30 December 2010

New Years Meme

Nipped from All & Sundry again this year. Here is Last Year's for handy reference.

You should do it too, it’s a fun way to look back on your year. If you post it in your blog, will you add your link to the comments here? I’d love to see your answers!!

Strangely many of last year's answers still apply...

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
I feel like the Magic 8 Ball...answer is unclear, check in later.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did make them and for once, I believe that I managed to at least bump into each resolution and make its acquaintance.

My resolutions for 2010:

1. Continue cooking more.

2. Continue to simplify, in every way.

3. Try to remember not to enter into melodrama of any kind. I believe Swistle referred to it jackassery.

These resolutions worked out so well I am keeping them for 2011!!!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope. Everyone is beyond that age/stage of life again this year. With the exception of five little monkeys that are new to our family. We do have a good friend who is due to be a new daddy in a month or so.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

a few friends & acquaintances but no one close to us. We are starting to be at the age where we cringingly check the obituaries.

5. What countries did you visit?

"Oh Canada, our home & native land.."

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

I am not really sure, actually. That feels good to say.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

July 3rd...first fireworks without my dad
October 16....Kevin's win at Pacific.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Writing nearly every single day, with a few notable absences due to impending death.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I'm drawing a blank, so that's good right? I guess not writing more.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

C. Diff....ugh...

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Plane tickets...books...my Vegas hoodie.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Barack Obama. He inherited a mess and is fixing it, all the while encouraging us to do the same.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Someone who shall remain nameless.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Same as last year: Bills, Racecar, Vegas trip. Shiny side is we paid some debt down this year.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Christmas with the nephew & monkeys.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

"Smile" Uncle Kracker

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier, in the grand scheme of things.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner, to my surprise.
– richer or poorer? Richer this year, surprisingly. We've been Lucky.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I don't have a clear answer actually.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Being sick, for sure.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Eve - at my parents and it was uncomfortable & tense.

Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Multiple times.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I always have a difficult time choosing favorites. The Mentalist, Castle, Brothers & Sisters.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. I'm not a hater.

24. What was the best book you read?

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

To my surprise, the GLEE soundtracks.

26. What did you want and get?

Everything, I suppose. We're at the time of our lives that if we want it, we can usually get it.

27. What did you want and not get?

A new vacuum cleaner, I only have myself to blame.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

It is a tie between Up in the Air and Leap Year. Opposite ends of the spectrum.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 42 and I spent the weekend doing whatever I wanted, mostly.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A little more job satisfaction.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Casual, comfortable. I have reverted back to dressing like Wednesday Adams.

32. What kept you sane?

Mochas. Kevin.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Craig Ferguson. Hello, my naughty monkey.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

PROP 8 continued battle & Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

35. Who did you miss?

No one that I don't usually miss.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I met her in 2009 but my brother's girlfriend fits the description the best.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

Everything is temporary. Hold on, hold tight, for this too shall pass.

29 December 2010

No Longer Trapped in the Rubble

Today I finally put all the decorations away. I can see my desk again. The house has been returned to normal. It's so depressing. I don't enjoy this time of year because everything seems so plain.

Today it snowed a bit so that was nice. It wasn't an official snow day because it happened on a vacation day and there wasn't that much. It was still pretty and helped with the blehness.

I've one more vacation day to myself and I am not sure what I will do with it. I really didn't have any goals set for this vacation so I've accomplished that much.

Usually I try to begin the new year with a clean house so that's how I will be spending Friday. That coupled with a Hoarders viewing has me wanting to clean closets, again.

Clearly, I've been up to f#$k-all these past few days and haven't been writing. I felt compelled to toss this up & see if it sticks.

I hope this finds you more motivated than I am!!!

25 December 2010

Tears at the Dinner Table

Christmas Day was one the most fun days I've had, ever. The addition of five monkeys added a remarkable amount of cheer & excitement to the day.

The kids were very enjoyable, even when they got tired and overwhelmed. The eldest announced about mid-day "This is the best day of my life. Seriously. Ever."

The older boys have realized that Kevin is a good playmate. He is, in fact, just a large child himself. They played war in the neighborhood for about two hours before Kev finally had to tap out.

At dinner the kids were all gathered at the end of the table while Kevin and I were in the middle. C2...the second oldest...kept looking & laughing at Kevin. To make it more funny, he kept doing the "I'm keeping my eyes on you" gesture and teasing Kevin.

Finally, Kevin said he was going to throw a bun at him. Of course, C2 was all "Whatever" because really? how likely was that to happen.

Without warning, Kev picked up a bun and winged it at C2, about ten feet away. In slow motion, we watched C2 turn just in time for the bun to bonk him on the forehead and bounce away. It landed on his plate so there was momentary confusion of WTF just happened.

The adults just fell out laughing. We were all laughing so hard we had tears streaming down our cheeks with intermittent bursts of laughter for minutes afterward.

Kevin gave the boy the best Christmas story ever, for sure. Lord knows we'll be telling it for years to come.

24 December 2010

All is Calm...

We're at the point of the holiday that I want to hit the slow down button. Everything is finished & ready. Everyone is relaxed and happy. Anticipation is slowly building (unless you have five little ones and then they're raising the roof)

The tree looks so nice with the presents underneath. It makes me a little sad to take the presents away from it.

Kevin & I have tried to have a just-us-two Christmas before but it isn't at all like the jewelry commercials portray it. It's actually kind of sad and awkward. It's the only time that we miss not having children.

I think that is why we're both excited about spending time with five little monkeys tomorrow morning. They haven't had much of a Christmas in the past and we can't wait to see their excitement and awe of all the presents we've bought just for them.

Don't tell Missy but I even bought her a big chewy bone to help while away the day tomorrow while we are next door.

This morning we took candy to the mocha stand for the girls. We even planned ahead by buying mochas for tomorrow morning so we'll be fully awake and anesthetized before entering into the craziness that is Christmas with this family.

Meanwhile, I am going to sit quietly and enjoy holiday movies for another hour until it's time to pack up and go.

I hope this finds you surrounded by loved ones, peaceful, and happy. The merriest of Christmases to you.

23 December 2010

All the Stockings are Hung

I set the bar really high for myself this year. I have the intention of giving brownies to my family this year. I have 1.5 batches done. I need three. Note the use of the word "intention."

This is why I don't bake. I don't have the attention span nor patience for it. I just don't. I will, however, give myself credit for beginning tonight versus tomorrow. I am sure the stores won't be sold out of brownies tomorrow if things go horribly awry.

First batch went well. Second batch remains undetermined. There may be egg shell. There may be a funky crust due to a momentary lapse of eggs post-pouring of the batter causing a remix. Batch three is in the oven.

Luckily, thankfully, strangely, the radio station suddenly kicked the holiday up a notch: Step into Christmas by Elton John, I Want a Hippopotamus, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies, and We Need A Little Christmas by GLEE. This happy little soundtrack kept me from feeding the #$&()@#&%( brownies to the dog.

Meanwhile, Kevin is out shopping with his brother so that guarantees he's having less fun than I am. His brother is a horrible shopper. H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E.

