Saturday, December 31, 2011

365 Photos Day 365


Since I woke up this morning with as bad (if not worse) of a headache as I did on 1 January this year, today has been fairly low-key.

My big project for this afternoon was to work on our family's calendar for 2012. It's always amazing seeing how busy we were during the year; most days I'm just living day-to-day and don't always remember all the things we did. Good thing I have the big calendar.

So, here's to a (mostly) successful 2011, and hopes for a magnificent 2012.

365 Photos Day 364


Today was Steve's extended extended mother's family Christmas. It's one of the must-do events every holiday season, and not out of obligation. The family members really do all like each other. It's kind of weird. And as his Mom is 1 of 10 (actually 1 of 12, but 2 died in infancy), and each of her siblings had more than 1 kid each, well, let us just say that it's rather overwhelming sometimes. It's gotten so big that it's sometimes easier to just have it in a public space instead of at someone's home, although that still happens too.

We were playing that Left Center Right dice game again, and although I was consistently winning (for real), I told my nephew, Nate, that he could be my picture of the day because he was so proud of himself for having 6 nickels (the next roll he lost 2 of them).

He wanted to make sure that I got a good angle on him and his Swag, but I was too busy laughing at his white-boy use of the word "Swag" to get a clear picture.

(This is mainly because when I hear the word "Swag" I think of Kingsley's YouTube Video about Overexposed things, like using #hashtags on Facebook instead of Twitter [Just don't do it])

Warning: Some Most of language is sooooo NSFW. Awesome, but NSFW.

Friday, December 30, 2011

365 Photos Day 363


Today Steve took me to his work so I could see where he spends so much of his time.

I think I'm OK with the state of my own work desk now...

Sadly, his home office looks pretty much like this does.

365 Photos Day 362


I was back at work for the first time since the Kid went on winter break from school (she works at the library also, and has been working most of the available hours to help pay for her spending money on her whirlwind Europe trip this upcoming spring term). Before I set everything down on my desk, it looked way cleaner.

I should obviously take more time off. You know, all to keep that desk cleaned off.

Or I could just work through everything that's normally piled on it, and actually have a clean desk all the time.

Ahahahahaha...I crack myself up.

365 Photos Day 361


Well, I can now cross "attend Ladies' Night at the Knights of Columbus meeting" off my Bucket List.

If it had even been there to start with, which I highly doubt, especially seeing as how I don't even HAVE a Bucket List.

I went because my friend Kim was going, and she wanted to have safety in numbers. In her words, "Maybe we'll get to see the secret Water Buffalo Dance."

Well, no. That we didn't see.

However, I *did* hear, from other KC wives, older ones at that, among other things:

  • It's perfectly acceptable to have Southern Comfort for breakfast if you didn't finish it the night before. You know, when it's watered down with the ice cubes that've melted. (This begs the very pertinent questions of "Who the heck has any left over?" and "Who drinks that stuff straight?")
  • Everyone knows only the really bad wines give a person hangovers. (Well, sure, but then so does Southern Comfort...especially for breakfast)
  • When someone says, "Oh! I have a story just like that!"...they so don't. Not even close. Not even close like not even in the same stratosphere not kind of close.
  • Normally there aren't as many wives at these things. (I can't, for the life of me, understand why that would be...)

I was rather nonplussed by the whole thing. Good thing a couple of my friends were there too, and that we can all communicate with just a look. Looks that say, "Oh-my-freaking-goodness-do-you-owe-me-BIG-TIME-for-this" and "We-look-sooooooo-normal-compared-to-her" and "If-you-laugh-so-help-me-God-I-will-come-across-this-table-and-strangle-you". You know, the useful looks.

Anyway, we all got to throw our names into a basket and if a person's name was drawn, she got to pick a prize!!!!! I was the second person drawn, and since there wasn't any Southern Comfort in the prize pile, I went with hamburger. Can't lose with hamburger, and I don't believe I've ever gotten a hangover from it either.

So, like Charlie Sheen said, "Winning!"

365 Photos Day 360


Sometimes Santa forgets she's already purchased something, and so buys it again. And then has to go brave the stores on the day after Christmas to return that something. Good thing I know enough to go later in the evening. That way I can do some grocery shopping too.

Yep. Santa had it all planned out.


365 Photos Day 359


Iz, waiting for Santa. Probably in the hopes he'll bring Sunny the Fish back. (So not happening)

I like the nights after Christmas is done and over. The quiet and stillness that's there while reading by the Christmas tree lights. That all too fleeting moment of peace.

