Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Wrap Up

"Christmas is a race to see which gives out first - your money or your feet." ~ Anonymous

I know, I know -- I'm a little late in wishing everyone Merry Christmas. But I do hope you all had a fabulous one! It seems like forever since I've had time to sit down and read my favorite blogs, let alone post anything.

I'm still working to polish off the leftover desserts from my parents' house. Mom went a little overboard, making German chocolate cake and homemade fudge, along with brownies and a cheesecake. And don't you know she sent all of the leftovers home with me? But of course I've exhibited self control *wiping cake crumbs off my face* and haven't completely pigged out all week *reaching for a piece of fudge*.

At least my headache has finally subsided. It all started the day before Christmas Eve as J and I hit the stores to finish up our Christmas shopping. I swear there must have been 30 people in line at Best Buy. So I waited 25 minutes in line just for a freakin' gift card. Yes, we're starting earlier next year ... at least that's what I keep telling myself.

The headache carried over to Christmas Eve, when we went to J's grandparents' house for dinner and gift exchange. Five kids under the age of 5 makes for lots of laughs but tons of noise. We're the last amongst his immediate family -- cousins and sister -- to have kids, so we're told every five minutes that someday we'll understand why kids pour juice on their head, or why it's okay to change a poopy diaper in the middle of the living room. On the white carpet. With no blanket or pad underneath. *Shuddering* J's grandparents are such wonderful and honest people, though, so it's always nice to be around them.

We didn't get home until after 11, and we still had to fix stockings for the furry babies*. The headache was still there when we awoke before dawn Christmas morning, let the babies rummage through their stockings, showered, dressed and drove over an hour west to J's parents' house for breakfast and gifts.

Honestly, I had been dreading this all week. I know that sounds horrible, but seriously, we see them at his grandparents on Christmas Eve. Yet they insist we come over Christmas morning, eat breakfast and open their gifts. And the grandparents and sister are there, too, because J's family all live right down the road from each other. So it's basically Christmas Eve all over again, minus a few people. Which I guess is fine, but it always ticks me off when they expect us to spend more time over there. It's like they forget I have family, too. And what about when we have kids? I'm not skipping Santa and presents just to have cold eggs. But of course J doesn't see my perspective, so the couple of times I've suggested just doing Christmas Eve with his family a fight ensues**. So, guess I'll drop it until next year.

At lunch, we jumped in the car and drove an hour south to my parents' house for gifts and Christmas dinner. Although there's less people than at J's, I swear the noise level is the same. My sister and I spent the better part of the afternoon chasing our nephew around the house with a Nerf dart gun, while mom yelled at us to stop running through the kitchen. My brother always causes trouble, but he fell asleep in the recliner after dinner like clockwork. My dad and my sister closed out the night with an all-out Nerf gun war, until dad shot her between the eyes. Never mess with a war vet!

The car loaded down with gifts and leftovers, we finally made it home a little before midnight. Tired, we popped some Advil and crawled into bed. Sometimes I miss the days when Christmas seemed to last forever.


*Okay, so J and I were made fun of for making stockings for our pets ... but why not include them in on some holiday cheer?
**I would never want him not to see his family on a holiday. But, my parents' moved our Thanksgiving to the weekend after to accommodate everyone else's plans. Just wish his family would do the same for Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Goodbye, Old Friend

"If you're alone, I'll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I'll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I'll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I'll be your smile. But anytime you need a friend, I'll just be me." ~ Author Unknown

They came to take you away from me today. When I handed over the keys, I tucked my head and went into the house. I watched from the front window as you grew farther from me, red taillights growing dim in the cold fog, tears splashing down my cheeks. It all happened so fast -- I don't think I even told you good bye. So, goodbye, Old Friend. You were my first taste of freedom, my guardian angel, my warmth on cold nights.

Remember the night I wanted to run away? Wanted to get away from this world that I thought was so bad? You let me vent, you calmed my nerves, you took me home.

