December 29, 2010

How is it that no one has pointed out the obvious to me?

As I may have mentioned a few posts back, I've been wandering aimlessly through this vacation.

Nothing is getting accomplished and I've been bored.

Last night it hit me.


And, as we all know, with me being a person who needs to have things to do that means I need lists.  I just don't know what came over me that I completely forgot to make a list.

So last night I made a list of things that I want to accomplish.  Now being that vacation will be coming to a close on Monday, it is not an ambitious list - just a few little things that I want/need to get done before then.

Things that, while in the big picture don't seem to mean much, will make me happy that they are complete.

Although, the more I think on it, the more I want to call a do-over.

Do you think the powers at be will let me start my vacation over?  No?  Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Oh, and Symdaddy?  What the hell is rugby?  Is that a football-like game where the players are crazy and don't wear padding??  I couldn't bear to watch if he wasn't wearing padding.....

December 28, 2010

Sometimes you actually do win - so you share the results

A long, long time ago (at the beginning of December) I entered a give-away.  I know! Me?  I never enter give-aways.  Usually.

But my dear friend, Nova, at Cherished By Me was giving away a SmileBox Premium Package for a year.  Have you ever played around with Smilebox?  Even the free version is addictive.

I'm not a photographer.  At all.  This fact has been documented far and wide.  But I see all the pictures around the blog-o-sphere and it makes me want to take better pictures.

When Nova hosted this give-away, I remembered how much I enjoyed playing around with the free version.  So, I thought - why not?  I entered.  And then promptly forgot all about it.  Because I never win anything.  Ever.

Then I saw a random tweet from Nova.  Asking if I'd seen the winners.  I hadn't.  So clicked over and discovered.....OMG! I'd won!  I was SOOOOO excited.

Then I received the email with the special code.  And I kind of ignored it.  Not on purpose, mind.  I received it on my Blackberry, while on the run.  I saved it to look at later when I was on the computer.  Then kind of forgot about it.  Because Christmas and all it's craziness ensued.

Today, I found it again.  And downloaded it.  Then proceeded to spend at least two and a half hours playing with it.

And without further ado . . . the result.

Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
Greeting card made with Smilebox

Thank you once again, Nova.  I love it!  I will definitely be picking up my camera more often - just so I can play with Smilebox.

December 26, 2010

Stream of Consciousness.....

Somebody please remind me if I ever build, or buy, another house to make sure that there is at least one room on the ground floor that has a door.  Besides the bathroom, that is.

This house has an open floor plan downstairs.  And most of the time that is great.

But after you've been trapped in the house for two days - it's not so great.

After two days - you really don't want to look at, or talk to, the people you live with anymore.  No matter how much you might love them.

Christmas dawned with the onset of snow.  YAY!  Snow on Christmas day is a magical thing.

Until late afternoon.  And you have no plans to visit with your friends as you usually do.  Then it's not so great.

Then?  Then, the snow keeps falling.

And the next day?  Why, it's still falling.  Now you are beginning to hate snow.  Very much.  Yeah, that whole enchantment thing you had going with winter when you first moved here about 13 years ago?  It is soooo gone!  Now?  Now, you are ready to move back to Texas - be damned the heat and humidity.  At least there is air conditioning and NO SNOW (for the most part) in Texas.

You realize in the deep recesses of your brain that your fellow bloggers who live in places like Minnesota, Utah, New York and Canada would laugh at the snow you are currently cursing.  But they don't realize that we don't deal with snow well.  We live in the "South."  That means that the 4 to 6 inches that we received means we are "snowed in."  With the very same folks that you love so very much - but really can't stand the sight of any more.

Finally, you are able to get out for an hour or so - because the good folks at the Department of Transportation were on the ball (this time).  They were ready for this "storm."  You run out the door with glee.

But then you come home.  And guess what?

The Giants game has just started.  And guess what else?

They aren't doing well.  And the two fans - that you love so very much - are having total meltdowns.

And then?  That open floorplan that sounded like such a great idea?  Is no longer such a great idea.

December 24, 2010

Wishing You A Merry Christmas - in my usual long, rambling fashion

My Christmas Wish List is long and varied (world peace, a robust economy, hitting the lottery, that people will learn to use their traffic signals, etc.....) and I expect that Santa probably won't be able to pull it off this year for me; especially so late in the game.  I mean we are at the eleventh hour and here I am, just now writing my list.

