Archive for November, 2006

Not much going on today.  It’s been storming all day, actually since yesterday.  This is the thunder and lightening type of storm.  In spite of all the rain, the new park across the way ran the sprinklers.  I’m sure they’re on a timer of some type, but it was still pretty funny to see.

I’m in a much better mood today than I was yesterday.  It might have something to do with the fact that I got a considerable amount of sleep during the night.  I’ve pretty much given up on the concept of sleeping all night long, but at least last night, I was able to fall back asleep.

The rain is supposed to turn to snow tomorrow–so I’m not looking forward to the drive.  I can’t carpool because we’re meeting at a coworker’s house to outline our strategy for the next year and I don’t think his family would appreciate me showing up at 7:30 am, or even 8 for that matter.

I spoke with my SIL today.  She thinks that she’ll be released from the hospital on December 7 so she can attend her baby shower on the 9th.  I hope that happens because she needs to have something fun happen with this entire nightmare of a pregnancy.  She’s now in week 5 of hospital bedrest and while she is finally getting more visitors, it’s really boring and depressing.  As she says, nothing about this pregnancy has been easy so far–and that includes the conception!  She and her husband want a large family, but they’ll be adopting after this.

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Holiday Update

I did drop off a bag of Doritos and some dark chocolate at Dad’s on Thanksgiving Eve.  He wasn’t there, but he left a message on Thanksgiving saying that he appreciated it.  All my  worries about Thanksgiving with my family were for naught.  I should have remembered that the families of alcoholics are very good at pretending like nothing has happened, so my sister and I were able to make small talk without any unpleasantness. 

Friday was the Holiday Stroll.  The Holiday Stroll is downtown Red Wing’s answer to Black Friday.  There aren’t any sales–rather the downtown merchants have something like an open house with some small food items, hot apple cider, and a parade (think homecoming).  There are carolers dressed in Victorian costumes and a lighting ceremony–the whole downtown is outlined in white lights.  This year was especially busy because it was featured in some magazine as one of the top holiday things to do.  While I enjoy the Stroll, I wouldn’t encourage people to travel here for it.  I don’t think the downtown merchants really planned for that number of people–they ran out of chili and the roasted chestnuts before the event was half over.  However, it was still nice to walk around and see the window displays.  I don’t know how profitable the day is for the merchants, but I use it to visit new stores and get ideas for gifts.  So while I don’t spend money that evening, these stores will get my business throughout the year. 

We spent Saturday with my inlaws to celebrate both Thanksgiving and the triplets’ birthday.  My BIL has the reputation in the family of being a chef.  He’s worked in the food industry since high school, both in a hotel kitchen and in a hospital, and he was hosting the meal.  Like my family, these holiday meals are primarily potluck.  We offered to bring a dish and were assigned the green bean casserole (for the record I screwed this simple dish up for the second time in two years!*).  He roasted the turkey.  I don’t like dry turkey meat, so I tend to grab the dark meat.  Somehow, he roasted it so that the dark meat was dry and stringy while the white meat was juicy (or so I was told).  The potatoes were instant.  The gravy was a brown beef gravy that he added the giblets to, and the stuffing was stove top.  I suspect that he added salt to the gravy because it was almost inedible–but then I don’t add salt to anything. 

Sunday was spent mostly at my mom’s where she did a brunch in honor of DH’s birthday.  It was just the four of us and very nice.  I must get the recipe for her fruit soup.  But I was pretty worn out by the end of the weekend. 

*Last year, there was a miscommunication and I thought that we were eating 45 minutes later than we were.  Therefore, I brought the casserole over cold to put in the oven at my mother’s house.  She thought it only needed to be kept warm!  This year, I planned better.  We were told that we would be eating at 4, so I cooked the casserole and brought it to my BIL’s.  Everything was ready to eat at 4, but the other BIL’s fiancee hadn’t shown up yet and was bringing her (in)famous corn casserole/pudding.  She arrived about 45 minutes later and her casserole required an hour and fifteen minutes to bake–so they put it in the oven along with everything else.  Have you ever seen a green bean casserole after it’s been in an oven for over 2 and a half hours????  Not pretty.

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Work went very well today.  My husband called at 1:30 and needed a ride home since his department was sent home.  I had about an hour and a half left of work, but left most of it for Monday.  We stopped by the Mall of America on the way home to pick up some necessary items and got home just a little while ago.  I fell asleep in the car on the way home.  I knew that walking around the mall had worn me out, but I didn’t realize how much!

We plan to go to church tonight.  The new, interim pastor has called and sent a personal note wanting to meet us and I’ve been a very lax church member lately. So it should be nice to finally put a face with the voice and the handwriting.  It’s a relatively small church so it’s not surprising that he would send a quick note–he’s the youth and family pastor.  Speaking of a small church–one of the women in my office came up to me and said that she’d heard a rumor–from the former pastor’s wife who is now at the coworker’s church.  News sure does spread quick.  I only mentioned it to about 5 people at bible study a couple of months ago. 

