Thursday, December 28

Thursday Thirteen - Round 11

Thirteen Things that make me happy (in no particular order)

1. WJ
2. friends
3. my iPod
4. Starbucks
5. reading
6. family
7. driving fast
8. music
9. the sound of WJ laughing
10. snow
11. traveling
12. chocolate
13. my computer

Monday, December 25

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas
to all our family and friends!!
Love, Lisa & WJ

Sunday, December 24

today's the BIG day

Today's the BIG day! Well, the big day for WJ that is. Tonight he will be going to his first professional football game - the Seattle Seahawks and the San Diego Chargers.
His entire Christmas has revolved around football. A new Seahawks tree ornament from his paternal grandmother. Seahawks jacket from the Rents. Seahawks helmet and uniform from me. And the Seahawks game from his dad. I'm sure this is one Christmas he will not soon forget!
I hope he calls me when he gets to the stadium, but he probably won't. I'm tempted to call myself, but they probably won't hear the phone. And I'm sure the Chargers are gonna kick some Seahawk butt today, but I hope I'm wrong.
As much as I wish I was there, with him, to see the smiles and feel his excitement, I'm also glad I'll be sitting in the warmth of the house watching the game on TV. And looking for my little man in the stands.

Saturday, December 23

open house

Another busy holiday day for us. The Rents and I headed across the bridge to Barb and Steve's pre-Christmas Eve open house. It's the first time I've been out that direction. Beautiful area. Right on the water and very rustic.

Barb had so much food it looked like she was feeding an army. And it seemed that an army of people were streaming in and out all afternoon. Needless to say, I'm pretty sure I won't be needing dinner tonight after all the nibbling I did all afternoon.

She also gave us two bags - one for The Rents and one for WJ and I - of homemade peanut brittle. I've never been a big fan of the stuff, but her's is to die for. Oh, the holiday season is murder on my waistline!

Hope you've all had an enjoyable pre-Christmas Eve day!

Friday, December 22

now that we've "had" Christmas, what are we going to do "on" Christmas?

WJ's leaving for his dad's this afternoon and I'm okay with it. We had our Christmas last night. All of it.

I was planning on just giving him his two bigger presents - Seahawks helmet and Seahawks jacket - and holding everything else until Christmas day (since he'll be home around 2pm). He opened both and was so excited. Then, he wanted to give me one of my presents. A photo of him with Santa. Then another, and another. Next thing I knew presents were being doled out and ripped open by all. It was crazy!

So, now that we've already had Christmas, what are we going to do on Christmas day? LOL

Oh well! Everyone's happy. We all got what we wanted. And I get to still look forward to spending part of Christmas day with WJ.

Thursday, December 21

Merry Christmas! But not really

Wasn't I just telling you about how mellow and friendly everyone seems to be during this holiday season? I guess I jinxed myself. Not everyone is mellow and friendly. And apparently they feel the need to share their "bah humbug" with the rest of us.

Yesterday afternoon after filling up the gas tank, I popped over to the Starbuck's just across the parking lot. They're located at the far end of a strip mall and parking (right in front of the store, not anywhere else in the stip mall) is at a premium. So, when I saw someone backing out I smiled at my good fortune, pulled in, and got out of the car to go get my fix. While crossing the drive area in front of the store a large white SUV rolled past. I happened to look up and make eye contact with the passenger and found her glaring at me. Not just staring out the window with a disgusted look. Truly glaring at me. Like if she could shoot daggers out her eyes they'd be headed straight for me. I couldn't figure why that look would be meant for me, so I dismissed it.

After meeting up with a friend (already inside), we took our coffee outside and stood chatting for a little while. While we were laughing and talking and enjoying our special brews, a woman neither of us has ever seen before walks up.

Her: I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Me: (surprised) Well, thank you!

I was pretty shocked that a complete stranger, one that I hadn't had any interaction with at all, was wishing me good tidings. But wait! She wasn't really.

Her: I guess you didn't see my SUV sitting in the parking lot with the blinker on waiting for the parking space you just whipped into after going around me?
Me: (totally shocked now that a seemingly nice conversation was nothing more than an opening to slamming me against a wall) No, I truly didn't. I'm sorry!
Her: Uh huh! Sure.

With that, she walked away leaving friend and I dumbfounded.

I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt that her caffeine level was at a seriously low level right then. Otherwise I'd just have to bitch about how some people should just put a sock in it.

Thursday Thirteen - Round 10

Thirteen Things I’d Grab If I Only Had 15 Minutes to Evacuate the House
(people and pets not included)

1. cell phone
2. camera
3. scrapbooks
4. framed photos
5. WJ’s “friends” (aka stuffed animals)
6. computer
7. purse
8. clothes
9. prescriptions
10. portable DVD player
11. DVDs
12. sleeping bags
13. and pack it all in the car

Tuesday, December 19

Christmas shopping extravaganza

Do you want to know the best reason to go to the mall at Christmas time? It's a people watching haven. Truly. There's no better time than during the holiday season to see every walk of life come together in the same place. Especially now that the schools are on holiday break.

My past two days have been filled with shopping - at the mall, home improvement stores (as mentioned in yesterday's post), and a variety of others including drug stores, warehouse stores, and your typical mega chains. The sheer amount of people shopping is staggering. But I'm sure we'll hear after the buying season is over that retail is reporting a loss this holiday season. Isn't it always? Then what's in the bags everyone is carrying to their cars?

Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is the people you see shopping at this time of year. I love to people watch. In fact, it's much more fun for me to just sit in a mall people watching than racing from store to store shopping for things.

The one thing that's surprised me this year is just how mellow everyone seems to be. The sales people are friendly and helpful. The shoppers have smiles on their faces. And the children seem to either be very well behaved, or have very attentive parents. Never have I encountered so many people in such a small space seemingly enjoying themselves in a stress free manner. Maybe it's just that I'm not feeling any stress right now and that's given me a different perspective on things? Either way, it's been a pleasureable shopping experience. Now if I could just find the remaining few items on my list I could call it done.

I guess there's always tomorrow.

Monday, December 18

tree fun

There are definitely pros and cons to waiting until the week before Christmas to get your Christmas tree and other assorted holiday paraphenalia. I know because I spent half the day today running from store to store looking for these items.

  • Christmas trees are 50% off at Lowe's right now
  • Holiday lights are 33% off at Rite Aid
  • Christmas tree stands (that Lowe's didn't have and sent us to Target for and they didn't have that we ended up at Rite Aid for) are 50% off right now

  • You might have to wait awhile for the guys at Lowe's to get the chainsaw fixed so they can trim the bottom of your tree and wrap it up for you to take home (apparently they need to fix the one chainsaw they have... I guess they don't know a store that sell more)
  • What happened to the old fashioned tree stand? The sturdy, small ones that could be easily hidden by a tree skirt? The damn stands are enormous these days.
  • Speaking of tree skirts, they cost a mint ($40) and since they're buried under the mountain of stockings that have fallen off the display wall chances of them actually being bought are slim to none
All just more reason I walk into my garage year after year, unbox, set up, and decorate the tree. But it was fun... just this once. Thankfully Christmas comes just once a year!

Sunday, December 17

almost ready

I figured I'd better get a post up this morning before things start to get hectic around here. We're picking up the Rents today. They'll be here for the next two weeks, so my blogging time (and computer time in general) will be at a minimum.

Yesterday was spent playing catch up (again!) after having been without power for over 24 hours. It's truly amazing all the normal, everyday stuff you cannot do without power. Aside from computer time and TV time I mean. Things like laundry, vacuuming, running the dishwasher. Hell, even taking a shower. My neighbor pointed out that it (electricity) is really what separates us from the 19th century. I have to agree.

This morning we're almost ready. Just a few last minute things to take care of before heading to the airport. Blogging being one of them.

Before all the weather related setbacks, WJ had his Christmas program (Thursday night). It was the usual singing of Christmas songs by each of the classes. Off key. Off beat. But cute all the same. I tried to get pics of WJ singing, but every time he'd look at me with the camera aimed his direction, he'd look away before I could snap the pic. I couldn't believe it. My "camera hound" kid had suddenly turned shy. So, the only pics I actually got that are worth a damned are the one's I took before the performance.
The first one is Mrs. Farrimond (our school principal) and WJ. The second is WJ and "the two Jacks".

The most disappointing thing about losing power was missing school on Friday. WJ's class was to perform a play after mass, and he had a speaking part that he'd been preparing for all week. They were also supposed to have their Christmas party and ornament exchange. Plus, the books I'd ordered at the last minute were supposed to be there for pick up. I called his teacher yesterday to see if by some chance she'd gotten them, but no. The post office is still without power. Then she told me about the damage at school. Our classroom had a tree branch come through the roof... right over her desk. Thankfully (she said) she'd moved all of the children's things to a bookshelf on the other side of the room, but she lost some of her stuff due to water damage. The computer lab and science lab also sustained damage. It all sucks! I'm just happy the kids weren't at school when it happened.
Well, that brings you up to date for now. I gotta run and finish up some stuff around here. Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, December 16

shock & awe

I have received the most wonderful Christmas gift I could imagine. And it's not even Christmas yet!