As most of you already know, I've been on vacation since the 15th and will continue to be on vacation until the 3rd.

I'm going nuts over here.

Usually, when I'm on my Christmas vacation some of my time is filled with preparing for a party that we usually give.  We elected not to have it this year - so that left a huge pocket of time.  I wisely used that time to buy and wrap presents.  So I've been done for about a week now.

I do find it curious that we've not been invited to any holiday gatherings this year.  I have talked to a few people, who repeatedly tell me they want to get together.  I have responded with "Sounds good! Let's."  Only to hear nothing from them.  Apparently, we are expected to do all the entertaining.  Hmmph!

Once Christmas is over I also usually have various projects around the house that I plan on completing.

So far, this year, I don't have any.  Well, I take that back; I have a few in mind but either they cost lots of money or I just don't have the desire to do them.  

So basically, I've been wandering around aimlessly lately.  Quite bored.  Which makes me think that retirement might be pure hell for me - if I ever get to it.  

One would think being home with the two guys I would at least get some blog fodder from some of their antics.  They are falling down on the job because they've given me nothing.

Well, they probably would have - but it seems that we've all been going in our own directions this past week.  Now that Man-Child isn't held captive as a passenger in my car (where all the best conversations take place) it seems that I am spending quite a bit of time alone.

Normally, a hermit would relish this - but even a hermit can only take so much alone time.

At any rate, on to the purpose of this post.....

“The light of the Christmas star to you, The warmth of home and hearth to you, The cheer and good will of friends to you, The hope of a childlike heart to you, The joy of a thousand angels to you, The love of the Son and God’s peace to you.”  -- an Irish Blessing

May your eggnog have just the right amount of rum, may your turkey be moist and your gravy lump-free!

Much joy, peace and love for each of you and your families this Christmas.

December 19, 2010

The Fine Art of Trying to Schedule Time Together With Friends - it should totally involve wine, lots and lots of wine

This whole weekend has been an exercise in frustration.

But rather than bore you with all the minutiae that has driven me crazy over the past two days (traffic, crowds, more traffic) I thought I would share this nugget of wisdom with you instead.

"When you attempt to set up a girl's date so that your friends can exchange small gifts, catch up with each other and escape from their families for a few hours - don't make it complicated."

My dear, darling friend whom I love to pieces is doing her absolute damnedest to drive me completely insane.

First, there was the round of emails asking if we all wanted to get together.  We did.  Then there was the next round of emails asking when would be good.  Everyone replied any time except for the 16th and the 18th.  Instead of picking a date - there was another round of emails.  Finally, I replied that I was good for any date at all - SOMEBODY pick a date.  I figured it was better left in their hands to choose - since I don't have small children and I'm on vacation.  Finally a date and time was chosen - Sunday (today).

Then came the phone calls.  One tells me that she can't do it at the initial time because of an unexpected funeral - totally understandable.  So I call the first friend (the one who is trying to drive me crazy) we discuss and she suggests moving it to Monday.  Fine, I call second friend back she tells me that while she could do Monday - she would prefer to keep it on Sunday - just later in the evening - because of her husband's work schedule.  Fine.  I call first friend back - she waffles a little, but in the end is fine with it.  I call second friend back to let her know that we are set for Sunday (tonight) and that yes, she can borrow that dressy jacket for the party she was going to last night.

In between all the phone calls, I am attempting to find gas gift cards (did you even know they had these?  I didn't - what a great gift idea for the very poor teen driver in your life) which isn't as easy as driving to your nearest gas station; just so you know.  I ended up driving all over town trying to find gas cards for the most convenient gas stations in Man-Child's route to school.  After visiting 5 different stations - I finally found them. Yay!  I have a feeling these will be the best gift under the tree.

Upon arriving home, I immediately begin to regale Hubby with all the details of finding the gas cards and the drama centered around trying to schedule our girl's date.  His eyes immediately glazed over.

But apparently, some of it must have filtered into his brain because this morning he asked if we ever got the details straightened out for today.  I told him that we had.  Then I laughed and said, "But it's early yet.  First friend still has time to cancel."  We both laughed and went on our merry ways.

About 2:00 pm I receive a call from the first friend.  You see where this is going, right?

She cancelled.  She can't do it tonight.

Her reasons?  Very thin.  Very, VERY  thin.

Knowing her the way I do, I can honestly say I am not surprised.  But at the same time; she's lucky I love her so - otherwise I might have to smack her.

