Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Superstition, run free

I'm not really a superstitious person, but I always love reading lists of zodiac symbols. I recently read an article entitled "Best Career for Your Zodiac Sign" from

Unfortunately, the article told me that, as a Capricorn, I am in the zodiac's lowest-earner category of making less than $35,000 per year, but at least I married up! My darling Leo is in the highest-earner category and is supposed to make more than $100,000 per year. Uhm, yeah, I think we could live on that...
Capricorns are very ambitious and need challenges to be happy. Just like the mountain goat climbs on the tiniest crags to get to the top, Capricorns are determined and persistent—they will do what whatever it takes. Most are responsible and conscientious; many enjoy power. They run a tight ship—they will enforce rules and keep everyone on schedule. If you need something done right (and to exact standards), look no further than a Capricorn. They also tend to be workaholics. Best jobs: manager, administrator, editor, banker, IT, and anything science-related.
I'm sorry, was that just a generalization, or were they actually profiling me? Maybe not everything fits, but it's pretty darned close, especially the rules and schedule part, as well as my exacting standards. Plus, hello, EDITOR?!

For fun and time wasting purposes, check out your own sign here:

2008: A Retrospective Look

Dear 2008,

I'm writing this letter to get everything out in the open with you. Let's face it, it was fun while it lasted, but now it's over. I'm sorry it has to end this way, but I'm moving on. I hope you don't take it too hard.

My relationship with you kicked off in the company of some very dear friends. During this past year, we had many more opportunities to enjoy time with old friends and new friends and family members. Husband and I spent the first five months of you stuffed into our one-room dorm at Dinky College. Then, in June, I accepted my new position at Big, Fancy University and we all moved in together with my in-laws. We spent the next few months looking for a suitable home for ourselves and finally made a decision in September. I continued to improve at my new job, and before I knew it, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were upon us.

But, 2008, now our time together must come to a close. It's really nothing personal. We've had some laughter and some tears, and I will always remember you fondly as part of my first year of marriage, my first job out of college, and my dearest cousin's wedding.

I'm sorry, 2008, but it's exactly as you suspected. All of those e-mails you found, my recent inattentiveness, the lipstick you washed out of my collar were signs of the inevitable: I'm leaving you for 2009. 2009 just has more to offer me - a new home; a fresh start. I'm not sure exactly what adventures we're going to have together, I'm sure it will be full of ups and downs like your and my former relationship, but I am excited to get to know 2009 and encounter a whole new set of experiences and trials and joys.

I still hope we can be friends, 2008. Love, always,

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Cheer to last you through the New Year

(Did anyone catch my title rhyme? Anyone? Anyone? Moving on...)

Christmas 2008 had its ups and downs, but it was generally a rousing success. Husband and I took the entire week of Christmas off, and the sleeping in was much appreciated. The stomach flu, however, was very much a party crasher. Husband was down from Friday through Tuesday, including an urgent care visit and several trips to CVS for over-the-counter cure-alls. Also, much ginger ale. Once he seemed to kick the nasty bug, I came down with a much more friendly version and was horizontal for most of Christmas Eve. It worked out because it was too icy to attend the Christmas Eve Service at church, which was cancelled anyway. We didn't get to enjoy much of the Christmas Day feast because of our lack of appetites, but we made up for it on Saturday at my extended family's Christmas celebration.

This couch was definitely at its maximum capacity. But aren't we cute?

The obligatory "couple standing together" picture at my parents' house on Christmas afternoon. Please note the festively colored-but-not-gaudy Christmas sweater (mine, not Boba Fett).

Our stockings runneth over. The second Chritsmas at my parents' house for us as a married couple and Husband still doesn't have a stocking with his name on it...I guess from now on he'll just have to be known as "Season's Greetings." Please refer to him as such.

My dad thinks he's funny. Yes, that is a battery-operated spider with "realistic fuzzy texture" and "spider egg remote control." It hasn't made it out of the box yet and will remain so, as long as I can keep our stock of batteries hidden (batteries not included, thank all that is holy). I prefer my spiders under glass. Or plastic cellophane, in this case.

