Sunday, December 31, 2006


I've been planning to add a list of the blogs I read to that right-hand column. And I'm going to. I don't know a thing about HTML, but I think I've got it figured out. I'm dreading it because I remember it took me forever to do that "Stuff I Like" column. And that was a LONG time ago. I'm going to do it, though, and soon. Okay, that will be my New Year's resolution.

I hope everyone has a safe, fun and happy New Year!

Update: It looks like I got the blog list started. I'm sure I left out someone that I wish I hadn't. Also, I did not list some of the people that I read, for particular reasons, nor any celebrity bloggers, such as dooce that don't need any more advertisement, but I may add Wil Wheaton somewhere because he's so sweet. Worst run-on sentence EVER!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Report

I had a great Christmas! The party on the 23rd went pretty well. It was a multi-generational party with a small horde of wild children, but I think things went pretty smoothly. Everyone seemed to have a good time and most of the food was eaten. However, I did forget to put the cinnamon sticks in the mulled cider - and didn't realize it until an hour after everyone left!
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Christmas eve was a day of rest and recovery. I mostly lounged on the couch and watched a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie I had recorded. I love those things. I even took a nap. That evening we went to our favorite restaurant, then came home and exchanged one gift. I got the most awesome gift ever - an autographed #4 jersey from J. J. Redick! My Sweetie is the best husband EVER! I gave him the 6th season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Our hotel in San Diego has a DVD player and when we went last year we took Buffy and ended each day by lounging on the couch and watching some "Buffy." I thought it would be fun to be able to do that again. Wow! That's less than two weeks away! I also opened one gift from my best friend Lolo. It was a Duke Christmas stocking. That was cool that my two Christmas eve presents were Duke things.
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On Christmas day, I cooked sausage and eggs, and made the eggs the way my Dad always did. That was my way of remembering him on Christmas day. I got a Dianne Reeves CD (playing now, ahhhh), the John Legend CD, Pirates 2, some books and my crazy Robopet (pictured above). - That Robopet is freaky. There's a video here. I named him Sparky. The funniest thing about him so far is that Rufus is mesmerized by him and always tries to smell his butt. - Around 5:30, we left for my Mom's house. As usual, Mom served up a killer meal. My daughter made the deviled eggs and they were probably the best I've ever had. I taught her how to make them and my secret is to use several mustards, but hers were better. She said one of the mustards she used was a spicy horseradish mustard. I want some of that mustard!
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I had been telling people that I wanted photo albums for Christmas. I'm finally going to tackle my photos next year and get them out of all the boxes. Lolo's gift that I opened on Christmas day was a really nice photo album. It holds 504 photos. I figured it would get me started. Then on Christmas night, between my Mom and daughter, I got FIVE MORE! Now if I can only finish that bathroom, I can tackle the photo problem. I also got some other really nice gifts from Mom and Kate.
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People always complain about the Christmas season getting longer and longer, but it seemed really short to me this year. I loved all my gifts and I hope everyone liked the gifts I got them. Thursday I'm going to take down the tree. It is dry as a bone. I would do it tomorrow but that is Meals on Wheels Wednesday. Well if I get home early enough, I may go ahead and do it. It's hard to believe another year is almost over. Where does the time go?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas 2006

That's a picture taken in 1969. I was 8. I love that picture. We all look so happy. I think that's the year I got my brown faux fur coat. I really loved that thing. The first few weeks I wore it even if it was 60 degrees out.

I almost titled this post "Merry Christmas 2007." I always do that. I jump the gun on stuff. For the next 4 months I will probably tell people I am 46, although I will not be 46 until late April. Then when my birthday comes I will be confused for a few days. "Uhhh, so now I'm 47? Oh wait, no! 46!" I have no idea why, but I do that every year.

I've spent the week madly preparing for my "annual" Christmas party. I put that in quotations because I did not have it last year because of the broken foot. I feel much more relaxed about it this year and so THAT is freaking me out. I'm usually a giant barrel of nerves about now - yeah I know the expression is "bundle of nerves," but bundle just doesn't seem big enough. For some reason I feel pretty mellow about tomorrow's party (Saturday's, legally today's party, but it's not tomorrow to me until I go to sleep and wake up again) - and we'll even have extra people who are visiting from out of town. All I can think is that I have some sort of brain damage. WHY am I not freaking out? I have to admit it's a pleasant conundrum.

