Monday, December 29, 2008

The Christmas-is-Over Blues

Anyone else feel depressed when the excitement and anticipation of the holidays is over?

Don't get me wrong. I wish little elves would come by the house and rid it of all the Christmas lights, knicknacks, stockings and trees, but at the same time I'm bummed that it's all over.

Winter is no fun after Christmas. I mean, I battled the billions of inches of snow that fell (I'd rather not talk about how many hours were spent in the car commuting to and from work in said elements) prior to Christmas because I thoroughly feel that Christmas is just not Christmas, unless it's white.

Now? I'd prefer that white stuff to stay away. In fact, I'd much rather tomorrow be June. Not picky much, huh?

My Christmas was truly wonderful, though. Santa was good to us, and we all spent the day lazing around, enjoying each other's company and enjoying our new gifts. Then we sat down to a delicious turkey dinner.

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday, too. We're just days away from 2009! Time is flying....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have a Snarky Christmas!

We are, once again, being dumped on with snow. While snowflakes set the scene on Christmas Eve, I still had to drive into work this morning, and that was not fun.

However, it is gorgeous. The snow is clinging to the trees and during my drive in, I wished I had brought along my camera so I could stop and capture the beauty. Then again, it was slick, and I probably would have been run over by a snowplow or something.

So, in the event that the ride home in the snow makes me too crabby to post later, I wanted to take the time now to wish you all happy holiday greetings.

Enjoy your loved ones, and may your egg nog be creamy, and your stocking be overflowing.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cherish Your Loved Ones

After my emotional phone call with the customer who's husband is dying, I couldn't stop thinking about her.

I felt helpless. I wanted to do more, but wasn't sure what to do. I ended up picking up a card and mailing it to her.

Today I needed to call and give her a reminder that we'd be delivering her missed products from last week, and to see if she needed anything else. During the conversation, she apologized to me again and she thanked me for the card. She said it was very nice, and her voice started to crack again like she was going to cry.

She told me to have a good holiday at the end of the conversation, and I replied "Thanks, you too."

And I hope that they are able to have a good holiday, despite what the future holds for them. I pray that they all can find some happiness in this final holiday all together.

To all my readers; enjoy your loved ones and cherish all the time you have with them. Because you just never know when they'll be gone.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It's hard to believe that Christmas is already this week. Just a few more sleeps and then we'll be listening for prancing and pawing up on the rooftop.

This weekend was spent Christmas-ing with our 3rd annual cookie exchange and grab bag on Friday, gift exchange and holiday dinner with the in-laws on Saturday, and of course, Santa's Landing.

Oh - and you can't forget that there were more Christmas presents bought that now need to be wrapped, even though that has been done for a couple weeks. Stores suck you in with their last minute sales (how can you beat a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for $130, especially when you've been drooling over one for years?).

But, back to Santa's Landing .... this was the 3rd year this has been in existence. The first year we were out there every single weekend raising money to try to help our fire department educate everyone in order to try to get the referendum to pass (and it did! SUCCESS!!!!). My dad has played the part of Santa, which he adores. And you know what? My kids think it's pretty darn cool, too, and I swear - when they are on "Santa's" lap, the look in their eyes is like they forgot it's actually their grandpa playing the part.

(My dad is employed by the real Santa himself. There is no monetary salary, and no health benefits - but the "pay" and "benefits" he does receive are truly magical in the spirit of the season. My dad reports back to his boss, relaying what he's seen in regards to naughty & nice behavior and then sends in his spreadsheet report of the wish lists that the kids give him.)

This year, my mom was also hired. They posed for some photos before I took them to the meeting spot for the magical ride in.



The kids just love that the arrival is by firetruck. The flashing lights & sirens add to the anticipation and excitement of the night.



It's such a magical night. Just look at my kids' faces...it's like right out of a movie!





And sometimes the requests to Santa get you right in the heart. One year was "I want my parents to stop fighting", and I overheard a little girl this year say "I just want to be surprised".

