Friday, December 31, 2010

One last word before the year is finished...

We didn't go to the gun show.  (SCORE! - oops, did I say that out loud?)  Truthfully, though, I've only managed to postpone the inevitable - we're going on Sunday.

It was beautiful today - the temps got up over 60!  We decided to take advantage of the unseasonal warmth and took Finn to the dog park to run and play.  (I took pictures, but I'm still not used to my camera and so none of them are worth posting.)


  See?


 When we got home, Jimi went down for a nap and Finn and I took a nice long walk down Southern Parkway.  (Finn had gotten his exercise, but I'd not yet gotten mine.)  It sprinkled briefly a few times, but nothing substantial; the weather mostly just stayed awesome.  It still is.

Our party plans for the evening have been scrapped, as well.  (Act surprised, I dare ya!)  There was already one strike against the idea:  the simple fact of driving around on New Year's Night.  People are dumb and do dumb things a lot, but on nights like tonight, there's an extra dose of dumb in the air and on the roads.  Next, looks like Jimi's starting to get a cold, so there's strike two.  The beautiful weather is supposed to turn to shit right about the time we'd be leaving for home, so there's strike three.  And so I picked up some mixers and we'll have our own little celebration* at home.  Jimi apologized for letting me down.  I told him to stop being stupid; when given a choice, I'll always go for the option that allows me to not wear a bra.  Besides, I'll still get my kiss at midnight.

Tomorrow we're ringing in the new year with a visit to my brother.  I missed out last week, lame as it may be, because I was hung over and honestly didn't feel that I could make the 8 hour trip.  (3 hours down, 2 hours to visit, 3 hours home - too many hours)  I miss my brother.  It will be good to see him again, though I wish the circumstances were better.  His head seems to be in a good place, though, so perhaps things WILL work out for the best this time around.

I'll forever be the optimist.

I painted yesterday.  I'm going to do it again, maybe even tonight.  My problem is I don't know what in the hell to paint.  I'm not good enough to paint actual "things" - my pictures need to be abstract, or at the very least, an intentionally vague representation of the thing from which they're modeled.  Since I can't figure out what to paint, I decided I'll just paint anything.  Whatever shows up when I put the brush to the paper.  I'll figure out where I'm going with it eventually.  Right?  If not, I've already paid for all the supplies, years ago, so it's not like failure would actually cost me anything.

I think I mentioned I want things to put on the walls.  I've gotten on a kick, and the end result is going to mean me taking pictures of lots of things, having large prints made, then sticky-ing them up on the walls all over the house.  Who needs frames?  No frames means I can change them out more frequently.  (I'm sorry I'm so tacky.  I can't help it; it's part of the fabric of my being.)

I realized I left off my list of 2011 resolutions the biggest resolution of them all:  I'm really, actually, finally going to stop smoking, starting midnight tonight.  I've got 4 cigarettes left in my last pack, and they'll be gone by midnight, even if it means breaking them in half at the stroke of midnight.  I'm done with this monkey on my back; I'm done with the coughing, I'm done with spending the money, I'm done with stinking, I'm done with upping my risks of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, cancer, emphysema, infertility.  I never meant to start smoking in the first place, and for the first - oh, I don't know, 5 years? - I convinced myself I could quit at any time.  Then I started trying to quit and learned otherwise.  It's been 12 years.  That's too many years, and I don't want to spend another day as a smoker.

So there ya go.  I'll tattle on myself if I cheat, and I expect (please?!) that you will all give me holy hell each and every time I slip up.  I need to do this for me, but a little encouragement never hurt, you know?

I'm going to go fix another drink and smoke one of those last 4 smokes and watch this Trailer Park Boys movie Jimi's got on.  (Have you seen this shit?  It's ridiculous.)

Happy New Year, Friends!  
I hope 2011 is kind to you and yours, 
and brings you happiness and fulfillment in all things.  


*celebration = Sitting in front of the TV, watching Twilight Zone or something on Netflix, me on the computer, him curled up with the dog, the cat in front of the space heater.  But our cups will be full.  And love and happy will be in the air.  And then we'll set off bottle rockets at midnight and hopefully not set our neighbors' houses on fire.

We're going to the Gun Show!

OMG, does that title stir the same excitement in you that it does in me?!

Can you hear my sarcasm?!

I've been promising the Man that we'd go to this particular Gun Show ever since I poo-poo'd his attempt to get me to the GOOD Gun Show after Thanksgiving.  Now it's time to pay up and I'm all, "Dang".

What in the hell am I supposed to do at a gun show?  I hate the slow-walking - you know what I'm talking about, don't you?  That slow, shuffle-walk people do at the fair and at flea markets and car shows and anywhere else there's a large number of people trying to look at things displayed on the little tables.  Good Lord, it makes me want to scream.

And poor, sweet Jimi.  He loves to shop.  He'll need to look at every little thing, even if he's not planning on coming home with more than a few boxes of ammo.

And I'll get grumpy and bitchy and huffy and puffy and be pissed off that he drug me to the Gun Show.

But it's the last day of 2010, and I ain't sending this year out like that.  I'll do some deep breathing and meditation in the shower to help get my head in a place where I'm not going to want to rip off his or anyone else's.  I'll go along with him and laugh and pretend to be interested in all the little things I don't recognize or understand the purpose of, and we'll have a great time and get some exercise at the same time.

And then tonight we'll get all pretty and go to the Alley Theater for the New Year's Eve party and we'll kiss at midnight and begin the next year of our lives.  Together, of course.

The things we do for love.

You say you want a revolution?

Well, you know, all you're going to get is a few resolutions.

Next year, at this time, these are the things I hope to have accomplished:

1.  Set and live by a budget.  (GASP!  The Horror!)  Seriously, though, I need to get a handle on my finances and figure out exactly what's coming in and better monitor what's going out.  Maggie sent me her spreadsheets forever ago and I've not done a thing with them yet.  That changes this weekend.

2.  Build up savings.  Eventually, I'd like to have at least 6 months worth of expenses saved, but that's not realistically going to happen in 2011, unless I encounter some awesome unforeseen windfall.  I'll settle for adding at least $50 a week to my coffers for now. (And that does NOT mean putting in $50 on Friday and taking out $100 on Monday, Little Miss Spendthrift!)

3.  Get a handle on that laundry mess.  Grown people don't pile their clean clothes on a table.  Grown people fold their clothes and hang their clothes and match up their socks and put their clothes away so they can easily find their clothes so they don't have a fucking meltdown each morning as they're trying to figure out what they're going to wear for work.  I need to handle that.

4.  Speaking of household chores - keeping your rooms clean isn't too much to ask, really, is it?  RoomS, as in, all of them.  There's no reason I can't keep the house neat and tidy.  Again, grown people....

5.  I want to have a baby.  If I could pregnant right away and get the baby here by the end of 2011, that'd be great, but if not, could I at least by this time next year be pregnant with a baby I'll carry to term?  I won't mind if it takes a while for us to get one that's going to stick, just so long as we don't have to go through that horrible loss again; just so long as we can have one successful pregnancy.  Just one.  That's all I'm asking here.

6.  I want to be a better manager.  I want to be a better employee.  I want to make myself more valuable to my company, and in return, I want to make more money.

7.  I'm going to lose 50 pounds in 2011.  Unless I get pregnant, in which case, God help me, I'll probably gain 50 pounds, so my 2012 goal will be to lose 100 pounds.  How about I forget the number game and just vow to eat better and get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day?  That's gotta count for something.

8.  I will take a picture every day.  What I'll do with those pictures remains to be seen, but I want them.

9.  More crafts.  I need things to hang on the walls.  And to occupy my time.

10.  Volunteering - I'm going to do it.  I don't know what or where, but I have so much and I need to give back and I don't have any money so my time will have to do.

That's a lot of goals, right?  Not really, I guess.  I wonder how many I'll have forgotten about this time next week?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spontaneous Date Night - In Photos!!!