We'll have a a buffet with barbecued brisket, ribs, cheesy potatoes, green beans and salad, as well as my garlic artichoke dip and a crudite platter. The only things I will actually have to cook are the potatoes, green beans and dip. And throw the simple salad together. And make the Ranch dressing. PLUS my daughter is coming early to help so it will all be super easy. I set up a kids' table in the library and put all my Rudolph action figures on it. It's really cute!

It's 3:30 a.m. and I should head off to bed. I have a party to throw "tomorrow!"

I hope everyone has a great Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's ALWAYS Something!*

*Or how Murphy's Law has been kicking my ass

Christmas Trees: My great idea of waiting to get a Christmas tree was A) stupid, B) stupid and C) yeah, stupid because my thinking was that if we waited, the tree would be fresher. Uhm. . . No. Apparently every tree place gets their trees in November, do not get new shipments, and if you WAIT to get your tree you will have VERY LITTLE to choose from. Friday night we went to the place down the street that we've gone to since we moved here and they had nothing we could use. Saturday night out of desperation we went to Lowe's and bought a much shorter tree than I would have liked, but because God is a kind God (or maybe he and Murphy were battling it out for me), the niceDouglas Fir was VERY CHEAP. We also bought our knobs, pulls and faucets there.

I love these faucets!

Knobs, Pulls and Faucets: I was SO HAPPY to get my new bathroom fixtures. Saturday night after My Sweetie went to bed, I took out the really ugly faucet (there are two in there but one of them was really gross). Murphy being what he is, the old faucet was made in such a manner that the water supply hoses (copper ones) were actually built into the faucet. Okay, so yes, I should have maybe checked that out beforehand. So I had no water supply hoses. I decided not to freak out. I figured I'd send MS out to take care of that the next day and meanwhile I would install the knobs (18) and pulls (3). Finally all was well. Wait! Is that Murphy hiding in the shower? Oh yes. The knobs went just fine. The pulls, not so much. My original holes for the old pulls were 3 inches apart. The new pulls' holes were 2 1/2 inches apart. Today after My Sweetie came back from Home Depot with my regular old 1/2 inch to 3/8 inch water supply hoses and filler putty, all seemed well. I figured I would fill the old drawer pull holes with putty and drill new ones later and just throw those faucets together in a snap. We installed the new faucet and I filled the holes and decided it was bathrrom break time. And by that, I mean we needed a break from working in the bathroom. At this point we decided to trim the tree. That was fun - and creatively hanging ornaments to make giant gaps in the tree (you waited too late to buy) look less noticeable was very entertaining. I had a long relax time after that. We watched the whole 3 hours of the "Survivor" finale and I made spaghetti and meatballs. After My Sweetie went to bed, I decided to replace the other faucet and get all the tools and stuff out of the bathroom. Did someone say Murphy's law? Well, if not, I was gonna. The holes drilled in my bathroom countertop (counter top? I'm not gonna look it up!) for that other faucet were WRONG. The new faucet did not fit in there. It was obvious visually that they had drilled the cold water hole closer to center than the hot hole (geez I hope no one finds this site by googling "hot hole"). So I got the file and filed and filed and filed and filed. After 12 eons and breathing probably deadly dust, I was finally able to fit the faucet in there. Tuesday night I will drill the 6 new holes in the three drawers and install the 3 pulls. Then that room will be finished for now. Tonight all I have left to do is my Christmas cards. About that...