That's one of my favorite things about the holiday season.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

365 Photos Day 358


We did the extended family Christmas thing today. It was odd getting together on Christmas Eve. Usually we reserve that for our family; Steve & Amanda go shopping, then we have dinner, then we open presents at 7pm. After that, we play with our new toys, and eventually go to Midnight Mass.

Today, though, we did the extended family Christmas, came home, tried to recuperate from that, didn't have dinner, opened presents at 8pm, and are now all playing with our new toys. We may or may not end up going to Midnight Mass.

Just another odd day in the life.

365 Photos Day 357


One of the least glamorous parts of being a librarian is replacing broken books with new books. Today I replaced lots of them, since it's the end of the year and I'm deciding whether to fish or cut bait on my fix-it pile.

Not pictured: the 2 disgustingly moldy books that I had to get the barcodes and labels off of without wanting to take too much of a bleach bath.

365 Photos Day 356


Sometimes when I'm out and about I see things that I think, "Really? That's all there is to that? I could totally make that."

I probably won't, though. But I totally could.

365 Photos Day 355


This game looks remarkably like an upscale version of Beer Pong. There was something about making trick shots too.

Start 'em early and then they'll win it all by the time they get to college?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

I'm not a big fan of winter. Never have been.

However, I am a big fan of Winter Solstice.

Why? Well, because it's the longest night of the year, right? Meaning, there'll be more and more daylight...which means we're on the way to summer.

My Mom celebrated Winter Solstice, and I do too, albeit not quite like she did. I may or may not light a bunch of candles (depends if I remember or not), but when I DO light the candles, I say this:

For half the year, day by day,
Slowly, the world had grown darker
For half the year, night by night,
Slowly the dark has grown longer.
Tonight that ends and the wheel
Turns us back to the light.
[Light Candle]
The Darkness was never complete.
A spark was always waiting to return
And burn again.
The wheel is turning and light’s returning.
-Winter Solstice Prayer

No, I haven't a clue as to where it came from, if it was something my Mom found, made up, or whatever. All I know is that it seems right to say, and so I do. And somehow, it eases my mind that yes indeed, there WILL be warmth again, and that there WILL be longer days.

Happy Winter Solstice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

365 Photos Day 354


Stevie & his new toy.

The whole reason I socked away money all year to get this was so that he could play Angry Birds WITHOUT having to put his glasses on the top of his head while squinting at his iPod.

Glad to see it worked out like I'd planned.

365 Photos Day 353


Getting Christmas cards in the mail makes me happy. It probably makes other people happy too, so I'd best get cracking on getting ours out before next Christmas.

We haven't always sent them out. Especially when I was in school. At that point my main concern was getting to the end of the term in one piece both mentally and physically.

However, it is fun to see the different photos year to year. And, getting ANY mail is kind of neat too.

Monday, December 19, 2011

365 Photos Day 352


Maybe I was a little too hasty in packing away my shorts.

43 degrees in the middle of December. Wow.

Man, I sure hope this doesn't mean when the snow comes it'll be here until June or something. That wouldn't even be awesome at all.


365 Photos Day 351


Scene from Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis while waiting for the Holidazzle Parade to start. I was looking at the Foshay Tower.

It was a nice night to go. Not too cold, but chilly enough it sort of felt like winter.

I miss living in a city sometimes. I love the lights, the noise, the buildings, the concrete. I love how everything just seems MORE. Granted, when I lived in a city, I lived in Portland, Oregon (west side), so maybe I was just lucky.

It was nice to be down there, even if only for a little while.

365 Photos Day 350


The Kid and I went to see 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' tonight. We ended up sitting 4 rows from the screen. It was a pretty good movie, but some of the spinning scenes as seen from 4 rows from the screen were kind of dizzying.

But, I'm glad we got to go anyway. Even if she was cranky that we didn't go to Punch Pizza for dinner.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

365 Photos Day 349


It's the middle of December.

This is Minnesota.

There's something wrong with this picture.

But, I'm OK with no snow. It's been foggy and overcast this week. If I didn't know any better, I'd say I was in Western Oregon.

365 Photos Day 348


Since Sunny the fish went to his new home, Iz has been lonely. Tonight she decided to jump up and "share" Callie's chair.

Maybe having a fish was an OK thing after all. I bet Callie thinks so, anyway.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

365 Photos Day 347


It's probably just as well Sunny is going to his new home tomorrow.