WJ will be coming home in the afternoon on Christmas day!!!! So, his father will have him in the morning, and I will have him in the afternoon.

If I receive nothing else for Christmas this year it won't matter. I will get to spend part of the day with my little man.

i'm back... warm and thankful

Well, I guess yesterday was one of those unforeseeable (and uncontrollable) Holidailies non-posting days!! We lost power at midnight Thursday night and went without until approximately 1:15am today.

As awful (and cold) as it was, I'm back... warm and thankful!!

More to come later today, but for now I've got a mountain of things to get done before the Rents arrive tomorrow.

Thursday, December 14

Holidailies recipe swap

The cookie recipes are from my dear Aunt who passed away last Thanksgiving. Every Christmas she would bake up a storm and have tins full of wonderful delights for everyone who came to visit. Yum!!

Lemon Squares

Blend 1 can condensed milk with 1 tsp lemon rind and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Set aside to thicken.

Cream 2/3 cup margarine with 1 cup brown sugar.
Sift 1-1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt.
Add 1 cup oatmeal and mix.

In lightly buttered 12/13 pan spread 1/2 mixture in pan. Add lemon milk mixture over top and spread. Add remaining crumb mixture over top.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Cool 14 minutes and cut in squares. Leave in pan till school. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Butter Balls

1 cup margarine or butter
4 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 cups sifted flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar, add flour, then nuts and vanilla. Knead with hands and form into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes (until lightly brown). Roll in powdered sugar.

Note: Do not use mixer! Mix by hand.

Almond Cookies

Cream 1 cup margarine with 1 cup sugar. Add 2 egg yolks and 1 tsp almond extract. Blend well. Add 2 cups sifted flour and 1 cup chopped almonds. Roll in hands to form balls. Press down slightly.

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Cool and spread with tea frosting. Top with 1/4 almond.

Tea Frosting
Dissolve 4 tsp plain instant tea into 2 Tbsp milk. Cream 1/2 cup margarine. Add 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar and tea mixture. Beat until spreadable. Ice cookies and top with 1/4 almond.

Thursday Thirteen - Round 9

Thirteen Things I Want To Do That I Haven't Done (Yet!)

1. travel to Egypt
2. skydive
3. travel to Australia
4. drive a racecar
5. take a photography class
6. go to a culinary academy
7. ride in a hot air balloon
8. visit Stacie and Liss
9. go on a cruise
10. win the lottery
11. take WJ to Disneyland
12. go to a taping of the Oprah show
13. decide what I want to be when I grow up

Wednesday, December 13

holiday food

"What's the one food it simply wouldn't be [your winter holiday of choice]without?"

My paternal Grandmother was a chef. Not a career chef. A chef in her own right. Several years ago, when I was a scrapbooker, I created a layout about her cooking. Ironically it seems fitting to answer today's writing prompt for Holidailies.

The Art of Cooking

"If there were one passion in my life that I can attribute to heritage, it would have to be the art of cooking. Grandma Smith was one of the best cooks that I know. And she could literally create a gourmet meal out of what seemed to be nothing more than two or three items in her refrigerator.

Her kitchen was the size of a postage stamp, but was stocked with every kitchen gadget that her cabinets could hold. Almost every Sunday we would visit Grandma and delight in the smells and tastes of her wonderful cooking. She delighted in making sure there was something on the table that everyone could enjoy. If it was Dad's favorite entree, then it was Mom's favorite side, and my favorite dessert. And though she would never admit it, I think she delighted in eating too. She would trim one more piece off the meat, or cut one more sliver of pie, just to "even it out", she would say.

On holidays she would fill the tables with a feast of traditional treats, some of which I have continued as traditional dishes at our holiday meals. Not only did Grandma cook for family, but also spent years catering parties in San Francisco for the likes of well known individuals, such as Shirley Temple Black.

She never followed a recipe, and never wrote one down. Her recipes looked more like grocery shopping lists with no instructions, left up to the maker to decide what the final product would look like. When Grandma passed, I was lucky enough to be given many of those "recipes" and have attempted to recreate some of her masterpieces. Though I know they will never be quite as good as when Grandma made them, I delight in honoring her by enjoying the art of cooking."

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are two side dishes made in honor of Grandma - Pennsylvania red cabbage and honey glazed carrots. Probably not dishes that would be considered "must haves" for most, but definitely something it wouldn't be Thanksgiving or Christmas without in our home.

Tuesday, December 12

the hurdle

I truly thought about taking a day off from blogging. In just less than 3 hours I would have succeeded.

With playing catch up on the homefront, I spent the day finishing the Christmas gift wrapping and scrubbing the house from top to bottom to get rid of the nasty cold germs that might be lingering. I am tired. Not just physically, but emotionally as well.

I spent the evening with my son. Initially we were both doing our own thing. He watching TV and playing. Me reading. At some point in the early evening he wandered into the living room and said the words I've been longing to hear. "I'm going to miss you on Christmas Mommy."

We spent the next hour talking about how we would spend our Christmas - apart. How and why his father and I divorced. How much we love and depend on and care for each other. We took silly pictures. Laughed. Cried. Spent much needed time together.

I am drained.

The hurdle I've been avoiding for weeks doesn't seem so high anymore.

Because we have each other.

Monday, December 11

two days behind

The only two things I've kept up with this weekend is my Holidailies posting (if you could call my pitiful whining about being sick worthy posting) and the laundry (well, sort of - it's washed and folded, but hasn't been put away yet). I now have a mountain of things that all need to get done before Sunday.

But first I want to quickly catch up on some of the daily prompts I haven't blogged about yet. I like having the prompts, but don't always use them. So, get ready for the Reader's Digest version to catch me up!

12-01-2006: "Introduce yourself and your website to Holidailies readers."
If you haven't already read mine, you can go here.

12-02-2006: "Appreciating the smallest things"
Did this one too... just a day later than the prompt.

12-03-2006: "Sunny or snowy: Which makes for the better holiday season, and why?"
Short and simple. Snowy. We get enough sun during the summer and I love the change of seasons.

12-04-2006: "Holiday music: essential part of the season, or 'no way, it makes my ears bleed'?"
Another one I used. And on schedule.

12-05-2006: "Tell us your favorite shopping-mall horror story."
I honestly don't have a horror story to tell. I try my damnedest to get my shopping done early, during the week, and NOT at the mall. Why? The cashiers are crabby. The babies are screaming. And the shoppers feel entitled when they shouldn't. Sometimes avoidance is the best course of action.

12-06-2006: "Today is St. Nicholas' Day: Did you believe in Santa Claus/Father Christmas? How did you find out the truth? Would you tell your kids about Santa?"
Yes, there is a Santa Claus!

12-07-2006: "Write about a memorably perfect day in your life."
The only memorably perfect day in my life was the day WJ was born. Since I don't remember all of it, it's perfect! LOL

12-08-2006: "Letter to Santa (or another potentially gift-bearing entity)"

Dear Santa,

Can you do me a favor? Wake me when you get here so I can ride along with you for the rest of the night. I really don't wanna be home this Christmas.



12-09-2006: "Are you blogging to avoid doing something? Release your troubles! "
Yep! Did you read my first paragraph? I'm two days behind on things that MUST get done. Figured I'd procrastinate a little longer. If I keep ingoring it, ya think it'll just go away??

12-10-2006: No prompt today

12-11-2006: "Those mass-produced family holiday newsletters"
Been. There. Done. That. Not this year though. Can't decide whether it's good or bad that there wasn't anything that noteworthy happening in our lives to write an entire holiday newsletter about? Hmmm!

So there it is. All the prompts used. Probably not as those who suggested them intended, but hey. Cut me some slack. I tried!

Sunday, December 10

how close we are

The problem with being sick is you pretty much just sit around doing nothing all day. Just to be clear so you don't run off without reading... this is not another "I'm sick and feel like ass" post. (Cuz I'm sick of those already, and starting to feel a bit better too.) It's a reflection post on "being sick". Being sick and still having to take care of children, household chores, and myself.

I remember the times I was sick as a child. My mother would dote on me, bringing me juice and soup, warm blankets, books, and the various medications she thought would make me better (most of which were so awful tasting I thought I'd rather eat brussels sprouts than have to swallow yet another dose). My favorite memory of being sick (yes, I actually have a good memory of those times) is the smell of Vicks Vaporub. To this day, whenever I'm feeling under the weather, I open a jar of Vicks and the comforting smell envelopes me like a warm blanket.

Fast forward to the present.

Nowadays, being a single parent, being sick doesn't stop the world. It might slow it down a bit, but the basic, regular, daily activities still happen and need attention. Things like meals and snacks, homework, laundry, and the very basic spending time together. Fortunately (very fortunately) I am the mother of a wonderful, caring, supportive child who is so in tune to me and my moods.

For the first time in several years I had someone to take care of me. To a certain degree. And it felt great. Someone to bring me Kleenex before I sneezed. Someone who wanted to cover me up when I lay down to take a nap. Someone who drew pictures and get well cards to cheer me. And most important, someone who didn't complain at all that we didn't leave the house since coming home from school on Friday afternoon. It's moments like these that remind me just how close we are, and how far we've come together.