Christmas Cards: Every Wednesday after I finish my Meals on Wheels route, I stop at a convenience store and buy a USA Today, a pack of Camel Lights and maybe some gum. I am a creature of habit (and the acronym for that is COH, not OCD). At lunch, I like to sit at a restaurant bar and read my USA Today. Unfortunately, this last Wednesday there was an article about funky family Christmas pictures. Being a graphic artist and Photoshop expert I thought, "Cool!" Well, Murphy's Law being what it is, our printer was out of ink. I figured I would make a funny picture and then get the ink. EVERYTHING went downhill from there. The computer kept freezing. I was getting VERY frustrated. My Sweetie even went out early Saturday to buy the ink, but he didn't replace it. And therein lies another Murphy's Law problem. My history of replacing ink cartridges is BAD - picture Frankenstein trying to sew a button on a shirt. Late Saturday night, after finally getting Photoshop to work again, I replaced the ink cartridges in the printer. It was all bad from there. Today MS told me he fixed the problem and I printed out the pictures for the Christmas cards, but the blue color is WAY off (for those of you reading that will be getting Christmas cards). Speaking of Meals on Wheels...

My "Training Day." I mentioned in my last post that I was nervous about having a stranger ride along with me for MOW. I couldn't have had a better person. Our route was "adopted" (usually by a church group or scout troop) for Christmas gifts. What was meant to be a large trash bag filled with smaller packed gift bags (marked "male," female," and "either") ended up being a large trash bag full of empty gift bags marked "male," female," and "either" and LOTS of random stuff. The lady I was training pretty much took it on herself to take care of the Christmas gifts. She was AWESOME. She kept apologizing about not looking in the bag earlier to see the mess. I kept telling her how helpful she was. I would have been doing ALL OF THAT by myself. At every stop, she made gift bags while I put the meals together. I gave her suggestions for some of the clients, but she pretty much did it on her own. After I took her back to her car, I went to lunch, did some Christmas shopping, then met my daughter at a restaurant bar. We had a blast. Where was Murphy on Wednesday? I know he doesn't take Wednesdays off.

And then some: Rufus wasn't TOO bad with the Christmas tree, although he attempted to climb it a few times. He has figured out now not to hang around the tree, The pork roast was excellent and my favorite re-run of it was making North Carolina style barbecue for lunch on Thursday. I also forgot to mention that my big annual family Christmas barbecue buffet event is this Saturday. Woof, it's a lot of work for a few hours of fun but I hope everything goes well (at least my bathroom will be great!). It's all about the lists and I've made most of them. Still, Murphy's Law has been kicking my ass lately and it's wearing me down. Hey Murphy! GO AWAY!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Day Has Come

I knew this day was coming. When I first started Meals on Wheels - a little over 6 years ago - after the initial office visit, you do a ride-along with another MOW volunteer. Today I got the call. On Wednesday I am to show a new volunteer the ropes. The MOW lady first said something like "She can follow you." I was confused because I actually rode with the person that "taught" me. Then I was thinking, "What if she doesn't smoke?" I've since decided I can go that long without a cigarette and I think we should ride together. I rarely need a sub so she won't be doing my route very often, but I can teach her a lot of the basics about what to do with shortfalls and extras and the protocol when no one answers the door. I just think it's funny that they picked crazy me to do this.

I finally decorated the outside for Christmas. My little scarecrow was still out there! That's awful! I did something new this year so it took me forever to figure it out, but I like it.

I actually gutted up and called my brother's house to figure out what to give my nephew for Christmas. I do not like to talk to my brother or his wife, but I called anyway. Mostly I asked him questions about the wall work I will have to do before I paint the master bathroom. I like that I can always find a safe subject when talking to weird people.

It looks like we will get our tree on Friday, so Saturday will be "trimming the tree" day. We are seriously concerned about Rufus. He has never experienced a Christmas tree and he's kinda crazy. I was actually thinking we should buy a video camera. I mean if he's gonna destroy our tree, we could at least win $10,000 for it from "America's Funniest Videos."

Several people have been doing posts about their idiosyncrasies. I think it's called something like "6 weird things about me." Oddly enough, most of them aren't that odd to me - although some of them WERE REALLY WEIRD. I've been thinking about it and I think my weirdest thing is this: I can not tolerate artificial light during the daytime. During those weird days when the clouds are really thick and it's dark during the day, I will actually walk around in the dark. When I stay at a hotel, I always request south or west facing rooms because I do not want to have to turn on a lamp during the daytime. I've actually decided I didn't like people just because they had their windows closed and their lights on during the day. Except my Meals on Wheels clients. They are old. They are excused from anything that bothers me.

