Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Da na na na neh na

If you couldn't tell, that is the opening theme to Entertainment Tonight in honor of me being interviewed by Nilsa, from NewSomi. I originally tried to remember the theme to 60 Minutes, but then decided that was kind of dumb.

This interview proved to be much more introspective than I realized it would be. I ended up spending most of my "working" afternoon thinking about my answers and even researching some. Now, if you will agree to be interviewed by me, put your email address either in an email to me, or in the comments and tell me that you want me to ask you some questions...then you will post the answers on your blog, and so on and so on and so on. Now, before you sign up, I must disclose is that I get to ask you ANYTHING I want!

(1) Name only one blogger you really respect and tell me why.

Every blogger on my blogroll has my respect for any number of reasons, but the question says name one, and I am all about the rules, so the one that really stands out for me is Ashley from Planet Davila.

I am not a nice person. I have mentioned before that I get very anxious about my future at my university because of the weight placed on student evaluations. So now, when I look at one of those rating professor sites, I get a secret thrill (not so secret anymore) when one of my colleagues gets bashed. I think...SEE, sucks don't it?

In the face of my own disappointments, I am not a good enough person to revel in another's happiness, and instead find myself entrenched in that oh. so. bitchy. place. of. IT'S SO NOT Fairville.

However, my grievances can not even begin to compare with Ashley's, yet I have seen, from just her blog and her comments on other blogs, that allowing myself to be happy for someone else's good fortune, even smack dab in the face of my own rotten luck, is really the path to take. That being said, I am not on that path yet. But I think maybe it is just through this thorny mess of branches, and I might be able to fight my way to it. Thanks, Ashley for being so awesome.

(2) If you had to pick a non-urban, U.S. destination in which to vacation for a week, where would you go?

I would go to Jeckyll Island, GA to spend time visiting and volunteering at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and lazing by the water with Mr. P, but since that trip would violate question (3), please refer to the answer to question (3).

(3) If you had $500 to spend on housing, food and entertainment for the trip mentioned in (2), how would you spend it?

Last summer we bought a little boat, and we triple dog love being out on the water, so it would be so great to pack up the truck with food/supplies from home, then drag the boat to some awesome lakey area in Tennessee, or potentially a Carolina (since gas is so cheap right now), and boat for a week visiting various lakes. I was thinking for example:

Day 1: Drive to "location". Hotel.
Day 2: Boat/camp.
Day 3: Move to second location. Hotel.
Day 4: Boat/camp.
Day 5: Move to third location. Hotel.
Day 6: Boat/camp
Day 7: Home.

The hotels can be minimal...any bed and any shower are awesome after even one night of camping/boating in my book.

So the $500 would be, say $250 hotels (I added a bit more here so we could have free wi-fi (for blogging) and breakfast), $100 boat gas, $150 eating out on hotel nights. I am not counting the food/supplies we bring from home because we would eat and drink at home ANYWAY. Plus, I didn't count gas either since we could just use our gas card.

(4) Tell me about one person with whom you've lost touch. If you hope for a reunion, how would you like that reunion to take place?

I have lost touch with my best friend from college. We met at freshmen orientation, she was in line behind me at the cafeteria and talked to me. Which since you don't know me in person, that was painful for me. I don't do stranger conversation well. Then, she found me in a freshman directory and mailed me a postcard, all before we started school. I went to college in the Fall and knew NO ONE. I went through sorority rush and ran into postcard girl again. We ended up pledging the same sorority, and we were then inseparable for our entire freshman year.

About two weeks before sophomore year, her parents told her they couldn't afford school anymore and she didn't come back. I visited her sophomore year spring break and that was the last time I saw her. I talked to her once about 12 years ago.

As far as how I would want the reunion to go, I guess the chicken shit way - - email or perhaps Facebook. I have no idea who she grew up to be, and vice versa...we were 18 when we were friends. But I think about her often, and wonder how she is. Maybe I will try to find her.

(5) In 2008, what was your biggest achievement and your biggest failure/disappointment?

My biggest achievement was convincing the high school kid of the importance of the ACT. Yes, I know that technically the achievement was the kid's...but I was the source of motivation!

My biggest failure/disappointment was not being with my sister for ANY of the holidays. I hate that. I hate that we both had to spend time with our father alone to hear all about how he graduated from college this year, but failed to tell anyone, how he hung out with Bear Bryant (legendary football coach for University of Alabama, blech), how he is SO much smarter than all of his friends because he can calculate tips in his head, all while he is drinking lots. At lunch. At dinner. Watching a Star Trek movie.

I hate that my sister also had to hang out with my mother, and I don't even know that I can adequately describe what that is like. She tells the same stories (that are ridiculous to begin with) over and over in this whiny, cutesy voice because she thinks she is fucking hilarious. In the middle of her stories she takes these giant breathes for emphasis, and every two minutes coughs up an emphysema (stolen from Tracy). She tries to be sarcastic but it comes off completely condescending and obnoxious. If Steamboat is being bratty, she tells my sister how bratty she was. If my college kid is being a smart ass, she tells me how I am a smart ass. It is completely horrible. So that is my biggest regret. Having to spend time with my parents. Not spending time with my sister. I guess I still need to read Ashley's blog a bit more.

So step right up and let me interview you!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

My NIKE me.

<-----------------------Check her out! FYI. I did not make up Fatty McButterpants. Kevin James did. However, I follow the adage...if the pants fit, wear them. ETA: I figured out how to start my Nike+ over. And away we go!