On a happy note, all presents but the Pillow Pets are wrapped. They are waiting for Kevin because I know that kind of wrapping is beyond my paygrade.

So, tomorrow will find me watching Christmas movies & specials all the live-long day.

Tell me, dear ones, What's your favorite Christmas song?

22 December 2010

News & Notes

I always forget how much I enjoy being home until I am for a few days, or at least at home without the plague. I've really had no schedule this week other than the whole Santa deadline.

It's Wednesday evening and we're watching a movie, something we haven't done in what feels like forever. (Wall Street 2...the first one is one of Kevin's favorites) I can't remember the last time we just sat & enjoyed a movie.

This is my second movie today in fact. I watched Leap Year earlier while wrapping presents. A lovely little movie and just another one that makes me want to go to Ireland.

I cleaned a closet and organized, again, Monica's closet. It's little things like that which get set by the wayside during the busyness of days.

I went shopping yesterday and in two stores I nearly finished. The only reason I didn't finish is because I forgot one stocking stuffer completely and I am still struggling with the whole couple gift thing. I swear I am going to kick my brother right in the shin for that dumb idea.

I spent my giftcard yesterday also. I bought a new bedspread and blanket for our room, finally. It's only been a year since I decided to change.

Kevin loves it. He hates the decorative pillows because he's a guy. It went as far as two photographs being taken, presented to the family, and voted upon. Kevin totally lost.

Tomorrow I will begin the day grocery shopping so I don't have to enter a store again until at least next week. After that, I am going to bake brownies to pad the impersonal giftcard gifts that my brothers are receiving.

Let's talk about toys! Have you seen the Lego board games? Those look cool and yet confusing. Rubiks cubes are popular again? Baby Alive also? Can I just say that it feels impossible to buy a non commercial toy for anyone over the age of six. Plush toys, omg, I would have adored those as a child.

Please tell me, fellow dog owners, that your dog is shedding too and it's not just mine? FTLOG, I am ready to scream. I've threatened to shave her so many times, I think she's starting to get a little jumpy. Kevin has been brushing her every to every-other day but it just seems to piss her fur off. We even have the Furminator comb, which rocks. Meanwhile, my vacuum is choked with dog hair.
So, other than the dog hair, my vacation is going well. I hope it continues to do so.

And you? How are all of you doing?

19 December 2010

A Very Merry Unbirthday!

It's been a fun weekend! We had dinner on Friday then Kevin & I managed to make yesterday my unofficial birthday without even talking about it.

I slept in, Kev got me coffee, I didn't do any chores or shopping. I just hung around the house. A very nice day indeed!

We went to Johnny Gringos...which is Carino's to the people who aren't Kevin. One of my favorite places to eat. Just Kevin & me and no phones. A Christmas miracle!!!

We walked across to the mall to look at books and/or perfume for a birthday gift. (this has become our tradition: going to the mall & getting to choose what I want. It's fun!) The one book I would have paid full-price for wasn't in stock: Kate Morton's new book

So we went to Macy's to buy perfume and bumped into one of my black sheep, redneck, cousins so there was an uncomfortable ten minutes.

And Macy's isn't stocking Escape by Calvin Klein. W.T.H. is up with that?

We walked back through the store where I decided to buy two glass snowman ornaments and another ornament. They were on clearance so essentially three for the price of one!!! Hooray me!!!

Now today was much different. I didn't sleep in because I had to go to town today, we needed groceries and I wanted to get in & out before everything got crazy.

I went to Michaels so I could finish a project and finish my mom's present. Below is my Nate Berkus inspired project. When it isn't the holidays anymore, I will replace the snowflake something else. It must not be too hideous or noticable as Kevin hasn't mentioned it. I wish I could take a better photograph...I will keep trying.

Then I went to two Cenex stores (Country Stores or Farmer's Co-Ops in your neck of the woods)
for Pillow Pets, of all things. They had them for $14.99 where they are $19.99 at least everywhere else. I bought them for the triplets. (great suggestion CK!!!!)

Then I went to Freddy's and bought groceries. I made a quick break for it just as it started to get busy again. My nephew text me while I was there: "I'm in Target. FML." He's experiencing Christmas shopping for children for the first time.

Then I wandered around the house doing chores and little projects. We had dinner leftovers for lunch and now I'm heading next door for dinner!

It's been fun having birthday wishes via Facebook and text. One of the good developments of the interwebs.

This was a text from one of my co-workers that made me laugh:

"Happy Birthday to you. You work in a zoo. If we were some primates...I'd fling you some poo..."

18 December 2010

Looked Fear in the Eye

and said "Okay thanks, let's not meet again".

I don't enjoy being underneath cars, never have. I've done it to check for leaks or pick up something that has inconveniently rolled underneath or handing Kevin a tool. If the car is on jackstands then it's worse and better. Worse: it can fall (not really) and better: there is more space to move underneath.

Kevin is rebuilding his fuel system on the racecar. His dad & brother were both unavailable so under the car I had to go. Not just a little bit either but full body, on a creeper, under the car, for a period of time. Gah.

One sound that I enjoy is the sound of an impact wrench. Today I got to *make* the sound. It's kind of a powerful feeling actually if I weren't facing the fear of being under a car.

Kevin is good with people. He knew I wasn't too excited about being there so he was all Let's Get This Sh*t Done. As soon as I was no longer needed, he pulled out the creeper and helped me up just like nothing had ever happened. Other than saying "You're officially a drag racer's wife."

I have my favorite hoodie on and as luck would have it I actually had to wear the hood part so my hair didn't get caught in the creeper wheels. It also came in handy to catch two washers that fell. Also in the luck department: I have my glasses that acted like safety glasses.

So, now I can do f*ck-all for the rest of the day because for ten minutes: I was bad ass.

Not really.

17 December 2010

And to All a Good Night

Tonight I had an early birthday dinner with the fam and Brother Dear, Ames & Little Niece. It was a night of food laughter and fun. Even a sombrero might have been worn.

It was fun to blend the two families together & I think I will make an effort to do that more often. It felt like a glimpse of our future.

I am now laying in bed watching a Christmas movie and feeling peaceful. I will write more tomorrow and maybe even post an embarrassing photo.

16 December 2010

Good News

Again let's have some happy up in this joint...

I received a raise AND a bonus today. I suddenly love my job more.

Tomorrow is my last day of work for two whole weeks.

I received some great Christmas cards today! (looking at you C & CK!)

The house is finally satisfactorily decorated for Christmas.

I gave one tote full of Christmas decorations for 5 cute little monkeys to enjoy

Street Corner Symphony (click the link, no really. Click.The.Link!)

I put on my new-ish regular size pants today and dare-I-say: baggy

Your turn poppets! What's your good news this week?

15 December 2010


The past two days I found myself mired in the ADD. It rarely frustrates me when it happens, usually I try to emulate Kevin and harness the powers for good. Not so much though. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Each start something new and each stop wasn't because the task was finished.

This isn't my usual "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" routine where I have eleven projects going at once. It was a a much more frustrating than that. I actually had the irrational "Eff it, I'm going home" thought. Because now that would be effective.