December 15, 2010

I'm SOOOOOO embarrassed...

You know that "wonderful" kid that I talk about all the time?

The one that your children can only aspire to be?

Yeah, THAT one.  Man-Child.

He has TOTALLY disgraced the family.


He has detention on Saturday.


His infraction?

Chewing gum.

I do NOT know where I went wrong with this kid, y'all.  Seriously.

Was I not strict enough?  Too strict??

I need advice - it is apparent that this kid is headed straight to the Big House and it's all my fault!

December 10, 2010

Torture and self-doubt. Surely, I'm not the only one?

“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often”  --Mark Twain
Is it just me that seems to have a problem speaking up about certain things?

I often think, particularly in a work environment, that how well I do my job should speak for itself.  And that, when opportunities arise, that my work ethic (which is AWESOME, if I do say so myself) should stand alone.

This is, unfortunately, never the case.  When opportunities arise – I have to fight my natural inclination to sit back and see what happens.  I have to force myself to speak on my own behalf.

In the time leading up to me actually saying something – I will worry myself sick.  This has, at least so far in my life, been an exercise in futility as usually, my outstanding (if I do say so myself) work ethic coupled with my speaking up works in my favor; far better than sitting back to see what happens ever does.

I mentioned some time back that my favorite colleague would be retiring this month.  What is to become of her position has been up in the air and cause for MUCH speculation (some of the rumors actually had me laughing out loud - they were that far fetched).

While technically not a promotion – it really kind of is – at least in perception.  Which, when posted on your resume looks pretty darn good – even if not reflected in the paycheck.

Considering that I have seniority and that fabulous work ethic – I assumed that I would be asked to fill her shoes.  And I was – kind of.  But never directly.  (Yeah – that’s the way the Big Guy works sometimes)

And then, things kind of spiraled into crazy-land (which seems to be the norm around here - because really?  What is the point of actually saying what you mean?)

Finally, I spoke up.  Kind of.  

I ended up emailing the Big Guy – only because unexpectedly he wasn’t here today and I knew I had to get this topic out in the open before I take off next Wednesday for the rest of the year (and yeah, I breathed a sigh of relief - because I'm a chicken and it's easier to email than go face to face sometimes). 

I mean – this really needs to be resolved ASAP - otherwise who knows what kind of insanity I will return to on the 3rd?

To say I worked myself into a state before hitting the send button is an understatement of epic proportions.  But, I finally screwed up my courage and hit send on the email.

To my utter relief (and to be honest – surprise) he emailed me back immediately saying that we will talk on Monday and that he was very open to my suggestion.

Now?  Now, I can breathe.  At least until Monday.

My question is this - why do I make it so hard on myself?  It really shouldn't be that hard to say, "Hey, this is what I think should happen and here is why" and then whatever happens, happens.  But I will have said my piece.

Am I the only one who puts myself through this kind of torture and self-doubt?

Upon reflection though - I realize I do this about EVERYTHING.  Even this blog.  Do you know how long I debated with myself about posting this?  *sigh*  One of these days, I might grow up.  But I doubt it.

December 7, 2010

I am woman; hear me roar. Apparently, that means I can (and will) take care of it all!

After staring at our naked Christmas tree for the past few several days - I finally got the decorations on it last night.  If you want to call it decorated.  It's not right.  I realized after looking at it for an hour or two - it was missing the usual bows, flower and bead picks; etc.  After taking a trip to the garage to look for the boxes holding these missing items - I decided the tree was done.

Hubby, being the ever helpful husband that he is, "straightened" the garage up a couple of months back.  I should have realized what this meant and put a stop to it immediately.  Since the shed STILL isn't done (yes, the one that I painted back in April!  But to be fair - since Hubby lost his job that project kinda went on the back burner) the garage is a total hellhole (I'm not kidding - I won't even take a picture because it's so bad - I'm too embarrassed).  But when it was "arranged" just so then I knew where everything was and could get to it.  After Hubby got done with it - there are boxes piled on top of boxes and everything is stacked at least three boxes deep and have heavy lawn equipment parked in front of it.  So in order to get to the boxes holding those critical Christmas tree accouterments I would basically need to drag everything out of the garage.  It's not happening.  So the tree - and the rest of the decorating for the house - is done.  We have the tree and the stockings.  Nothing else is needed this year.