365 Photos Day 346


Iz likes hanging out with Sunny.

I'm not sure Sunny likes hanging out with Iz.

At least she's not trying to act out the scene from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where Dumbledore is drinking all the liquid out of the basin to get to the horcrux anymore, so that's an improvement.

365 Photos Day 345


I don't know much about fish, but I do know they need something bigger than a super small bowl with rocks to swim around in.

So, figuring Sunny needed an upgrade in accomodations, I went to PetCo.

Dang, fish are expensive. All this was $75. ON SALE. I was looking at the salesclerk like she was nuts, and told her that our fish wasn't that big. "Well, they will grow to between 8"-12", you know."

Sonofagun. I also enjoyed her offhand comment, "Well, this is the most expensive part. The fish are like 15 cents each." Fifteen cents? Seriously?

Best part? I get all this stuff home only to have one of our friends say, "Oh, yeah. I forgot to text you. I found a home for Sunny."


365 Photos Day 344


Wherein Our Family Unit is Expanded by One

Scene: Saturday night, Steve coming home from his work Christmas party.

Steve: Hey! I brought you something!
Me (being no dummy and thus skeptical it's a good thing): Really? What?
Steve: I left it on your desk.
Me: Uh, this is a fish.
Steve: I know! I rescued it.
Me: From what, exactly?
Steve: From the people at the party. His name is Sunny.
Me: You *do* know we have FOUR CATS, right? And that I've never had a fish, so I haven't a clue as to what to actually DO with him?
Steve: Well, I couldn't just leave him there. People were eating and drinking them.
Me: What is WRONG with you people?
Steve: And, at the end of the night the fish were all going to be flushed down the toilet. So I had to save Sunny.
Me: Sigh.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

365 Photos Day 343

My big winnings from a game we played tonight at the annual Brother/Sister Christmas party. With all the good luck going on in this family, we should probably spend Christmas in Las Vegas or something.

Or put all this in our change jar.

Either or.

365 Photos Day 342


Steve won $100 Winsted Bucks from the Winter Festival last weekend. It's the second time he's won during Winter Festival (Winsted Bucks are able to be used like real money at many areas businesses).

I don't know how he does it, but he's one of the luckiest people I know.
Or maybe I am, seeing as how I'm married to him.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

365 Photos Day 341


These guys were at the library to take out that big behemoth of a display case and bring it to another library in our system. After a bit of, "I'm not sure how we're going to fit it through the door" moments, they figured it out and within 20 minutes, it was gone.


Yay! Now I won't run into it every time I walk by it.

And they even put the chairs back the right way. Excellent.

365 Photos Day 340


Ah, the odd things I find when I'm out and about.

I'm all for giving people choices, but I'm a bit perplexed as to when the best marshmellow for the job would be either a Piña Colada or a German Chocolate Cake one.

Or maybe it's just me.

365 Photos Day 339


Ah, the beauty of the dusting of snow and the Christmas lights. And the early sunset. And the cold.

Yep, it's pretty much winter here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

365 Photos Day 338


Not sure how the genetics worked on this one...pretty sure it's taught that dark hair/eyes override every other color. Obviously the Kid didn't get the memo. She's no Mini-Me, that's for sure.

However, she IS getting better at giving The Look, so that's good. When she can make people quail at even the THOUGHT of getting The Look thrown in their direction, well, I'll know my job here is done.

365 Photos Day 337


And it's SHOWTIME!

This is the middle part of the library with some of the Silent Auction items. There's a whole lot more to the right that isn't visible in the picture, and a whole lot more toward the left back in the far corner.

I think we had almost 150 items, which is down from last year, but like I've said, any is better than nothing.

And we've come a long way from the first Silent Auction. We made about $180 that year, and had maybe 20 items.

Ah, but we're done now.

For another year.

365 Photos Day 336


Today was the Silent Auction set up day. It's a loooooooong day by any stretch of the imagination. A 12 hour day is not unusual.

I got to work on the gift certificate wall and get it all figured out. We didn't have as many this year, for whatever reason, but any is better than nothing. The rest of the library was overtaken by tables and other items.

This is our 13th year of doing this, so we are fairly efficient in our methods, but every year we have a few moments of, "How do we do this again?" That's OK, though. Maybe there's a better way of setting up or organizing it all that will come up. Or not.

