Sunday, December 31, 2006

Welcome, Baby!

A hearty round of congratulations go out to Halloweenlover and her hubby! Their long-awaited first child was born on December 28! Their son, Gabriel, was 7lbs, 3 oz; 19.5 inches long, and arrived at 1:15 pm.

Many good wishes go out to the Halloweenlover clan! Kisses to baby Gabe from all of his internet aunties!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Where Has The Time Gone?

It's been a week since I last posted? Are you sure? Hm. {Wondering if the readers will buy the "I was in a fugue state from all the hoopla of the holidays" excuse, or if I should just own up to the truth and tell them I ate one too many holidays meals and treats, and have been hibernating like a big 'ol bear? Whatever.}

Okay, so we survived the holidays. JF and Offspring were neck-and-neck in the "who got more toys" department, but the fact that Offsping has a birthday in less than 2 weeks puts her ahead of her father in theory.

We got some wonderful presents: I was given a wonderful squooshy new chair for my craft room that lets me craft in comfort! No more waffle-weave impressions on my behind! Yay! (Or was that more information than you were actually looking for?) I got some great silicone bakewear, a nice new scrapbook tote (and some much-drooled-over attendant supplies), and one of those superspiffy teeny little iPod shuffles.

Juggling Freak got a radio-controlled R2D2, and he's been over the moon, trying to program Artoo into a miniature butler. He also got some games that he'd been coveting, and some Star Wars figurines. He also got two more juggling clubs, so he's quite happy that he can now get on to practicing his four- and five-club juggling.

Offspring got this huge dollhouse that she had been lusting after, an American Girl Doll, some Nintendo DS games, some new clothes, and a pile of other stuff. And it's not over yet -- her birthday will be here before we know it.

In other news, I've been working very hard on my big project for my wonderful Secret Santa spoilee. I am so excited! I just can't wait! I plan to box everything up tonight, and head out for the post office tomorrow. (In addition to going to the library for a book for Offspring's social science fair project and to the mall to exchange her too-small boots that were a gift from her grandmother....)

And at some point, I've got to ditch her and go buy one or two more presents for her birthday....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yet Another Holiday Meme

Old Lady (who is not as "old" as she'd like to portray herself!) had this sweet little meme up at her place. I saw this a few days back, and figured I would feel no shame at all in stealing and ruthlessly copying it here.

I'm sure that OL wouldn't mind a bit if you all played along!

Favorite Seasonal Movie- Got to be "A Christmas Story." Of course, I'm not going to go in for the 24-hour love-fest that TBS does every year, but I do love it.

Song You Most Enjoy This Time of Year- I have a CD I've been listening to at school, and in my car, and I think it's absolutely breathtaking -- "Mary's Song (Breath of Heaven)" by Amy Grant.

Holiday Greeting- I use them all. I say whatever is appropriate to people, if I know their affiliation.

Decorate, inside, outside - Inside, with a passion! I'm not on the scale of my mother yet, but she has much more experience than I do at the collecting and displaying. :) We normally do decorate outside, but we didn't this year. Not by design, I just think we ran out of time.

Do you make a list, if so how many people are on it? Lots. There's Offspring and JF, naturally, and all of our parents (and their spouses), my grandmother, my nephew and JF's little four-year old cousin, my brother, JF's brother and his wife, coworkers, Secret Santas....the list goes on and on....

How up to the last minute do you shop? I like to be done in a reasonable amount of time. I finished up on Dec. 16th this year, and that was cutting it close for me. I hate the actual shopping part -- the mall when it's not crowded is a little slice of awful for me, so it's like hell personified during the holidays. I would much rather spend the time up until Christmas making gifts, which is what I'm doing now.

When do you open your gifts? It depends. We typically go to my mother's house on Christmas Eve, where we open all of our gifts then. We have our own family opening on Christmas Day here at our house, and then about 1pm or so, we head over to JF's mother's house for Christmas with her. We fit in our fathers whenever we can. My dad lives out of state, so the time varies with him -- sometimes we go there, and most times he gets his gifts when he comes down here to celebrate Offspring's birthday on January 9th. JF's father is more problematic. We get to them when time allows.

Holiday food you most savor? I'm most fond of all the sweets, but I love the big holiday meals -- all of it is always so good! A tradition that we've continued for many years now is that JF's mother, JF, Offspring, and I head out for Japanese on Christmas Day. Sometimes, we have other people join us, sometimes not. This started because JF's mother does not cook, and the Japanese place was the only thing open. It has evolved into a much-loved and anticipated tradition with us.

