December 22, 2011

11/22/63.....you might want to take a week off to read this one

11/22/63 is the newest creation of the genius that is Stephen King.  This 842 page (well, 849 if you count the Afterword) novel is without a doubt one of the best books he has ever written.

I had planned on buying the book for Man-Child for Christmas...but was worried that I wouldn't be able to stop myself from reading it first.  Then Carol recently did a review on this book and basically told me to quit wasting time and go get it and read it NOW.  And I'm glad I did.  I devoured this book.  And am ready to go back and read it again.  It is that good.  I promise.

I can't go into too much detail without giving away a lot, but basically a diner-owner finds what he calls a "rabbit hole" in his pantry.  This "rabbit hole" is a gateway to the past; to Tuesday, September 9, 1958 to be exact.  And every time you visit - no matter how long you stay - when you return you've only been gone two minutes; even if you'd been gone for years.

Eventually, the diner owner fixates on the idea that if he can stop John F. Kennedy's assassination that the future will be a much better place.  Unfortunately, he falls gravely ill and cannot complete his mission.  So he brings in a much younger man in hopes that he can change the future; negating Vietnam, the assassination of Martin Luther King and other atrocities that have since occurred.

This novel focuses mainly on this man's travels and experiences while living in the past.  It also details the "butterfly effect" in ways that I'd never thought about before.

If you are looking for a good book to immerse yourself in over the holidays - pick up this one.  You will not be disappointed.  Pinkie swear.

December 20, 2011

Aren't you glad I'm exhausted from having lunch with two toddlers? Because otherwise this post would be even longer! (or....the Christmas edition!)

I was going to type this all up yesterday when I was full of energy and stamina.  But then the inexplicable happened.  Our main computer's (laptop) keyboard quietly died.

It died without warning or fanfare.  One minute I was happily clicking away.  Then I stepped away to do some "baking" (more on that in a minute) and when I stepped back twenty minutes later to look up another recipe it wasn't working anymore.  I may have cried.  I know I cursed (long and loud).  And not just for selfish reasons (i.e., blogging, etc) either.

I knew that Man-Child was due home at any minute and would need to work on his 2,000 word paper that was due by midnight tonight - and that he was only half way through.  Luckily, the mouse still worked so I was able to pull the paper over to my Notebook and he was able to work on it for several hours last night (cursing the whole while, I'm sure, since he and Hubby hate to use the Notebook - saying it's too small for their hands).

At any rate, while I was sleeping Hubby pulled off a miracle (I know, right?!  Him?  A techy-genius?).  He looked through the Help section and read that if he did a System Restore he might be able to fix it.  And he did.  (I guess that means I should buy him another Christmas present) Although, I am now looking at that computer with suspicion (mainly because I know what it's been through) and am counting on it to die completely and totally any day now.  But the main thing is, it works.  And Man-Child was able to continue to work on his paper (completing it and getting it turned in around 3:30 pm - a full eight and a half hours before it was due - another miracle) on the "big" computer.

Anyway, on to the real purpose of the post.....remember when I told you how Grinch-y I'd been feeling?  And how Julie pulled me out of it?  And then she demanded asked that I post lots and lots of pictures of Christmas preparations, etc. to document that I was actually in the throes of "the spirit?"

Well, on Sunday, I got all bake-y (no, not BAKED - bake-y.  You know, in the mood to bake?) and made TWO batches of cookies.  White chocolate chip (because I forgot to buy regular chocolate chips) and peanut butter.  Sorry, no pictures - I don't know what happened,  but I totally forgot to take any (sorry, no recipes either.  But they are pretty basic; you can either Google them or ask me and [eventually] I'll send them on).

Around 6:00 pm on Sunday, instead of putting on my pajamas and calling it a day, I picked up my camera and made sure it was set to "night picture" mode and took off down the road.  We have this one neighborhood in town that has the MOST amazing Christmas tree-balls.  It used to be only one house that did them, but then the paper did a human interest story on them and now they are everywhere.  And in that particular neighborhood especially.  The paper even runs a yearly "how to" on how to create your own.

At any rate, in this particular neighborhood the effect is unbelievable.  You just stand at one end of the street and are struck with awe and child-like wonder at how beautiful is is.  And I?  I was determined to catch this on film (well, not really film.  In digital format would be the more proper terminology).  Nevermind the fact that I am NOT a photographer and I do NOT know what I'm doing.

In fact, I'm actually surprised I wasn't confronted or arrested while taking these pictures.  Especially since the "night picture" mode has a REALLY bright flash - which I did not realize until taking the first picture or two - which may or may not have blinded a few drivers going by.  Turns out this is a REALLY busy neighborhood on a Sunday night....sorry to all those blinded drivers!



This guy was a rebel and went with lines instead of balls

This is in a different, quieter neighborhood - but no tree balls -what you see in the sky is actually a street light.

Since I'm not a photographer, I don't think these photos will generate the awe that I felt when standing under them.  So I'll promise you this - if you come visit me during this (or any other) Christmas season, I will take you to this neighborhood and you can experience it yourself.  It truly is magical and brings back that child-like belief that anything is possible.

Yesterday, I REALLY got bake-y.  Except there was no "real" baking involved.  I may or may not have posted these recipes before (hey, I'm not looking for them right now, I'm kinda busy) but I will post (or re-post) them now because they are super easy, super delicious and when you give them to people they will swoon over them and love you forever.  I promise.

First up, I decided to make Almond Bark.  This is without a doubt my number one requested recipe.  Especially at Christmas, as that is the ONLY time I will make it.  Even though it's OH so easy.  All you need is three ingredients.  6 squares (1 pkg) of semi-sweet chocolate, 6 squares (1 pkg) of white chocolate and 1 cup toasted almonds.

First, I usually "toast" the almonds by putting them in a skillet and swishing them around until they are cooked and kind of crispy.

Go ahead and toast some extra - because they are really yummy even not surrounded in chocolate!


Then, I microwave the chocolate (in separate bowls and one at time)



on high for about two minutes or until almost melted

Keep a close eye on it - you do NOT want the chocolate to burn!


stirring halfway through the heating time.  Stir until completely melted.



Add in the almonds (that you haven't eaten) to each bowl of chocolate and stir.  Then alternately spoon melted chocolate onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet.



Swirl chocolates together with a knife to marbelize.  Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.


Break into pieces.



Then I decided it was time for my infamous fudge.  Now, I can only assume that this stuff is as awesome as everyone tells me because I can't eat it; it's far too sweet for me (sorry only one picture, mainly because they look exactly like the ones above).

All you need for this is 2 packages (8 squares each) of semi-sweet chocolate, one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Of course, you can add nuts if you like.  I don't add them.

Again, microwave the chocolate and milk (per directions above - surprisingly even with all the extra chocolate in the bowl, it still takes about the same amount of time).  Stir the chocolate until completely melted.  Add vanilla (and nuts, if you prefer) and stir.  Start moving quickly because that chocolate starts to set pretty quickly.  Spread into a foil line 8-inch pan.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.  And cut into squares.

Hubby got involved in the cutting of the squares.  One because he was afraid I'd
cut my fingers off and two, because he was ready for me to get out of "his damn kitchen."
While the fudge and the almond bark was setting up, I decided to re-create Spaghetti Westerner's Oreo Balls (or truffles, or whatever).  Rather than bore you with all the details here, I will just tell you to go to her place (again, no pictures because they would look EXACTLY like the ones at her place - plus my hands were pretty gooey).

I have since been informed that these are "KEEPERS" (even though I have yet to add the pretty white chocolate squiggles).

I'm also here to tell you that when she calls the mixture a "horrid brown goo" she is NOT kidding.  It is a gelatinous mess that you are NOT going to want to stick your hands into.  Make sure that someone else is home to turn on the faucet for you....just a word to the wise.