I think it is partially because I'm going to be on vacation (yes, again, shut up) in a few days and I think I'm just having one of those cycles where my brain is all Ricochet Rabbit. I acknowledged my frustration to the Universe but I was too distracted to hear it's answer. (joke, people, joke)

Finally I fell back onto a trick from when I was in high school:

Cleaned off my desk.
Piled up all the projects and set them aside.
Turn out music/television/whatever. In this case, the Eddie Izzard documentary.
Make a List.
Start at the top & work my way down.

This helped because I not only accomplished a lot on my list I also got to listen to the documentary. And yes, that's how my brain works. It needs the background entertainment. If I would have gone into the Cone of Silence, I would have ended up playing Solitaire on the computer & looking out the window.

Today was a little better because I was tired from being out last night. I also just had two projects left to do before I leave. Both of them mindless tasks, which are busywork but definitely needs finishing before I go.

On Monday I visited the lovely Swistle via the interwebs. She talked about her In the Bucket In! mechanism. This was tremendously helpful to me, as always, because Swistle is my friend-before-blogging friend and I was reminded of that friendship while reading. Also I immediately wanted to go visit and accomplish nothing together. We're in the same, albeit drifting, boat!

More importantly, she reminded me "One step at a time. One drop in the bucket is still progress."

Meanwhile, it has taken me nearly two hours to write this doggone post. I had to finish watching Craig Ferguson, I had to talk to Kevin...who is working nights tonight saving Stanwood again...and laundry...then The Sing-Off came on...then I had to find the links for this post so then I found myself watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons...gah!!!!!

So poppets, do you ever have these days? How do you work through it?

So Sorry

We went to my niece's Christmas Choir Concert last night and it was 11:00 pm before I realized that I hadn't posted.

They sung this song last night and shortly into it a few people began to stand and I momentarily thought that it was going to be a flashmob. To my disappointment, not so much. Simply, probably, Catholics.

So here is the original instead...

13 December 2010

Building An Ark

If any of you have watched or listened to the national news, you know that we've had 40 days/40 nights worth of rain over the weekend. The Pacific Northwest had what they call a Pineapple Express which is a storm system that brings a lot of warm & wet weather our way. Southeast Washington received six inches of rain in 48 hours. Six inches. We "only" received 3-4 inches of rain. So, once again, this area is experiencing flooding.

PNW natives are used to this. We know where not to live if we don't enjoy replacing all of our stuff every few years. The areas that flood are usually the farmlands and small towns up in the mountains.

Sandbagging is almost a required skill for many PNW citizens. You can't have lived here long with out experiencing that grueling task.

Why, yes, I have sandbagged...and not in the Republican way. Actually shovels, actual burlap bags, actual sore backs, arms, legs, and everything else. If it weren't for the dire consequences, it's actually kind of fun.

When Kevin & first began dating it was 1990 and the year of the 100 Year Flood. I remember a bunch of us getting into trucks and heading down to Conway to sand bag. The radio was making constant, panicked requests for volunteers.

The fire department saw strong men and immediately put them on trucks to go out on what they call the island. They made me stay at the fire department where I filled bags and helped distribute food.

Hours later the boys returned looking grim. They'd no sooner got off the truck when a boat came up and the officers told everyone to evacuate. The dike had broken. We loaded up & headed home, disappointed and worried. We watched on television as everything went underwater. Even my friend Brads house went under, what a mess. There wasn't a person that wasn't effected by the flooding in some way. Kevin's work was underwater and the flood resulted in the company's demise a few months later.

The other sandbagging experience was a few years ago...gosh, 2005? I think...Brother Dear called with just a hint of panic in his voice. He lives in a dike district that floods often and works for the fire department so he was "in the know". The dike was at great risk of giving way near his house so he asked me to go get his girls & take them to the parents. Yikes.

I took flood routes (like snow routes) to the brothers house, bundled up the girls and took them to the parents. Then returned to the fire department to sand-bag. Brother Dear wavered between pleased & worried.

I can still see the setting in my head. Everyone working with tractors, sand, bags, shovels, and most of us strangers. Someone said something and we all looked. Like something out of an action movie, here came striding in was the Army Corps of Engineers. Looking like National Guard, they reorganized people and sent many home. Like before, there were warnings that if you lived in the neighborhood to get home & pack. Brother Dear sent me home at this point.

Can I just acknowledge how powerless you feel? There's just nothing to be done in a situation like that. Worry. Listen to the radio and watch the news. Wait for the phone to ring.

The dikes held but it was close, very close. Brother Dear said that there were two places that if you touched the side of the dike it would undulate like a waterbed. He said that it was the most unreal feeling and sight.

So, present time, Kevin got to work today at 6:45 am and was immediately in a truck to help truck down rocks to shore up the flood wall that protects the town of Stanwood. All day he trucked back & forth, hauling rock. He said it is very stressful because of the traffic, the police escorts, the television crews, and just the situation. He's exhausted tonight, already asleep.

This is the news video and this is incredible video of the river that is causing all of Stanwood's woes.

The rain had stopped but is due to begin again, only not as severe. The damage is done and now everyone just has to be patient. Depending on how the night goes, Kevin could be right back in a truck tomorrow. we hope not.

I took this picture of our creek this morning. I couldn't get a shot yesterday because it was raining too damn hard. The water was higher yesterday, for sure but you get the idea. the stuff that looks like smoke in the upper right corner? Mix of fog and rain. We live at 750 ft elevation and get that sometimes.

We can be thankful that if our house ever floods so is, oh, the Entire World.

11 December 2010

Lights of Christmas

Last night we went on our first family outing with all the kids. It was so much fun, I can't even put it into words.

First off, five kids...two of whom are identical...are busy. They were perfect angels the entire time, not hardly a fuss from any of them. They are polite and confident, without being precocious. Miss Thing, the youngest triplet and only girl, is in charge. She had the grown up boys following her every command. Sweetest thing to watch, ever.

After pizza and soda, we went to the Lights of Christmas which is at a multipurpose camp not far from Kevin's work. A group of volunteers put out over 1 million lights and displays that actually requires a map & few hours to see.

There is so much to see that it is difficult to take it all in, even for the adults. Kevin & I found ourselves repeatedly saying "Look up" and "Did you see the..." I've included the video below, even though it doesn't quite grasp how the lights look. The video focuses on the churchy displays but trust me there is so much more.

I know that the triplets favorite colors are pink, blue, and green. I know that one of the trips says "I'm scared" when he means he's embarrassed. I know that the eldest is wise beyond his years and trying not to let anyone know. I know that the middle needs a little more care in drawing out. I asked him how he thought the lights got up into the trees and he shrugged. "Ladders? Or did they throw them up there? Did monkeys do it?" I asked him. He looked at me incredulously and shook his head. "I don't think monkeys can do that" he said with just a little doubt in his voice.

Kevin and I haven't had many opportunities to be around young children together. After twenty years together we've experienced most everything with each other. To be able to watch him hold Miss Thing's hand, pose for silly pictures, and lift the Trips up to see things and make the older boys laugh was the best gift I could ever ask for.

