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?

10 November 2010

Fly, Fly Away

I love baseball. I even love the lowly Mariners. It was one of the few things that I could talk about with my Dad.

I was heartbroken to hear on the news tonight that Dave Neihaus passed away. He is the voice of baseball for me. He epitomizes baseball. It doesn't matter just how much the Mariners suck, and they suck a lot, he made the games fun.

Here is the link, it's worth the read. http://www.komonews.com/sports/107096913.html

I've listened to him on the radio, on the television, and in person. There won't be another Dave Neihaus. Seattle...Washington...is quiet tonight.

My. Oh. My.

09 November 2010

Questions & Inquiries

Do you read Vanity Fair? I feel old just asking that. It's actually quite a nice magazine. I don't enjoy the eleventy hundred ads and I believe that the articles sometimes need a good editor. (too long!!!) Let's just say this: I like looking at the pictures; perhaps it's my version of Playboy.

My favorite part is the Proust Questionnaire on the last page. And thus this week's version of Phoning It In. Actually, these are pretty difficult questions to answer but I will persevere. Just for you.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Everyone healthy, bills paid, and things to look forward to.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing Kevin

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Eleanor Roosevelt

What is the trait that you most deplore in yourself?

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What is your greatest extravagance?
Mochas. Or books. I'm a cheap date.

What is your favorite journey?
The ride in the car when Kevin & I are going somewhere alone.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Idealism. So many take it too far.

What is your greatest regret?
Letting some people into my life.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Kevin. Reading.

When & where were you the happiest?
Starting line of Las Vegas Motor Speedway while Kevin was racing. The culmination of many goals.

What is your current state of mind?
Disconnected. I'm overly tired and out of sync.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
A little less pragmatic

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Lack of communication

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Marrying Kevin.

If you were to die and come back what person or thing would do you think it would be?
Myself, until I get it right.

What is your most treasured possession?

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Where would you like to live?

What is your favorite occupation?
Pyrotechnician. And Preschool teacher.

What is your most marked characteristic?

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

What do you most value in your friends?

Who are your favorite writers?
I read fluff, mostly.

What is that you most dislike?

How would you like to die?

What is your motto?
This too shall pass

Your turn!!

08 November 2010


Kevin is gone again tonight. Sigh. He worked the night shift for a state job last night and turns out, tonight as well. It's depressing, for everyone involved. I'm watching The Hangover and thinking about a bath. Maybe brownies. Do I go to bed & read or do I stay up? I am at loose ends.

Kevin, for all of his ADHD ways, keeps me focused. I have a schedule when he's home. Left to my own devices I'm all "erm, well...I could....sigh...".

We leave in nine days, in case I haven't mentioned that recently. I think that is contributing to me ennui, my disconnectedness. It's too early to pack yet I feel the urge to do so. I've researched where we want to go while we're there. I know what I have to buy before we leave. Waiting. I am stuck waiting.

Waiting to go on vacation.
Waiting for Kevin to come home.
Waiting for the oven to preheat.
Waiting for the tub to fill.

What are you waiting for?

07 November 2010

Two Things

I am having an ADD day today so this is what I am going to do: I am going to post things in pairs.

Firstly, pictures:

This is where I found the jingle bells this weekend. I am so leaving them there.

Missy hates having her picture taken. I think she thinks it steals her soul. We were rolling with laughter when Kevin caught this photo of her going all Gary Coleman on us.

Two unusual things:
BFF C began her trip through Asia yesterday. I am once again jealous of her world travels and proud of her.

Kevin is working the night shift tonight. UGH. He won't be home until 5:00 in the morning. Not so much jealous of his adventure.

Two things to look forward to:
I am done with antibiotics in three days. Three days. I am so over this sick thing.
We leave for Vegas in 9 days.

Two things in the Are You Kidding Me category:
The Nephew broke his thumb playing football.
The dryer broke.

Okay, Campers, it's your turn!!! What are your Two Things?

06 November 2010

In The Middle

"You're searching...
For things that don't exist; I mean beginnings.
Ends and beginnings - there are no such things.
There are only middles."
~Robert Frost, Mountain Interval
, "In the Home Stretch"

I have had plenty of time to think, ponder, and remember over the past two weeks. Funny how illness can clarify things. This morning, Kevin sat on the side of the bed to wake me up. He never does that. He's usually cheery and rambunctious while somehow being non-confrontational. This morning was different. He knows I don't feel well. He knows I haven't felt well in a long time. It's starting to concern him, as well as me. It's starting to feel like this illness is never going to end.