My next task in the business of Christmas spirit is to deliver all these goodies to the intended recipients....before the Man-Child gets his paws into them and I have to start all over again from scratch......

So there you go, Julie.  Lots of pictures.  And my apologies to Momma - because I didn't edit a one of them.

December 16, 2011

I am envisioning a hobbling in the near future.....

Remember way back when I was complaining about my husband last year?  (Oh hush - I don't complain about him ALL the time.  But just to refresh your memory, I'm talking about when I was complaining about the pantry door and his concern with the canned goods getting hot.)

Well, today I am going to complain on a variation of the pantry door.

This man of mine; he moves things.  All.The.Time.  And I'm not even talking about his penchant for hiding things...again this time.

Currently, I have two complaints - and they do not involve the pantry door.  Apparently, at this time of year, it's cool enough in there for the canned goods and other various sundries.

My first complaint concerns the kitchen trashcan.

He loves to shove it right up against the cabinet.  There is no need for the trashcan to sit tight against the cabinet.  What happens after it sits up tight against the cabinet is that paint on the cabinet begins to wear after the trashcan lid has been opened over and over again......ask me how I know?  Apparently, this is not of concern to him (of course).

So we go through the same dance again and again and again.

I move it an inch away from the cabinet and he shoves it back.

It's not like we need that extra inch to navigate around the kitchen.  It's not like that extra inch is going to cause every movement in the kitchen to grind to a sudden halt. *sigh*

He also has the annoying habit of moving the rugs, decorative items AND, more importantly, the furniture.

Between you and me; it is driving me crazy.

Just last night, I called to his attention the fact that the couch had been moved......again.

Why?!

I put the couch in a certain spot for a reason.  After all this time, he should know that everything I do, I do for a reason.  Obviously, after over 20 years of marriage, this has Not.Sunk.In.

Now granted, the couch had only been moved an inch or two - but it was an inch or two off.  It was NOT in the right place.  It was too far away from the end table and too close to the door.  I'm sure you see the issue - even if he did not.  Apparently, this observation was way over his head.

Because do you know what that man (the one I actually married!) had the absolute NERVE to say after I asked my very innocent question??

Guess?  Go ahead.  You'll never get it (unless you happened to see a certain tweet last night)...






He told me that I reminded him of Kathy Bates' character in Misery.  When I stared at him with total incomprehension because....ummm, really?!

(spoiler alert!)

By my recollection I have NEVER saved someone's life, kept them prisoner while nursing them back to health, forced them to write a book to my specifications and, most importantly, I have NEVER hobbled anyone....yet.

But according to him I am "obsessive" about the furniture.

Umm, yeah...if the couch is too far away from the end table for you to reach or it's blocking a working door - then yeah....I might be a tad obsessive.

If the truth be told, I don't think I'm "obsessive" - I think it's more along the lines of he doesn't have vision.  In other words - he can't envision the "what-if's" in life.

If you are used to the couch being in it's proper spot then when you reach over to put your glass on the end table and it isn't there - then you have a mess.  If the couch should be partially blocking the door then how the hell do expect to get into the room?

See?  It's easy...I am a visionary and he is not.

And currently, I can envision that I am one inch of a moved couch away from hobbling......

December 13, 2011

So....I've been a *bit* Grinch-y this year....

I admit it.

As much as I generally love the Christmas season, this year I've not been "feeling it."

I admit....I even had thoughts about NOT putting up the tree....

I finally did.  In under thirty minutes.  And you can tell...

Usually, the tree takes at least an hour and a half or a lot more.

That was IT.

That WAS my contribution to Christmas (well....other than being in charge of buying, wrapping and shipping the gifts and whatever else "needed" to be done....of which, I grumbled about QUITE a bit - just ask Hubby).

But then Julie reminded me...quite inadvertently via email (she certainly didn't realize it, until I responded and this post, of course), that this is Man-Child's LAST "real" Christmas at home.  Needless to say, that got the old mind rolling.

And possibly a few tears rolling, as well.....but we won't talk about that just now, shall we?  He won't leave me until August....right?!

So as of NOW - this house will be FILLED with Christmas spirit, even if it kills me.  There will be decorations and goodies baked (anyone need any goodies?  I will probably bake more than I should....I always do...) and whatever else is Christmas-y.

I've already ordered asked Hubby to find the outside lights....despite the fact that they are hidden somewhere in here....

Why yes....that IS my garage...AFTER Hubby "cleaned" it.....*sigh*  Yes, the lights are buried somewhere in the back.

He looked at me like I was crazy.  I informed him that it was MC's last year home and we NEEDED to do it.  Kind of like when I ordered informed him that we needed to do it for our two month old.....seventeen short years ago.....

Don't worry.  I did tell him he could do it tomorrow.  I wasn't seriously expecting him to go out at 9:00 pm and deal with it (although....wouldn't it be awesome if he did???).  Come on, people!  I'm crazy...but not THAT crazy!

So as of tomorrow Christmas is ON here in Gigi-land.  Whether they like it or not.

****
So thank you, Julie!  You TOTALLY saved Christmas for the Gigi-household...even if you didn't know it.

December 12, 2011

What can I say about today.....ummm, it was crazy?

Today was one of those INSANE days from start to finish.  You know, the ones that only seem to happen at the end of the year when everyone is trying to cram everything in and get it all done before the holidays and the vacations start.

Yeah....that.

Add in the fact that I was off last Friday and plan to be off this Friday (until the first of the new year) and then you get the level of craziness that today was.

Also throw in the fact that it was a Monday (which is always a dicey day - always.  It never fails, Mondays are ALWAYS insane).

Needless to say, I was happy to see the back-end of this day.  Until I arrived home.

Where the madness then continued.

Upon walking into the garage (which is basically our family's main entrance) I discovered that the Christmas present I had ordered online for Hubby had arrived.

In it's original packaging.

In case you didn't catch that, let me reiterate.

The microwave I'd ordered for my husband, as a Christmas present (because ours died) arrived.  IN IT'S ORIGINAL PACKAGING.

Despite the fact that I'd clicked the "it's a gift" button.  It was now obvious, that the surprise was no longer a surprise.

Although he and Man-Child had figured if they left it in the garage I might somehow believe that Hubby had never seen it.  Even though it was two steps from the door....you know, the MAIN door we use to enter our house.

Needless to say, I entered the house with less than merry words.

Despite the fact that I clicked the "it's a gift" button - can you explain to me, in a way that might make any kind of sense, just why in the hell a company would send a package - in it's original packaging - with pictures and a description all over it to be left at someone's front door?  Isn't that just like BEGGING someone to steal said package?

Luckily, Hubby was home when the package arrived.  But heeding the warning that Man-Child had given him about the possibility of a package arriving and not looking at it or opening it - he didn't answer the door.  He figured the delivery-person would leave the package at the front door (as they normally would).

Instead, he informed me, he heard a door opening and closing.  So he went to investigate.

Apparently, our delivery-person realized that the microwave (IN IT'S ORIGINAL PACKAGING) would most likely be swiped off our front porch; and so went looking for a place to "hide" the package.  In his/her endeavors, they discovered the side garage door to be unlocked and placed the package there for safe keeping.

So now Hubby's surprise has been ruined.  But I can say he is very happy with his gift.

I can also say UPS is awesome for "hiding" the gift.  They went above and beyond.  And as for the "company?"  I can honestly say, I will most likely never order from you again.....especially if you don't respond to the email complaint I sent tonight.

December 8, 2011

Okay Google, sure it might be for selfish reasons on the surface, but really I'm looking out for your best interests in the long run (or Don't Take Away Google Friend Connect....I'm begging you!)

