December 30, 2010

Christmas, Part 1: Waterpark! Family! Christmas!

Since T and I have been together, we've had a few Christmas traditions with my side of the family:
  1. The weekend before Christmas, either Friday or Saturday, T and I spend the day with my parents and my brother (and now his wife and daughter), exchanging gifts and eating nothing but appetizers. It's both low-key and lovely.

  2. The following day, we drive up that way again to celebrate with my extended family: Grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins and now the cousins' gaggle of children. Big dinner, presents, games and talking afterward, a fire in the fireplace. Chaotic, millions of kids underfoot -- but lovely.
A few weeks before Thanksgiving, my mom called us at home. T answered, then quickly brought the phone to me on speaker.

"Dad and I were thinking: This year, instead of getting together with the whole extended family at our house, we would take everyone to an indoor water park!"

Silence. A moment passed. Neither Tommy nor I said a word, but we both looked at each other with our noses wrinkled. Um. What?

Doing our best to be supportive, we said, "O...K." And we found someone to stay with the dogs so we could spend an entire day celebrating Christmas...at a water park.

Now, before you start in with your "Ooh, water park! I would LOVE to do that with my family for the holidays!! Why the wrinkled noses?" let me say: I hear you. I know you water park enthusiasts are out there. We are just not part of your ranks. We are not water park people in the BEST of circumstances, and now we're going to celebrate CHRISTMAS there? In our bathing suits?!

Ahem.

The weekend before Christmas, T and I left the dogs in the capable hands of our neighbor and schlepped the hour and a half to Huron, Ohio. Which is, frankly, a completely unlikely place to have a water park, I think. And an entirely unlikely place to find the biggest water park I have ever seen in my entire life. As we rounded the corner into the Kalahari complex, our jaws dropped and the only word we said for five minutes was "...whoa."

"Huge" doesn't even begin to describe it. "Monstrosity" is getting a little bit closer. "Seven football stadiums stacked end to end" is probably more like it.

We managed (barely) to navigate through the enormous complex to our hotel and found the rest of the fam in one of three humongous suites my parents had rented for the night. (This was their Christmas gift to everyone.) Again: Insanely huge. And there sat my grandma, in her best Christmas sweater, surrounded by all the Christmas candy and popcorn balls she'd made for the occasion. In that moment, I found all of these things extremely comforting -- a little shot of something familiar in this anything-but environment.

Everyone started to arrive, and as usual, things...didn't get loud. See, half of my extended family is deaf. But in place of the usual din of a family gathering, we have even more hugging, signing and animated storytelling than your average clan. It all balances out.

And kids. Holy goodness and light, did we have kids. In addition to my niece, my aunt and uncle have four, my cousin S has three (including a be-dimpled six-month-old cherub named Gavin) and my cousin J has SIX, five of whom were present and roaming around everywhere, already trying to escape to the henceforth-forbidden balcony.

In the confusion J's second-youngest, Jaylen, ran to each person in the room and excitedly told them (in words and in sign language) that there was a BABY in the room, did everyone know this?! She immediately appointed herself guardian of young Gavin:



As said kids were starting to get antsy -- I mean, we're at a water park; let's get this swimming train out of the station! -- my dad disappeared for a moment, then reappeared with a huge box in tow, practically skipping with delight.

"As everyone can see, this place is really big," he understatement-ed as my aunt translated. "So I got us all a little something to help us find each other in this giant mix of people."




Oh, yes we did.

(As my brother so lovingly put it in a text he sent me surreptitiously: "OMG. We are those people I used to throw things at.")

So, yes. We all trekked, as one large, bright-red, frolicking group, down to the indoor water park. It was not at all embarrassing. (People seemed to like our shirts, actually.)

The indoor water park? One enormous room, about 90 degrees, humid and full of wet people. It did not smell...good. T had decided not to swim (party pooper!), but we didn't want to leave the herd, so we hung out in the middle of the melee.