Five little kids and a whole lot of lights just made Christmas bright.

09 December 2010

News & Notes

Here I sit, bleary eyed and muddle brained. Caffeine is not doing the trick today. It's Thursday. There is only one cure and it's called Friday.

My office was given a box of chocolates (how many of you just read that in Forrest Gump accents?) that had Jesus's name written all over it. I compared it to being in Las Vegas where they slap "Vegas" on everything and sell it. Yes, I just compared Vegas & Jesus. Let the smiting commence.

I randomly emailed my besties the other day that I am so over the Mean Girls in celebrityland. I am not a fan of Kathy Griffin or Chelsea Handler. While I can appreciate some of their humor, it seems like it's mostly based on holding someone else down and I don't like that. Salon.com had an interesting article this morning about it. Worth a read, I suppose. Mean Girls, Celebrity Edition

I am actively thinking about the couples gifts for my family. Gift cards are probably the best bet but that just isn't...I don't know...I like gift cards but it's not fun to wrap or open and there is no immediate gratification. For Little Brothers birthday, I bought an Amazon giftcard and put it into multiple envelopes, each filled with a little confetti, and then taped it to a bag of m-n-m's.

So, I am open to suggestions. There's Little Brother and his girlfriend and Brother Dear and his girlfriend. Each of them enjoy cooking, one couple enjoys reading, one enjoys movies (but buys new movies even during Christmas/birthday times) one is into motorcycles and the other is into fire department, one has food allergies and one does not.

Then there's Kevin's family where we are focusing on kids. There are 2 seven-year-olds, one six-year-old and three nearly four-year-olds. I don't buy weapons ever. I'm not a big superhero or commercial toy fan either. Luckily, the Nephews kids don't have Any Expectations for presents (one wants a yo-yo, another wants skates) so shopping should be easy.

Did I ever tell you that I did color my hair a darker color? The brown brought out some ginger in my hair so that was interesting. Kevin was meh about it and so was I after the initial excitement. I do think that the darker brown will look okay but it will definitely enhance the fact that I am a white girl. (:-D So, after the new year I will be returning to blonde. Kevin has requested what I call stripper-blonde but that's not going to happen.

Did everyone see the Oprah commercial? The one where she's all crying and emotional then yelling for a tissue? Isn't that awesome?

The passing of Elizabeth Edwards was quite the sad one. I can only hope that I can be that brave when my time is here. I imagine that these words will be quoted for years to come:

“The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact on the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”

08 December 2010

You Complete Me

Someone has been taking up space in my head and I was beginning to get frustrated. Oddly, it was my ex-husband. Before you go all *gasp*, let me clarify...

Every once in a while a character will form in my head and rent an apartment. I've moved a few characters onto the old computer to get them out of my head. Then they languish on the hard drive, waiting for me to return and complete them, in the parlance of Jerry McGuire. But until I pack them up & move them out, they take up space. It's a relief to write it all down so I can reclaim that corner of my brain.

I like to think of names for characters, give them characteristics or habits, create the life they might live. It's like a grown-up version of playing house.

The fun part of this is that it isn't the real version of the former husband. It's like an alternative version. A future version. And it has nothing to do with reconciliation or anything like that because that is so not going to happen.

I have no idea what he looks like now. I haven't seen him in about twenty years...so weird...I have no information at all about his life. The person in my head is pure speculation and imagination. It's entertainment.

I can make him bald. I can make him nicer. I can change words that were said. I can visit karma upon him at my own discretion.

This new resident is an example of why I like this quote so much:

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” E.L. Doctorow

06 December 2010

Good News

Along the "Dear..." lines, I've decided that today is a good day for Good News and not in the televangelist way.

Good News from...

Coworker/Friend who IS getting their house after finding a pipe is just a funky yard art & not environmental hazard.

CK has her first snow of the season!!!

Swistle went on a day trip to visit her brother & family sans children.

It's five more minutes until I am on my way home.

The Sing Off starts tonight. (it's a GLEE style singing competition. I know, I need a life)

I am on vacation in thirteen more workdays.

Boring but important: unemployment was extended today for thousands of people.

Christmas songs on the radio.

Christmas movies on the television.

Right this second, everyone is healthy & happy & doing well in their lives.

And here is a picture that will melt your heart that I have to share:

(nephew & one of the triplets)

What's your good news? C'mon, you gotta have one thing that is good!?!

05 December 2010

Punching Grinch in the Nose

I meant to post this the last post. These are the cards I put out from last year. One from Kevin's parents, two from my bff's and the first card of this season. Aren't they great?

Yesterday Kevin & I went down to North Seattle & had breakfast with two of my favorites boys, other than Kevin: a fellow racer and his toddler son whom I've adored since we've met. (both adult & baby)

This also gave me uninterrupted time with Kevin. It was early enough in the morning that his phone didn't even ring! a Christmas miracle!

The remainder of the day was spent going grocery shopping, which wasn't as horrible as I anticipated. I put my Starbucks Christmas CD in and just chilled. I realized that it was the first time I had been truly alone since before our trip. No offense to Kev but it felt nice.

I started feeling a little holiday spirit when I heard this song:

After I got home, Kevin went next door to watch UFC with his brother so more solitary time. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, something I haven't done since late October. Then I tackled second string Christmas cards. On Monday morning, all of our cards will be sent. Another Christmas miracle!

Today I slept in. We took the dog for coffee then I got stubborn. I put on Christmas music, organized the office and pulled out the Christmas tree & decorations.

What is that quote from Die Hard? "Yippy Ki Yea M'er F'ers!"

03 December 2010

You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch

I believe I've mentioned this before, probably about this time every year: I am having difficulty getting in the holiday spirit.

I truly think it is caused by two things:

We just returned from Vegas. It is quite a gearshift from no clocks, no schedule, no responsibility, and usually warm weather to wintery wonderland and holiday festivies.

This year we are also doing the gift giving differently. While it is easier on the budget, it takes away the enthusiasm of present opening. I know, I know I am not a child and Christmas isn't about presents but still.

This is worse than previous years though. Kevin's mom keeps worriedly asking if I have done anything yet.

Oh and I forgot to mention that my birthday is awkward again with my family. No one mentioned it at all then my sister in law loudly asked what we were doing. Insert sound of crickets here. Sigh.

I have managed to do three things. There are lights on the porch. My mother in law gave us a very expensive Nativity scene so that is on the coffee table.

My cards are done. Well the first string is. I still have to finish the second string, which consists of cousins and people we send cards out of habit. While doing the cards I chose my three favorite cards from last year. A pretty one from kevins parents and the cards from my besties.

So new goal = house will be frocked by Sunday night. Holiday ennui will be banished.

How is your Holiday Spirit doing?

02 December 2010

Thursday Takes

This is my first full week at week at work since before I got sick in October so this is the best I can muster tonight. First three are cell phone photos. The fourth took some research to find the perfect nuance.

Missy's mission to control the laptop cord continues so subtly that
the mere humans almost don't notice. Almost.

