Tomorrow is NYE. I'll be at work all day if you need me.
Probably one of the best presents I received was this painting my uncle painted for me. He likes to paint a lot of country-settings and landscapes, so I showed him a photo I took of my favorite place to lay out on my lunch break when I worked at the college. He thought it would be a cool photo for inspiration and asked me to send it to him. Little did I know he was scheming to make it my Christmas present. If only I had a new house to hang my new original artwork in...
This is the original photo I took.
(If you want to buy one of his paintings, you can visit him here.)
Last night his grandma gave him 2 new toys and I let him eat a pita chip today, which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy.
Here's dad and hubby showing off the matching Stan Musial autographed baseballs I got them.
We all opened our gifts and last night on the way home we tried out hubby's new toy - a TomTom GPS for the car. It was pretty accurate, except it DID NOT want us to take 127 south. At every street in Nashville, it kept telling us to turn around and go back. Then it wanted us to go over to 51 through DuQuoin. So finally hubby turned it off because it would not stop yelling at us. We are going to try it again tomorrow on the way to my aunt's house because I seem to get confused every time I go through St. Paul, MO. If you've never done it, you should really try it sometime.
Today is Christmas Eve, which means we'll spend the evening with hubby's family. Then tomorrow morning, we will wake up, do Christmas with my sister-in-law, her fiance and our niece. After that we'll be driving to St. Paul, Mo., to my aunt's house for another Christmas. It's a full day of driving and Christmases.
It's called multi-tasking folks.
- I'm almost finished wrapping presents.
- I'm having sharp shoulder pains, which may or may not be a direct result of wrapping presents. Could also be from the awkward way I used the blow-dryer this morning with my head upside down.
- The bosses cooked us breakfast this morning. I'd already eaten my new fav breakfast sammy, so I ate two breakfasts...
- We also have a HUGE container of harry and david chocolates, including those amazing malt balls in our office.
- I've probably gained 4 lbs in the last 3 days.
- I'm starting WW again, for reals this time - I promise, in January.
- Poor General is going to miss out on our family Christmas (and by "our" I mean me, hubby and dog) because my aunt will not allow him in her house and it's just too much of a hassle to drive all over the place just to drop him off on Christmas day, so we're forced to leave him with his grandparents. When we have kids, I will not be doing all this driving back and forth for the holidays. You heard it here first. Be prepared to come to our house if you want to see our cute little offspring in a couple of years.
In other news, I'm really missing my old job tonight because of all the bad weather headed our way. I used to have the possibility of a snow day when I worked in education, but I doubt the hospital will have a snow day, ever. I also don't get two weeks off for Christmas break (and they actually called it Christmas break and not Holiday break, which a completely other topic). In fact, I don't get any holidays. I have to take ETO for all of them.
They all have this process down to a science. They know exactly where to park, how to get a locker to continually pack bags full of gifts in throughout the day so you don't have to carry them around. They choose excellent places to eat to continually refuel (shopping like this will take it out of you!)
Maybe this is poor planning -we'll find out soon - but I have done very little shopping so far this holiday season. The only people I'm completely finished with are my dad and my hubby.
This year, the trip is coming to me instead of me driving up with them. We are planning on going out to eat with B and A Friday night and meeting up with everyone else at the Galleria on Saturday. Even my mom is going to shop for a while! I'm not sure what hubby will do all day Saturday while I'm shopping. I wish he'd shop with me but I doubt that will happen.
So when I arrived at 2:50, when the bake-off judging did not officially begin until 4 pm, and everyone was freaking out because no one was there to tell them where to place their baked good, and there were no signs available to label their goods!!! The absurdity of that!!!
It ended up calming down when my co-chair arrived with the signs and labels, and the judging went great. Because I was not a judge, I decided to enter the Celeste Special, aka Oreo Balls. If you have not had an oreo ball in your mouth yet, you are seriously missing out in life. (that's what she said.)
Well it turns out, I can make a mean Oreo Ball because I ended up winning!! I did not win "best in show" but I did win the "no-bake" category. Boo-Yah! I can't cook, but I can no-bake!
How the Sweet 100 Works:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Italicize any items that you would never consider eating.
1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar - no, but i'd try it!
