Saturday, December 29, 2007


I didn't figure out how to do the creative gift ideas I had this year, but I did end up doing a few things for "needy" people around. More like random acts of kindness, but they just thrilled my soul.

I can fruit so I tried to make someones birthday a separate event from Christmas by sharing peaches and pears as a birthday gift. I was able to give leftovers to a neighbor of my moms that I happen to work with, he was very grateful. (Only a single male would go out Christmas Day looking for somewhere to eat.) And I am working a short OT shift for my gal DW. She seems very excited to be able to spend NYE doing something more festive than working.

Lastly, I started to work out (that was for myself). How could I not? I got a new iPod nano-thing. I used to think I was cool enough to get the latest technology. I am so not. I couldn't figure out how to work the silly spinner-not-a-spinner button-thing-y. I think I have it down now. I love it that I can sort my music by "work out" "cool down" and stuff like that. It makes it more motivating to go to the gym. Next door to work. That is free. That I have been a member of for the last 8 years and used maybe 24 times. Hopefully it will stick and I will be a hot, buff chick by spring. One can hope.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Lists, lists, lists

I have been meaning to make a list of things I would like to do to our house since we moved in 5 years ago. Some of them are simple - curtains. Some are more complicated - storage for arts & crafts stuff.

I am kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal when it comes to money stuff. If its there I spend it. Some of the things I want to do require a little more cash than what is available at any one time. What that means is I would have to SAVE for awhile to have all the cash dollars available to do some of the projects on my list. So here is where I start. I am going to make a list of some things I would like to SAVE for this year. Trust me, this is a huge step. HUGE.

1) Curtains in the living room. Approx cost: $700 -$1700
We have this great big, huge picture window (9'x6') that looks out into the backyard. Currently it has an old blind on it and that's all. I would like to put some new trim around the window, a new blind that would keep the heat out and some curtains up that would go with either the chairs or my couch, which ever happens to be parked in front of it at the time. It would actually be nice to replace the whole dang window if possible, that would probably add $1000 because of its size.
CHALLENGES: I hate to ask for help and I need it when it comes to window coverings. I just don't see the potential. Only the ugly.

2) Upstairs bathroom update. Approx cost: $350
I would like to put in a new shower curtain, matching towels and accessories, clean up the linen closet and get new bath rugs too. This is probably the easiest of all the projects and the least expensive too.
CHALLENGES: This seems like such a dumb project. Bathroom, whats the big deal?

3) Master Bedroom makeover. Approx cost: $1500
It needs it. I have sheets hanging over curtain rods that are nearly falling off the walls for window coverings. Theres no rhyme or reason to my bedspread or blankets. And the pillows need to be replaced. I would also like to get a second nightstand. We bought a new bedroom set - headboard, foot board, dresser - a few years back but have never gotten the second nightstand. It also needs paint.
CHALLENGES: Finding just the right thing that we both like.

4) Dining room table/chairs/curtains. Approx cost $2500-$3500
I could probably get by with just chairs for now, the kids are going to continue to trash the table, might as well not replace it until they are older - specifically Miss I. But there is a sliding glass door in there that is in desperate need of replacing. We were just talking about it yesterday and we think we could even put in a window instead of the slider ... but that's going to add a ton more to my estimate. Either way the window also needs a new curtain and blinds. It would be really nice to get the kind of door or windows with the blinds built in.

5) Basement remodel. Approx cost: $5000-$7000
This is the biggie. But its not "my" project it's a family project. We talked a couple months ago about what project to tackle this year the upstairs living room or the downstairs laundry/spare/family room. The latter won. We have a great space in our basement. Right now there are 3 separate rooms - laundry & bath, spare bedroom and family room. But the rooms are all kind of choppy and don't flow very well at all. Its my least favorite area of the house.

We would like to re-do the bath/laundry/spare room into one continuous space. I use the spare room for my laundry folding so it would be nice to just turn around and there is my folding table (aka bed) instead of having to go around and through the door. The family room is a great space, large, but arranged really bad right now. There is this HUGE storage area - it's as long as the room is, maybe 15 feet by 3 or more feet deep. There are drawers down one side and across the bottom and it has sliding closet doors over it. The drawer fronts are wood and the closet doors are a different paneling and the rest of it is a faux brick. Its the ugliest thing ever. It would make a great play space or an extra 3 feet to the room. Right now the drawers are stuffed with toys, video tapes, arts and crafts, spare towels. You name it.