Favorite Holiday Book? Hm. We have to read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" every year at school, and in the past few years, we've also read "The Polar Express", but in my own family, I don't think there's anything specific that we have to read. I read whatever moves me, really.

Here's a category or two of my own devising:

Favorite Holiday Decoration? My personal ones would have to be the penguin tree skirt that I made a few years ago. (I love this!) I'm also very fond of the brass Queen Elizabeth I that I was given some years ago as well. Offspring has made us several things at school that I hold very dear, and lovingly place on the tree each Christmas.

Favorite Holiday Activity? I love making things for the holidays. It could be the cards I've made this year, or the stitched tree ornaments, or the quilted table runners and place mats that I've made in the past. I used to look so forward to the cookie baking each year, but I've begun to anticipate the crafty part so much more that I often forget about the baking until it's too late. Right now, I'm making my Secret Santa's gift and some stuffed felt ornaments.

Feel free to swipe this meme for your own, should you so wish. I look forward to all of your answers!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"Thank You, Jesus!"

Watching the first graders leaving school today, giddy with the knowledge that they were free from the educational shackles until January, I overheard this little nugget of child perspective:

"We have Christmas because it's Jesus' birthday."

"Thank you, Jesus, for being born and giving us vacation days!"

I know just how you feel, kids. Right now, we're as tired of you as you are of us!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Solstice, or Festivus, we can all unite in the common love of vacation days. Wake me up when it's New Year's.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Better Late Than Never, Right?

Waaaay back in November, the wonderful Marni tagged me for a meme that she had been sent by her cousin, the R.E.M.-loving Beth. I am totally slack, and I have not gotten around to heeding Marni's call, but now that the ol' blog is beginning to collect cobwebs, and I'm reeeeally low on the creativity scale today -- a meme it is! Thanks to Marni for tagging me, and to Beth for the roundabout blog idea! (Of course, we won't even mention here that Marni has tagged me for another meme AFTER that one, and I think I remember Karyn tagging me for something before she was laid low with a nasty cold. Who knows? At this point, I'm lucky my brain hasn't exploded from all the assorted stress and general "stuff" happening in my life. Where was I? Oh, yes....the meme.)

Beth's (and Marni's) task was to talk about her past crushes. Oh, you lucky people. You are in for an angsty roller coaster ride!

I was always one of those girls that boys would love to partner up with for a writing assignment, but the actual social contact? Not so much. Most of these crushes were unrequited. The ones that developed into some type of relationship -- well, most of those ended badly as well.

*My first crush that I really remember was in middle school. His name was Joey, and he was THE cutest boy at Shoebox School. All the girls were head-over-heels mad about Joey, including my best friend. I felt really odd that we both liked the same boy, considering that he paid more attention to her. So, I just mooned over him a lot, and didn't really say anything to anyone. One day after school, I ran into him in the deserted hallway. I don't really remember how things devolved so fast but I *distinctly* remember him flashing his nether regions at me. Me, in all my witty glory said, "Put that thing away!" Oddly, I also remember thinking, "Is that the best pickup trick he has?" Things went aboslolutely nowhere, but I snickered like a grade schooler any time he got near me after that, thinking, "I've seen his wang!" I was about 11 or so -- what do I know of maturity at this point?

*Another crush was a boy named Michael G. We met in drama class. He was cute, but was "going out" with another girl in our group. (I say "going out" because dates (at this point) involved us sitting together during rehearsals and holding hands under our coats or scripts.) this other girl that he was "seeing" was a really snotty, manipulative girl, and she was constantly telling him what to do and what to say and wear. We were about 12! (It starts early, apparently.) After a while, he got sick of her, and he transferred his affection to me. That relationship lasted the duration of the play, and then I never saw him again. I heard he moved away some months later.

*In my long list of people named Michael that I dated, Michael M. was a real slice of something or another. This particular Michael I met through my best friend, and we dated for about six months. He seemed very sweet, even going so far as to tutor me in algebra and taking me on moonlit walks by a secluded lake. He was half-German, so he had a nice little accent that drove me bonkers. We had a great time together until he told me that he was only biding time until his old girlfriend came crawling back to him. Needless to say, that relationship ended shortly after that conversation.