7. Black and White Cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
16. Banana Pudding with nilla wafers
17. Bubble tea (with tapioca “pearls”) - love it!
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
33. Tres Leches Cake
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
40. Russian Tea Cake/Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac Biscuits
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch Baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
51. Gooey butter cake
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Creme Brulee
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake) - snickers from the DuQuoin fair!
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An “upside down” dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
68. Linzer torte
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat pie
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
80. Rainbow cookies
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
87. Homemade marshmallows - from RUSTY!
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity -meh didn't really like it
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
98. Millionaire’s Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
Because we will be spending less on our families' presents, we decided to splurge a little bit on ourselves. We are young enough and have very little invested in the stock market, so we aren't really feeling all this mumbo-jumbo about a recession.
In an effort to lose a little bit of weight and improve our health, we bought a nice big treadmill for our house. I think that when you are looking at these monstrosities in the store, their size is misleading due to the high ceilings and concrete flooring of the sports megastore. When you bring them home though, hubby's idea that he "can just fold it up and roll it into the bedroom" was severely off kilter. Instead, this 300-lb monster is hanging out in my living room, and I can barely budge it with all my force.*
So much for my tough guy hubby being able to "roll it into the bedroom..."
*EDIT NOTE: Just to clarify, my husband is probably one of the most physically-strong people you will meet, should you meet him. I'll bet you $50 he can beat you at arm-wrestle and bench press your body weight, maybe even 2x your body weight if your name is JLB soon to be JLF.
I’m excited for tonight because it’s one of the more fun nights of the year in hubby’s hometown. Most people are home for the holiday but don’t usually have a family obligation which means everyone is free to go OUT. Contrary to popular belief, I do enjoy hanging out with hubby’s friends and I do enjoy going to a smoke-free bar. I do not enjoy smelly clothes, hair and dry eyeballs from smoke.
I’m also ready for tomorrow morning at the K household, which is a now a tradition for us, since we’ve gone for the last 4 years. For some reason, I feel like I have to dress to impress at this event, but not really the rest of the day. Maybe because it’s non-family at this event and since I’m not part of the original group I still feel like I need to prove myself. So my outfit is chosen and may be a little “over-dress” but too bad because I think I look really good in it. AND I get to wear my new cute boots with this outfit.
I think I should probably put a camera on my mom's belt so we can watch General all day as he follows her around the house. He is so completely spoiled that last weekend in Carbondale he would not be still unless he was sitting on either of our laps. He used to nap in another chair - the chair that squeaks when it rocks and came from Grandma S's house. He preferred to be solitary so that no one bothered him while he slumbered. Now that he is a grand-dog full-time, he refuses to sit anywhere but a comfy warm lap.
I'm afraid he's also getting used to grandma taking him out every 20 minutes and that when we move into our own house, his little bladder is going to have a rude awakening when little General is forced to hold it for 8 hours at a time.
Good thing I put my scarves and gloves on the table there for these 2 cats to lay on all day today.
After dinner, mom and I went in search of some brie for a dish I'm making for the annual party we go to Thursday morning pre-Thanksgiving festivities. Most people bring some sort of finger food or dip. So I found a Paula Deen recipe for Sugared Nut Brie.
Incase anyone else is looking for brie, don't go to ShopNSave. Dierbergs is the way to go. They not only had brie, but several options to choose from.
While it's depressing that we haven't sold our house, I'm still excited for all the other things happening in my life. The job is still awesome. I love this time of year because I love spending time with both sides of my family. I'm disappointed that we won't be able to see hubby's family for Thanksgiving, but we will be there for Christmas Eve. It just didn't work out time-wise for us to be at both our family's turkey times, and since we skipped out on my family last year, we won't be at his family's this year. Plus I have to work on Friday, so it's better if I'm in STL Thursday night.
I'm assuming that hubby's family will continue the new xmas present exchange game we did last year - being a rob your neighbor/white elephant sort of thing instead of drawing names, which they did previous to that. So our presence at Thanksgiving is not needed for that purpose. However, my family is now implementing a name-drawing exchange for the first time, so we probably need to be there since we have experience in that department.
In other news, I'm still kicking around this cold that I've had for 2 weeks now. I also got a hug from actor Will Smith while he was in town promoting his new movie, so that was exciting. We are planning on going to Tstreet tonight if anyone wants to join us. Apparently they are celebrating an anniversary and having 10 cent 10 oz beers all night. Not that I will partake in the beer drinking, but I might drink something else.
