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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post-Christmas Update

Well, I'm at the lake, borrowing some wifi from someone... using mom's laptop...

Santa was so good to me! Not only did I get some great gifts, I got to spend Christmas Eve with my sister and her kids, and her boyfriend and his son. Then we went to bed early, got up on Christmas morning, went to Mass and waited for DSD to arrive. We went to my SIL's house, had breakfast, opened gifts then went home.

We opened some more gifts then made dinner. We ate. We talked. We ate some more. M stayed 'til about 7/7:15, which was LOVELY! Then she was off to see her cousin; his b'day is Christmas Day and they usually go out in the evening...

We went shopping for a Christmas Tree on the 26th. We decided it was time to get a real artificial tree, instead of the short, 5' fake tree we have now. We didn't find any within my budget that were nice, but then yesterday, Jack found one at Home Depot. 9' tall, Frasier Fir. Next season I will buy a revolving stand, if we can use it (the tree might be too tall). If it works, I'll return it and buy it 1/2-price after next Christmas. And I know some people who read this blog frown on this practice but I don't have $150 to spend on a tree stand. $75 for a revolving tree stand is a bit more palatable but if I wait to buy it post- holiday, it's non-returnable. This way I'll buy it, see if it works and then return it and buy it for real at 1/2 price.

Guess what I got for my b'day! The 1st season of WKRP in Cincinnati on DVD!! LOVE that show!

All the holiday foodstuffs turned out great; of course, they would since Jack cooked them all! We had cavatelli and broccoli, peppers and onions, tuna, pierogi with onions in butter, pumpkin pie for dessert... I forgot to take the cream puffs out of the freezer so we'll have them when Mom returns.

Her schedule has changed, too - she's now coming home February 3, instead of January 9th or 10th, as originally planned. Her accupuncturist recommended a few more sessions and since they seem to be helping mom's arthritic back, she delayed her return... Amtrak reduced her penalty from $85 to $3.50 if she delayed her return by 3 or 4 weeks...

Well, I've been paged - we're building the built-in bookshelves for the sitting room and I have to go help put the shelves together. Pictures after the New Year, when I have access to the desktop again!

Happy New Year, to come! (In case I'm not blogging before 2009!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve in my house

While I was growing up, we spent each and every Christmas Eve at my grandparents' house. Those memories will always bring me comfort and a sense of love and family. The warmth of their home, the love they felt for all of us, the joy they got from having their family together under one roof to celebrate the holiday - that will always mean Christmas to me.

This year Christmas Eve will be at my house again. I only wish I was as good a cook as my Babci was! I'll cheat a little and buy homemade pierogis at Stephan's in Clifton. We won't have as much food as I remember, and there won't be as many people, but I hope my sister and her children remember these few hours in my house as filled with love and respect and family. I know that as long as I can make a happy, fun, loving evening for them and for me, it'll be a success.

We'll share the oplatek (Communion host), breaking off pieces and sharing with each other. We'll wish each other well, and then we'll eat. And then we'll clean up and we'll wait for Santa to come down the street on the firetruck. And then we'll open our presents. And then everyone will split and go home, and there'll be a hole in my heart and in my home.

I don't ever want them to leave. I love the noise and the people and the wrapping paper and the smells, sounds and sights of family. I like finding pieces of tape stuck to the floor. We have a large home for just 2 people. I'm never happier than when my family is there with me. I wish my home was always topsy-turvy, loud and crazy.

I don't know how often I'll be able to post during the holidays; I'll be at the lake without online access (unless I can hack into my neighbor's wireless with my mom's laptop!) so updates might be few and far between until 2009!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Power Shopping

Okay, I admit it.

I'm not ready for Christmas.

THERE, I said it. And I survived.

I can remember the days I started shopping early, started decorating even earlier than that! I used to have Christmas cards written out and mailed the Friday after Thanksgiving. Then it slipped to Thanksgiving weekend. Then I was glad when I go them done in November....

Now. Not glad about much! Cards aren't done. Shopping's not done. Wrapping's not done. Decorating's as done as it's going to be. Cleaning's not done. (Heck, it's barely started!)