The rest of the space is being used for storage and the entertainment center. It would be nice to turn it into something else ... arts and crafts, computer or workout area maybe? And turn the focal point of the room around to another wall where we could build in an entertainment center. It would use the space a lot better. That room also has the potential to adjoin with the spare bedroom. Its not necessary but would be a nice touch for guests. There is also a door out to the back yard that needs to be replaced and My Honey would like to put down some wood floors too. That doesn't sound like too much does it? Hee hee hee.
CHALLENGES: Time. Keeping the kids out of it when we start.

6)HVAC. Approx cost: $10-12,000
We don't have central air. Or heat. Most of the time its not that bad. But there is that month to 6 weeks in the winter when the temps are below zero and that month to 6weeks in the summer when the temps are over 100 when it would really be nice. The reason this project would cost so much is because there is not duct work in our house. Our heat source is "radiant heat" which comes from coils in the ceiling. Currently we have at least one set of coils that isn't working. Unfortunately it's in the kitchen. Brrrr in the mornings. So this project is very expensive. And it will be time consuming, dirty and probably loud. I am afraid to have an estimate done. I don't want to find out it will be twice what I think it will be.

Hmmmm, now that I have spent an imaginary $40000 I guess I better go get some lottery tickets, enter the publishers clearinghouse sweepstakes, sign up for a ton more overtime and get to work!

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I took my camera to the shop today. Unfortunately it has to be sent away - just like my computer did - and it may be up to 3 weeks before I hear about it. I sure hope its not expensive. For me, a non-animal person, its kind of like taking the dog to the vet ... What's it going to cost, is it worth it or should I just give up the old one and go get a new one? I know, I know that's cold and harsh to say about an animal. You have no idea what I am going through with our dog right now. Shes old, and she is starting to show her age really bad. Moving slower, just doing weird things. And I have had to ask myself how much I will put us all through for her ... I still don't know. So its a similar kind of thing with the camera. What will I put us all through for her?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas re-cap

Well, how I'd love to post some Christmas pictures, but guess what? MY CAMERA BROKE. About an hour into Christmas Eve it quit operating. The shutter won't open. So I refer to the troubleshooting guide which tells me to take it to a repair shop. Dang it! And its a beautiful frosty morning and I cant take pictures. Bummer for me.

Otherwise Christmas Eve and Christmas were pretty good. Christmas Eve I worked and then we went to My Honey's family for our traditional fondue dinner. MMMMM. We had to make a last minute run to the liquor store (yes for the churchy side of the family) for brandy for the fondue. We came back bearing a brown bag and you should have seen the look in my Brother-in-law's eyes! It was priceless. Good times. The kids were very good and we came home with a truck load of stuff. It was late and the kids crashed out!

Christmas Day I had off. We expected to be awakened by the kids at 5:30 because that's the regular time, but Nooooo, they slept IN!! No one was up and around until after 7! It was really nice considering I had slept very poorly the night before. We did our Christmas thing-y here. Opened presents to and from each other. At 8:30 we started to get ready to go to my moms house. She was having breakfast for everyone and... more presents! We got there a little late, but they kept mimosas and biscuits and gravy for us! MMMMM more food. We ate and then opened presents.

I have to say it was one of the least stressful Christmases at my moms. Even with my Step-dad (they are divorced) and Auntie-Aunt there (they don't always get along well). Everyone did really well getting along. I find myself sometimes playing a kind of mediator role for everyone and I made a conscious decision not to do that this year, so it was a lot less stressful for me. And, what do you know, they got along on their own! Maybe I cause more problems than I solve. Hmmmm, food for thought.

WOW, last Christmas sucked!!! I just re-read this post... I had forgotten how crappy last year was. Funny, it seemed like it would never end when I was in the middle of it huh? But here I am and what a relief. I definitely made some good decisions last year.

Harry's favorite gifts this year were $15 cash and a roll of blue painters tape. Blue tape is the best ever! He uses it for everything. Making webs, snowflakes on the windows, blocking the doors, hanging up pictures on the walls, holding projects together.

