldn't, eh... and runs out of the teepee stark naked into the arctic weather. To perish, one would assume. The mom lays there with her hands on her, um, faces, crying. Roll credits. *shiver* Awful. I can't get the picture of the mom washing the daughter's face skin out of my head. Nice. If you look at the IMDB comments, one person, who liked the movie, wrote "I just hope people will remember it." Your hope has come true, commenter, but not for the reasons you seem to think... Ugh.

And, "Open Water" - yes, yes, I know... everyone knows how bad that movie is. But we hadn't seen it. I recorded it, so in our defense, it's not like we paid a rental fee. And I can't really claim that we watched the whole thing, since I spent an awful lot of time hitting the forward button on my DVR remote. I had forgotten it was based on a true story, though I had seen a TV show about it one time. Kev, Sammy and I watched it together the other evening. Very bad. But then I remembered that the comic Ralphie May had done a little skit about going to see that movie, and he was hilarious.

And finally, Hallmark's "A Kiss at Midnight" - ok, the movie was fine, for the cheesy romantic movie it was intended to be (I actually got Kev to watch it with me yesterday morning!). But what was awful, what was so awful, we were practically mesmerized by it... was Dyan Cannon, more specifically, Dyan Cannon's skin - her face and body. Now, Dyan Cannon is/was a good actor and a beautiful woman. But, as one article I read stated, "Dyan Cannon is the obvious victim of trying too hard to look young." The woman is going to be 72 years old very soon. In this movie, I couldn't stop looking at the difference between her face and her neck and arms. She is walking around in tight jeans (kudos for any 72 year old), but with high heels and she walks so funny... like an old person trying not to walk like an old person. Her arms are so very wrinkled in contrast to her face. If you click on the link to the movie, you'll see the photo of her with Faith Ford, and notice that Dyan is wearing gloves. There is a reason for the gloves. I think her worked-on face makes the rest of her look even worse. It is so strange. Sadly strange. With Dyan's bone structure, she should have just let herself go... yes, she would have looked her age, but still beautiful. The creepiness of her face vs. body totally ruined the sweet, little movie for me.

So there you have it. My effort to purge the memories of these 3 awful movies out of my head... and into yours. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas at Janet & Bob's

Yesterday's Christmas at Janet & Bob's was really nice. I'm so glad that my sis does that get-together so we can all see Rogan and Austin at Christmastime. It was a little sad because not all the family could be there - some still too sick.

Janet & Bob put on a great meal, and their home is always wonderfully warm and inviting. My sister, Janet, has a way with decorating. We call her our family Martha Stewart, and that's meant as a big compliment. (to Martha!) I love walking into their home and looking around to see what Janet's changed and added.

When we walked in yesterday, it smelled so good! Here's the cooking couple in the kitchen...

And Rogan and Austin happy with a couple of Christmas gifts...

Sure are a couple of cutie-pies, aren't they. Sammy was kinda bummed that he couldn't have fun with the 2 of them, as I put Sam under strict orders to not get too close to anyone. He was hardly coughing at all, and he and I were both careful even though we're better.

Janet made a tree this year from grapevines, and it looked so beautiful in the corner of their living room.

Here's a better close-up photo...

She's amazing. Janet is super talented... she'll see something in a magazine or on a TV show, and next thing you know, she's made it, built it or crafted it somehow. And it looks perfect.

Kev and I drove over separately from the kids, and then when Joyce, Mike & Sammy left, they drove straight over to Bay City. Mike had forgotten the keys to his pickup truck, which was at our house. They were both kinda frustrated about it, but I suggested they take Sammy over to the Hollister store near Mike's home so Sam could spend his gift card I gave him... and Sammy was Very Pleased. Made the trip worthwhile, that's for sure. Sammy got a couple of things there, and that's what he wanted... and, I didn't have to take him. (I absolutely detest going into a Hollister. Too loud and too smelly for old me.)

So when Kev and I arrived home together, we were surprised to see this visitor...

Sammy and Mike and made him quick after we left for Janet & Bob's... made me laugh, especially the little hair on top...

It had been a long day, and I was in bed kinda early. Good thing, because the wind started up and woke me around 3am. Kev got up at about 4am and decided to pull his truck into the garage in the pole barn - he had left it out so the rain could wash some of the salty residue off it. So I pulled my old La Sabre out of the garage and we put Mike's truck inside it. Lots of branches going down, and we lost one not so big oak near the house... Kev had to drive Mike's truck across the yard to get to the garage because the downed oak was blocking the driveway. Mike's truck is worth a lot more than my old car, and a bump from a big branch on my car wouldn't bother me a bit... Mike's truck getting banged up would bother Mike a lot.