This would make a great "guess the picture" but I don't have the patience.
This is the top of the Bellagio fountain where people make wishes. It's my favorite picture from this trip to Vegas.

These are my winter flowers, don't they look lovely under 2010's first snow?

Still with the separation anxiety....

01 December 2010


Dear CK,
Thank you for posting your "Dear..." post & reminding me how fun it is.

Dear Radio,
Please stop playing "It's a Marshmallow World." It seriously freaks me out. Seriously.

Dear Alaska Airlines,
I am still a little bit in love with you. Thank you for getting us home safely.

Dear Luis @ Alamo,
I am having separating anxiety from the Chrysler 300 you upgraded us. Can I please have another one?

Dear Co-worker,
When you do your job properly, others don't have to be involved. Do the math.
Oh, I just returned from vacation so back-up-off-me.

Dear Dog,
Please stop looking down the hall as if you see someone. It's making me crazy.

Dear Dad,
Stop scaring the dog. It's not funny.

30 November 2010

Day of Rest

I try to be a good person, I really do. If you know me in real life: stop laughing. I am not a churchy person, I am no where near devout, I just get by. I don't follow any holy book, edict, or idea blindly. I use the commandments as guidelines.

We've talked about the whole taking the Lord's name in vain thing before. We've talked about the conundrum that is the "Honor thy parents" thing. We haven't talked about this though. Intrigued? It's not as sexy is you're thinking.

Sundays. Sundays are a day of rest. No work, etc. This is one that I do try to follow. I am sure that I have broken this one before but I really, really try not to.

Of all the effed up things in my childhood, this is one that mys parents did try to uphold. Sundays weren't church days at all but they were days where nothing happened. We were expected to be home. It was usually a quiet day as well. It appeared to be an actual day of rest, regardless of the reason.

This has come up recently as work is hosting a function on a Sunday. Initially I thought it was on Saturday and was anticipating going. Then I realized that it's on a Sunday. *dilemma*

A person could say that I could attend but just not help but really? How likely is that? Also, a little douchey to be there but say "Nope, can't help. That's working" whilst actually standing in said workplace with actual coworkers who are working. I must clarify that it's not actual Work, it is a special event. I wouldn't be earning a wage while there but I am still at work.

I know, it seems arbitrary and I sense eye-rolling and that's okay. It's just something that I try to follow to the best of my ability, logical or not. It's a little thing. I know I'm not banished from Heaven if I break it. People won't perish if I break it. But I still do it.

So poppets, tell me: What do you do on Sundays?

29 November 2010

RMS Titanic

I have wanted to see the Titanic exhibit since I've known about it. I don't know why but I've always been fascinated with the story.

Coupled with my irrational fear of being underwater (grew up on a lake, hello? insane much?) I've always half-jokingly wondered if I was a Titanic passenger. Also, the ship hit the iceberg on my mother's birthday (although she was born in 1935) and for some reason (see: fear of underwater) that has always linked the two in my brain.

I was enamored with the movie and still enjoy watching it, right up until they hit the iceberg then I'm all "Peace Out." The ending is just too Teh Sad. It is one of the few movies I've watched & enjoyed in the theater.

Of course I couldn't see the original exhibit in Seattle, that would have been too easy. Nor could I visit it the first three times I traveled to Vegas. So on this trip, I told Kevin that I didn't care what happened, I was going to see it.

I went all by myself which was kind of fun just on that basis. I could go at my own pace and there was no one to interrupt "the experience." Yeah, I just typed that and worse yet, meant it.

The exhibit is all about the ambiance. I chose to get the handset so I could listen as well as read, see, and touch. The handset told stories or gave background information in actual characters voices, be it a passenger or an officer of the ship.

At first the exhibit was brightly lit and cheery. It had a brief history of how the ship came to be including blueprints, pictures, and tools. All stuff we've read/seen/heard about before. Kinda boring but important.

Then it began to tell the passengers stories. It is simply astounding how many people were not supposed to be on that ship. There was a coal strike that shut down other ships and another ship was docked for repairs. Many passengers, it seemed, were booked on sheer serendipity. The displays had background noise & music to give the feeling of excitement of boarding the ship & preparing for a long journey.

Oh wait, I forgot an important part: they give you a Boarding pass much like what the passengers would have received. On the reverse side is information regarding an actual passenger.

Around a corner, after wandering down a hallway just like on the ship, you come upon the Grand Staircase. Complete with orchestra music playing. It was breathtaking. Your imagination allows you to see the ladies & gentlemen traveling along the stairs and balconies.

They recreated the cabins as they most likely appeared. The third class cabins were bunk beds and very sparse. The first class cabins were beautiful. Very similar, if not the same, as was shown in the movie. They included personal effects of actual passengers. It is astounding how the ocean preserved everything; paperwork, clothing, jewelry.

Then, then! They had you walk "outside" along the walkway. They had the sound of the ocean, the dark of the night, the smell of the saltwater, and I would swear a slight sense of motion. Again, it looked like the deck in the movie.

As you come off the deck, it takes you into a darkened hallway that is cold. You hear the warning bells and read each sign updating the latest sightings of icebergs, the last one being a ship that was stopped because it was surrounded by ice.

After you round the corner they've recreated an iceberg. It is cold and gives you a perspective of what was floating around that night. It explained the "tip of the iceberg" thing...that what you see is small compared to what was under the waterline. Remember, it is cold in there with the sounds of the warning bells. Very eerie.

They explain how the ship hit the iceberg, why it did, and how the ship sunk. Again, all stuff we know but becomes real while you are standing in the middle of it.

The exhibit switches back to who was aboard the ship. One person was actually quoted as "I wish I never got on this ship and wouldn't mind if it sunk to the bottom of the ocean." Ack. There are more personal effects with the owners stories posted for everyone to read. Some of them state whether or not they were survivors, some of them don't.

As always, the story of the Strauses breaks my heart. I would like to think that I would be brave enough not to abandon my husband but that is impossible to guess.

The end of the exhibit shows the recovery of the wreckage and the original display in Seattle. By that time you're so caught up in the stories of the people that it is difficult to concentrate.

The last piece is looking up whether or not your assigned passenger survived. Mrs.Goldenberg did indeed survive, as did her husband. As they were first class passengers, I was not surprised. I also wondered what my reaction had been if I'd gotten a person that hadn't survived.

This exhibit was exactly what I'd hoped it would be and more. I didn't anticipate my emotional response by the end. That proves what a fantastic display it is. If you get the chance to see it, take it. It is one of the most amazing things I've experienced.

28 November 2010

Great Expectations

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times. Our trip was Dickensian.

The flight down was uneventful. Everything went right. Even Luis at Alamo was an awesome guy and upgraded our car to my Dream Car. (still want to buy one, that's not a good sign)

We ate at Chillis because we don't have one up here. I know, right? Then we settled into the hotel. About half of our friends were already there but it was just too late to meet up, Vegas time or not.

We went to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Thursday. We got to see all of our friends and hang with the cool kids. Kevin, having raced there before and being Dale's crew chief, has a new street cred that neither of us are quite used to.