Thank you sweetpea for everything you do! I love you!

Saturday, December 9

simply saturday

I am still sick. Therefore, I haven't a creative thought in my head. Nor have I done much of anything today.

The only thing I accomplished (that I've been needing to take care of for awhile now) was filling in all the questionaires/forms for the new government hiring website. Before October 1st, when you wanted to apply to a government job opening you had to fill out individual job applications, hiring questionaires, etc. for each and every department. As of October 1st they streamlined the system so that all of your information is in one central database that is accessed by all state agencies. You still have to search job openings and submit for specific jobs of interest, but by releasing your profile you make your name available to recruiters as they search for candidates to fill vacant positions.

The process was a total PITA. Approximately 2 hrs into it I clicked on the next window button and it took me back to the start. Since I'm feeling like ass and didn't really want to mess with this today anyway (but knew I needed to) I completely lost it. Stomped upstairs (almost in tears), took a hot, hot shower, spent some time reading with WJ, then took a nap. When I came back to figure out what the hell went wrong I realized it was a system glitch, but not a fatal one. All the info I'd already entered was still there. Whew!

Anyway, the good news is I'm now in the system. I also found three jobs to apply to which means I've met my unemployment requirement for the week and can start filing for that again. Now if I can just start getting some interviews. Keep your fingers crossed.

After all that, I need a beer. Cheers!

Friday, December 8

another iTunes game

Open iTunes (or whatever program you have your music stored in) to answer the following:

total number of tracks - 1154 (this doesn't include the other 858 tracks I haven't imported from Windows Media Player)

sort by song title, first song on the list - 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins

top 10 most played songs:
  1. All the Same by Sick Puppies
  2. Anything But Ordinary by Avril Lavigne
  3. Lips of an Angel by Hinder
  4. You Get Me by Michelle Branch
  5. Ever the Same by Rob Thomas
  6. Fix You by Coldplay
  7. Clocks by Coldplay
  8. Tell Me Everything by Collapsis
  9. Breathing by Lifehouse
  10. Bitch by Meredith Brooks

first five songs that comes up on shuffle
  1. How Could You Want Him by Spin Doctors
  2. Woman to Woman by Joe Cocker
  3. Bigger Than My Body by John Mayer
  4. On Your Side by Pete Yorn
  5. Charlotte Sometimes by The Cure

how many songs come up when you search:
sex - 1
love - 42
you - 119
death - 1
hate - 0
wish - 5

today i am sick

For two days I tried to deny it. Ignore it. Will it away.

Today I am sick.

There's no getting around it. Stuffy nose. Watering eyes. Hacking up phlem. Damn!

What's even worse is my sleep cycle. It's broken. Waking up (wide awake) at 3:30am after going to bed at 11:30pm sucks. I'm sure the short nap on the couch didn't help things. Nor the dozing in the recliner. Now I'm doomed to one of the erratic sleep cycles I get into occassionally. If this one follows pattern, I'll be waking five or ten minutes later each morning for the next two weeks or so until my body finally gives up in exhaustion and pulls me down for an extended nap.

In the meantime I'll keep on. Run through my daily routine as best as I can. Fight the urge to collapse on the couch. Bite my tongue so as to not be snappy or sassy to people. And force the dozen or so pills down my throat every day in hopes of shortening the misery.

Today I am sick.

Did I mention this sucks?

Thursday, December 7

HO HO HO... it's the Santa parade

The Santa parade was here! What's the Santa parade, you ask? It's volunteers from our local police department who cruise the streets of our city's subdivisions spreading the joy of Christmas.

Grandpa Jerry and his Granddaughter

Every Christmas Santa rides around in an old fire truck adorned with holiday cheer playing Christmas music and belting out the traditional "HO HO HO... Merry Christmas!" He's escorted by two volunteer police cars and a host of children and adults passing out candy canes. This is our 6th year seeing them parade down our street.

The Big Guy

It's the one time during the winter months that the whole neighborhood comes out. And it's the one event that usually signals the start of the holiday season for me. Seeing the excitement and joy in the kids eyes is incredible. Even the big kids... like me.

Thursday Thirteen - Round 8

Thirteen Rants About the Christmas Season

Shopping season begins too early
There is no reason they have to start bringing out all the Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving. Hell, this year it was out right after Halloween! Next year they might decide to start setting it up just after Labor Day. Ugh!

Crowded parking lots
It is totally unneccessary to block the entire row of parking while you either sit in your car waiting for someone to come walking down the row or coast along following people who are heading to their cars. You DO NOT need to have one of the first two parking spots in front of the store as there are always MANY at the back end of the parking lot. The damn exercise will do you some good!

You know the type. The ones who insist on stopping in the middle of the aisle, or better yet in the middle of the entrance/exit, while they argue, wipe snotty noses, figure out where to head to next, or just stand around in oblivion. Move over!

Putting up the tree
When it's up, I'm happy. But assembly, lights and ornaments are the absolute worst part of decorating for Christmas. Do they have people you can hire to come do that sort of thing for you? Hmm!

Holiday food
The problem isn't that I don't like holiday food, it's that I like it too much. Oooh the temptations!

No, not the Dicken's Christmas character. The rotten, bitter, angry people that work at and shop at the stores. The ones who won't crack a smile. Barely speak a word to you. Complain loudly about anything and everything. If you're so miserable, take it home and take it out on yourself. Sheesh!

Buying presents for people who have everything and don't say what they want
If you don't tell me what you want, you ain't gettin' nuthin'! Nuff said.

So far I haven't had to go through this with WJ, but I remember a year being at my cousin's house. We doled out all the presents to the kids first. They each had a stack of them. Like a dozen a piece. Within five minutes they were all opened and tossed aside, and one of them had the gall to ask "Is that it?" I never bought those kids another gift. Yeah, that's it all right!!

Whether by car or air, I won't do it ever again. No. Way. No. How!

Spending so much money
This year not being able to buy freely has really got me down. I never really go 'crazy' with the spending, but I feel like I have to mentally justify every single penny I'm spending. It's making me crazy!

Screaming children
Your kids don't want to go shopping. They don't want to be strapped into shopping carts or dragged around the mall. So don't take them. They're miserable. You're angry. And you make the rest of us who didn't bring children want to slap you for bringing yours.

Jesus vs. Santa
Why can't we have both? They are two totally different, totally acceptable ways of celebrating the Christmas season. It is possible to celebrate more than one way.

Having to share
I will be without WJ on Christmas Day this year. It will be my first Christmas without him. I have to share the holidays with his dad and I don't like it. Not one bit. I'm pretty sure that's why I have so many things that are bugging me about the Christmas season this year. Sure, some of them bug me every Christmas season, but this one is extraordinarily rough. {sigh}

Wednesday, December 6

more excitement with the Lego calendar

Okay, I just had to share! Here's the 6 different things we've built so far with the Lego Advent Calendar I told you about yesterday. Today's was the baggage scanner.

Aren't these just too freakin cool??

yes, there is a Santa Claus

"Mommy, is there really a Santa Claus?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Because [mean brother of best friend] and [neighborhood bully] said there isn't!!"

"Do you really want to know?"

Of course I didn't really want to know, but I also didn't want the bigger kids thinking I was a baby for believing in Santa. I was seven. Every year around Christmas I think about this conversation with my mom. It's as fresh in my mind 31 years later as it was the day we had it.

My best friend and I were playing outside when [mean brother of best friend] and [neighborhood bully] rode up on their bikes, laughing and pointing and calling us babies.

"You're babies!" they said. "Only babies believe in Santa Claus."

Then they rode away.

I looked at best friend, then turned and went in the house. (I certainly wasn't gonna cry in front of anyone. Especially the big kids.) Finding my mom in her bathroom, I asked the dreaded question. Instead of a direct answer (which my parents normally provided) I was given the option. Did I want to know, or not? I shook my head and walked away.

I was (and still am) anything but a whimp. I endured the taunting and teasing from the big kids all the way through Christmas that year. Best friend and I secretly confided in each other - we believed. Kinda. Sorta. Maybe? Neither of us able to fully commit one way or the other.

The following Christmas I knew the teasing was coming again. Only this time I was going to be prepared. Before the first mention of the Big Guy from the even sassier big kids I went to my mom.

"Mom, is there really a Santa Claus?"

"Are you ready to know now?"

Exhaling very slowly, I shook my head. "Yes," was all I could mutter. Then holding my breath, I waited for her response.

"Yes, Lisa. I think there's a Santa Claus."

I almost fainted! I couldn't believe my ears. There was a Santa Claus and my mom just confirmed it. What was I so worried about? Then she continued. Uh oh!!

"You know the man in the red and white suit that you see at the mall?" she asked.

"Yeah... Santa!!" I almost yelled.

"Well, that's not really Santa," she continued.

What? How could this be? Just seconds before she'd confirmed there indeed was a Santa Claus. Now she's telling me the Big Guy who's lap I sat on every year confiding my secret holiday wishes to WAS NOT Santa?? Was this someone's idea of a bad joke?