Hannah's favorite gift appears to be her new doll and all the accessories my mom found her; a crib, car seat and stroller. Both kids have actually been having a good time with them.

Friday, December 21, 2007

New Face

Here is the new face of Bubba. The school found he had a vision problem a couple months ago. I took him in and sure enough he is "very far-sighted" so here we go. Glasses. Not only do I have a six-year old, now he wears glasses. He's growing up isn't he?

He's been such a good sport. Its not easy to have your eyes checked. It's also not easy to be the only kid in class wearing glasses. I am glad it worked out that they came in during Christmas break. He has a chance to get used to them and have family tell him how cute he looks before he hits the students in his class.

He was cute when we picked them out, he wanted "Harry Potter" style glasses with round frames. So the tech-gal had to find a book, order a special pair that ended up being back ordered and then discontinued so we had to choose another color. But they are here now and he is very happy with them. Did you know there are something like 300 different styles of glasses for kids? Who'd a thunk?

Christmas party 2

I was right. That was my favorite party so far. We ate well, had our favorite wine and then played pool. I have not played pool in a long time, and I used to be good. Real good. My Honey plays every week on a league, he's good too. Real good. We were a pretty good team, I could use some practice.

At a party a few months ago we had come up with a name for our dinner group, "Les 6" and we said we would buy shirts for everyone. Well the shirts came in last month so we hung onto them and gave them to everyone for Christmas. It was great. We wore ours to dinner but no one noticed. Then they opened their presents and all hell broke loose. Screaming and yelling and carrying on. It was a lot of fun. I had a particularly incriminating picture of one of our members so everyone got a copy of that and I had taken the "namiste" picture at another members house so I made cards with that for them. They turned out pretty good.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

First round

My first round presents are wrapped. Shew.

I finally bought a tree last week. We went to this little stand at the south end of town (kinda like the bad side of the tracks) and dickered with the guy to get this scrawny Charlie Brown type tree. It was fun, and I love the tree. We brought it home, I used the "Christmas tree saw" to give it a fresh cut on the base and then we brought it in and decorated it. Just white lights and gold balls. There have been a few handmade ornaments added since then. I pulled out the star that my father in law made a few years back to put it on top but my son stopped me. "No Mom, we have to put a Santa hat on top." So we did. Our tree topper this year is a Santa hat. Don't ask, I don't get it either. But it gives the crooked tree more character so I left it.

My Dad, his wife and both kids came to town last weekend. It made for a few late nights (I had to work) but it was worth it. We all went to a family party for that side of the family. It is always good to see everyone. Its sad, sad, sad that we don't see them more often. I have two uncles and an aunt and a grandma that live in town, I talk to the uncles through work pretty frequently, but never see the others. I don't even know what they are interested in. And theres my two cousins that I don't even know. Sometimes I get down about it, but its just the way it is.

I was talking to a friend about Christmas stuff, seeing family and all that the other day and he said I was lucky to have family in town, his is all spread out. It got me thinking and trying to appreciate the fact that we get to go to 3 different Christmases. That we get to cart gifts all over town on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, that we are expected to be here there and everywhere toting the kids as we go. I am trying to appreciate it. I really am.

Tonight is another party. It will probably be my favorite of the season. We have a group of 6 (Les 6) that started to meet during happy hour over a year ago. Happy hour didnt last long enough so we started to meet for appetizers/dinner and drinks at someones house. We always have a great time. Tonight is our Christmas dinner. Last I heard we were having Tai food so it should be good.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Count down

Only a week until Christmas. I still have shopping, wrapping and card-sending to do. Where did the time go? Oh I know - to work that's where. Bastards took 30 extra hours this past month. Oh well, it will all get done, it always does. I have the majority of this weekend off which is a good thing. Maybe I can duck out for a cross country ski on Saturday or Sunday? That would give me something to look forward to and a way to relax.