I was going to post about work (mainly about a certain individual - a pompous, sure-he-is-always-right, stick-his-nose-into-everybody-else's-business-because-he-know's-best, windbag who most likely raised my normally low blood pressure to dizzying heights yesterday) but instead decided to go with a Public Service Announcement.

Because really?  I'm sure you'd rather read about my rant with Google/Blogger (they ARE one and the same, you know) than about the pompous, sure-he-is-always-right, stick-his-nose-into-everybody-else's-business-because-he-know's-best, windbag who has the uncanny ability to make murderous feelings arise in your very soul as you are listening to him pontificating on how he is RIGHT.  And then being smug when he is cut down to size by someone else.  And then realizing that he is so arrogant that he didn't even REALIZE that he was being cut! *sigh*

Anyway...

I've been hearing whispers (and seen it posted on a couple of blogs) that our beloved Google/Blogger is doing away with the Google Friend Connect widget.

This makes me very unhappy.  According to what I've read, they are closing it down because it wasn't as successful as they'd like.....ummm, Google?  It works for me.  I like it.  I like it a LOT.  It's simple.  It makes following other blogs (even those that aren't Blogger blogs) easy.

Am I being paranoid or are you doing this to me just to make my life even more complicated?  Because seriously?  I do NOT need anymore complications in my life right now.

I want to be able to jump on to the Blogger dashboard - read all the blogs I follow and not have to go through some kind of different, crazy system to do so.

I don't do "readers" or "feeds" or whatever. I don't WANT to get blog posts in my email.  My email is crowded enough, thank you very much - didn't you read my post about email?  Seriously?  Are you TRYING to drive me crazy?

I get that you are pushing your Google + product - but to shut down something that I think a MAJORITY of your Blogger users utilize?  That seems foolish to me.

Yes, I'll adapt if you shut it down in March...but I won't like it.  And I have a feeling that a lot of the Blogger users out there won't care for it either.

Listen to your users, Google.  Don't turn into FaceBook and just start doing things arbitrarily and on a whim.  While it seems to be working for FaceBook at the moment, eventually it will start to push users to a different platform.

Just as what you are doing will cause a lot of users to begin to contemplate jumping ship. 

Tread carefully, Google.....don't say you haven't been warned.

And in the meantime? In the meantime, I shall be putting all my favorite non-blogger urls into my Microsoft OneNote for safe keeping until I can explore my options.

And if I were you, my dear friends - even if you are non-Blogger users, I'd start looking at the various options too, because odds are good that some of your followers use this widget and when it goes - they will disappear.  No longer will they receive your lovely posts automatically if they haven't come up with a way to find you.  Because I don't know about you, but as much as I love you all, I don't have your urls memorized.....yet.

December 5, 2011

I'm having his privileges revoked - permanently

How long has the Internet been around and accessible to us ordinary lay-people?  What - about 15-20 years?

And in that time, how often have we been warned about clicking on links?  About viruses, etc?  I don't know about y'all, but just about every time I turn around our IT department is sending out emails telling us not to click on any links from xyz.com and to "be aware".  Just about every day on the news there is a story about a scam or a  new virus.  The warnings are EVERYWHERE.

Yes, yes, I realize that over-exposure leads to turning a deaf ear/blind eye occasionally.  Kind of like when you stick that PostIt note on your monitor to remind you to make that appointment to get your hair cut.  After you've looked at it for the third or fourth time it just kind of *disappears* into the background and you don't "see" it anymore.

But after 15-20 years of warnings?  Don't you think it would kind of begin to sink in?  Just a little?  I know that I look at a lot of links with suspicion; even if they are from a friend I've known for more than twenty years!  But then, I've been burned before.  So that does tend to lead to suspicion; well that, and my overactive imagination.

So today, the Big Boss calls me in - he needs help with his computer.  As I walk in and ask him what's up, he informs me that he needs to print this attachment in an email - and proceeds to explain that it's from the Post Office and that he needs to print it so he can pick up a package (I should interject here and point out that this is the same person who needs to be reminded often that he cannot open a spreadsheet in Word and expect to make changes to it - which pretty much explains why I'm being asked to help print an attachment).

I asked - as his finger was hovering over the mouse button - if he was expecting anything.  He said no, not that he knew of.

As I was asking how the post office would even have his email address; and before I could stop him - he clicked the link.  He responded with "good question."

And then full-blown panic ensued.  Yup, it was official - he'd opened up one can of "kill my computer dead immediately."  There was no immediate save.  IT had to be called in to perform the last rites and prepare it for burial.

And THIS is why I'm going to request that IT permanently take away his computer.

***
No bosses were harmed during the events that occurred today.  Only his computer.  And I only poke fun because I like him.  And because sometimes - sometimes he just hands me blog fodder on a silver platter!


*****
Sorry folks, comment moderation is back on.  And will be until the Internet figures out a way to make people play nice.

December 4, 2011

Okay, NOW we can mention the "C" word....I guess

Here we are folks; it's December.  You know what that means.....Christmas is right around the corner! Yikes!

Never mind the fact that you aren't "feeling" it right now (and by "you" I mean me!). I've had my head stuck in the sand for far too long and now it's time to rally around and "git 'er done."

At the very least I was going to get the tree up this weekend.  Maybe not decorated, but at least up. Ummm, yeah.  That didn't happen.

I am patting myself on the back though for getting the majority of my shopping done.  Which, I might add, is a minor miracle considering that usually I begin my Christmas lists in October (or earlier) but since I've been walking around with my head stuck in the sand (I know - it doesn't make sense, just go with it) I have put off any thoughts of Christmas; and as such, nothing has been done.  And then Thanksgiving struck and the reality came crashing down.  So, at least I'm headed in the right direction now.

Is it me? Or does it seem like this year has flown by especially fast?  I mean I could swear that it was only April last week....

With any luck, I'll actually get the tree up and decorated next week...maybe that will get the old Christmas spirit flowing....which would be nice.  It's awfully exhausting being Grinch-like.  I really need some of that Whoville vibe going on over here; any idea where I can get some of that?  

Now, if I could just figure out what to get The Man Who Needs Nothing (aka Hubby)...

How's your Christmas prep going?

December 1, 2011

Gigi's Bitchfest (that kinda has a nice ring to it - maybe I should make THAT the title of this blog)

Just so you know, I am completely and totally aggravated with every single person in this house - with the exception of me.

We all know that I have been the one in charge of keeping up with the deadlines regarding school, college applications and whatever the hell else needs to be kept up with.  And I have.  And I've done a damn fine job of it too, if I do say so myself (which apparently I must, because no one else around here seems to appreciate all I do).

All I asked for today was two LITTLE things to be done.  One thing from each of them.  That's not asking too much, is it?  Apparently, it is.

I asked Man-Child to follow up regarding the damn reference letters he needed because the deadline was TODAY.  Those reference letters made the difference in whether or not he would be considered for a scholarship with one school.  And, need I remind you, we could certainly use any and all scholarship money that we can get our grubby, little paws on?

I told him to email them to me immediately once he received them.  He did not.  Bye-bye possible scholarship money!

I asked Hubby to look for a suitable baby/toddler picture for the Senior Ad in the yearbook.  This deadline is tomorrow - otherwise the price will jump significantly from the already not-so-insignificant price to an absolutely exorbitant price.  I also informed him that the ones on the computer are NOT appropriate that he would need to look through the actual albums.

Did he? No, he did not.  Bye-bye lower rate!  And to be truthful? At this point in time I'm seriously considering not even buying the damn ad at all!

After he realized that I was upset - he sat down at the computer to find pictures......  CLEARLY he did not listen to me the first time around (see above).  I told him to forget it.

I am so fed up with these two at this point.  It seems like I am the only one who seems to give a damn whether or not these things get done!