This year, good friend Jules, sat on Santa's lap and asked for a baby. It's been a year of trying for her & her hubby, with no luck. We're all hoping that the real Santa can pull some strings with the big Guy Upstairs. We don't know many more people more deserving of a baby.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Putting Life Into Perspective

On Monday I received a letter from my insurance company. They denied my appeal to have the rider exclusion removed.

I'm trying not to get worked up over this. Christmas is a week away and this is not the time for me to get depressed and want to off myself. I'll just wait until the new year for all that.

In the meantime, I'm trying to hold onto my sanity, all the while still doing the normal daily routine. Thankfully, the pain pills have helped me enough to make it bearable, so that I don't feel like driving off a cliff to take the pain away.

I'm still working, still parenting, still trying to keep things as normal at home as possible. Even when it took me over 2 hours to get home from work last night due to the snow, I tried not to let it get to me.

This morning I arrive at work, and start busying myself with the day's tasks. A customer had left a message, questioning her order and asking for someone to call her back. So I call, and realize that she didn't get some of her order because her cooler that she had outside was not large enough to fit it all.

So I explain and she goes off. She's ranting and raving, and venting about needing the items because her kids are coming home from college. And then it spills out. Her husband has terminal brain cancer. Her voice is cracking, and she's still spewing, and I'm trying to rectify this (she was going to cancel her service), and then she starts to cry. She apologizes for yelling and taking it out on me. She says she's so sorry, she's got so much going on in her life, working and caring for her husband and taking him back and forth to chemo. She is on the verge of sobbing; telling me that he'll be gone in a few months, and she's trying to do all this, knowing it's his last holiday.

I fixed the situation for her, she apologized and I pray that family enjoys their time together, because I can't even imagine celebrating when something so dark looms in your near future.

When I hung up the phone, I couldn't stop the tears. I still can't get her voice out of my head....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 2 of the Cookie Baking Frenzy

Add another 315 cookies to yesterday's total. We're now up to 14 different kinds. Mom will be making the final 3 tomorrow.

We are downright pooped and my feet are in dire need of rubbing!!

At any rate, it's truly enjoyable to bake. And my kids helped out at different stages as well. The most bizarre thing, however? That I have zero appetite and the thought of sitting down with a plate of cookies turns my stomach. I guess all that prep, and smelling them bake is enough and gives you that "full" feeling.

Give me a few days, and I'll have a hard time keeping my hands off of them. And by January, I'm sure I'll have a few more pounds added to my ass that I can blame all on these holiday treats.

You know the post wouldn't be complete without a few photos...

My daughter helping to stir the molasses cookies....


And here's the finished product (my kids LOVE these!):


The most interesting part of the day was decorating the gingerbread boys and girls....


We ended up with an Angel, Santa, Mrs. Claus, a Snowwoman, and some not so common ones like an Alien, Guitar Hero Rockstar, Cubs player, Hannah Montana and one in a polka-dot bikini....who do you see below?



Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 1 of Cookie Baking Complete

Spent over 9 hours in the kitchen with mom today, baking our hearts out (thank you pain pills, and thank you Lord for giving me 2 really good, minimal pain, days). We've got 468 cookies and we're not finished.

I'm too tired to remember how many varieties we cranked out today, but I think it was at least 8.

Here's the princess decorating the sugar cookies with Grandpa (notice that she didn't go lightly on the sprinkles)...


And here's a new one of my recipes, butter cookies, which I think came out very well.


The baking continues tomorrow.....


Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Baking We Will Go

Tis the season for cookies! And cookies we will have....

My mom and I will be kicking off the baking this weekend. Tonight's trip the grocery store involved purchasing all the goodies.

Take a look....



Soon that mountain of items will be heaps of cookies!!!!!! Chocolate chip, sugar, oatmeal cranberry raisin nut, molasses, kolaczky (or however you spell it - LOL!), almond Christmas balls, thumbprints, butter, oatmeal scotchies and more!

Deck the Halls with Lots O' Popcorn

Today our property management company came by with our annual Christmas gift.



One of those tins of tri-popcorn. You know; butter, cheese & caramel. Why they even bother with the butter is beyond me.

This particular tin is not your ordinary 'find-it-at-Walmart' kind. This bad boy stands OVER A FOOT tall.



No joke.