"Then who is he?" I stammered.

"I don't know and it doesn't matter," she said.

How could it not matter? I was more confused than ever.

"Honey, the image of a plump, rosey cheeked man in a red and white suit is just that - an image. It's what the image of Santa means that's important."

"Uh... what do you mean?"

"What I mean is Santa is all about giving. Every time we give - presents, or help, or comfort, or compassion - we are acting like Santa. So, everyone has some Santa in them, but they don't all run around in red and white furry suits." Then she asked, "Does that help you understand?"

At the age of eight, I wasn't sure I really understood. Although I was pretty relieved to know that even if the man in the furry red and white suit at the mall wasn't the real Santa, he still kinda sorta was. In a roundabout way. Over the years I've recalled her words and have seen what she told me to be true.

Some day I will be having the same conversation with WJ.

But not this year.

Tuesday, December 5

better than chocolate

What can be better than chocolate you ask? Not much, really. Maybe ice cream, or coffee. If you ask WJ it's his Lego Advent Calendar he received yesterday from one of my friends.

How cool is this? Every day he gets to open a little window and inside is a new addition to the Lego city. Being that we just started opening windows last night, we opened four at the same time. So far he's built a construction worker, an airplane guider, two sets of road construction tools, and a luggage cart.

I received a traditional chocolate filled Advent calendar but since I don't want to put back on all the weight I've recently lost, I probably won't open it.


But not yet.

Monday, December 4

holiday music

Having a good, but rather frantic day (and not a lot of creativity in my brain because of it) I saw that the blog prompt today is about holiday music. Since I love to talk about music - all kinds - why not holiday music?

Growing up we used to drive to my Grandma's house every Christmas Eve. On the way home, we always had the radio tuned to the 24 hour Christmas music. We'd sing, and laugh, and have loads of fun. I grew up listening to the classics - Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Burl Ives. Their smooth voices a perfect match to croon the best tunes of the season. My dad and I also wouldn't miss the PBS broadcast of Handel's Messiah. We'd sing at the top of our lungs along with the choir and TV, and every year we'd say "we need to go do that next year". (We never did, but the memory still remains.)

By the time I was in high school it seemed all the best bands of the time, and individual artists too, started recording their versions of the classics. I listened to the likes of Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Garth Brooks and Pat Benatar. Not the same smooth voices I grew up with, but enjoyable all the same.

Over the years I collected various different Christmas albums. Some of the classics, some of the new stuff. Then, a couple of weeks ago, my friend Groove hooked me up with a boatload of Christmas tunes. Classics. Rock. Country. Blues. Opera. I will never again need more Christmas music. We played tunes for hours while decorating the tree the other day and barely even touched the surface. It was awesome.

With 21 days to go until "the big day" I have no doubt we'll have Christmas music emblazed in our brains long after the season is over.

Sunday, December 3

not all life's simplicities are simple

After having WJ home virtually the entire last week due to school closures and delays, as much as I love him I was really dreading the weekend. There were things I wanted to get done and things I wanted to do just for me. Having him under foot I knew "my" stuff would just have to wait. So, yesterday morning I laid out the game plan for the day. Probably the list was too long to begin with but he was eager to get going and help.

We started by vacuuming and dusting the downstairs - partly just because it desperately needed it, and partly in preparation for putting up The Christmas Tree (TCT). Every year TCT is set-up in the same spot. (Yes, we have an artificial tree! And before you start cringing too much, it's not that I don't like live trees. They're expensive. And make a mess. And ours is a beautiful artificial tree. Plus, this year I was given a little bottle of evergreen scented oil I can put on the tree and get the same great smell as a live tree without all the hassle.) Anyway, I digress. TCT always stands in the corner of the living room by the stairwell. Except for this year.

Figuring out how to rearrange the living room to accommodate TCT was quite a challenge. We moved the coffee table. Moved the throw rug under the coffee table. Moved the copper kettle that sits where the tree normally stands. All the while vacuuming every square inch of open floor space. Finally it was time to move the love seat. We pushed and pulled and turned and pushed some more until it sat (rather awkwardly) in the corner. (I should note that our living room furniture is BIG. By big I mean comfortable. We actually use our living room instead of having it sit, empty and sterile, waiting for special holidays or guests. Our living room is lived in.) I wasn't convinced that the big love seat didn't dominate and dwarf the corner it was perched in but decided to leave it alone and start working on the tree. Until I had a brainstorm.

Back in my married days ex-MIL started buying me pieces of one of those lighted Christmas villages. In all I am the owner of five buildings - a church, a bakery, a lodge, a winery and a toy shoppe - as well as a handful of trees, people and fencing. I realized - after moving the love seat to have TCT standing in front of the bay window - I now had window sills I could use for the Christmas village. WJ had never seen the village. Well, he'd seen it when he was 2. That being the last time I'd pulled it out. When I started setting it up his face lit up. It was the same happy face complete with the "oohs" and "aahs" I'd heard when browsing the Christmas village aisles at Michael's year after year. It made my heart light.

With living room rearranged and cleaned better than it'd been in months, and the Christmas village in place on the window sills, it was finally time to set up TCT. It's amazing how quickly it goes up with the help of a second pair of hands. Fully assembled it filled the vacancy the love seat had left and balanced out the living room. It was a good decision. Now it was time for the most boring and tedious task of all - stringing the lights. Ugh! If there's anything I hate about Christmas decorating it's stringing the tree with lights. I hate it so much that the past two years I've contemplated buying one of those prelit artificial trees. To make things even more complicated, WJ wanted to have colored lights on the tree. (I know, I know. Again, before you start judging or bashing me... I. Like. White. Lights. I don't really know why that is, but I've used only white lights in decorating for Christmas for so many years that when he said he wanted colored ones my brain took a dump.) Did we even have any colored lights packed in one of the half dozen Rubbermaid totes that stored our overabundance of Christmas decorations year after year? To my dismay we did, and they worked. Then another brainstorm.

I could mix the colored and white lights making both of us happy. WTH was I thinking? (I never said my brainstorms were all good. Ugh!) So I began stringing not one, but two separate strings of lights at the same time going around and around and around our 7' tree. Two and a half hours later (with very little assistance at this point from WJ since "stringing the lights is so boring Mom") TCT wore somewhere close to 1000 lights.

At this point my back and knees were aching, I needed a shower, and I needed another extension cord. After cleaning up we jumped in the car and headed up to Rite Aid, grabbed what we needed, and proceeded home to put the ornaments on TCT. Or so I thought. Apparently WJ had decided he was "done helping" and wanted to go play with one of the neighbor kids. Off he trekked across the street while I stood at the end of the garage watching him - and smoking. Then I heard it. I barely audible hissing sound. I walked around the garage trying to discern just where the sound was coming from. Nothing. WJ came home with a pouty face and "he's gone with his dad" sigh, so I told him to go back in the house and I'd be in in a minute. Then I heard it again! It was that same hissing sound a car makes after you've been running the air conditioner on a hot day and the car is turned off. On the 35 degree day we were having we certainly weren't running the A/C, so what in the hell was hissing. Now, standing next to the back driver's side my brain registered where the hissing was coming from. The tire. Sure enough there was a nail lodged in the tread.

Quick as a flash I ran in the house hollering "put on your shoes... put on your coat... we have to get to the tire store before the tire goes completely flat." Making a mad dash to Discount Tire we were told we'd have an hour and a half wait. With only two stores within walked distance we headed off to shop. Then (I know it's shocking at this point) I had another brainstorm. It was my saving grace. Starbucks.

Located just inside the grocery store is a full Starbucks. Heat. Comfortable chairs. Good eats. And the grande non-fate latte I so desperately needed. That's where we passed our time. Just the two of us yakking about football and Christmas and anything else that popped into our heads. We laughed. And we bonded. At one point WJ was so deep in thought I couldn't help snapping a couple of pictures with my phone. Unfortunately you will not be seeing those pictures since I don't have the right connector to attach them to my computer for downloading. I have them - on my phone - where I can look at them to remind me of our special time together.

The time passed quickly and we headed back to check on the car. After waiting a short time in the lobby one of the workers brought the car around and called my name. "You're good to go" he said. When I asked how much I owed for the repair, to my great surprise I was told "nothing at all." Wow! How great was that?

A full day behind us we headed home. I couldn't help thinking about all the simple pleasures that seemed to just happen throughout the day. A helpful son. The sparkle in his eyes. The compromise of mixing both colored and white lights making both of us happy. The special bonding and conversation over a latte, pumpkin loaf and a glass of water. The free tire fix.

Not all life's simplicities are simple, but I'm enjoying the one's I can.