The winds were incredibly loud, and the house felt like it was swaying. I think Kev said the predictions were for about 50 or 60 mph winds. Kev and I stayed up... couldn't go back to sleep with all that noise. So we made a pot of coffee and talked for hours. I had woke Joycie up when I had to go into her bedroom to find Mike's keys, and pretty soon, she came out and took a shower... Kev was surprised, and I said, nah... she was laying in there listening to that wind and decided to get her shower taken before the power went out. Ten minutes after she finished the power flickered off and on, but stayed on. We lit candles and got flashlights handy just in case. Drank our coffee and talked to candlelight and Christmas tree lights, with the wind occasionally roaring at the windows. Nice and unsettling at the same time.

This is a photo I took at almost 8am. It was still pretty dark outside. Only a fat stump ball left of the snowman, and you can see the downed oak to the right... that's the top of it, lots of branches...

And later this afternoon... still some stumpy snowman left, but Kev and Mike got the oak cut up and cleaned out of the way. The oak was part of a twin, and you can see the big scar from the felled one on the tree way to the right side of the photo. And you can see a lot of green, too... can't believe how much snow is gone in one day...

Joycie made 2 loaves of bread today in her new bread machine... this is the first one, plain white...

I used to have a bread machine years ago, but when it finally broke, I never got around to getting another one. I had forgotten how a loaf of bread baking in the bread machine makes the house smell so wonderful. She put in another loaf, this time oatmeal cinnamon raisin, and it baked while the 5 of us watched "Wall-E" this evening. Mmm... Great way to spend a Sunday evening.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

thunder and lightning

We definitely had a white Christmas, like most North Americans... or most of us notherners anyway. Woke up to a thunder storm this morning, and it is still raining. It's slowly pounding the snow away, but we have so much snow, you can't tell just yet. The fog is pretty amazing, and these 2 photos definitely don't do it justice...

This kind of thick, floating fog always makes me think of Edgar Allen Poe, Sherlock Holmes and the like. Only it's daytime. Weird. And not very Christmas-like... And the flooding that's expected in our area is not good. Kev will be keeping an eye on our sump pump and the creek level.

Our Christmas was nice, but also very disappointing. Sammy and I both being sick (me with an awful flu since Monday evening), plus my brother, Jim, sister-in-law, Sue & nephew, James all being sick, plus my sister, Kathy, and now her hubby, my brother-in-law, Bob... we decided to postpone the family Christmas gathering. Too many sickos, and too many different illnesses to share with each other. That'd be dreadful. Without dinner at Kathy & Bob's, turkey and Swedish meatballs, everyone together, then over here at our house to open gifts for the kids and our Chinese Auction with all the adults... geewhiz, I miss it!!! Last I heard, we're hoping for a Saturday in mid-February. Christmas is in the heart and all about family, so does it really matter when it happens? No. But... *sigh* I'm just happy we're all here to have that turkey and traditional meatballs then. Meanwhile, my sister, Janet, and brother-in-law, Bob, are having all the families over to their house today so we can have Christmas with Rogan, my great-nephew, and Austin, soon to be great-nephew-in-law. Sammy's still coughing a little, but he and I are both doing much better, so we will likely attend. Kathy and Bob are still super sick, so they won't be going, and last I heard, Jim, Sue & James aren't up to coming either. But at least we will have most of us together for a little while. If Sammy's cough is still happening pretty often, I threatened to make him wear a mask, those paper ones that Kev has out in his workshop for like doing drywall and stuff. Sam thinks I'm kidding.

I was very thankful, though, that both Sammy and I actually felt like getting out of bed Christmas morning. Early, too. Very early... 6am I think. The four of us had a nice, quiet and relaxing time opening our gifts. With a lot of laughter. For some reason this year, Reilly finally decided to show an interest in opening presents. Makes sense, since this is the first year none of us got him a gift, wrapped it and tried to get him to open it. Duh. Reilly tried helping with most of the gift opening, and it was very fun.

Sammy was oh so unsurprised with his XBox thing. That was The One Thing he really wanted for Christmas, and while he and I were shopping for his dad and sister, we hit Best Buy, and there it was. They had a few different ones for sale, and Sammy was telling me to remember to get This One. I said oh hell, Sam, just pick it up. So he carried it up to the checkout and then out to the trunk of my car for me. That box is actually quite heavy. And like it would be a surprise anyway.