And it's almost a FOOT WIDE in diameter.



That's a WHOLE LOTTA POPCORN!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love this time of year. Upon getting home from work, I run for the mail. If it's a good day (like today), no bills arrive. If it's an even better day (like today), there are no bills and Christmas cards!!!

Today's mail brought me not one. Not two. But THREE Christmas cards. And one of them came along with a present, too!!!

Melisa was so kind to send me some holiday cheer -- handmade note cards!

How gorgeous are these?!



Thank you so much, Melisa! It made my day!

Monday, December 08, 2008

I've Got a Boyfriend



The new love of my life. It's much prettier in person.

I think at this point I'm spending more time in bed with it than I am my husband.

Even when I turn it off for the night, I turn onto my side and snuggle with my other love; a pink body pillow.

Thankfully my husband is very understanding and accepting of my new 'boyfriends'.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

I'm blogging from my bed!

I'm currently propped up with my pillows, hubby is next to me watching Transformers and I'm blogging away.

Thanks to the early gift (he said it was for St. Nick's Day, but I think he was just too excited and wanted to give it to me early) of a gorgeous pink laptop!

It was probably the best thing to a very hard week for me. His timing was perfect and I couldn't be happier.

Because, aside from me falling into one of the darkest funks I've ever been in, I also came down with a cold. The second one in probably 6 weeks. Yesterday I woke up miserable; both nostrils sealed shut, red gums and a sore throat from having to breathe through my mouth all night. Through the day my right ear started to feel funny ... the sort that feels like there is bubble in there. The kind that made me want to stick a pencil in my ear to pop it. When I started to notice some pain, too, I called my PCP. I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone, too, and try to mooch some pain drugs while I was there.

So no infection, but I was running a slight fever and when she looked up my nose with her little light thing, she said "Oh yeah....LOTS of congestion in there!". So I left with a script for an antibiotic to try to get rid of this plague and one for some very nifty pain killers.

MY PCP IS MY SAVIOR.

Seriously - while it doesn't take away all my pain, it helped me to actually get a decent night's sleep (and made me want to stay in bed all day - when I looked at the clock and realized it was almost 9am, I pulled myself from the bed). Now I've got 3 prescriptions I'm taking plus some generic Mucinex to get rid of the gunk. Not sure if it was a combination of drugs, or lack of food (I'm thinking the pretty much empty belly was the culprit), but I spent a good portion of the day feeling lightheaded and barfy. That was miserable as we had my son's family birthday party today. At one point I left the party to go upstairs to lie down.

So needless to say, it has not been a good week for me at all. But my hubby - bless his soul - did his best to try to make things look up a little for me. And it worked.

I love him and my new pretty laptop.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Not feelin' the love

Do you ever feel like you are more a burden to people than a joy to have around? Or that you are only wanted around when it's convenient for the other person?

Or how about when you really need help with something and no one offers? And then when you ask, they hesitantly help, making you feel terrible for needing help in the first place.

How about when you just need a shoulder to cry on, or a hug, and you are still left crying yourself to sleep at night?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

When Life Is A Great Big Joke

Ever feel like life is playing a big joke on you? And just when you think things can't possibly get worse, they find a way to anyway?

That's where I'm at right now.

First, on Friday, I get my explanation of benefits paperwork in the mail with big amounts that I owe. They won't pay a dime. Come to find out, it's a permanent provision on my insurance, not a pre-existing condition like I thought. Somehow I signed this when the policy was drawn up. I'm waiting on copies of those documents, because I honestly cannot remember reading anything about a permanent provision. Upon another phone call today, I find that it's not just a particular disc, but instead they have it down as pretty generalized, not to cover anything in regards to my back.

This lastest phone call provided with information to try to appeal the rider exclusion, which is going to require a written letter and supporting documents from my doctor. And, of course, this is no guarantee.

To top this all off, I get into my car last night to head home from work, after a pretty emotional day, and my car wouldn't start. At that moment I wondered just how the fastest way to leave this Earth would be. I felt like God was laughing at me .... a big joke. Let's see how much we can throw her way before she loses her marbles.