That night we met our friends for dinner and went up the Stratosphere Tower. I've been up there numerous times and it still kind of freaks me out. It's almost twice as tall as the Space Needle.

So, there's the SkyJump now, where you can actually jump off the tower. The regular rides usually make me nauseous but this one is inconceivable.

Our friend M, who is like a BFF to me when we actually see each other, convinced me to literally
lay down on the floor and look over the edge to watch the jumpers. The tower is 1149 feet tall so it's safe to say that I was looking down 1000 feet.


I don't scare easily, heights don't normally bother me but HOLY WOW. I don't understand why someone would jump off a building with a perfectly working elevator.

See that speck on the right, just at the top of the tower supports? That is an actual person.

I didn't stay at the racetrack the whole day the next day. I went back to the hotel and just chilled out. After running around, it felt good to have no place to be and no nothing to do.

We went to Fremont Street with our friends on Friday night. It was a full moon and you could feel it in the vibe of the crowd. What is normally the human circus was twice as circusy. You can't say you've been to Vegas unless you've gone to Fremont. Strippers, street artists, crazy people, drunk people, impersonators, you name it.

By now the weather had changed. WINDY, high fifties, and cold. Desert wind is chilling. It truly felt like November. There was no way I was going to hang out at the track. But the boys stayed as our friend that Kevin chiefs for qualified well and needed an extra hand.

I went to the Titantic Exhibit which was wonderful. That exhibit warrants it's own post. Then I wandered through the Venetian, my favorite place in Vegas. It is such a beautiful place. I also explored the Conservatory of the Bellagio. I wish I could see it decorated for Christmas because the fall decorations were gorgeous. It was nearly impossible to get any good photographs.

Sunday was the finals. I watched the first round of eliminations then went back to the hotel for awhile because it was freaking cold. As luck would have it, D advanced round by round. I came back to watch him race the semi-final, where he lost against one of the fastest cars there. He placed third out of 53 of the fastest cars in the States. Very impressive and we were so proud.

Monday was a travel day. We had breakfast with D then left for the airport. We arrived with plenty of time, just to discover that our flight had been delayed 45 minutes. It didn't occur to us to find out why.

We boarded 45 minutes late and headed home. We hit Seattle and it began to snow. Not a good sign. The pilot made three attempts to land in Bellingham (20 minutes from our house) until finally coming onto the radio and actually said "We've exceeded the capabilities of the aircraft and cannot continue. We are returning to Portland because SEATAC is closed."

We landed in Portland and once the wheels touched down, everyone applauded. Now that's a bad flight. Then it got worse.

"We are taking you back to Las Vegas" was the next words we heard. Wait. What? Because of the weather and upcoming holiday, they couldn't guarantee a)hotel b) return flight and c)ground transportation so their solution was to return to Vegas, on their dime and stay until Wednesday, At Best.

Debate, Discussion, Debate. We decided to get off in Portland because it was within driving distance because Vegas was not so much.

Again, Alaska Airlines ROCKS. They comped our hotel, food, and transportation. It was a nice hotel, not a Bates Hotel, and they delivered every promise they made.

The Nephew and girlfriend returned to Vegas and had a good time. I almost wish we had as well but it just wasn't worth the risk to us.

A charter bus brought us home, almost literally home. The driver was kind enough to drop us off at the freeway exit, one mile from our house.

We made a few friends along the way. "Bad Luck Guy", and a retired air traffic controller in his seventies, two fellow racers from Mission that we hadn't met before, and a married couple who live not far from our home track in Mission. It was a scene from a movie.

So, worse of times: cold beyond belief, 24 hour delay home, scary flight. Best of times: D placing third, bought the best sweatshirt, and watched crazy people on the Stratosphere & Fremont, hung with our friends.

I am glad to be home.

27 November 2010

This is Not a Happy Story

The Stratosphere hotel has a pretty good security system. We've seen them check ID's, escort out "escorts", and monitor the elevators. We even watched five guys being arrested for jumping up & down in the elevator.

We left our room one evening to meet our friends. I rounded the corner, slightly behind Kevin who was (of course) on the phone. There was a very attractive woman, dressed for clubbing, walking. down the hallway. I watched her stop then throw something, I didn't see what. She turned & began to walk back toward me.

A guy (someone I would describe as a dude) stepped out of a room, strolled down the hall to her, palmed her head & shoved her to the ground. She crumpled to the floor then stayed there. He took a few more steps & picked up what she threw then returned to the room.

The girl stood while he had his back to her and returned to the room. I made sure that I made eye contact with her so that she knew someone saw her. The bad guy didn't say a word.

Kevin only saw part of it so I explained as we went down the elevator. When we got downstairs our friends weren't there so I wandered off to find a pit boss. I explained what happened and he sent me to the security booth.

There was a stocky man in a suit speaking with a cocktail waitress and another suit. I approached him and saw that his tag said "Security Manager". I interrupted their conversation. At first he looked at me like WTF then repeated what I said "A guy shoved a girl down?" I didn't hardly finish what I am saying when he looked at his partner & said "We're going. Now." They were gone in seconds.

My brother-in-law said that when he came down a few minutes after us the girl was huddled by the elevators but didn't go down. (smart girl, my b-i-l is 6'2" and 250 lbs and rarely looks pleasant)

I don't know what happened from there but my hope is that the security guy found the douchebag. I am sure if they did, he was escorted from the premises. Hopefully the girl went home & never saw him again. She didn't seem like the kind of girl that would put up with that sh*t.

While it marred the evening, I am glad that I saw it. I am glad I was able to tattle. I am glad for hotel security.

26 November 2010

Clothing Recap

I am still very pleased with myself for overpacking. Alaska Airlines allows for a 50 lb. suitcase and shockingly, mine was only 42 lbs. And yes, I absolutely thought "I could have packed more!"

When we were unexpectedly dropped off in Portland on Monday night,we were relieved that we each still had a complete set of clean clothing. WHEW. We had all the toiletries that we needed as well. So unlike some of our fellow flyers, we were pretty relaxed about having to layover.

The important thing that I did forget? COATS. OMG COATS. We have taken them every single time and have only used them once. I decided that it wasn't worth carrying them around. Poor choice. Poor Kevin, actually. He had two sweatshirts on for three days. Poor monkey.

Let's recap what I am still pleased about. Oh, and keep in mind these are all second-hand. I rarely buy new.

I have a red, down, Eddie Bauer vest. I wore it every single day. It was Perfect. It was warm/cool enough. It was stain resistant. I could pack it into a travel pillow size. Go see if you can find one online because it is so worth it.

I mentioned the Dooney & Bourke satchel before we left. It held snacks, water bottle, assorted toiletries, a book, sunglasses, billfold. It was the bottomless satchel. It hooked on our rolling suitcase handle perfectly. I actually wonder how I ever got along without it. It isn't attractive, it's worn, and matches nothing but to me it's perfect.

I have a pair of brushed cords that I nearly wore out. They were good for evenings and they were warm. I had to break my own germaphobic ways in regard to wearing clothing multiple times without washing. They didn't wrinkle either.