His perching on the side of the bed made it even more clear to me. My dear, goofy, husband is concerned. The never-gonna-get-me-down guy is worried. He is where I was six years ago when he was ill. It is a sucky place to be.

2000-2010 was not kind of us. We have had more than our fair share of heartaches. Many times we found ourselves just looking toward the heavens and shouting "Really?" ever so sarcastically.

However, it's been a good year for us. Things have been (*knock wood* other than this godforsaken illness) going smoothly. Loose ends are tied. Unresolved issues have been, if not resolved, then dealt with. Life has moved on. Life has improved.

Something else will come along, for certain. Something difficult, or sad, or unexpected. It's all a part of this thing we call Life. I've just realized that there are not endings or beginnings. Like Mr Frost said: "There are only middles."

04 November 2010

News & Notes

Hi Friends! I am back-ish, didya miss me?

I am watching Ricky Martin on Oprah while writing this so excuse any gibberish. I simply don't care that he's gay, he is so pretty.

So, what's going on? *looking around*

I am back at work. I managed to work two full days this week so that's an improvement. The meds make me hella dizzy so that is just SO FUN. I have seven more days. Seven More Days.

I ordered glasses today. I went with a bronzey, rectangular, wire frame. They're a little more chunky than I usually would choose but I'm tired of the frames I have.

I don't like fabric softener. There, I said it. I use dryer sheets on our towels and that's about it. I just don't enjoy having my clothes smell anything other than clean. Or smelling like Kevin. If I could have a Kevin scent, then I might reconsider.

Oooh, look what I bought yesterday. As A Joke, people.

Kevin said "Don't think I didn't notice that Sh*t as soon as I walked in. It's not funny." He's not so much into holiday decorating. Hey, it was $2.99 at the grocery store!

Ranch Wheat Thins are not awful. That's all.

They are predicting a La Nina winter and a 100 Year Winter. I find the 100 Year Winter funny because the last time we had a really wintery winter was in 1950. I will say it now: I am SO LOOKING FORWARD TO IT. I love snow days, if you've been reading a while you know that I obsess about it. Even though snow is what kicked my ass three years ago, it didn't temper my love.

Oh god, they just showed a picture of Ricky Martin bathing a newborn. Swoon.

Here, I can't go on:

Tell me: what have you been up to?

03 November 2010


Firstly, I stole this question from Soul Pancake so I can't take credit.

What is your favorite expression of thankfulness?

I think it really depends on what I am thankful for.

If the in-laws do something nice, it is a genuine "thank you" followed by "You didn't have to do that."

If it's my family, it's a muttered, eyes down, uncomfortable "thanks".

If it is said in utter relief, I will sincerely say "Thank God" because if it is something that important, I've already left it up to the Big Guy in the Sky.

With cashiers, waitresses, customer service reps, I try to look directly at them with a cheery "Thanks" and use their name (you would be surprised how well this works with creditors!!! :-D )
or some form of "honey" or "dude" or something appropriate.

If I am a writing a thank you, I try to be effusive and specific.

How do you express Thankfulness?

02 November 2010

Sometimes It's Worth It

The truck wasn't running right on the way home tonight. This is unusual, even with it's 332,000+ miles. Kevin thinks that I got a tank of bad gas. In my old car, I had to run Chevron gasoline every once in a while to make sure it ran well.

It occurred to me that there are a few things that are worth spending the extra money on.

Gasoline...even if you buy the next grade up every once in awhile, your car will be happy.

Hotel Rooms...I used to be Suzy Budget with hotels but when we saw one of the hotels we stayed in while racing featured in a murder scene on the news, I decided I need to pony up some more cash.

Chocolate. Enough said.

Eyeglasses...my bargain glasses are total crap and I'm frustrated that I wasted the money.

Bath Towels...we've all bought the Wal-Mart specials that turn into bar rags with one wash.

I am often a bargain shopper. I will buy things second-hand if I can get away with it. Sometimes though, it's just worth the extra few dollars.

What do you think is worth spending the extra money on?

01 November 2010

Be Not Afraid

"Because we know, instinctively, as a people, that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together. And the truth is there will always be darkness..." Jon Stewart