December 31, 2009


It's the last day of the year. Also the last day of the first decade of the 21st century. I can't believe it's been 10 years since the Y2K hysteria. This has been a typical crazy, wonderful year. Nothing too eventful in terms of startling revelations or events. Chunky had an injury. Sassy started something new. I persevered though I don't know all the things I'd like to. We have our health, our jobs and each other so we're ending the year as well if not better than how we started. Ever the eternal optimist, I'm looking forward to 2010.

My 2009 resolutions were to start and maintain a blog, catch up on scrapbooking and enroll in a Master's program. I'm two for three. I don't really have any new resolutions. I figure I should just carry on with this year's - continuing the two and actually doing the third.

My favorite things haven't changed. I still love food as much as I did a year ago hence I haven't parted with my love handles. I still heart Christmas music, all things Twilight, snuggling with my kids (furry and otherwise) and vacations. I've discovered new blogs - The Pioneer Woman, Smitten Kitchen, The Spohrs are Multiplying - and parted with others. Still inspired by these folks. I'm glad I joined the ranks and hope readers - old and new - find this blog inspiring, funny or just plain crazy (I'm at peace with my craziness).

Sassy's best friends, Miguel, Sprinkle and Muffin are over along with assorted boyfriends and girlfriends. They alternate between grazing, giggling and general goofing around. Sometimes it's loud. REALLY LOUD. Sometimes not so much. Which makes me nervous and necessitates a "hand check".

I'd best be off - the furry kids are circling the appetizer smorgasbord. Happy New Year!

December 29, 2009

RIP Kiwi

My Mom lost her beloved Kiwi, an Eclectus Parrot, in an unfortunate accident yesterday. We have many memories of Kiwi. He stalked me once because I called him "stupid" (sibling rivalry - he had my mom wrapped around his big toe). He and Chunky bonded intellectually as they were about the same age, and Sassy fondly remembers his attempting to mate with my hand on one visit. He was a very pretty bird and will be deeply missed.

December 26, 2009

Merry, Merry

We had a very Merry Christmas. Hope you did as well. Marching on to a new year and a new decade!

On the weather front, here was the front page of yesterday's paper. As of 12:30 this morning we had about 9 inches. Could be worse - Duluth had 24 inches! We're hearing now the next round may not be as bad as "they" initially thought. Who else has a job where you can be wrong at least 50% of the time?!

Scenes from Christmas Eve
We gathered at the in-laws with Hubby's sisters' family. We started the gift giving with "magic" undergarments - boxer shorts for the big boys, socks for Chunky and tshirt/short pjs for Sassy. These come in a small compressed package and expand in water. Everyone ran into the bathroom to see what theirs looked like. Chunky couldn't wait to wear his.

Another big hit were Lacoste baseball hats for all the grandsons - Chunky's second from the left.

Scenes from Christmas Day: Our House
Sassy really wanted DJ Hero and Santa complied. I didn't know what to get Hubby. He has unique and expensive taste. I got him a netbook but he's not crazy about it (too slow, not a Mac) so it's going back. At least he had something to open. I love that he's still in his trashy snowthrowing clothes. He showered AFTER gifts. He's worse than the kids.

Scenes from Christmas Day: Grandma & Papa's
Sassy got a couple of other things from her "Santa wish list" - Ugg boots and a L.A.M.B shirt (she hearts all things Gwen Stefani).

Papa had some enthusiasm forced upon him when we cajoled him into modeling one of the many new shirts he received. Hubby got in the act too.

Chunky got lots (and lots) of clothes. This made him really happy. Not! I was surprised he liked this sweatshirt enough to put it on for a photo. He had to eat a little crow later when a discovery was made after everyone had finished opening gifts. We started cleaning up and ... Oh my! What's this?! Another gift in the closet? Who's could it be? Thank you Grandma & Papa for a remote control car. You saved Chunky from an almost certain death of no toy-itis.