Well, let's see.....I think I'm there. The car issue is resolved, but this insurance thing is weighing heavy on me. Massive amounts of medical bills already accumulated, and I woke up today in worse pain than I have been in lately. What another nice reminder that MY LIFE SUCKS. And what's worse? Even with all the doctoring, and all those medical bills ..... I don't have a single pain pill to my name. So I just get to suck it up and go to work 5 days a week, try to be a good mom, and take care of the things that still need to be done (because the Christmas gifts aren't gonna wrap themselves - and yes - I have enlisted help - but that's another problem - I am feeling completely helpless like this and I don't think I continue to live like that, relying on everyone else to pick up my slack).

I am just in such a dark place right now.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Female Icon Quiz

You Are an Ingrid!



You are an Ingrid -- "I am unique"


Ingrids have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.


How to Get Along with Me

* * Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.
* * Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.
* * Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.
* * Though I don't always want to be cheered up when I'm feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.
* * Don't tell me I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting!

What I Like About Being an Ingrid

* * my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level
* * my ability to establish warm connections with people
* * admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life
* * my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor
* * being unique and being seen as unique by others
* * having aesthetic sensibilities
* * being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What's Hard About Being an Ingrid

* * experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair
* * feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don't deserve to be loved
* * feeling guilty when I disappoint people
* * feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me
* * expecting too much from myself and life
* * fearing being abandoned
* * obsessing over resentments
* * longing for what I don't have

Ingrids as Children Often

* * have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games
* * are very sensitive
* * feel that they don't fit in
* * believe they are missing something that other people have
* * attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.
* * become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood
* * feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents' divorce)

Ingrids as Parents

* * help their children become who they really are
* * support their children's creativity and originality
* * are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings
* * are sometimes overly critical or overly protective
* * are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Take the test now!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shout Out Sunday

This is a totally random Shout Out, because this particular person has not stopped by my blog, but I've got Christmas shopping on my mind (I'm almost finished!), therefore I did a little googling and came across a blog to help you with the holidays.

Check it out!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Suck-It Saturday

Guess what I got in the mail yesterday? $3600 in medical bills for my back (and that ain't all of them yet) that my insurance company says they won't pay.

A call to them is in order....I think I'm going to make hubby do it since he's off work on Monday. Otherwise, I'll be screaming my head off at my office, which is probably a bit inappropriate.

SUCK IT, INSURANCE COMPANY!!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Theater Thursday - Get Smart



Get Smart

We had a free code for Redbox, and there were limited choices in what we'd want to see, so this was picked. I can't say this was a movie on my list of must-see's, but it was something to do for almost 2 hours. I laughed at a few parts. Not bad, but not great either.

I give this one *** !

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why couldn't he have just told me what to do?

As I've mentioned previously, I've got big problems with my back.

I visited with the neurosurgeon again today, to go over the results of the nerve test and discuss the next step.

Unfortunately, I've reached a fork in the road, and it's time to decide which path to take.

I've got 2 nerves that are not functioning correctly. I've got 3 options. One is to just continue living like this. Two is to try more meds or cortisone injections. Unfortunately, since the oral steroids and meds I've taken haven't offered much relief, he doesn't think I will benefit much from anything further. And my third option.....surgery.

He is very conservative in that he's not all about whipping out his planner and adding me to his surgery schedule. He said it's a decision I need to make, but that he thinks it is very reasonable for me to go ahead with the surgery.

I left there with the choice to pursue whichever option I'd like. And while I'm very thankful that he's not shoving surgery down my throat, I am freaked out to have to make this decision myself. It would have been so much easier for him to just tell me what to do.

Wishlist Wednesday



That, my friends, is the Snowball Blaster gun. My son saw it on TV, and he just must have it.

I actually did go to the store and was going to buy it. But it's quite large, and the snowballs are projected by a very strong piece of rubber, much like a slingshot mechanism. It was hard even for my husband to pull back, and we realized very quickly that all we'd hear was "I can't do this. Daddy, will you help me with this?"... So, we left the store empty handed.