ETA Part Two: After the whole pajama pants incident, I decided it was time to get healthy...both from a food perspective (so I am back on WeightWatchers) and a fitness perspective. The Nike+ is a contraption that is a transmitter that goes in my shoes, that sends info about distance, pace, etc. to my iPod. (You can get them at most sporting good stores, or the website for 29.00) My NIKE me is my online running alter ego that is supposed to help motivate me. So far, I just like changing her clothes and skin color.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pajama Pants

I love to wear pajama pants. I am the Mr. Rogers of pajamas. I change out of them on the way out of the door, and right back into them as I step back in. Well, since I wear them for over 2/3's of my life (figure I am at work maybe 8 or so hours a day during the week, sometimes more, but not at all on the weekend), the TWO pair I have are so ratty and pretty gross. But one pair is Hello Kitty, and the other are lobsters. Awesome. Anyway, Mr. P asked me if maybe I should throw the old pants away. My reply was that I would only throw away pants if provided appropriate replacement pants.

So, on Christmas Eve evening, I get presented with a present. (That was an awesomely redundant sentence.) The present was a pair of very cute navy blue with snowflake pajama pants, flannely and snuggly. XXL.


So I am kind of embarrassed, and kind of furious at myself for letting it go this long, and kind of sad that I am so. so. fat. that I can not fit into XXL pants. That is TWO extras. EXTRA EXTRA fat pants. Not fitting. So, I am in the laundry room for a few minutes and Mr. P comes to check on me. I tell him in my most pitiful whining sad voice, "they don't fit ". (Did you get by the small font that I said it in a quiet little voice?) And his response, in his most sincere, apologetic voice,

"But, I bought the biggest size that Target had".

So, without any malice, Mr. P pushed me over the fat edge. I have spent the last several days getting used to the idea of getting back on Weight Watchers. We went and bought good, healthy groceries. I have loaded my iPod with my songs, gotten a new Nike +, and gotten it sync'ed up. I am ready to go. I am usually pretty decent with losing weight, I am not so good at dealing with myself once the weight is gone. I need to be healthy, I want to be healthy, so that means I am going to finally have to deal with that final piece...the mental aspect of what the weight represents to me. I am hoping I can work some of it out with the blog, but it might be time to deal with the other demons. Thanks for bearing with me, I leave you with my oh, so awesome, playlist:

Gives You Hell The All-American Rejects
Shine Anna Nalick
Girlfriend Avril Lavigne
Calling You Blue October
Womanizer Britney Spears
Hello (American Idol Performance) David Cook
I Don't Care (Single Version) Fall Out Boy
Fergalicious Fergie
I Don't Wanna Be In Love (Dance Floor Anthem) Good Charlotte
I'm Yours Jason Mraz
Won't Go Home Without You Maroon 5
Shattered (Turn the Car Around) O.A.R.
My Friends Over You A New Found Glory
Buttons The Pussycat Dolls
Steady As She Goes The Raconteurs
Kiss Me Sixpence None The Richer
Let Me Be Myself 3 Doors Down
World Spins Madly On The Weepies
Love Story Taylor Swift
Fall for You Secondhand Serenade
Chocolate Snow Patrol

This is my 93rd post. I feel like I have to do something spectacular for 100 like they do with television shows. Ideas?

Holiday Aftermath

Well, Christmas 2008 is over and done. This week between Christmas and New Year's is always weird for me. I can't really explain it...I don't have to work, the kids are out of school, but I get so ramped up for pre-Christmas, once it is over I am kind of done. I have Christmas crafts I never did, but now that Christmas is over, not gonna do them. I am too lazy to use the week to get much work done, but not so lazy that I don't also get antsy.

We ended up splurging and got Rockband for the family on Christmas Eve and played a lot, it was very fun. Christmas day was nice, we woke up late, opened presents, then just lazed around the rest of the day. We never got the energy to go to the movies or bowling.

My Dad and his girlfriend showed up on the 26th, and we had MANY beverages, my Dad is very annoying and at the very least, my drunkeness made him more fun. Then I paid for that very dearly with about 5 hours of pure agony in the form of the worst hangover since the time my sister and I surprised my Dad for his birthday and bought a keg that we then thought as a family we should try to drink in one night. Flaming Dr. Pepper's were involved. ugh.

Yesterday was spent shopping. My Dad always takes the kids shopping for their Christmas, and that was very enjoyable. I even got in on the loot. I got some new cookbooks, a food scale and the new Britney Spears CD.

Dad left this morning, the kids are sleeping, and Mr. P and I are trying to decide what we want to do. We partially want to stay in pj's, partially want to go buy groceries to make jalapeno crusted pork loin, and partially want to take down the Christmas stuff. We are not wholeheartedly on board with any plan, so my guess is that pajamas are going to win!

I have been away from the blogosphere except for a few bouts of reading on the iPhone, so I owe you all wishes of a Happy 2009, and probably some comments. I can't wait to read about your holidays!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crazy to Lazy

Our norm here at Chez Potchery is to have about 36 hours of crazy Christmas traditions, and preparations for traditions, then 36 hours of lazy. Then after those 3 days, we try to get back to normal.

I spent the afternoon getting some last minute stuff for Mr. P and gathering the supplies for our gingerbread house. Have you ever heard of "meringue powder"? Well, I had NOT. I had to make some substitutions, watermelon gum for green apple gum (for shutters, duh), and Starburst for Bazooka gum (patio stones, double duh). I have mixed the gingerbread, and we will bake the pieces tonight, so we are ready for assembling and decorating tomorrow.

Also tomorrow we will shop for Christmas dinner. We have Christmas dinner tradition that came about due to poverty, but the kids. won't. let. it. go. 14 years ago, we were struggling, seriously struggling with money, and we weren't sure we could afford a full blown Christmas dinner. So, we came up with this plan. Everyone got $10 and could get WHATEVER they wanted to create their perfect Christmas breakfast and dinner. (A turkey is typically $20 bucks, and there is half our food budget right there.)

The kids are militant about it. You are "allowed" mix-ins from the household cupboards, but that is it. For example, if you buy a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, you can use milk and butter from the refrigerator. We spend at least a solid hour in the grocery store, adding/subtracting, trading, bargaining...I will share these Vlasic pickles with you, if I can have half your chocolate milk. You can half one of my YooHoo's, if I can have one glass of your Apple-Pear juice. You can have half of this frozen pizza, if I can have 3 bites out of that tube of cookie dough. You get the idea?