*And there was Andy. Andy was a guy I met right after I arrived at Gigantic High School, and who kindly gave me a ride home every now and again. He was a year older than I was, so we didn't run with the same crowds anyway, and I had it bad for Andy, but he, sadly, never returned my feelings. At the half-term of the school year, he got transferred to another schedule, and we no longer ate lunch at the same time. Andy disappeared into Gigantic High, and we ran into each other very sporadically over the rest of the year. He finally faded from view during the summer.

*Chris* was a nice boy from the outskirts of the city whom I again met through friends. I went to a party one night, and Chris was there, and we struck up a conversation. We hung out the whole evening, and he got my phone number. We started talking on the phone, and met at a local bowling alley for "dates" while his father bowled. We dated for a few months, and then his father got transferred to Florida. We wrote for a while, and things sort of trickled to a stop. In college, I heard from him a few times -- he had joined the Navy, and was deployed to the Middle East during the Gulf War. We wrote letters for a while, and I sent care packages to him from the states, filled with cookies and little extras that he couldn't get on a ship in the middle of the ocean. After he returned from the war, we tried going out again, but he surprised me by telling me gently that he was gay. We stayed good friends, and he even later attended my wedding. I haven't talked to him in years, but I remember him fondly.

*I met JD in college. JD and I were both taking Theater Lab, and working on the current production that quarter. He was fun-loving and devil-may-care, and we struck up a friendship right away. He knew I was interested, and was way too polite to do something as mean as to brush me off. He let me down very gently, and began dating another member of our theater troupe, Melanie*. To their credit, we three often hung out together, and they never made me feel like a third wheel. I got to know his entire family, and we often spent lots of time at their home, gaming well into the wee hours of the morning. We were never anything more than "just friends" and I began to look for love elsewhere. We remained good friends for quite a few years, until he moved away. The last I heard, he married a lady from his church who had two children from a previous marriage, and he was as happy as could be being a husband and father. I still miss hanging out with him.

*Another crush I met through the theater was David. David was a deejay at a local radio station, I mooned over him from afar. He was also aware of my interest, but seemed completely uninterested in me. We hung out a few times, and I even crashed at his apartment one night after a late rehearsal. Nothing ever happened, but a co-worker of his who had the hots for David got highly agitated when she discovered that I had "spend the night" with David and threw a huge rock through my bedroom window. David faded from my radar after the perfomances concluded, and it's a good thing, since I was a poor college student -- I couldn't afford any more replacement windows!

*I met Jack* at another friend's party. I had come with JD and Melanie, and when they got ready to leave, Jack and I were still talking. Jack offered to drive me back to my car later that night, when I was ready to go. Jack swept me off my feet that night, and we spent a whirlwind six weeks together. Jack seemed like a deal too good to be true until he played me this song and dance story about how he really needed to focus on his "career" at that point. He said that it wasn't fair that he would have too spend less and less time with me, and more and more at work, and he really thought I deserved more than that. I would have taken this announcement more seriously if he hadn't been employed in the plumbing department at Home Depot. This break up really hurt because the relationship was still so new, and I wasn't expecting it at all. Hindsight being what it is, I got out when the gettin' was good. The skeeze went on to date my best friend. And from her, I heard he moved on to a girl I'd gone to Shoebox School with who was an even bigger skeeze than he was. Who knows -- they may even still be skeezy together today.

That's about all of the "crushes." I'm sure I had more, but these are the ones I remember really well. There were also some more serious relationships than "crushes", but those are for another time.

(* not their real names)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Holiday Edition Bullets

And now for some random bullets because my brain has officially set off on vacation days:

*I'm sick of shopping, and I still have SO much left to do.

*Buying stuff for my father and stepfather is nigh on impossible. I've got nada in the way of ideas for either of them.

*I am planning to put up our Christmas tree and all of the assorted decorations tonight. Not that I said "planning." I'm also "planning" to do about three loads of laundry and go grocery shopping, but we'll see if all of this manages to get done. I will be utterly surprised if it all works out.

*I am having the HARDEST time keeping my big trap shut about my Secret Gift Person for the Winter Holiday Gift Exchange. I'm finding lots of great gifts, and making a few, but I am having to bite my tongue to ribbons not to give it away, both to my spoilee and to the bloggy community at large.

*I made all of these Christmas cards, and don't have enough people to send them to. I got a little happy with the card making, apparently.