Either way, it's one of our biggest fundraisers throughout the year, and it's fun (after the set up and before the take down, anyway). It's always interesting to see what items are the hot items of the year, and which ones hardly get a bid.

365 Photos Day 335


One of my patrons asked if I'd read this yet. Nope, I'd been avoiding it because it looked like one of THOSE books. (THOSE books=something that is rather like an Oprah book, most of which make me want to run away screaming)

"I think you'd like it. Give it a try," she said.

"Lalalalala," I said.

Then I got to thinking about it. I recommend books to my patrons, but it really should be a two-way street I think. If I don't value their "hey, you should read this" moments, then they might stop valuing mine. Sure, getting people hooked up with the right book is part of being a librarian, but in a way, it's more a shared love of reading that's the bond.

So, I did what I usually do when faced with a book I just do NOT want to read.

I get the audio. Somehow when I outsource the actual reading it's a whole lot easier for me.

And within the first 2 tracks, I was entranced.

Part of it is the different readers doing a wonderful job (bad readers=forget it, life's too short) and really bringing the characters to life. Part of it is the way it's written--in epistolary format, through letters back and forth.

Or maybe it's the right book at the right time.

In any case, I'll be telling her how much I like it. And definitely thanking her for her recommendation.

365 Photos Day 334


Tonight Steve made some more caramels for the Silent Auction. He's got his system down pretty well, but asked if I'd help him wrap the cut caramels. "Sure," I said. "I can do that."

Well, no, no I can't.

I'm fairly intelligent (I'd like to think), but I'm pretty sure I didn't look it. I couldn't figure out how to cut the wax paper to the right size square, and then I couldn't figure out how to wrap the caramels like he did. I tried to take a picture of him doing it, but his hands were moving so fast they were blurry.

I am so thankful for all the help and support he gives the Library Board for the auction. It's fairly stressful enough, but add in cranky husbands and kids, and all of a sudden we gots ourself a ball game. Or something.

This year he made his extremely excellent peanut brittle and the caramels to auction off. Before he's only made peanut brittle, so he's a little worried that the caramels might not go. I'm pretty sure they will, especially since he made extra for sampling purposes--and once someone tastes it, they'll probably go bid on it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

101 in 1001 November Here Come the Holidays Edition

Forward progress...that's all I'm going for right now. I'm more than halfway there, but I only have 488 days to power through roughly 62 more things. I'd best get cracking.

Finished: 39
In Process: 12
Percent finished: 38.61%
Left to go: 61.39%

Finances/Giving (6/12) [in Process: 0]
1. Get Emergency Fund up to $1000 [Done 15 March 2011]
2. Pay off and close Chase Visa
3. Pay off and close Target Visa
4. Get Emergency Fund up to 3 months (~12,000)
5. Get a used truck
6. Put a $50 bill in the second collection basket [Done 5 November 2011]
7. Put a $100 bill in the second collection basket
8. Donate to the Food Shelf 10 times ($25 or equivalent) (10/10) [Done 28 October 2011]
9. Leave a 100% tip 5 times (5/5) [Done 15 October 2011]
10. Choose 2 kids from the Jesse Tree during Christmas & get them presents [Done 29 November 2011]
11. Give to a family in need during the holidays
12. Buy a scratch-off lottery ticket & donate 25% of the winnings to charity [Done 18 September 2010]

House Inside (7/12) [In Process: 2]
13. Hang up 5 pictures (5/5) [Done 17 November 2010]
14. Frame Tree picture [Done 9 September 2010]
15. Paint back room and closet [Done 13 October 2010]
16. Paint hall storage closet & set up shelves [Done 17 August 2010]
17. Spruce up front door area (outside: welcome mat, flower pots/ inside: bench, mirror, lamp)
18. Finish basement
19. Back door/entryway re-do
20. Repaint & redo my office
21. Hang curtains or blinds in master bedroom & the Kid’s room [Done 18 October 2010]
22. Get dining room chairs
23. Repaint Laundry Room [Done 19 October 2011]
24. Repaint/redo master bathroom/closet [Done 5 October 2010]

House Outside (2/12) [In Process: 1]
25. Plant 5 trees in yard (4/5) [4 Blue Spruce planted 7 August 2010]
26. Put in back flower bed
27. Paint Storage Shed same color as house
28. Back entryway outside re-do (transition between steps and red rock)
29. Build garage
30. Put in front flower bed
31. Put in front tower flower bed
32. Put in side flower bed
33. Level out north side of house & put down the decorative rock
34. Get covers for grill & fireplace
35. Get rid of stumps in back yard [Done 28 August 2010]
36. Get a flag for front porch (and install said flag) [Done 3 July 2011]