I pointed out to Hubby earlier (before he neglected to do the ONE freaking thing I asked) that it would  seem that I am the one applying for college since I seem to be the one doing it all.

At this stage in the game, I don't know why I expect anything different out of either one of them.  They are both selfish and lazy.  And, apparently, expect ME to be the one to get it all done.  I know I've pulled it off time and time again.  But now?

Now, I am overwhelmed, exhausted, trying to fight off a cold and all I ask is for a little bit of assistance and, occasionally some appreciation and I'm not getting it.  And, did I mention that I am OVERWHELMED?

I have too much on my plate to deal with - physically, mentally and emotionally.  I don't have the time or the patience to deal with their incompetence.  Right now, life IS hard!

And, as I type, they are wondering why I am hiding away from them?!?  Seriously?

It's because if I have to look at either one of them right now I will probably either start crying or screaming.  Neither of which they want.

No, they want quiet, efficient me to just "fix" it.  I'm tired of being the one who "fixes" and "does" - someone else needs to take over for a little while.

Because right now?  Now, I just can't deal.

November 30, 2011

I stole this topic completely and totally....I admit that up front.

Every day that I'm at work, I download and listen to a podcast of the Bob & Sheri Show; which is a syndicated morning radio show that used to air here EONS ago and, for whatever reason, the "powers that be" decided that this wasn't a prime market (even though we are right down the road from where they broadcast) and took them off the air here (yeah, I'm still not happy about that).  Usually, I don't care for morning "drive time" shows because they usually irritate the hell out of me.  But this show?  This show, I love.

And although, I'm still aggravated (what? 10 years later?) that they aren't broadcast here anymore, I do enjoy listening to the podcasts because now I get to hear the show in its entirety.

Anyway...onto the purpose of this post.  They have a segment in the show where they pose a topic and have callers call in with their stories or thoughts.  It's sometimes hilarious and sometimes quite sad.  Sometimes the topic is shallow and funny (such as What Did You Blow Up With Fireworks [or something like that] and sometimes it's a really deep topic.  Such as the one today.

Today the topic was based on a quote that Sheri had read from Friedrich Nietzche (yeah, I know.....  She's really smart and deep and all that [and funny!].  I could have lied and told you all that it was a quote *I* had read - but we'd all know better) which read (ahem)

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages."

Needless to say, this spawned quite few calls.  Which got me to wondering, is it true?  According to some of the calls, it isn't; but according to the majority of the calls it is.  So what say you?

Do you have to be " best friends" with your partner - and do everything together to have a good marriage?  Or, as an article I just read this afternoon suggests (which I CANNOT find ANYWHERE - so if you read the article and can point me to it you get extra brownie points!), are you better off being separate entities who have your own pursuits and hobbies?

Discuss.

November 28, 2011

My Black Friday Adventure

Since you've all asked.....yes.  I DID venture out on Black Friday.

But I did not witness the chaos and mayhem that has been documented in the news....pepper spraying, shootings, stepping over a man as he lay dying.

(Seriously? What IS the world coming to when people will ignore someone who is dying - just to get a deal?!  I'm sorry, no deal is worth ignoring someone who is in need of immediate medical assistance.  Get with the program, people.  If that was YOUR parent, spouse, child, friend - how would you feel knowing that people stepped over the person you loved just to find that $2 waffle maker?  And?  Just as an FYI - no one WANTS to receive that stupid waffle maker anyway; it just takes up precious cabinet space.)

*climbing down from soap box now....as I'm sure none of you would do such a horrendous thing, so there is no sense in preaching to the choir, as it were.*

Anyway....yes, I ventured out.  But, it wasn't early.  I went out around 10:00 am.  Under the pretext of needing to check out a sale on a particular item.  Well....it wasn't really a pretext because I did want to see if the particular item was what I thought it was.

So basically my Black Friday adventure started with me leaving the house and tweeting, "I'm free!!!" and driving to the store; walking into the store; discovering that the item I was looking for was, in fact, crap (as I'd suspected; so maybe it WAS a pretext after all?) and going back to my car.

Where I then spent another thirty minutes or so reading and responding to emails via my phone.  Some of which may have not made sense.  Because I was typing on the phone....in a hurry.  Because I was feeling that not being home, where my family and "guests" were waiting was rude

(I typed guests in quotes only because they ARE family - so technically, not "guests" but yet...they are...I'm sure you know what I mean).

And upon arriving home, discovering that no one had yet to get dressed.  It was the theme of the day, apparently.  One of us actually went up to bed having never removed the pajamas she had got up in that morning....(and it wasn't me; because I don't leave the house in my pajamas - unless I'm going to get the paper at the end of the drive) which pretty much tells you what kind of very slow and very long day was had at my house on Friday.

So to sum it all up.  My Black Friday adventure consisted of me, sitting in my car, checking email.

Don't you wish you could live the exciting life that I lead?

November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving post

It's Thanksgiving.  I suppose I should post something about thankfulness, etc.

But truly?  It's been a long day (or two - since surely you have to count the "prep" that goes into Thanksgiving....even if you aren't the cook).  So right about now, I'm merely thankful that it's almost over.

Yes, yes.  There is plenty I have to be thankful for (and I am); but right now, I'm just too tired to enumerate them.  Besides, the list would probably read like all the others you have already read - friends, family, etc.

My current thoughts are centered on Black Friday.....THE shopping day of the season.  Usually, I don't bother with it.  Mainly, because the crowds and noise irritate and because I know that as Christmas draws closer the deals will probably mount.  Besides, Cyber Monday is more my style lately (i.e., meaning that the older I get the less patience I have with the general public).

But with the prospect of having guests until Saturday, I'm figuring I may need to escape for a bit.  I find myself wondering just how bad it could possibly be early tomorrow morning?  Say 7:00-ish? (Because even I am not desperate enough to get up at 4:00 am! or earlier!)

What about you?  Are you going to be joining in the frenzy for the deals?  Or just to escape for a bit of "alone" time?

****
But seriously, I hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you know that I have counted each and every one of you as a blessing this year.

November 20, 2011

Hi. My name is Gigi and I have a problem.....

Emails have been on my mind A LOT these past few days.

I currently have three separate accounts.  One for work, a personal one and one for my blog/shopping.

It sounds insane, but it's not.  I have it all under control.  Or so I thought.

A few years ago, my company forced me to submit to a quota system; a system whereby they limit the amount of email I can hang onto.  Anything that I thought should be saved should be sent to a "record retention" system. Let me say up front; this particular system sucks.  It is widely known throughout the company that if you save something to the system you will NEVER be able to find it again.

And thus, as with most stupid company policies, many of us have found ways to circumvent the process.  Whether it be by printing the email (yeah - so much for the "paperless" office of the future) or by saving the emails as .pdfs on our hard drives.

I complained, in passing, to a person I know in IT about this once and was promptly informed that *I* had held the company record for "email hoarding" prior to the implementation of the new system.

I was a bit shocked.  I mean really?  Doesn't everyone feel the need to save important emails - such as the one Jane sent to Jack about their "lunch" - and accidentally sent it to everyone? that gives all the details of how the Smith case was handled?

At any rate, my work email is now kept scrupulously clean - as I print and .pdf emails religiously and promptly hit delete.  (Yes, this "system" has now increased my work load regarding email).

But the reason I've been thinking about email lately has nothing to do with work email (no, I'm on vacation; no thoughts of work are allowed) is because I actually sat down and logged into one of my personal accounts yesterday.

I rarely actually get to "see" the whole inbox because usually I deal with email via my beloved Blackberry; so I was floored to note that I had almost over 1,800 emails in the inbox alone - at that was with me deleting all the spam as it came in via the phone.