I am SO close to finishing my wallpaper removal. I'm down to just bits and pieces - mostly around electrical outlets and light switches and the windows. I did 2 hours on Saturday and 4 hours on Sunday. I didn't think I'd ever see the end of the WALLPAPER FROM HELL. But now I am close. Why on earth did people always wallpaper bathrooms?!? Okay, I was taking a wallpaper day off so I shouldn't even be typing this.

I did a marinade rub for a pork roast tonight and now I'm thinking my hands will smell like garlic until March.

And I wash my hands A LOT.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Very Recent Past

Last Wednesday I thought someone had left their Meals on Wheels route sheet there in the church, but the guy was using the phone. Then I left MY route sheet. I didn't have anyone new, but not having my route sheet made my brain freeze and I drove by my first stop 3 times. I felt pretty stupid.

On Thursday (our snow day) I made lasagne for the first time in years. I remembered why, work-wise and mess-wise, but it was REALLY GOOD. I froze two more dinners worth and we've already had one. Also, this time I bought one of those foil disposable baking things so I had the exact shape and size I wanted and then just tossed it. I just may make lasagne again next year!

On Saturday, our anniversary, I had a WONDERFUL day. I made a lot of progress stripping wallpaper - I did two hours. (Yes the same wallpaper I started stripping in June. I quit for the summer because it was too hot.) I tried on a pair of jeans I had previously tried on when jeans season started. They were too tight then but on Saturday they slipped right on. That was very satisfying. We had a great dinner at our little Italian place. Just into the main course, the pianist played the song we were married to - ON HER OWN. We just looked at each other kinda shocked. After the song I went over to give her a nice tip and told her it was our anniversary and thanked her. The song is "Christmastime is here." We're both suckers for Vince Guaraldi. On the way home we stopped by a new bar near our house and our very first song, "I only want to be with you" by Hootie and the Blowfish came on. That was REALLY weird. It was a great day.

On Sunday I turned the TV to the music channel that plays traditional Christmas music. My Sweetie was in here on the computer and I needed a nap. I thought that would be great nap music. Not only was it an excellent choice for nap music, but I discovered an artist that I am now a HUGE fan of. Oddly enough she was singing "Christmastime is here." I opened my eyes to read the name of the artist and it was Dianne Reeves. I feel like an absolute idiot for not knowing about her. Now I want all of her CD's. Her voice is like silk or butter or silk butter or something. I ran in here and told MS to google her. We found that site and sat there and sampled song after song. If I ever get that question again about being stranded on a deserted island and you can take only one CD, it will be one of hers. I hope My Sweetie ordered one for me for Christmas.

On Monday afternoon, I was cleaning the kitchen when the doorbell rang. I was in gray sweats, a giant gray Duke T-shirt, hadn't brushed my hair, my teeth, or even looked in a mirror when the doorbell rang. I thought, "Who is this clown?" I figured I would say something quick to get rid of him until he introduced himself and I realized he was the guy from Empire Today THAT I HAD MADE AN APPOINTMENT WITH AND TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT. Man was I embarrassed! And my living room was a mess! He was very gracious and said it was quite common for people to forget the Monday appointments. A bit later he asked what I did for a living. I squeaked out "I'm a housewife," as my eyes darted nervously around the room. I finally relaxed and had fun picking out a tile for my bathroom. As part of the deal (to save some money) I told him I would pull out the carpet. Yeah the bathroom was half tile and half carpet, don't ask. So around midnight I was in there getting all those nail strips out and trying not to lose an eye. Also I had to get EVERYTHING out of the room because of the dust from the old tile removal. That was a fun night. Oh another thing happened on Monday. Around 7:30 pm or so I went out to the garage to smoke. Since it's been so chilly and I got tired of leaves sticking to my socks, I've been smoking by the side door in the garage instead of on the patio. The door faces east. I was watching the almost full moon rise and it was that pretty effect of seeing a full(ish) moon rise through oak branches with that wispy haze of clouds on top. Suddenly my brain went into alert mode and I realized a face was looking right at me. There on a tree branch, about 12 or 14 feet away was a young possum looking right at me. He was only about a foot above my eye level. I wish I had grabbed the camera. Instead I grabbed My Sweetie to come and see it. He wasn't our regular possum that we call Bob. Bob is a lot fatter and uglier. I named this one Fred. He was almost cute for a possum. So now every night when I go out there to smoke I look for Fred.