After tonight, we've got three days of vacation left.  Jimi worked today, and after he'd gotten home and shrugged off the day, we decided to run out for some pizza.  Papalinos NY Pizzeria is a new-to-me pizzeria in the Highlands that has a reputation for having great food for cheap prices.

We ordered 4 slices, but one of mine came home with us.  Each slice is the size of a quarter of a regular pizza.  It's New York style, so the crust is thin and floppy and foldable.  The cheese and sauce were full of good fresh flavor.


Jimi's slices were topped with green and banana peppers, onions, and spicy chicken sausage:


I, as usual, went for plain cheese:


Jimi loved his:


So much:

(So sexy!)

And then we kissed:


And then I took this picture of Baxter Avenue:


And then we got two dozen doughnuts at Krispy Kreme because, well, we passed Krispy Kreme on the way home and it's sort of an unwritten rule that when you pass Krispy Kreme you must stop and buy some doughnuts.  






Let's talk about 2010.

I said I'd do one of these before the end of the year.  It's the next to last day of the year, I'm off work, Jimi's at work, I've got nothing better to do...no time like the present.

It's been a hell of a year.  I mean that in a good way, mostly.

Jimi and I turned this house into our home over the last 12 months.  We're still expanding and settling and finding homes for all of the things we've accumulated over the years, but we're comfortable and happy here.  We've learned the sounds of the house - the creaks in the floors, the sound of the sump pump, the weird sound the furnace makes - and can differentiate between them and, say, the sound of the effing raccoon that's living in the crawl space in the attic.  Yeah, that little bastard moved in with us a few months back, and we (Jimi) still haven't evicted him.  Gotta get a live trap from somewhere and trap him and take him somewhere.  Anyhow - back to the house.

One of the highlights of my year was watching our yard come alive this past Spring.  We looked at, fell in love with, and purchased this house in the late Autumn, so we had no expectations or ideas of what the warmer months would bring to our landscaping.  There were tulips.  And a great big hibiscus.  And lilies.  And buttercups.  And weeds.  Oh, God, the weeds.  And the grass.  Holy crap, do you know how much grass grows on a half acre?!

And no one told me that Jimi doesn't mow grass before we bought the house with the half-acre lot.  I'm talking to you, Robert and Jason.  The brothers knew Jimi wouldn't cut the grass.  They laughed about it this summer, standing on our porch in the 95 degree afternoons, looking out across the expanse of overgrown lawn that was starting to resemble a prairie, what with it's waving grains and little dogs getting lost in it and whatnot.  Mowing was a fucking chore.  We broke and sort of repaired 2 lawn mowers this summer, but still only barely managed to keep our yard at a level low enough to avoid having a neighbor call the city.

I turned 30 in April - we hosted a "SUPER AWESOME 30TH BIRTHDAY PARTAY", complete with Barbie Princess bouncy house in the front yard, a stereo system set up in the front windows, a keg out back, and a cotton candy machine on the porch.  Oh, it was a great party.

Remembering that night sort of sums up my feelings for the entire year, really; I've been surrounded by love and laughter and friendship and joy and happiness every day of 2010.  Even the days that sucked -and there were some days that really, really sucked - I was still in this little cocoon of love, in a place where even at my lowest, I had people (not just one, many) lifting me up until I could stand on my own again.

Of course Jimi is the biggest part of that support system.  He is the sun in my sky, and four years into it, this life we're building together just gets better all the time.  Life threw us a few curve balls this year, but Jimi was so wonderful and good to me.  He said and did all the right things.  He always says and does all the right things.

God, I'm getting all sappy and teary-eyed.  Moving on...

What else happened in 2010?  We bought a canoe!  It's a great boat, but we didn't take it out much this summer.  We took it on the annual canoe trip in June, then to Lexington with Karen and Gary a few weeks later...holy smokes, is that all?  Surely I'm forgetting a trip in there somewhere.  In our defense, it was really hot and dry this summer, and so the water levels were low, and if you've seen Jimi and I in a boat, well, we need more than a few inches of water to get downstream, if you know what I'm sayin'.  And without a roof rack, that boat is a real bitch to get on and off his truck, and my little Civic is too small to transport the 16 foot monster.

We didn't camp much this year, either, even though we rented our spot on Blue River from Farmer Fred again, at the same rate as last year, but a much higher per-couple price because there were fewer of us this year.  The heat will be blamed for our absence here, also.  We spent a lot of money on outdoorsy things and then spent the summer inside in the AC.

I was not a social butterfly in 2010, not even a little.  I didn't see my friends much; I mostly stayed home and hung out with Jimi.  I did spend a lot of time with Stacy, which was awesome; it's so nice to be close to her again.

I bought a bike that I rode a handful of times and now haven't had out of the garage in at least 3 months.  I walked Finn in the amazing park across the street semi-regularly when the weather was nice, but not nearly as often as I should've.

I quit smoking at least 8 times.  I still haven't made that stick, but I'm down from a pack a day to a pack a week.  That's gotta count for something.

I've contracted a ridiculously horrible case of baby fever.  I rationally understand this is a by-product of losing my first pregnancy to miscarriage; I emotionally don't give a fuck so long as I get to have a baby.  I'm blessed to have a partner who understands that I'm just a slave to my crazy baby-making hormones and is willing to go with the flow.  Or maybe he's just scared of me.

I read a lot of books this year, most of them while sitting on our front porch.  The porch is a great place for reading.

I spent two nights in Columbus, OH for a business meeting.  The first two nights I've spent away from Jimi's side since we moved in together 3.5 years ago.  I slept like shit and realized he must accompany me on all future business adventures.

This was the Year of the Plants.  I've filled our home with them; bamboo, orchids, a money tree, $5 rescues from the clearance rack at Lowe's and Home Depot.  Stacy gave me an African Violet that is loving life in the kitchen, and the Wandering Jew she gave me for my birthday is so big and pretty I'm going to enter it in the State Fair next year - assuming I don't kill it this winter.  Our "Love Tree" is thriving in the dining room window and Grace, a hanging vine that Dawn gave me a few years, ago is still content on top of the fridge. I also planted a few cuttings Stacy gave me from plants that belonged to Granny - they didn't do so hot at first, but once I put them in hanging baskets and moved them to the front porch, they grew like crazy.  I bought some succulents at Ikea early in the year, but 2 of the 3 have kicked the bucket and the third is barely hanging on.  I'm far too heavy-handed with the watering can to raise succulents, I think.

We spent a million dollars on fabric and fur and foam and made our own Halloween costumes.  Well, Jimi made his Halloween costume; I pussied out and bought mine pre-made - AFTER I'd spent a million dollars on fabric and the pattern.  I've still not returned any of that, either.  Damn.

Work is work.  I have a great work family, and I count myself lucky to have a job that pays me a good wage and gives me health insurance.

Christmas Vacation with Jimi.  We didn't do anything special, really, but it was so nice to have so many days off with him.

I started blogging again.  I decided it's important to me that I have a record of the boring shit I do.  And here we are.

There's more that I've forgotten.  I'm sure I'll come back a half dozen times and edit to add in things I can't remember right now.

It comes down to this:  In 2010, I laughed more than I cried, I loved and was loved in return, and I had more than I needed of everything.  When I was 30, it was a very good year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just another day in paradise.

Have you heard of Cuddl Duds?  I'm sure you have, because I'm always late to the party and hear about things long after they've gone way mainstream.  Anyhow, my Momma got me leggings and a camisole for Christmas, and OMG I could live in these things.  I am today; I'm living in them.  Complete with my old-lady gray cardigan and my pink slippers with the fuzzy little pompoms.

I modeled my outfit for Jimi, striking a pose in the dining room and teasing him, "This isn't exactly what you signed up for when you decided to spend your life with me, is it?"

"Thirty-year-old gran-ny," he sang at me from the kitchen.

This is what I love about vacation; wearing underwear as clothes and laughing with the man I love while we fix breakfast at noon.