A few years ago my sister and her husband and teensy tinsy Steamboat arrived on Christmas, and they participated as well...I don't remember what my sister got, but Warren (her husband) got one of those cheesecakes with the various slices, turtle, strawberry, etc. Great choice.

I tend to go with Toaster Strudel, Velveeta Shells & Cheese, peppermint ice cream and because I am the mom, and have to set a good example, a pomegranate.

So tomorrow, we will sleep late, go shopping, gingerbread, craft, and play games. Then Christmas, we will open presents, eat food, nap, then go to the movies and bowling. On Boxing Day we will sleep VERY late, and then get up and nap by Christmas movies. I love Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Petting the zebra and other tidbits

  • I forgot to mention that I got to pet a baby zebra at the zoo last night.
  • Tonight we packaged up all our Ebay stuff while listening to my Pandora, "All I Want for Christmas" station. We actually made a couple hundred dollars on one closet, not too shabby. After Christmas, we will give it another go.
  • I have a business trip in Charleston, SC the second weekend in January, so I pulled my Steamboat stuff out of my suitcase, since I won't get to go see him until after that. sigh.
  • So far, I have stuck to our lists. My sister and I didn't exchange gifts this year. Mr. P and I gave ourselves a pretty tight budget for swapping gifts. I feel like it isn't Christmas. I am not stressed enough about money. That is a good thing, right? Even without tons of gifts (but don't get me wrong, we will have presents), we are going to have a wonderful two days...we have a tradition packed Christmas Eve, then we will chill on Christmas, and have plans to go to see Marley & Me and then hit the bowling lanes on Christmas night.
  • Not seeing my sister this Christmas sucks. We don't always spend Christmas DAY together, but usually, at some point in December we get to see each other. My Dad and his girlfriend will show up at some point, but that isn't really that Christmasey at all.
  • Both of my kids are in the house for the next week. We will sleep easier, albeit in a messier home.
  • I have seen two movies, 7 Pounds, with the college kid and Yes Man with the high school kid, in the last three days. I LOVE going to the movies. Today I went whole hog and got a soda and popcorn. I brought gummy bears from home (not from the opened bag at the store), and dumped them in the popcorn. Yumm. I will start working on my Biggest Loser application after the new year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Road trip, zoo lights and blueprints

We took a tiny roadtrip to our state capital today. We ate at our latest favorite restaurant, Red Robin, then did a little browsing and a little shopping, then went to the zoo where they had the zoo decorated in lights.

We went to Williams Sonoma were I totally lusted after the gadgets and gorgeous cookery. I LOVE to watch the Food Network, I love. love. watching Top Chef. I like to look longingly at all the awesome tools and doodads at Bed, Bath and Beyond or even Target. The weird part is...I don't really cook. I like the idea of cooking. I like to pick out recipes. Then, I get off of work and get Chick fil A, or order pizza. I like lazy better than I like cooking. Anyway, at Williams Sonoma, Mr. P bought me a book filled with gingerbread house blueprints. He is going to "scale a set" of plans for me tomorow, so I am ready to bake and construct on Wednesday. (I don't know if I have mentioned that Mr. P is an architect.) I am pretty excited.

Then we went to the zoo after dark. It was sort of cool, and kind of bizarre. We went right when it opened and we were walking through and there were really no other people, and the animals were sleeping, or hiding, and it was pretty dark. It felt like we weren't supposed to be there. Have you ever read the book, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler? If not, it is about kids who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and hide in the bathrooms until the museum closes, and then hang out in the museum in the night. Zoo lights felt like that.

There were some funny/cool lights, including a T-Rex mommy walking her baby,

and a steamboat.

The kids and I are off until after Christmas, but Mr. P has to work until Wednesday. So, remember the big Ebay idea? Well, now 30 items are selling, which means we will be having to go mail 30 packages on Tuesday. mmm. NOT WELL THOUGHT OUT.

Nothing says Christmas like...

a Lego prisoner, complete with handcuffs. And maybe it is just me, but I am not seeing a great deal of remorse on this dude.

So, I have been pretty pouty since Thursday when my flight to Tracy's got canceled. Friday the high school kid had a half day so we did some light shopping, had lunch and went to the movies. I went out with Mr. P on Friday night for drinks, and we met up with some friends. It was fun, but not the fun I wanted to be having. I can be totally bratty that way.

Yesterday, we shopped some, but then I remembered my mantra, and I put stuff back. After that I was plain ass crabby. After seeing this broken bag of gummy bears at World Market and wanting to eat some gummy bears, but bears out of the broken bag, not a bag we bought... I knew it was time to go home.

Is it just me, or do those gummy bears look exceptionally delicious? Even today.

I have decided that I am keeping my Steamboat bribes, I am not mailing them, so that I can give them to him myself...I just have to pick a new date with my sister. I am so shitty, I could probably go the weekend after Christmas, but my mother will be there. I don't want to hang out with my mother, Tracy and Steamboat. I just want Tracy and Steamboat to myself. When my mom is there my sister and I are both tense, and it wouldn't be the same fun that I know we were going to have this weekend.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I am so blue.

At 1:17 pm/18DEC, CO84/19DEC from ATL to EWR is cancelled. Contact Continental Airlines.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

48 Hours

This time in 48 hours, if all goes as planned, I will be chatting with my sister while Steamboat takes his customary after school rest before dinner. I will be looking at all of her ornaments, and decorations and anxiously awaiting his waking from his rest so I can have two hours of Steamboat time before he goes to bed.

Here are the preparations I have done for my visit with my skateboard enthusiast, Care Bear loving nephew:

1. Picked up a Care Bears coloring book, puppy stickers, a variety of chap stick, and a Melissa and Doug magnetic fishing puzzle to pack into my suitcase for immediate bribes until he loves me again.

2. Loaded my YouTube bookmarks on my iPhone with his favorite songs, and a few that I want to show him to see if he likes, also to shorten the time from "who the hell is this lady" to "ahh, she has stuff I like. LOVE. her."

