Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bah, humbug?

I have a cousin who always wants her blog to be a place of encouragement and light.

This ain't that blog, at least not today.

Bear with me a minute, folks - this post is going to be a little rough.

I'm having a really, really tough time getting into the "Christmas spirit."

(Hey, remember me? I'm the girl who was "ready" for the holidays just a few days ago! Wasn't expecting a blue funk to get in the way, unfortunately.)

It's shameful, really, that I'm letting the concerns of my everyday life intrude upon what should be a joyful celebration of my Savior's birth, but that's what I'm in danger of doing.

I should be good to go - thanks to Sam's Club (and their small army of Chinese workers) my tree looks fabulous this year. And I got to hit a couple of Black Friday sales yesterday, before work, and I got Anna Marie a new coat (which she badly needed, and has already gotten) and a couple pair of pajamas (which she also badly needed, and which she also has already gotten one pair) and a couple of Webkinz (buy one, get one free!)

And tomorrow, Jason and I get to help the preschoolers at church learn their Christmas carols, and attempt to figure out the handbells, so they can perform in front of an adoring congregation.

And my gracious, in the past three days, I've watched TWO Home Alone movies, and The Santa Clause, AND I'm currently watching Elf.

(Oh my goodness - it's the scene at dinner, where he just downed an entire two-liter of Coke, and is about to drown his spaghetti in maple syrup! Wohoo!)

But, before we get to Christmas, there's just so much stuff. There's our town's Christmas parade on Monday, and Anna Marie is supposed to march with her dance school, but guess what - her cough is back! And lest you think that I can just keep her home, oh no - if I'm not in the parade, I have to cover the parade, and although it's been in the mid-50's for the past two weeks, the temperature promises to drop to about 30 just in time for the parade to start.

Yeah, my camera usually freezes at some point during the night.

(Monday night, when I have a meeting straight after work, and then the parade, and God only knows when I'll get back home.)

Tuesday night, I've been asked to sing at our church's Women's Ministry banquet, which is a HUGE honor for me, but also a HUGE stress, because it's what, three days away, and I have no song! Guess where I'll be tomorrow night while Anna Marie is practicing for her Christmas musical - at the Christian bookstore, looking for a soundtrack.

(Tuesday night, which is also the night of one of my meetings, which means I'll be nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs waiting for the meeting to be over so I can drive to church.)

And, someone very close to me got a call today that, unless they came up with a mortgage payment by 2 p.m., their home was going into foreclosure today. Merry Christmas to you, too, mortgage company!

(And lest you think this was part of the whole sub-prime mortgage mess, it wasn't - it's more of a health-related inability to work.)

While these folks probably won't be out on the street by December 25, it does certainly put a damper on any celebrating that was going to be done.

There is a good bit of drama going on in my family (no, not Jason and Anna Marie - he's always afraid folks will think I'm talking about him) and drama, if you didn't already know, always seems to complicate the holidays.

I guess I'm either depressed, or real close to it, because I've been eating everything in sight today - and it's not even anywhere near time for my "friend" to visit.

I feel like such a putz, complaining to y'all when there are so many others out there who are worse off than I am. I told you this entry was going to be rough, and I'm trying to count my blessings instead of focusing on what is wrong.

(Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah - it was our pastor's sermon last weekend.)

Sorry about being a gloomy Gus tonight, folks - just keepin' it real.

And, like everything else we go through, I just have to believe that this, too, shall pass.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

All she wants for Thanksgiving

Is her two front teeth.

And maybe some pie.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let's make this Christmas mean something this year

Why yes, I HAVE started listening to my James Brown Funky Christmas already, before Thanksgiving even arrives!

(That album, by the way, was one of the best purchases of holiday music I've ever made, which is saying a lot, because I have purchased a lot of holiday music in my time.)

By the time the actual Thanksgiving gets here, it will be the third such dinner this week - and that's only if Jason doesn't bring home leftovers from the auction dinner on Tuesday, for us to have on Tuesday night.

(Not that I'd complain about that, mind you. The foodservice he uses makes a mean dressing.)