This was the absolute highlight of MY Christmas season. Husband has been drooling over the PS3 for quite some time now, repeatedly explaining to me how it plays Blu-Ray movies and how they are SoMuchMoreAwesome than regular DVDs and OhIWantOneeeee. He e-mailed me a great deal from Amazon one day, and I impulsively decided to completely ignore our mutual decision to keep Christmas small this year because of that house purchase thing and snapped one up. I had the system mailed to my parents' house, and they wrapped up the boxes and hid them away until all of our packages were opened Christmas day. Then, I casually said, "Didn't Kyle have one more gift to open?" and went to fetch the box from the hiding place. He was completely confused, then incredulous, then dumbfounded, then happyfunyeayyyyy. The memory of seeing him open his gift was the best thing I received this Christmas. Wonder how I can top myself next year...

The memory really was a great gift, but this robe was pretty sweet, too! (Please ignore the InSaNe BeDhEaD. I slept on it wet and apparently pissed off some demi-god of hair.) I also received a digital picture frame, which I love! It was definitely something I have been coveting but would never buy for myself!

Finally, I leave you with this picture of the aftermath of receiving the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It is both horrifyingly grotesque and hilarious. As Husband said when he took the picture, "It looks like you just opened the cure for cancer." This is my Christmas gift to you, dear reader.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Jolly Hello...

Merry Christmas!

May you enjoy the day with the ones you love the best
in good health and happiness!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I bring you news of great joy...

A Christmas miracle! Our offer has been accepted! Within the next few weeks we will close on our first home! Tonight we visited the house for one last time before we sign away our firstborn. It might not be much to look at now, but with some new carpeting, paint, and a few cosmetic revisions, we will soon make this house our home.

This is the living room. I think our comfy sofa and loveseat (which has yet to come out of plastic wrap) will fit nicely in here. Plus our new, beautiful, gigantic coffee table!

This is the dining room, just off the kitchen and family room. A new light fixture (something from this century, perhaps?) will make this room shine! We're thinking about removing the sliding glass doors that lead onto the deck and replacing them with a large window.

This is the kitchen. The cabinets need a new coat of paint and we're planning to rip out part of the wall and perhaps make a breakfast bar to open things up into the dining room. There is a lovely large pantry and a washer and dryer just down the hallway that leads to our half bathroom and bonus room that I'm planning to turn into my very own craft room!

We're thinking about investing in an electric range as opposed to this gas range. We shall see!

This is our master bedroom. I think it's spacious enough to fit all of our pretty furniture and, hopefully, a new, king-sized bed!

This is our master bathroom. You don't even have to ask; no, the purple paint will not be staying. We might rip out the linen closet and increase the size of the tub/shower. Just need some measurements and estimates!

This is the master walk-in closet. I think it will be large enough to put in a cute little vanity with a mirror and stool, plus all the closet space I could ever want. Did I ever mention I never had a closet growing up? A very sad state for a little girl!

This is just part of the basement, which is HUGE. A basement was one feature of a house that I was not willing to budge on, given my tornado paranoia. We're hoping to finish it off sometime in the future and add a fourth bedroom and game/family room. Ah, how I love contemplating the future!

Can you imagine this staircase wrapped in garland and perhaps some twinkly white lights during the Christmas holidays?! It will be so festive!

This is one of the two bedrooms upstairs (mattress courtesy of the previous owners...). Someday they will be our childrens' bedrooms, but for now, one will be an office and the other will be a guest bedroom. Y'all are welcome to come stay whenever you want!!! In fact, I insist you invite yourself for a sleepover!

And finally, our wonderful, magnificent two car garage. At this moment, I may be looking forward to using the garage more than anything else, because once we close on the house, we can begin using this right away to keep the snow and ice off our cars each morning before we go to work! Dare I dream of such luxury?!

Of Christmas cards and colds and idiots

Christmas inches closer and closer. This year, I was able to throw together a few Christmas cards, handmade by yours truly, and got them out in the mail last weekend. Here's a sampling of the fare:

If you didn't receive one in the mail, I am sorry. Perhaps I just don't love you enough (although I probably just didn't have enough cards...there are only so many glittery snowmen to go around! Also, I ran out of envelopes. It was a very lean Christmas card year that I blame completely on my lack of craft space.)