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Two years ago today, I walked down the aisle crying like you've never seen me cry before. I guess it was all the stress and happiness coming out at once, but I was a mess. Since then, we've grown up a lot and learned about life and each other. I won't lie and say it's been sunshine and roses the entire time, but the good has definitely outweighed the bad and we (I think I can speak for the both of us) are happy with our lives together so far. I know I'm looking forward to the near future when we can live in the same house again and start our lives together in the big city. We might even make a baby eventually. Who knows.
Drink: You know I don't drink beer, but I appreciate a cheap beer due to the fact that I share a bank account with my hubby, who loves beer. I think beers were $2.50.
Atmosphere: in a word, PACKED. The place was full of so many people that our two choices to sit down were in the hall outside the bathroom (gross) or outside where it was snowing/sleeting/freezing. We opted for open air, but they did have some nice heaters and a tent to keep us warm. We could still hear the live band and our food numbers being called.
Location: Alton, Ill is not the first place I'd choose, especially growing up in Fenton, Mo (a good hour's drive). However, when you start in Collinsville, Ill with your cousins and some other folks willing to drive too, it makes for a really fun night out!
Another lady told me to go to an urgent care center (which would also be lots of dollars that I don't have) or tough it out.
Neither of these women knew I was one of their "coworker" because I called their offices just like everyone else does. I think it's telling me how much we need to work on our customer service at ALL levels of the organization.
Luckily, I have a doctor in the family who can help me out in times of need.
In other news, I pretended to be a patient today for a photo shoot. It was weird laying in a hospital bed, but it was actually pretty comfy. I don't think I've been in a hospital bed since I was born, so it was strange to see the view from their eyes. They even faked an IV on my arm and it was actually dripping on to the bed so the computer looked as realistic as possible.
I even took the inserts out of another pair of tennies and put them in my new boots so they were more cushie for my footsies.
For example, I have kept all of my "Fat Pants" that I still consider wearable. I keep them because when I get pregnant, I'll already have pants that I know I like. This morning I tried on some of my size 20 tall pants (which was not my biggest size of Fat Pants btw) from college to make sure they were indeed still "Fat Pants" - which they definitely were. If I could lose maybe 8-10 more LBs I could probably start wearing Emily's pants or size 14.
And to answer your question grandma, no. I'm not pregnant.
For the past 2 weeks or so, I've been on a search for boots. I'm looking for flat, mid-calf comfy boots that I can wear to work, or out. Also, I don't want them to make my calves look 4x bigger than they are already. And I refuse to pay more than $60-70. Tall order, I know. I've scoured my normal spots on the internets, but they all charge too much and are not guaranteed to be comfy. I spent most of the afternoon hunting through the few spots in Carbondale with no luck.
I will continue this search in the big cit-ay. I know Dillards in the Galleria has some big people shoes, so maybe I'll head there first.
- My aunts/uncles call myspace and/or facebook "myface"
- It amazes me how many people above the age of 30 have no idea whatsoever what either end of "myface" is.
- I love it when someone from high school finds me on either place because I don't really have to talk to them, but I can see what they are up to.
However, the house was in a really nice neighborhood, so should someone choose to tackle that problem, they could possible make a profit if they were able to do a lot of that work themselves. The other house was in the same nice neighborhood, and our agent is working on it. The basement leaked and ruined the finished basement, but he's already taken care of fixing it. The upstairs needs new carpets, but other than that the rest of the house was great! It was dirty, and needs new paint everywhere, but that is totally do-able.
The other good news is I talked to our neighbors in C-dale and they said they know someone else interested in our house, so I asked them to put in an offer and see what happens. So hopefully something will come of it soon.
Last night, my dad’s side of the fam came over for my mom’s birthday dinner. During the conversation, we eventually slipped into political mode and I was completely astonished by the comment out of my sister’s mouth. They were discussing the local propositions, one of which involves more gambling boats for more money to schools or something like that. Honestly, I don’t know that much about it because like I said, I can’t vote here so I haven’t really cared. But I have HEARD of it, and know the general bits. My sister on the other hand, is a teacher in St. Louis County. So when they brought up Prop A, she asked “what’s that?” and we all stared. When asked how she could be a teacher and not know what is going on she replied “I don’t have time to read the news.”
Is this an example of the “typical apathetic American” or is this “out of the norm?”