It snowed here today. It was nice. It warmed up though during the day so a lot of it melted away - bummer. It is cooling down though and appears we may get some more snow tonight. Bad thing is that the roads are bare and wet so it will freeze then new snow on top of that could mean really bad driving conditions but that will mean a really busy day at work tomorrow! yay

A funny thing happened the other day. Miss I was being naughty, I don't even remember what she had done now, but I was telling her how naughty she was and she PLUGGED HER EARS. She looked me right in the eye, said "Mama" and then plugged her ears without batting a lash. And continued to stare me down. I totally cracked up! I had to lower my head so she couldn't see me, get rid of my giggles and then look back up to finish our conversation and there she was with her ears STILL PLUGGED. I could not believe it. She is only 2. TWO! What happens when she is 12 or 14 or, heaven forbid 16??? Anyway, we ended our session with her taking a time out in her room for being disobedient and disrespectful. I am still reeling from it though. Plugged her ears. And stared me down. Little punk.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


One of my officer-friends had an old tattoo embellished last week. He came up to show it off to me during his shift one night/early morning. I left my frequency in the capable hands of a team mate and followed the officer into our break room where he disrobed to his waist to show me the tattoo on his shoulder.

As we were walking back to the break room I had this little voice in my head asking me several questions: What will everyone think, me and him leaving the room at the same time? Should I really be going to look at his tattoo at all? As he was disrobing I had even more questions: Is this okay? What if someone walks in? What will they think? (Probably lucky girl). And, I think I better leave the door open.

At the same instant we both said something to the effect of "this looks really bad, I hope no one walks in." Well, no one walked in and I got a good look at his tat (among other things) on his shoulder. It started as a hand drawn portrait of his daughter that the tat artist was able to re-create. That in and of itself was very tasteful. The work he had done last week took 6 (yes SIX) more hours of work. The artist embellished the tattoo with an open book, musical notes and a staff, drama masks, flowers and a lot of other things to represent her interests. It turned out very cool. It goes from the tip of his shoulder to his elbow and nearly all the way around. It really is a piece of art.

He has several tats. Another hand drawn portrait of his son on the other shoulder. Which will eventually have embellishments as well and a pin-up type tat of his wife on his belly - I cant even explain this one. Again its very tasteful (and yes I have seen it) but not something I would get done.

Anyway, I just can't get the image of him half-naked in our break room out of my mind. I figured I will see him in even less this summer when we go boating and stuff since he is Best Buddy's dad, so whats the big deal?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Man in the house

Why having a man in the house is entertaining. They never grow up and enjoy letting kids be kids. One thing I am not so good at. (Yes those are diapers - clean ones).


They built gingerbread houses - note to self: next time, build the houses before the kids decorate them. They don't stay together very well.

We had dinner at the Mexican place. The owner loves our kids, so she came over and said hello.

The boys stayed up late (8:30) and then talked until late you know 9:30. Then they were up at 5:00 ready for the day (note to self: Best Buddy wakes up happy and early, just like Bubba, so get plenty of sleep the night before).

Bubba went to the classmates party Saturday (yet another note to self, this one I learned from someone else: NEVER HAVE A BOWLING PARTY FOR TWENTY 6 YEAR OLDS - they don't have the attention span to wait their turn). It was total chaos.

We started our Christmas shopping Saturday. We weren't very successful, found a few things. Then we dropped in on some friends who were sensitive to our need and provided margaritas! MMMMM, thank heavens for friends with well stocked bars! They also intrduced us to the wonderful David Sedaris. I had heard of him, but I hadnt heard him. Funny. We borrowed a CD to listen to later, we were all laughing hysterically at his story of being an elf during Christmas! Thanks guys.

Today, I had to an overtime shift. It was alright, not too busy but I had entertaining folks I was working with so the 6 hours went by pretty fast. And lastly, tonight we have My Honeys work Christmas party.

All in all a busy weekend when you look it at, no wonder I am tired.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Another First

Thanks to my sister who suggested and highly recommended quiet time for my son. You rock! I have instituted it during Miss I's nap time for Bubba. He doesn't have to sleep but he does have to spend one hour in his room quiet. It only happens on my days off, but it is worth it. Especially when we have some kind of big deal going on. Like, say, he gets to have his FIRST SLEEP OVER!!