We (Jimi) had plans to paint the hallway while we're off, but we've not done anything to work toward that goal yet and he has to work tomorrow.  Maybe Friday?  More likely it will be put off until our next 3-day weekend.  I don't enjoy painting, probably because I'm not any good at it.  I think it's going to be all professional and awesome and in reality my paint always gets on the baseboards or seeps under the tape or I drop a brush in the middle of the floor and splatter little droplets everywhere.  That's just how I roll.

I did manage to clear off the dresser in our bedroom, and I sorted laundry and have started the Last Great Clothes Cleaning of 2010.  I'd really like to start the New Year with my house clean and organized and make a goal of keeping it that way.  Then again, I'm on vacation, so I really can't commit to anything too big at this time.

There's a Toddlers & Tiaras marathon on TLC today.  For once, I wish we had two working TVs in our home.  Jimi watched long enough to see a man cheering for his little girl who was dressed in fishnets and pancake makeup, muttered "You're a bad dad", then flipped the channel.  I love a good trainwreck; he just doesn't appreciate the genre as an art form.

Jimi's first batch of beef jerky was declared a success - it was really very tasty.  Today we're going to go with fruit - a tray of fruit leather (also known as "fruit roll-ups") and then three trays of sliced kiwi and apples.  We've got mangoes and bananas and pineapple on the schedule, too, but they're not quite ripe yet.

OH!  And I made some amazing vanilla ice cream last night.  Three cups of cream, a cup of sugar...Vacation is going to make me so fat.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

For a vacation day, it's awfully early.

I set an alarm and woke up at 6:30 a.m. on my day off so I could get a head start on the day; have a cup of chai, watch the news, and, most importantly, get my billing done so I can put any and all working behind me until next week.  I got out of bed, fed the cat, let the dog out, started boiling my water, turned on the news and learned that apparently there was a big snow storm in the northeast this weekend, clicky click to log on...

...and the company servers are down for maintenance for at least another hour.

So much for getting a head start.  Oh well.  I'll just sit here and drink my tea and watch all the bad that's going on in the world.

I had an idea once for a "news" station that only reported good news.  For example, on the Early Show just now, they did a spot on a calf that got stuck on an ice-covered pond.  The local news chopper came around and used the wind from the blades to get the calf scooted close enough to shore that it could crawl to dry land and safety - on my news station, it'd be that sort of story, all day, every day.  The world needs a place it can go for happy, you know?

I love my new camera.  As evidenced by my previous post, I'm enjoying taking pictures of just about everything, even questionable Brie.  I've been without a camera so long - it'll be nice to not think "~sigh~ That'd make a good picture; wish I had a camera" as I look around me.

We got a waffle maker for Christmas.  Think I could make a bunch of waffles and then freeze them?  Can you pretend they're an Eggo and reheat them in the toaster oven?  Cause that would be sweet.  I think I'm going to try it.

Did I mention I'm enjoying the new camera?  Here's a picture of Q the Cat:


I've still got 20 minutes to kill before I can log on and do my work.  I've lost my motivation, but it must be done by 11 a.m., so it doesn't really matter what my motivation level is - the work must be done and that is all there is to it.  Bleh.  I keep reminding myself that it's all vacation all the time as soon as I'm done here.

I ate the cheese last night.  It tasted really good, even if it did make my hands smell like puppy breath.  No ill-effects that I have detected so far, so I'm going to assume it's supposed to look like that and that the mold isn't that big of a deal and if that's not the case, I've decided I don't want you to tell me about it.  

I'm jealous of the snow in the northeast.  It's been a lot of years since we've had that sort of snowfall here in the Ohio Valley, and man o man, how exciting when we do get it!  I know it's a pain in the ass and it causes nothing but trouble for a lot of people, so I guess it sort of makes me an asshole when I say 'but it's so much fun! and it's so pretty!'.  Sorry.  I don't mean to be an asshole, I just really like snow.  That's one of the few things I miss from the 3 winters I spent in Michigan; but then again, it didn't really shut things down up there the way it does down here, so most of my memories of lots of snow don't involve much inconvenience.  There was that one time when we got 6" in 2 hours; that caused some problems on the roads and it took 3 hours to drive the 20 miles home that afternoon.  And there was that time we got that huge ice storm and the world was shut down for 3 days; the electric was out and it was 40 degrees in the main part of our apartment, but our water heater was gas, so after spending our days huddled together under a blanket playing cards, the ex husband and I ran the hot water in the shower in our master bathroom - the steam knocked enough of the chill from the air that we were able to get to sleep and being under every blanket we owned meant we could sleep through the nights without shivering.  But ice storms are a horse of a different color and happen here too, and to be frank, fuck some ice.  Ice is an asshole.  

But maybe I should shut up.  It looks like they really got slammed up there.  And damn, the poor people stuck in the airports.  I wouldn't wish that on anyone.  I just want snow, man.  Just a little?  Maybe just on my yard?  

Gas is $3.15 a gallon here this morning.  As if I needed more encouragement to not leave my house.  

Jimi marinated some beef for jerky last night, and today we'll be trying out that new dehydrator for the first time.  How exciting! 

It's now a quarter after 8, and I still can't get on the server.  

And I'm hungry.  Very hungry.  We need milk.  Being low on milk or !gasp! out of milk makes me feel so limited in my breakfast options.  There's not enough milk for cereal, and while there's enough to make oatmeal, there's not enough for a glass to drink.  Who can eat oatmeal without a glass of milk on the side?  Crazy talk.  I could fix an egg or two and some bacon and toast, but gosh that seems like a lot of work, and besides, then we're back to that whole not enough milk for a full glass and that's lame.  

Good Lord, am I really blogging about my breakfast dilemma?  I'm sorry about that.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I need some help with a cheese problem.

I bought some Brie at the Farmer's Market two and a half or so weeks ago.  I don't eat much Brie; I've probably only had it a handful of times.  But we (Angie and I) tasted the cheese before we bought it, and it was delicious.

But that was two and a half weeks ago.  And I'm only just opening the package and considering having it as a little snack.

 

And I don't know what it's supposed to look like. 

I get that it was aged 60 days, but there's no expiration date on the package?  
Does that mean it's good forever?




What if there's a little spot of mold?  Think it's still safe to eat?  


I don't know if you can see it, but it's there.


Is the rind supposed to look like this?  

And my biggest question:

Is it supposed to make my fingers smell like puppy breath?



What say thee, Internet?  Safe to eat?  

Please say yes.  

You know I already ate some.  

(You knew that, right?  Of course you did.)  


Okay, Christmas is over.  I can start blogging again.  

Thursday was Jimi's birthday, and then we hosted Jimi's family on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day was spent at my Momma's before finishing the night (passing out) at Karen's.  So.  Much.  Fun.  All of it; it was all wonderful and happy and exactly what holidays are supposed to be.  

Yesterday, I recovered.  Literally, as I'd had way too much wine on Christmas. 

And now vacation has officially begun. We visited with Rick this afternoon, and tonight we'll be making fruit leather and dried fruit with Jimi's new food dehydrator.  I've got billing and emails that need my attention before I hit the hay tonight, too.  

I'm trying to form a "year in review" type post; it's been a full one, and I'll want it to look back on some day.  But then I think, "Isn't this blog already a review of my world?"  Maybe a review post is redundant.  Oh well; I'll figure it out.  



Sunday, December 26, 2010

A few more Christmas pictures...





What a Christmas!

The last three days have been so much fun, so full of love and laughter and joy; I'm hungover and broke and exhausted and my house is a wreck, but I can't stop smiling.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I got a new camera!

To celebrate my excitement, here's a picture of a half-eaten piece of cake:


God bless us every one.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One last picture...

Our Peanuts nativity, under our Christmas tree.

My night in photos

The Cake:

(The candles are supposed to make a "39".  Lame, right?  I tried.)