Last night for my mom’s birthday we went over to Emily and Rusty’s for dinner. Of course, Rusty cooked dinner. Usually I get excited when either my hubby or Rusty cooks because it’s pretty much guaranteed to be awesome. So when dad told me Rusty was making chicken pot pie for dinner, I was extremely disappointed. I’m not sure if my mom attempted this when I was a child, or if I just ate a bad one somewhere along the line, but I’ve never been drawn to chicken pot pie.
Last night was a turning point though. Rusty’s chicken pot pie was amazing. It was really creamy and had corn, celery and the right amount of chicken in it, and instead of making chicken pot pies for each of us, he made a massive pie in a skillet with biscuits on top.
Not sure if you can get chicken pot pie at Russell's Cafe, but you can get caramel apples right now. He actually makes the caramel himself. I haven't had it, but I bet it's good.
This morning I emailed our agent to ask more about it, planning to tour the interior ASAP, and said it was a foreclosed house and already has a contract on it.
Other than that, I really don't have much to report. Hubby was interviewed on the local radio station in Benton, and I thought he sounded pretty good. They also name-dropped my new place of employment which I thought was pretty cool.
And General is still barking at the blow-up-glowing pumpkin across the street.
So after the playoffs, I will be officially depressed. It's almost the holidays and I honestly expected to have sold the house right now. I know there's nothing we can do about it and that it's mostly the economy's fault, but it still sucks.
And to top it off, the house we had our eye on up here no longer has it's "for sale" sign in the yard.
Prior to the concert though, I'm meeting up with my old college roomie for some din-din at Fitz's.
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(I think that at least 20 times a day. I bet my hubby thinks it 2x as many as I do.)
So other than that... not much going on. I'm feeling much better today. I think it was my day on the couch doing nothing yesterday that helped. I normally like to chip in and clean the house on Sundays while I'm in c-dale since hubby is bearing the majority of the work while I'm up here gallivanting around the 'Lou, but yesterday I did nothing but wipe down the kitchen so it looked presentable before I left. (I do tend to make a mess wherever I go. Kinda like the Tazmanian devil...)
Tomorrow I'm going in early to the office to work on a story I'm writing about employees who ride the metro to work. If someone would buy my house, I could interview myself.
He told the kids that if they could win this weekend, he would shave his hair into a mowhawk. After the team won, he let them do it. One swipe at a time.
So if you could use things for your meth concoction that I would never buy, like motor oil or moldy cheese, that would be great.
Thanks so much!
We'll start with the engine incase any of my 5 readers care about that... which I doubt.
- The new car's engine is bigger, but not much. Hubby refused to race me to see which one is faster, but I bet the old car would be, only because it's a manual and only if I were driving.
- The cruise on the old car is smoother. The new one goes through this thing where it slows down, then realizes it and gets all upset and rev's the engine to catch up. I think this is pretty standard for automatic cars, but it makes for a not-perfectly-smooth ride.
- The automatic part of the new car is really nice, especially in traffic. I don't miss the shifting part of my life at all.
- It feels pretty roomy for being a civic, which I think has the stigma (not stigmata like I overheard the other day...) of being a small car. As part of a family where both members are 5'11, I feel pretty comfy in my "compact" car.
- The lumbar support for the driver's seat is much better in the new car. I haven't driven it more than 2 hours at a time, but I can tell it's better already.
- The speakers on the new car are lacking. Maybe I'm missing the sound of the sub that was standard on the old car, but when I turn it up loud, the sound is not very crisp, especially the bass notes.
- The ipod plug-in is awesome on the new car.
- The new car's steering wheel is smaller than the old one and I'm still not used to it.
- The speedometer display is digital in the new car. As someone who's been pulled over more times than I can count on one hand, I find that extremely helpful.
- At the new job, I get lots of collateral. Free stuff in the form of mugs, camping chairs, golf shirts for my dad, fleece blankets, and of course batman-esque lights for my key chain with the company logo.
- I miss the cosmetology department at the old job. I haven't had my eyebrows waxed in three months because I refuse to pay more than the $3 I used to pay. This means I have to actually use tweezers and look at myself in one of those awful mirrors that some man created to make women have a lower self-esteem. I also haven't had my hair dyed in three months. Maybe I'll go gray naturally for a while... see how that goes over.
- I like walking more at work. I feel like much less of a lazy bum.
- I enjoy sleeping until 7:06 versus the 6:03 I used to get up.