"You're not swimming?" one of my cousins asked. When I responded in the negative, she handed me a frightened-looking one-year-old I had just met for the first time 10 minutes prior. "Here, can you hold Jazella while we swim?" she asked, ignoring my panicked look. Before I could protest, she had rocketed across the room to stand in line for a three-story-high water slide, and I was left with a terrified spider monkey clinging to my neck.

And so went the afternoon. Random confused children were assigned to me so their parents could go have fun. I love the little'uns, but...this was not what I'd signed up for.

At last, the parents came to retrieve their young, and my niece arrived, ready to take on the Lazy River with her Aunt Shan. Hooray! Something I actually wanted to do! :)

T and I eventually escaped the asylum and headed back to the sanctuary of the main suite, where we had a lovely (non-bathing-suited) time talking to my aunt and grandparents and putting a hurt on the Christmas candy.

Around 7, everyone returned. Pizza was ordered and eaten, gifts were distributed and all of a sudden, just like that, here it was: The Christmas I'd been mourning all day. Everyone in one room, talking and laughing and signing, eating and playing, hugging and napping.

And it was lovely.

December 28, 2010

Today's definition of heartbreak

Telling Bubba that, between the two of us, we've eaten all the Cheerios.

December 27, 2010

How to make Christmas dinner, Written Permission-style

  1. Buy a ham, making sure it is both A) fully cooked and B) NOT sweetened with honey, brown sugar or any other manner of sweetener, so it is actually consumed and not ridiculed by Mr. WP.
  2. Throw ham in the oven. If there are no directions on the label, guess. (It's fully cooked already; what could go wrong?)
  3. Make versions of your favorite side dishes that require almost zero cooking prep or time. In fact, if you can throw it in the microwave and call it a day, you're on the right track.
  4. Take ham out of the oven, pronounce it "done" with absolutely no justification for doing so and toss it onto the table with your quickie side dishes.
  5. Stab ham with giant knife before serving, just because it looks cool.


  6. Mash on everything on the table, because while it might have only taken 15 minutes to make most of it, holy wow is it tasty.
  7. Eat ham sandwiches until March.

December 22, 2010

Happy birthday, Trophy Life!!


Today is a very special day.

Today, my friend M (aka Trophy Life) celebrates her very most marvelous birthday.

Let me tell you a little something about M. She is really, really funny. :) I first met her when I was a sophomore in college, and she was a visiting high school senior who slept in my loft bed. Even though she was a little high school student who was TOTALLY cramping my obviously cool college self (...), right away that girl made me laugh.

She still makes me laugh. A lot.

But she also amazes me daily. She's one of the strongest, hardest-working, fiercely loyal and caring people I've ever met. The girl is dedicated and has one of the most amazing attitudes I've ever encountered. It's been a tough year, and you know? She has come through it stronger than ever. Still hard-working and loyal and caring and compassionate, and still AMAZING.

Still gorgeous. Still smiling. Still making everyone around her laugh.

M, I cannot wait to see what the next year brings for you. It's going to be simply wonderful, I just know it. I feel incredibly privileged to call you my friend, and I hope today is fabulous.

I love you to pieces. :) Happy birthday!

December 21, 2010

Late edition: To make it up to you...

I'll be honest, friends: My day job, the holidays, the pups -- it's all kind of kicking my butt right now.

How my brain looks on the inside:


A very wise friend of mine (cough, TwoPretzels, cough) told me recently to cut myself some slack. So that's what I'm doing. Or trying to do. (Love you, Ky.)

Unfortunately, that means posting on this here blog is going to be extremely sparse for at least the next week. For that I am most apologetic; I hate to think I'm depriving you of more chapters in the scintillating "Doodlefest" arena. But something has to give, and, sadly, this is one of those things.