We had planned a McDonald's party Saturday for his birthday, but I didn't get the invites out to his classmates soon enough... someone else beat us to the same date. So, to avoid the competition and any hurt feelings it might cause, I cancelled his party at McD's and we came up with Plan B. Plan B was to have dinner Friday night at the Mexican place down the street "so they can sing to me" and then have Best Buddy spend the night. Then he can go the classmates party on Saturday and no one is the wiser. So tonight is the Friday night.

Unfortunately Best Buddy has school all day (maybe it was a good thing) so I am going to pick him up at 4ish and then we have an hour and a half to kill before dinner so I bought some gingerbread houses for them to assemble. Only I forgot Miss I, so I am going to make a quick trip to Safeway so she can make something too. Heaven forbid she have to find something else to do. It would be torture for the both of us!! After dinner, Frosty the Snowman is on at 8 so we will let the boys watch it if they want to, or they may choose to watch The Robinson's since Bubba will get that at his party tonight. All in all it should be a fun night! I tried to make it a little more special by letting Bubba choose some snacks for them for tonight and we picked out a "Cars" cake. (Which I proceeded to smoosh, but he is the most gracious thing ever, "Oh that's okay it will be fine.")

Saturday is the classmates party, (mental note: buy girl gift for 6 year old) and then My Honey arranged a babysitter so we can go shopping! See, I didn't need to worry at all.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Aaaah the quiet ...

As I sit here the fire is crackling, my fingers are clicking and the kids are tucked away quietly in their rooms. Lucky me.

I have been thinking about two things pretty obsessively lately (actually
there are three things, but maybe the third another time).
These two things are
Interesting duo isn't it? Who doesn't think about money at Christmas? But its not like that. Its like this: I am usually freaking out about Christmas, getting presents bought before a certain date, "henning" (a new word used to describe me yesterday that is pretty accurate) My Honey about shopping, because I am not going to do it myself, all that. This year I am totally sitting back, making a conscious decision NOT to worry about it. We will shop when we shop. So far we don't have a single thing
bought. Nada. And I ain't worried.

The thing is, I don't want to do regular shopping this year. I would like to help someone without instead of fattening our coffers. None of us have to do without (us=family). We have what we need (and then some) when we need it. I feel like there should be more to it this year than that. What can we do for someone else? Or how can we honor another with a gift of ... here's what I mean. One of my Brothers In Law is a veteran, one loves to hunt. As the gift to the vet, I would like to send agoodie box to a soldier. As the gift to the hunter, donate a scholarship-type thing in his name to the folks that provide hunter safety courses so that someone that wants to the the class, that can't afford it can. That kind of stuff. We all have interests that could be honored in ways like that instead of with presents that just clutter our already overabundant lives.

How would you feel though, if all you got from me was a little white envelope with a note in it that said "you don't get a present this year, someone else does?"

As for finances ... My Honey has been listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio or the web or something. He's got some pretty radical ideas, but so does My Honey. I am his only obstacle . And I sense some major changes for next year coming. I don't know how they will play out or what they will be, but I know that he wants to work hard at paying off whats left on the house, get some money socked away for kids education and make sure we are set for retirement. We do a little of this now, but I sense that the bar is going to be raised. That my free-spending days are coming to an end. Its going to be a rough road. Even worse than giving up caffeine which I did 3 weeks ago! Quit old turkey. But, here I am 3 weeks later, I feel better, I have more control over what I put into my body and I hope to never go back. Although me and Diet Coke have been friends for a LONG time, and I miss him, it was time to kick him to the curb. And my money and control issues are deeper than Diet Coke. But I have been being prepared for what lies ahead, I know I have. And I have the right support to get through it.

And that third item? Well, maybe another time.

PS what is up with Blogger??? I had to re-edit this 7 times (make that 8) to get the
paragraph spacing correct??? I hope it will be a short lived glitch.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

From my cozy chair

Its back, my laptop is back. I am so happy!
And guess what was wrong? NOTHING. The computer people found nothing wrong, and somehow it is working again. Go figure. Just needed to do without for a few weeks to know its possible I guess.
Its finally a Friday for me and I get more than one day off. I think it worked out so I get 3! In a row! Yay me. And I have a whole lot more to say about what a crappy mood I am in, but I have to go back across town for a stinking meeting at work, one of the many things pissing me off today. So that's it for now.