Monday, December 31, 2007

Out With The Old

In With The New. Happy New Year Everyone!

2007 was a fairly good year. I was thinking back this morning to New Year's 2000 when everyone thought the world would come to an end. Our computers would crash, crazy things would happen and there was near panic. Life went on as it always does. We all somehow managed to make it to a new year. Good and bad things have happened. We lost loved ones and watched little ones have birthdays. We've gained friends and watched some go through difficult times. We've grown closer to some friends and lost contact with others.

In our own family we lost an icon. My husbands uncle passed away early this year at 87 years old. He was sticken with polio at the age of 10 and not expected to live past 12. This man over came every obstacle thrown at him. He lived a great life and was an inspriation to all.

My brother-in-law had brain surgery on October 19th for a brain tumor. Things were a little messy and we spent a lot of time at the hospital and rehab visiting him. He was sent home on Thursday and is doing well. A few hours of week of Therapy is about all he should need now. Thanks to all of you for your well wishes and prayers.

My sister-in-law J is now one year cancer free as well as my mother. We are thankful and looking forward to the up coming years free calls.

We also lost some friends this year. May they rest in peace and forever know we miss them and are thinking of them.

We had a good camping season this past year. The Brewers played well and the Packers are on their way to the playoffs. Looking forward to the next few weeks being exciting. I chuckle as every year when the football season ends we mull over what to do from mid Feburary to the end of May when camping starts. Some how we always manage to be busy. We have a vacation planned and I will hopefully be taking my annual trek to Arizona the end of April to visit my parents. This is like my jump start to summer. Whether I go solo or someone comes along this year is up in the air.

There's household repairs on the list this upcoming year also. Our enclosed porch is in need or repair, the driveway cracks are getting bigger and I still need to get the spare (not really spare J) room turned into my hobby room. Guess it would help to find a hobby first. And, the roof that is partially shingled will need to be finished. This may all make the summer go by pretty quick.

So let's all think good things this year. The best of luck to everyone and enjoy a safe and Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tragic Short Cut

I had some errands to run after work today which involved going into stores. Not for returns mind you but for a few birthday gifts for people whose birthdays just happen to fall this week. I then had to make a run to Goodwill due to my cleaning frenzy yesterday. I opted for the short cut route from 35th & Layton to 27th and Rawson. I hate 27th Street between the hours of 330 and 6pm. So I did the little cut through on side streets to get there. Big mistake. First of all I had to go a block out of my way due to a water main break and when cutting back down another block had to pull over for an ambulance. I was going the same way and came upon where the ambulance was headed for. It appeared to be a body covered up laying by a driveway approach. There were 3 men standing around the body and one car close by with it's headlights on. At first glance (I wasn't gawking, I had to stop to let the ambulance pull up to the house)it appeared as though the car may have hit the person. Then I saw that it was a little icy in the driveway approach. May have been that the person slipped. These things make me sad. One could tell it wasn't the body size of a child so I'm guessing elderly person maybe.

As I drove away I thought if the person was hit this could explain the pulled over car. This person may have just taken responsibility rather than flee. I'm sure most of you read about or heard about the couple that was hit on Christmas Day while getting presents out of their car. The driver never stopped but has been located now. Even without hearing the entire story , there is no excuse. You will get caught eventually so going home and hoping you sober up isn't going to help you out.
We're taught not to pass judgement on people but how can you not in a case like that?

Going back to work today sucked! Although I may not have done much at home today it would have been nice to have another day. I might have tackeled the basement and then my husband would have really freaked. He didn't go through any of the boxes I had packed for Goodwill yesterday but he did ask what I did with the stuff on his dresser. I had to tell him that it just looked cleaner as the dust had been removed. I put everything back on it. He was growing some kind of dust farm up there. I do think he may have taken stock of the flannel as I heard no cussing when he went into his closet.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Stop This Insanity