The Meatloaf:
(I assume it's edible.)


And, finally, The Christmas Tree...or what's passing for one in our home this year:
(This is our "love tree".  It's a hibiscus that Jimi bought me 3 years ago.  It was half-dead and only cost $5.  It's very happy these days.  You can't see it, but there's a huge bloom on the very top.  It's acting as our angel.  Until it wilts and falls off tomorrow, at least.)

This may have disaster written all over it.

Jimi's either going to think I'm the best girlfriend ever or he's going to decide once and for all that women shouldn't cook.

I've made him a birthday cake, but I tried something new, and in retrospect, maybe his birthday cake wasn't the ideal time to start experimenting with new recipes.  If it sucks, I've got plenty of stuff to make a backup cake, but that would be sad.

Yesterday, our friend Andee brought Kim and I an amazing spread for lunch - a picnic basket full of goodies; grapes, green apples, caramel dip, strawberries, de-boned rotisserie chicken, crackers, almonds, hummus, a thermos full of apple cider - I mean, it was crazy.  She also brought two tins full of chocolate muffins, but these weren't just any chocolate muffins; they were made with only 2 ingredients - devils food cake mix and a can of pumpkin.  And they were delicious.  She made an offhand comment: "you can use any cake mix..."

So I made a cake with butter pecan cake mix and a can of pumpkin.  And I frosted it with cream cheese icing.  And I lined up pecans along the edges.  And I used those little sugar letters to spell out "Happy Birthday Jimi" and "I love you old fart" and then made a "39" out of the candles.

I hope it doesn't taste like poo.

I've got a meatloaf ready to go into the oven, too.  I don't eat meatloaf (I think I've mentioned that maybe?), but Alton Brown apparently does and so I used his recipe.  I hope it doesn't taste like poo.

I've got the potatoes cut and ready to boil for mashing.  The peas will only take a few minutes to steam, I'm assuming.

Only thing left to do is wait for the birthday boy to get home.

Oh, and I'm still not finished with my Christmas shopping.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Vacation to Meeee!!!!

I only get to take a full week off work once a year, between Christmas and New Year, and only because our office is always closed at least 2 of the 5 days that week.  I've got one of those jobs where I'm pretty much the only one who can do it; I can be out for a day or two, but three is pushing it and forget about 4 or 5 in a row.  Billing must be done every day, and I've not yet (in 2.5 years) found the time to train someone else on how to do it.  Kim could totally handle it, but there's never time to show her.  Rick has asked me to show him, but again, who's got the free hour or so it would take? So the boss is willing to let billing go for a couple of days, but then I'm also responsible for all order entry, all production scheduling, all dispatch.  When I'm out, Rick handles the dispatch and limps his way through the order taking (mostly he takes notes so I can enter the orders when I return) and I always have production schedules printed in advance.  It takes a lot of effort to miss work, yo.  And it's always a nightmare when I return.  (But I'm not going to think about that right now.)

As of 5 o'clock EST today, I'm on vacation until 1/3/11.  That's like...a lot of days.  I'm so happy I could pee.


(Okay, today is the last day of our financial month, so I have to go in Monday or Tuesday and get all the tickets so I can do the final billing of the year.  But I can bring that work home and do it while I'm drinking a beer, so it only sorta counts as work.  I'm also planning to take some time next week to catch up on some projects.  I can drink beer while I do that too.  It's not so bad.)

Tomorrow is Jimi's 39th birthday.  I'm making meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas for his birthday dinner.  He doesn't know it, but I'm also going to make him a cake.  And I've got him a cool present.  But the meatloaf is the biggest deal; I don't eat meatloaf.  In fact, fuck meatloaf.  But baby loves it and misses it, so I'm going to make him one.  I'll probably fix myself a little pizza or something.  I certainly will not be eating meatloaf.  I hope it doesn't turn out badly - how in the world are you supposed to make and judge the quality of a meal if you find it repulsive and nasty in it's best incarnation?  Oh well.  He'll be kind and tell me he loves it even if it's awful.  He loves me that much.

Between the cake and the dinner, I've also got to clean the house and finish my Christmas shopping.  We're hosting his family for Christmas Eve, and while I'm not ashamed to have most of my friends see the hair-covered and shoe-strewn floors, or the sink full of dishes, or the random bullshit that never seems to find a home because I don't think it has a home, I will not have Jimi's family over for the first time to see our house so lived-in.  I will have it neat and tidy and spotless.  It's only right. 

Then on Saturday, we'll be at my parents' house first thing, bright and early.  I'm worried about my Momma and Daddy; I hope they're not too sad.  I hope their Christmas isn't ruined.  I hope brother's absence doesn't create a vacuum that sucks all of the fun and celebration out of the day.  Aunt Pam will be there; she's always a good time.  Especially if she drinks.  

Goodness, just thinking about the next few days exhausts me.  It seems like a lot; I'll need the break next week.  





A 3-day work week sounds awesome in theory.  In reality, it's rushed and busy and frustrating.  Especially if you're trying to prepare your desk for your vacation-induced absence. 

I have more.  I'll tell you it later. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My first phone call from jail.

My brother called this afternoon.  I wanted to cry; from happiness at hearing his voice, from relief that he's okay.  

He sounds good.  He sounds level-headed and clear and he makes sense when he talks.  He acknowledges his past mistakes.  He sees the error of his ways.

For now, at least.

He's not scared, he's not miserable, he's not in danger.  He feels lucky to be where he is and not somewhere worse.  He knows he screwed up and that he has to do his time.  (Those really are his words.)

I feel so relieved.  To know he's not suffering, that maybe he'll make the right choices next time he has choices to make, that he can think clearly when his mind isn't all fucked up with drugs.

Oh please let this be the last time.

Gluttony makes it hard to sleep.

We had our office Christmas dinner last night; the boss treated us all to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.  If you've never heard of it, it's a hoity toity fancy restaurant on top of the Kaden Tower here in town.  They've got the best steaks around, according to their reputation.

The food was good.  I had a crab-stuffed mushroom (there were 4 in the serving and I was supposed to be splitting them with Kim, but one was enough) and a bowl of their lobster bisque.  The bisque had wonderful pieces of lobster meat in it, but the stuff they make every Friday at The Bodega at Felice downtown is better, in my humble opinion.  For my main course, I followed the boss and his wife and ordered the Petite Filet, an 8 ounce filet mignon, and had it topped with bleu cheese.  I should've held off on the bleu cheese - the steak was probably better without it.  The meat was cooked to perfection and was melt-in-your-mouth tender.  I ordered the vegetable/potato trio as my side - I chose asparagus with hollandaise sauce, augratin potatoes, and onion rings for Jimi, who was much wiser than I and only ordered one side.  I didn't even try the potatoes - I was too focused on the meat and there just wasn't room for both.  The asparagus disappointed me.  It was room temperature and limp and the hollandaise sauce was served on the side, so I just dipped my limp spears.  It was tasty, but for an $8 serving of asparagus, I would've at least expected some heat and char marks or something; something more than limp and cold.  But whatever. 

For dessert Kim and I split their version of banana creme pie, and it was delicious, with caramelized bananas on top.  It also was the only part of the meal that was served in a manner that hinted at presentation - the rest of the food was brought out in small plain white casserole-like dishes with no garnish.  The pie was served in a large white bowl; around the rim, they caramelized sugar to make a cool textured pattern. 

Of course, I am very much a monkey-see, monkey-do sort of gal, so when the boss and his wife ordered a pot of coffee and were brought a Bodum press-pot full of delicious, Jimi and I had to order one of our own.  I had the dumb, though, and ordered regular rather than decaf.  I don't know what I was thinking - it was already 9 o'clock at night. 

We left the restaurant in a food-induced cloud of fat and happy, trying desperately to stave off the food coma that was threatening to engulf us all.  OMG, SO MUCH FOOD.