Last night, we had our church's Evening with the Turkeys - and I laughed so hard, and so often, that my face was sore by the time it was all said and done. But Anna Marie? Not so much! I guess most of the humor was over the head of a seven-year-old, because on the way home she gave me her list of ingredients for a funny skit:

1. Someone falling down.

2. Said person getting bandaged.

3. And having rocks in their mouth.

4. And pretending to swim.

A tall order, yes, but apparently guaranteed to make even the most dour-faced elementary school student laugh her tail off.

She was sitting with friends, not with us, and as we were leaving she said (VERY loudly!) "I didn't laugh the whole time!"

Apparently, the sight of our pastoral staff in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? mode was funny, but not quite funny enough to get her to laugh. But, if one of them had fallen down, well then, Katie bar the door, she's going to guffaw until next week.

Our office will be celebrating our Thanksgiving dinner today, in about an hour or so. It's catered by a local shop, and it's one of the best spreads this side of the Mississippi - or the other side, for that matter.

I still have no idea what we're doing on Thursday, except that Jason finally told his mom that we weren't coming to Georgia this year.

(Yeah, he's a last minute guy like that. He waited until the invitations were nearly printed to tell her that we were getting married at my church, in Mississippi, and not at her church, in South Carolina. Her reaction? "You're paying for it. You can do whatever you want.")

(Insert slightly disgusted look here, by the way.)

But, I was wondering - do multiple Thanksgiving dinners take all the meaning out of Thursday? Back when I was a kid, it doesn't seem like we did this much celebrating - but we've already eaten it once, last night at church, and I'll do it again today, and Jason will have some tomorrow at work, and then comes Thursday.

By the time the real holiday rolls around, I may just be in the mood for a hamburger!

Oh, nevermind - I forget, I'm married to the man who wanted turkey and dressing for our rehearsal dinner - and we were married in July.

Gobble, gobble, y'all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

So, apparently the last three weeks have been some sort of fluke.

Because I lost two pounds this week.

146 is my current weight, or 91 pounds total lost.

No weigh-in next week, as I will be joining the rest of the country in our sacred national tradition of stuffing my face with everything in front of me.

(I kid! I kid! Only half of the stuff in front of me! Portion control!)

The scary part is - I have THREE Thanksgiving dinners this week, and this is just the beginning of the "serious eating" season.

Heaven help us all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's product review time!

While I haven't quite delved into the lucrative world of paid endorsements (blast you, David Beckham), I can give my unqualified opinion from time to time.

And this, gentle reader, is one of those times.

A few weeks ago, there arrived in my mailbox (and in the mailbox of my office) some coupons from McDonald's for their new line of McCafe coffees. I'd heard their java was right up there with Starbucks, and, having no Starbucks anywhere around, had considered trying it out.

The word FREE written on some of the coupons was just the thrust I needed to try them out.

(Note to companies - giving away something FREE, especially when requiring no additional purchase, is an EXCELLENT way to get broke folks such as myself to try your product.)

Since my area has finally decided that winter is here, and the heat isn't working in either my car or my house (and the temperature in my office is a bit too chilly sometimes as well) I went in for a cuppa yesterday.

A cuppa non-fat, sugar-free-vanilla latte.


It was good.

So good, in fact, that I had every intention of using another free coupon this morning - only, I spent that time searching the bottomless pit of a hall closet for my scarf and the hat Amanda bequeathed to me a couple years ago.

I haven't figured out a way to get back over there yet, but I will, make no mistake!

I highly recommend these coffees, especially since an automatic machine makes them and that leaves very little room for "operator error" on the part of the employees.

I don't know how much their regular size costs, but it's got to be cheaper than the almost $4 I shelled out for one at Starbucks recently. That's the amount I usually spend on a whole meal!

They also have several non-sugar-free varieties, as well as whole milk, and if you like your coffee iced they'll do that too.

If only they'd work on their atmosphere a bit, they could give Starbucks a real run for their money!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm ready!

I'm ready for the holidays to be here!

Don't get me wrong - I haven't bought a turkey (HAHAHAHA! Like I'll even cook one! That's what Cracker Barrel is for!) or baked a pie, or truth be told, even cleaned off my dining room table.

I'm ready for it to be the holidays. I spent part of Saturday at our town's Christmas Open House, and now I want to put up my tree! I've got so many new ideas (not to mention a big container of brand new ornaments) that I want to try out.

No, I haven't bought a single present, but I'm ready for Christmas.