I’m a bit torn tonight.  Usually, this is my father’s night.  He has all of his kids come down with their SO’s and opens a tab at a really nice pub.  It’s really the only celebration he does for any holiday.  Obviously, with his financial situation he’s not doing it this year–and even if he was I wouldn’t go–and have the perfect excuse not to (it’s also not a non-smoking location).  However, I feel kind of bad that he’s alone tonight.  The last time I stopped over, he mentioned that he would appreciate a small bag of chips and some candy the next time we drop by–he’s got nothing to curb the munchies.  Maybe I’ll drop a bag or two off tonight.  But not stay.  It’s so hard to disconnect.

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A Good Day

I’m having a good day.  The baby is very active today–or at least I’m feeling a lot more activity today.  Nothing that anyone else can feel yet–just the quick little flutterings.  I keep forgetting to bring in the referral card to schedule the Level 2 Ultrasound.  I’m looking forward to that, so you’d think I could remember it.  That’s the one where we may or may not learn the baby’s gender, thus making the name selection a bit easier.  It took my husband a while to get into the naming thing.  For a boy, his first choice happens to be the name of his nephew, so I vetoed that.  Another choice was the masculine version of my name–and he didn’t understand at first why I quickly vetoed that–after laughing fairly hard.  Guess he didn’t make the connection right away.  Anyway, they’ve been fun discussions so far.  While we’ve agreed on the possibility of several names, there’s really no forerunners yet.  We’ve got plenty of time so I’m not worried.

We had to stop by the grocery store last night to pick up a couple of things.  The store was virtually empty–and had stocked shelves so I mentally went over what I needed to bring to the various Thanksgiving events and grabbed all the ingredients.  When in doubt, I doubled what I thought I needed–these are all items that will be used eventually anyway.  I’m sure that we got everything because these are items that I grew up having at holiday meals and have made myself several times over the years.  Yay for not having to fight the holiday crowd!  The only downside was that without a written list, we criss-crossed the store multiple times.  Oh well–it’s not like there was anyone crowding the aisles.

My boss is out of town this week, and I’ve been working on mind-numbingly brainless tasks–so there’s been very little stress on that front.  I think I’m ready to attack the October financials now.  I hope to get them mostly done this afternoon–unless I spend too much time screwing around.  Shouldn’t be any problem getting them done before the holiday though.  I’ve got my system down–just work through the steps.

That’s about it for now, I guess. 

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My brother-in-law was over this weekend to work on his truck (after several hours, it’s still not running and will need some more parts before it is).  As always, I asked him how he was doing, and he responded that he was incredibly stressed out.  Actually, that’s true because his ulcers are bothering him.  He and his fiancee have decided that things need to change in their household–namely, there will be no more entertainment center in the boys’ room.  Apparently, the little dears stay up past midnight fighting over channels, games, and volume.  Sounds like a good idea to get it out of there.  I know that if I had one in my room at the age of 12, I would have been up all night.  As it was, I was up tll all hours reading books!

Then he says that the middle child is becoming more and more obstinate these days.  He’s seven years old and is throwing temper tantrums, resulting in the administration of spankings and hand slapping.  Yes, he is diagnosed ADHD and is on medication for it, but he’s claiming that the medication isn’t working anymore.  Could be–I don’t know as I have had zero experience with it.   But, I asked my BIL if they had looked into the kids’ diet lately.  Because both he and his fiancee work long hours, they often rely on processed meals, and I asked if they had looked into any food sensitivities (the newborn has several).  My BIL admitted that they suspected that he may be sensitive to certain additives, but that they were mostly making Hamburger Helper and he, my BIL, had gotten into the habit of making dessert from scratch.  I took down a box of Hamburger Helper and showed him the last two ingredients (red lake #40 and yellow lake #5).  He was shocked but said that they were unable to change their patterns due to time constraints.

The same mentality has them continuing to use their daycare provider even though their newborn son has a severe allergy to dog hair and now that the weather is cold, the dogs are in the house and getting into some of the children’s stuff.  I don’t get it.  I understand that having children with special dietary/environmental requirements can be difficult and that they can’t always be accomodated, but this idea that the parents aren’t going to be inconvenienced floors me. 

I know, there but for the grace of God…..Lord knows we won’t be perfect parents.  And I truly hope that we don’t have any ADHD problems because I wouldn’t know how to deal with them.  So a part of me really is sympathetic, but I can’t feel too sorry for them when they won’t make some adjustments to accomodate these issues.

Okay, I feel better now.  I think part of my response is that I was crankyall weekend.  No particular reason–other than I live in a pit.  Loads of clutter does affect my mood.  I spent all day yesterday getting the dishes under control.  Usually, I stop when there is just one load left, but I forced myself to clear the counter of every single dirty dish.  The benefit to this is that with Thanksgiving coming, I’ll need to make some side dishes in the kitchen and I cannot stand to cook in a messy kitchen.  Yeah, my husband does most of the cooking at our house.  I’m a decent cook, but he’s got this funny notion that he wants to eat sometime before bedtime.  I’m supposed to do the dishes every night after he cooks, but I’m not as diligent about that as I should be.  So it was time to pay the piper.  I’ll be purchasing dishsoap on my next visit to the grocery store.

