January 22, 2015

Today my anal-retentiveness kicked into high gear for no good reason after all.

As I was running ahead of schedule this morning, I decided I would get a head start on TOMORROW and wrap my friend's birthday present.  Her birthday is actually on Saturday, but my plan was to wrap the gift today, bring it to the office tomorrow and take her to lunch to celebrate.

But, as we all know, the best laid plains, etc., etc.  Which is the long way of saying that plan fell to pieces from the get-go.

As I wrapped the gift, I realized that the paper I had thought was pink and white when I bought it was actually red and white.  This was a disappointment in that the ONLY ribbon I had that would match the paper was Christmas ribbon.  This would NOT do.

So I resolved, that I would work my lunch hour around the fact that I would need to run to Michael's - with my fingers crossed that they would have what I would need - to pick up white, satin ribbon.

With that pesky problem semi-solved, I decided to write out the card so that all I'd need to do tonight was tie the ribbon.  And then I discovered (oh, the horror!) the color of the envelope was a bright blue.  Definitely would not do!

As a side note, I generally don't have these issues with gifts for office friends.  Usually I just use a gift bag, tissue paper and toss the card in.  But since I've perfected my ribbon tying skills over Christmas, I thought I'd present a token gift in a beautifully wrapped package.  Again...all part of that infamous plan that is typed out up there. *sigh*

Now, I was quickly running out of all that extra time I had started out with so, I just left my sad, little, un-ribboned package on the table, grabbed the card and headed to work; all while wondering if I'd have time at lunch to run across town to the local stationery store to find an envelope that would fit AND Michael's...

Of course, that would have been the height of insanity.  So, while driving to work, I resolved that I would somehow manufacture an envelope today.  And what can I say except thank God for Google & WikiHow?  I found a quick and easy tutorial.  Except instead of plain paper, I used a heavier weight stationery and a glue stick and, what do you know?  It WORKED!  Now, I was in possession of a beautiful white envelope to match the pretty red and white paper.  All that was left was to obtain the white, satin ribbon.

I may or may not have literally inhaled my food in order to make it to Michael's and back during my lunch hour; I'll never tell.

Then, as I was patting myself on the back for everything falling into place, my friend came over to chat for a minute this afternoon and casually mentioned that she'd be out of the office tomorrow.

BOOM!  Just like that all my scrambling was for naught.

Well, not really.  It just extended my deadline.  So I'm going to look at it like this...it's one less thing that I'll have to worry about this weekend.

Now let's just hope I remember to bring it to work on Monday.

I know I've been MIA for over two weeks.  I've dithered over what to post after my last post.  And then I realized.  I don't have to pick at that scab just yet.  

But, I did want to thank you all for your thoughts, concern and love.  In my last post, I had wondered who would hold me up during the funeral and I now know that YOU, my friends and family were there for me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Love you all.  xo

January 4, 2015

He's with the angels now....

Today has been a rough, rough day.  And only four days into the new year.

On Christmas I discovered that my dad was in the hospital.  I had called to wish him a Merry Christmas...but the phone went straight to voicemail.  A couple of hours later, my brother called and told me that he was in the hospital.  They wanted to replace his heart valve.  Why my brother hadn't called me earlier, I don't know.  He said that my dad had lost his voice due to coughing so much, that I might want to wait to call until he could speak, and that they were going to do a CAT scan (MRI?, I can't remember) to see if there was anything else that needed to be repaired.

He called me a few days later to tell me that the test had revealed a large mass in my dad's lungs.  They scheduled a biopsy.  It was either cancer or it could be an infection.  The next day I was told it was cancer - and terminal, because his heart was in such a fragile state that it couldn't withstand surgery to remove the mass or any kind of treatment.  My brother warned that it would be days or weeks; but to prepare myself.

I prayed.  I prepared myself to let him go.  I thought I was ready.

I was wrong.

I received the call this morning.  As I was on the road running one of the many, many errands I had planned for today.

So, I stuffed the grief far, far down.  After all, I was ready to let him go.  And I had a lot to do.

You know what happens when you stuff the grief far, far down?  You end up with a headache.  And your throat hurts.  And your chest is tight.

Maybe that also happens when you don't stuff the grief down.  I don't know.

But, eventually, the tears work themselves to the surface and the nerves are raw.  Especially after you steel your spine to make the phone calls.  Once the words, "he passed." cross your lips.

I do know that this is much harder than I expected.

I feel guilty.  I had planned to go to Houston this past Spring.  But, for whatever reason, I didn't.  Then I planned to go this past Fall.  But news about my company made me nervous, so I didn't go.  All that equals guilt.  Major guilt.  And now I'm about to take the trip I should have made last year.  But this time to say goodbye to him forever.

When my mother died, I had been expecting it.  For years.  I was heartbroken but prepared.  And my dad was there to hold me after the funeral.  Who is going to hold me at his?

Once the word has spread, the phone calls and texts are coming in - and I'm crying with every one.  I've even heard from family that I haven't thought about in years.  Apparently, even years after my parents divorced, he is well remembered and well loved.