Saturday, December 2

life meme

Life Meme (thanks to Creative-Type Dad)

1. What time is it? Time for a cold one.
2. What is your full name? Now you can't seriously think I'll be posting that here? Can you?
3. What are you most afraid of? Dying a slow, painful death. Closing my eyes and never waking again seems about my speed.
4. What is the most recent movie that you have seen in a theater? Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
5. Have you ever seen a ghost? Seen. Heard. Live with.
6. Where were you born? Redwood City, CA
7. Ever been to Alaska? Not that I know of.
8. Ever been toilet papering? Of course. Who hasn't?
9.Loved someone so much it made you cry? Hell yes. Then again I cry at songs, movies, TV commercials. Yeah yeah! I'm just a big crybaby. Wanna make something of it?
10. Been in a serious car accident? Unfortunately. And I still suffering from it some 15 years later.
11 Do you plan to have any more Children? Plan to - no. Want to - yes.
12. Favorite day of the week? Thursday
13. Favorite Restaurant? The Mayan
14. Favorite Flower? Iris
15. Favorite color? Black
16. Favorite sport to watch? I try not to. Favorite sport to tune out and ignore seems to be football.
17. Favorite Drink? Coffee
18. Favorite Ice Cream? All. I'm an ice cream whore!
19. Favorite fast food restaurant? I haven't eaten much fast food in the past year while dropping my unwanted pounds, but if I had to pick one I'd say McDonald's (for their fries!).
20. What color is your bedroom carpet? Dirty, just like all the carpet in my house.
21. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? 0 (and have never had to take one again... ever... but don't tell anyone!)
22. What do you do when you are bored? Watch TV.
23. What time is your bedtime? Usually between 11:00pm-3:00am
24. Favorite TV shows? Most reality TV (Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother).
25. What are you most grateful for? My top 13
26. What are you listening to right now? The sound of my computer humming and chicken baking in the oven.
27. How many pets do you have? 1 (Jake)
28. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Don't know. Don't care.
29. What would you like to accomplish before you die? Helping just one person in need.

I'm tagging all the Holidailies participants that read this! Make sure to let me know that you've taken the challenge and leave a link to your site in the comments so I can go read about you.

Friday, December 1

it's Holidailies time!

Today marks the starting point for Holidailies. Don't know what Holidailies is? Click here, check it out, and then come back and hang out for awhile.

(For those of you who read regularly, come back later. Or tomorrow. You already know all this stuff.)

So, this being the first day, I want to introduce myself and the rest of the cast of Refuse to Blog. My name is Lisa (as you can see from my profile). I'm a single (currently unemployed) parent living in Western Washington. (If you've got any job leads in the area, hollah!)

Refuse to Blog started a year and a half ago when my good friend Stacie (who's also participating in Holidailies) decided that I needed a blog of my own. You can read my first post here to see just how thrilled I was. Not. So. Much. Yet here we are today - still blogging. (I seriously think Stacie knows what's best for me much more than I do. Shhh! Don't tell her I said so.)

What happens here at Refuse to Blog? Well, that depends on the day. And my mood. This is your warning that I like to rant and rave and bitch and whine. And what better place to do it? But I also throw in a mix of funny stories, meme's, shout outs, and the weekly Thursday Thirteen. You'll never know what to expect.

And now, the cast:

The Regulars:
Wesley (aka WJ) - my wonderful, sometimes annoying six year old son
Stacie (aka Stace, Stacky)- my wonderfully, amazing friend who I've never met IRL (yep, 3 years strong!)
Liss - a kinda sorta new friend, met through Stacie (they hang out IRL)

Guest Appearances (and comments) made by:
The Rents - my meaning-well-but-sometimes-overbearing parents
Groove (aka Hu) - friend, former coworker, and co-author of evilness
Sis (aka Jessica) - friend, talented artist, and Sister (not IRL)
Johnny - the ex and WJ's father (though don't expect to see much on him)

Hopefully that helps with your acclimation to Refuse to Blog! Questions, comments, answers (when I ask the questions) are all encouraged.

Thursday, November 30

Thursday Thirteen - Round 7

Thirteen Thoughts on Participating in NaBloPoMo

1. It was fun!

2. Sometimes it was really hard to come up with something to blog about. (Not that I don't have a zillion things running through my head at any given minute - they're just not all blog appropriate.)

3. I found some really cool fellow bloggers that I might not have found otherwise.

4. It gave me something to look forward to every day.

5. It caused me to really think about posting something other than just crap. Of course, some days, that's all I had in me.

6. It gave Stacie and I something to talk about every day. (Not that we don't have enough other stuff to talk about (LOL) but there were days when we were both struggling for subjects to write about and we'd bounce ideas off one another.)

7. It gave me a reason to hound Liss and get her blogging butt in gear! (Love ya girl!!)

8. It made me remember just how much I enjoy writing.

9. It got me taking pictures again - something I'd kinda stopped doing for awhile. Knowing I could post them and blog about the activities was great (especially since I've not been scrapping in so long).

10. I think it was a great way to unite the blogger community.

11. It made the month go by really quickly. (Not sure if that's such a good thing, but...)

12. It seemed to have gotten people (like me) to be more active in posting.

13. Today is the last day. Thanks for reading all month!

Wednesday, November 29


One day while scrolling through the NaBloPoMo Randomizer, I came upon Lesley's blog. Her posts were entertaining, and since she was participating in NaBloPoMo, I knew there'd be something new to read every day. So I bookmarked her.

Anyway, Lesley is a genius! Well, her last post (at least) was genius. LOL Go now and read it, and then come back.

Are you back now? Good. So let me tell you what I did.

I had a large peanut butter jar brimming with extra change. Like Lesley, I'm not much into digging out exact change when buying stuff. So, all the excess just got dumped into the jar. (Wesley has one too, but I didn't think it'd be too cool to run off with it too!) Anyway, I grabbed the jar on my way out to run to Target and planned on hitting up Albertson's on my way back home.

I am now the proud owner of a $12.34 Starbuck's gift card!! WOOHOO!!!

Not as much as Lesley got, but hey - like she said - it's free money. And now, free coffee!

Thanks girl for the awesome tip!!

are you forking kidding me?

We are on a 2 hour delay for school again. WTF???

The roads are clear.

There wasn't any snow last night.

Yet here we sit... waiting.

They say another dump is headed our way tonight so I'm sure we won't have school tomorrow. At all. And then Friday is a no school day for some sort of recertification bullshit.

What a wasted week.

Tuesday, November 28

what's the speed of a meme?

Okay, just stumbled on this one and thought I'd participate. So follow the instructions below. C'mon... you know you want to!

A scientific experiment by Scott Eric Kaufman:

  1. Write a post linking to this one in which you explain the experiment. (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, &c.)

  2. Ask your readers to do the same. Beg them. Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances. Imply I'm one of them. (Do whatever you have to. If that fails, try whatever it takes.)

  3. Ping Techorati.

snow... school closure... work status... and whatever else

Well the snow really packed a punch to Western Washington last night! We didn't get but a couple of inches way down here, but Seattle was reported to have gotten 15". Insane! The Seahawks even played the Packers, at home, in the snow last night... and Won!! Woohoo!! Supposedly we're in for more on Wednesday night, so we'll see. Could be a week of sledding, snowball fights, and snowman building here.
School Closure
Today the school closed for the day. And guess what? They called it at 6:44am and actually USED the emergency phone tree that I was bitching about yesterday. LOL The public schools, however, after calling a school closure changed their minds and called a delay. Some of the neighbor kids parents let them stay home and have a snow day. Cool!
Work Status
I'm out again. This is getting ridiculous! So everyone keep your eyes peeled for me. There's got to be someone out there willing to hire me. Right?
Whatever Else
Don't think I really have anything else to say, but didn't want to disappoint by not including something in this category since I put it in the title. Hope everyone had a good day!

Monday, November 27

snow... if you can even call it that

Winter in Western Washington is truly predictable - even if you aren't a weather forecaster. Rain. Rain. More rain. And, on occassion, a little snow. (See picture at left for the definition of little.) As you see, that's exactly what we woke up to this morning. A LITTLE snow... if you can even call it that.

On went the TV. No reports of closures or delays in our school district. Surfed through all the closure/delay lists on-line. Nope. None reported in our school district.

So, I called the school. No answer. And do you think in this day of modern technology such as VOICEMAIL there might possibly have been a recorded outgoing message about whether or not there was school today? NO. OF COURSE NOT! That would be too simple!!!

But wait... there's more.

Do you remember my previous posts about the school's Emergency Phone Tree which I am the lead on? The one we are supposed to USE in case of an emergency or OTHER late breaking, IMPORTANT information that needs to be passed on to every family at the school. Yeah, that one. Was it used this morning? Umm... lemme think. That would be a big fat NO bird coming in for a landing. (Thanks for that extremely appropriate phrase Stacie!)

Now, an hour and a half after waking up and monitoring the news, I bundle my kid up like he's going out in a snowstorm and we pile into the car. And before even leaving the driveway I ask him to "please be quiet and not ask me to look at this and that and whatever he deems important for me to see at the exact moment" because the roads are probably going to be icy and I need to pay attention to the stupid people who don't know how to drive in this weather. We back out. Heading to school. Sliding around like a drunken penquin on the black ice that WAS NOT covered by any of the handful of snowflakes that had fallen to earth.