December 24, 2009

Winter Wonderland

It is a vision of white here in the arctic. Snow has been slowly but steadily falling since mid-day yesterday. Not sure what the exact count is - I heard 4-8 inches this morning. Hubby has already had to use the snow thrower twice - pre snowplow and post. If you live somewhere with a good bit of snow you know that the snowplow is a double-edged sword. It clears the roads and also leaves a lovely ledge of snow at the end of your driveway. That ledge can be the height of a small child depending upon the amount of snow being plowed. If you don't take care of it right away, it gets hard and crusty. Like a glacier. Lucky for us Hubby has a four-wheel drive diesel truck (aka monster truck).

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2009

A for effort

I got an A in Ethics and Leadership! Now on to Strategic Communications. Of course there are assignments due the very first class. I must be insane!

#1: Present a 4-minute narrative about a time in which you have taken a stand on an ethical issue. This is an extemporaneous presentation (no notes). Just tell the story. Your challenge in presenting is to decide what “the moral of the story” should be. What theme or principle does your narrative illustrate? Frame your introduction and conclusion purposefully.

#2: Write a one page short description of yourself. Include your rationale for being here and what your current interests are. Tell us everything you would like us to know about yourself.

December 22, 2009

Baby Names #2

For those of you who think I'm crazy for blogging about my never-to-be-used baby names (you know who you are), here's a timely story regarding pop culture influences on baby name trends.

For the fifth consecutive year, Aiden is tops for most popular boy name. And for girls? Isabella takes the number one spot away from Emma.

Twilight had a big impact - Bella, Alice, Jacob and Jasper - all have gained popularity.
What about Edward?!

December 21, 2009

Baby Names

I'm now thinking Ava Elisabeth and Giovanni (Van) Robert for the twins' names. note: I am not pregnant, just have an overactive imagination/dream cycle. I wonder if I'll still have baby names picked out when I'm past childbearing age. This makes me laugh because when I visited my grandma (dad's mom) while pregnant with my kids she would tell me what her girls names would have been if she had had more kids. I think she wanted girls - she had two boys and unfortunately both passed away before her. Grandma was 87 when Sassy was born and her favorite name was Allison. I entertained the idea of using it for a moment, but just couldn't.

The top three girl names for 1994 were Jessica, Ashley and Emily. My favorite name at the time was Emma but Hubby hated it. Said it sounded like an old lady. I've always liked Emma - it was my other Grandma's (mom's mom) middle name. She hated it too, but I thought it was better than her first name, Angeline. Her mother wanted to name her Juanita Rose, but great-grandpa won out. Emma was the #1 name in 2008 so I must have been progressive back in 1994. The name we chose for Sassy was #106 then. It was the ONLY one Hubby and I agreed upon. Her middle name is after Hubby's maternal grandmother. She would have been named Andrew (Drew) if a boy which was the 12th most popular boy name in 1994. Grandma was 93 when Chunky was born and still liked Allison. I was sure I was having a boy so picked out only one girl name, Annabelle. The top three boy names for 1999 were Jacob, Michael and Matthew. Chunky's name was #117 and my favorite - I got to choose whatever I wanted since Hubby selected Sassy's. Chunky shares Hubby's middle name to keep with tradition for a family name. Hubby sure gets a lot of choices around here. I'll have to work on that.

December 19, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like ...

I finally got the ornaments on the tree today. For the record, I thought it looked perfectly lovely without the ornaments. Chunky and I decorated while listening to Christmas music. He kept turning the CD off to tell me he liked his version of whatever song it was better - then proceeded to sing off key. Oh the joy.

I love seeing ornaments that take me back - these were special to my grandmother.

Even the critters have ornaments around here -

My mother schlepped this bowl all the way from Tuscany for me. I thought it made a nice dining room table centerpiece with Hubbys' Aunt Hildegard's handmade mini Christmas tree skirt. I thought about filling it with ornaments but decided not to as you wouldn't be able to see the unique pattern.

I have most of the presents bought and wrapped. I haven't done any baking, but plan to make Rugelach and Peppermint Fudge tomorrow.

