December 22, 2011

11/22/ 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.


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.


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 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*


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 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.