3. Looked at every piece of clothing in a Carter's and OshKosh looking for a skateboard something. Found and purchased pajamas that have a monkey riding a snowboard. I know it isn't exactly a skateboard, so I am seriously considering drawing wheels on all the snowboards so he can have skateboarding pajamas.

I still have cookies to make or purchase, and my own clothing to pack. I also need to check to see how many bags I am allowed, and if they have to be carried on, I need to check all my liquidy type stuff to make sure it is under the allowable amounts.

Am I forgetting anything?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mayonnaise, mayonnaise, mayonnaise

You know I like mayonnaise just fine. In chicken salad, on a BLT, Mr. P loves it with fries. But to sing about a condiment, especially in a Christmas song, that is just weird.

Oh, you are not sure that you believe me? Well, then you tell me what Otis is saying (if you don't have the inkling to listen to it all, go to 1:42 in the clip).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tis the season to sell on Ebay

Mr. P and I have been talking about moving out of our house next summer when the high school kid becomes the other college kid and moves out. When we moved back to Alabama four years ago we decided to rent a big house because (1) we FINALLY could, and (2) so we had room...room after living in an apartment then tiny duplex for years and years while we were in various stages of school.

When thinking about downsizing we realized that we might have too much stuff to fit into a more reasonable sized house or condo. Mr. P wanted to sell it all on Ebay so we didn't have to get up early on a Saturday morning and sell it in the yard. So, this evening we started posting our stuff on Ebay. We went through ONE closet and listed 42 items, and I got tired and quit about halfway though the. ONE. closet. We realized with each item posted how much miscellaneous and extraneous crap we buy at Christmas. My problem is wanting to 'wow' the kiddos, and Mr. P gets his bonus and it burns a crazy hole in his pocket until he buys STUFF...remember the paper pillow story?

I had already started thinking about this earlier today after reading a post by Creative Kerfuffle where she talks about not being sure when enough is enough when it comes to gifts for her kids.

Then, after hours of posting on Ebay knowing just how much more stuff I have to post, we are now more resolved than ever to stick. to. the. lists.

Repeat after me.

Do not buy just to buy.
Do not buy just to buy.
Do not buy just to buy.
But maybe if its cool and on sale. NO.
Do not buy just to buy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Paper pillows

Mr. P works for a firm whose "headquarters" is about 40 minutes away, so when we go to his holiday party we make a whole thing out of it...we get a room in a nice hotel so that we can take full advantage of the open bar. Saturday morning we woke up, a bit hungover and watched their local parade from our hotel window. Quite unspectacular, but there were a lot of horses and Santa.

We showered and headed to do some shopping, first stop Pier One. We picked out a cute ornament and I found some weird paper clips to use as a stocking stuffer, and I got in line to pay. Mr. P says, "Hey, I want to go look at the pillows.". mmkay. Pillows.

So I get to the front of the line and he is at the pillow display looking fervently through the pillows, so I get out of line and find a comfy chair to watch what he is doing. Another shopper and Mr. P are now going through all the pillows, occasionally stopping to compare finds, and trading. After a good 6 or 7 minutes, Mr. P looks around for me and says, "These are 1.98 and are perfect for the boat." You know how it is important to have throw pillows for your boat.

So he picks out 6 "boat" pillows, and then 3 other pillows for his couch. We get back in line and I am checking out the boat pillows. They feel outdoorsy, they look outdoorsy, they are made out of paper. Paper pillows. To use on the boat. I think you can do that boat decorating math.

ETA: Mr. P modeling his paper pillows. (There are four more....)

He is kind of annoyed I am poking fun at his paper pillows and the semi-grin is only so that I will leave him alone.

Edited AGAIN: Here is a link to the paper pillows. They are actually not uncomfortable, and not crunchy, the paper is smooth. Tracy, I agree. It was funny enough that he wanted throw pillows for the boat, but that they are made out of paper...even better.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

One party, two party, three party NO

Well two Christmas parties in a row is all we could handle. Instead of party three, we are bundled up on the couch watching Home Alone and eating Stouffer's Mac & Cheese. Perfect.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Cookies

Ashley posted her, oh too cute, sugar cookies that she made and decorated her own self. Swistle blogs often about her delightful baked goods. The magazines at the grocery store checkouts flaunt the ease with which this can be accomplished by any person with coordination and an IQ slightly higher than a monkey.

This is an area of serious consternation for me. I really WANT to be able to bake and decorate Christmas confections, in particular cookies and a gingerbread house. I have been trying a series of projects for the last 5 holidays because I want one of the holiday "events" to be assembling the gingerbread house at my house.

So, last year, I find an adorable set of "3D" Rudolph sugar cookies:
Here is our creation:

sigh. We tried really hard. I might just have to come to terms that I may never be a good holiday bakess.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Draft for this year's Christmas letter

Can you believe it is already December? Where does the time go? We have had such a busy, full year.

The mister is working very hard and has everyone at the firm talking about his potential...could that corner office have his name on it? He also has perfected his swing with his 5 iron, and is the new treasurer down at the lodge.

I have been busy as well, with all the time I volunteer at the shelter for blind cats and darning socks for our soldiers. That is of course, when I am not chasing these kids all around. What little rascals they are.

Sister is doing very well in school, and her science experiment won 2nd place in the world. She is also active in ballet, softball, cake decorating, piano, karate, and of course, raising pigs for 4H. She is perfect in all of these activities and we could not be more proud.

Brother, that darling, is top of his class, and his shit does NOT stink. He is trying out for the olympics, duodecathalon, and he is only 7 years old.

Our family is perfect, and we do perfect things like conserving water by recycling our own pee for drinking water just like the astronauts, and last summer we grew all of our own vegetables...plus we were able to grow enough to end malnutrition in 4 African countries. Can you believe that? That mister and his organic fertilizer, you could not believe the tomatoes.