For many years I have taken the week of Christmas off. Just this thing of relaxing after the holiday. This year I was lacking vacation time therefore only took today off. I had a plan. I was going to relax, maybe watch some movies, catch up on some laundry and take it easy. My head started ticking last night. I could really use to clean out some junk. I was going to do this a while back and put a stop to it as I thought maybe we could have a rummage sale and rid ourselves of some crap. Never got around to that.
It is now 12:30 and I am on the third bag of stuff to haul to Goodwill. This is only from two closets and part of the kitchen. Anything I haven't worn in the past two years is in the bag. As I stood in front on my husbands closet and viewed his collection of flannel shirts I used my better judgement and shut the closet door. My God what was I thinking? I would never be able to get even one out without him noticing. I did dig around a little and found two pair of gloves that he frantically searched for this season. Dare I tell him? No, then he would know I was in there. I just moved them to the top of the stack of crap in his closet with hope that he may notice them.
We have a program (5S) starting at work this year. I was given all the books to study up on it and will be one of the elected persons to start this program. It basically instructsyou on how to rid the workplace of un-needed items. There is a holding area for items you are not sure of or not ready to part with. At work we have begun tagging things to either hold or throw away. In the book it explains that usually the holding area turns into a big mess and you end up getting rid of everything in the end. It's just a safe zone for junk collectors. They also mention in the book that this program will rub off on people and they will begin to use it in their personal lives. Hello! Our safe zone items are in the bag. I also have several boxes that I need to haul up from the basement. I can assure you that someone will be digging through the boxes as he's loading them into my truck. I must be present to make sure none of this gets back in.
Must get back to work. I'm loosing valuable time. The desk I'm sitting at is the next thing on my list. (not the desk itself..just the crap piled up on it.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Here's hoping everyone had a Merry Christmas. I always get that "whew" I got it all done feeling once all the gifts are open and the hub bub is just about over. We had the traditional breakfast with the kids, grandkids and mother-in-law this morning. The food was good as everyone was here on time this year. (no crispy, burnt offerings to be had).
My daughter has twins and although I try to get them different things I've found that they like the same things. They were the highlight of the day. They had asked for the set of Little House On The Prarie books and I was able to find them online. They'll watch to see what the other one got and get a little jealous so when the book opening came the one was almost in tears as she didn't think she got the same thing. Joking around I remarked that I figured they could share. It appears that she didn't really want to read them. She wanted to save the set unopened so she could someday give them to her kids. When I told her that the books were around since I was little the look on her face was priceless. I had to take her and show her that I still had them.
We also got each of the kids digital camera's and were subjected to a lot of posing for the rest of the day. All in all the day went well.
Last night was our family gathering and Ben & J's house. This was also a good time. No family fights, good food, and holiday cheer. My parents had bought each family a set of silverware which some of us were confused about. When I talked to my mom she said she did it so we'd always have something to remember them by. This cracked me up a bit as I said "Yeah Mom, I'm going to pick up my fork and burst into tears someday." It's a nice set and the thought was truely there.
So now we're off for our last stop of Christmas. Brother in law is home for the day and we're going to visit for a bit. He's been out the past 3 days on a day pass and is doing very well. He may only need a week or so more and he'll be able to come home. The doctors wants to make sure he doesn't take a step back after the holidays. It was great to see her so happy also.
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas..

Friday, December 21, 2007

Woudolph The Wed Nosed Wiendeer

Two little bits of cuteness came to my door tonight. Door bell rang, dog went nuts and I didn't see anyone at the door. At first I thought it was prank but then thought I should open the door just in case UPS left a package. Upon opening the door I spotted two little girls who immeidatly started singing their carefully practiced Christmas Carol. They sang their little hearts out with no coaching from their mother, my sister. Dressed in pink they were the picture of all that is good. My crappy day was made brighter. I love that they didn't miss a beat. I love that the 4 year old Tori did not look at me but directly at the Christmas lights on my porch and Savannah the younger sister looked me right in the eye while singing. After a quick visit to check out my tree and get a cookie of their choice and one for dad who was waiting in the car they were off to their next stop. "Yet's dough Mom, Daddy's in da van" and they vanished.

Do people still go Christmas Caroling? This was big when I was young. The neighborhood parents would get all the kids together, bundle us up and we'd go to quite a few houses on the block and sing away. We'd get pennies, cookies and sometimes hot chocolate. I know we did this for a few years but when we moved it stopped. Of course when we moved it was also a little remote for the first 5 or so years. In my early teens a group of us went but that died off. I can only recall once in my adult life that carolers came to our door. Must be a thing of the past as I guess you never know who you may "offend" by appearing at their door. It seems as if it's left to school or church groups visiting nursing homes. This is good as they probably appreciate this much more then others do.