As one aunt recalled - he was a handsome cowboy that loved my mother with all his heart.  She, obviously, was remembering when she first met my dad.  Did he still love her when he died?  Who knows.  Possibly.  My mother once told me that she would always love my father but that she couldn't live with him.

My childhood memories of him recall a kind and patient man.  I think my mother was pretty much the only thing that could provoke his anger.  His idea of punishment was tell me to sit right "there" (somewhere off to the side) as he worked on whatever project he was working on until "he got tired."   I don't recall sitting there very long.

Despite the fact that we weren't as close as I had wished in these later years - blame to be placed on both sides of the fence - I loved him dearly and I know he loved me.  And I know that the world has lost another wonderful human being.  And it makes me cry.

December 28, 2014

Book Review: The Chaperone

Before we get to the review, look at what has me smiling today!

I bought this orchid last year, despite the fact they seem intimidating.  Perhaps because they are so beautiful and delicate?  Shortly after I bought it, all the blooms fell off.  In a moment of rashness, I trimmed it back without consulting the almighty Google and then immediately regretted it, wondering if I had doomed it.  I went to water it this morning and look!  Five new buds getting ready to pop.  I can't wait.

Anyway, back to the main point.  I recently picked up The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty.  This book was inspired by the life of Louise Brooks, a silent-film star.  Somehow I completely missed that fact until late in the book.  Now, to be honest, before I'd read this book, I had never heard of Louise Brooks.

And if you haven't either, don't let that stop you from reading this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

From the book jacket:  In 1922, only a few years before she will become a famous film actess and an icon for her generation, a fifteen-year old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita for a summer in New York City and the avant-garde Denishawn school of dance.  Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six year old chaperone.  Cora Carlisle is neither mother nor friend, just a respectable neighbor whom Louise's parents have hired for propriety's sake.  But upstanding, traditional Cora has her own private reason for making the trip.

Of course, Cora has no idea what she's in for: young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob, is known for her arrogance, her disregard for convention, her keen intelligence.   ....Ultimately, the five week they spend together will be the most important of her life.

This book takes turns that you will never see coming.

I don't generally do historical fiction - why, I don't know.  Every time I do, I end up enjoying the book and this one is no exception.

December 26, 2014

The Aftermath

Well, Christmas is behind us.  That really went fast didn't it?

As I'm sure you are curious; the Scavenger Hunt went really well.  Man-Child enjoyed it immensely and I sense a new tradition in the making.

Today was the day he went in for the extraction of all four wisdom teeth.  He was pretty nervous about it, particularly about being put under; which I completely understood.  He's never had any kind of surgery.  He even made it through toddler-hood without having to have tubes in his ears.  He also made me pinkie promise not to take any pictures or videos after he came out.  I suppose he didn't want to go viral like these two did....

To be honest, I hadn't even thought about taking pictures or video before he made me swear not to do so.

When I had my teeth out many, many moons ago, they brought me out of recovery in a wheelchair and handed me over to the Husband (he wasn't the Husband back then though) and he tells me what I was incoherent, drooling, and shaking uncontrollably and he was shocked when the nurse told him I was free to go.  He didn't want to take me in that condition, but he did.  True love, I suppose.  I was just hoping that Man-Child didn't have that kind of reaction as it would have completely freaked me out.

When they brought me back to Man-Child while he was in recovery, he was coherent and gave me a thumbs up when I asked how he was.  He was even able to walk himself (with the nurse helping) to the car.  There was none of the random rambling like in the above video.  About the only thing he did do that was funny was bark out "SPOON!" when I went through the drive-through to get him a milk shake and the guy asked if we needed a straw; which is a definite no-no after oral surgery.

The Husband came home from work early so that I wouldn't have to somehow navigate Man-Child into the house by myself in the event he reacted to the anesthesia the way I did.

At first, he was resistant to taking the pain medication.  But eventually, the drugs they'd given him earlier wore off and he finally agreed to take some medication after having a little soup.  Now, he's resting comfortably on the couch.  I don't think he fully realized just how much this was going to knock him for a loop as he had wondered prior to the surgery if he would be able to go out with his buddies tonight.  Now he realizes that is not possible.

He has been freaked out about the copious amounts of blood he's lost.  For a while he was convinced that something was wrong.  There is nothing wrong.  He had four teeth extracted; there's bound to be some blood.

It's hard seeing him in so much pain and knowing that I made him do this - but it needed to be done.  And as the surgeon said, it's much better to get it done earlier rather than later.

So, I've been doing the mom thing and fussing.  I've made him pudding, brought him milkshakes, bought soup and rolled his gauze for him.  I've also promised him an amazing meal, wherever he wants, once he's all healed.

I'm not the only one doing the fussing.  The Husband was not pleased with the milk shake that was initially purchased, as it had chocolate chips (how was I to know?  It wasn't in the description).  And went to purchase one that was plain.  He has made soup and grits and cajoled Man-Child to take some pain medication.

I expect that by tomorrow, he will be feeling a bit better - albeit really sore - and that by Sunday he will be feeling much better.

To be honest?  I'm glad this is one milestone that is behind us.

