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Archive for March, 2003

Weekend

I love winning bets! Especially since J is so good at paying up. Last week, we bet on the Oscars; the person who predicted the most winners would win a full body massage from the loser. Okay, so it was a little unfair since I keep up with some of this stuff better than he does, but he did see Chicago and several of the other nominated movies.

Anyway, I was able to predict a measly 9 categories. He only got 4. This Saturday was time to settle up. He made a beautiful dinner of fish, fresh asparagus, and rice and served it with a Riesling that I particularly enjoy. While I was waiting for dinner. The dinner was especially enjoyable. The timing couldn’t have been better because I had spent the entire afternoon cleaning my room. Not fun, but I definitely feel better now that it is done. By the way, thanks for calling, sweet_pickles, it was very nice talking with you.

Sunday was a real mix. I got some great deals. The pet food store that I frequent has a frequent buyer program that sends reward checks to be used in the store. Since today was the expiration date of the check, I stopped by to pick up some cat food that I will need in about 2 weeks. In their newsletter was a coupon for the Pooka’s food, so I brought that along too. I wound up paying $1.84 for her cat food! I stopped by Blockbuster, which is right next door, and picked up my free movie rental. Kind of cool.

My brother and sister-in-law came down with their wedding video to show my grandmother. It was a very nice video, but none of us remember it being that windy that day. There was a breeze yes, but on video it looks like the sirens will be sounding any minute. Their wedding pictures also turned out lovely.

Grandma hasn’t been feeling well, and she was in a mood. We spent some time rearranging the furniture in her apartment to be more to her liking. J had to make a new cable to connect the VCR to the TV in the new setup. When he went to drop it off, she was trying to move some shelves by herself. So, he had to move a few more pieces back and forth. I felt bad for him. Later, one of his neighbors called to ask him to move a sectional into the house and help move the old furniture to the garage. Of course, he helped with that too. I’m rather surprised that he wasn’t terribly sore this morning.

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Friday Five

Thanks to sweet_pickles who introduced me to The Friday Five.

1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?

Being told at J’s sister’s bridal shower that I can bring my whole family to J’s cousin’s wedding in May. Apparently, the rumor within the family is that I have a child. News to me.

2. What one person touched your life this week?

Like sweet_pickles said in her journal, “Just one”?
I get a lot from the posts on LJ–even if I am just lurking. It’s nice to know that others are doing and thinking some of the same stuff that I do. It’s even more interesting when I don’t agree because it lets me look at any situation from a different perspective. It also gives me a quick break from work to clear my head a bit.

My father has become a bit sentimental in this last week. He’s been sending me inspirational emails. Kind of cool–they make me smile and feel loved.

3. How have you helped someone this week?

I don’t know that I really have. I was pretty much moral support for various family members at the bridal shower. I did have J invite his brother and sister-in-law for dinner–and J and the sister-in-law were able to sit at the same table and talk without digging at each other or getting into an argument. This is a first step to getting them to have a better relationship. J and his brother have nearly come to blows a few times in the past.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?

Get healthcare insurance

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?

Not sure, I may give some money to Amnesty International because they are currently sending observers to Iraq to monitor the human rights of the civilians. I think it’s important that someone watch because whatever happens now can have lingering effects. I don’t believe everything the media tells us.

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So, I’ve spent several hours/days trying to complete the 2002 year end financials. And now, my boss informs me that I have to redo them because she doesn’t consider the books balanced. My answer was that the reports reflect exactly what took place. Now, I get to go back and redo much of my hard work!

Never, ever keep the books for an organization that is really 3 entities. The accountants don’t even want to touch us. I know it sounds shady, but we are a nonprofit organization that has 3 different tax categories (education fund, political fund, and a c4). Legally, we are required to keep 3 sets of books–one for each division. The invoicing process alone is enough to make one ill!

Don’t try this at home!

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The Big Bridal Shower

The big bridal shower was yesterday. We had sent out about 93 invitations. 18 people RSVP’d in the affirmative, and about almost 40 showed up, so J’s mom was right in her initial estimation. Considering the family politics, I think it went very well.

We started off with the umbrella memory game. J’s mom had put 26 kitchen utensils and other bric-a-brac on the umbrella and the bride carried it throughout the room for about 3 minutes. The winner was able to identify 18 of the items.

The next game was just a word game taking the letters of the bride and groom’s names and making words out of them. The winner of that game had 30 words.

Then we drew names for door prizes. J’s mom had written a number on all of the name tags, and had written the same number on the back of the tag. When we gave the guests their name tags, and put the backs into a jar.

The bride got several lovely gifts. She had requested that this shower be a Jack and Jill shower, so the groom was present when she received her gag gifts. They are both Mormon so it was rather fun to watch her turn red as she opened the purple lingerie (could have been the ribbon from the package it was that skimpy), the edible body paints, and the inevitable condoms. Surprisingly, the groom did not blush until we read the things the bride said as she was opening gifts and referenced them to the wedding night. One of the party favorites was “Wow, I haven’t had one of these in a long time!”