Then we get to the main road. And the traffic (heading the opposite direction) is backed up and not moving. Apparently a snowflake landed on someone's windshield and obscured their vision leaving them impaired for driving. I make a mental note to myself. Self (I say!). Do not drive home from school in your usual direction. And while I'm trying to plan my route back to the house WJ is suffering from a severe case of diarrhea of the mouth and yelling "Look at that Mom! Did you see it? That was cool!!" Umm... NO! I did NOT see whatever it was you're yelling about since I am trying to make sure that I don't ram into the back of this forking SUV that is driving slower than molasses. Sheesh!

Finally, after our trecherous 10 minute drive, we arrive at school. And the damn thing is locked up tighter than Fort Knox! Just forking great.

But wait. There's more. Oh yes there is!

Arriving back home I check to see if by any chance the school had called to start the phone tree. Of course not. But one of the other mom's who's part of the tree had called wondering if we were going to actually USE the phone tree. "Yeah! Notsomuch" I tell her. So again I go back to monitoring the news and checking the closure/delay lists on websites. And FINALLY, more than two and a half hours after starting this whole process and being forced to register as a member at one of the news websites just so I can read the closure/delay list, I see it.

Holy Family
Delayed start: 2 hrs

In theory, it didn't really have to be this difficult.

Sunday, November 26

iTunes shuffle game

Stacie posted this last night and I couldn't resist playing! Very fun!!

* Put your iTunes/Winamp/WMP on shuffle.
* Use the song title as the answer to the question.

1. How does the world see me? Everybody's Fool (Evanescence)
*Appropos considering how I keep getting the wool pulled over my eyes! Guess I need to be a little less trusting?

2. Will I have a happy life? Disappear (R.E.M.)
*Is this a sign? Hmmm.

3. What do my friends really think of me? Don't (Jewel)
*They don't think of me? Sheesh! Not sure if this is good or not.

4. Do people secretly lust after me? What Would You Say? (Dave Matthews)
*Isn't it inappropriate to answer a question with a question?

5. How can I make myself happy? Wash My Hands (Meredith Brooks)
*And this is going to help me how??

6. What should I do with my life? Twisted Logic (Coldplay)
*I'm pretty sure my life is twisted enough at this point. A little logic might help here!

7. Will I ever have children? American Baby (Dave Matthews)
*Yes... yes he is! All American.

8. What is some good advice for me? Small Town Trap (Eve 6)
*LOL Is that what I'm stuck in? How about giving me some advice on how to get out??

9. How will I be remembered? The Captain (Kasey Chambers)
*As opposed to the Cruise Director? or the weather girl? LOL

10. What is my signature dancing song? Sounds Like A Melody (Alphaville)
*Yeah, I pretty much dance to anything that has a melody.

11. What do I think my current theme song is? Spiderwebs (No Doubt)
*"Oh its all your fault... No matter who calls I gotta screen my phone calls. Its all your fault. No matter matter matter who calls I screen my phone calls. Im walking into spiderwebs. Leave a message and Ill call you back." Sounds very familiar! LOL

12. What does everyone else think my current theme song is? Not Coming Home (Maroon 5)

13. What song will play at my funeral? Somebody Else's Song (Lifehouse)
*LMAO!!!! Great! Maybe it's really somebody else's funeral too!!

14. What type of women/men do I like? Frail (Smashing Pumpkins)
*Uh... notsomuch! I've had enough of taking care of frail men in my life. I'm ready for someone who can take care of me now.

15. What is my day going to be like? Call and Answer (Barenaked Ladies)
*Yeah, that's pretty much right. Phone calls. Messages. Call backs.

16. Will I ever have love again? You Won't Be Mine (Matchbox Twenty)
*Who? Is this a sign?

17. What type of sex life do I have? Better Than Me (Hinder)
*Um... okay! That's not saying much now is it?

18. What song would be the title of my own porno movie? In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel)

Saturday, November 25

getting it in holiday gear, and other random stuff

So I finished reading yet another book - Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. Wow! Let me just tell you this one took me awhile to get into. But it came highly recommended, so I kept reading. And once I got about 80 pages into it I just couldn't put it down. I read (shamelessly!) ALL day yesterday. Picked up the book at noon and read until my eyes were blurry at 11pm. (Well, I did stop for a little bit here and there to run to Rite Aid, putz on the computer a bit, and then make a beer and pizza run. But other than that, I just read.) If you haven't read it yet, put it on your list. It's awesome! The DaVinci Code is definitely on my must read list now. And I will read it before I see the movie. In fact, not sure I will see the movie since I've mostly been disappointed with movie adaptations of really good books. We'll see.

Speaking of movies, I rented The Break-Up last night. Anyone seen it? Haven't watched it yet (reading), so I'll probably put it on tonight since it's due back tomorrow. Besides, it's a good night to curl up under a warm blanket with popcorn and a movie. It's DAMN cold! They say snow's on the way. Sure feels like it. But again, we'll see.

And speaking of snow, I decided today was the day to get off my ass and out of the house (literally) to get the outdoor lights put up. It was now or never I figured, and they're done. Some of you know I HATE ladders. It's not the height. It isn't even the going up. It's the coming back down. And, needless to say, I don't do roofs. So I compromised - braving the ladder - and put the lights up around the garage door, on the eaves around the front of the house, and on the bushes flanking the bay window of the living room. (Would post of picture but it's not dark enough to turn them on and take one yet.) Wesley will be very surprised when he gets home since I don't normally put too many lights outside (did I mention my fear of ladders?). Oh, and we can't forget the deer. Two of them outside the bay window. Anyway, a lot of the neighborhood was doing the same thing, so now it's really beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Now we just need the snow!

Friday, November 24

the day after

Completely lazy day today. Maybe I'm feeling the aftermath of the overindulgence of turkey and stuff? LOL

Really, just waiting on WJ to be picked up. Didn't go out to the Black Friday sales this morning, but plan on heading over to Rite Aid to pick up more lights. One can never have enough lights! Then probably do a bit of reading. And relaxing.

Other than that, it's just the day after.

Thursday, November 23

Thursday Thirteen - Round 6

So it's Thanksgiving Day again! Where does the year go? I swear it was just summer, yet here we are again in the midst of the holiday fuss and rush. Sheesh!

Even though I'm in a very bitter mood right now, it is that time of year to be thoughtful and thankful. And maybe it will do me some good to really think about all I have to be thankful for. At least I can hope it will. So, here goes...

Thirteen Things I Am Thankful For

I am always and ever so thankful for WJ... he is one awesome kid!

I am thankful for my parents... even when we don't see eye to eye.

I am thankful for good friends... I don't think I need to name them here. Hopefully they already know how amazing, inspiring, supportive and incredible they are!

I am thankful for my health... yeah, I know, it sounds cliche. But really I am!

I am thankful for still having a roof over my head... and one that doesn't seem to be leaking anymore.

I am thankful for music... as it makes me smile, makes me cry, and often expresses my deepest thoughts and feeling when I can't seem to find the right words.

I am thankful for Jake... yes, my dog! He is my security and my companion while also being a pain in my ass.

I am thankful for my independent nature... without it I would have crumbled.

I am thankful for technology... without it, I would be cut off from most all of the friends I hang with daily. And my hand would definitely have cramps in it.

I am thankful for my Barnes & Noble membership card... it not only saves me money on my book addiction, it saves me money on my Starbuck's fix as well.

I am thankful for meeting new people... I have at least 4 new people I've met in the past year that I now call friends.

I am thankful for my freedom of speech... I can choose what or what not to talk about, and what forum(s) I choose to communicate.

I am thankful for life... through all it's ups and downs, challenges and rewards, ironies and coincidences, I am thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 22

back to ground zero

Once again, I am unemployed.

And pissed.

And emotional.

And not very good company.

That's it.

Tuesday, November 21

holiday tag

There's nothing interesting to blog about today, so I'm gonna just put up a meme. And I'm tagging a few people while I'm at it: Stacie, Liss, Jessica, and Sara. Now don't disappoint me girls!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Egg nog. Preferably a Grande Non-fat Egg Nog Latter from Bux.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa doesn't have time to wrap presents. Sheesh! Everyone knows that.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
White. White. Oh, and did I mention white?

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

5. When do you put your decorations up?
I usually start the weekend after Thanksgiving. But sometimes it takes me a week or so to get everything up.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Pennsylvania Red Cabbage (Let me know if you want the recipe. Yum!)

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Well, I wasn't really a child. More like a teenager. It was the year my Mom and I flew to NYC and I got to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and the Macy's window displays.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
One of the older kids on the block (the bully) told me and my friend "there's no such thing as Santa". I think we were 6 or 7? I went to my Mom and asked the dreaded question. Her reply was, "Are you sure you want to know the answer to that?" I shook my head no, and walked away. By the next year, I was back asking the same question again. And this time got my answer.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We've always had the tradition of opening just one gift on Christmas Eve. And it's usually a new pair of jammies.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
From top to bottom.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Bring it on!

12. Can you ice skate?
I used to. Now I'd probably break my ankle trying.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Absolutely! And it's still in my parent's attic. A hand crafted, built without a kit, three-story Victorian dollhouse made and decorated by both my parents.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Seeing the sparkle and joy in WJ's eyes.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Pumpkin pie.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Christmas morning breakfast.