To make it up to you, as the title of this post indicates, please accept this list of topics I WILL be writing about in the days shortly following the holidays:
  1. A very furry birthday celebration
  2. Waterpark! Family! Christmas! (Matching shirts? Oh, yes we did.)
  3. Why I am a knitting extraordinare (or maybe just a master of personal marketing)
  4. Poo: A conundrum
  5. Cooking update: The one thing I can make well these days
  6. 20 reasons my dad is the coolest (it's almost his birthday!)
  7. Things That Make Me Happy (in Pictures) -- a series
  8. Classic WP: Jumping outta planes
  9. My most-treasured possessions
  10. The one where I finally tell the garlic story, just for Anna
  11. New editions of NBX
  12. The File of Love (please note that this has nothing to do with adult movies)
  13. And more! No, really!
Note: If there's anything you'd LIKE me to write about that you don't see on the list (or something on the list that you desperately DON'T want me to write about), please tell me about it in the comments.

In closing, I will kick off the Things That Make Me Happy (in Pictures) series with the following:


My Big Money pajama pants. My mother-in-law buys really strange gifts, but they are strangely AWESOME.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and (for me and a few of you) a big WOOHOO to the holidays being almost over! :)

For reals, though: Sending warm, fuzzy love to all of you today. Internet hug!

December 16, 2010

Thursday Doodlefest

Work is crazy-busy.

It's almost Christmas.

!!!

For some reason, I decided I needed to knit presents for several of my family members. (When did I think I'd have time for that, again?)

AND we have our first Christmas celebration of the season on Saturday. And it's...at a water park. (More on this later.)

In other words: Free time is just not something I have a lot of these days. And, sadly, writing lengthy, meaningful, thought-provoking blog posts is nearly last on my priority list.

(I'm sorry.)

Which is how we've ended up here: The Thursday Doodlefest.

I had some particularly grueling conference calls this week, and sometimes, you know, you just need to doodle to keep from falling asleep. (You know you do it, too.) In the absence of any other ideas for posts, please allow me to invite you to my GALLERY OF ART (in all-caps because it is THAT IMPORTANT).

Brief disclaimer: As will become immediately evident, I am a horrible artist. I choose to believe this makes my doodles extra charming.

***************************************


1. Goofy Face No. 1


Right away, there are a few troubling elements. What is the mood of this person? He/she is smiling, but the eyebrows are cocked like "I might be smiling ironically!" The nose and the chin, obviously. And maybe most worrisome: Where is the rest of his head? Is he just a face, floating in the ether? Yes. Yes he is.


2. The Flower


This is a mainstay of my doodling repertoire. Mostly because it's kind of hard to mess up a flower. For some reason I always draw them very vine-y and/or droopy, and I always, always, ALWAYS draw one of the petals larger than the others, which then necessitates the heavy outlining and "shading" you see here.

You officially have my permission to tattoo this on your ankle. Or your right boob. (The left boob is just trashy.)


3. The Portrait



On the right: Frankie the Frankenstein ring.

On the left: An artist's rendering of the aforementioned Frankie. Yes the proportions are amazingly incorrect. But I think the likeness is remarkable. At the very least, this is good enough for a missing person's report or something, should Frankie ever be ringnapped.


4. Goofy Face No. 2 (Now with more warts!)


As with the first face, you'll note the distinct absence of any outward facial definition. This is a profile shot, so obviously we've reached the Intermediate level of Goofy Face Drawing. Key skills to master: One giant eye (giant eyebrow optional); completely ridiculous nose wart (with hair); freckles (naturally); rotting teeth in apparently-cavernous mouth (bonus points for ambiguous expression). Check, check, checkity-check.


5. Goofy Face No. 3


At first glance, it probably looks like we've taken a step back in the Goofy Face hierarchy. But I would argue that the glasses, the crossed eyes and the artfully-missing tooth in No. 3 set this Goofy Face apart from the rest. If only in a "Wow, she really wasn't kidding about the not being able to draw AT ALL" kind of way.

And besides, without the simplicity of Goofy Face No. 3, how would you ever appreciate the piece de resistance that I like to call...


6.Dog-faced Potato Girl!



Pretty sure this was one of those add-on drawings. Like, I drew a squiggly shape, and it kind of looked like a potato, so I added eyes to the body. The I drew a face, and it came out looking kind of dog-like, so I played up the nose, added wavy, hairy ears and sunglasses (obviously).

