Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Words With Friends

Recently I've been playing a lot of Words with Friends.  I've always loved the official game of Scrabble and decided that I needed another (more mobile) vice to help me procrastinate.  The muses that I had were getting kind of boring.

I started playing Words shortly before Alec Baldwin

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Of Velour, Vodka, & Paint

I've got big plans to close out the year strong...

in velour pants 
eating left-overs
in front of the fire
listening to Enya
reading a book

I deserve it, if I do say so myself.

On the 23rd, I got a terrible

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stress Free X-mas Secret

Don't expect anything too deep and meaningful... 

It is with extreme trepidation that I post this blog, I may even retract it after further consideration.  My reasons are two-fold; Partly, I fear my secret will become so main-stream as to be henceforth irrelevant* and partly because it arguably involves a bit of racial profiling, something I almost always strongly oppose.

How do I avoid the stressful craziness of 
Christmas Shopping?


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Dishes make for a happy marriage
Well Cyber World (I kind of think of you as my imaginary friends),

I am incredibly unmotivated today.  Like SERIOUSLY lacking focus.  My list of things to do before the holidays is huge and looming and I don't think I've crossed a single thing off.  I tried to start some laundry and wandered down there a little while ago to switch it to the dryer only to discover that I never pressed start. I surfed pinterest for awhile and found this great picture (see right).  I posted something funny on FB and then obsessively replied to comments; I even inserted myself into an iPhone v droid discussion, but other than that, NADA.  NOTHING.

Oh, I did reserve some plane tickets!  Just for my DH and me.  We've gotten away, just the 2 of us, nearly every year as long as my kids weren't nursing.  I am a seriously lucky girl and my mother in law is amazing.  She asks repeatedly, "When are you guys going away so I can keep the kids?!"  She literally takes off work so she can watch our children and we can get away.  Our kids love it and are usually somewhat disappointed when we come back after 4 days (I can't blame them - she really treats them well).  It is one of the many things that I have on my list of, "What I'll Do for My Grown Kids." (which would make a good blog someday)

We've been to Jamaica, Vegas, New Orleans, Vancouver, Atlanta, and when money is tight (like this year), we multi-task and tack our trip onto a conference that my DH already needs to go to.  Personally, those are my favorite trips.  I spend all day reading or site-seeing and then meet up with my DH (sometimes we rendezvous in a BAR!) for dinner and save the best sites for when we are together.  I get some much needed alone time and we get some much needed couple time; Where we remember why we like each other and we get to hold on a conversation that doesn't involve the finer points of the most recent Fairly Odd Parents episode or the awesome soccer moves performed during the last game (admittedly, I do generally have to hear about fantasy football... please tell me that is over by January?!) We do all sorts of things totally impractical with kids, like only use public transportation, go to places that are a little racy, eat at really quaint non-chain restaurants (that don't serve chicken nuggets), and sleep in.  I know, we are living on the edge! Reckless!

I love these trips, even if it is only a long weekend.  I pretty much live from vacation to vacation anyway.  I love planning them and with next summer's cross-country National Park Nomad voyage so far off, I really needed something to live for...

So... come January, I'll leave the deep freeze of Middle America... and I'll hop off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan...  
I may even walk in the sand and dip my feet in the ocean!

Oh Gesh!  The kids just over-heard me talking about plans and my poor 8 year old DD is seriously (and dramatically) distraught that she isn't joining us in LA, even though we are staying by the airport and no where near Selena GomezMy DD is convinced that she was meant to be a starlit and is destined to be "found" if she just walks the streets of "Hollywood" (spoken with an air of haughtiness and arms out-stretched).  And honestly, what worries me more is that I think she might be right.  I should probably sign her up for Children's Theater but keep her really far from Cali.

12/9/11 Update - I should have stuck with doing NOTHING on Tuesday.  The LA trip isn't going to pan out as my DH's portion of the conference got canceled :0(   Ah well, such is life.  I'm not ready to be discovered yet anyway...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh Christmas Card!

