Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saying goodbye to 2008 from the relative sanity of my cube at work.

I'm not working. I'm eating lunch at my desk, and then I'm leaving to go--gasp--grocery shopping. Why the gasp? Because I was just down in the godforsaken store, and it is a freakin' MADHOUSE, people. But shopping must occur because I'm preparing a vegetarian stew for Miss Lindsay's New Year's Day soiree tomorrow and, well, we just need groceries.

Okay, so lots has happened since I last posted. Here's the update (stay with me):

Tuesday evening (12/23)
Started having very sharp chest pains unlike anything I'd ever experienced while shopping at Whole Foods. Figured they'd go away. They didn't. After over an hour of this mess, I called my insurance's "nurse line," and described my symptoms and my medical history, and they were like, "Get thee to the emergency room!" So my darling husband drove my reluctant and beligerent ass to the ER, during which time the chest pains stopped (natch). But we went in anyway and spent 4 hours having the whole work-up done--blood tests, chest X-ray, EKG, cat scan, etc. By the time we left (around 10:30 pm), we were starving and we had no clue what had caused the chest pains. And they haven't happened again since (thank goodness). I'm really looking forward to getting the bills for that little night of fun.

Wednesday (12/24)
Woke up and started prepping to cook The Monochromatic Feast. First I prepared a breakfast casserole to be baked on Christmas morning. Then I prepped the squash and corn casserole and au gratin potatoes with goat cheese and chives for that evening's dinner. My mom and The Geej arrived from Horseshoe Bay, and I thought The Geej's eye's were going to bug out of her head when she saw all the new presents wrapped and placed under the tree since the last time she'd seen it. She was one excited little girl. Mom brought the smoked turkey breast and dressing, and we rounded out our dinner with a mixed green salad with bleu cheese, walnuts and pears. Needless to say, we were all STUFFED when dinner was over. We somehow convinced The Geej that she needed to go to sleep so that Santa could come and do his thing, and then we followed pretty soon after.

Thursday, 12/25
The Geej woke up at the crack of dawn to see her loot from the fat man. She was very happy with everything she got, especially the new baby stroller to replace her old one that she'd literally worn out. I got BH a set of rowing lessons and a one-month membership to The Rowing Dock, and he got me a gift certificate for not one, but THREE massages. We also got each other garden gnomes--Matthew and Norm--but that's a whole 'nother story. Christmas evening, we went over to La Turista's to visit with her family and chow down on tamales.

Friday, 12/26
BH fetched his boys, and we had a second round of present-opening. They each wanted--and received--kick-ass new skateboards, and the weather was great outside, so there was much skateboarding in the afternoon. BH also gave the family a 40-lb. punching bag and a bunch of boxing gloves so we can punch and hit and kick to our hearts' content. Dah went back to HSB.

Saturday, 12/27 thru Monday, 12/29
Hung out. Ate. Cooked. Napped. Played with the kids. Hung out some more. Played with the kittens. Tried to keep The Geej and BH's youngest from bugging each other to death. Had dinner with BH's mom and step-dad who were visiting. Had another round of present opening during which The Geej received this ensemble:
On Monday, I went back to work.

Tuesday, 12/30
Worked, and then went to happy hour with four of my favorite gals at the recently remodeled and reopened Paggi House. It was AWESOME. We sat outside (yes, it was nice enough to sit outside), drank wine, ate cheese and crackers, talked, and laughed laughed laughed.

Which brings us to today. As I said, I've got to go grocery shop, then I will fill up my car, go fetch The Geej (she's been at my mom's since Sunday b/c school's closed), return home and cook, clean, and (hopefully) take down that dadgum Christmas tree/kitten magnet.

So goodbye, and good riddance 2008. During this past year I landed a new husband and two step-sons, got a new car, and voted in a new president. I watched my 401(k) and Roth IRAs dwindle and the price of gas soar and plunge. I joined Facebook and didn't blog as much as I should've. I had to put the best cat of all time to sleep because he had an advanced, incurable disease, and I welcomed two new, absolutely insane kittens into our family. I watched my daughter complete her transformation from toddler to little girl. I spent my last year in my thirties. I faced very difficult and trying times at work and passed my 9 year anniversary there as well. And I celebrated my 4 year blogiversary.