17. What tops your tree?
An awful looking gold star that is the most precious item on the tree because WJ picked it out saying "that's the most beautiful star I've ever seen".

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Definitely giving. I'm really bad at receiving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
White Christmas

20. Candy Canes
Only for decorating with.

Monday, November 20

i need to take my kid to vegas

I swear, WJ is one lucky kid!

He wins most of the time at cards and games.

He won all those items from the carnival this past summer.

And today he won an NFL poster from the Scholastic Book Fair.

I could use some of that luck. Maybe I should rub his stomach?

Sunday, November 19

the fix

I'm almost afraid to say it out loud.

I think I got my roof leak fixed. Shhh! Don't say it too loud.

Just another one of those home repair issues that's haunted me over the past couple of weeks. Water falling through the recessed light fixture above the kitchen sink. Well, not directly above the kitchen sink. That would be too easy. And I have mentioned I can never do anything simply? It was falling just on the edge of the sink, towards the counter top. Can't balance a bowl or pitcher there very easily to catch said falling water unless you pad it with towels first.

Anyway, yesterday I headed over to Lowe's and picked up a can of Great Stuff. And from what I can tell with the wind and rain we had this morning - this stuff really is great! Went over to borrow a neigbor's ladder since mine is too short, and the conversation went something like this.

Me: "Hey! Can I borrow your ladder?

Neighbor: "Sure you can! Uh...why?

Me: "I need to fix my roof."

Neighbor: "Why?"

Me: "Cuz I've got a leak."

Neighbor: "Umm... where exactly is this leak."

Of course I had to go into the whole explanation of where the leak was, how it got to be a leak, and what I was going to do to fix it. The short version of that story is the back side of the house takes all the weather. And the flashing on the little roof of the bay window in my kitchen wasn't cut right, leaving an exposed area. When the wind blows the rain horizontally (the way it was doing last week and again this morning) rain water goes in and then finding it's lowest point, come waterfalling out of my kitchen light.

He grabbed his ladder and followed me over. Neither of us was particularly excited about having to get up on the ladder, but he climbed up there, took a look, then proceded to squirt the Great Stuff into the exposed opening. This stuff is really cool. It's this yellow foam stuff that expands when it gets into a crevace then cures and hardens.

So it's done. For now.

No leak.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, November 18

a saturday affair

Saturday's always seem to be here one minute and gone the next. Seriously. In the blink of an eye, they're gone. Today was no different than any other Saturday, really. Except that instead of waiting until Sunday to scramble around trying to get things done I actually tried to accomplish some of the items on my massive 'to do' list.

Done today:

30 minutes of Wesley reading
check deposit at the bank
lunch out with the kiddo
trip to Lowes for roof fix
roof leak fixed (I hope... we'll see when it rains again!)
burned out outdoor lights replaced
dishwasher emptied
pots and pans washed
kitchen cleaned
2 loads laundry
read a few chapters of Angels & Demons
played catch with the kiddo
dinner for kiddo
making my 18th consecutive post for NaBloPoMo

Yeah, I know. Stupid post. But had to come up with something. Maybe tomorrow will bring something more inspiring.

Friday, November 17

in theory

Apparently (not to be confused with frankly) I can't do anything simply! I always have to take the tough road. Most times it all works out okay though. But sometimes there's a few bumps in the road.

When I was in school, if given a book report, research assignment, speech or any other task I could procrastinate on, I would. It didn't matter how much time the teacher gave us to get the assignment done, I always waited until two days (or the night before) to start working on it. I'd pull my hair out trying to get things done and somehow always managed. And always got an A. It would have probably been much simpler to start when the assignment was first given, but I figured I had so much time to work on it I'd get to it... later.

Even having WJ wasn't a simple task. Not to imply that childbirth is generally in any way simple, but transverse breech. Ouch!

So I think I've mentioned there are several (well, more than several) things around the house that need to be fixed. Most of them, in theory, should be simple. Should be. Maybe it's just me.

A few weeks ago I had a new kitchen faucet installed. The old one was really worn out and had terrible water pressure. The new one was designed differently than the old. My bad for not paying closer attention when buying the damn thing. Anyway, the old one had a separate spray nozzle, but it was located right on the base of the actual faucet. This new one was not. It was supposed to come up through a different hole in the back part of the sink - a hole that I didn't have. I honestly don't even use the spray nozzle all that much, so I didn't bother with it. Just wrapped the hose around the pipes under the sink and left it. It was fine, and I had a new faucet. Well, have I mentioned I can't seem to do anything simply?

The only other hole in the back of the sink is the dishwasher drain tube. In order to bring the spray nozzle up to be used, the tube had to be moved. Should be easy enough, right? Of course. In theory, as long as the tube was still going in an upward direction and higher than the pipes it was draining into it should work perfectly fine. And it would have. If only I'd remembered to put the cap over the top of the tube forcing the water to go back down the other tube to drain out of the dishwasher.

Instead, the cap sat on the kitchen counter.

The diswasher washed.

And then it drained.

All over the kitchen floor, pouring out from the cabinet under the sink, coming out from underneath the faucet all over the kitchen counter.

One cap, four towels and a phone call later things were in order again.

Wednesday, November 15

Thursday Thirteen - Round 5

Not feeling all that creative this week, but know I have a ton of shit to get done. So, I give you...

Thirteen Things I Need to Do to Get Ready for Christmas

1. Finish shopping (off to a good start, so must not fall behind)
2. Get the tree up DONE
3. Put up the outside lights DONE
4. Check for lighted lawn decorations at Walmart DONE
5. Write Christmas letter (this is a big maybe!)
6. Address Christmas cards
7. Buy stamps to mail said Christmas cards DONE
8. Remember to pick up wreaths on Dec 1st DONE
9. Decorate the living room/family room DONE
10. Wrap presents
11. Mail presents
12. Buy teacher gift
13. Mentally prepare for WJ being gone the weekend before Christmas through Christmas day


You might remember a couple of weeks ago I went a little crazy and completely changed my hair color? Not ever having my hair colored, only bleached, I really didn't know what to expect. But when the first week went by and I was noticing a dramatic difference in the shade, I was shocked. Every day it seemed to be getting lighter and lighter. I started thinking I was just imagining things. Like maybe I was just getting used to it being darker and so it didn't look so dark anymore because of it?

By yesterday (just shy of two weeks later) I was totally convinced that it was lightening. And can I tell you how pissed I was? Very. So, I called up the salon where I had it done, but my stylist wasn't in. Another stylist who answered the phone asked if there as anything she could do and I told her my frustation. And what does she tell me? "Oh, that's normal." Say what? NORMAL??? I. Don't. Think. So.

Knowing that my stylist would be in today between 2:00 and 6:00pm, I headed out in the hurricane that's blowing through (again!) and went in to confront her. She was shocked. She said she thought it might fade a little (well, actually she knew it would fade a little) but with as dark as we made it, it definitely shouldn't be looking like this. She confirmed it wasn't a semi-permanent but did say that with the shades of red in the color that might have contributed to the fading.

And then she called a redo! So, I have to wait two weeks to get in, but she's doing a redo. And I didn't even have to yell, cry, stomp my feet, or throw a tantrum.

Tuesday, November 14

proliferating like bunnies

You all know how much I love my daily Bux run. Right?

Living here in the Pacific Northwest, there are so many freakin' places to get a quick java fix. Starbucks. Cutters Point. Batdorf & Bronson. And the ever growing number of drive-up coffee huts adorning every parking lot. Safeway and Barnes & Noble have Starbucks in them so you can shop and get your fix at the same time. Borders has their coffee bar too. Even Lowes has a stand just outside their front door. They are literally all within walking distance of each other. And this is down here - in the sticks - where I live. Go up to Seattle. You can stand on a street corner and turn a 360 and guess what you'll see? Coffee places. At least 3 or 4 in one city block. They're proliferating like bunnies!

How do they do it? How is it financially feasible to have so many coffee places so close to each other and still make a profit? And it's not just the competitors that are near to each other. It's the same company.

Example: Walk into Safeway or Fred Meyer and the Starbucks stand is just inside the front door. Or, walk two stores down in the same stripmall and you can go to a Starbucks store. There's at least three of these set-ups I know about just here in Lacey.

And it's not just Starbucks either. Look at Subway and Jiffy Lube. Not necessarily in walking distance of the next one, but certainly within a mile or two. Why? Can you honestly tell me that they are all profitable? I mean really. It's crazy.

Speaking of Subway, why don't they have a drive-thru? Now before you start giving me flak, I am not one of those lazy ass people who expects to get into the warmth and comfort of my car and not have to get out to take care of all my stops for the day. But sometimes it'd just be so much easier to be able to just drive-thru and pick up what ya need.

Example: Stacie and Liss went to Subway today. They had Piper with them. Sleeping. Now they have a choice. One stays in the car with the sleeping Princess (no, Liss... not you!) while the other goes in to get food. OR Both go in taking the littlest peanut with them, hence waking her.