The hands and feet were probably added because, without them, it just looked like a dog-faced girl in a potato sack. And that's depressing. Although I'm not sure her tiny T-Rex arms are much of an improvement.

*****************************

In other news: This whole post was dumb, and I apologize profusely. Unless you found it entertaining, in which case: You are welcome. :)

December 15, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Mmmm...

...homemade chili...


T makes the absolute best homemade chili.

It's freezing outside.

A warm, full tummy is a happy tummy.

:)

What's your favorite cold-weather food?

December 14, 2010

NBX Vol. 5: Icky-sounding dreams, tacky-awesome crafts and Philistines of dubious origin


(What the heck is this?)

This week's offering (ha! Isn't it cute how I pretend I stick to some kind of schedule with these?) is a little more subdued than the last one. But it's the holidays, so please cut me some slack.

Aaaaaaand, here we go:

Most awesomest blog name: Bourgeois Philistines of Minnesota (Maybe my favorite blog name ever. There are just so many interesting questions there. What exactly is a bourgeois Philistine? Why would one live in one of the coldest states in the U.S.? Why does the author apparently wish he had named his blog "Sober Epicurean" instead? Why does his other blog's name, Old Whig's Brain Dump, also delight me? Clearly more research is required.)

So-ugly-it's-fabulous-est blog layout: Raspberry Dreams (Basically the reason this category was invented. And it prominently features a bird, which means it gets double-bonus points for awfulness. No idea what it’s about, no desire to find out; I can’t look – it’s blinding me! Makes my eyes look like this: @@)

Most random blog post title (and/or title that best lends itself to double-entendre or horrible puns): Kayak Yak, "Crab Dream" (Because I'm frighteningly immature.)

Most engaging overall blog (for better or for worse): the flying pencil (One of those blogs I just want to sit and walk through one afternoon. Light, decent writing, original artwork. The author hasn't posted anything for awhile, but I'll certainly be checking out her backlog.)

Wild card: Most fabulously horrible crafts: At least I'm skinny (A somewhat dubious blog name, but the coasters she made with pictures of the stars of Laguna Beach are fabulously, horribly awesome.)

Have you come across an awesomely-awful blog? Share it!

December 13, 2010

Nose burns

We live in the middle of nowhere. Our house's heating system? Propane. And it ain't cheap.

But we, however, are.

So rather than crank the heat to tropical levels (cough-Grandma!-cough) and spend $5 trillion to fill our propane tank several times each year, we keep the themostat set at a balmy 58 degrees.

"How can you stand it? Isn't that like living inside a glacier?" Yes. Yes it is. And so, we have these:


Space heaters. One for pretty much every room. (Except the guest room. Sorry, guests.) It does blow up the ol' electric bill a bit, but not as much as you'd think -- and it's eons more affordable than propane.

(Disclaimer: We're very safe: We never leave one running in a room unattended, and we never leave the house without unplugging all of them. Just say no to house fires.)

"So what's the problem?"

Oh, I'll tell you what the problem is. Or, better yet, I'll show you:



It seems that having a BUILT-IN FUR COAT doesn't necessarily mean you're nice and toasty all winter long. Apparently, you also need to be close to the heater.

Sorry, scratch that. You need to be ON TOP OF the heater.

How does it not burn their tiny noses? Your guess is as good as mine.

And, meanwhile, the entire room is still freezing.

But at least the important ones are warm.

December 9, 2010

Part 2: The Human Race Redeemed

Need to catch up? Read Part 1.

I've had a lot of time to obsess think about The Showdown at Dollar General this week. And I've come to an important conclusion in its wake:

My faith in people remains intact.

And I haven't found myself wanting to lash out at someone else because of the way Psycho Lady verbally attacked me. In fact, just the opposite -- I find myself almost obsessively going out of my way to be nice to everyone I come across. I've come to think of it as my own very small way of karmically making up for PL's rant and the negativity it put out into the universe.

And the universe has responded favorably.