Is any of this making sense? I have been down with a sore throat/cough/runny nose/cold/black plague of some kind for a few days now. I stayed home from work yesterday and, thanks to a Nyquil-induced coma, I slept until 3 p.m. Yes, that's three o'clock in the afternoon. Then I got up, did some laundry, wrapped a few final Christmas presents, and completely avoided the editing work sitting in my inbox. But I did make dinner. Although I completely avoid all responsibility if the rest of the household comes down with a similar black plague.

Just when I was feeling better, Husband and I headed into work this morning (a few hours late due to the icy road conditions). We putted along at a reasonable speed, only to be passed by a Jeep which, in the middle of passing, spun out of control coming inches from hitting my poor little red car. I think Husband really scared the other driver when he stepped out of our car and crossed the road to the ditch where the Jeep had come to rest. He was just going to check and see if the man was okay, but he does look rather intimidating with his newly shorn head (my doing) and bulky coat. The man scurried through the field and went on, seemingly unhurt, only to pass another car only a few miles ahead (IDIOT).

So, as a wrap-up to this post that I've completely lost control of: If you didn't receive a spectacular Christmas card, handmade by moi, make me love you more and better luck next year; Avoid my bodily emissions at all costs lest you be stricken with the plague; don't be an idiot driving out on the roads because you will die or some fellow driver will kill you.

That is all. I wish I'd brought some Nyquil to work...

Friday, December 12, 2008

In a land far, far away

As the snow plows lumber into service and we awake to yet another morning with frost caked on the car windows, I can't help but think of all the places I would rather be than here. Don't get me wrong, winter is my favorite season of the year. However, wouldn't the icy weather be just a little more tolerable if one was in, say, Europe?

I've had my passport for a number of years now, but I have been putting off updating it with my new last name. Husband needs to get a passport someday, just in case we ever need to get out of the country fast... We're hoping to tackle these chores during our upcoming Christmas vacation.

We are both very interested in traveling before we start a family. The trick is just sitting down and making the plans concrete. He would like to visit Japan. I would love to take him to France (if only for the Capri pizza and crêpes...). Plus, when else would I have the opportunity to put my French minor to good use?! From there, it would be just a short ride on the Euro tunnel to see England (and stalk Simon Pegg and Hugh Laurie...). I've always wanted to visit Sweden, a piece of my ancestral home. However, lately I've been doing some genealogical work and have come across very interesting information that I will have to write a post about someday. Turns out, I'm a lot more German than I thought I was, so, perhaps Germany would be added to our travel wish list.

There are so many places to see, most of them vastly more interesting than the flat, Midwestern landscape we currently inhabit. I suppose, for now, I will just have to curl up with a hot cup of cocoa, gaze out the window, and dream.

Monday, December 8, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things....

...I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't baaaaad.

Husband and I ventured to my parents' house for the second annual hanging of the greens (a.k.a. loading their tree with every conceivable ornament for optimum tackiness). As "second annual" would suggest, we did this with them last year, and I really enjoy the new tradition. My dad and I have always been the ones to decorate while my mom flitted about in the kitchen, never joining in, but enjoying the result nonetheless. Here is the product of our work this year, flanked by my two favorite men:

It's difficult to see, but my mother crocheted the tree skirt, which adds a little bit of personality. Here is my most favorite tree ornament:

We have three of these Santa ornaments and they are older than my dad. I don't know why I like them so much, perhaps it's just The Familiar.

With the ongoing theme of My Crafty Mother, here is a little tree she made from pine cones collected at our former cabin on the lake in Wisconsin.

Another Older Than My Dad decoration. There are two of these Santas. A reserved jollyness, no?

This isn't the greatest picture, but the cuteness of Santa and his sled is undeniable.

Finally, the pièce de résistance: a 3-D sign My Crafty Mother carved out of wood, painted, and nailed together for the church's lawn. If your Christmas cards from me don't measure up to The Craftiness, please blame it on my father's genes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fabulous Friday

It's Friday. And it's fabulous. In honor of such a fabulous Friday, here is some eye candy for you from!

It's a chandelier wall decal and it would look SO COOL on that wall we don't have above that king sized bed we don't have in that house we don't have!

And on that king sized bed we don't have? Yeah, I could lay this Asian Poppy Duvet. The oranges are so fresh and the pattern is so crisp and contemporary.

I have some sort of weird, unexplainable love for all things damask, like this rug. This is one of the most interesting damask patterns I've seen yet - can you spot the keys, scissors, birds, and trees?