On a random note, I have babies on the brain lately. I had a dream I gave birth to twins the other day. I'm thinking Ava, Elise, or Liesel for the girl and Kiefer, Lance or Milo for the boy.

December 13, 2009

Mrs M

Happy Birthday to my favorite New York traveling buddy!

December 12, 2009

After all... tomorrow is another day

Name that movie and who said it!

I technically finished the paper yesterday - I typed the last words at 11:46pm. Then the printer started making funny sounds. And then I ran out of 3-hole punch paper. Good gravy. I shut everything down and went to bed. This morning I reviewed, made minor edits ('cause I'm a dork), downloaded to a flash drive and headed to Kinko's (evidently it's now FedEx but I still call it Kinko's). They printed put my 10 page paper on 3-hole punch paper for $1.48. For the record, I'm not embarrassed that I had to use my credit card for that measly amount. Off I went to turn it in. I had a dream the other night that I went to turn it in and all the doors were locked. Then last night I dreamt the doors were open but there was no place to put my binder - they had already been picked up. You could not imagine my relief when I arrived this morning at 10am and saw a pile of binders. Phew! I figured I'd buy the books for my next class while I was on campus. As I was walking my right boot heel felt a bit wobbly. I arrived at the bookstore only to find it closed today. of course. I walked back to my car and as I was arranging myself in the driver's seat my heel broke off. Merry Christmas.

Scarlett O'Hara - Gone With the Wind

December 11, 2009

I Think I Can

I've taken the day off of work to write my last paper. Pathetic I know. Better late than never. It's due tomorrow at 2:00 but I'm optimistic I can get on a roll and finish by this afternoon. I have to turn it in with a 3-ring binder (portfolio) of all my work from the class, including drafts, notes and grading grids. I spent spare moments the last couple of days making a nice cover with index sheets and 3-hole punching paper. Oy!

On a random note, I've added a countdown to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics in the sidebar. I heart the Olympics. While in labor with Sassy in 1994 I was really hoping I'd wait to dilate and deliver until after the pair skating team Gordeeva & Grinkov performed. In the end I had a less than three-hour labor with only a half hour of pushing and a beautiful baby girl, but there was a little part of me that was bummed to have missed the gold medal performance. In 2004 Chunky's birthday party theme was the Summer Olympics in Greece. Yum ... Spanakopita appetizers. And who could forget the local tie-in to the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" hockey game?! 12 of the 20 USA team players were from MN as well as the infamous coach, Herb Brooks.

December 8, 2009

Shut Up and Drive

We're getting our first real snow. It's not that bad it's just that we here in the arctic forget how to drive for a few months out of the year when we experience the great thaw that is summer. I carpooled with MPB today and she almost threw me out of the car for singing Christmas songs. I heart Christmas songs. It wouldn't have done much damage though 'cause we were only going five miles an hour. We saw one car crashed into a street light pole. Not good. We picked up MPB's almost five month old daughter from daycare and I was vindicated when the only sounds that soothed her crying were my renditions of 'O Holy Night' and 'Jingle Bell Rock'. That girl knows a good thing when she hears it.

December 5, 2009

So Much Shopping, So Little Time

The arctic is snowless these days. Never fear, it's still plenty cold (25° tops). We did a little holiday shopping today. For some reason I'm really struggling for ideas this year. I didn't know what to get the girls at work and I got tired of overanalyzing so they're getting......what I give them :) I bought Sassy a cute sundress for our upcoming vacation and myself some clothes at my favorite store to celebrate the (almost) end of my first grad class. Just one more paper due in 6 days. Last night was the last class and we had a potluck. I made savory goat cheese & herb biscotti but they turned out a bit more toasted than intended (darn oven). I served the lightest ones along with hard salami and herb cheese spread. Another classmate brought homemade tamales (yum!), while others brought salads, veggies, cheeses and even pizza. We had quite a smorgasbord. In other news, Chunky had his first basketball game for teams A and B this week. He's made a lot of improvement and things are going well. Let's hope that continues!