I was doing some Christmas shopping the other night, and I decided to grab dinner at Panera (T hates it, so I have to grab it when I'm on solo missions). It was P-A-C-K-E-D. And when I grabbed my veggie sandwich and soup and took a look around, it was clear: There was nowhere to sit. Every table was teeming with snow-covered, hungry shoppers, huddled next to the fire in the middle of the room or warming their hands on hot coffee mugs, chatting with friends or tap-tapping away on laptops.

One lone table in the middle of the room sat empty: A long, skinny table that sat about 10. One lone girl sat at one of the ends. I ventured over to her.

"Do you have a big party sitting with you here?" I asked, balancing my tray.

"No, it's just three of us," she said, smiling.

"Would you mind if I sat at the other end? I promise I won't bother you," I said, smiling back. She nodded, and I sat down, and soon we were joined by another dining refugee, looking for a place to sit. I'd brought a book, but before too long, we were all chatting, my book lying unread beside me. Can you believe the snow? It's so cold outside. So cold we had a mouse in our house! OMG, us, too. At least it wasn't a rat, right? Hey, remember that book, "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH"?

And before I knew it, these strangers and I were having a warm conversation that lasted all through our meals and even afterward. And when we parted ways, we smiled at one another fondly and wished each other a happy holiday season.

I left with a smile on my face and held the door open for someone. On the way home, I let someone merge in front of me and waved back when they waved a "thank you."

So there, Psycho Lady. You can spew venom and vitriol, and call me fat, and it will almost certainly mess up my afternoon.

But the universe reminds me every day why it's a good place, filled with basically good people. And no matter what you say, you can't change that for me.

December 8, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: The stairs

The newest addition to our bedroom:



Because sometimes, a dog just needs to get into bed for a snuggle. And if he doesn't have the strength to jump anymore? It's our job to make sure he gets that snuggle anyway.

(Apologies for two dog-related posts so close together. This is just kind of our main focus these days.)

December 7, 2010

Part 1: Showdown at the Dollar General



Disclaimer: This is kind of a long one. You may want to grab some coffee and a snack.
Disclaimer #2: If you are my mother, one of my mother's friends and/or someone who is easily offended by colorful language, please forgive the quotes below. I try not to bring that side of my vocab to this blog very often. But sometimes there's just no way around it.

I've always been of the belief that most people are basically decent. Basically polite, basically respectful of others, basically...NICE. Or, at least they will be if you're decent, polite, respectful and nice to them.

And most of the time, it works. And maybe it's because I don't work in the food industry or in retail sales, but I choose to believe it's the Golden Rule or karma or whatever you want to call it making the Universe right.

But every once in awhile, I have an experience that challenges this theory. And Saturday was a humdinger.

On a quick Kroger run, I overhear a woman saying that Dollar General is having a huge sale on all manner of things. So, I'm thinking, what the heck: I'll stop by, pick up some cheap shampoo and see if I can find any stocking stuffers for my niece.

The store is packed, and I see several people with baskets piled high, so I grab my shampoo and a $1 Tinkerbell puzzle and I hit the checkout lines.

Two lines, each with at least four people in front of me. But, no big deal. I don't really have anywhere to be. I choose a line with three elderly patrons in front of me, capped off by a woman who's currently checking out a cart filled with food. We will call this woman Psycho Lady. (A moniker that will make sense soon, dear readers.)

Old Man, Old Woman, Older Woman and I (each with only 3-5 items in our arms) wait patiently. We wait while Psycho Lady stacks item after item on the conveyor belt. (Hey, it's a sale -- who can blame her for stocking up?)

We wait while she roots in her purse for additional coupons.

When she leaves the line to retrieve something she forgot from the other end of the store, and it takes her five minutes to return, no one complains. Old Man rolls his eyes, but continues to wait patiently. I sigh. Older woman reads about Kate Middleton's wedding dress in US Weekly.

PL finally finishes checking out, grabs her receipt and bags and heads for the door. We all breathe a sigh of relief. Old Man checks out, and heads for his car.

But lo, PL intercepts him on his way out. "I saw you got {Coupon XYZ} when you checked out. I left mine at home. Would you mind if I used it to buy {XYZ product}?" Old Man, being lovely and patient, says "Sure" and hands it over.