But I totally wrapped it, though I see I didn't bother to remove the price tag... anyway, now he's been downstairs with it practically every waking minute since.

Joycie got both Kev and I some thoughtful gifts. Kev was happy with the beer making kit, something he's wanted to try.

And I was happy with the wonderful lavender booties and neck cozy... they have inserts you can warm up in the microwave, and they feel and smell wonderful.

Sammy knew what he wanted to get for Joycie a while ago, because she has a favorite pair of shoes that are pretty much worn out, and he got her 2 pair similar at American Eagle. Had to be AE. I was skeptical that she'd like them, but Sam was right on... she loved both of 'em...

Sammy does have a good eye for style. Wearing clothes that are in fashion is important to him and to nearly all his friends, both guys and girls. Big Time. Since I had told him that the XBox was ALL he was getting from us this Christmas, since it was so expensive, he was super surprised and happy with more gifts to open. Reilly helping him on this one was funny, because it was the one gift that I did that was a wrapped box inside a wrapped box inside a wrapped box...

And when Sammy saw the Hollister t-shirt, he was very pleased...

This year, due to - SURPRISE! - financial woes, Kev and I promised each other we would not buy any gifts for each other. Our gift to each other was not spending more money on Christmas. But, of course... Kev pulled a fast one and "Santa" got us Kona coffee and some new mugs...

It was nice, because every year, Kev gets me coffee from this place downtown, and it just wouldn't be Christmas without opening that gift and smelling that wonderful coffee smell.

So Kev made a fresh pot of coffee and washed 2 of our new mugs and the 4 of us watched "Mamma Mia" together. Sammy got me that DVD, and Wall-E DVD, plus a wonderful "WoodWick" candle, which is really cool. I had went to see Mamma Mia with Kathy, and loved it, but Kev, Joycie and Sammy hadn't seen it yet. None of the 3 of them were too enthusiastic about the prospect, but they all enjoyed it. A lot. Ha! I think I smiled all the way through it. Can't wait to watch it again.

Later, Reilly did get his Christmas gift from Joycie... a lovely massage. She brushed the hairy beast and vacuumed him, and he loved it. So did Kevin. (Reilly's been shedding a lot lately.)

Then later, Mikey arrived. I had gotten a gift for the both of them, so they opened it together...

The rolling pin in Joycie's hand in this photo made me laugh... Anyway, now they're set up just fine to make homemade tortillas. A gift for all of us!

Mike modeled his UnderArmor shirt, which made him very happy...

We just love that boy. Since he is going to college full-time and has no job, and still has to feed gas into his truck, our Mikey was wise enough not to try and give us Christmas gifts. He gave us a short letter he wrote, addressed to "Dear inlaws" which was so sweet, yes of course, it made me cry... he explained he couldn't buy us anything, but he appreciated us and what we did for him, like letting him stay every weekend and hunt here on our property like it's his own, and how he can't wait to call us in-laws officially. It was better than anything he could possibly have bought for us.

Joycie and Mike left to go to a family gathering of Mike's and I took a nap. I was able to talk with many family members and to Sandy, which was very nice. Sandy and I haven't talked in a while, so we had a nice, long conversation. This was their first Christmas in their new house, and they had a nice, quiet Christmas morning, too, just the 3 of them, Sandy, Brian and Brandon.

Sandy and I both observed how odd it felt not to be rushing around on Christmas day. Kinda nice, actually. With the kids growing older and moving and starting families of their own, Christmas traditions must change... makes me sad and happy at the same time. Anyway, Christmas is only 1 day of the year. Our family is close, really close, so we are lucky. Maybe not as much face time as we'd like, but phone calls work. I could feel Sandy's hug through the phone yesterday. We're so very, very lucky... we get lots of family time throughout all the year, not just around holidays. To quote a favorite movie of mine (notice it playing on the TV in the photo of Mike modeling his new shirt), "Love actually is all around."

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

sammy, my sammy

This morning when Sam woke, he called me at work... and the only way I knew it was him was because his cell phone number showed on my phone. His voice was awful, and he could hardly talk. He's sick with some kind of upper respiratory infection (remember when we used to call those things colds?....). So Joycie & Mike drove him into town for me, and I met them at the Urgent Care medical office. Got my poor, sick boy a prescription, and he will hopefully be feeling much better by Thursday.