Today we're in the middle of our first bad winter storm. There's about 6 inches of snow outside; there's probably around 8 to 12 at the lake house. Hoboken didn't shut down the schools so Jack couldn't shut down his after school program so he's just leaving NOW for the trip home. The roads are icy, treacherous. I've been watching the news - there are accidents and stuck cars all over.

This morning, when the storm first started, I was out shopping. I took the day off to shop. To be able to buy Jack something other than the paperback version of Marley and Me that he'll probably return 'cause the print is so small... And I power-shopped (hence the title of this post...): $170 in Target in an hour, and another $180 in Costco in another hour. (Although I did forget to pick up my pills at the pharmacy counter in Costco so they'd better be open tomorrow!)

Costco is 1 mile from my house.

It took me an hour to get home.

1/2 an hour to get out of the parking lot, another 1/2 hour to drive the two streets to my house. 1/2 an hour and two accidents, two stuck cars, and innumerable crazy-a-s drivers!!!

But I'm home, safe and sound. Now let's keep our fingers crossed Jack gets here in the same condition!

Once he gets home, we'll heat up leftover pizza (he had 28 pies delivered to school for his after-school party), then he'll shovel us out (at least I put a dent in it earlier today) and then we'll drive over to my mom's house to clean the sidewalks, shovel a path to her side door and feed her cats, and then we'll go over to KD's mom's house to shovel her out. Then we'll come home and collapse into a big, cold, wet, snowy heap! I'll make hot tea, he'll fall asleep without drinking it...

I hope we're home in time for Numbers on TV tonight. He really likes that show, almost as much as I like Criminal Minds... I'd like him to just sit and relax...

And a special thank you to Miss Hope, who posted an absolutely lovely entry on her blog wishing me a happy b'day - thanks for being my friend!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

20 Little Things to Treasure at Christmas

Melissa at The Inspired Room is incredible. She has a wonderful sense of style, and I don't know where she finds the photos of the rooms that she posts, but my-oh-my could I be happy in those homes!!! And when she shows what she's capable of in her own home? I'm just pea green with jealousy!

But today she posted her 20 Little Things to Treasure at Christmas (click on the link above to read her list!) and she inspired me to create my own list. So here goes:

1. My family - I am lucky to be married to the most wonderful guy in the world, stepmom to two great kids (Johnny, I wish you were reading this!), daughter to the best mom on earth, sister to 2 wonderful women who truly don't know how great they are, aunt to a nephew and a niece I would give my world for, and cousin/in-law/aunt/friend to numerous other people who I am blessed to call family or friends.
2. My faith - By definition, faith is belief that is not based on proof; faith is a belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion, a belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit. Faith is a system of religious belief, the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance. I believe. And now, at Christmas-time, when I sit in church and I listen to the music, and I hear the readings, and I think about God and Jesus - well, that's something I treasure.
3. Those of my family who are gone - Daddy, Babci, Dziadzi, Cioci Eliza, Granddaddy and Grandmommy, Mom and Dad, and all the aunts and uncles I've met and loved since Jack and I married. I miss you every day, but never more so than at this time of year when every twinkling light reminds me of you.
4. My home - filled with the smells and lights and colors of Christmas. If it's standing still, it's decorated! No matter how much time it takes, or how tired I feel, I LOVE decorating!
5. The time I spend looking for that perfect gift, and the feeling that comes over me when I see something that I know will be just right for...
6. White Christmas - the song, the movie, the happy ending.
7. The music - Little Drummer Boy (Bing Crosby and David Bowie's rendition is my favorite!), O Holy Night (with the lights out in church except for the star over the manger - I think my heart stops every year!), The First Christmas Morning (Dan Fogelberg's Christmas album), Hark the Herald Angels Sing, We Three Kings, The First Noel... I could name song after song...
8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the original version - no one can beat Bela's voice!
9. Having Maria make time to spend with us on the holiday - it's tough, considering...
10. My Santa pin from Patty and my Christmas tree earrings - I never leave home without them! And now I have my blinking necklace to add to the outfit! (Thanks, C!)
11. Snow. And more snow.
12. Driving around, looking at Christmas lights.
13. Cinnamon spice coffee.
14. Wigilia - our Polish Christmas Eve. Sharing oplatek. Tradition.
15. Santa driving down our street on the firetruck at 6pm-ish on Christmas Eve - AND all my Orthodox neighbor children outside waving and laughing at Santa, too, and laughing at me when they see how excited I get about Santa!
16. Sharing my Christmas and sharing their Hanukkah.
17. Midnight Mass - this sort of fits with the music and my faith, but I think it deserves its own entry - being surrounded by so many people in church for the same reason: to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. I'm filled with love and hope and there's never a Midnight Mass where my eyes don't tear up!
18. Celebrating my birthday on the 18th (Happy Birthday to me!)
19. Presents! No matter how small, I love opening them! (Even when I know what they are!)
20. Jack. I know I mentioned him in #1, but he deserves a number all his own, and he's the "best for last." I love him. I am thankful for him and for his love. I treasure him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tag, I'm It!!!