Thanks for coming by and reading about my silly life. Hope to see you again in '09.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Last minute letter to Santa...

Apparently, the Geej conned Dah into typing up another letter to Santa. She submitted it on behalf of her favorite baby, Sally. That sneaky little minx...

Dear Santa,

My name is Sally, and I have been good. I want some new shoes and a little play set with water in it for the babies to swim in. I could use a new swimming baby for Dah’s house and a little baby carrier for Dah’s house and some purple flowers.

Dah needs some new bras and some new glasses and a new freezer because hers died and it smelled just awful in the garage.

Gracelyn needs new clip clop shoes because hers are broken. And a new dress for Sally and a pants outfit.

I hope you have a good time going down the chimney with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We have cookies for you at our house in Austin, Texas. Don’t forget.

The Geej

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Hey y'all! You gave me some good advice for the whole gift pickle I was in with the boys. I ended up getting F (the younger one) some drawing supplies (he's an excellent artist), a book on cartooning, some magic trick things, and a gift certificate to the Vans store so he can get some new skateboarding shoes (his are currently held together with duct tape).

For J, the older one, I got a Vans gift certificate as well, and that's it. I feel terrible, but I'd rather NOT get him something than get him something he hates. Maybe I'll give him some cash too. Lame? Yes. But what 14 year old doesn't like moolah, right?

I swore I wasn't going to get my babydoll junkie any more babydolls, but then this walked into my cube at work today:

Her name is Jayden, and she's one of The EarthFriends. Her skin is made of hemp, and her stuffing is made out of recycled plastic bottles. Plus, she's radically unlike any of The Geej's current stable of babies. How could I say no?! And best of all? She's like a $90 doll for FREAKIN' FREE!! Thank you, Santa Claus!!

So now I'm about to pack up, head to Whole Foods to brave the crowds and do my shopping for tomorrow, then head home. Once home I have a list of things to do that's 5 miles long, and most of it involves cleaning, tidying, and then cleaning some more.

Tomorrow, I'm working 1/2 day (from home, thank goodness) then cooking up a storm. My mom's providing the smoked toikey and dressing (her's is--bar none--my favorite), and I'm doing everything else, including creating a breakfast casserole for the following morning. Tomorrow afternoon, the Geej and Dah arrive. I miss that little monkey!! I bet she's going to be wound up like a top since it will be Christmas eve. Luckily, we've got plenty of egg nog and wine (for the grown-ups, natch).

If I don't get a chance to blog again before Santa's arrival, I hope you ALL have a very safe and stress-free holiday--especially those of you who are travelling to be with friends and family.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

So Quiet.

Hey friends.

It's is practically silent at our house right now. I occasionally hear the kitties wrestling and playing, and I can hear the fridge running and--of course--the sound of my typing, but that's it.
Why so quiet? Well, my mom came and got The Geej so they could spend a few days together while school's out. BH and I both have to work tomorrow and Tuesday, and I also have to work 1/2 a day on Wednesday. I took advantage of being Geej-free yesterday to do laundry, run errands, do a tiny bit of shopping, get a pedicure, and see a movie ("Let The Right One In"--meh). Today I slept late, did MORE shopping, saw another movie ("Milk"--excellent), wrapped presents, and ate Tom Kha w/tofu.

One of the accomplishments I'm most proud of from these past two days? I reclaimed the bread box for its rightful purpose--holding bread. For as long as I can remember, the bread box has been like the defacto "junk drawer" that's in every kitchen in America. There was all kinds of crap in there--koozies, play-dough containers, batteries, old birthday cards, a charger for a cellphone I haven't had in three years. You get the idea. Well now all that's in there is a half-gone loaf of multigrain bread, which for some reason, gives me great peace.