The food was simple. J’s mom did ham & turkey sandwiches and a jello salad, J’s sister-in-law made a yummy strawberry jello dessert with a pretzel bottom. I made an Italian vegetable salad. J’s mom used my punch recipe because I told her it was one of the best I’ve had. Okay, so I’m maybe biased. But it really is good. Also, it isn’t red (for those of us who don’t like cherry or fruit punch) and therefore doesn’t stain. We’ve had a few events held in locations where there is new carpet or table linens and that type of restriction is part of the rental agreement.

Anyway, here’s the recipe.

46 ounces pineapple juice
12 oz frozen lemonade concentrate (don’t get the pink!)
12 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
6 cups water
3 cups sugar
5 whole bananas
6 quarts 7-Up

Mash the bananas in a blender using a bit of the liquid. Mix all ingredients except 7-Up and freeze (fits into a 1 gallon ice cream pail). Take out 2 hours before serving. When slushy, add the 7-Up and serve.

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Last Thursday, while doing some internet research for work, I found myself on my local library website (don’t ask, but trust me it was only one hop from where I was supposed to be). Anyway, I decided to pull up the event calendar to see if there was anything interesting (last summer, when I looked at the calendar, I found an ice cream social at my favorite tea room). So there was a small announcement of a local author giving a presentation on Saturday morning at 10 am.

Normally, I don’t get out of bed on the weekends until somewhere between 11 and noon, but I feel strongly about supporting local authors. I am so glad I got my butt out of bed!

The author is Natalie Buske Thomas and she gave a wonderful presentation. She had donated a bunch of books to the library so that the participants would be familiar with her work. She writes sci-fi mysteries, commonly referred to as the Pizza Detective. They are short one-night reads and they are okay. Nothing spectacular, but entertaining.

What I found really interesting is that her path to becoming a published author was very similar to what Julie Cameron describes in The Artist’s Way. She found ways around her obstacles and in a few instances was incredibly fortunate (like lurking in a chat room for small publishers and discovering that bn.com was accepting submissions from small, independent publishers or getting reviewed by the Library Journal).

Of course, I purchased two of her books, Virtual Memories and Camp Conviction. She has a first book, but she stressed that it was her learning project and that she plans to rewrite it in the future. I usually like to read a series in its order, but she informed us that she writes all of her books as stand alones.

Anyway, I was so pumped, I became a Friend of the Library. I was surprised that the membership (not the free card, but to be a sponsor) was only $5. So I was able to sign up that day. This means I get a special sneak at their used book sales and other events. Yippee!

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from sweet_pickles

x. name = Danielle (Dani, FaerieKissed)
x. piercings = ears and navel
x. tattoos = none, but thought about it
x. height = 5’4″
x. shoe size = 6 1/2 N
x. hair color = Mousy brown with some highlights, usually dye it auburn
x. length = short
x. pets = a black cat named Pooka

last…
x. movie you rented = Banger Sisters & Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
x. movie you bought = Rear Window
x. song you listened to = Mysterious Ways (don’t know why this song keeps popping on right before these questions)
x. song that was stuck in your head = Aquarius
x. song you’ve downloaded = When Dolphins Cry (Live)
x. cd you bought = Soundtrack to Pearl Harbor
x. cd you listened to = When I Look in Your Eyes (Diana Krall)
x. person you’ve called = J’s mom with the punch recipe for the bridal shower (it’s not red, so it doesn’t stain and is therefore ideal for places that have restrictions due to new carpets, etc.)
x. person that’s called you = Mom needing help with computer. Think it’s a network problem which is a bit hard to solve when I’m en route to St. Paul (I wasn’t driving)
x. tv show you’ve watched = My Wife and Kids
x. person you were thinking of = my boss
x. time you’ve had sex = longer ago than I would like

do…
x. you have a bf or gf = boyfriend
x. you have a crush on someone = only on the above
x. you wish you could live somewhere else = yep. it’s been misting/drizzling ever since I returned from Jamaica
x. you think about suicide = not much anymore
x. you believe in online dating = a few of my friends are happily married after meeting online
x. others find you attractive = not terribly
x. you want more piercings = maybe, double pierce my ears–anything else would be too painful
x. you want more tattoos = probably not, am afraid that I’d get tired of the tattoo
x. you like cleaning = nope
x. you like roller coasters = not especially
x. you write in cursive or print = depends. print mostly, cursive when journaling
x. you carry a donor card = on driver’s license

for or against..
x. long distance relationships = against (they suck, but I’m not one to judge, I just don’t like them personally)
x. using someone = against
x. suicide = against
x. killing people = against
x. teenage smoking = against
x. doing drugs = against
x. premarital sex = for
x. driving drunk = against
x. gay/lesbian relationships = for
x. soap operas = for

best..
x. gum = double mint
x. tv show = My Wife & Kids
x. thing in the world = Love
x. thing to collect = friends
x. colors of all time = deep blue
x. thing to do on a rainy day = cuddle or read a book with a cup of tea/cocoa
x. feeling in the world = something soft or someone lightly running their fingers across my skin