Just got the mail and sure enough, an over-achieving Dear Friend (and FM) has already sent their Christmas card. Now don't get me wrong, I'm always excited at this time of year for the family update letters and cute pictures and beautiful cards.  I can nearly feel the love pouring off the wall as its decked with all of those dear people in our lives, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels a bit of pressure.  As soon as the first card arrives, it starts the countdown of how many more days until I must have mine done and will I find a good enough picture and should I write a letter and I don't feel creative and labels or should I hand write the envelopes and do I have a holiday sweater???

Frankly, I can't even think about the Christmas card until the house is decorated with holiday spirit.  Until we've made the sugar buzzed hour long drive while singing Bing & Frank to chop our perfect white pine and until our living room has the warm glow of brightly colored lights, I have promised myself not to even consider (let alone stress) about the Christmas card.

It has all become very predictable.  I start by saying that I'm cutting out the pressure and am not going to do a letter at all this year (I've never actually skipped a year); I just need to take / find a good picture of the family or the kids to send out.  When nothing is acceptable (even though there are 9,000 pictures from the year), I decide to pour a glass of wine and pull out the folder of old Christmas letters that we've written over the years.  When I read through them, it is like a little reunion of the happiest parts of our lives.  Some short snippets on a postcard, some hand-made, and others full color brochures*.  I remember distinctly which ones my DH helped write; more than once I've sat staring at the screen said, "Honey, I can't think of any possible way to spin the year we had into something positive; it was really rather terrible and I don't want to be fake."  He would shift me over in the seat and type, 
"Although many exciting things have happened this year, one "happening" clearly demands the most attention (literally).  That would be our son.  Thanks to being the first grandchild & nephew on all sides, he is never quite satisfied until 5 people are standing around him... equal parts giggle monster and actual monster...
...At the time we actually owned two houses (contrary to popular opinion, public servants living on one full time income are not wealthy enough to own a house in the country AND a house in the city)..."**
And while reading, the year quickly comes into perspective; I can laugh and remember how thankful and grateful we really are.  The reality shifts focus, there may have been a year with a stressful job change, miscarriage, a crazy baby, rushed move, sleepless nights, money troubles, illnesses, or mourning a death -- BUT at this one point of the year, we embrace the sparkly side, even if it is a little tricky to find.  In the words of Aunt Tish, "portals of light even in dark times."

In my mind, that is the point of these Christmas letters and happy family photos; some people are a little jaded and critical of them, "the yuletide brag rag" but not me.  The world is filled with all kinds of negative.  Obviously no one's family is perfect and always glowing (except ours).  Everywhere I look I'm reminded of the surrounding heartbreak, but if even for just a couple of weeks a year, it is nice to be reminded of the Blessings in life. To read about the successes and see the beautiful portraits and the silly snap shots.

I'd love a world where I am intimately privy to everything that is going on in the lives of those most dear to me but it isn't true.  FB has helped keep in touch with many people but the big picture is often lost in the day to day.  Sometimes I can see someone a couple times a year and still not know that they are at a new role in their company or that their water heater exploded all over the basement or that their kid plays the electric guitar or that they went sky diving.

Unsurprisingly, I say, bring on the holiday cards and pictures and letters and acrostics and poems! Even (especially) if some of them make me laugh and others I skim until I have more time because they are so long.  I love to hear about everyone and see the sweet pictures, so feel free to add me to your list, I'll even send you one back!
(if I even do a letter this year)

*We've done all sorts of things to send out Christmas cards cost effectively.  I liked the post card, the handmade ones were so much work but so cute, but last year's brochure was super funny.  Apart from the fact that it was like we were trying to promote our family, it was very practical and reasonably priced.  We joked about going to the local events and handing them out to prospective friends, ""please consider our family; our email is on the back should you have any questions."  My DS actually said last year, "Mom! Why can't we just take a regular picture for our Christmas card like all the rest of the families?!" 
Poor guy, it isn't easy having a crazy mom.

**Let me clarify that my DH does not use the pregnant pause...  I put those in because I'm just using excerpts from the original letters. Thankfully, my DH is the master of the positive spin.  Also thankfully, these last years, we've needed less spin.