*Had to buy new shoes for Offspring last night as her old ones were squinching up her toes painfully. I am much chagrined to note that her shoe size is now only two sizes smaller than my own. When did she get so big? Who allowed this to happen?

*I have not yet had the wild urge to start baking for the holidays, but I feel sure that it's not far off. I am wondering what in blue blazes I'm going to give out as my gifts this year to staff at school. I'm wondering if I have the time to make all of the items I have my eye on.... Maybe if I don't sleep or go to school....

*I wanted to order a set of fleecy holiday pajamas with cute little penguins on them, but they aren't available for shipping until December 24th. What good are holiday pajamas when they won't even SHIP until Christmas Eve? Still...they do have penguins on them....

*I had that weird dream again last night where all of my teeth are falling out. Can I say how odd it is to really have the sensation that you're spitting out all of your teeth like a hail of watermelon seeds? If the underlying basis of this dream is that I'm a nutjob, I really don't want to know.

*My mother is completely addicted to nutcrackers. She drags them out every Christmas, and has them lining the steps up to the main floor of her house. She must have about 50 of them. Is it enabling if I keep buying them for her?

*Offspring and I have seven and a half school days left until Christmas break. Can I tell you that these days will drag by slower than molasses going up a hill in January in the middle of a blizzard?

*I'm not finding much time (or ideas) for blogging lately. I don't know whether I'm in a slump, or if it's just the regular holiday craziness. I haven't been commenting on blogs much lately, either. I am reading, though. I just haven't got the time. Plus, Offspring and JF are using the computer that I mainly use to blog for computer games, and they've been hogging up the computer. (This is where JF will pop in to tell me that I do have a laptop -- I prefer the larger buttons of the desktop for blogging and computer games. I mainly use the laptop for reading other blogs and for research.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Who Was The Genius Who Thought This Up?

Recently, Aunt Flo was here for her regularly scheduled visit. I'm not very fond of Aunt Flo, but she's a necessary evil. I went to the neighborhood store to stock up on supplies for Aunt Flo's arrival, but (typically) my usual brand were not available there. I ended up getting another brand that was labeled as "sport". I don't play sports, and I'm about as active as yogurt, so I wasn't really concerned with the efficacy of the "on the go" hype, but I figured they'd do in a pinch.

Imagine my surprise when I got home to find that each tampon is wrapped in a lurid green-and-purple wrapper, and is emblazoned with inspirational quotes! I know that people who are way more sporty than I are used to finding encouragement where they can, but I somehow don't think that finding "You're a triple me!" and " You still look killer in your jersey." written on your tampon is really going to push you that extra hundred miles to win the Tour de France, or to help you kick the winning goal during the World Cup. I'm just sayin'.

Am I the only one who finds this slightly disturbing?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

I've been Missing in Action this weekend due to our annual Girl Scout campout. The girls really enjoyed all the activities, but MY GOD, the complaining! I had two girls who complained because they didn't want to get their clothes dirty! We're at CAMP! You're gonna get dirty!

They complained about the weather. It was cold this weekend (well, cold for THIS part of the country) and we were pretty cold on Friday night. JF made a quick WalMart run on Saturday afternoon and got us a small space-heater. Saturday night, we fired up the little heater, and then they complained that they got hot.

One complained that she didn't like to walk. I wanted to be snippy and asked her when she'd learned to fly everywhere, but I managed not to. The hike was a barrel of fun with her shuffling along, grumbling and sticking to my side so much that she tripped me twice.

Then two started trash-talking to each other, calling each other names, and even got as far as the slapping stage. I threatened to handcuff them together until they could get along.

One girl talks just to hear herself talk. That gets REALLY annoying when it's midnight, and you're trying to sleep. Forgive me if I really don't care how many children her great-grandma has. At midnight after a hard day at camp, I don't even care how many kids *I* have.

Speaking of my child, she was a real trouper. She fell down and whacked her knee pretty good, but didn't even cry, and walked it off. She didn't complain, not once, even later after she vomited. I was so proud of her. She was the most well-behaved one all weekend.

The highlights of the trip were doing the low ropes obstacle course. The girls really had to work hard and pull together as a team. I got some great pictures of them working hard on the ropes. Maybe next year we can do the rock wall and the rappelling. We had a dance party that they enjoyed, and we got to make some jewelry.

For now, I have tons of laundry to do, and get caught up on some housework. And then I plan to go to bed early.