Tomorrow's big tasks (besides going to work, of course) is to clean up The Geej's room (it's a freakin' disaster area right now) and get a grocery shopping list together for Christmas Eve dinner. It's just going to be the four of us--BH, Geej, my mom and me--but we're doing a traditional holiday dinner with all the fixins. And I'm also making a breakfast casserole thingie for Christmas morning b/c I KNOW The Geej will be up at the crack of dawn to see what Santa brought.

Speaking of, she keeps adding to her Christmas list. Today she told me she wants a pink iPod, a puppy, a guitar, a kitchen, and a puppy. Um...yeah. I don't think Santa's going to be able to get all that at this late date.

It's been VERY hard shopping for BH's boys F and J. I just have NO idea what to get for an almost 9 and 14 year old boys. Zero. I've asked BH for input at least 50 times, but he's been little help. I'm tempted to get the 14 yr. old a 6 pack of PBR and a subscription to Penthouse, but I'm really stumped for ideas for the 8 yr. old. Ideas from you guys are more than welcome.

Here's a kitteh update (since I know you're dying for one):

Doug ate several keys off my laptop this week--the Alt, X, C, and F3. He is also very curious about people food--something that never interested Earl in the least. Like a good big brother, Doug worries if he doesn't know where Diane is, and will walk around crying for her until he finds her. This week he discovered the joy of sleeping in a sunbeam as well as the wonders of the sink. He's proving to be the more chill of the two and is turning into quite the lover bear.

Diane has gas. It's really unusual for cats to be gassy, but this little gal can clear a room. She also has a total crush on BH, and clearly prefers him to me. Whereas Doug doesn't mind being picked up, Diane can't stand it and will squirm like crazy if held. She's the more aggressive of the two, picking fights and doing sneak attacks on poor Doug. She also has what BH calls "Sponge Bob Eyes" meaning they're big and sort of comically irresistable.

I am so in love with them, it's not funny. I love that one minute they're practically MURDERING each other, and the next, they're totally spooning and sacked out. I love that they have very distinct personalities. What I'm NOT loving is how frequently I'm having to scoop the litterbox. Yowzah.

I hope all of your pre-holiday craziness isn't too crazy. Right now I'm enjoying the fact that it actually feels like winter out there (it's 35 degrees) as opposed to yesterday when it was in the upper 70s. I'm also enjoying the quiet because, like this cold weather, I know it won't last very long.

Ho ho ho, freaks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The REAL reason I haven't been blogging as frequently as I should.

I want to blog more, I swear! But every time I start working on the computer, THIS happens.And if he's not doing this, he's sitting right next to the screen batting away at the cursor or the mouse. Meanwhile, Diane's in my lap purring her brains out.

So you see, it's not me. It's THEM!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Deck Bloggin'

Yes, people. I'm sitting out on the deck on a warm, sunny and breezy Saturday afternoon. The kids--mine and his--are playing, and the dog is chillin'. The kitties are sitting inside on the window sill, looking out at all of us. It' pretty great.

Doug and Diane have settled in to our home very nicely. It's easy to forget how totally insane young kitties are when you haven't had them in your world for many years. They've completely removed all of the ornaments from the lower quarter of the tree and seem to have an immense disdain for upright picture frames. They are both fearless (unlike Earl who was scared of new people, the doorbell, plastic bags, thunderstorms, etc.) and like being with their people. I am their main "person," and as a result, they follow me around EVERYWHERE. They are practically inseparable and, as much as they love each other, they also frequently and vigorously kick each other's asses. Usually at around 5:00am somewhere near our heads in bed.

This week has been super busy both at work and at home. I'm sure everyone's feeling it. This time of year is always at least 45% more insane than the rest of the year. My main problem is that I'm being meeting-ed to death at work, and as a result, unable to get very much actual WORK work done. I'm actually looking forward to having to work the weeks of Christmas and New Years because no one will be around ergo no meetings. Maybe I can actually get somewhat caught up. At any rate, I'm pretty burnt out on my workplace and could really do with at least a week away from that place. But since our time off policy is absolutely abysmal, any time off I take for the next couple of months (until I get my next paid time off hours disbursement), will be unpaid. In fact, the paycheck I got yesterday included 38 hours unpaid time off (wedding/honeymoon, Geej's walking pneumonia, and Thanksgiving). So, yay!!