Today was the shortest day of the year. The first day of winter. Apparently we got a little head start on that with all the snow and cold. Of course now that it warmed up a tad we have a river running down our driveway. By this time tomorrow with the falling temperature we will have a nice ice rink. Hopefully my husband can get some of the snow off our porch roof before we get hit again. If not we may be shut in's when the roof caves in. I have the notion to bring in all my Christmas cookies just in case. Hate to be running out then during the cave in to save the cookies. I don't think I'd be able to explain the loss of the sacred peanut butter balls to my family.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Squeak, Squeak, Squeak

Ahh...Christmas. Time for shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating and Christmas Concerts. This year my grandchildren ( the twins) had a band concert at their school which was actually called a Christmas Concert. My daughter and I noticed while walking through the school hallways that they had various decorations up. Christmas trees, stars and Santa Claus. Last year it was called the "Holiday Concert". Not sure of the reasons for the change but I welcomed it.

I stopped at their house before the concert to see the new puppy. Bella is a 10 month old black lab that they adopted from the humane society. Actually all their current pets have been adopted. Cute little puppy and well behaved.

The girls were being preped for the concert. Hair combing, clothing check, shoes changed to match the outfits. They were nervous and of course admitted to not practicing their violins much. We assured them that they'd be fine and off we went.

I have many heart warming memories from seeing my kids in concerts. From my son nearly falling off the top step on the stage while goofing off to my daughter with her solo "Let's go Fly A Kite" slightly off key. Besides my brothers daughter who was somehow gifted with a beautiful singing voice no one in this family can carry a tune.

I now have another cherished memory to add. Four Christmas songs plus "Hot Crossed Buns" played by 6 children on violins with the band instructor playing along. There were more squeaks then one can fathom but it was heart warming none the less. They all looked so nervous but yet totally concentrated on their performance. This was better then some high class costly concert. Actually it did end up costing me as there was a trip to Culvers afterwards. I look forward to next years.

Brother in law is making progress in the rehab center. Not sure if he'll make it out by Christmas but happy that he's finally getting the help he needed. She went back to work this week, a break she really needed. Things may finally be on the up and up.

Looking forward to meeting some friend for a little Christmas get together this Saturday. I need a beer! It's been a while. I'm not supposed to be on the 12 step program. Just haven't had time lately.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Getting Things Done

This weekend was very productive for me. For some reason this year I was very behind in holiday "chores". The shopping is 98% done, the tree is up and decorated and I have lists laying around for the rest of the things I need to get done by next weekend.

For the past 10 or so years the woman folk in my family have gotten together the weekend before Christmas for cookie baking. We've pretty much gotten everything down to a basic science now. The cut-outs are all baked up prior to the day and several doughs are mixed up ahead of time and ready to go. My middle sister used to work for a bakery so she's all about the frosting and which one we should use. Of course you have a choice as one hardens quickly but doesn't taste very good but the other is quick to harden but tastey. We ususally let the kids decorate the cookies so unlike the pain stakingly decorated cookies, ours are more imaginative. Some how yesterday when I got around to decorating there was only one cookie left. Something tells me that my family knows my artistic talent therefore keeps me busy so I don't get near the table other than to clean it up.

I haven't been in to much of a Christmas mood up until yesterday. The cookie thing at my sisters and then my daughter and her girls coming back to my house to make a few other things may have finally gotten me in the mood. I hate when decorating or baking feels like a chore. One should do it because they are in the spirit, not because they feel they have to.

Like my friend Peve, I'm not really into wrapping presents. Maybe it's because I'm yet to find a scissors that cuts good. This year I ended up using the scissors that came with my set of knives. That thing rocked. Mental not to myself not to let my husband near it or it will then be in the same shape the rest of my scissors are in. I'm not quite sure what he cuts with them but after he uses a pair I may as well toss them. I bought a lot of gift bags and tissue paper this year. This cut down the wrapping a little. There are just some things that you can't stuff into a bag and pass off as not being lazy.

