Christmas – Snippits of His Side aka Home of the Goatees

{Watching my brother-in-law figure out the best way to get only cheese popcorn out of the tin. And by doing so, making us not want to eat the other two kinds that were barricaded by the inside of his shirt.}

{Being handed the stocking by my father-in-law who having neither grown up with girls nor had girls can only smile patiently through my barrage of photos and finger-in-the-air tirades.}

What? You’ve never seen my finger in the air pose? It comes around quite often, I’ll scrounge up a photo for you.

{Enjoying when people can laugh at themselves. This towel made me guffaw.}
{Watching R open up gifts from his brother, which included random items left over at his house}
{Then being told by J that there are over forty little elves hiding around the room. In the photo above, I’ve already found three. Our job? Find as many as we can.}

{After we found our loot. She then read various backstories on some of the elves. If we had those particular ones, we got more points.}
{But my favorite elf was the one who was happy because he ate a bunch of chocolate. I could really relate. See his chocolatey smile? J’s so creative.}

{Some even came with money!}
{And lastly, an extremely yummy corn chowder dinner where I realize how I need Katie to do my hair every day. See what happens when I’m left to it on my own? Move to Arkansas, Katie. I need you.}

Christmas – Snippits of My Side

{Watching my mom’s expression as she tries to organize a group photo. It’s hard work herding us in from the eggnog.}
{Waiting for someone to step up and be Santa. We were all too comfy with our coffees. I think my 3 year old niece ended up having to be him…which explains what happened later.}
{Congratulating my mom on giving us clothing that will not be returned. Her secret, she said, was not caring what we thought.}
{Seething with jealousy over my nieces’ new tu-tus.}
{When finding out that they are very, and I mean very, expandable, snatching it from E and forcing her to wear another skirt during our recital. Aren’t I nice? Don’t try to get in between me and a tutu.}
{More on the recital later}
{After getting fed up with being Santa, K grabbed her new luggage and tried to flee the scene. We sat there not knowing how to proceed with the presents}
{Nephew W becoming less and less impressed with his uncles’ ability to put together literally three pieces of plastic. It was unbearable to watch.}

{Getting a fresh ‘do, cut lovingly by my cousin Katie. If you want a hairdresser that hands you a glass of wine along with the expectation that you don’t have to talk, go to her. And isn’t that what we all want out of a hairdresser? She could’ve given me a bee-hive and I would’ve been happy that no silly chat-chat was needed. She works at Rio Salon in Parkville and is classy classy classy. Tell her that Carrie sent ya. It won’t get you any discounts, but you can still tell her — you know, right before you down that glass of wine and close your eyes.}

{On a side note, if you click on the photo, you can start to see my gray coming through. When my sister saw the cut, she said, “You look ten years younger. So you finally look 29.”}


The Life of a White Elephant Gift

I’m ba-ack. Never did I think I’d miss my cozy dorm room, but it feels nice to be back into its space-confining arms. After more than a week in Kansas, we arrived home last night and are implementing many things for our 2010 selves. Until then, I’ll continue to eat my weight in chocolate.

An item that did not come home with us this year was R’s white elephant gift. Actually, neither did mine;  of the $20 worth of lottery tickets, only one was a winner (a free ticket). And even that gained us nothing.

But what those tickets didn’t give us in money, the 3D pear fruit plate gave us in fun.
Here it is, in all it’s glory. Primed to be hung on any proud ceramic fruit displayer’s wall. We were in disbelief when no one tried to steal this from us.

So R tried to give it away as part of his secret santa gift.
R drew our brother-in-law’s name for our annual secret santa amongst the siblings. This year we decided to do a $5 limit. Does anything cost 5 bucks anymore? It was hard, but we at least we were all on a level playing field.

At least I thought we were. I opened up my gift from my brother & his wife and oh, just a “five dollar” COACH purse.  Uh.. hope you guys enjoy the homemade laundry detergent. Pretty fair trade, I’d say.

R was clever with his money, though. He knew that Joe (he has allowed me to use his full name) loved his Boulevards. But when R noticed the price was $6.98, he calculated how much he’d have to drink before giving him the present. A few chugs and a couple of leftover backwashes later, we were in business.

As an extra touch of thoughtfulness, R added his lovely pear plate (free of charge) to his secret santa gift.

Joe was thrilled.
A few days later, we found the pear plate hiding in a cupboard.

“Oh, Hail No”, my mom said. “This is not staying in our house.”