favorite…
x. food = anything with chocolate and raspberries
x. song = In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel)
x. thing to do = read
x. thing to talk about = history
x. sports = figure skating (you didn’t say I had to do it)
x. drinks = tea, cocoa, italian sodas, vanilla coke, cream soda
x. clothes = jeans and a t-shirt
x. picture =
x. movies = Dead Again
x. band = Dave Matthews Band
x. holiday = christmas
x. cars =

have you…
x. ever cried over a girl = maybe when I was little
x. over a guy = yes
x. ever lied to someone = yes
x. ever been in a fist fight = no
x. ever been arrested = no

what…
x. shampoo do you use = neutregena
x. perfume do you use = Journey (Mary Kay), Heavenly (Victoria’s Secret)
x. shoes do you wear = tennis (Ryka)

number…
x. of times I have been in love? 3 or 4
x. of times I have had my heart broken? 3
x. of hearts I have broken? maybe 1, if that
x. of boys I have kissed? more than I can count
x. of girls I have kissed? none
x. of men I’ve slept with? too many to count–my place was a “stopping point” on the way home from the bars (sleeping only!)
x. of girls I’ve slept with? see above but fewer girls stopped by
x. of continents I have lived in? one
x. of people I would classify as true, could trust with my life type friends? maybe 3-5
x. of people I consider my enemies? nobody
x. of cd’s that I own? about 50 or less
x. of times my name has appeared in the newspaper? a few times, I’m from a small town, so honor rolls, writing contests, I’ve only been interviewed once.
x. of scars on my body? 4: 2 on elbow from sliding across a locker room following a swim meet and winding up against a locker; 1 in right eyebrow from infant/toddler accident; 1 on right side along the chest from a tube that was inserted when my lung collapsed
x. of things in my past that I regret? 1 maybe 2

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After spending a half hour on the phone with the front desk on Saturday, I knew that the arrangements would get messed up. When we registered, I completed a form that would allow the resort to take care of all of the departure details. I had to fill it out with my information and my father’s. When I didn’t receive any information regarding my departure, I decided to call and make sure that everything was on track. They didn’t recall anything special about the situation (even though my sister and her boyfriend had made several phone calls to the resort before the trip to ensure that all of this was okay). I was told that there was my departing flight did not exist, but when I told them that they had been able to confirm the same flight information for my mother and her husband, I was told to leave my bag outside my door at 6:30 for pickup and to come to the lobby before 7 am for the bus to the airport. So, I wasn’t surprised when my bag had not been picked up at 6:45 and I grabbed it and brought it with me. My sister and her boyfriend were there and the bus drivers were not going to let him on the bus because he had stayed at the other resort (which is owned by the same people and they have access to all of our resorts amenities). I informed them that I had spoken with the people at the front desk the night before and this was all okay. Besides, the drivers don’t work for the resort; they work for tips so what’s it to them that there is one extra person on the bus (well, two if you count me). They were full and had exactly room for two more people. Anyway, we got on a bus.

What a ride! Thank goodness this driver was cautious. First we had a young woman who crossed right in front of us with a small group of goats she had on a leash. Next, a family of goats decided to cross the road right in front of us. They turned back about halfway across. There was a herd of cows alongside the road. One calf had been hit; he was still standing but bleeding from the nose. A little further we saw where two goats had been killed. Then a black bull crossed right in front of us. In an earlier post, I mentioned that Jamaican drivers don’t have no-passing rules. As we came to a curve, we saw a black car passing another. Another vehicle was in front of us and was nearly hit as the guy tried to swerve back into his lane. In doing so, he lost control. The car in front of us got out of the way, but the black car just barely missed us as it careened into a field next to the road. No one appeared to be injured.

When we finally arrived safe and sound at the airport, my sister’s boyfriend realized that he had left his immigration papers with my sister back at the resort. He had his passport, so they just gave him another form to fill out and turn in. Otherwise, he would have been stuck at the airport. He was also always the “random” passenger singled out for the security search. He is very used to this. He wears his hair pretty long and is very laid back, so he gets singled out because he looks like the type that would have some pot somewhere on him. After we had boarded the plane, there was some confusion because the ground crew had a different count than the flight attendants. They both kept recounting. This was kind of important to get resolved because customs in Minneapolis was not going to let us land if we had 2 extra passengers. Turns out that the ground crew couldn’t count and finally she followed the flight attendant (after the flight attendants had confirmed every empty seat)and they agreed on the count. It only took about 50 minutes.

We landed in Minneapolis on time (amazing)and my mother’s husband’s father gave us a ride to my brother’s where I had parked my car. I gave my sister’s boyfriend a ride home and then headed to Red Wing.

J was at my dad’s when I pulled in. He had dressed up and greeted me at the car. He brought my luggage in for me and took me to dinner. He had also bought a bouquet of flowers to welcome me home. We stopped at Mom’s to pick up a jacket I had left behind and so J could see some of the pictures that were taken during the trip.

I was exhausted, so we went to bed early. I’m so glad I took today off to recover.

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