Okay, although I haven't been officially tagged by the Picture Tag Fairy, here's how it works:

1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer
2) Select the 4th picture in the folder
3) Explain the picture
4) Tag 4 people to do the same - NO CHEATING! (cropping, editing, etc!)

Well, it's the room we stayed in at Harrah's/Atlantic City in November 2007. Jack had to attend 2 days of seminars for the Credit Union (he's a director on the Board) and as "spouse," I got to tag along for a mini-vacation!!! I lost $40 at the slot machines, and the two days of meetings he was supposed to attend? Well they were done in about 3 hours!!! That's the ONLY reason I only lost $40!!! If I was on my own, left to amuse myself in a casino for two whole days? Well, suffice it to say that I'd have been a bit poorer on the way home!

I know that gambling is not good. I know that many of you will say that you work too darn hard for your money to throw it away in a slot machine.

Let me briefly say, "You're right!"

BUT, what I do is throw my coins in a coffee cup in my desk and whatever is in there when we go to AC or Las Vegas is what I allow myself to gamble with and since I buy breakfast and lunch several times a week, I have lots'o'cups'o'change during the course of the year that I use for other things... It's just the one that's there when we're going on the trip that I offer up to the gambling gods! The year before? I won $400!!! So if you ammortize that over all the years I've gone to AC and LV? I'm way ahead!!!

And by the way, I'm not tagging anyone with this since I tagged myself! But if you decide to play along, leave me a note so I can go see your 4th picture from the 4th folder...

12 Days of Giveaways

YAY! My pal E pointed me in the direction of this awesome blog - 12 Days of Giveaways!
And not only is it fun, it's done so much of my shopping for me!
It gave me some great ideas!
Now all I have to do is take Friday off and implement them!!!
Okay, I will (take Friday off, that is!), if I must...

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Christmas Journal

A couple weeks ago I mentioned my addiction to online scrapping class.

Well, here's proof positive that I'm addicted.

I've attached some photos of the work in progress: I'm taking a Journal Your Christmas class with Shimelle, and here are a couple of pictures of my pages so far...

There will be tons'o'pages, so I won't post them all - suffice it to say that in an effort to get them done ahead of time, I've over committed myself to a 2-page spread for each day, which if I was able to do as I go, I could relocate the new page on the back of an old page, if necessary, but NOOOOO, not me!

I make things hard for myself all the time...
Here's the front cover, all the pages stacked up. You can see how you see page 3 if it's die cut smaller than the previous page - I like that look...
Here's the first spread - sort of a dedication page, a Christmas manifesto, to use their phraseology!
Here's the spread for the 11th day of Christmas. The intention is to talk about your/my Christmas tree - real or artificial? Colored lights vs. white lights? Big or small? Do you even put up a tree? The importance of the tree to your holiday...
Here's the stack of pages from the side - it doesnt' show as much as I'd hoped of the variety of paper, and page sizes... but you can see how much work I've done! I've included paper, acrylic pages, ribbon, embellishments, stickers, stamped images, etc. Some of the pages will have this year's wrapping paper added to them, I'll include this year's Christmas card(s), etc.
I'm really having fun with this project. If I was retired and could spent more time planning and thinking about my work, it would be up to date and more logically laid out... but I'm still proud of it! One of the things I've always had trouble with is combining patterned papers - this is a way to do it without going too nuts over it. Each spread is coordinated but not necessarily with the pages before or after; since some pages are smaller than others, you get that shabby chic, multi-patterned look...