I had brand new Sketchers sneakers in my closet from last Christmas. I am not sure how I forgot they were there but I did. They were great for the tremendous amount of walking that I did while we were there. They were just the regular shoes, not the training shoes, and they held up really well. My feet didn't hurt at the end of the day/trip, which is so important, right?

Finally, I told you about breaking the zipper on my favorite sweatshirt. I looked in the giftshops in the Stratospere shopping center and couldn't find a good sweatshirt. They were thin or just not what I wanted. There was even a "Everything is $10!" store which was a totally ripoff. I can't believe people fell for that gimmick. I had resigned myself to having to stop at Walmart to buy one. (Where I should have bought Kevin a coat instead)

My last ditch attempt was in this crowded with kitschy merchandise, LOUD, kid-oriented store at the end of the shopping area. In the back, on the wall, I found the perfect sweatshirt. $20!! I feel like singing Adam Sandler's Red Hooded Sweatshirt song when I wear it:

But this is what it actually looks like:

The moral of this story? Totally overpack. (and don't buy new. Unless it's a cool sweatshirt)

25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie

24 November 2010

Tomorrow's Another Day

It's been a day. I was looking forward to being back to normal. The laptop's untimely demise threw a wrench into that quite nicely. Luckily, we didn't spend all of our money on our trip so even though we will be eating leftovers for the next week we have a new-to-us laptop.

Pawn shops are the Pit of Despair. Today they were a savior. I bought a $400 laptop (when new) that was priced at $300 for $250. Flirting & blonde can be useful tools.

I came home to get the laptop set up when I couldn't get my broadband to work. *sigh* A telephone call later I am going back into town. The shiney side of this is that I forgot to buy my brother a birthday gift for tomorrow. I know that doesn't sound like a shiney side but it falls into the Furiously Happy category.

Now tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am concentrating on not being crabby. Two dinners in four hours is not my idea of fun. To boot I am still feeling disconnected from the world and just need one more day to get caught up.

So hang with me folks. I promise to get caught up. I just need the Cone of Silence and working

23 November 2010

Planes Trains & Automobiles

Hello Poppets!

Here we sit in Portland airport. Did you just look at your calendar? We were supposed to be home yesterday at 5 pm.

After circling the Bellingham Airport three times in a wind & snow storm, they took us back to Portland because Seattle was closed. Upon landing they told us that we were going back to Vegas but couldn't guarantee our return before The Holiday. Finally they gave us the option of staying in Portland.

This is where I say that Alaska Airlines ROCKS. They comped our hotel a nd trans until we get home. The people have been super nice. I don't think I will ever fly any other airline.

So it's been an adventure. Thanks to The Bloggessfor the idea of Furiously Happy. We have steadfastly been positive.there has also been many references to The Hangover, What About Bob, and Planes.

Kevin made everyone laugh when he asked if we could all stay at the clerks house for Thanksgiving.

So tune in tomorrow to get my next location!

20 November 2010

Report from the field

Oh Hai. So, Day Three in Vegas and no hostages have been taken. Yet.

The weather is kinda wintery here and it rained a bit this afternoon. WTH?

We're having a good time at the track, like always. It's nice to see people we only see here and make new friends. It is a little odd not having a car here this year. But I think the good outweighs the meh. So many of our friend from home are here that a person forgets that we're not at home.

I chilled at the hotel this afternoon. Took a bath, caught up on the internet, and just breathed. I went upstairs to buy a hoodie then downstairs to Starbucks to buy some hot chocolate. It's been a good day. I'm seriously considering a nap.

It's been an interesting trip. The flight went well. My brother-in-law got hit on the entire flight by some chick. Who is staying at the Rio, in case he missed it the first two times.

The Nephew flew down on a one-way ticket and still has to figure out how to get home. I know, right?

I am driving a black Chrysler 300. Yeah baby. I love this car. I have always coveted them and now that I've driven one. Oh my God, I so want a car payment. (:-D

I missed the first snow at home. I am a little disappointed but then I remember I am in Vegas.

I brought my favorite black, zip up hoodie for the weekend. Totally broke the zipper on the first day. I thought I could work around it until I punched myself in the nose trying to zip it up. Not hot. Now I have a sporty black Vegas one that I love EVEN MORE.

I feel pretty comfortable driving in Vegas now. It's kind of fun. You get to people watch on the Strip and you get to see all the casinos. We travel north to the Speedway, which is unfortunately the rough side of town, so we've seen a few things we'd rather not see. (nothing bad really)

I am loving my Droid now. It's nice to not have to power up the laptop each night. I am not good at replying/commenting/twittering on it but I can at least read what's going on in the world.

I need to tell you about some big things that have happened but I will do those as separate posts.

Until then...Viva Las Vegas

16 November 2010

News & Notes

So, it's Friday!!! Wait, what? It's only Tuesday? Oh yes, for you losers. LOL.But not this chick because I Am On Vacation!!!!

I twittered earlier today that I wasn't going to take the laptop on our trip but realized that I need five blog posts. Paper Rock Scissors Lizard Spock was going to determine the blogs fate. So, SPOCK!!!!!! It appears I am taking the laptop.

I have been antibiotic free for one week and am still feeling a little wonky. Some foods are still not my friend. From everything I've read, this is my life for a little while.

Kevin is sleeping so I'm watching GLEE. I think I'm crushing on Gwyneth Paltrow right now. She sang at the Country Music Awards and while she wasn't the greatest, she was pretty good. Totally nervous, which made her very endearing.

Speaking of country music, if you can listen to this song without getting teary then I just don't know about you:

Is everyone excited about Prince William's engagement? I watched Princess Di's wedding as a child. Well, dozed through as it was really early in the morning and took so long. I was mesmerized with the pomp & circumstance and that it was actually Happening to someone Real.

I am a little shivery over him giving her his mother's engagement ring. While I understand the sentimentality, the karma attached to it just seems like So Much.

We had an unplanned monster windstorm last night. It was coming from a different direction than usual so we could actually hear it whistle along the eaves. Not a happy sound. Luckily, we kept our power & didn't lose any trees. Kevin had to take a fifteen minute detour to get to work this morning though.

Wouldn't you know it that the first *SNOW* is predicted for this weekend. While I am in sunny Las Vegas, it could possibly be snowing here at home. I don't mind admitting: I'm a little disappointed that I am going to miss it.

Does anyone know if there's a way to watch Phil Donahue online? I am watching him on Oprah and had forgotten how much I loved his show. I learned so much (although not age appropriate) from that show.

Billy Joel was on Howard Stern today. It is now my official most favorite interview EVER. They had a piano for him to play as he answered questions. Sheer perfection. I was very pleased when he said that one of his own favorite songs was "And So It Goes." I think if I ever made the effort to make a Bucket List, seeing him perform would be on it.

I am packing tomorrow. I only have one list, thankyouverymuch. I do have one thing that I am completely unsure about. I don't carry a purse. Just the word "purse" annoys me. I hate having something hanging off of me. I am always worried that I will forget it somewhere. It's just not for me.