I hope this finds your family well, it will be next December before you know it, and I can try to rub your loser faces in all of our perfection once again. In love and Jesus.

So, I got our first of what is likely to be MANY holiday letters from Mr. P's side of the family. If you can't quite tell, I don't dig the holiday letter prepared for the masses. One year, I got one that was Wizard of Oz themed...bizarre.

How about you? Where do you stand on the holiday letter? What about the picture holiday card? What about...okay, maybe we should start at the beginning.

Do you like receiving....
holiday cards?
holiday cards even if they only include a signature, no personal note?
holiday cards with pictures?
holiday letters?

What do you send?

I am pro holiday cards, and for the last several years, I like them better with pictures, especially if there are children. Now, if I can be picky, and I am picky...I prefer if the picture is holiday themed and the children in coordinated, if not matching, outfits (if there is more than one child, of course). I also like the border to go with the picture. I am quite judgemental if your picture is from the beach, and there is a red/green border with candy canes. I came by this judgement after we used a picture from our Disney trip in a holiday card, and in retrospect, it was quite hideous. Last year, I did coordinate our outfits and made a better border choice. If it is a card with a picture, then I am okay with no personalization since it is hard to write on those. If it is a card with an enclosed photo of a child, I prefer a photo of said child with Santa. I also look for a holiday stamp. Not just Liberty. BORING.

While I am not particular on my celebratory Christmas creatures, I am a Christmas card bitch. Maybe that is why it is December 11 and I have only gotten two cards. People don't seem to like it when you edit their letter for grammatical and factual errors and send them back.

P.S. One work party under our belts, and after careful consideration we determined it to be a 3 beer party. Which means we stopped on the way and had 3 beers, then went to the party and drank water. We had the perfect buzz, ate a bunch of delicious food, chatted with ease, and now are home settled in...Mr. P and the boy are watching "Ratzilla" and I am about to watch Survivor. Party #2 tomorrow night.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Time to Party like it's Christmas!

So we are upon our whirlwind of Christmas festivities. Three parties in three days.

I think most people enjoy holiday gatherings, but instead of being excited and full with anticipation, I am instead filled with with dread. Dread because I have to small talk and chit chat and smile all pretty while simultaneously wearing uncomfortable shoes AND NOT drinking copious amounts of beer.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Mason-Dixon Line of Christmas Creatures

Something interesting has recently come to light, and I am stymied and figured I would put it to the masses dozen who read this blog to determine popular opinion...

Topic: Christmas creatures.
Question: Should celebratory creatures be limited strictly to those from the North Pole? Or should creatures from all over the globe be able to participate in the snowy frolicking goodness?

The reason I ask is a conversation I have been having with Creative Kerfuffle who I have recently become bliends with (blog friends). As an aside, I tried to go the other way (friends from blogging), but to say I became frogs with her sounds dumb.

Well, a few days ago she made a comment in a post about not having any Christmas penguins. I had to get to the bottom of it, so being the bliend that I am, I asked her about that in a comment. That comment prompted her to write an entire post about why penguins are not appropriate at Christmas. While I was digesting her points and deciding my rebuttal (if need be), I decided to change the table decor from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

At the same time the high school kid brought me a giant soda from Sonic. I was sipping soda while opening the bag that contained my purchases (I bought them a month ago and had forgotten what I decided on). I pulled out the first napkin and snorted soda out of my nose. So gross, but totally worth it.

Here is my new Christmas table set up from "far" away...

And one spot:

So you can see where I stand on the whole penguin/harbor seal/polar bears as potential buddies even with the admitted geography issue. I even take this one giant step farther...I find all kinds of creatures to be appropriate fodder for Christmas decor...

Creatures from the North:

Creatures from the South (of here, at least):

Creatures from Texas:

And, even creatures from the deep, blue sea:

So, where do you stand on Christmas creatures? Are you a Christmas purist and believe that we should stick to North Pole inhabitants?

OR are you more like me, trying to break down the stereotypes of what creatures love Christmas, and making a free Christmas where all creatures of all poles, continents and blood temperature can celebrate in the open without fear of recrimination?

Join me, won't you?

And the Lego Gods Smiled Upon Him.....

Yesterday was a full, but decent day other than the afternoon meltdown over my student evaluations...I had to work late last night, and when I got home Mr. P had a fabulous dinner of sandwiches and Baked Lays set up on my special plate (a plastic plate in the shape of a crab). Oh, if you are wondering, I am not being facetious...I like sandwiches a lot. Especially when it gets dark early. I don't know.

Last night I also chatted a bit with my sister, and as we are getting ready to hang up, she says, "Oh, you are going to need to bring some cookies." We were supposed to be visiting my sister for the holidays, and due to lack of funds we are staying home. Anyway, on Sunday I was especially pouty about not going, and Mr. P made a very generous offer...for my Christmas, I get to go visit Steamboat and Tracy next weekend!!! I already have my ticket (well I got it about 20 minutes after he finalized the offer).

So anyway, Tracy knows how much it means to me for Steamboat and I to be tight, so she has started telling him that I will be visiting on the big plane, and we are going to make cookies. Well, he is now interpreting that as I am visiting and BRINGING cookies. So now I have a dilemma...what cookies would you pack to totally win over a 2 year old? I will have other prizes in my bag, I am not above buying the affections of this kid...I only have 2 days with him, so I have to get in the inner circle fast...then I can play and read and love and cuddle. Okay, while you are thinking of the perfect cookie, I have a few other tidbits...

The Lego Gods must have felt pity on poor Mr. P, because over the last two days he has gotten a fireman AND a tiny kitten caught in a tree. So cute (oh, I got a plastic leaf).

Also, on Sunday we got 'Walter' our Christmas tree. I love him. He is awesome. I need to tell the story of how the kiddos and I decorate, it is quite the wholesome family atmosphere you hope for when you have babies...but I will save that for my "traditions" post. Drumrollllllllllllllllllll, presenting Walter:

Last but not least...certainly not in her eyes, is my changing relationship with our damn cat. Frisky (our 6 year old named her) has now decided her and I are BFF. Anyway, this is the view from my FACE lately.