If there'd been a drive-thru, no decision required. See what I mean?

On that note, I think it's time for my Bux run.

Monday, November 13

monday madness

It's gonna be a long week!

After goofing around with my girls - Stacie and Liss - last night, I settled in front of the TV to watch Desparate Housewives. Towards the end, I sensed (but not heard) something in the hallway and looked over completely startled seeing WJ wandering toward me. At first I thought he was sleepwalking again. But, no. He was wide awake. Well, maybe not wide awake. But lucid enough to tell me he couldn't sleep. I let him sit with me for a little bit, then took him back up to bed. Shortly after 10:00pm, I heard him up again. WTH? Poor kid just couldn't sleep last night. So, I shut everything down, went upstairs, and stuck him in bed with me. (No. I never, ever do that unless he's really sick and I feel like I need to keep an eye on him.) He fell asleep almost immediately, but it was a fitful sleep - tossing, turning, wiggling. Needless to say, I wasn't sleeping because of it. Around 11:30pm the winds were so high I thought the roof was going to blow right off the house, or at the very least, the tree in my backyard neighbor's yard was going to fall over and come crashing through my bedroom ceiling. And I still wasn't sleeping. I took WJ back to his bed, climbed under the covers and was out within seconds. Not sure what the sleeping problem was, but at least we both finally got some.

So, I mentioned it's gonna be a long week, didn't I? Yep. Well, as if early release last Thursday, followed by no school on Friday wasn't enough, this week is early release all week long. Conference week. Why on earth they need an entire week for conferences is beyond me? (I'll save you my diatribe on early release/holiday/vacation closures for the rest of the year!) When I was a kid, we didn't have time off for conferences. They were scheduled in the late afternoons and evenings. Just like mine for WJ. My parent-teacher conference isn't even until 3:30pm this afternoon, so why must I pick up my son at 11:00am every day this week? And, to top it off, his dad is leaving tomorrow for a conference and will be gone the entire week.

It's only Monday, but I have a bad feeling about this week. Did I mention it's gonna be a long one?

Sunday, November 12

'tis the season

Have you been out shopping recently? Just barely into the middle of November and every store in town is fully decked out with holiday garb. Starbuck's has their holiday cups, sleeves, gift cards, and specialty drinks. Even the city has started to put up their holiday decor. Christmas carols (yes... Christmas! not holiday... I'm not politically correct and I don't care) are blaring from every speaker. And stores are holding pre-holiday sales right and left. Sheesh! I like Christmas as much as the next guy, but why do they have to start things up so early?

I started my Christmas shopping a couple weeks ago. Yep! Very early for me this year. WJ found a Seahawks helmet he just *had to have* and since he was with me, I had to go back the next day to pick it up. Then Thursday night while at Best Buy I picked up the Cars DVD. So, two down. Need to head back to Costco this week and get a set of Star Wars light sabers. He's been wanting some since his birthday (after asking his Aunt for some when she called to see what he wanted and then sent some stupid Star Wars transformer thingies he never plays with). So not too shabby a start. Already know what I'm getting my parents too. Just need to get out there and get them. At this rate, I'll be done before the end of the month. Yay me!

I guess it'll be time to get out all the Christmas decorations soon too. When is too early to decorate the house? Seems like most years I wait until after Thanksgiving and then feel like I've gone through all the set-up for such a short enjoyment time. Maybe I'll get everything out this next week while WJ has hald-days at school so he can help. Besides... I want us to enjoy them together sooner since WJ won't be here this Christmas. (Not going into that torrent of emotions right now though.)

Mmm... off to finish enjoying my Starbucks Eggnog Latte.

Saturday, November 11

saturday sass

How is it after 2pm already? And where did the past 48 hours go?

Every time I get a long weekend with WJ gone, I make all sorts of plans (in my head). But mostly things just take on a form of their own and move on a different time continuum. I always have so many things I want to do, start, accomplish. And there should definitely be enough time for all of them. In theory.

Instead I sit here finishing my morning coffee and breakfast at almost 2:30pm.

Friday, November 10

now that's more like it

Grande non-fat peppermint mocha in hand. Mmmm!!! Flood stock refreshed. Tunes playing. Candles lit.

All good now.

fork around friday

I have a shitload of stuff I need to get done. But it's Friday. So guess what? It's not getting done. I've decided to fork around instead.

Day started with little Miss Stacie waking my ass at 0830. Thanks chica! Has it been 5 minutes yet???

After a pot of coffee, blog chasing and forking around on the phone and IM, I warmed up. This put me after 1100. Trying to figure out WTH to blog about and getting useless suggestions from my evil duo, more forking around, and needing food I decided it's too late to do anything but fork around and babble about nothing so I can fulfill my NaBloPoMo requirement for the day.

Blasted wind and rain are back again. And, NO, the damn vent isn't blocked. But the towels are down to catch the steady stream of water I'm sure is forthcoming.

On the playlist right now:
All the Same - Sick Puppies
Anything But Ordinary - Avril Lavigne
Lips of an Angel - Hinder
Ever the Same - Rob Thomas
You Get Me - Michelle Branch
Only One - Lifehouse
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
Fix You - Coldplay

Need to head to Safeway to stock up on the essentials in preparation for the flood. Got pizza and ice cream. Oh, and cheesecake filling. Yum!! Beer and wine at the top of the list. (Groove, get the ark!)

Enough random blather for now. Maybe some drunkin forking blather later... if you're lucky!

Wednesday, November 8

Thursday Thirteen - Round 4

Thirteen of My Favorite Movies
(in no particular order)

1. Thelma & Louise
2. Braveheart
3. Remember the Titans
4. The Sound of Music
5. Nine 1/2 Weeks
6. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
8. Dances with Wolves
9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
10. Field of Dreams
11. Ladyhawke
12. First Knight
13. Willow

black friday

Are you one of those crazies that goes shopping on Black Friday to save a few bucks? Me... Not. So. Much.

My mom keeps sending me sale announcements for notebooks that are going to be sold on the dreaded day. (Yes, I'm looking for a notebook.) And I know if I really want to get a great deal on one, I'd get my sorry butt out there with the throngs of other crazies. But is it really worth it? Besides, this is my year to have WJ on Thanksgiving (he goes to his dad for Christmas this year - my first Christmas without him - an entirely separate post that will be forthcoming) and I just can't see dragging him out of his warm bed to join me in the madness and mayhem.

Then again... I'm a cheapass! And, if I can save a few bucks and get something I really want...

What am I saying? Someone. Anyone. Talk some sense into me.

Tuesday, November 7

anyone up for the Bahamas?

I seriously need a vacation! A real vacation too. Not going to see family. Not even going to visit friends. I'm talking about going somewhere sunny and warm, with sprawling beaches, crystal blue waters, and HOT scantily clad waiters delivering umbrella capped drinks. Thats. What. I. Need.

Yesterday was completely insane. It started with yet another visit to the dentist for WJ (3rd in two months - kid's got cavities galore). What should have been an easy fix was met with fear and tears. Not surprising after the last two visits. Funny thing about going to this dentist is it's the hygenist that does all the *yucky* stuff. So WJ really *likes* the dentist... just not the poor hygenist. Then it was off to school for him, and home for me to try to recruit the last of the volunteers needed for our school Emergency Call Tree System. Between working on that, talking on the phone, and getting the kitchen cleaned up I was ready for a nap. But no! There's more.

After picking up WJ and coming home to what I thought was going to be a quiet night, as I'm talking on the phone with a friend, the neighbor's 13 year old son comes over and tells me, "My Dad needs you to call him." So I get off the phone, call the dad, and find him in a panic. He's stuck in traffic (and trying to get around flooded streets) and his kids are stranded at daycare. So, I tell another friend that I'm IMing with *I gotta go!* and we jump in the car to rescue the kids. Think I'm done? Nope. There's. More.

Now it's going on 6:00pm, I call the friend I was IMing, make WJ some dinner, and sit down to relax. In the middle of dinner WJ tells me his mouth is sore. He says it hurts to open, so I figured it was just from having his jaw held open for so long at the dentist. He finishes his dinner (after I cut it in small pieces so he doesn't have to open is mouth so big) and when he's done I look at him. His bottom lip is huge! We're talking *someone who wants to have Botox injections is very jealous of him right now* huge. So, again, we jump in the car, this time heading for the Safeway pharmacy. The pharmacist recommends either Oragel or Benedryl, so I take the Oragel and head home. (After stopping at Bux to pick up a grande non-fat pumpkin spice latte with light whip.)

Now I've got two voicemail messages, make my return calls, gel up the kid, then sit to read with him before bedtime. I come back downstairs to find two friends IMing me, chat with them for awhile, and now it's 9:00pm. How. The. Hell. Is. It. Nine? I say goodnight, eat some dinner (yes, at 9:00pm - when else did I have time?), then plop in front of the tube. Back to IM and surfing a bit later, and at 11:30pm my head flops on the pillow and I'm out.

Oh, and did I mention I'm PMSing right now?

I. Seriously. Need. A. Vacation!