When we got back to my place, Kim and I decided the night wasn't quite over yet, so we hung out and gabbed and drank a few beers and talked about how a dinner that expensive should at least include a sprig of parsely or two for presentation's sake.  We're catty bitches, yes; and ungrateful too.  Okay, not really; it was the first time we'd been to this place, and after hearing it hyped up for years and years about how amazing the food is...well, it just wasn't quite what I'd expected.  It was delicious and the atmosphere was fantastic, it just wasn't as mind-blowing as I'd been told it would be.  I'm still very appreciative to the boss and the company for treating us so generously. 

Anyhow, so after Kim left for her home, it was after midnight and I was ready to crash.  I fell asleep pretty quickly, but then I woke up at 3 or so and never really went back to sleep.  Stoopid coffee.  Stoopid full belly.  I wasn't the only one; Kim is dragging ass today too - she shared some of our non-decaf coffee too, and says she didn't fall asleep until after 3.  I don't think she realized it was regular, because who orders regular coffee at 9 o'clock at night?  I'm sorry, Kimmie.

So another office holiday party has come and gone, and I didn't even get drunk and dance on a table.  There's always next year.  I'll try harder next year.  :)

Calendar Wisdom

~  Anyone can admit to themselves they were wrong - the true test is admitting it to someone else.

~  To generalize is to be an idiot.

~  Wear the right costume and the part plays itself.

~  Honesty has ruined more marriages than infidelity.

~  Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

If you're reading this tripe regularly, you may remember how I mentioned at 6:45ish or so on Friday morning that there were bunches of parties happening this weekend and I was feeling the need to be social so I was going to go to some of them.  I didn't.  (I know, let's all act surprised together...ready...GO!)

We had dinner at Tumbleweed (of all places) with Stacy and Jessie Friday night.  I say "of all places" because Jimi and I promised each other we'd never eat there again because, well, it sucks balls.  (Why do we say things like "it sucks balls" or "you suck!" or "cocksucker!" like they're insults?  In reality, most men I know adore cocksuckers, and they mostly enjoy a little attention to their balls too...I'm just sayin'.  Maybe we as a society need to reconsider and revamp our slurs.  I tried to start a trend where I said "that's so gay!" any time something was awesome, but people mostly just looked at me funny and then turned away, so I figured it wasn't going to catch on quickly and I should probably stop before people stopped talking to me altogether.)  Anyhow, we don't eat at Tumbleweed; it's just not what we do.  But we did, and much to my pleasant surprise, it was good.  I had a steak and a baked potato for $8, and both were tasty and better than I'd expected.  The flavor and enjoyment of my $8 meal may or may not have been improved greatly by good company and a $6 top-shelf margarita...but then again, isn't everything?

The puppies are ready for their new homes and so Jimi and I have been reminded that if we're taking a puppy, we need to get on with it and pick the one we want before they all find new homes and we're left with one less desirable or none at all.  As if there's a such thing as a less-desirable puppy; they're all so freakin' cute and sweet.  I'm in love with no fewer than 3 of the 5 remaining pups, and I don't know how I'll ever decide between them.  Mostly I'm waiting for Jimi to fall in love with one in particular so that can be our new baby that we bring home and make part of our happy little family.  He's a pretty good judge of people; I can't see why it would be any different when it comes to judging dogs.  He picked Finn, after all.

Hey, i know this is going to shock the hell out of you, but we planned on cleaning up the house on Saturday and then didn't.  I know, be still your heart and all that.  What we did do was go to McAlister's for lunch (where I had baked potato #2 just over 12 hours after I'd eaten #1 - I really should try to expand my palate), then shopped at Target for what felt like a hundred kadrillion years.  Jimi made me wander the store and do my own thing while he picked up stocking stuffers for me, because heavenfreakinforbid we actually do shit apart from one another like Christmas Shopping.  Anyhow, I did manage to check one thing off my not-ever-going-to-get-smaller-if-I-don't-start-buying-more-than-one-thing-at-a-time list.  So now my Christmas shopping is still not done, but at least it's a little less not-done than it was on Friday.

Saturday evening we were invited to several parties, but alas our(my) anti-social tendencies won out.  Besides, we'd been trying to get together with Brennan and Tiffany for weeks and it just never worked; this weekend it did, so they came over with the intention of playing Gloom.  The cards got shuffled and the players sorted, but we never actually dealt a hand or played a game; instead I made (then, as previously mentioned, burned) a batch of blondies, we gabbed about relationships and gossiped about friends, we drank coffee and ate little chocolate and vanilla wafer cookies our guests had brought to share, we laughed and shared stories and told tales.  Brennan used to be over almost every weekend and now we go months without breaking bread together; it's always good to spend time catching up.

HP7.1 was entertaining, even if I did get a little bored and wonder "is it over yet?" a time or two.  I hate cliff-hangers.  I want it all, and I want it now - just call me Veruca Salt.

James brought the bunnies and I fed them carrots (the ones I bought at the farmer's market last Saturday and let go limp in the 'crisper') and petted them and then Stacy came and took them away to her home where they're going to be killed and turned into dinner.  I shouldn't have petted them.  Poor bunnies.

I only have to work three days this week, then I'm off until 1/3/11.  (I'm not counting the fact that I'll have to come in the Tuesday after Christmas to do billing as actual "work", as I'm going to pick up the paperwork and take it home with me to complete.  If I don't have to put on a bra and answer phone calls it doesn't count as an actual work day.  That's the rule in my head.)  Oh, I hope this week is not a bitch.



So.  Many.  Words.

Hope your week is a good one!

What's your favorite Beatles album?

The History Channel is showing some sort of Beatles somethingorother.  I'm enjoying the music; they're as far as Revolver, which happens to be my personal favorite.  Well, it's probably tied with the first album of the White Album, but Revolver was my first favorite and so will always hold a special place in my heart.

My Daddy planted and cultivated and grew my love for his favorite band from the time I was born.  The Beatles still have more photos on the walls of the family room in my parents home than do actual family members.  The day I told Daddy I wanted his collection if he ever tired of it or, Heaven forbid, died, I could hear his smile through the phone.  "I'd wondered and worried what would happen to it, to be honest with you, Nat.  I'm glad it'll go to a good home."

I don't mean to make my Daddy sound like a kook - he's not.  He's quiet and strong and somber and dignified and reserved and observant and respectful.  When his guard is down, and he's relaxed and comfortable and at ease, he's hilarious and a brilliant story-painter.  I say painter rather than teller because he paints the whole picture for you - the weather conditions and the smells in the air and the clouds in the sky and the political climate of the time - he tells the WHOLE story. He's a romantic.  He's fun and non-judgmental and moral and good and kind and gentle and wise.

The Beatles is something I try to use to bond with him.  He's so hard to know; he's so reserved with his personal feelings and thoughts most of the time, it's hard to find a way to open him up and get him talking.  Even when we don't know how to say anything to each other, though, we can talk about the Beatles; which of the newly remastered CDs we still need to collect (we're buying them together, to share, because we're geeks like that), a new cover we've recently heard, the Dirty Mac recordings that I only recently discovered.  I guess it's an extension of that universal truth that says something about music traversing all languages; for us, the Beatles can open a dialog that leads to deeper conversations and topics we don't otherwise know how to broach.

So I love the Beatles, in a way that branches off from the deep, bare-bones part of my soul that loves my Daddy.  The two separate entities will forever be joined together in my mind.  And this music, this brilliant, vibrant, makes-me-want-to-sing-and-dance-and-smile music - it resonates inside me and takes me back to the days of innocence and happiness of my childhood, and I don't think that will ever go away.  I will always smile and think of my Daddy when I hear "Yellow Submarine" or "Get Back" or "Yesterday".

All you need is love.

Easy like Sunday Morning.