If she didn't purr so fucking incessantly I might enjoy the cuddle, but oh. my. god. And I can shoo her, put her outside, chase her upstairs, and she is just right back. There. Is it outside the realm of Christmas spirit to...ahh jeez. I was trying to decide what horrible, yet funny thing I wanted to do to her, and I turned my head to look at her purring annoying face, and she was asleep...

I am a sucker for sleeping cats. and sleeping dogs. and sleeping babies. and well, sleeping.

Monday, December 8, 2008

ugh. Now I wait...

Today was the last day of Fall semester here at large southeast university, and I gave out my course evaluations. I happen to teach a required course that students don't typically love, and actually if they had their druthers, would NOT take it. Students tend to lash out on student evaluations, and contrary to the faculty handbook, that is the ONLY way I am evaluated when it comes to teaching which is 40% of my job. So I am at the mercy of 33 twenty somethings...I hope I sufficiently dazzled them today.

Also, I don't even get the results of said evaluations for months, and the anxiety is killer. Plus, I haven't gotten mine back from the summer yet. Not very condusive to using the feedback, if you don't ever. get. the. feedback.

This is a part of my job that both frustrates and crushes me. Students have done so well on their professional exam (the part I am responsible for), and their employers talk about how awesome they are at the stuff I taught them, yet all I get evaluated on is whether they were more inclined to bubble in a 4 as opposed to a 3 today.

I am scared because these last two semesters are the last two that go in my tenure packet...and I have NO idea where I stand. UGH.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Maybe he is on to something

Yesterday afternoon Mr. P and I head out to do some Christmas browsing. I have to call it browsing and not shopping because did you know it is very hard to find age appropriate skate boarding toys, or even books about skateboarding that are not also about weed? My nephew is first on my list because I have to mail his gifts, and he is quite judgemental about my purchases, so I have to be careful.

Anyhow, we are looking at a gorgeous book about animals at BAM! (for those of you not hip to the lingo, that is the new logo for Books A Million). It is a bit pricey at $50, but it was so gorgeous, and I was telling Mr. P that is the type of book I want to thumb through with a little kid.

Ahhhh, look at those lionesses drinking that water...

Ewww, look at that alligator biting that water buffalo's head, yes, I am sure they are playing.

Ooooh, look at that ooey gooey octopus laying on that rock.

Okay, those are the comments I made to Mr. P while looking at the book, but I totally would say those things to a kid too. Then we head into the giant pet store chain thing and we look at every living creature in there, luckily they do NOT have puppies, or we were so jacked up on animal love we probably would have gotten one even though we both know better.

So, we are driving home and I decide to see if my sister has posted her Advent prize picture, and also check to see if I had comments, because, yes I check 4,287 times per day to see if anyone has left me a comment I can moderate. This gets us back on topic of our Advent troubles. At some point in the conversation he says something that settled it for me, "You are getting lots of animals, and I guess I am not." Yeah, probably. Not sure how many animals you find wandering around Lego City, even at Christmastime. I am not sure I can convey it in a blog very well, but we looked at every mouse, lizard, bird, turtle, fish and spider at the pet store. We looked through that animal book for a long time and only left because we knew the pet store was next. S0 his sadness at not getting any plastic animals was real, and you know what, I relate. The high school kid got an owl when I got some plastic leaves? and I was sad. I handled it a bit better than Mr. P, but I get where he is coming from.

So we get home and I finally open my box (I hadn't under protest, we are a very mature family), and to add insult to injury, look at my cool ass deer:

Compared to Mr. P's weird ice cream stand thing (that is 3 days worth, the little stand in the front is what he got yesterday):

While those Legos are cute, it really is no contest...that deer rocks. So this morning, I was messing around waiting for all of you to post, and decided to look to see if I had gotten any google hits over the last week. I had...wait for it..."what is day 6 in the lego city advent calendar supposed to be." I guess Mr. P was not the only sad Lego Adventer yesterday.

I know I have reported jerky stories about Mr. P, but I have to say, it is hard to stay mad at this face:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Are you kidding me?

So Mr. P and the high school kid arrive back safely from the drama tournament, where I was told that the kid "kicked ass", and Mr. P proceeds to opening his Advent calendar for today. His calendar THAT I BOUGHT HIM is Lego City. The first day he got a little dude with a turkey leg. Funny. The next day he got a weird barbecue grill. mmmkay. The 3rd he got a tiny coffee cup and "hot plate?". Then it started to go downhill for him. The next 3 days are the makings of an ice cream cart. So after he opens the last of the ice cream cart, he looks at me, and said...now brace yourself....

"What the hell did you buy me?"

Are you freaking kidding me? So I tell him, he is right, look at the gorgeous one he bought for me. So I fake looking around, and he says, "So, have you found it?"

Funny. He is a funny, funny guy. He did get up at 5:30 to drive our kid 2 hours to perform for 6 minutes...so I am trying very hard not to let the vein in my head pop out and splatter my blood all over the house before I keel over and die at his thoughtlessness.

I do have to giggle a bit...he saw me pull out the laptop, and we both know what that means.

ETA: He did apologize, and when I asked him what he wanted in lieu of an ice cream stand, he said, "Santa Claus." Well, if you are expecting Santa and you get an umbrella for an ice cream stand, I can understand being disappointed and perhaps lashing out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm all of out love

for Jon and Kate plus Eight.

I even went so far to delete the series from my "Season Pass" on my DVR. It. was. NOT. easy.

Well, literally it was very easy to do, you just hit 'delete series', but figuratively I am attached to my shows. You see, I suffer from Tivo Guilt. Yes, it is real. I thought I made it up, but the kid in college pointed me to this article on CNN.com (which means it is real, for sure). She knew I suffered from this affliction because over the Thanksgiving break I painstakingly watched everything I recorded, whether I even wanted to or not. I am compulsive about completing tasks, checking things off lists...after watching each show I can officially delete it from the "Now Playing" list. I can't delete without watching, it is like crossing something off a list that you didn't even do.