Once again, waiting and waiting in an uncomfortable chair in a medical building for my boy... Urgent Care was very busy, and we waited over 2 hours total. Our family doctor doesn't work on Mondays, and the doc on call was too booked to fit us in, same old story... and that's why we usually end up at Urgent Care.

Today reminded me of all Sammy went through with his elbow around his birthday. Looking back...

After the injury, Sammy's 14th birthday party, with a sling and a smile...

The day after his birthday, on Nov. 5th, Sammy had surgery. The surgery went well, but it was a long wait... the surgeon was running a few hours behind because of complications at the out-patient surgical rooms. Sammy had trouble in recovery, though, and so that took even longer. Here he is finally back in his room, but so very not happy... and who would be...

He was in so much pain then. And in the days following. Totally talked me into helping him buy his new iPod... with his birthday money, he was still short about a hundred bucks...

I'm not really sure how this one is so different from the first 2 he has, except it's a really, really pretty orange! What can I say, I'm a sucker for Sammy's big, gorgeous eyes, especially when he's hurting. (And he knows this, too.)

And then a few weeks later, waiting in the surgeon's offices for the splint to come off from Sammy's arm...

Again, waiting and waiting... But we finally got to see the goods...

The screw is still in his elbow (humerus bone), and we will leave it there for now. At least through basketball season... the surgeon said maybe we could have it removed this next summer. It's fine to stay in there a while.

The nurse took out the stitches and put some kind of glue on his healing incision, and then put tape over it... though the tape didn't last that long...

Here's a graphic, close-up photo of the incision and all the bruising... though some of the blue, nearer his wrist, is some kind of cleaning thing they use now at the hospital (like the stuff that used to turn your skin orange)...

Pretty gross, huh. But also some very lovely shades of purple... and green and yellow...

That there arm has cost us a bundle so far... Thank the Good Lord for medical insurance... I don't know how folks without it survive. Our share of the hospital bill has been $620 so far, and $98 at the surgeon's office, and we're still waiting for the bills from the anesthesiologist group and the x-ray group (those are billed separately from the hospital). Oy! (Actually, I think those bills have arrived, but I'm ignoring them until after Christmas!)

Sam's been through physical therapy and is doing great now. (Oh, PT, another $150!) Playing basketball and shooting the ball and everything. He has a lot of catching up to do with his arm, but he's one strong boy. Well, not today... today he's one sick puppy...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

dead and alive

This is the oak in the field in front of our high school that's dead...

Yet, full of life...

doves at the feeder

When I got home from work Thursday afternoon, I filled both of my bird feeders until they were brimming over. Knowing the snow storm was coming, I wanted to provide a feast. Plus, the darn squirrels take a big share. The pigs.

One of the things I enjoy most about working from home is the view I have while working at the computer. In the office, I have a dinky cubicle that's chock full of stacks of papers and files. It's a very, very good thing I'm not in the least claustrophobic, otherwise, I'd not last an hour in my cubicle. Also, the cubicle furniture is very old, the carpeting is very old and the nearest window is far away. Working at my computer there in my cozy cube, I usually have no idea what the weather is like, what the sky is doing. And there are bugs. With old stuff and so much paper around... yes, bugs. Including spiders. (Dammit.)

From my desk at home, I sit right in front of south-facing windows. This does mean that I must occasionally draw the blinds since the sun doesn't mix well with a computer screen. Obviously, though, it's worth it.

Right outside the window are my bird feeders. I love watching the birds. I enjoy the rapid flights to and from the feeders in my peripheral vision. It's energizing.

Yesterday, a trio of mourning doves came to the feeder. Instead of pecking at the ground at the base of the feeder like they normally do, they flew up to the feeder. When they first arrived and flew up to the feeder, it was like most activity suddenly stopped. It was so still for just a moment. I think the chickadees, nuthatches, finches, juncos and titmouses were as surprised as I was. But as always, the chickadees were the first to adapt; they soon began joining the doves. And as always, it was wonderful to watch.

It is pretty easy, actually, to catch a chickadee in flight with a photo at my feeders. The chickadees are always flitting back and forth from shrubs to feeder. I was trying to get a nice photo yesterday of a chickadee perching on an uppermost branch of the nearest shrub, but I couldn't... though they kept landing there, the little things wouldn't stay still long enough for me to get a photo.

I love the detail of their feathers in flight...

And the lone cardinal that appeared was striking in the mass of white...

And unusual... a lone blue jay... the jays usually appear in a group of 3. He or she was also beautiful against the white. I love their soft, dusty-blue backs...