Feeling that something was accomplished and that I was moving forward on my list of To-Do's; I then received the news that my nieces would be stopping for lunch or dinner this Saturday (they aren't quite sure what time they'll be here - yeah - it's always fun for the hostess to not have a clue when her guests are arriving) as they drive through on the way up north.  This is actually cause for jubilation - since they will be the first family to visit - but this weekend is one that I have a LOT to get done.  But, as they are just stopping for a few hours - it should be fine.

Until - as I was typing this post - I overheard Hubby on the phone - it sounds like he is trying to make plans for this "dine and dash" visit to turn into a weekend trip.  We WILL be having a chat about this as soon as he gets off the phone (and I get off the computer) - there just isn't time for a whole weekend of entertaining.  Unlike him, I have a lot that NEEDS to be done before Monday.  (Hmmm, he must have felt a cold shiver of dread up his spine as he just abruptly walked out of the room to finish his phone conversation.)

To round things out - Man-Child is having some kind of allergic reaction.  To what we don't know.  He had to come home early from school yesterday due to what I was told was "hives."  The things covering this child's face aren't "just" hives - they are hives from hell.  I can barely look at him - I just want to cry.  It looks so painful.  His entire face - and parts of his body - are covered in huge, red, angry-looking blotches.  Needless to say, I went into total mothering mode and began feeding him Benadryl.  It did absolutely nothing for him.  This morning it was worse.  So Hubby took him to the doctor.  All they can tell us is that it is an allergic reaction (gee I knew that and I don't even have a medical degree!) and gave him some steroids.

And this is where it becomes apparent that a father (even a concerned and involved one) is NOT a mother.  I came home from work and Man-Child's face looked even worse, if possible.  I asked him when he'd taken the first dose of the medicine.  . . . . . .

He hadn't taken any!

When asked why, he said that he was supposed to take three on the first day - and he couldn't figure out the the when's and how's, etc.  So he figured he'd wait until in the morning!  Meanwhile he is suffering (apparently he itches and it hurts when he touches any part of his face) unbearably (I'm sure this crazy, sub-freezing weather isn't helping any).  Why his father didn't INSIST that he start the medication immediately is completely beyond me.

Apparently, it is also my job to be the medication dispenser.  So I made Man-Child take one and laid out the times that he should take the remaining tablets for today and will set up his schedule for tomorrow.

Now, I need to go - because there is still some laundry to be dealt with, gifts to be wrapped, cleaning to be done. . . . . . the list is endless.

December 3, 2010

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel
This is another book that I probably would not have read had it not been suggested to me by friends.
Although, it got off to a slow start, in my opinion, I did end up thoroughly enjoying this story.
The book is about a boy named Pi who is the son of a zookeeper and has an exceptional love for God in all forms.  He practices Hindu, Christianity and Islam; much to the outrage of the leaders of each faith.
But the meat of the story begins when Pi and his family, along with some zoo animals, emigrate to North America aboard a cargo ship.
Unfortunately, the boat sinks and the only survivors are Pi, a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and a Bengal tiger.
As you might imagine, soon there is only Pi and the tiger left in the lifeboat.  Pi must then rely on his knowledge and wits to stay alive until he is rescued – 227 days after the ship sank.
I have to admit, I kept thinking about this book – particularly the ending – long after I read it.  Which is quite unusual for me – usually I finish one, toss it aside and begin on the next.
So if you want a book that will make you appreciate that fiction sometimes makes a better story than the reality - this is the book for you.

December 2, 2010

Not too much has been going on over here....

Really.  It's been quiet here in my little corner.  It's been quiet because I've been trying to be more "there" for my family lately.  You know, disconnecting myself from the computer and spending time with them - especially since it's been brought to my attention that Man-Child will be leaving the nest very soon (in about 20 months or so to be exact!).

Yeah - that's not going to well.

Lately, immediately after dinner, Man-Child bolts upstairs to deal with some important texts/phone calls.  Apparently, there is a girl. (gasp!)  They aren't "dating" yet but have recently upgraded from texting only to actually talking on the phone.  It's only a matter of time.  (and by the way, I have very little info on this girl - I'm working on it.  Waterboarding is my next means of extracting information) 

So with Man-Child out of the way it would seem that Hubby and I would spend some quality time together.

Yeah - that's not going so well either.

After dinner, the tv gets turned on, I settle into the couch with a book to read if there is nothing on and he settles into his chair to watch whatever it is that catches his interest.

For about 10 minutes.  Then he's asleep.

I'm beginning to wonder why I bother.