The Geej had a big week too. She advanced to the next level in her gymnastics class, had a pajama party/gingerbread house making hoo hah at school on Friday, went to the Trail of Lights preview on Friday night, and went to see a movie this afternoon ("Madagasgar 2"--We've never seen the original, but we were miraculously able to keep up). That's a LOT for her in a short period of time, but luckily there seems to be plenty of holiday candy and sweets to keep her engines on full. This is important since she's got the KITTENS to take care of (and by "take care of" I mean stalk, torment, boss around, tattle on, and torment). She's appointed herself judge, jury, and executioner of the poor felines. They are very patient with her, bless their little hearts.

Let's see...what else. Oh YES, Christmas!! It's coming, isn't it? And I've just barely started shopping. I have no idea what to get most of the people in my life, and my diminished paycheck(s) aren't helping the situation.

Tonight after dinner we're going to pile in the car and partake in the time-honored American tradition of riding around and looking at Christmas lights in the rich neighborhoods around town. Then tomorrow, we head out to BH's work holiday party. That's two hours away. In the middle of the country. With three kids in the car.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

While I'm here, let me post a few recent photos for your viewing enjoyment:

The tree before we put the ornaments on it that the kittehs couldn't help but remove. The Geej thinks she's a present. When I pulled the Christmas tree skirt out of storage, it was COVERED in Earl fur. He used to love sleeping under there and never once messed with the ornaments. Sigh.

There's my little pajama'd reindeer maker (in the middle) at her class's party yesterday.

And here they are--him and her--being nauseatingly sweet and cuddly before going COMPLETELY NUTS.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen: Doug and Diane

This is Doug (sticking his big, goofy head under the Christmas tree skirt and attacking BH's hand): And this is Diane (snoozing on the couch and not minding being covered up in a bankie a bit):

That's right. As of yesterday, we now have two smallish new feline members added to our family roster.

Here's how it went down:

When Earl was sick, I was going to his vet's office once (and sometimes twice) a day dealing with everthing. During that time, I got to know the staff quite well, and bonded with them over what was happening. Plus, they all LOVED Earl (I mean, who didn't, right?), and so they knew me, I knew them, etc. After Earl died, they sent me a beautiful flower arrangement and all signed the condolences card. It meant a lot.

Anyway, earlier this week, one of the vet techs--a gal named Becca--called and said that she'd been fostering a sweet orange male kitten and his sister, and let me know I could meet them if interested. Bless her heart, she was SO sweet, and worried about if it was "too soon" for me, and let me know that it was "really awkward" for her to call me but that he was "such a great kitty" that she thought of me as a potential owner. I considered this sort of a sign. As a matter of fact I WAS ready, and was incidentally, looking for a male/female pair of litter mates to adopt. It just seemed like kismet.

So I made BH go with me to meet them on Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon, I'd called her and told her I wanted them.

Doug is bigger than his sister. He's SO playful and has a very loud purr. He's solid orange but has a tinge of lighter colored fur on his upper chest area. He's terribly handsome.

Diane is very petite and quite gorgeous. She's a grey tabby (as opposed to Ellen who was brown) and has an orange paw and a smattering of white on her upper chest. Her eyes are a beautiful grey, and her whiskers are half white, half black. And she very much likes kicking her big brother's ass.

It is very weird being around active, inquisitive, playful, mischevious cats who like each other after my last two cats being the opposite of every one of those words I just typed. They're about 4.5 to 5 mos. old, and aren't shy or skittish at all.

I'm definitely falling in love. Merry Christmas to us.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's that time of the year...

Let Sally O'Malley bring you some holiday cheer because she's FIFTY and she can kick, stretch and KICK.