And the night Rusty and I ran from the cops? We were so freakin' scared that night, but we managed to get away. We still die laughing whenever we think about that night.

Remember when you helped move me up to college? If only I'd known then what I know now. Maybe we would have never gotten those parking tickets, or drove two hours to ogle over that hockey coach, or gotten that horrible job down the road at Tias.

And gosh, how many times did I skip Trig that one spring, just so we could go hit balls at the driving range and soak up some sunshine. I even found some old golf tees in the trunk the other day. Along with some dog treats from all the times we would stop to help stranded dogs along the side of the road. And I even found a few tapes from back in the day -- there's no telling what's on them.

Remember that night I was headed to Dallas to meet up with Carter? I was soo tired of the drama, of the games. We saw the sign for I-45 to Houston. And I took it. And we drove five hours to the beach, only stopping once for gas and snacks. We made it into Galveston a little before 3 in the morning, stopped at a gas station to refill and get some magazines, and then I sat in the empty I-Hop until just before sunrise. And remember? We hopped on the ferry just as the sun was beginning to rise, and the dolphins began to surface all around. I'll never forget the beach we found, where I sat for hours in the soft sand, the cold waves lapping at my toes, the smell of salt and sea helping me to see clearly for the first time in months. And then we turned around and drove home. I'll never forget that trip.

And I'll never forget you. There are soo many memories from the past nine years, it's hard to share them all. I know you'll have many more over the years to come. What's that old saying, "No road is too long with good company?" It's true. And the tears are starting to fall again.

So goodbye, Old Friend, goodbye.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stall-ing

"If you sprinkle when you tinkle, please be sweet and wipe the seat." ~ Unknown

J and I finally got started on our Christmas shopping tonight. I know, I know -- but what's life without a little procrastination? We got off to a good start (thank God for gift cards) and needed to make a pit stop before trudging our way through the rest of the mall.

"Why don't you go first, and I'll hold the bags," J offered. "Then we can switch."

"I'll just take them with me," I said, "and hang them on the purse hooks."

"You guys have hooks? That doesn't seem safe. What if someone steals your stuff?"

I laughed. "The hooks are in the stalls silly."

"Wow, that's cool."

As we parted ways, I was feeling pretty hoity-toity about women's restrooms. They are pretty spiffy, what with their fancy purse hooks and smell-good soaps. I approached the first open stall and took a quick step back. Disgusting. How hard is it to flush a toilet? Shuddering, I stepped to the next one. The seat was covered in wads of toilet paper. I stepped to the next stall. Water all over the floor. The next one revealed a pee-covered seat. It took four more stalls to find a toilet worth hovering over.

My bubble burst, I met J in the food court. Women may have fancy purse hooks, but sometimes I'd give anything to be able to pee standing up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Friendships

"The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you." ~ Elbert Hubbard, The Notebook, 1927


The wonderful Anna at The Reality of Happily Ever After awarded me with this Friendship award (thanks, girl!). And, it got me thinking about my friends over the years. It's funny how friendships can evolve, how they can disappear, how warming it is to find something in someone else that makes you feel more complete.

It isn't every day that you find that someone with whom you can trust wholly, share with freely, cry with uncontrollably, celebrate unselfishly. And when you find more than one? Then you know that someone is looking out for you, because friendships aren't something to take for granted.

So I want to pass this award* to each of my 16 followers. Many of you have been with me since the beginning, and I thank you so very much for sticking with me. I truly believe that friendships can come in different forms, and I've definitely found that here. Enjoy!

*If you feel like sticking to the Award's official rules, here they are:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find, and be friends with. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate 8-10 other blogs
4. Add links to those blogs on yours
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

Monday, December 15, 2008

First Taste of Winter

"Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while." ~ Kin Hubbard

Like many of you, I've been battling the weather today. While yesterday was a sunny 75 degrees, this morning I awoke to frost-bitten toes. Okay, maybe that's a tad dramatic. But seriously, my car was covered in ice when I left for work. And since I hadn't yet figured out the defroster in my new car, I spent the whole drive with my face squished against the windshield so I could see.