So why am I breaking up with Jon and Kate? They sold out. Now, would I sell out if I were given the opportunity? Hell yeah. So I am not judging them, I am just not going to watch them anymore. I liked watching them when they had to manage like regular people. Watching them manage with extra helpers and huge beach houses and no regular jobs that I can see is just not satisfying to me. Plus I was absurdly jealous that they got to go to Legoland's new aquarium before it even opened, and box seats at the Phillies game. Those kids don't even care about fish or baseball. Plus, maybe its just edited that way, but Kate is kind of a bitch. No coloring at the Crayola factory and God forbid her sister in law give the SIX CHILDREN she was babysitting gum lest it get on some socks.

So, to mask my misery I have been making out with Top Chef: New York. Oh, and just so you know, I am not missing Jon and Kate at all. But Aaden? I do miss watching the tiny professor.

ETA: So, WOW. I had never looked at the website for the Gosselin's, so I decided to take a look via Googling. Apparently there is a whole faction of people that are trying to get the show canceled due to the "exploitation" of the kids, and the "love offerings" that they continue to accept. Also, supposedly there was a fight that Kate didn't want Jodi (the sister in law) compensated when filmed at her house...ALL of this is heresay from the gosselinswithoutpity.blogspot.com. Apparently the Gosselin's are a hot topic in the blogosphere. Who knew?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pardon the Interruption

...but the kid in high school just came downstairs to borrow his father's clippers...apparently he went to the Hairport and it was closed, and the mall place wanted to charge $23 to cut his hair, and he was having NONE of that.

Now, I am all for being frugal, but the kid has his state drama tournament this weekend. He probably is going to want to look, well, not like he gave himself a haircut. I am not envisioning this turning out well. In fact I laughed pretty hard...right at him. My Mom of the Year trophy is being FedEx'ed as I type.

His response, "Thanks for having faith in me."

Yeah, babe. I have faith that this is not going to go well and it will be with great pleasure (and most assuredly giggles) that I hand you $23 plus tip to go get it fixed.

ETA: Well, sorry, but I blew it. With the incessant teasing during dinner, the kid hit Mr. P up for $10 to subsidize a mall haircut. He then heads to the mall, where he then called us at 8 pm saying all the stores IN THE MALL during Christmas selling season were shutting down or were already closed. When we asked why, he thought "cuz probably there was a fight or something". uhh? WHAT? Yeah, this is the kid that got a 32 and full scholarship to college. I don't know.

Thank you Blogosphere, and Good Night!

Check out my first blog award:

Bea, from This Wonderful, Crazy Life bestowed it upon me. Isn't it pretty?

However, like Miss America, this awards bears responsibility...

You must

1. Say one nice thing about a man in your life.

I was pretty hard on Mr. P this week, and while I remain strong on my stand for Advent Calendars, he has some redeeming qualities. Like for instance, whenever an iPhone commercial comes on, he pauses, checks out the Apps on said iPhone, and then spends 5 - 500 minutes making sure his iPhone matches. What? You don't see that as adorkable? Okay, he is a perfect mixture of mechanic, electrician, plumber, exterminator and artist. He can fix anything, remove varmin, and can paint a mean abstract. He loves me. I love him. Twenty years, baby!

2. List at least 6 ways that you measure (get it?) success in your life (or your blog):

- my kids. Do they have a good work ethic? Behave responsibly? Treat people well? My kids are 19 and 17, so their happiness is important, but it lies more in their hands, and less in mine these days.

- my students. Are they responding to me?

- savings. If I manage to keep money in savings, them I am doing a decent job of keeping within a decent budget. ETA: I might need a thesaurus.

- hours of television on my DVR. Weird? The more hours of tv on my DVR, the more time I am spending doing NON television activities.

- Google hits related to my research. I have to get a "national reputation" for my research in order to get tenure. I have 5 years to do it (I am in my 5th year). Lately, if you google my name the hits are moving more towards my research agenda, and less towards my students calling me out on ratemyprofessor.com

-amount of dirty laundry. The more laundry, the lazier I have been about keeping up with the little bit of housework that I have to do. Right now I am so far behind...I even opened the dryer this morning, then closed it again and walked away.

3. Assign this award to 6 other bloggers, and leave them a comment telling the blogger you've assigned them this award.

With the power vested in me by Bea, and the blogosphere, I hereby award this to two lovely ladies I met in November via NaBloPoMo:

--V from Juggling Scarves

Marmite Breath from Marmite Breath Slept Here

4. Wear a tiara and sash to two local establishments to promote this prestigious award. I am going to Sam's and Olive Garden.

Okay, you got me. I made that last one up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Season of Advent

Since I blasphemed in my rage against the machine (well, Mr. P), I decided I would look up Advent to see if it really is supposed to be about plastic birds or maybe something about Jesus. Not really about plastic birds...I sort of guessed that. Symbolically it marks the time that the Hebrews awaited their Messiah, and also represents the time that Christians are currently awaiting the second coming of Christ. Apparently, it is NOT tiny presents that will tide one over until the day of many presents. In more recent times (still forever ago though) the Lutherans in ye olde Germany would physically mark the days until Christmas, with say chalk lines on their doors, one per day, not unlike the construction paper chains my kids made to represent the "sleeps" until Christmas.

While I am not religious, I like more than just the secular stuff...don't get me wrong, I love presents, cookies, decorations, lights, sparkles, egg nog...am I missing anything? But I also feel more spiritual during the holidays, and have been known to attend a mass or two.

Religion has been on my mind quite a bit over the last few days, specifically because of some conversations I have had with my graduate students. They are also taking an ethics class and they had an "open mic" class period...one of my students made a comment that he didn't think you could separate religion and ethics. I disagree...I believe that morals and ethics are closely tied, and for some people, morals stem from religion, but I don't think that is true for everyone. I even made the argument, that if people are atheist and are moral for NO reason, doesn't that make them "better" than people who are good because they fear the wrath of God? (Okay, maybe wrath of God is a bit of overkill, but subtlety was never my strong suit.)