And by the way, the amount of snow on top of the feeder doesn't represent well enough just how much snow we got yesterday... squirrels would regularly arrive and knock some snow off the top of the feeder. I was thankful in a way, because I kept thinking I needed to go clean off the snow so the feeder didn't fall under the weight of it. However, one black squirrel stayed so long that I finally had to go pop his butt with my trusty BB gun to teach him how to share.

Friday, December 19, 2008

you must learn to eat time

We're in the midst of a big snow storm, and word is we're supposed to get about a foot of snow; it's already begun... snowed through the night. Sammy has a snow day today. Which actually disappointed him a great deal... for one thing, I was taking him to Espresso Milano for breakfast, and for another, it's the last day of school before Christmas break, which is always a pretty fun day. Since I somewhat expected it to be a snow day, I packed heavily at work yesterday and brought a ton of work home with me. But first thing this morning when I logged onto our company network, I had to do an update to my laptop. So I kicked off the update and filled up my coffee cup, and I went and sat down in the recliner & turned on the TV... flipped to Fox Movie channel and there was an old movie on with a very, very young Joan Collins and Richard Burton, I think, in a raft on the ocean, shipwrecked. I watched for a little while. It must have taken place in WWII, because they came across a surfaced submarine with Japanese soldiers. After some debate, the Japanese gave them water and food, but left them. One guy in the raft hollered out something like, "which way is land?" The Japanese captain said, "Land is all around. Open your mind. You must learn to eat time."

You must learn to eat time.

I am so swamped right now, as usual for this time of year, busy with 4th quarter and year-end close, along with still tons of backlogged work and other special events causing nothing but work, work and more work... I need more time, and I need more energy. Can you imagine...??? You must learn to eat time.

This is how fast time has flown by. Yesterday it was mid-October...

And today, it's almost Christmas...

Notice all the stacks of wood Kevin has cut, split and stacked. They're beautiful setting out there by our red pole barn. The stacks go on and on; you can't see half of them in the photo above. The amount of wood dwarfs the barn. We are warm and toasty in the house, even though the temperatures this week have occasionally hovered around zero. Kev takes very good care of us.

And speaking of Christmas... ugh. Thank goodness for plastic, eh. *flinch* Sammy and I went shopping together last weekend. From the long lines to check out at the registers at Kohl's, you wouldn't think there's any kind of economic slump. It was amazing. And Kohl's, as usual, had some amazing sales.

Sammy and I were looking at a couple of things there, and a phone began ringing. It didn't sound like a typical cell phone jingle; it sounded like an old-fashioned telephone ring. It was quite loud. So I, of course, looked around. There was an older gal pushing a Kohl's cart, and she looked at me and said, "Doncha hate that?" I looked back at her, head cocked, with a puzzled expression... huh? "You know," she says, "when your boob starts ringing." And she reached into her bra and pulled out her cell phone. I about pissed myself laughing! She was adorable! Sammy cracked up, too.

On Wednesday I had a PT appointment at noon, and then afterwards, I met Joyce in town for the 2 of us to do some Christmas shopping. It was a nice couple of hours together. Then she booked back on home, and I continued to shop... and I think I'm mostly done now. Just have to wrap, and I think I will make time for that today so the kids can wonder about the gifts under the tree for them. Otherwise, what's the point... I've been running pretty late at Christmas every year for the past few, and next year, I'm looking forward to feeling better and getting on top things. I will eat time.

I have only one New Year's Resolution this year, and that is to do more blog posts. Because really, if I do more blogging, that means I am more organized and energized in my life in general. I don't blog much lately because I'm too busy with work and then I don't have the energy for hardly anything else. So I will concentrate on one thing, and all the other stuff will fall into place. That's my plan.

Hey, it's nice to have a plan.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

high ate us

Seems like every time I sit down at my computer to do a blog post, I end up playing Spider Solitaire. And then I feel guilty for not working on my company laptop instead. It's very crushing to one's creative inspiration.

So... how 'bout some bullet points? Ok, sure.

  • I cannot fecking believe it's December 6th. Already.

  • I just finished a book on tape where the story's setting was Ireland, and now I keep using 'fecking' to describe many, many things. I also talked in an Irish accent for a while, which Joyce informed me was not an Irish accent and then she told me to knock it off.

  • My Dad makes the best home-made bread (in his bread machine), and I just had 2 pieces toasted, with butter and honey. Heaven. Thank you, Daddy.