Sometimes I put titles on my blog entries before I start writing them, like as a guide to help me stay on target and take this where I want it to go.  Usually I just start typing and then, if it's not complete tripe and has a general theme, I'll figure out a title after I'm done writing.  "Easy like Sunday Morning"...That was there before this part was, and I'm about 98% certain I've used that title before.  I do that; I repeat myself all the time.  I'm like a loop of the same words over and over and over again, the same stories, the same emotions, the same random ridiculousness.

We bought a pummelo yesterday.  It's spelled "pummelo" on the little sticker on the fruit, but the internet says it's supposed to be spelled "pomelo", so we'll go with that.  Neither of us knows anything about this; according to Wikipedia it's like a sweet grapefruit.  Hmm. I guess we'll see.  We don't know how to tell if it's ripe, so I hope we don't do it wrong.

We're going to see Harry Potter 7.1 this morning.  YAY!  I don't like to see movies in the theater, but for the HP movies I'm willing to make exceptions...assuming we're able to go at matinĂ©e prices, of course.  I should be showering but instead I'm writing.  This will end poorly.

James is bringing over eatin' rabbits this afternoon.  They will be alive, though - we're getting them for a friend of Jessie & Stacy's, whose grandfather is dying and wanted a meal of fried rabbit before he dies.  Jessie said he'd take care of the killin', skinnin', preppin' parts.  I don't want anything to do with any of it.  In my world, rabbits are for pettin', not eatin'.  But whatever.

I made blondies last night and burnt them.  That'll piss you right the fuck off.  Now I just want to say screw it to the whole Christmas baking thing, but we spent a million dollars on chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk and if I don't produce some edible deliciousness Jimi's gonna have something to say about it.  Ho ho ho

I have to go shower.  This entry sucks and doesn't deserve a title, but I'll try harder next time.  Happy Sunday!

I love this cat.

See the tongue?  He does that when he's particularly happy with the petting you've been giving him.  

Friday, December 17, 2010

TGIF and all that jazz

There's a lot that has to happen this weekend; Christmas shopping needs to be finished, decorating can't be put off any longer, the house needs to be cleaned in preparation for Jimi's family coming over on Christmas Eve.  There are also a million parties and I feel like I need to go out and be social; I will probably feel different when it comes to actually dressing and leaving the house.

Just a random observation:  It would be hard to be a television morning show personality, especially thanks to the invention of HDTV.  They have to be pretty and perfect all the time.  Or is it all makeup?  I'd be all, "Good morning!  (Please don't mind that big zit on my chin.  His name is George.) We have an update on the Royal Wedding..."

I'm so glad the weekend is here.  Jimi's been practically begging me to make bread with him for weeks now; I've got to make that happen for him.  He wants to make a bunch of dough and freeze it.  I don't know what my objection is beyond I'm lazy and I don't want to get up off my ass.  I want to bake cookies and maybe make some fudge, too; I need little things to gift to some folks at work, and I've got no money to buy beer or lottery tickets for them, so I'll have to feed the sweet tooth instead.

I'm hungry.  And OH SHIT I just realized today is my boss's birthday and I'm supposed to stop on my way to work and pick up some stuff and things.  Gotta go.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I don't mean to be such a downer.

I guess I'm a little blue.  The holidays do that to me sometimes.  I start missing Granny, and Papaw, and childhood, and the magic of the season when I was little.  And I want it all to be perfect but I know I can't make it perfect and I get so overwhelmed and so I start to think "why bother".

Oh, wait, but here comes Jimi-claus.  Who answers my off-the-cuff inquiry ("wanna start trying to get pregnant this month?") with a "huh? i thought we had some things we wanted to work on first before we did that?, and you said you didn't want to be pregnant through the summer."  "I don't care about any of that," I reply.  Maybe there was a hint of begging in my voice; or maybe that was just in my head.  "Okay" he says, like it's nothing.  I blink.  "Yeah?"  Like maybe he's going to say he's just kidding.  I tell him I can't stop thinking about it; I want a baby.  He tells me he doesn't have that drive that I do, but he gets it, he knows where I'm coming from, he understands, he's cool with it; he loves me, even if I have crazy biological-clock-hormones raging through my body.

I feel calmer.  I feel adored.  I feel blessed.

Hidden things

We went searching for Christmas decorations in our house last night.  We found the LED lights Jimi put around the front porch last year, but no wreath and certainly no ornaments.  Rats.  We'll try again tonight, I guess.

We did find a lot of other cool stuff, though; stuff we mostly hadn't seen since it was boxed up in our old home in preparation for the move to this, the new home.  A box in the basement had been packed before I left El Paso in early 2006, I believe.  It held a treasure-trove of leftovers from my late teen years and early 20s; a few stuff animals, 2 old bottles of perfume, one I'd never wear again and one that was nearly full because I'd never really worn it - Jimi decided he likes the smell AND the bottle on that one, so I guess I'll have a new scent for a while; costume jewelry worn at prom and military balls; old cassette tapes (Milli Vanilli!!!  And Phil Collins!!!); a potpourri burner I remember "borrowing" from my Momma's kitchen counter; the old, heavy, silver-plated brush/comb/mirror set that was given to me as a child; a pink mesh wire basket in the shape of a pig (Jimi said, "You should take this to work!" and I said "You're only saying that because you want it out of your house!" and he said "You're right!!!" and we laughed and laughed because it was true); a couple of gold-plated rings my grandmothers gave me; a cheap cocktail ring that was my mother's that I'm pretty sure I may have lifted from her jewelry box once-upon-a-time.

I found old letters, too, from Kat, and a few cards she'd sent me.  I opened one up and started to read it; Jimi saw me and said "Is that from Kat?"  I affirmed that it was.  "You sure you want to read it?"  He knows me.  So well.  "You're right.  I don't."  I closed it up and put it back in the box, on top of the others.  I won't throw them away; not yet.  I'm not there yet.  Maybe I'll never be there.  Throwing them away is so permanent; yet another attachment to struggle with.

Speaking of Kat, I had a realization the other day:  you know, she had a lot of crazy shit going on in her head too, I bet.  Between coming home from a year in Kuwait, the boy disappearing from her life immediately thereafter, the craziness that is her family all the time - girlfriend had some shit going on.  And of course, because I'm a selfish fool and usually only focus on myself, I never once considered anything about where she may have been; I knew that I wanted to go out and I wanted to have a good time and I was in the middle of a divorce and I didn't want to spend my nights sitting around scrapbooking and I wanted to go out and meet new men and party and I and I and I, I, I...

I had this boyfriend once; his name was Charles.  Charles was my BFF long before we were anything beyond just friends.  I fell in love with him, and I fell HARD.  And when things fell apart for us, I hurt and missed him for, literally, years.  We were only a couple for a few short months, but it was at least 5 years before I stopped thinking about him every day. 