The last time we were on an airplane, I brought the laptop, my little bag, and a tote bag. It just felt awkward and like we were carrying Too Many Things. There were too many places to lose things. (*ahem* Kevin's wallet *cough*)

I brought home a donation from work: a Dooney & Bourke satchel. It will fit a few magazines, snacks for Kevin, the dire necessities from my bag, and a book. I can transfer magazines to the laptop bag if I need to. So, we will see. I am sure that I will change my mind fourteen times between now and when we leave.

Oh, a picture. Here:

Well, it's getting late poppets. Not that I have to get up early in the morning. But! this time tomorrow night we will be playing with our friends in Vegas baby.

15 November 2010

Non-Extreme Makeover Laundry Room Edition

The one room I'm still not crazy about is the our laundry room. It's an odd room with three doors and an alcove to hold the washer & dryer. It's also dark, with no windows. There aren't any outlets other than the ones dedicated for the appliances. And overhead lighting. Hate that.

Eventually I want to get a new door with a window. Until then, I am trying to figure out what to do. A magazine suggested putting a motion detector light above the appliances but that seems like a comedy of fails.

I used a flat bedsheet to hide the appliances in the alcove. It bothered me too much that the first thing someone would see is appliances and laundry and clutter. Pretty non-descript but it fills a purpose for now.

Bored, and clearly feeling better, I switched it to this:

Then we have this strange little table to hold the keys. Well, an old glass bowl holds our keys. Kevin has elebenty hundred flashlights and he uses the ugliest one he can find.

The table & chair are from the in-laws old house. The picture I have had for years & years. Kevin added the bells during my first attempt at jingle bells on the door last year. I added the leaves the other day, on clearance at Fred Meyers. And that stupid flag.

Not many changes here. I changed the chair cushion cover. Added a plant and Kevin's latest trophy. I put away one of the coats that he never wears. When I find a suitable replacement for the flag, I will probably put that coat away. (it's a faux vintage coat that is similar to ones worn in American Graffiti)

Now, this room needs to be painted. Mostly because of Missy. She HAS TO BE OUTSIDE before you in case someone left a steak outside on the porch and you can get it before her because OMG OMG OMG Let me outside.

Thus the dirt on the wall next to the door. Effing dog.

By the way, all the stuff you see is either second-hand, gifts, or purchased with gift cards. Because that's how I roll.

So, campers, what color should I paint this room? All the walls or just the ones that have doorways?

14 November 2010

Take Only What You Can Carry

I am starting to obsess about packing. You know this about me. I will make checklists in my head over and over and over.

Then Real Simple felt it was helpful to send me a packing checklist. Some of which, I was all "Wha?" Candied Ginger Root? Full loaded Kindle & Ipod? Seriously?

I was thinking of you know, basic essentials like clothing but if you're more worried about creature comforts: Good on You, Real Simple.

They suggest three pairs of pants for a five day trip. Because apparently no one picks up germs, or spills, or generally exists in Real Simple. One pair = One day plus an extra pair because stuff happens. But they suggest extra shirts. Sigh. Equal parts for equal parts people.

So, Kevin has two pairs of baggy jeans he doesn't enjoy. Those will be his travel clothes. Then we'll pack the corresponding jeans, shirts, and sweatshirts for the days we're in Vegas. Oh, and it's at a racetrack so there is no wear-clothes-all-day & not-change-when-we-go-out at night.

Shoes...Bless Kevin, he can wear sneakers wherever he goes. Big jerk.

Real Simple did advise to "wear your heaviest pair of shoes and pack the lightest". This is good advise, actually. My Dansko's weigh approximately twenty pounds each while my brand new Sketchers (that I forgot I had...I know! right?) can be packed easy peasy.

I overpack, it doesn't matter if we're going to Seattle or Vegas. It could *snow* and I will be prepared. And this is the fun part of Vegas: warm & sunny during the day but chilly & breezy at night. Fun to pack accordingly, for sure.

I'm tripping on toiletries. Because we stay for five days, I usually pack full-size everything. But that makes the suitcases heavy. So then I was thinking about just going to the store once we get there & buying everything. But then it's more expensive down there and what if we run out of time to go shopping that night? (we're meeting approximately everyone from Dawson Creek that night) Gah.

And coats. The last two years we needed coats at night. But there are few things more annoying and shouting "Hey I am a tourist" than packing a coat through the airport. I think I am going to wear my oversize Eddie Bauer down vest and hope that's enough. I think I'll just buy Kev a new PSCA hoodie at the track and he'll be happy.

Oh! that reminds me. Every trip we play the "Wear a shirt that the Brother isn't wearing game." Twice Kevin has had to go back to the hotel room because his brother has the same shirt. Much to our frustration, he buys the same shirts Kevin does and Doesn't Mind if they're Matchy-Matchy. *shaking of head*

So that's what I will be obsessing about for the next two days.

How do you pack? Do you overpack? or just the bare necessities?

13 November 2010

Gifts Grinch

Of course everyone is beginning to think about Christmas shopping. You are, right?

My little brother shot the first salvo this year. "Do you guys want to choose names for Christmas?"

Looking at the text, looking at the calendar, looking at the text again. "Wha?"

Okay, *cracking of neck* First off, Little Brother: You have more money than any of us, you loser.

Second off, in my humble opinion, nothing says Grinch like choosing names in a family setting unless it is by necessity.

I did what every little sister does: I told Mom.

The Mom's reaction was similar to mine. "What is he talking about?"

Now, on Kevin's side of the family Christmases have always been extravagant. I have to admit as exhausting as it is, it is quite enjoyable. This year, we have had a few changes. We have five additional children. We've all reached the stage of having everything that we need. These are all joyful changes.

My family has always been low key. Homemade presents are okay, nothing more than $30, and always more focus on the nieces than the adults. This year, there is even one less present to buy. (Yes, I went there. I made a Dead Dad joke)

The compromise is couples gifts and gifts for the youngest niece because she is only fifteen. And my mom. How do you not give a mom/grandma/widow a Christmas gift? It just seems mean.

So now I have to think of couples gifts. This is almost worse than choosing names.

Have you started shopping yet?

11 November 2010

Random Item of the Day

I don't like this flag. Yes, that sounds very Communist, doesn't it? And it begs the question of What Are You Talking About?

Kevin's mom bought us this flag at the Tulip Festival a few years ago. It used to live in the closet but when his parents moved up here Kevin was concerned his mom would notice that we hadn't put it up.

It's not my taste at all. It is supposed to look old-fashioned & weathered. Instead, to me, it just looks dirty. Or tea stained.

Then add to it the fact that Kevin hangs stuff too high. I am not sure what it is with him but it's not perfect in his eyes unless it's above my head. *insert your own short joke here*

It's in the laundry room so I see it all the time. To add to it, I am not totally happy with the room. The pictures don't quite jell yet and it is another room that I want to paint but can't commit to a color. The washer & dryer are set into the wall but it has a vaulted ceiling. I hated the idea that the laundry would be the first thing one sees upon entering the house. I solved my issue with a king-size bed sheet and a tension rod.

You know what? I am going to do another post on the laundry room. We'll decide together what color to paint it.

What gift do you have that you reluctantly display?