Friday, December 12, 2008

I've been tagged...

I have to come up with 6 things you don't know about me... I was tagged by Suzanne, my AZ friend over at Let's Talk Organizing... Here goes...

1. I skipped senior year in high school to attend college at the University of Delaware's Freshman Honors Program. (I used to be smart... does that count as 2 things???)
2. I've met psychic John Edward several times, and have even been lucky enough to have a private reading with him. I've also been in the audience on his television show. (Hey is that 4 things???)
3. A few jobs ago, I had the opportunities to meet several famous people: Nancy Reagan, Sarah Ferguson (Duchess of York), Ann Margret, Donald Trump, Danielle Steel, Stephen King, Vanna White, Richard Simmons, Jackie Collins and a whole lot of other authors (some famous and some not so).
4. I've had 5 cars: 1977 Buick LeSabre, 1985 Oldsmobile Ciera, 1989 Honda Accord LXi, 2003 Honda Accord DX, and a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. I've also driven Jack's Dad's Lincoln and his sister's Lincoln. LOVED the Buick and my '89 Honda and Patty's Lincoln, and I do love my current Santa Fe.
5. I've been on 6 cruises, 5 of them to the Caribbean and my honeymoon cruise which, luckily for me, turned out to be the maiden voyage of the Carnival Triumph to Nova Scotia!
6. My mom was born in Poland, spent years in Siberia, Kenya, Uganda (?), and the UK before she moved to NY, then to NJ, met my dad, married him and had me and my 2 sisters. And my dad admitted to some Dutch and Lenni Lenape ancestry but if you asked him, he was American.

I guess that's it - 6 things you might not know about me, but then again, none of them are any big secrets...

And now, let me tag a few of you out there in Internetland: Anyone who wants to share some things with us, feel free. I'm not going to name names or link to blogs... Just know I'm curious and would love to learn more about you...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Our Family Christmas Party

Yesterday was our family Christmas party, on Jack's mom's side.

Where? Fairfield Fire House
When? 12 noon
Who? 85 adults and 30 kids

We had SUCH a wonderful time! One of Jack's cousins just adopted his 2nd daughter from Kyrgyzstan. Her name is Alyia, and she's named after their translator this trip. Apparently they were originally given another baby who unfortunately was seriously ill and they weren't told this ahead of time. Marlene called her pediatrician who advised her to run, don't walk, away from this adoption. The baby was subject to brain damage they wouldn't be able to see until about two years of age. She said this was the hardest thing they've ever done - this little baby had been "their" daughter for months and all of a sudden, they had to decide whether to take her or not...

They stayed another week and they brought Alyia to them. They couldn't name her the same name they'd picked out for the other little girl, so they had to come up with a different name. They understood their translator to say her name meant "to ascend," to "go home." And since they were deciding to take the baby, they thought that might be appropriate and meaningful...

Well, Marlene gave me the baby to hold - That was it for me! I'm a baby person. Even Jack said to the family, "That's it, she's happy now, she has a baby to hold!" And Marlene let me feed her and hold her for about, oh, a good hour-and-a-half!!! I was in heaven!! She's such a beautiful little girl and I got a smile from her later on, when Marlene was walking around with her. They stopped at our table and I said hello to the baby and she smiled at me! Even her mom said she's so different from her older sister, Kitty (Katherine). Kitty is just a little ray of sunshine and smiles at everyone, but Alyia apparently is a bit less happy... She's 8 months old today and has been through so much in her young life... When she got home they found she was iron-deficient so her hair was very coarse and there were other symptoms; they started her on iron supplements and now she's got that beautiful, wispy, soft-as-down baby hair... But she smiled at me!! I guess she recognized my voice when I spoke to her; I'd been holding her and talking with her for so long just a little earlier... I wish I had a picture of me holding her...