As Hubby was sleeping on the couch and Man-Child was out and about for the evening and I had nothing better to do I began to go through them.  It was a tedious process to say the least.

But in the end I deleted approximately 1,746 emails and "filed" the rest in appropriately labeled folders.  Needless to say, I felt like I'd accomplished a major something - even if it was an "invisible" something.

I briefly thought about the other account and decided it was time for bed...until this morning.

This morning I ventured over to the other account and discovered that it's true.  I DO have a problem.  I AM an email hoarder.

I need help.

November 18, 2011

Through the Years

Yeah, I know.  I haven't done a "real" post (you know, one in which I ramble on and on) in a while (quit cheering).

But I've been busy.  Yeah, yeah, I know I've used that one before - but this time it's true!

Besides, I entered a giveaway last month.  I NEVER enter those.  Because I never win or it's usually something that I really don't need or want.

But Summer hosted a Shutterfly giveaway at her blog, Le Musings of Moi.  And well, I HAD to enter.  One because I had just been at their website (which I LOVE) beginning to put together a photobook for my dad and my mother-in-law for Christmas and two, because it's Shutterfly!

So I entered....and I won a $25 credit!  So, armed with that news I've been busy over there working on the book.  And tonight?  I think I've finished it.

I'm sharing a modified version here for you.  I hope you enjoy it.  And thanks again, Summer!  I would have made and bought two books anyway - but because of you, I'm getting two fabulous Christmas presents practically free and that means a lot!

Oh, and by the way, I'm also using you as my extra set of eyes; please let me know if you see anything odd or not quite right.  I'm hoping to finalize and buy in the next few days.



Create your own custom photo books at Shutterfly.com.

*Other than winning the random giveaway at Summer's blog, I have not been compensated in anyway.  I just wanted to thank Summer publicly and show off my "little" guy; who is not so little anymore  despite my strong objections about that.  *sigh*

November 15, 2011

How do you go from *this* to *that* overnight??

Seriously?

It was only yesterday he was this small.....

And discovering just HOW much fun toilet paper can be!*
 So really?  How do you go from *this*

Yeah....he looks SO contrite here.
To *this* OVERNIGHT?

Why yes, that IS the standard "Senior" shot.  So shoot me. I *do* like the classics.
SERIOUSLY?!

Look at him!  He's definitely NOT as interested in toilet paper here.

I'm thinking that the space/time continuum surely has a defect....because there is NO way this happens overnight.  NO WAY!

This kind of transformation takes years and years and years!  And I swear to you, he's only been in our lives for such a short time.

Too short to let him go.  Too short to send him out into the world.  All alone.  Without having us here to cushion any hard lumps he might take.  Without us here to make sure he eats properly.  Far too short to ensure that he can take care of himself.

So yeah.  I'm still looking around for my baby boy....surely he's around here somewhere......maybe hidden under the toilet paper....



*Fun fact: I had those first two pictures enlarged and located in my "public" bathroom for all the world to see; because I love them so.  And yeah, they will be the first thing to greet you when you come to visit and "have to visit the facilities" because I'm sure they will make you smile as much as they make me smile.    

November 8, 2011

Jeez, where DOES the time go?

Just realized, it's been a *few* days since I last posted....but who's counting?  And if you are?  Stop it.  I have enough pressure going on as it is, I don't need you adding to it!

I've been around; reading your blogs, tweets, etc. but seem to have lost any mojo regarding my blog.  That may have something to do with the time/season change (and seriously??!!!  How the heck is it November already?  Why just yesterday, it was April 1st....and Christmas was sooooo far away).

Now that it's too cold to secrete myself on the back porch, I find myself sharing the dining room table with one or the other of the testosterone filled beings that live in this house...and I must say, "they" stifle any "creativity" I might be feeling with their loudness and total "there-ness" all the time.

And then there is the fact that it is completely dark by 6:00 pm.....which pretty much means I'm ready for bed by 8:00 pm.  I FORCE myself to stay awake (at least until 9:00 pm; I do have some standards, ya know) but between the stifling (and very loud!) influence of "those people" and the exhaustion, I just can't be bothered to do more than read and comment occasionally.

But today, I felt compelled to post (no matter how lame it might be) because when I arrived home, I was greeted with the news that Man-Child has been accepted into one of the colleges he's applied to (granted, it's not one of his "favorites" but still...).

Although, he acted oh-so cool about it, I knew he was excited.

Despite his blase attitude about the whole thing, I know this boy.  I know him to his very core.  And this boy?  He has some anxiety.  And I know he is worried about not getting accepted anywhere.

Silly boy.  His grades are good.  He will graduate from a GREAT high school.  A school that could technically be considered a college prep school.  He wrote some killer essays.  He's got lots of community service and extra-curricular activities on his resume.  I don't know why he is so worried.  (Yes, I do....he comes by it honestly.  One, or more, of his parents might suffer from the same anxiety....I blame his father.  Completely and totally.  Yup, without a doubt it's all his father's fault - we all know how HE is!)

But he is worried.  In fact, right after I tweeted about my jubilation at finishing applications last week, he then immediately threw out three more schools that he thought he should apply to.  And then threw out a few more.  Clearly, he is in the mindset that he should throw as many applications as possible out there, in hopes that one would stick.

Now one has stuck.  And, as of yet, he has yet to receive a rejection.  So right now?  Now, he is riding tall.

And he should.  He has worked hard these past few years (we won't talk about middle school or even 9th grade, shall we?), and he has EARNED this; he deserves it.  Hopefully, he'll begin to see it and quit feeling so anxious.

Which then rounds out the conversation.....how did he grow up SO fast?  How is it that we are facing COLLEGE APPLICATIONS already?  Seriously?  It was just last year that I walked him into his first day of kindergarten; wasn't it?

Hubby and I were just discussing this very fact this morning.....after he woke both of us at 5:00 am.

Back in the day, when he was just a little guy, he used to wake up at un-godly hours every morning.  And despite us telling him he needed to stay in bed until the sun came up, he would wander into our room (while the sun was still sleeping) and put his face right up next to his dad's and would "whisper"

"Daddy?  Daddy? I ongwy! I ongwy!  I want waffles!"  "Daddy!  GET up!"

This morning?

This morning, he BANGED his way into our room, LOOMED over our bed and said,

"Dad? DAD! Get up!  I need to be at the polling center by 6:30!"*

Again, using his "inside voice."

Apparently, he still hasn't learned to whisper. *sigh*

Some things never change.


*He was volunteering for one of the local candidates running for office for extra credit; which is the only explanation for him not being dragged by his feet out of bed before the sun came up.  What I want to know?  Just who do I see about *my* extra credit for getting up so darn early?

November 2, 2011

Reading between the lines (OR It would have been easier to just WRITE the darn post rather than trying to "cheat" my way through with pictures

If you don't follow me on Twitter, I don't blame you one iota.  Seriously.  I mean, honestly?  I wouldn't follow me!

I'm NEVER posting anything over there, unless I'm chasing down @lgalaviz (because she consistently leaves comments that NEED a response and that's the only way I can reach her) or Kathryn (because she defected from a Blackberry to Apple Country) or a host of other people.  And usually what I do tweet about is of no interest to anyone but me.

Unless, that is, you have the ability to read between the lines.....i.e., the following....


This particular tweet tells you that I had insomnia on Sunday night.  This tweet also tells you that I have NEVER experienced insomnia before.  It freaked me out on SO many levels.  In fact, it affected me in such a manner that I was actually AFRAID to go to bed Monday night; for fear that I wouldn't be able to sleep.  Me.  The one that pretty much falls asleep immediately and, woe to the one who wakes me up from my slumber.  Also, woe to the one who encounters me immediately upon waking.  I need a good hour or so and a few cups of coffee before I am fit to deal with the general population.  FYI, I ended up sleeping fine.  And hopefully, will never experience that again (you can hear Hubby in the background saying "Amen!"  Apparently, he claims, my insomnia also kept HIM up; although I do recall hearing him snore that night.....)