For those of you who have not yet experienced The Basement of Doom at my parents' house, you are lucky. In The Basement of Doom is our one and only shower. And I use the term "shower" loosely. It's more of a shower nozzle sticking out of the cinderblock wall in an very large, chilly, open room. The floor is concrete, there's a drain right below the shower head, and there are two windows on either sides of the room. Yes, the cats will watch you shower through the glass. And there are spiders. Lots of spiders. I took a lot of baths when I was young.

That was a long anecdote to get to the point of this image: I've never had a real shower, with porcelain and stainless steel and a shower curtain. But this shower curtain is sooooo beautiful. I resisted posting three other shower curtains which were equally interesting. One was a huge picture of the Parisian skyline, another was a gigantic list of SAT words, and the final curtain contained French, German, or Italian to English translations - clean AND educational! Is it possible for a house to have more bathrooms than bedrooms? I've got a lot of showering in my future.

Please excuse me while I drown in my own drool.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Congratulations are due!

Congratulations to Fuller, my dear red-haired girlfriend, on her engagement! However, even after you marry, you will still be "Fuller" to me!

Do Not Watch

Husband and I recently got a subscription to Netflix, and we are loving it. We currently have the basic package and are able to receive one movie at a time. We may upgrade later (we aren't planning to have cable television when we finally get into our own home, thus necessitating movie entertainment), but the situation suits our needs for now. Even better, with subscriptions Netflix also offers movie streaming (I guess that's the right word...) through Husband's Xbox for certain titles, so as long as the movie is in our online queue, we can watch it whenever we want. I took full advantage of this opportunity by watching the Newsies, a rousing musical about paperboys with thick New York accents from the Pulitzer/Hearst muckraking days. What more could a person ask for in a musical? Oh yeah, did I forget to mention a young, verile, singing, dancing, prancing Christian Bale? You are "The King of New York," Christian. Oh, yes, you are.

A few days later our copy of Be Kind, Rewind dropped into our mailbox. Husband and I haven't turned off a movie since watching Sideways while students at Dinky College. Until now, that is. Jack Black's characters tend to be a little over-the-top, but are generally funny and loveable. Not so in Be Kind, Rewind. The plot was shoddy, the dialogue was unintelligible, the characters were off-putting, and the whole thing was generally confusing, unrealistic, and annoying. The movie stock of a down-and-out video store (that only stocks VHS tapes...which I find to be implausible) is erased when a magnetized Jack Black walks in (after being that even possible?), so the bumbling characters played by Black and Mos Def must remake all the movies before the kindly old owner, played by Danny Glover, returns from a trip celebrating a great jazz legend. It really was as horrible as it sounds. At least the first twenty minutes or so. We didn't make it too far past that. I suggest you don't even make it to the video store to rent the drivel.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Paint by Number

35: The number of pounds I probably gained from gorging myself upon two bountiful Thanksgiving feasts and several days worth of leftovers. Maybe it wasn't a mistake that I made twice the needed amount of deviled eggs...

13: The number of days of work left before Christmas vacation. Husband and I haven't had a real vacation since our Honeymoon to Michigan in July 2007 (I can't believe we're almost in 2009!), so, we decided to take the entire week of Christmas off. We're not actually going anywhere interesting or engaging in any productive activity, but at least we won't be at work. However, knowing my luck, one or both of us will be dying of the flu or something during that week. I bet you ten bucks.

9: The number of glorious vacation days starting December 20.

5: The number of weeks since we put in our counteroffer to the bank for the house. That is, of course, after the 8 week wait for a response about the first offer. We signed the counteroffer and it was faxed on October 31, Halloween. Yes, that was 5 weeks ago. And still counting...

4: The number of Christmas presents left to buy. We only have two gifts to obtain for my extended family gift exchange, one more gift for Mother-In-Law, and one gift for an adorable little boy who looks like he could be our child if one didn't know better. Luckily, we pretty much know what all of the gifts are going to be. Hooray commercialism!

Seriously, I want to claim him as my own. Husband agrees. He's too cute. His entire face is much cuter, of course, but I'm afraid of the Internet Crazies, so this is my way of protecting half-face baby.

0: The number of minutes I have left before I should be getting back to work! And you too! I see you there, reading this blog at work. Shame on us.