Pretty good Packer game today except for the last field goal which took the pool I was on the track to win, out of my reach. Not doing to good in that this year. I did catch pretty much of the last half of the Cowboy's game. I really though they'd pull it off in the final few minutes.

Well let's all hunker down for the longest work week of the year. Somehow to me the week prior to Christmas seems to drag on forever.

My brother-in-law is now out in Waterford in a speciality rehab center. He seems to be doing quite well except for still having some confusion.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

He's Spent

I am often very amused by my husband. I should end this here but I feel I must share this particular story. It appears that he decided to do some shopping last night. He called me around 4:30 ish to let me know he was at Southridge and he'd be shopping for a bit. He figured he'd only be able to take about an hour or so. True to his word he was home by 6. It was then that I got to hear the perils of Christmas shopping. Apparently he's bothered by the crowds and as he puts it "stupid people". The first thought that came to my mind was "he's a stroller. I can't imagine him in a crowd moving fast" (unless of course it's to get on the bus to exit Summerfest). I could picture the sceniro in my head. The big guy strolling through the mall and people passing him. Maybe he got bumped into a few times. It gave me a little chuckle.
I then started to think about all the shopping I've done. I also hate crowds but you have to go with the flow. Keep the pace. Be prepared at the checkout so as not to hold up a line of people because you picked up the one thing without a price tag. The checkout line is not the time to haggle over getting a few bucks off something as it has a small spot to pull in it. Do that with the department person or go to Customer Service. Know where your check book or card are. Have your 15% off coupon readily accessible and know the location of your driver's liscense. Don't bitch at the cashier for asking for ID. This is for your own protection. Expect that the parking lot is going to be packed.
My husband spent 3 hours one Sunday evening Christmas shopping with me. This was probably 1/4 of our shopping. I mentioned when he called last night from the mall that his mother's birthday is next week and maybe he should look for something for her. He forgot. He'll think about what to get her. Funny, he has not purchased a gift for her on his own in 23 years. Sometimes I'm nice and tell him about it before she opens the gift. She always hugs him first. She's a bright woman and she knows damn well he was clueless.
Don't get me wrong, he is a thoughtful shopper and buys great gifts that are meaningful. He's not an impulse buyer and he is a bargin shopper. I'm not into driving 5 miles extra to save a buck when it cost me 2 to drive there. A lot of my stops are made on my way home from work. I'm a little route planner. Kind of like a junior Cruise Director. I urge all of you who read J's blog to apply for the assistant job. I hear she has great benefits.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Broker Than When I Left

They got it all....All my money. Despite the fact that there wasn't much to do but gamble, it could have been worse. I spent no more that I planned on. I did manage to hit on two different machines, but rather than pocket that it got sucked right back into another one. Unlike J I just couldn't find the right machine. I did play for over 2 hours on a nickle poker machine with a $10.00 investment. Although the outcome was bad I was amused for 2 hours. At this point I felt the need to remove myself from that area which was close to the stage where the band was. Not quite sure of their real name but J's dad had nicknamed them Booger Snots and the Hanker Chiefs.
Made the trek to the Farmin Inn with good food as usual. Saturday we were going to venture to another casino but the snow was coming down pretty good. We opted to not risk it and return to our place. I do need to find out for Kim and myself what the shiny stuff is that they spray on an omelet. It almost appears to be some type of wax or oil.
On my weekly listening to Leroy Butler the DJ's were talking about an interesting email they received analyzing the Packers loss to the Cowboys. This person apparently believes that the Packers lost on purpose. Kind of like tricked they Cowboys into thinking they are not a very good team. See, and then the plan is to kick butt in the playoffs. Leroy was asked if this was true. He never hesitated before saying a flat out "NO". I chuckled listening to the letter and conversation afterward. I find it interesting that some people cannot just accept the fact that the Packers did not play well and lost..rather than make up excuses or reasons for it. Did the coaching staff plan for Brett to get injured to make it even worse? This guy's email was also about Woodson sitting out when he looked perfectly fine to play. In his eyes this was part of the ultimate plan. Let's just take it one game at a time. Anything can happen.
Happy Shoveling out in the morning everyone!