And I'm ready for it to be Thanksgiving, too. Not ready in the "got all the ingredients for my world-famous stuffing" (HAHAHAHA again!) sense but ready in the "I watched Food Network this weekend and I'm ready for some turkey and dressing" sense.

That kind of ready.

I'm ready for next Sunday night, when we'll have dinner and lots of funny skits at the Evening with the Turkeys. I'm ready to bake a dessert, and fix a side dish, and (if last year's reports are to be believed) laugh until my stomach hurts.

(Hey! It's cardio!)

I'm ready for the following Tuesday, when I'll chaperon Anna Marie's trip to the Pink Palace Museum, where they have the Festival of Trees and the Enchanted Forest.

(On that note, I'll have to take plenty of pictures - that Enchanted Forest is exactly the same now as it was when I was a kid, and my parents took me to see it. It's so cheesy, it's wonderful!)

And how could I forget, I'm ready for our annual Thanksgiving dinner here at the office, with food catered by a local restaurant, and a few minutes' break from the work-a-day world.

I feel like SpongeBob Squarepants, as he stands by his mailbox repeating "I'm ready! I'm ready!" over and over again.

I may regret saying this in another week - but I'm ready for it to be the holidays!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Official "Thursday" Weigh-In

Oh, dear.

This doesn't look good.

After getting to an all-time low weight of 146.5 a few weeks ago, I have now lost ground and regained weight.

148 is what I weigh this week, up a pound and a half. I almost didn't go weigh in last night (how many times have I said that?) because of the bad day I'd been having, but I did, and I owned up to it, and I'm moving on.

And today is Jason's birthday, and I have no idea what he wants for dinner because all he's given me is his usual "uh um uh."

(Sorry - I don't know the onomatopoeia for the shoulder shrug and mumbled "I don't know" that I get as the answer to EVERY SINGLE QUESTION I EVER ASK HIM.)


So - hopefully both Anna Marie (who got on red again yesterday!) and I will have better days ahead of us.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


That's how I feel right now.

This has been a very frustrating day so far.

I started out frustrated, because of some comments made by someone I was having dinner with last night. The comments were ignorant, and hateful, and concerned our new president-elect.

I will go ahead and admit, I did not vote for him. But, I am not as "devastated" as I have heard some folks describe themselves. I am at peace with the outcome of the election. And, my reasons for not voting for him had nothing whatsoever to do with the color of his skin, or whether or not he is a "secret Muslim." I understand, though, that scripture teaches that those who are in authority are put there by God, and that we have a responsibility to pray for them.

I will also admit that I have not prayed for our current President nearly enough, and that is a situation I intend to rectify immediately.

Also, I am frustrated because my very best friend in the world is going through a very difficult time, and while I can comfort her with my words, there is nothing I can do to take away the pain she is feeling. Time will mend it, I know because I've been there, but that knowledge does little at present to fill the emptiness she's experiencing.

And now, my own Darling Daughter has misbehaved so badly that I just got a phone call from her teacher. And I'm frustrated, because, like her teacher, we've tried everything we know to get her to see the importance of following the rules. We've talked to her about how it helps everyone learn better, and makes the teacher's day better, and just generally makes things run smoother.

We've set consequences in place for not following the rules, in addition to the ones that are set in place at school, and have followed through with those consequences.

And yet, here we are, with her having gotten into as much trouble as she possibly can without a trip to the principal's office. And here I am, racking my brain to think what else can be done to get through her thick red head.

(And seriously, I wasn't sure if the teacher was listening on the other end, so I didn't want to tell her that I was going to beat the fire out of her when she got home.)

(I kid! I kid! I'd only half beat the fire out of her. Maybe 3/4.)

Jason and I have a game plan for the evening, including the ever-popular "Come to Jesus Meeting" of which I am a big fan.

(Also including locking her Game Boys up in our lock box. No, I'm not kidding about that one.)

I'm about to leave to get her from school. On the phone, I told her she'd better not make a SINGLE SOUND the rest of the day. Unfortunately, there's only so much of the fear of God I could put into her on the phone, but fortunately, I can do a pretty good job when I get her in the car.

And fortunately, tomorrow is another day, for politics, and my precious friend, and my smart-yet-talkative daughter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Well then. I've been having a scary amount of success in the past few days getting things accomplished.