I also straightened my desk area, cookbooks, and the craft pile next to the couch.  I really need to get back on FlyLady–these past two months the house has really gotten bad.  So that’s my goal this week–15 minutes per day in the zone and 5 minutes working on Hot Spots.  That’s really not asking a lot of myself….

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Holiday Meme


1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Egg Nog–but only between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Our favorite is the Southern Comfort brand–it goes wonderfully with a bit of SoCo, but even tastes good without.  I do drink a lot of hot chocolate during the winter months.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa wraps presents

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I prefer white–tends to make both the ornaments and the snow sparkle more.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No.  Hard to find.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Day after Thanksgiving

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
my grandmother’s rice pudding–I’m still trying to perfect it.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Christmas Eves spent with my mother’s family.  They were so much fun with Santa dropping by and very traditional from year to year.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I was 6 and I woke up one night and it just didn’t make sense so I asked my parents about it–which led to a long talk about the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, and God.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yep.  That was when we got together with my mother’s family.  It’s also when we got the best gifts!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
Lots of tiny white bulbs, silver balls, pink and gold ornaments, candy canes.  This will obviously be changing when there is a little one running around.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it between Christmas Eve and New Year’s.  After that, there’s really no purpose.

12. Can you ice skate?
Kind of.  I can move forward and backward and sometimes stop without using a snow bank.

13. Do you remember your favoritegift?
It really varied from year to year.  In middle school it was a pair of beige leather boots (which I still sometimes wear), but most years it was probably a Breyer horse.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Spending time with family doing the traditional things.  Of course, tradition slowly evolves over time.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
We do pie–I’m not a huge fan of the types of pie (pumpkin, pecan, french silk).

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Decorating the tree or sitting down to the Christmas Eve meal (sauerkraut & spareribs, mashed potatoes, scalloped oysters, scalloped corn, green bean casserole, lefse….)

17. What tops your tree?
nothing this year–ornament broke last year.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
While I do enjoy shopping for the “right” gift for everyone on my list, I really prefer to receive.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Varies from year to year.  Most years it’s something from Herb Alpert.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
I can eat one a season, but beyond that they just look good on the tree.

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I’m very tired today.  I couldn’t sleep comfortably last night (probably something I’ll have to get used to) and couldn’t get out of bed this morning.  I even fell asleep after my husband turned the overhead light on, which is almost unheard of for me.

The Women of Today got together last night to make gourmet coffee spoons.  The chocolate on them is pretty thin, but there should be enough to flavor a cup of coffee or cocoa.  We made milk chocolate, milk chocolate mint, dark chocolate, raspberry dark chocolate, white chocolate, and cherry white chocolate.  We’re going to sell them 3/$1 at the Holiday Stroll to raise money to provide Christmas for a local family.  It was fun last night and I had a good time, even though I was exhausted by the time I got home.

Taking Patchwork Princess’ advice, I decided to call my sister just to keep the lines of communication open.   She called and left a message last night saying that she’d had a long day and still had to pack for an early flight to Vegas (the morning show she works for has an annual three day party in Vegas and she’s the organizer).  She said that she’s been working a lot and unable to focus on anything else right now.  Because I do want to move forward, I’m making myself take that at face value and let it go.  I know that she could have phoned or emailed me very easily, but maybe it really was one more thing for her to have to deal with.  Either way, I’m glad that she left a message–and she said she’d be in touch after she got back from Vegas and had a chance to unwind.
Apparently, my MIL is trying to get a hold of me to plan my SIL’s baby shower.  The scheduling of that is a bit of a conundrum because the twins are due at the end of January, but they may arrive early December.  Yes, this is the SIL on hospital bedrest.  My inclination is to wait until after the twins are born to have it.  It’s not like we can get 40+ people in the hospital room anyway.  Obviously, my SIL will have the final say as far as scheduling it.  I’m sure she wants one–it’s just the logistics that will make it difficult.  That, and I’m really not looking forward to another one of my in-laws crazy showers.  I’ll work on it because I really like my SIL and I want her to have what she wants and I don’t want to get on my MIL’s bad side, but these events quickly become circuses.  I’ll bet we’ll be handmaking 45 or so invitations and over 30 women will show up (some with their spouses).  My MIL especially wants to talk to me regarding the prizes.  The last time I worked with them on a shower I overspent on the prizes, according to my MIL and she reimbursed me.  I also made the mistake of accepting some prizes from an aunt.  This was a huge no-no and they were returned to said aunt.She’s always worried that whatever she picks out will be criticized as being too cheap and chintzy by her family members.  To be honest, I bought three prizes ranging from $10-$16.  Maybe that was too much, but if she’s worried about looking cheap, I wasn’t going to fall into that trap.  I’m sure there’s a way to scale back and maybe get some nice lotions or something similar.

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