So she suggested I wrap up the plate and give it to R during his family’s christmas morning.
And being the dutiful daughter, I did.

R was not as thrilled as Joe. That is, until his father and brother went out to shoot blue rock in their backyard. And this is where the plate’s lovely life took a sad, sad turn. 

Please cover your eyes as there are shocking images ahead.

Not a direct hit, but fatal nonetheless. We will miss you, oh gawdy ceramic pear plate. May you go into white elephant gift heaven.

How Not to Watch a Meteor Shower

Well, there’s a couple things you’d want to do in order to NOT watch a meteor shower.
First, (and this is an important one, folks) you’ll want to misread the time suggested for watching the shower. Disregard “EST” next to the time. It is extremely unimportant.
Then, convince your husband that staying up until after midnight (on a school night – gasp!) will be a bonding experience.
Next, proceed to wear cut off pajamas with wool socks and tevas. (Fellas, don’t be jealous of R.)
After you’re done dressing inappropriately for the weather, ask your hubby to set up the lawn chairs outside.
Nevermind that it’s pitch black and the neighbor arriving home in 15 minutes will freak out when he finds two people sitting in the middle of the sidewalk staring at him as he turns the corner.  This will be a good ice breaker.
Lastly, go ahead and sit out for 30 minutes thinking that maybe the newspaper was wrong and the show will start later than expected.
Only get up when your emotions are frozen solid. Apologize once they’ve thawed and go to bed.

Plug your nose and talk.

Did you do it? Because that’s what I sound like, without a cold.
They say there’s no market for nasal voices, and by they I mean every person that has ever heard me talk.
But guess what, mister sister, I was chosen to be the voice recording for the entire school district’s telephone tree. That’s right. Lil ole nasaly me.
Okay, so maybe they said it was because I could speak spanish. But I know they secretly liked the nasal.

Merry Christmas..

to ourselves. R and I spent Sunday christmas shopping. We ended up buying more things for ourselves than for anyone else it seemed like. Mama’s got a brand new pair of shoes and a book for starters. I talked myself out of a second book, but don’t breathe a sigh of relief. You just don’t see my hand hovering over the “Buy” button on the keyboard. It’ll come soon.
But this one! Oh, this one.
Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century.
Yum! I love the poses of the mannequins along with actual paintings of the clothing in question.

Candlelit Singing

R finally set up a double date with his co-worker. It took only 2 months, but that’s okay. I felt like I had already been on a date with them (or at least his wife) when we watched her perform in a local play.

A thespian! A real life person, that I can actually touch and feel, who appreciates productions & art as much as me.

I didn’t need to explain during the choir performance why certain notes made my throat hurt, or feel self-conscious for just barely holding back tears throughout others.

She got it. And that made me happy.

At the end of the concert, candles were passed around. R lit mine and I felt united with him for a moment.

And then the congregation sang Silent Night together.
All in all, a great date night. Not to mention the cheap white wine I brought over to their house. That’s right, just keeping it classy.

But one other thing made me smile that night: finding a new song in which to indulge. Laudamus Te by Mozart. When the harpsichord starting playing, my heart lept and I thought, Oh my gosh.. is this Mozart?? But if you read the comments below, I was way off. This was not Mozart, but Vivaldi. Thank you, Hazel.
Note to self: Learn that the name written in a choir concert program is probably for the lyrics.

Below is Laudamus Te sung at the concert. These aren’t the two girls who actually sang it. No, they were left in a pile of ashes after my eyes burned envy into them. Too beautiful, they were.

But this is still wonderful.

A child was born.

In the form of my first official knitted fabric swatch.

Jesus was born too, but I’m sure He would’ve appreciated blue yarn more?

Proud Mom.

I’ve spent the past two saturday mornings at a little shop in the fayetteville square. Both days have been cold and overcast. Perfect days for this activity.

Once in the store, I would run to the back and grab a seat at the old wooden table. This time the group was already there. A group that included a chatty woman, a defensive woman, a bubbly woman, and a weird quiet woman that reminded them of the girl on the Breakfast Club. You know, the one that would shake her hair onto black paper to make snowy craft projects?

That’s me. But I’m starting to prefer to be the quiet one. They’re the scariest in the group, I think, because … they’re listening. Someone who would actually listen to anything I say instantly ups the fright ante.

This is the chair I try to grab each class. I’ll knock someone over if I have to. I’ve been debating about offering money for it. I’d like it for my future dining room table.