To Do/Watch/Read (2/12)
[In Process: 7]
37. Watch 101 movies (39/101)
November 2011
• Crazy Stupid Love
• The Princess and the Frog
• Sherlock Holmes

38. Read 101 books (154/101) [ The 101 was done 2 May 2011]
November 2011 (5)
• Set in Darkness by Ian Rankin
• The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
• His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
• The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes
• Non-Fiction: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian by John Elder Robison
• Audio: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

39. Go to a Cowboys-Vikings game
40. See 5 Minnesota Tourist Attractions (0/5)
41. Visit 5 art galleries in Minnesota (1/5)
42. Watch all seasons of “24” (0/8)
43. Watch all seasons of “MI-5” (4/9)
44. Complete a crossword puzzle book
45. Watch 5 documentaries (5/5) [done 10 February 2011]
46. Read 5 Non-fiction books (4/5)
47. Donate 100, 000 grains of rice on (61,000/100,000)
48. Do 5 things from the “365 Things to do in the Twin Cities” (4/5)

Health (2/12) [In Process: 0]
49. Walk to work 30 times (30/30) [Done 14 March 2011]
50. Bike around the lake
51. 175
52. 165
53. 155
54. 145
55. 135
56. Get eyes checked
57. Get new glasses or contacts
58. Get annual physical [Done 16 September 2010]
59. Do the 200 sit-ups challenge
60. Track my progress with Wii Fit for 28 consecutive days.

Grown-up/Family stuff (3/12) [In Process: 1]
61. Change life insurance beneficiaries
62. Write wills
63. Write living wills
64. Get family picture taken
65. Send out Christmas cards with aforementioned family picture on it
66. Host Brother/Sister Christmas party [Done 18 December 2010]
67. Have a family board/card game night 5 times (2/5)
68. Buy a new “grown-up” outfit (shirt/pants) [Done 23 July 2011]
69. Take a family vacation
70. Make a picture family tree
71. Get first aid certified
72. Get the Kid a car safety kit for her car [Done 28 December 2010]

Spiritual/Church (4/12) [In Process: 2]
73. Learn the Rosary Prayers
74. Go to a Latin Mass
75. Go to daily Mass for a week
76. Donate time, talent, or treasure for the CCW Bazaar [Done 1 October 2010]
77. Read the Tao te Ching [Done 18 September 2010]
78. Get a new St Christopher Medal
79. Do the Advent readings and wreath one year [Done 7 January 2011]
80. Do the Lenten readings one year
81. Do the Rice Bowl project one year [Done 17 April 2011]
82. Light an intention candle 10 times (5/10)
83. Attend Mass in the Basilica
84. Attend 2 Lenten dinners

Food (10/11) [In Process: 0]
85. Make a cake & icing (or cupcakes) from scratch [Done 24 July 2010]
86. Try 3 new restaurants (3/3) [Done 17 June 2011]
87. Do one week of meal planning [Done 31 December 2010]
88. Do one month of meal planning [Done 3 July 2011]
89. Eat 1 serving of fruit a day for a week (7/7) [Done 12 July 2010]
90. Try a new recipe [Done 1 October 2010]
91. Make cookies from scratch [Done 23 September 2010]
92. Try a different flavor ice cream (no vanilla/chocolate) [Done 12 August 2010]
93. Limit Diet Coke to 2 servings per day for 1 consecutive week (0/7 days)
94. No fast food for a month [Done 9 April 2011]
95. Try 5 different kinds of apples (5/5) [Done July 2010]

Just Because (2/6) [In Process: 1]
96. Donate hair to Locks of Love one more time
97. Take part in a pub quiz [Done 16 January 2011]
98. Complete a 500+ piece puzzle
99. Fly first class
100. Start a Tumblr [Done 8 July 2010]:
101. Do a 365 day photo challenge

NaBloWriMo Day 30

NaBloPoMo 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
What did you learn from doing NaBloPoMo?

What did I learn...what did I learn?