At which time PL darts over to the register (where Old Woman is now being checked out) and demands that the cashier check her out. Again.

"Ma'am, I'll be glad to let you use the coupon, but you'll have to get back in line," the cashier says, a little wearily. PL stares at him.

"You've got to be kidding me," she snarls, her voice dripping with venom, and she eyes the rest of us in line like we're vermin. Vermin preventing her from saving 30 cents on a bottle of detergent right.this.minute. "WHY can't you just do it NOW? You want me to go stand in line behind all these people AGAIN?"

The cashier looks uncomfortable, and Old Woman looks panicky as Pscyho Lady tries to edge her back in line. Older Woman, who is at least 85 and has now been standing in line for 15 minutes, just shifts her weight uncomfortably. "This is ridiculous!" PL is now saying, getting louder by the second.

As she continues berating the cashier, I find myself doing something I never, ever do.

"Ma'am, the rest of us have been waiting a long time," I say -- politely -- before I can stop myself. "The people in front of me have easily been standing in line for 10 minutes. We waited patiently while you finished, and now it's our turn."

Instantly, Psycho Lady turns on her heel. I swear I can see delight in her eyes as she lights upon her next victim: Me.

"Well, I was already finished checking out, MA'AM," she says sarcastically. "How about you mind your own business? This doesn't concern you." She dismisses me by turning back to the cashier, but when it becomes clear he's not going to budge on the cutting-in-line rule (which we all learned in kindergarten; I mean, really), PL storms to the back of the line. Older Woman and I breathe a sigh of relief.

But PL is not finished. Oh, not by a damn sight.

As soon as she gets to the back of the line, she starts in. "I hate this g--damned town. Stupid bitches like you up there. Sticking your nose in my business. What the f--k do you care? I'd never let you cut in front of me in line, you know that? Stupid bitch. Look what you're buying -- looks like you have a really exciting life to rush home to."

I turn to look at her and make my first mistake: I engage. "Ma'am, under any other circumstance, I'd gladly let you go in front of me," I say, and I mean it. "But the rest of us waited patiently while you checked out and did whatever you needed to do, and I'd appreciate it if you'd extend us the same cour-"

"Shut up, you dumbass bitch," she says, and I blink in surprise. "I shop in here all the time, and I've never seen your fat, stupid ass in here before."

"I'm sorry, how is that relevant?" I manage to say, still completely stunned by this verbal barrage.

"Shut up. Just shut up," she spits. "Turn around. I don't want to look at your stupid, ugly fat-ass face."

At this, I immediately realize three things:
  1. This lady is psycho.
  2. When the other person has nothing to come back with but "Shut up," it usually means you've won the argument, so, go me.
  3. I am really not cut out for this type of confrontation.
And how do I know that third thing is so very true? Because after I finally pay for my shampoo and puzzle with shaking hands, make my way to the parking lot and finally sit in my car? I burst into tears.

Oh, and also: My hands are still shaking as I'm typing this, two days later.

People like Psycho Lady represent something that I can't reconcile with the universe as I know it. I don't understand entitlement -- thinking you are OWED something just because you think you deserve it -- and I don't understand bullies -- that desire to tear into another person simply for the sake of making yourself feel big and making them feel small. I'm far from perfect, but I'd rather tear off my own arm than think I made someone feel the way Psycho Lady made me feel on Saturday.

I would certainly consider myself a religious person, but I don't even think it matters if you believe in a higher power or not. I cannot imagine worshiping at the Altar of Me at the expense of everyone else in the universe.

I get frustrated, I get annoyed, and sometimes, yes, I find myself feeling entitled to something. I've worked hard -- I deserve this! But I have to draw the line at infringing those feelings on the rest of the world. It's no one else's fault that I am frustrated or annoyed, or that I feel entitled to something. And even if I'm frustrated or annoyed by someone else's actions, only I can control how I react to it. Only I can decide whether to perpetuate the problem or stop the chain of nastiness and handle myself like a rational adult.