And then there was this one


This one CLEARLY explains that I was fighting Man-Child over the principle of "if you don't try then (OF COURSE) you won't win".  And that I'm a great mom, naturally.

The following tells you that we are both easily distracted....


And it was all because of this....


He got bored and started filling in the state abbreviations on this college solicitation brochure; which of course reminded me of 5th grade when he had to learn all the state capitals; which resulted in me asking him if he remembered them - which then led us into a game of me calling out the states and him trying to remember the capitals.  It was fun while it lasted.  And he did a pretty good job at recalling most of them; he may get into a good school after all.

This was CLEARLY a moment that had to be tweeted - for posterity.  There is no reading between the lines here.


After a couple hours of this obviously I had better things to do we needed a break.....

And this one is pretty obvious....


It pretty much tells you that if I don't sit down and write that post I was thinking of right then (or at least get it started) then it is GONE!  My brain is full of holes, I tell ya!  I lose lots of great posts every single day because of those darn holes.

This morning brought this tweet...


Which clearly says I must be demented that I am cherishing every moment I have with this boy before he leaves me for good heals and that I have completely lost it am enjoying babying him one last time

The poor lamb can't quite walk, much less drive, with this monstrosity on

Yeah, I KNOW the picture is blurry - but I have to SNEAK these pictures people!

And they said that this WAS the short brace!  Yikes.  Hate to see the long one!

October 28, 2011

Just WHO do I talk to about that?

I seem to recall at the beginning of 2011, I stated that THIS was going to be a great year.  I thought I'd blogged about it, but apparently not (which seems to be normal for me.  If I thought about it then surely I've blogged about it?  But it turns out that usually, I've just thought about it and never blogged about it).

But I do remember saying that.  That this year would be FAR better than last.

Well guess what?  It hasn't been.

This year has been full of stuff.  Icky stuff.  I'm sure there has been some good stuff - and if I thought about it hard enough I could think of it - but by and large, the majority of the stuff has been icky.

It's been far worse than 2010.  In 2010, my husband lost his job.  That was bad, and still is, but that was NOTHING compared to this year.

So far this year -

*  My husband STILL doesn't have a job
*  My dad had to have major surgery - and I couldn't be there for him
* My cousin was killed - and I couldn't be there for my aunt
* My son was injured in football
* My son has had more car accidents than anyone person should be allowed to have
* Another cousin died
* My co-worker's wife died unexpectedly
* I've been dealing with a friend and her divorce-that-will-never-come-to-fruition (which doesn't SOUND like a big deal, but they are close-enough-to-be-family friends - so yeah, it's been ugly for all of us)
* Other miscellaneous and random crap

and, as of tonight?

* My son has injured his OTHER knee in the last regular game of the season; on Senior night.  The night where Senior's and their parents are recognized.

As of now, we are hoping that it's no worse than the other injury.  But, the fact that he came home with even an even BIGGER brace AND crutches doesn't seem to bode well.  We will, hopefully, know more tomorrow.

Apparently, we are going to play-off's (how, I do not know.  We've only won 2 games this year) and now it appears, he is done.  No more playing this year.

I watched as they loaded him into the John Deere Gator-thingymabob to drive him back down to the field to watch the rest of the game.  He looked at me and started to cry.  He pulled his hoodie up so no one could see.

It broke my heart.  Seriously.

You have no idea.  It took everything in me not to start crying - BUT I did sob on the way home.  And I have  continued to cry sporadically ever since.

That boy has played his heart out this season.  He has worked so hard and come so far.  And it's NOT fair!

And don't tell me life isn't fair.  I KNOW it's not.  See the above list.  But come on already!  What did this kid ever do to deserve this much, this year?

So tell me - just WHO do I need to talk to about rectifying this?  Because dammit, NEXT year had better be a FANTABULOUS year or else....

If not for me - then at least for him.  Because he?  HE deserves it.

October 24, 2011

Wanna laugh? Read through the boring post to the bottom. Believe me.

Today I was on vacation (get used to that sentence - I have approximately a bazillion vacation days that I need to use before the end of the year) and had just ONE ambition.

To clean out the printer cabinet (aka where-hubby-hides-stuff).  That was it.  It wasn't a huge ambition but it was an ambition.  Something I've sorely been lacking lately.

When I went to bed last night, I told Man-Child that he would need to get himself up in the morning.  Because I planned to sleep in and then get to work on that little-bitty goal.

And then my eyes popped open at 5:00 am (yeah, I KNOW!).  After determining that more sleep was futile, I stumbled downstairs to start the coffee.

After drinking coffee, catching up on what you all had been doing while I was sleeping, and slowly coming to life I looked at the printer cabinet.

And then decided it would be cruel of me to open it and begin going through all the stuff that Hubby had squirreled away in there - because I was sure that the commotion of me exclaiming loudly, "SO THAT'S WHERE THOSE PICTURES HAVE BEEN!" would wake my slumbering giants far too early.

So I looked around, drumming my fingers.  What to do?  Quietly.  It was still too early for the paper to have come (and if it WAS down at the end of my VERY long driveway, I wasn't about to go tripping around in the dark looking for it) when it dawned on me....

College stuff!  Man-Child had FINALLY completed most (notice, not all) of the essays that one particular school required.  I decided to get a head start on that.  You can imagine my dismay when I opened up the application to begin pasting in the work he had slaved over only to discover that what they were looking for was a bit different than what he had produced. *sigh*

So, I put that one aside, and pulled out another application - this one he had written out, but never got around to sending.  Well, apparently, that worked in our favor.  The school had called the other night and gave us a special "code" so that when we applied we wouldn't have to pay the application fee.  So I proceeded to fill in the online application using exactly what he'd written (I know, I know - I SHOULD be making him do this stuff - but seriously?  If I nag him any more over anything else - one of our heads is going to explode - and it would probably be mine) and, let me tell you, hitting that send button?  It was amazing!

That load on my shoulders felt just a tad lighter.

Giddy with a sense of accomplishment (something I haven't felt in quite some time), I moved on.  We still needed to send SAT scores to schools.  So I forwarded the information for the two schools we've already applied for.

(Here's the lowdown for those of you with rising Seniors - when your child takes the SAT, you are given the opportunity to send the scores to four schools for free...but only IF you send them immediately.  Mine took the SAT twice at the end of his Junior Year, before even knowing WHERE he wanted to apply.  Plus I didn't know this next bit of info.  If you wait to send the scores when you are ready - you will be charged $10.50 per school.  You're welcome.)

Now, on a near high, I moved on to the NCAA eligibility website.  If your child wants to play sports in college you have to do this part (at least here on the East Coast.  I don't know what the requirements are elsewhere).  We had partially completed this - but got stuck on the ordering transcript part.  So, I tackled it.  And finished it.  The only problem?  Somehow they seem to have messed up my order - instead of asking the school for MC's transcript - they are asking them for mine!  Which will be damn near impossible to get since I didn't go to school there.  I then fired off an email to the help desk and am anxiously awaiting a response.

(Also?  FYI.  If your child wants to play sports in college - most schools have a Recruiting page that you are required to fill out.  Find it.)

Then the boys got up and the hustle-bustle of the morning began.  Eventually, I got MC out the door and on his way.  Hubby, I worked around.  Now it was time to tackle that printing cabinet.

Which I did, in short order.  Finding, among other things, the football team photos that I had ordered EONS ago.