J called me at lunch to say that he was home to let the dogs in, and apparently I left the windows down in my old car and the seats are now frozen. Niiice. At least I doubt anyone interested in buying it will want to venture over today.

The Christmas party Saturday night was ... well, let's just say it didn't live up to the hype the hosts had created. Don't get me wrong, it was great to catch up with old friends and there was enough alcohol to serve a large army. But with 40 people, you'd think there would be more than just store-bought cookies and crackers to help absorb the alcohol.

And, being one of the first to arrive, I quickly discovered that people thought the "Dress to Impress" was optional. Luckily, a few other lovely ladies showed up sporting dresses and sparkly things, though J continued to glare at me throughout the night for making him wear slacks while the other guys lounged around in jeans.

Ohwell. Any night with friends is a good night. And any excuse to dress up is always ... umm ... fun?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Dress

"A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you." ~ Fran├žoise Sagan

It only took Minxy two hours to find the wedding dress of her dreams, and it's absolutely beautiful. I asked if I could borrow it and retake my wedding photos ... I was only halfway joking ...

It took me nearly four pointless hours to find a darn cocktail dress for the party tonight, and I'm not nearly as happy with it. It should have been an easy task. After scouring Macy's, Nordstrom, White House / Black Market, and several other time-wasting stores, I settled for this little number (in black) from Express:


Luckily I already have shoes, otherwise I don't think I would have ever made it home last night. Lesson learned? Never wait until the last minute.

Hopefully J will like it ...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Copiers & Cocktail Dresses

"The number one sign you have nothing to do at work: The 4th Division of Paperclips has overrun the Pushpin Infantry and General White-Out has called for a new skirmish." ~ Fred Barling, 'Humorscope'

This morning I spent half an hour wrestling with the copy machine / printer / monster at work. Surprisingly, I actually found the paper jam and removed the infestation, only to have the darn thing flash "warming up" for an hour. In fact, I think it still says "warming up". Bastard.

Fridays are pretty dead around here. I have a meeting in two hours, so until then I'm pigging out on Baked Doritos and Diet Pepsi. By the scornful looks in my direction, I think the guy in the cube across from me is tired of hearing me crunch. You'd also think by now that I would have learned to not wipe my hands on my pants ... Doritos and tan slacks weren't exactly made for each other.

I'm going wedding dress shopping with Minxy after work, so we're wasting time IMing links of beautiful dresses to each other. Which reminds me, at some point I also need to buy a cocktail dress for a Christmas party tomorrow night. Not even sure where to start with that one -- my pasty legs have been quite comfortable hiding away for the winter. Would jeans be too taboo? More than likely. But if everyone's drunk, will anyone even care?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Deck the Halls

Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.
~ Christmas Vacation, 1989

I'm finally getting around to putting up Christmas decorations. I had to beg J to get up in the cold attic last night and get everything down. It's not like we don't enjoy decorating the house, it's just we've been soo busy lately that we had kind of decided to not do the tree. Gasp! I know, I know, who doesn't put up a tree, right? Well, it's not the putting up that sucks -- it's the taking down. I swear last year the tree was still around for Valentine's Day. And by that point, who wants to mess with Christmas decorations?

But I figure since my parents are coming over on Sunday, we'd at least show a little holiday spirit. It spurred me to finally do our Christmas cards, too, knowing that mom will be wondering if the mailman lost hers. We usually take a cute photo of us and the furry babies (two dogs and a cat), but we're a little ... ugh ... behind, so I cheated and made cards online at Target with old photos of us. I'm sure no one will really notice, except I had long hair then ... and now it's pretty short. Ohwell, it's the thought that counts, right?