December 23, 2014

Christmas Eve Eve Update

My mother in law just called to thank my husband for her gifts.  The gifts that I bought, wrapped and sent.


I love this woman - how could I not, we are twins after all.  But honestly?  Buying gifts for her is never an easy task...even if we are practically twins.  And it seems she has asked that "we" not buy her any more plants because she's not a "plant" person, nevermind the fact that she has a sunroom FULL of plants or the fact she loved it the last time "we" bought her a winter bloomer.

But, according to my husband, the other gifts "we" bought her were perfect.  Of course, they are.  I bought them - special coffee and books.  She gets the same damn thing every year and doesn't seem to want any variety thrown into the mix.

That's fine.  If that's how she wants it, that's how it will be.  It's certainly easier than trying to rack my brain for something for this woman who has - or could easily buy - everything she could want.  And really?  I can't blame her.  When the guys ask me what I want for Christmas I invariably ask for the same things (new slippers and my favorite perfume) too.  As I said, twins.

Despite the fact that I know she really doesn't want anything more than coffee, books and maybe something sweet; I am sure that next year will find me racking my brain for something a little extra to throw into the box.

At any rate, at this point, most of my shopping is done - maybe a stocking stuffer or two left to pick up tomorrow.  I have somehow managed to save the scavenger hunt and even have all the clues done and ready to hide, no thanks to the Husband.  Yes, I have forgiven him by now, but I haven't forgotten - he's not to be trusted.

The cookies have been made.  How I absolutely adore Spritz cookies...until I have to make them.  But then, I guess it just isn't Christmas until I've wrestled the beast cookie press and wondered for the millionth time WHY the recipe claims to make 6-7 dozen and I only get maybe 2-3 dozen out of it?  It's for the best, I suppose, because God knows I don't need to eat 6-7 dozen cookies!

The almond bark and the Oreo truffles have been made - and are already almost gone; as are the cookies, thanks to Man-Child.  I've had to hide a few of each away to have some left to give to friends.

We are expecting to have an extremely quiet Christmas with just the three of us this year.  The friends we usually celebrate with at some point between Christmas Eve and Christmas are actually spending the holiday with their family across the country.

And then on Friday, normalcy resumes; theoretically.  Man-Child is having his wisdom teeth extracted.  Don't question me on the wisdom (see what I did there?) of having them removed the day after Christmas; that was his bright idea.

He's very nervous about it - mainly the being put under part - I don't blame him but am trying to soothe his nerves - as you can tell by all the sweets mentioned above.  I'm sure it will all go fine - but still I must ask that you keep him in your thoughts Friday afternoon.

Odds are good, I won't pop back in for a few days, so I wish you and all your loved ones a very Merry Christmas.


December 18, 2014

Stick-on bows or ribbons?

That's the question today...which do you prefer?

My mother always used the stick-on bows, because it was easy.  But, much like my love for stationery, my heart has always been with real ribbon, especially when I realized it is reusable.  With the advent of wired ribbon, my love has only deepened...particularly since I could never quite figure out how to make a beautiful bow from regular ribbon.  Until....I stumbled across this video

I LOVE the internet...how did we live without it in the good old days?

This video immediately sent me on the hunt for the ribbon mentioned on the video.  Guess what?  I couldn't find it anywhere.  When I Googled it, I discovered that's because the company has been bought.  Of course, despite multiple Googling efforts, I have been unable to discover which Offray ribbon is comparable to the C&G Pattern 800.  So I compromised.  I used something that looked like what she used.  And it worked okay.

Now that I think I've mastered the perfect bow - I've decided that for the family Christmas presents, it's just not that practical since you completely mangle the ribbon undoing the present, but for other gift giving occasions it would be totally appropriate.  Because presentation makes every gift that much more special, don't you think?

As I mentioned above - I absolutely adore the Internet.  It gives me the opportunity to learn how to do all those things I've always wanted to know how to do.  So what about you - what fabulous new thing have you recently learned thanks to the Internet?

December 15, 2014

OMG...I married a blabber-mouth.

It started out as a nice, quiet morning.  I was working on a crossword puzzle, Man-Child was doing whatever he does on the computer when the Husband walked in and said to Man-Child,

"Hey, I need to tell you...don't go in our closet because your gift is in there."

He was then puzzled when my head snapped up, I shot him a look of disbelief and then promptly began banging my head on the table in an effort to keep from killing him right then and there.

WHY would he say that?  WHY?

First of all, why in the HELL would you tell someone where you had hidden their gift?  That's just stupid.

Secondly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, we had talked about it two days ago when we purchased this particular gift.  It is awkward to wrap and if I somehow managed to get it wrapped, the shape alone would give it away.  So I told him to leave it in the closet and that I would work up a scavenger hunt.

The plan was perfect.  Until, for whatever asinine reason, he opened his mouth.

I suppose I could find somewhere else to hide the damn gift (where?! This place is too small to have a plethora of hiding places) if, and only if, he learned his lesson and didn't mention to Man-Child exactly WHY I was mad at him.

The whole point of the scavenger hunt was to be part of the surprise; if you know it's coming it's not the same.

To say that I am irritated with him is quite the understatement.  The big, blabber-mouth.