Hubby, bless him.  When he "cleans" the house for me that means he hides everything.  Apparently, these photos (that I had JUST sent an email to the coach about) got "put away" during a cleaning spree, before I was able to register their existence*.

Sometime during my foray into the printer cabinet, Hubby decided it was best to make himself scarce.  Which turned out to be a blessing.  Because once I conquered the printer cabinet, I moved on to cleaning out other drawers into which he has been known to "hide" things.  I was totally on an organizing HIGH.

Instead of boring you (even more) with the details, suffice it to say that I went on and cleaned out a total of SIX drawers today and completed a load (can you say 6 months or more) of filing.  Including stops to run to the bank, have some papers notarized, eat lunch and pick up some essentials.

My sense of accomplishment today is at an ALL TIME HIGH.

I cannot lay the blame for all of this chaos at Hubby's feet (though I REALLY want to!).  I have been VERY slack in this past year or so.  I know that I have been hiding from everything....paperwork, the house, friends, and everything else.  There's really no excuse.

Hubby may hide/hoard things - but if I had been on top of things - it never would have reached the level of chaos that it had.  Bless him, he did what he thought best while trying to help me.

But that load that has been weighing me down - it feels SO much lighter now!  I feel like I can breathe again.

In the past year or so, I've even quit penning my "lists."  You know, those things that used to keep me semi-sane?  But even without the lists, the number to "to-do's" and "need to-do's" have been piling up in my head; adding to the stress that I already have.

Eliminating some of those things has eased my mind much more than I would have thought possible.  I think I need to start penning some more lists.  Just to get them out of my mind, onto to paper, done and crossed out. So that I can let my brain worry about other things.

So what is on my agenda for the next vacation day?  THAT closet.  The one where Hubby hides the BIGGER stuff.



*A very funny side-note.  Those pictures that I thought I found?  They were from last year.  How do I know? Man-Child JUST walked in the door with this year's pictures.  Even funnier? I've got one of those old photos sitting on my desk at work - staring at me ALL day, EVERY day.  Even better?  A new guy just asked me about that picture last week.  And I told him it was a year old... yeah.....so NOW you have a VERY clear picture of how chaotic my life and my brain has been.  Feel better about yourself?  You should.

You're welcome.

October 18, 2011

Yo-yo blogging.....that *WAS* the original title to this post...then, somehow, it all took a very dark turn.

Yup, that seems to be me - a yo-yo blogger.  Some days I'm all up in here and then there are days where I'm not.

I'm not going to worry, I figure it's normal.  We are all regular people with sometimes busy, sometimes boring lives.  And sometimes?  Sometimes there is just NOTHING to blog about.

If I have something to say, then you will find a post from me.  If not, then....well...then you won't.

OR you will get something completely random...just because I feel like I *should* say something just to remind you that I'm still alive and have something to contribute...kinda like today, actually.

Which reminds me....this is actually one of my fears...

As most of you know, this is a fairly anonymous blog....I mean Hubby and Man-Child know (kinda, sorta - but more in the vein of they heard me mention it, but it hasn't broke through to the conscious-level of their knowing and comprehension yet) but no one else does.

And even at that, I don't think either one of them have actually found their way over here...much less figured out how to hack into the account to post an update on me.  (They are practically useless, I tell you!  I mean, really?!  Am I the ONLY one in this house who can figure out just what the others have been up to online?  Sheesh!)

Which begs the question....how will YOU know if something horrific has happened to me??!! (Just go with the macabre thought process - it IS almost Halloween, after all!  I'm ALLOWED to be macabre around Halloween.  In fact, it's practically a law!)

I have made some VERY good friends here in the past two years.  VERY good friends.  People with whom I email privately back and forth on a regular basis...you know what I mean.  People who would take you in at a moments notice if you showed up at their back door.  People who really care when you are going through a high or low period.  People who know exactly what you are feeling when you post something and have wise words to help you through it.  Yeah.  Those people.

It would not be fair to them (or, really, any of you who randomly pop in) to just NOT know about the horrific accident.  Or whatever may happen that will take me away from blogging for an extended period of time or... forever.

Obviously, I am going to have to come up with a contingency plan so you all won't think I've fallen off the face of the earth one day.  Because, as we all know, there is always a "one day" waiting for us (hopefully far, Far, FAR down the road...because, dammit, I've still got so much I need to do!).

I'll have to work on that tomorrow....at work.  Because this?  THIS is important - work, not so much.

******
Obviously, when I sat down to type I was picturing this going in a VERY different direction.  But as you know from the previous post....the words just flow from my brain to my fingers....and then I edit.


And speaking of the previous post, you guys?  You guys are the BEST for my little ego.  Thank you. xo

October 10, 2011

Apparently, I've lost my damn mind (or it's a vlog; I KNOW a vlog! From ME! The last person you'd EVER expect to put herself out there!)

I've done it.  I've finally caved and have done a vlog*.

Yes, ME.

Sometimes, I even surprise myself.



Will I do it again?  Who knows.  It was kinda fun...but next time around, I need to be better prepared.  And less fidget-y (that's probably because I was trying HARD not to have my hands flying around the screen, because - according to everyone I know - I'm usually very ANIMATED when I talk; i.e., I "talk" with my hands).  And have a better hair/makeup artist.....

And, obviously, I need a script.

*to be completely honest, I dithered on and on and on for days about whether to even post it.  But in the end decided, what the heck.  Now let's see how many people un-follow after finding out that I don't "sound" in real life, like I "sound" when I write.....yes.  I'm insane.  No need to mention it; I already know.   *sigh*

October 9, 2011

Detours (or exceptionally deep thoughts for a Sunday evening)

Just a week or so ago, we had to travel to an "away" game to watch Man-Child play football.  For the record, most of our away games are, at best, almost 45 minutes to 1 hour away in little towns that are off our radar.

At any rate, during our journey we hit an unexpected detour.



As you can imagine, this was disconcerting.  First, because we weren't expecting it and second, we had a "plan" and a "timetable."  We wanted to be at the field for the kick-off.  And with this unexpected turn of events, we weren't sure we'd make it to our destination in time.

Today it struck me.  Life is full of detours; looking back I've experienced quite a few.  Some of which has turned out great for me; others - not so much.  And obviously, I'm currently travelling a detour right now; one that I do NOT want to be on; but nevertheless - here I am.

We all like to think we have our lives at least sort of mapped out.  We kinda know what we are doing and kinda have an idea of where we'd like to end up.

And then, BAM!  You reach the exit you wanted to take and realize that you have to go another way.  A different way.  Down a path you've never been.  And that there isn't a choice in the matter.

And although, that first sign assures you that you are heading in the right direction; you are still apprehensive.  Mainly because, as with all detours, once you start down the new road the directional signs seem to disappear.

But you keep driving - because what else can you do?  

And eventually, another sign pops up to remind you that you are on the right road - thusly reassured, you keep driving.  And hope against hope that this new and unfamiliar road will get you back on track.

I know that I'm not the only one travelling along a detoured route right now.  Many of us are.  Sure our detours are all different and unique to us; but they are detours nonetheless.  And detours are sometimes scary.

I know this one is.  We've been on this journey for well over a year.  And it has come at a most inconvenient time - this year is one that I already know will be an emotional rollercoaster - so the added drama really isn't needed.

But as with all detours - they are never convenient or expected.  And all you can do is to continue to drive - and eventually, you will arrive somewhere.  

It may not be the place you first thought you'd be - but maybe it's where you are meant to be and you will find peace with that.  

As for me?  I know that I am continuing to drive.  Eventually, we will find out where we are meant to be. 

October 3, 2011

How to make a Big Boy's birthday celebration special

I know I said I wasn't going to get all mushy, gushy over Man-Child's 17th birthday.....and I didn't then.