I almost hesitate to report on my recent successes, for fear of the dreaded "jinx."

Saturday, for instance, went well. I did drop Anna Marie off (after successfully getting her hair into a bun!) and drive to Starbucks. I did pay for a cup of coffee what I'd normally spend on an entire meal, and I did spend an hour in there reading my book.

And then, my attention span did wane just a bit, so I went to Sam's to pick up our prints.

I was going to drive home after the show and cook dinner (read: OPEN A CAN OF SOUP) for the two of us since Jason was working, but I thought better of it and took her to Red Lobster instead. She's been asking to go (she hasn't been in nearly two years) and I figured it would be cheaper to buy one adult and one kid meal than for all three of us to go.

(I was right, but it was still more than I was comfortable spending for two people to eat.)

Sunday went well, too, despite the fact that I realized shortly before service started that I'd forgotten our towels. Luckily, I ran into the pastor's wife with a panicked look on my face in the hallway, and luckily, her daughter was being baptized too, and luckily, the pastor's study has a shower so they keep a few towels around.

Anna Marie was third out of a dozen folks getting dunked, and you could hear her before you could see her. Apparently, as I was running around like a crazy woman looking for towels, she was asking the children's pastor (who was giving everyone the run-down of the morning's goings-on) if the water would be warm.

"Yes, it will be warm," he said.

"Will it be hot?" she asked.

"No, but it'll be comfortable."

As she (and I) were stepping into the tank, she can be heard to say, "Oooh. It is warm!"

She started holding her nose and closing her eyes (I was holding the glasses) as soon as she got in, and she was so relaxed that her legs kept floating up to the top while the children's pastor was trying to talk to her!

We got a DVD, but I haven't gotten it ripped to a computer so I can show you guys yet.

Yesterday, I did come to work for a couple of hours (because I had a meeting to cover) and then I did go home, change into sweats, and curl up in bed to read some more.

And then Jason came home, and we ate lunch, and I finally finished my book - The Cat Who Robbed a Bank.

I'd been wanting to read this series for a while, and I think I'm going back for more. The main character in this book had the kind of life I'd like to have in a different life - he's independently wealthy because his mom's best friend left him a load of money. He lives in an old barn in a quaint little town "400 miles north of everywhere." He writes a column for the local paper a couple times a week. And he has two Siamese cats who help him solve crimes!

In my estimation, his life is just about perfect.

(Not that mine isn't, mind you, but sometimes I just get a little too caught up in the books I read!)

So, here's to celebrating success, and not jinxing it, and to getting all the important stuff done.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Making plans

Good Saturday morning to you all, Bloglanders!

I hope yours is peaceful and productive.

I'm catching up on my blog reading (on which I was WOEFULLY behind), and drinking coffee, and watching the second season of Picket Fences on (hooray that they finally loaded another season!). Multitasking!

Anna Marie has a Nutcracker performance today. This year, as a first grader, she gets to be a soldier - a good guy! I won't get to see today's show, though, because none of the rest of my family can come so we're going to her next performance on November 16.

(That is, IF we can ever get our rears in gear and buy our tickets! Ooops!)

After I drop her off, I'm going to pick up some pictures that Amanda took yesterday and put in at Sam's for developing, and look something like this:

And then, I'm going to go to Starbucks! And I'm taking a book to read! And I'm going to order some coffee and read my book and pass the time until it's time to pick Anna Marie back up from the theater.

And then, we'll be on our own tonight because Peansaps Catering has a job, and I have NOT volunteered to help - I figure that Anna Marie will be pretty exhausted by the time she finishes the ballet, and we'll just come home and watch movies and veg out.

And then, tomorrow (if nothing rips, breaks, or tears) Anna Marie will be getting baptized! As a parent, there is no greater joy than seeing your child progress in their relationship with God. She's been asking about getting baptized for a while, and tomorrow we're having a baptismal service, so tomorrow is the day.

And I get to go into the pool with her, which I think will help her nerves a great deal.

(That, by the way, is what I meant by "rips, breaks, or tears." I think she'll be fine, although a little nervous about getting up in front of the whole congregation.)

In a few minutes I'll have to get my shower done, so that I can get Anna Marie's shower done, so that I can finagle a way to put her hair in a bun. A bun! Aaaah!