  • I learned that I still have the gift of being able to write about (most) anything when given a prompt. This skill was honed in 10th grade World History when Mr Hoffman would say at the beginning of class, while raising the map covering the chalkboard, "This is your topic, you have 50 minutes, GO!"
  • Depending on the day, week, moment, I am capable of forgetting to write a post until the next day. Such as today.
  • This was kind of an extension of my 365 Photos project. Which I also forget to upload every day.
  • That I don't write for anyone else but myself. I don't know who all reads these musings, and that's OK. The people who do probably wonder how I function at all if my brain jumps around like the way I write sounds.
  • I really need to redesign my blog. It's on my to-do list.
  • Most of all, I learned that it can be fun to be part of something way larger than my own little corner of the world. People all over the world were participating in this, and it was fun to discover some new blogs to follow and read. Also, I learned that I probably should comment more on what I do read, even if it's uncomfortable for me.

All in all, I think NaBloWriMo was fun. Will I remember to do it next year? Maybe. No promises. Most of the time I can't remember what I'm supposed to be doing next week without looking at my calendar.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

365 Photos Day 333


Today was the last Storytime of the year. For whatever reason, the number 10 was not something the kids were getting their heads around. "What was last week's number?" "NINE!!!" "Good! So, what's this week's number?" "...NINE!!!!" "..."

Afterward it was time to pack away all the craft supplies until next April. We're going to try and avoid the snowstorms...even though it'll probably snow through May or something. I have 2 big totes that I use, but not everything fits very well. So it was a process of "Does this fit here? No. Dang. Try again."

Eventually, I got everything back in. Hopefully the lids won't fly off anytime soon. I'd hate to have the Back Room of Doom look like Ke$ha was back there throwing glitter and making it rain or anything.

365 Photos Day 332


My printer is taking a beating this week printing out all the Silent Auction things we need. Bid sheets (seen here), signs, bidding's all stored on my computer. The printer started acting all weird and wasn't letting me print, but I showed it. I had Steve come in and glare at it (he did some computer-y stuff too, but I was doing other things, so I don't know what he did). And then it was working again, just in time to print off more bid sheets.


365 Photos Day 331


Starting the long process of getting ready for this year's Silent Auction. Kim & I worked on the gift certificate wall today. It was sure more fun than I know what to do with.

We used to put out the gift certificates on a table. Now, though, we make copies of them and hang them on a wall with a description so that people can see them, and we don't have to worry about them being taken or knocked off the table, or whatever may befall them.

The good thing is that this is our 13th year of doing the Auction, so we all know what we're doing, and we all work (fairly) well together, which is always a good thing.

365 Photos Day 330


Oh, glorious day! Iz's little green ball has been found!

This is her favorite ball. It's been missing for almost a month. She looked for it everywhere. WE looked for it everywhere. No luck.
We finally just gave up and found a purple ball that looked like the green one & took out the bell (the green one had lost its bell somewhere along the way), and she was happy.

Saturday I heard her playing in the hall, so I went to see what she was batting around. And lo and was the green ball.

So now she has TWO cool balls. She likes to play fetch with them. We throw them, she brings them back in her mouth. Like I've said, sometimes we think that she thinks she's part dog.

NaBloWriMo Day 29

NaBloPoMo 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
What is the last thing you do before bed?

Depends. Mostly I read, but it depends on what I've been doing that day. If the house needs a quick pick-up, I do that. If I need to finish up something for work, I do that. It's not very exciting.

The last thing I do before I head upstairs is drink a glass of milk and take Advil. I make sure the doors are locked, then I say goodnight to the cat people and go get ready for bed.

It's a routine, and there've been times where I'm laying in bed trying to remember, "Did I do such-and-so?" and if I honestly can NOT remember, I've been known to get up and go check. (At which point I realize that, yes, I actually did do such-and-so and have just gotten out of a nice warm bed to go check.)

NaBloWriMo Day 28

NaBloPoMo 2011

Monday, 28 November 2011
Describe an heirloom that has been passed down through generations of your family. What is its significance to you personally?

I have a couple that've been passed down only through the women of the family. All are special in their own way.

1. The 'Elizabeth' Bible: I am the 3rd Elizabeth to have this bible. It's very very old and very fragile. I received it from my Great-Grandmother, who received it from her Grandmother. As the name implies, it gets passed from Elizabeth to Elizabeth. The other 2 had Elizabeth as her middle name; it is my given first name. If my daughter so chooses to name her daughter Elizabeth, it will be passed on. If it doesn't happen until a couple of generations down, it will be passed on then.

2. The Double Wedding Ring Quilt: This is a beautiful handmade quilt that has been passed down for 4 generations on the daughter's wedding day (or kept in trust until said daughter has a place for it). I put it on our bed only in the spring, and keep it in the cedar chest the rest of the year.