- I like the 18 miles it takes to get to work versus the 38 it used to (that's one way.)
- I was extremely disappointed with the vacation/ETO time with the new job. I guess I naively assumed that being one of the top employers in STL that I'd be able to take vacation when I wanted. Did you know that I have to take ETO on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Memorial, Labor and Fourth of July days? They "give" you those days off by "giving" you x number of hours of ETO. That same bank of ETO is also your sick time. I know I'm spoiled, but I'm used to at least a week off at Christmas. I was NOT expecting that with the new job, but I did expect the 6 official federal holidays to be actually "given" to me, not "earned."
- I love that my office is organized and every decision is a strategic one, based on data. I hated the way my previous employer made every decision based on someone's gut or preference.
- My boss is super awesome. Not only is she someone I respect, but she is pretty cool too.
- Everyone knows where I work. I only have to say half of the name, and everyone knows what I'm talking about. No more explaining that no, I do not work in Harrisburg, IL.
- I can see myself working in this organization for a LONG time. Possibly for the rest of my career. There is so much room to grow, and if I want to try something else - like human resources or doing six sigma training or marketing instead of public relations, I can do that.
Stay tuned to tomorrow's review of the 04 Civic EX versus the 08 Civic LX.
It's a beautiful day outside. Let's see if I can convince him to do something nature-y.
In Illinois however, we don't have time for all that malarkey with absentee ballots. If you sign your name on the envelope, we believe you. No need to mess with some notary public person. Just sign your name and the date in BLACK INK, and you are good to go.
Maybe this is how our ever ethical buddy Rod got elected. Twice.
This pic was taken the day of the wedding by Megan C. I thought it was a pretty good shot of General's favorite cat to chase.
Cool group shot at Tower Grove Park
This is my cuz Charlie, who was an usher in Emily's wedding. I had a really great time after the wedding hanging out with Charlie, his sister Liz and her bf Adam in the hotel lobby after the reception. My other cousins were there too and it was pretty cool to hang out with all of them without our parents there. We don't usually do cousin-ly bonding at family events with alcohol, so it was entertaining to see them all drinking.
Our house is cute, in good condition, in a great school district and priced right (according to our agent anyways). We've dropped the price $6,500 already. That's a deal folks!! I even buried the little catholic dude in the backyard that my old-lady-neighbor said would sell the house within three weeks, guaranteed. It's been five. Saint what's-his-name is failing to do his job.
I love everything I've ever tried from kashi, including their frozen dinners (but they are on the expensive side for a lunch. I've got to find them on sale...).
Now, as a married woman (for almost two years!!!) I'm realizing that Michael and I need to do what's best for us and our family, and not really worry about the outliers of our family unit. I'm tired of trying to please everyone and being pushed around. My parents are both pretty easy-going, and I think they get taken advantage of sometimes. I don't want my kids to grow up thinking it's okay to be put in a situation and not stand up for themselves, so I will not be setting that example.
and for the record, I'm extremely classy.
2. I turned on the heat this morning at Emily's house. The vent in the bathroom blows directly on the toilet paper. I highly recommend warming your TP before using the toilet. It's a nice suprise in the morning.
I'm just happy to have a place of my own for a week. Just me and the pugster livin it up in Shrewsbury. Since the world came crashing down ontop of Washington DC today, this is probably the last time I'll be on my own for a LONG time since no one is going to buy my house. Even if they wanted to, I bet they couldn't get a loan right now. So I'll just live with my parents...
Does anyone else watch Days right now? If so, we should discuss.
|From Emily and Rusty's wedding|
Emily and Rusty aka "Russ" as an adult.
The entire group minus family
Dad and his girls - all grown up
Emily getting ready for her wedding
Mom and me lacing up Emily's dress
This was a long process...
Waiting for picture time
|From Emily and Rusty's wedding|
Rusty waiting for the ceremony to start
They are now husband and wife, and on the party bus!!!
At the Demenil House taking photos after the ceremony.
Russ and the bridesmaids
posing for photos
At Tower Grove Park
Rusty said "I don't do dips." Apparently he does.
I thought this was a good "artistic" shot.
Another artsy shot at the reception
My main squeeze and my good buddy Katie
Cutting the cake
Some guy pulled my grandma onto the dance floor! It was awesome!!
Newly en-fianced Denise and Stockton stopped by to say hi. This is Denise, me and Katie at the end of the night.