It feels like that with Kat, too.  I know we aren't meant to be and that it isn't going to work between us, but that doesn't stop me from missing the happiness and joy and light she brought to my life for the...god, how long was it?...15 years we were best friends.  I think about her all the time; I dream about her at least weekly.  I miss her.  I have girlfriends, plenty of them, but none like her; none that I've laughed with so much, none that I've told all my secrets to, none that can finish my sentences, none whose sentences I can finish, none with such a history.  It feels like there's an empty space in my heart. 

~~~~~~~~~~~

Damn.  That's not where I intended to go with this.  I intended to write about how after we emptied that box in the basement, we moved to the closet in the front bedroom upstairs, where we found the lights that went on the porch last year and did not find the wreath, but we did find an old family photo album of Jimi's, which we're going to transfer into an acid-free album.  Holy shit, we may even scrapbook some of the photos!  My favorite find of the night, though, were 7 new-to-me books I purchased at the Book & Music Exchange shortly before we moved last year.  They'd been packed into a box and forgotten about; I have new things to read and this makes me a happy girl. 

Now if we could just find the Christmas stuff...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's all about perspective.

A co-worker found out today that he has two large polyps growing in his brain.  Apparently he's been having trouble with dizziness and lightheadedness for about a year, and two weeks ago decided to finally have himself checked out medically.  The MRI reading was this afternoon; he drove straight to the office to pick up his short-term disability and FMLA paperwork.  He goes back to the doctor the first week of January to discuss the surgery that will be required to remove the tumors.  He stood in my office, a 37 year old man-child, fighting to keep the moisture in his wide eyes from spilling down his cheeks, the terror written plainly on his face thanks to the tough-guy act he was trying to play, and he said to me, "It's not cancer, though.  They would've had to tell me if it was cancer, right?"

My heart broke.  "They probably don't know what it is, James.  They'll have to biopsy it once they remove it and then they'll know more."

He pursed his lips in that little half-smile of his and nodded his head in that goofy way he does and didn't say anything.  His eyes were so red.

He had an uncle recently die from brain cancer.  Oh, how scared he must be.

He once told me all he wants is a woman who will love him.  "I'll give her anything she wants," he exclaimed. "I'd marry her, give her babies, buy her a house, buy her a car, take her on vacations...I just want to have a girl who cares about me."   In my mind, in that memory, he's so vulnerable, so innocent, so open - scared to death and begging for kindness and companionship and love.  I saw that side of him again today, and again, it broke my heart for him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Again I'm reminded to be thankful for what I've got.  Basic, instinctual, foundation-of-life blessings that I overlook and take for granted every fucking day of my existence.  

But mostly, I'm reminded that every day I need to be kind to every person I meet, everyone with whom I speak.  So many people in this world are so full of hurt and worry and fear and sadness; my goal is to not ever add to that for anyone.  I would take it away from them if I could.   

I have to share this with someone.

I work in a manufacturing environment and we have multiple truck drivers pass through our office each day.  We're sort of off the beaten path, so they often have to call for directions before they find us.  Our administrative assistant handles most of the calls, and she's brilliant at customer service.  She's also in her early twenties, a crazy-snazzy dresser, a super-smart graduate student, and ridiculously cute.  The truck drivers love her.

She fielded a call this morning from a guy coming in to pick up a load of freight.  She was on the phone with him for a while, guiding him to our yard, and he smiled at her when he came into the office finally.  After I directed him to the correct dock, he called back...to ask our assistant to lunch.

She's handled situations like this before.  I actually had to run a guy out of here one afternoon because he wouldn't stop drooling over her through the window.  She also apparently once worked answering phones for an escort service, a job which required her to sometimes provide customer service in the form of phone sex - so she's got some practice thinking on her feet. 

I don't know how long she was on the phone with this guy this morning before Kim yelled over into my office "He's trying to pick her up!" and I tuned in to the conversation happening across the office.  I hear our single, childless assistant saying to the 50-something truck driver who's already admitted to having a daughter only a year younger than his newest conquest,

"Yes, I have three children; a six-week-old, a two-year-old, and a five-year-old." 

That struck me as so funny, especially when the man wasn't phased by her attempt to dodge him.  It took another few minutes and Kim yelling something like "I need those TPS reports STAT!" before our girl was able to shake the guy. 

Now I'm anxiously awaiting his return to the office.  I wonder if he'll ask to see pictures of her babies?  How fun!

What's your scent?

For 12 years, I wore Pleasures, by Estee Lauder, almost exclusively.  It was my scent.  I tried a sample years ago, when I was 15, and a few months later, my boyfriend gave me a bottle of the purfume for my 16th birthday.  He repeated the gesture the next two years, but then we broke up, and Momma took over and started keeping me smelling sweet by giving me a bottle each Christmas.

Something happened a few years ago, though, and she didn't buy it for me anymore.  I've been hoarding the last little travel sprayer I've got; I guess I could go buy my own, but that seems wrong somehow.  Instead, I've been using other scents and trying to find something new that feels like me, now, at this time in my life.

Right now, today, it's The Body Mist, by Body by Victoria.  I smelled it on my Aunt Pam (Happy Birthday!) and loved it, so she gave me the half-bottle she had left.  Jimi wasn't thrilled - he said "I don't want to smell you and think of your Aunt Pam, Nat."  Yeah yeah yeah.  I like the way it smells.

Eucalyptus Spearmint is my alternate scent lately.  It smells so clean; I love it.

What's your scent?  Have you worn it for years, or do you alternate, or do you find a new favorite every few months?  How do you know if you love something enough to drop $40 or $50 on it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bigass bone

This is a picture of the bigass bone I bought for Finn at the Farmer's Market on Saturday.  When I brought it home, it was still covered with some sort of something - gristle, a little meat, a bunch of gross stuff I didn't want to touch - but it's been pretty well stripped by now.  

It is huge and weighs a million pounds.  (That's an ink pen there on the right, for comparison sake.)  

That bit there at the top branching off?  (The part that looks a little naughty in this pic, actually.  Oops.)  It's part of another bone; that's a joint there at the top.  And what I'm pretty sure is a knee-cap of some sort.  It moves.  It reminds me of when you eat crab legs and you can get to that one tendon-thingy that makes the claw move, clasping and unclasping.  This isn't quite as cool as that, but it's still pretty neat. 


Much to my chagrin, Jimi was a bit perturbed with me when I came home with this beauty.  He'd previously issued a moratorium on buying more dog bones; Finn's currently got 2 real ones (one deer, one cow) and a Nylabone in addition to his newest gift, all lying on the floor, waiting for some dumb unsuspecting bare-footed human to tread upon it.  It's like a landmine up in here in the wee dark hours of the morning.  However, I'd mistakenly assumed he meant the moratorium to last THAT DAY, not FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.  Honestly, I didn't even remember about the DONOTBUYBONES order; buying shit for Finn makes me happy, the same as buying shit for Jimi makes me happy.  I wouldn't have dreamed of coming home without a little treat for Jimi on Saturday; that's why I bought the chorizo.  (And I did really enjoy the chili he made with it Sunday night.)  I can't pass up an opportunity to make my puppy happy, too.  Besides, who can remember details like "he has too many already" when faced with the awesomeness that is the bigass bone? 

Oh, and I don't think the quality of my bullshit Blackberry camera would allow it, but please don't zoom in too close to check out the condition of the carpet.  With two hairy animals and a hairy Jimi in the house, we're way overdue on vacuuming.  DON'T JUDGE ME!!!
This is me, taking a calm breath and not screaming. 

This is me, focusing on the good.

This is me, accepting the things I cannot change.

This is me, being strong enough to change what I can.

This is me, being wise enough to know the difference.

Yeah right.

This is me, ready to scream and cry and yell and throw things.  And breaking something would be awesome, too.  I need a box of cheap tile.  It makes the best breaking sounds.

This is my mantra:  It's just a job.  You're lucky to have a job.  All jobs are hard some days.  They pay you a good wage.  You get to wear jeans to work.  Does the dog need to go out?  You should take the dog out and calm down for a minute.  Fuck - the phone is for me AGAIN?!

This is my problem:  I'm too fucking popular at work.  Why does everyone need me for every little blasted thing?  Why does every phone call have to be for me? 

This is my other mantra:  Job security, Natalie.  Being indisposable means you've got job security.

This is me, bitching about job security in a time of 10% unemployment in our Nation.