Then we stopped at Target and returned a pillow, bought another, picked up a gift card for the Angel Tree at our church (I'll drop that off this Wednesday), went to the mall and got another sweater for Jack to give me for Christmas... I picked up a little stocking stuffer gift for Carrie; just need one more and she'll be done.

Tonight we're going to my niece's apartment, the apartment she'll be living in with her husband when they get married in July. They want us to see the decorations they put up and all the furniture's been delivered and assembled... Kevin is living there now; Toni will move in once they're married.

Anyway, gotta run - it's time to do some work (after I go get breakfast!)...

Friday, December 05, 2008

I feel sorry for a lot of comedians...

According to CNN, the Bureau of something-and-something else announced earlier this week that, TA-DA! We're in a recession and have been since December 2007!

Duh. I'm no economist but I could have told you that!

Last night I was listening to Mark Levin and he said something that set me thinking... I really feel sorry for a lot of comedians. We're in a recession and in a little over a month, they're going to have nothing to do. No job. No income. And BO will be taking whatever money they've accumulated over their careers so he can spread the wealth...

They will not make fun of BO like they made fun of George Bush, or John McCain, or Sarah Palin. They have not made fun of Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid like they've made fun of Rumsfeld or Cheney.

Whatever will they do? BO will be taking their hard-earned money and giving it to those who have less 'cause it's only fair that we all have the same thing even though all of us didn't earn it. We're all entitled to have what everyone else has 'cause it's not fair that someone can have something bigger and better than someone else, even though he paid for it with his own money. "I want it, so give it to me and give it to me NOW!" (When I was young, that was called either being selfish or stealing!)

I was taught patience. I was taught to work and do a good job and get a salary and save money and when I had enough, I could spend it any way I saw fit and I could buy whatever I wanted for myself. And if I wanted to buy something and give it to someone who had less, I could do that and it made me a good person. That's called sharing and charity.

But having someone TAKE it from me against my will to give it to someone who has done nothing to earn it? THAT is not sharing. THAT is not charity.

THAT is socialism. And socialism, my friends, does NOT belong in the United States of America.

From Wikipedia:
Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and an egalitarian society characterized by equal opportunities for all individuals. Modern socialism originated in the late nineteenth-century working class political movement as well as the intellectual movement that criticized the effects of industrialization on society. Karl Marx posited that socialism would be achieved via class struggle and a proletarian revolution which represents the transitional stage between capitalism and communism.
Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved.

We HAVE opportunities here in America. That's what makes this country so wonderful. Opportunities, my friend. NOT a free ride.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Non-Turkey Photos

For those of you who like to see photos, even though they're not very good ones...

Here's Tim-the-Tool-Man-Taylor, a.ka. Jack, repairing our dock. Or at least, stabilizing it for winter! The Lake Commission drops the water level 5' every 5 years so that property owners can do repairs on their docks. When the lake freezes in the winter, the melting ice actually floats into our dock posts and breaks them, damaging the dock as well. We'll try calling the one dock repair company again but they have so much business they don't even bother to return phone calls! (After 26 years in the business world, I don't personally think that's very good business, but who am I?!?)
Here's another view of that same dock, the longer of our two, sans lawn chairs. In spring, summer, and fall, you can usually find me sitting on the dock with a cup of coffee or an iced tea, reading, listening to the sound of the water, watching Jack work at something 'cause the man just doesn't know how to sit still!
Here's a view of the water line on our bulkhead, or our seawall, as Jack likes to call it. (Never mind that we're not living on the sea...). You can really see where the water usually is, right to the bottom of our dock...

Here's are two shots of our other dock, the smaller shorter one. It gets knocked around a bit, too, but this year it didn't suffer as much damage as the larger one, which got pulled right out of the bulkhead.