On Tuesday I had to get up at 7:30. I usually get up around noon or later. The flooring guys got here at 8:20. It was 3 guys that I'm guessing were Vietnamese but I was pretending they were from Myanmar because it's a funny word (although My Sweetie said it was a terrible country). I did 3 hours of wallpaper stripping that morning. They were working in the one bathroom and I was working in the other. Around 2:00 I was SO sleepy. The last thing I wanted to do was go to sleep with three strange men in my house, so I couldn't even sit down. I just kept pacing around and going into the garage to smoke. Finally around 3:00 they were completely finished. My new floor is GORGEOUS!! I had them lay the tile on the diagonal and it really makes a difference. Also they finshed it off with bullnose tile around the wall, so now I don't have crack nasty baseboards anymore. Woo and Hoo! Now I need new faucets, knobs and pulls. I can replace faucets myself. I did the one in the bar sink already. Maybe that's what I can get My Sweetie for Christmas: New faucets. And knobs. And pulls. Oh my!!

Meals on Wheels was pretty uneventful today, but I am really starting to fall in love with one of my new ladies. The day before Thanksgiving I had to also give out the "Holiday Meals," because MOW doesn't deliver on Thanksgiving. When I gave it to her she said, "Tomorrow's Thanksgiving? I didn't even know that." Last week when I delivered the "Inclement Weather Meal," I said, "This is in case of bad weather and we can't deliver. It is a shelf stable meal and can be kept in your pantry." She said, "So I need to put it in the deep freeze?" She's very friendly and always smiling. She has a staircase leading up from her entryway and she has a funky hat on the left side of each step. I think that's cute. I stopped by Garden Ridge to pick up a few Christmas things. I bought a very inexpensive tablecloth that I'm going to convert into a tree skirt. When? Great question. Well, tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

December Already?

I can't believe it's December. I read several Canadian bloggers and they were all talking about their big snowstorms and I thought nothing of it because, well, because they're in CANADA for crying out loud. I imagine it snows there every day except in August. So I was rather surprised when the weather went crazy Wednesday night and the temperature started dropping like a celebrity's popularity rating after a racist tirade. When I woke up Thursday around 12:30 (p.m.) it was sleeting like mad. This continued on and off for most of the day. About an hour after THAT stopped it started snowing. Sometimes the snow was coming down so thick and the wind blowing so hard you'd get a "white-out" for a few seconds. It was fascinating because I think it snows here about once every two years and we get an ice storm about every 5 years. By the way those were totally random guesses because I'm too lazy to look up the facts. Also when we get "weather" in Texas the TV stations go nuts. I mean NUTS. They pre-empted my soap and I was irritated, but then they actually pre-empted "Oprah." Yes they chose to talk about the weather rather than show "Oprah." My Sweetie, who was born in Michigan got some laughs at work. He said, "You know what they call this in Michigan?" . . . "Thursday." Oh, and his work let everyone leave after lunch. In Texas, if it sleets for 15 minutes, everything shuts down. I'm not kidding.

Okay so the big freeze brought back terrible memories. Wednesday night we went out to get our plants. Just like last November. I was very paranoid and very careful and this time I DID NOT break my foot. Just reading last November's and December's posts about having the broken foot all during the holidays has brought it all back. It really sucked. I made the best of it, but I would not want to do it again.

And tomorrow is our 6th wedding anniversary. I can't believe I've been happily married for 6 years. The first marriage lasted 4 years and I guess 1 or 2 of them were "happy." The second marriage lasted 7 years and I'd say there were happy times interspersed through the first 4 years. I don't know if I was able to figure something out or if I was just with the wrong people before. I'm just glad this marriage has been so sweet and rewarding. I wake up happy and go to sleep happy. That's really all you can ask for.

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!!