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.