I'm sure by the time Christmas morning rolls around, and he's buried under a pile of other presents, he'll forget all about this thing. Well, until the commercial comes on again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tasty Tuesday - Egg Nog French Toast

Egg Nog French Toast

INGREDIENTS:
3 eggs
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup egg nog
10 slices bread
butter
maple syrup

DIRECTIONS:
Whisk eggs lightly with a fork. Stir in sugar, salt and egg nog. Pour mixture into a shallow dish. Over medium-low heat, heat griddle or skillet coated with a thin layer of butter.

Dip one slice of bread at a time into the egg nog mixture, then carefully turn to coat the other side. Soak only as many slices as you will be cooking at one time.

Place bread slices onto griddle or skillet, heating slowly until bottom is golden brown. Turn and brown the other side. Serve immediately with butter & maple syrup.

(*I have not tried this yet, but trust me, I will be!*)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Goodbye, Steroids

I finished that 6 day round of steroids yesterday. By about the 10th or 11th pill (of 21), I actually felt a little better (this lasted until about pill 17). While I wasn't heading to the club to get my booty shaking and grinding on by any means, it was nice to feel a little less pain. Of course, there was still the numbness of my leg and foot going on, but, it's been that way for over a month and I'm beginning to just believe it will always be that way.

Friday I went in for the nerve test, which was supposedly not painful. And while it wasn't torture and most of the test was not painful, it was very unpleasant at one point where they poked me about knee level on my inner leg. It went quickly, and now I'm left wondering what the results say. I've got until Wednesday until I know what the heck is going on there.

And then Saturday, the entire back of my head, my neck, my shoulders and upper back are sore -- best way to describe it is that it is very tender if I touch anywhere there (this is still continuing). WTF is that all about?

So now I continue on with the naproxen. Of course I'm back to hurting and I've still got my gimpy leg and foot. It's been so long I don't even remember what it's like to feel normal. I forget how it is to put my socks on by myself (and in the rare event that I can manage to do this task on my own - it hurts like a mother f*&#@!). And it's very bizarre cutting toenails on a foot you can't entirely feel (and yes, even being able to get to them in the first place was quite the feat) -- so let's just say I cut too much, too low and then realized I had blood spilling out of my toe.

Needless to say, there hasn't been a big desire to be real chatty here, and I've once again sulked off to my hiding place and have stopped leaving comments for my bloggy friends. I do still try to pop in and keep up to date, but I know I'm being quiet. And I'm sorry. I hope I'll come around again soon.

Musical Monday - "Rockin Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee



Obviously this is not an actual music video. This is my favorite Christmas tune (this exact version) and I have been trying to get my BFF's husband to do this song in his display.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shout Out Sunday

Another new reader that dropped by! I LOVE new readers! Especially when they come by and compliment my blog, too!

So, with that, I give you this week's Shout Out, who actually is a native of the town where I work (and therefore, spend a whole lot of time in!). How small worldish is that?

Thanks for stopping by, Susan.....hope you visit more often!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Suck-It Saturday

Believe it or not, I'm actually having a bit of a time trying to find something to tell to Suck-It this week.

I thought about saying "Suck-it, Steroids" a few nights ago when I was hurting, and having hot flashes, and not sleeping well, and then I felt like I wanted to put my fist through a wall, or perhaps just get in my car and run away (in my pajamas). For a moment, I felt really friggin crazy. But I feel a little better now (pain-wise, slightly, and my head/personality feels a bit more normal).

I thought about saying "Suck-It, Things to Do" to the list of endless projects and chores, and things that need to be done (has anyone checked that December 1st is just around the corner?). But, what good is that going to do me? Part of the chores involve getting things done for my son's birthday party, as well as all the preparations for Christmas, and even though it's a busy time of year -- it is one of my favorite times of year.

So, maybe by next Saturday something will have truly pissed me off enough that I can tell it/him/her to SUCK-IT!!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Foto Friday



Class of 1998, 10-year Reunion
September 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Theater Thursday - Hard Candy



Hard Candy

I love me some Patrick Wilson, and I was curious to see the popular Juno star in a previous film.

Never in a million years would I have predicted where this movie would go. Watch it, and prepare to be shocked!

I give this one **** !