  • Sammy had surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday, Nov. 5th, one day after his 14th birthday. The surgeon had to put a screw into his bone to hold the end that had broken off. He did not get a cast; he had a splint and a sling for a couple of weeks. He's now going to physical therapy... the elbow dislocation was the issue. The PT is to help him regain arm extension. Sam's hoping his arm will be ready in time for basketball... me, too. Otherwise, he will be very sad.

  • Joycie turned 20 years old the day before Thanksgiving. Sometimes she seems more adult than I feel. Mentally, that is. Physically, I'm the oldest person on Earth.

  • I came home from work yesterday and Joycie & Mike had decorated the entire house, inside and out, with all our Christmas decorations. And lit candles. The house looked and smelled so Christmasy wonderful. We're getting our tree Monday evening (Kev has to work this weekend, just like last weekend).

  • It's snowing right now. Big, fat flakes. And it's really, really coming down! It is so beautiful.

  • Speaking of creativity... my sister, Joie, has joined me at Space Studios the past month. She is making 2 large coil pots for lamp bases, and she's doing a superb job on them. They are going to be gorgeous.

  • I saw a vanity plate the other day that read, FANILOW. When I got closer to the car, I saw her bumper sticker that read, I'm broke, single and love Barry Manilow. Wanna go out?

  • I have a list of items I have yet to do blog posts on, and it goes all the way back to May. Criminey!

  • I paid something like $1.40 a gallon for gas the other day. On one hand, I'm so relieved. On the other hand, I'm burning with anger. How can it have been over $5 a gallon just a short time ago?... Fecking criminals, that's how.

  • Whenever I use "on one hand" and "on the other hand" I think of Randy Travis. Mmmmmm....

  • Joycie's Mike is now an Uncle Mike. His brother's son was born the day after Thanksgiving. My fingers are itching to hold that newborn baby boy.

  • I want Kenny to win Survivor. But I just love Bob. Detest Corrine. And if my man proposed marriage to me with that much bawling, I'd have to say... uh... no. I mean really. There's sweet... and then there's sappy.

  • I've been listening to books on tape a lot lately. It's nice to be "reading" again. Joyce insisted I read "Twilight" so I tried. I got about a third of the way through it. I couldn't finish it because: a) it hurts my neck looking down to read and I can't seem to get the book at a good level with pillows for my trifocals so reading is not fun, and b) it was stupid. Sorry. I'm misunderstood and in high school and in love with a vampire. Puh-lease. Clearly, however, I'm in the minority. That is one popular book series, and movie. If you've read it and enjoyed it, fine. Now go read Kaye Gibbons' book "Ellen Foster." Your brain deserves it.

  • My sister, Kathy, just called me. (Hi, Sicko!) (She's got a bad cold.) She asked me what I was doing, and I said, "I am actually typing up a blog post!" That's what she was calling me for... to tell me to update my blog and that it's not Halloween anymore and it's not even Thanksgiving. Ha! Like I hadn't noticed. I noticed, I noticed. I'm just in denial. Christmas is NOT in 19 days.

  • Is anyone else creeped out by the Grey's Anatomy story line of Izzy with her dead fiance? Ew. I mean the guy's a hunk and all, but... ew.

  • Two things I heard at work recently that made me laugh. 1) I'm all stuffed up; I think I'm allergic to this place. 2) I'm not afraid of work, I'll lay down right beside it & fall asleep.

  • At work lately there has been a huge focus on safety. Well, there has always been a big focus on safety where I work, but lately it's been even more pronounced. I totally agree with it. But... we all received an e-mail on Tuesday, Nov. 4th... Election Day, which was an unusually warm Nov. 4th... this is the text of it, verbatim, typos and all: "The nice warm temps have given us the extra time needed to complete those last few tasks that need completing outside at work and at home. Don't let the distractions of hurrying home to do that job take your focus off of the task at hand while at work, the same while finishing up the jobs at home. The nice warn temps can bring out the conversations while you are working, Stay focused, enjoy the last of the warm weather, and put the finishing touches on those tasks to be prepared for the winter ahead. As election day is upon us, there are a lot of people driving around, waiting in long lines and rushing to get to their next destination. Please take time today to look for extra hazards and slow down as this is a busy day for all." Seriously. You can't make this shit up.

  • Mike, Joycie and I are going shopping today together so Joyce can spend her Michael's Craft Store gift card we gave to her for her birthday... on scrapbooking stuff. And then lunch.

  • And then home and nap. (For me.)