3. The Chest of Drawers: This piece was made in the late 1800's and went west on a wagon. It gets passed down when the daughter is settled enough to be in one place for awhile. It's really a lovely carved piece that is still very functional. It currently resides in our foyer.

These are 3 things that get passed down, mother to eldest (or only) daughter. Even as I don't like to have a lot of cluttery stuff, I love the thought that these things have seen a few generations come and go, yet still survive to serve and be loved by the next ones. They are beautiful in their own right, but the added bonus of having family meaning makes them irreplaceable treasures.

NaBloWriMo Day 27

NaBloPoMo 2011

Sunday, 27 November 2011
Topic of the Day: My Random Thoughts

This will be very random. You've been warned.

  • I don't much like the holiday season. Never really have, probably never really will. No particular reason, but as much as I don't like the cold in January, at least the holidays are done.
  • This was not the week to start cutting back on my consumption of Diet Coke. Perhaps a better time to do so would be the 12th of never.
  • Mass on Saturday night was, um, interesting. Since the changes to the Missal took effect this weekend, it was amusing (to me) how many people were still on what I call "AutoCatholic". You know, like they've said the responses, etc so many times before that it's just by rote, not because they're thinking about what they're saying. Me, well, I never bothered to memorize any of that. I have more important things to remember, like all the lyrics to '80's songs that I haven't heard in 20 years.
  • I really need to finish the storage closet in our room. But since I messed up cutting the 1st two boards and had to go get replacements, I'm apprehensive about doing it wrong again. So by not doing anything, I'm at least not doing it wrong. It makes more sense in my head.
  • I keep thinking that I need to make a list of everything I need to do this week. Sadly, when I start to make said list, I forget what it was I wanted to put on it.

There you go. You just got to experience 5 minutes in my busy brain.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaBloWriMo Day 26

NaBloPoMo 2011

Saturday, 26 November 2011
Topic of the Day: Enough

This week I've really been thinking about who/what I'm thankful for.

Yesterday was Black Friday, and I didn't go shopping until much later in the day. I know that perhaps I didn't get the best deals, but I maintained my sanity, so I'll call it a win.

However, I gave some thought to the whole Black Friday hoopla, and how that fit in with my evolving belief system.

I used to gladly go shopping at the crack of dawn to get things for the kids and not have to spend lots and lots of money. It was even kind of fun. Except the year the woman in front of me in Target got mad and pushed my cart into me because someone else (NOT ME) had hit her. That year...not so fun. Anyway, I get the whole thrill of the hunt thing, and I'm not here to condemn it or anyone who participates in the day.

Every year on the news, there's stories about how people get run over, in fights, whatever. I've come to realize that for me, there's nothing in a store worth that. It's not a mentality that I can get behind for my own self, not in this season of Advent.

This has been years in the making. Maybe it's because I really dislike having to come up with a Christmas list that has things that sure, I like them, but I don't NEED them. Maybe it's because we've come so far financially that I don't have to balance the wants vs. needs anymore, and can usually just buy whatever it is that catches my fancy. Maybe it's because I'm less tolerant of STUFF than I used to be. Maybe it's a combination of all of the above.

Every year my husband asks me what I want for Christmas. Every year I tell him that I'm pretty sure that I've already told him. Every year he tells me that if I did, I only did in my head, which we've established DOES NOT COUNT (maybe). Or that I pointed out something in a store, but changed my mind 2 aisles over (true).

One of the best presents I got was a couple of years ago when I got him to agree to take most of the money he'dve spent on me, and let me buy food and other supplies to give to a family in need. We asked our priest if there was anyone who needed a hand-up (not a hand-out), and actually since we had so much to give, it ended up being split up between 2 families. One was to a guy who'd pretty much lost everything when the economy went haywire, and was struggling to hold on to a house that he shared with other family members--he'd almost lost his faith in life, but our gift helped give him enough hope to keep going (I love that); the other was to a single mom with 2 little girls who had been in an abusive situation & had managed to get out, but was thinking there was no possible way to have any sort of Christmas for her girls. Thinking about how we could share even just a little of what we take for granted, and at least for that moment make life a little easier for someone was awesome.

It's not about doing it so I feel better about what we have. It's not about doing it because I should (if there's one thing that will make me NOT do something, it's because someone tells me I "should"). It's not about doing it because it's the Christmas season and I'm buying into the whole "Christmas Spirit" thing, because I'm usually low on Christmas Spirit in the best of years. It's not about doing it because as a "good Christian" that's what's expected.