J's going to help with the tree when he gets home from work. And that's always fun -- while he's cursing over the lights, my cat usually decides he wants to play with them ... then the dogs want to chase the cat around the tree ... and there's always a few broken ornaments in the end.

Better break out the eggnog early ...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A New Set o' Wheels

"Driving a brand new car feels like driving around in an open billfold with the dollars flapping by your ears as they fly out the window." ~ Grey Livingston

J and I have been in the market for a new vehicle for some time now. As we usually do, we started high with a fully loaded Yukon Denali, went low with a Kia, and ended up somewhere in the middle with a Toyota 4Runner 4x4. And, I must say, I love it. And J loves it too, which is amazing since it's been a squabble fest trying to compromise on a vehicle.

You see, I drive a little car. A '99 Ford Escort ZX2, to be exact. Sure, it's old. Sure, the 2-door model is unpractical for future kids. Sure, the timing belt is about to bust and it needs new back brakes. But it's paid for, gets awesome gas mileage and zips in and out of traffic Jeff Gordon-style (okay, not as fast, but still ...).

J, on the other hand, drives an '05 Ford F-150 that barely fits in the garage. It's great for hauling the boat, going camping and driving the dogs around. That, and I think J believes *beating on chest* real men drive trucks. But he's also got a company car to drive for work and that we can use for personal use.

So several months and tears later, our little 4Runner was born. Er, okay, picked off the lot and severely haggled over. But I must be honest -- I feel a smidge guilty picking Toyota over Ford or GMC considering the bailout crisis that's currently paying CNN's light bill. Both my parents drive Fords, both of J's parents drive Fords ... it just seems American.

Perhaps that's silly. Perhaps I'll be tarred and feathered. Perhaps I'll get high fives for not supporting another company with poor financial facets. But, either way, it's the end of an era for me -- I'll be selling my little Escort this month after nine years of companionship.

Ahhh, the memories ...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bass-tards

Random Guy sent me a nasty e-mail saying that I must not really be into fishing because I never talk about it, so I should delete it from my "Interests" section because it's deceiving. Deceiving of what, I'm not sure.

I was going to take the high road and ignore it ... but that's no fun. So here's to you, Random Guy, a sampling of a few of the fish I caught this past summer:








Profile policing won't get you any friends, man, but maybe getting your thumb out of your arse will.

Cheers.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If Women Ruled the World

"Women really do rule the world. They just haven't figured it out yet. When they do, and they will, we're all in big big trouble." ~ 'Doctor Leon', drleons.com

Since we have nothing in the pantry besides canned pineapple and dog treats, J and I decided we would hit up the grocery store before dinner. We never quite made it -- instead of veering left for the store, we were distracted by the pink glow of Taco Cabana across the street.

While stuffing our faces with chips and queso, we started chatting about babies and such. J's cousin had called me last night to excitedly exclaim that she was pregnant (her second) and wonder if we'd started trying yet.* In J's family, there are five kids under the age of four -- only one is a boy. Which means holidays are spent listening to the oldest shouting Taylor Swift in between screams over who gets to play with the
Dora doll.

J's really hoping that she has a boy. "Could you imagine another girl?" he said in between mouthfuls of taco. "You girls are going to take over the world."

"Would that be soo bad?" I said jokingly.

"Are you kidding?" he shuddered. "If women ruled the world, nothing would get done and everything would smell pretty."

I had to think about that for a minute. When J does a load of dishes, I get every single detail including the when and how, complete with sound effects. But when I do a load of laundry, I just do it. For all J knows, the clean undies made it from the floor to the washing machine, to the dryer and then magically into the drawer by themselves.

So, is it less that women won't get anything done and more that we don't complain as much as men, therefore it seems like we don't get as much accomplished?



*That would be a big, fat N-O.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cyber Monday


On a shopping note, Happy Cyber Monday! I'm not usually a huge online shopper, but I couldn't resist this adorable jewelry roll from Potterybarn -- what a perfect stocking stuffer!