Anyways, that got me thinking about God, and horrific things happening to people. Why would God let babies die? Hurricane Katrina? 9/11?

Then I read something, and I wish I could remember where so can I reread it and make sure I am not taking it out of context. It was something along the line of God not only setting the conditions for life, but also abiding by those conditions, even when they suck. For example, weather keeps the Earth inhabitable, but sometimes, under the right circumstances, hurricanes are formed, and even when devastating, God does not interfere. For me, this helps to reconcile my scientific knowledge with that of an all poweful God, which has always been a big hangup of mine when it comes to religion (oh, and the super religious who act like complete assholes at work).

So, where does that leave us? First, I think I am closer to believing more completely in God, AND I am three days closer to the day with all the presents, and will be biding my time with three plastic birds, two plastic trees, and one plastic bird feeder thing.

Just one word...

This is my first ever "tagging", and it is making me feel foolishly giddy. Like getting my name called out first in Red Rover, Red Rover. ETA: I got tagged by the delightful, Bea, from
This Wonderful, Crazy Life.

Where is your mobile phone? nightstand
Where is your significant other? truck
Your hair color? brown
Your mother? wine
Your father? beer
Your favorite thing? kiddos (not that my kids aren't right up there, but when I typed over Bea's "daughters", it kind of felt creepy to type iPhone, or Tivo)
Your dream last night? tornado
Your dream goal? tenure
The room you're in? chilly
Your hobby? TV
Your fear? fire
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Full (professor)
Where were you last night? bed
What you're not? skinny
One of your wish list items? pool
Where you grew up? everywhere
The last thing you did? shoes
What are you wearing? jeans
Your tv? on
Your computer? Dell
Your mood? stressed
Missing someone? Steamboat
Your car? crappy
Something you're not wearing? dress
Favorite shop? Amazon
Your summer? HOT
Love someone? many
Favorite color? luckily
When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
When is the last time you cried? Sunday

Here is where my blog insecurities lie...I am too scared to tag someone (my sister was already tagged) lest they think I am lame. Which is weird, since I LOVED being tagged.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Redemption, Recession, and Randomy

Redemption: I got my favorite dinner served to me, whilst watching my favorite show, followed by an hour and a half back rub, until I finally had to take some medicine and go to bed. At least for now I feel like I can keep my plastic tree and teensy tinsy plastic bird out of Mr. P's colon. (By the way my Advent calendar is from Playmobil and is Christmas in the Forest, I am absurdly excited about tiny, plastic woodland creatures.)

Recession: So, we are officially in a recession, and have been for a year. I don't really have much to say about that, but I liked the extra R's worth of alliteration in the blog title.

Randomy: Today is the anniversary of my first "outing" with Mr. P. 20 years. Almost only made it 19 years and 364 days...but see Redemption above. I am not quite 40, so over half. my. life.

A week or so ago my sister had a post about her pretend boyfriends, which prompted me to post about my pretend boyfriends. Then said sister posted about her Christmas tree and called the post Scratch N Sniff. Then I was reading my People magazine and one of my pretend boyfriends was highlighted...as a SCRATCH and SNIFF. No kidding. FYI, Christopher Meloni smells like the beach. It's like the bloggy circle of life, no?

Monday, December 1, 2008

3 Days Down.

Did you know that Christmas is in 24 days, which is 3 1/2 weeks away?

Being out of commission the last three days has put a serious kabash on my Christmas preparations...the only thing we have are the Advent calendars I bought in SEPTEMBER. When I was telling Mr. P that there was some prep work involved in getting them ready, he asked me, "So, did you buy yourself one?"

Yeah, jackass, I did.

Maybe because I am feeling better enough to go to work, but not really better, better, but I am feeling very upset with Mr. P. I am in a rut where I feel like he is taking advantage of me, and not in a good way.

He quit smoking in January and I made a huge freaking deal out of it and he milked it for attention AND presents. In August he started smoking again on the stealth, which meant he hid it. Occassionally I wouldn't be able to find him, which drives me bat shit, and it would be because he was smoking. Now, since I know he is smoking again, he just smokes whenever he feels like it, and there has been FIVE times over the weekend where I needed him for something, and I couldn't find him. Twice I needed his immediate assistance, and luckily a kid was there to help.

On birthdays, Valentine's Day, whenever it is an occassion where I should reasonably expect a card or present, I know he will be late from work, because GOD FORBID he plan ahead.

I KNOW the holidays should not just be about presents. I get it. I am nearly 40 years old. But there have only been TWO Christmases out of twenty where he has planned and surprised me. But I have surprised him every. single. one. Believe me, after the first 5, I quit trying to have him "read my mind".

I guess my feelings are hurt because in September I told him I bought him and the kids Advent Calendars, and he was even brazen enough to ask if I had gotten him a Lego one. I had.

I figured then he had 2 MONTHS to buy or make me one. But guess what I got when I pulled them out and gave him his. Lego. one?

"So, did you buy yourself one?"


ETA: I decided that I shouldn't play the passive-aggressive victim and I should just tell Mr. P that I am upset AFTER he asks me if I opened my first box on the calendar in such a way that I feel like he is taking credit for getting me the calendar, even though he just put it together.

Me: I am upset.
Mr. P: Why?
Me: I told you about the calendars in September, right?
Mr. P: Yeah.
Me: Then last night when I give them to you to set up, you ask if I bought myself one.
Mr. P: Yeah.
Me: What if I hadn't?
Mr. P: Eyeroll, and walk away.

I can feel myself losing my shit right now. Oh, and I know I am irrational and am blowing a fucking Advent calendar (sorry, Jesus) way out of proportion but I decided that ranting on this blog is better than driving to his office and shoving the plastic tree that I got for December 1 right up his ass.
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