This is me, taking a deep breath and smiling at the coupons for free breakfast items from Wendy's.  It's the small things, right? 

Yada yada yada...blah blah blah

This getting up early thing rocks.  It's five after 7, and I've eaten breakfast, showered, and moisturized.  I've watched the news (wind chill factor today?  -1.  YAY!  not.), I've caught up on the blogs that were posted after I went to bed last night (at 9, when I fell asleep curled up next to Jimi on the jaxx sac, then again at a quarter to ten, when I woke up and realized I wasn't in bed and had WAY too many clothes on.), I've put on pantyhose (I mentioned the wind chill factor, right?  I'm wearing them under my jeans.  It's effing cold.).

I'm so productive in the wee hours of the a.m.  I really enjoy having this time to chill before I have to go start my crazy day at work; it helps get my head in a good place.  And it's so much less frustrating than tossing and turning and trying to fight for some more sleep between the times of 6 and 7:15, which had become my habit.  That only makes me grumpy and late.

I learned yesterday that my Brother will not be home for Christmas; he's going to be where he's at for at least 90 days, Momma says.  That certainly sucks.  Actually, I'm really bummed.  I miss my brother.  I'm so sad for him that he's having to spend the entire holiday season so far away from those who love him, without any comforts.  No Christmas dinner that Momma spent hours putting together, no presents Christmas morning, no 24 hours of A Christmas Story, no hanging out in the family room with coffee and games and Christmas music.  No guitar-playing, no singing with the family the carols we were taught by Granny and Papaw.  No hugs and I love yous.  I'm so sad for him.  :(

Okay, that bummed me out and now I can't remember all the other stuff I was going to write.

OH!  My little sprouts I posted about last week?  Yeah, they died over the weekend. Apparently they were not able to survive two whole days without watering.  Which seems a little high-maintenance, if you as me, so eff them.  I would be really sad about the loss of this mini-plant, but I was only able to plant like 5 seeds in that teeny tiny pot, so I put the other 83423849 seeds in the dirt of the corn plant - and they've all sprouted and are living happily ever after.  I think they probably need more sun, but they seem to be doing okay.  That corn plant tolerates anything - Finn buried a bone in it once:

A few weeks ago, it sprouted a mushroom.  And now, the little sprouts.  (I don't know what they are - I bought them at the Target, in the dollar bins - and they're supposed to be little green leaves with little white flowers.  I've only got sprouts with tiny little leaves right now.)

I want coffee.  Good coffee.  Have I mentioned it's cold here?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm not a crybaby, I'm passionate.

How often do you cry at work? 

I'm a crier; I cry at weddings, at funerals, at baby showers, during sappy movies, during a sappy scene in a bloody movie, in response to a particularly warm jewelry commercial, when a baby is born on TLC's A Baby Story.  I cry when I laugh really hard, I cry when I'm super happy.  I cry sometimes because I'm bored, literally, to tears. 

But at work?  You're not supposed to cry at work.  It's like baseball.

I cry at work all the time.  It's gotten better - we're down to maybe 3 times a month; when I was promoted to this position in May of 2008, I cried daily for the first 6 months.  Not because anyone was mean to me (well, not EVERY time at least), or because anyone called me names or because someone yelled at me - this isn't that sort of environment or that sort of place.  I cry because I'm frustrated.  I cry because no one seems to take things as seriously as I do.  I cry because it feels, a lot of the time, like I'm banging my head against the wall.  That's my excuse, at least.  That's my reasoning. 

The truth is, I'm emotional and I have a hard time holding those tears back, even though crying at work is the absolute last thing I want to do.  I'll feel them coming on and I'll will them to stay back, but they ignore my wants and spill over anyhow.  I'll be trying so hard to look and act the part I've been picked to play, but my eyes will start leaking and betray me.  My boss is used to it - I don't even feel embarrassed or awkward when I trickle all over myself in front of him anymore.  I try to keep it hidden from my non-office co-workers; they're not the sort that cry at work or the sort to understand and tolerate well when they've got a crybaby in their midst. 

The Boss keeps reminding me that I need to "pause when agitated", "take a deep breath", "don't react with your emotions".  He's right.  Oh, but it's SO hard!  I tell him this, and he says "Try harder".  Okay, boss.  I'll try harder to not care so much, to not be so passionate about my work.  I'll try harder.  :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to the Farmer's Market I Go...

I went to the Farmer's Market with Angie yesterday.  She facebook-messaged me out of the blue Friday afternoon and so we made a date for 8 a.m. Saturday.  I'd never been to a farmer's market before - it was everything I dreamed of and more.  I expected the potatoes and squash and the free-range eggs and maybe even the apples, but I was pleasantly surprised by the turnips and cabbage and carrots and pork and chicken and beef and cheese...oh, the cheese!

I'd planned on taking $20 from the ATM, but I followed Angie's lead and pulled $60 instead. I'm pretty sure Angie went home with nearly $20; I have a single, solitary dollar bill left in my wallet.  I don't care, though; I got a hell of a bounty:

one pound of chorizo sausage
a dozen farm-fresh, free-range jumbo eggs
two turnips
two pounds new red potatoes
three bulbs of garlic
a head of cabbage
a bunch of carrots
a round of fresh goat cheese
a wedge each of brie, aged cheddar, and smoked gouda
And a bigass bone for Finn-dog

The cheeses were the most expensive, of course, but man, I love cheese.  Cheese is my favorite.

They gather every Saturday, and next on my shopping list will be beef, bacon, mushrooms, and local honey.  (Local honey can help prevent allergies - have you heard that?  I'd like to test the theory.)  And this is just the winter harvest!  I can only imagine what next summer will bring.

This makes my inner hippie so happy.

I'm a bitch.

It's not easy to write about being a bitch.  I want to have this thing as a place I can record all my crazy, even the sort that puts me in a not-so-good light, but it's not easy to write things that I know make me ugly.

Our good friend and former roommate called with news Friday night.  She's 28 weeks pregnant.  Allow me to take this moment to remind you that she just found out she's pregnant like 2 weeks ago; we'd thought she was maybe 20 weeks.  PANIC.  7 months without prenatal care, 7 months without vitamins, 7 months without watching her diet, 7 months without abstaining from all those poisons we put in our bodies - be it alcohol or Ibuprofen.

But her baby, thank goodness, is healthy and right on track to make an appearance in late February.  And it's a Girl!

And I am jealous as hell, and I can't make it stop.

I'm happy for her, please don't misunderstand that.  I'm scared for her and excited for her and hopeful for her.

But I want what she has and it makes my heart hurt if I think about it too much.

I keep telling myself that it will come to us, all in good time.  I remind myself that I don't want to experience a third trimester in the humid, sweltering, Ohio Valley summer (which is what would happen if I got pregnant now).  I say, "Well, I want to be able to canoe in May, and I can't do that if I'm pregnant."  I list all my blessings (see: previous entry re: my ridiculous jealousy), I remind myself that I already have so much, I remember that I don't need anything more in my life to be happy.

Oh, but I want, I want, I want.

I've got to get over this.  I've got to stop coveting things that aren't mine.  I've got to stop feeling as though I've been cheated by the Universe.  I've got to accept that life goes on, and that the pregnancies of others are not a direct attack on me or the Universe's way of punishing me; they have nothing to do with me.  Successful, happy pregnancies are the way it's supposed to be, and one day it will be my turn too.

I think the biggest contributing factor to my insanity is the fear that something will be wrong; I'll have scarred tubes or Jimi's sperm count will be low or my womb will turn out to be an inhospitable wasteland.  If I could just have some reassurance that yes, one day it WILL be our turn, then maybe I'd not freak out so much and turn quite so green every time someone announces a pregnancy or birth or first birthday party.  It's the fear that that one pregnancy was a one-time fluke that never should've happened; that we'll fall into the world of infertility...and, well, that scares the shit out of me.

I hate the way I sound.  I hate complaining and whining and bitching.  I had one miscarriage, after an unplanned, unexpected pregnancy, and now it feels like my desire to have a baby is consuming me.  I can't write this without feeling like an asshole; I read blogs every day written by women who have lived my worse fears - learning they'll never carry a pregnancy to term, or having miscarriage after miscarriage, or trying for months and months and months with no results and no financial means to seek medical advice.  I know this shouldn't invalidate my feelings or my concerns, but it certainly makes me feel a little melodramatic.

But I can't help the way I feel.  And until I get pregnant again, until I hear that baby's heartbeat, until I see its image on the ultrasound screen, until I give birth to a perfect little blend of me and Jimi, I'm probably going to keep feeling this way every time someone announces a pregnancy, a birth, a first birthday.  But I promise, I'm trying to get better at hiding it.  I'm trying so hard.

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