No, it goes back to my Mom telling me that we give because we can. We give because it is a way to acknowledge and be thankful for what we ourselves have. And as I look around our house, and what we have, both tangible and intangible, we have enough. That's one of my mantras when I'm panicking about money, "For today, for right this moment, I have enough."

We have more than enough to share. We have more than enough that we can freely give some away and not worry if that would be the make-it-or-break-it between this payday and next. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the help that is needed, and I feel so inadequate. But then I realize that may be the lesson that's being taught. To do what I can, where I can, with what I have. And to do it from love and compassion, not because it's expected.

And that's a wonderful feeling. That feeling of Enough. That's what I want to hold onto during not only this Advent season, but the rest of the year as well.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaBloWriMo Day 25

NaBloPoMo 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011
Do you like to buy presents ahead of time or right when you need to give them?

Well, I'd love to say that I always get things ahead of time...but I don't. If I did, I'd probably either forget that I'd already gotten them or forget where I'd put them. Or both.

I tend to buy them within a week or so of when I'll be giving them, unless it's something that I'll need to have shipped. Then I might look at getting it earlier. Or not.

Yep. File this one under "Chronic Procrastinator".

365 Photos Day 329


Today I'm grateful for the job that allows me to go out and shop on Black Friday.

Ahahahaha. No. No marathon shopping on Black Friday for me. No thanks. When the kids were little, sure. Now, not so much.

I am, however, still grateful for the work I do. It's not a job, not most days. I love what I do, and am thankful for the opportunity to keep doing it. I'm also grateful that we don't depend on my paycheck to help cover anything but fun stuff, because I tell you what, I may love what I do, but I sure am not in it for the money.

365 Photos Day 328


Today I'm grateful for our extended family. I'm an only child and didn't grow up near my extended family, so the craziness that is Steve's immediate family sometimes makes me want to run away screaming (his extended family is HUGE, and kind of overwhelming sometimes). Holidays are never boring, that's for sure. There's also something to be said for having a good support system if we need it.

These are only 2 of our nephews--I have 2 more, but one was off doing something and the other was texting his girlfriend. Our niece was downstairs, I think.

365 Photos Day 327


Today I'm grateful for our house. We are incredibly lucky to have gotten to build this house pretty much how we wanted it. We wanted it to look like a house that had been there for 100 years (like our old one was), and like we'd inherited it from one of our grandmas and updated it. I think we succeeded.

Mostly, though, I'm just grateful that we have a house that we can afford and that we can raise our family in (although the Kid will be leaving for college next fall), and maybe pass it down to the Kid.

365 Photos Day 326


Kit Kat


Isabelle (Iz)


Today I'm most grateful for all our assorted cat people. Dart has been here the longest, the 3 girls have been here for just over a year.

We started off with no cats. Then we bought a house.

Then we got one cat (Sammy). Steve got her from a lady he worked with as a surprise for me. When he brought her home, he said, "That's it, though. Only ONE CAT."

A couple of months later, another cat showed up and adopted us. Steve said, "OK, fine. BUT THAT'S IT. ONLY TWO CATS."

When the second cat died, I was in college. After Christmas break, one of the girls I worked with at the school library came in and asked if anyone wanted two cats (one of whom is Dart). She had to give them up because she was too allergic to them. I called Steve, who sighed and said, "OK. BUT THAT'S IT. THREE CATS IS THE LIMIT."

One of the cats had to be put down. I'm still not certain what happened to her, but I suspect something like a stroke. So we lived with two cats, until we had to put Sammy down. Then Steve said, "You know, I think I'd like a kitten. Or a younger cat." So we went to the shelter...

And ended up bringing the 3 girls pictured above home. All Steve said was,

They can be the biggest pains in the asses ever, but they also can be so damn sweet that all is forgiven. I feel so lucky that they have deigned to have us as their people.

365 Photos Day 325


Today I'm grateful for my friends. These two ladies are probably my closest friends at this point in my life. They both accept me, quirks and all, and I can count on them to be there if I need them.

I'd love to say I make (and keep) friends fairly easily. I don't, not really. Mostly that's because I'm not as social as I used to be, some of it is because being an adult and doing adult things tends to pull our lives in too many different directions sometimes.

But, I'm happy that these ladies count me as one of their friends too. Life with them in it is certainly more interesting.