If I had it to do over again, I'm not sure I would have done the same thing. I'm glad I stood up for what I felt was right, but in the grand scheme of things, was it such a big deal? Was it worth the verbal abuse and shaky hands?

It's entirely possible that I'm just too sensitive. This has bothered me now for nearly three days, and I'd be surprised if Psycho Lady gave it a second thought once she made it out of the store. But I think -- well, I know -- I'd rather be overly-sensitive than make someone feel that small.

Please stay tuned for Part 2 of this story, which I'll post on Thursday. It's both more positive and much shorter than Part 1. Doesn't that sound nice?

December 6, 2010

NaBloPoMo: A retrospective

It hit me on Sunday morning.

"OMG, I didn't post anything yesterday!"

But after a brief, heart-clutching moment of panic, I realized: The NaBloPoMo had released me from its anxiety-inducing clutches!

It's over!

I DID IT!

And it's all because of you, my friends. Seriously.

Your comments kept me going in a big, big way. I don't know if I ever appreciated how much comments mean to all of us. And I loved that our little blogging community was not only taking on the challenge together, but encouraging one another along the way.

Teamwork, people!

OK, enough coaching talk.

It's been said before by almost all of you, but: I'm so glad I did the Nabs. It did for me exactly what I'd hoped: It got the ideas flowing, and it got me excited about blogging again. Shockingly, I didn't have to use any of NaBloPoMo's writing prompts, and I still have at least 15 ideas that I haven't even written about yet.

And, it got me even MORE excited than usual to read all of your blogs, too. I feel as though I've gotten to know a lot of you so much better over the past month, and that's just awesome.

So now I can say, with pride and a huge sense of relief:



I'm going to go take a nap now.

December 3, 2010

Sort of gross. Sorry. But I need your help.





So. Are we all familiar with the Neti Pot?

No?

Well, allow me to provide you with a visual:




(I love the guy's super excited expression. Considering that his account of using the Neti Pot includes phrases like "nasal burning/drowning sensation," I don't trust that perky thumbs-up so much.)

Anyway.

It's supposed to flush out your sinuses. And friends, gross as it may be, that's what I need. The things happening in my nose and beyond would frighten small children.

I've tried things like Mucinex in the past -- it serves only to move the problem from my head to my lungs, which, frankly, I can do without. I've tried nasal sprays, both saline and prescription (antihistamine and steroid). I've tried blowing my nose until it's raw and I'm lightheaded.

It ain't working.

Please tell me someone out there has either tried this, or has some kind of advice about this, or has some other, better, preferably-homeopathic remedy for sinuses filled with rubber cement? (I know. Ew. Sorry.)

Because before I try something called The Nose Bidet, I really feel that I need a personal recommendation.

December 2, 2010

I am a winner!


While the world may not always agree?


The eminently fabulous Couple More Hours, being eminently fabulous, is giving away one of her gorgeous handmade button-eyed dolls. (Haven't checked out her etsy shop? You really owe it to yourself to go there NOW. Her stuff is handmade and SUPER cute.)

I entered to win, and I requested "Bessie," a sassy little blonde with two of the aforementioned button eyes and a kicky flowered dress and leggies. I chose her because she's a cute towhead like my beautiful niece, and Bessie was my beloved late grandmother's name.

I never win anything. But lo and behold, late last night, the Twitterverse delivered unto me the news.

I won!!

My niece, who will be the recipient of little Bessie this Christmas, is totally going to flip.

THANK YOU, Couple More Hours, aka Wendy! I can't wait to meet Bessie in person. :)

December 1, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: SNOW!


I love, love, LOVE snow. And today it's those big, fat flakes that look especially beautiful and peaceful coming down.

I'm feeling rather sick today, so the sight of the snow falling outside my home office window is making me feel slightly better.

Well, that and the comic relief provided by a certain four-pawed member of the family:


Hey. Dogs need to be snuggly warm, too.

(Yes, I know they make dog Snuggies. It's just funnier to see him stuffed into ours. :))
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