Have a great day, everyone - and I hope that all your plans for today go well.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

First off, let me apologize that I haven't really been the best at making the bloggy-rounds this week. Between my normal first-week meetings, and this election (which, in my county, is ending in a runoff for some offices, God help us all), colliding with my second week of having to do a special edition - well, I'm just all tapped out.

Apparently, though, my fat isn't tapped out, because some of it is still there - I stayed the same this week, holding steady at 146.5 for the third week in a row.


And about that election - I've stayed away from politics here, other than to urge you to go to the polls, because quite frankly I have to deal with it in my everyday life and sometimes I just get sick of hearing it. And I'll not comment on the outcome of the presidential race, other than to say that I'm rather ashamed - not that we elected who we did, but that it took such a polarizing race to get everyone to vote. In my county, we had something like 70% turnout, which is probably a low estimate, because there are probably a good number of dead/relocated voters still on the rolls.

NO WHERE in the "rulebook" does it say that we need to vote just when we really like one candidate, or really don't like another. It shouldn't take the prospect of making history to get us to the polls - because in reality, we make history every time we cast our vote.

So let that be a lesson to all of you who rarely cast a ballot (which I know is NONE of my readers, because you're all bright and civic minded folks). You can make a difference, even if your candidate doesn't win. Yours will at least be one less vote that he/she lost by, and you will still have let your voice be heard. And the next time there is an election in your city, state, or county, don't sit back and think that it isn't important - because EVERY time we exercise our duty as citizens, it IS important.

(Ok. Getting off my soapbox now. Will see you all tomorrow!)

Monday, November 03, 2008

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

A.K.A. if I'd just post these things every day or so, you wouldn't have to take a day off work to read them.

Wonder what I was up to last week (other than not losing any weight?)

There was much baking and decorating to be had:

These were done during It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! Anna Marie was supposed to be "helping," and I guess she did, if by "helping" you mean "putting sprinkles on the three cookies destined for her mouth."

(And yes, I had one(ish). It's a slippery slope, and the next thing you know, you haven't lost any weight for the week.)

But how can you possibly be sad at the number on the scale, when you have these precious pumpkins smiling back at you?

Orange-tinted cupcakes + chocolate frosting + pumpkin PEEPS = happy first graders at their Halloween party.

And, inspired by my too-cute-for-words friend Brooke (who spelled out her infant daughter's name in pumpkins last year - good thing it's "AVA" and not "GERTRUDE" because that would be an awful lot of pumpkins) I did this on my lunch break on last Monday.

Yay for Sharpies and tracing letters printed off the computer!

That picture (as well as the cookie picture) were on my camera, and it's taken me this long to find the adapter for my microSD card so I could upload them. While I was there, I also found these gems:

You didn't know Jason was a famous animal wrangler, did you? This was at a Sears appliance store back in the spring, while we were in the Jeep waiting for my dad to buy a grill (and we somehow walked out with a new lawnmower for ourselves). The duck came right up to him, and he fed it Teddy Grahams out of my mom's purse.

He reprised his role on Mother's Day, when a snapping turtle found itself snared in Anna Marie's soccer goal.

And yes, that is Jason fussing at the turtle. It had tried to reach it's long neck around and bite him, when all he was trying to do was free it.

(Don't tell PETA, but he actually hit the turtle on the shell. I'm sure the turtle didn't feel a thing.)

And finally, here are our Halloween pictures. Anna Marie staged a bit of a mutiny after I got home from work on Friday (and a mere HOUR before the festival at my mom's church started) and refused to wear the Indian dress she'd successfully worn at both her dance class and as a Warrior (the school's mascot) on Warrior Day. We finally compromised on Biker Chick, and she even designed two tattoos (using her Magnadoodle) for me to draw on her arms.

(I don't know what that one is supposed to be. I just copied what she drew - and the words say "COOL KIDS CLUB.")

All tats were approved by this guy, my brother, a.k.a. The Man Who Look Like He Fell Through A Tackle Box And A Vat Of Ink Pens.

(Yes, that's a costume, folks. He's not NEARLY so redneck in real life. Who knew that a fake rat-tail could look so real?)

I hope everyone has recovered from their sugar comas, and is ready, willing, and able to get out and do their civic duty tomorrow!