But let's talk about the aftermath.

First of all, you have to remember that I've had years and years and years of party planning for the little guy.  What kind of theme?  What kind of cake?  What kind of gift?  Who to invite?  The venue?  The decorations?

And on and on and on.

Then he got to be a "big" kid; but still the parties/events were a big to do around here.

Last year, it was a rather subdued event and I felt horrible about it.

So THIS was the year to make it all right again; finances be damned!

I asked and I asked.  Over and over again; what did he want to do?  What was the one "special" thing he wanted.

All to no avail.

I know this kid.  Celebrations of any kind are to be treated BIG!  That's the way he was raised.

But he was also raised to be empathetic to others - and he knows that we are in a bind.  So I knew that he wasn't going to ask for anything simply because he didn't want to put any guilt on us by asking for something we couldn't possibly provide right now.

I took last Friday off for the express purpose of dealing with birthday stuff.  When Friday dawned, I still had no clear idea of what to do for him.  It was making me crazy to the point of tears.

At one point, I had an epiphany.  In a random conversation earlier in the week, he'd mentioned a concert he would love to see - so I jumped online and saw that the tickets were super cheap.  As my finger was hovering over the "Buy Now" button I mentioned the gift to Hubby.  Ever practical man that he is, he asked when the concert was going to be held.  I replied on Friday, October 14th!  I was so excited, because THIS was a gift he would want and wouldn't have too wait to long to enjoy it.

Hubby immediately burst my bubble with the reminder that Friday nights are currently reserved for football.  I was crushed.  But I knew he was right - even though this was something Man-Child really, really wanted he would NOT skip a game just to go to a concert.

After spending the majority of the day between tears and determination to find the perfect gift, we decided cash was the way to go.

I was heartbroken.  How could this possibly be a great birthday with nothing planned and no awesome gift waiting to be opened?

Saturday came - a bright and beautiful day, albeit a cold one (which was a shock - it's usually not this cold this early in the season!).  Man-Child spent the day with us.  Hubby took him out to play pool for a bit (one of Man-Child's favorite pastimes) and for a little "guy" time.  When they came home, I harassed MC about what he wanted to do for dinner.

He finally picked a restaurant where we went and had a great time and a wonderful meal.

Upon arriving home, he ate the dessert I had made and declared it perfect.  And then went out to spend the evening with friends.  (Just because I thought it was HILARIOUS, I want to share this.....his buddies bought him a cake for his birthday.  But they didn't have any candles so they decided to light matches and just stick them into the cake.  Apparently, they didn't have any clue about how just quickly matches burn!  The image alone still makes me laugh!  Boys!)

But I went to bed with a heavy heart, somehow feeling that I had failed to make this birthday "special" enough for him.  I was especially sad because I knew that this would be our last birthday under one roof.

On Sunday, we had the "friends-that-are-so-close-they-should-be-family" over for lunch and cake.  MC has known most of these people for the majority of his life.  He doesn't get to see them as often anymore since they've moved, we've moved, certain family circumstances have changed and the fact that he is a teenager and has his own life now.

A good time was had by all, with a few hiccups along the way (which I may or may not address at some point.  For now, we'll just leave it with the fact that there was "surprise" guest).  And, I must note that one of the "younger" set (he's about 4) was convinced that Man-Child was turning 70 and not 17 - which caused much hilarity for the rest of us.

As I was headed to bed last night - still feeling a little sad - Man-Child pulled me over and gave me a big hug. And then thanked me for making his birthday weekend so special.

And I admit.  I cried when I got upstairs.

And I admit.  I might still be crying now.

October 1, 2011

He's SEVENTEEN!!!! (how did THAT happen????)

My very first thought this morning was that it is Man-Child's 17th birthday.  One of the later thoughts included one that went something like this, "Crap!  I should have started earlier and came up with a brilliant and loving tribute to the last seventeen years to post!"

But, I didn't.  I suppose I could go that route now, but to be honest, that might make me weepy.  I'm done with weepy.  These past few days have been good days and I aim to keep them that way, thankyouverymuch.

So instead of a mushy, gushy birthday post you get this instead - a post that is overloaded with pictures and a recipe.

First, I hunted and hunted and hunted for a picture of me and the newborn.  Guess what?  I don't have any pictures of me with a newborn!  No pictures of baby and me bonding in the hospital.  NOT ONE!

Then, as now, if I wasn't behind the camera then pictures usually weren't being taken.  So this was the first picture I came across of the two of us.  When he was ten days old already.  I can only assume my mother took this picture since I'm in it.

Hmmmm, not the most flattering photo for either of us.....we were both MUCH cuter; I promise!
Then I got busy.  I asked and asked and asked Man-Child what he wanted to do for his birthday.  What he wanted.  I got nothing in return.

Finally this morning he asked for a dessert that I made several years ago....ONCE.  Apparently, he loved it so much he's been pining for it ever since.  He's asked me a couple of times lately, for various events, to make it. But he couldn't remember exactly what was in it and I couldn't find it.

But the birthday-gods must have been smiling on me this morning; because I found the long lost recipe.  He looked it over and said that it "sounded" like this might be THE ONE.  So I set about making this birthday treat.  Along with a cake for tomorrow (when we will have our friends-who-are-so-close-they-should-be-family over to celebrate).

This has to be the easiest dessert EVER to make.  Here are the only ingredients you need

Ooops!  I left the milk out!
It's called Graham Cracker Eclair Cake.  I do not remember where I found this recipe.  But, apparently, it's quite memorable.

Ingredients
15 honey graham crackers, broken in half (30 squares or so), divided
1 1/2 cups milk
1 pkg (4-serving size) Jello Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 tub (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed
1 cup chocolate ready-to-spread frosting

Arrange 10 of the graham squares, overlapping slightly, in the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan, set aside

Obviously, I didn't read the "overlapping" part!
Pour milk into large bowl.  Add dry pudding mix.  Beat with a wire whisk for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Let stand 5 minutes until thickened.

Anyone else singing Michael Jackson's "Just Beat It?"  No?  Just me then.
Gently stir in whipped topping with wire whisk until well blended.

Still singing.....
Spread half the pudding mixture over graham crackers in the pan....

I'm done singing now, you can un-cover your ears.
Top with 10 more of the graham squares and remaining pudding mixture.  Cover with the remaining graham squares.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours.  Spread with chocolate frosting just before serving.

While I was doing all this the boys (Man-Child and Hubby) decided to go out and play pool and do "guy stuff."

After they came home, Hubby succumbed to an allergy-medication induced nap (I forgot to get a picture!) while Man-Child surfed the 'Net while simultaneously exchanging dinner possibilities with me.

Once we'd determined where we would dine we headed out to an upscale Chinese restaurant.....and no, it's not P.F. Chang's (although we love them too! I think this one is only local, so I need to keep it under wraps - sorry!  But if you come visit me, I promise I will take you there!).

M-C, preparing to chow down.  Yeah, he dressed up.  Can you tell?
After a wonderful dinner we headed home.  Where M-C immediately began pestering me about dessert.  Seriously??  How could he even begin to think about eating more food?

So, I finished off the dessert.

It's not the prettiest thing - but apparently, it's amazing!
We stuck some candles in it (so what if it's not a cake?) and sang Happy Birthday....


I could only find TWO candles!  Gah!  I've GOT to get organized!  What is happening to me??
Took a couple of pictures to remember the occasion....

Man-Child & Hubby


Julie, add this one to THE collection.....

Then he tucked into the dessert.....

And it was EXACTLY like he remembered.....



So he ate it all in short order.....


And then asked for MORE!!!!!
And, according to him, it was a GREAT birthday.....before he headed to hang out with his friends.

Me?  I agree.  It WAS a great day!