I’d take the cat too. She wanders around the table playing with our needles and rolling yarn balls back and forth.

Can this class get any more picture-perfect?

Eyes in the Back of My Head

During one of our many excursions to a local restaurant over the summer (and judging from my outfit, we apparently were rewarding ourselves for exercising by eating back all the calories we burned off), I happened to lean a bit to my left.

…Probably reaching for more salt.

At about the same time, I saw R jump a bit. And for him to jump meant he was seriously startled. This guy never flinches. It’s especially annoying when I wait behind closed doors for hours on end to scare him and then don’t get a reaction. I’ll never learn.

He thought this guy was just sitting there calmly watching R eat.

Don’t you love looking back on those moments? Where you all sorts of things run through your mind.

Is he staring at me? Why is he staring at me. Oh my god, he’s actually just staring at me!!
(As you can tell, the thoughts that run through my mind don’t vary much.)

I couldn’t stop laughing.
Eventually I did.

Because they brought out the cheese dip… and then things started to get very serious, my friends.

Butter, please.

..and I guess a few walnuts with phyllo dough.

Gotta love baklava. No pictures were obtained of individual pieces due to them having been promptly eaten (by me) during the plating process.

On another note, would you like some insight into how a one-car family enjoys below freezing weather?
  1. Well, they tend to walk out to find their one-car’s doors frozen shut.
  2. With some jiggling, they normally manage to get the passenger door open.
  3. Said one-car takes a few minutes to get to a freezing temperature (you know, as opposed to below-freezing) as they drive to work.
  4. Upon arrival, passenger tries to open the door only to find they are both frozen shut, trapping owners within.
  5. It is quickly realized by both driver and passenger that no amount of jiggling will open the doors.
  6. Driver of the car then rolls down and climbs through the window.
  7. He/She walks to the passenger side and jiggles the door open for passenger.

…and repeat.
Is this the so-called character building part of my life?

Small Town Lights

I’m enchanted with small towns. So, seeing our town’s adorable christmas decorations made my insides turn to jelly. You know, like when you went on that first date with a guy and saw that he’s reaching across to caress your cheek, only to realize that he’s actually just scraping spinach off the tip of your nose because instead of using utensils, you apparently just put your head straight into the pasta dish and slurped.


Well, you know the feeling I’m talking about.

look at these lights. just look at them! they are so simple and small-townish.

Dorm Backsplash

“You are crazy”, thought the apartment lady, when we opted out of the two barstools that came with the dorm room. Who gives up free seating? Well, we do.

Little miss carrie has an affinity for forgotten, lonely chairs. Sometimes these strays come scratching on my door and I just have to give them milk. Before I know it, they’re here for good and my living room has begun to resemble a doctors waiting room.

Two of these particular chairs, bought for a buck each at a garage sale and upholstered as a housewarming gift from my parents, fit only below the stove area.

So I’ve been wandering places trying to find alternative backsplashes. I had a few ideas:
  • placing a painting on a miniature easel on the counter top.
  • hanging various metal serving platters so that I could place pictures, postcards, etc on it with magnets. Those would be facing the living room, but you could put recipes on the inside of the hanging platters for when you’re cooking.
  • hanging an old window. this allows you to still see through the other room.

But in the end, I decided to use pots. We don’t have room for these in the cupboards anyway, and it gives me the feeling of a country kitchen, especially when placed next to the bouquet of wooden spoons.

Now this area? It’s a mish-mash of materials. I haven’t a clue.

my reward for not calling in sick last week, even though I wanted to.

We’ve been holed up here today, trying to get over whatever bug is making us feel lowsy. I did go to my knitting class, but quickly came home and have hardly moved from the sofa.

Last night, neither of us wanted to make dinner. That is, until we watched Survivor. (yes, still watch this darn show. I think I’m addicted.)

And then we saw it during the reward challenge: burger… french fries… beer…

Oh my, we looked at each other and exlaimed, “We need that. Now.”

So, as if we had not eaten in 30 days, we piled up the plates with our own reward challenge.

The only challenge here was to not use too much mayo. Does anyone else do that?

And can I say that I will never go back to frozen french fries? First of all, so much cheaper with plain ‘ol taters. Secondly, so much tastier. Unfortunately, I did not make the buns. I’ve made buns before and they took me forever, but came out okay. I need to try again, but this was an emergency. We needed them stat to gorge our faces.

Our sicky heads were happy last night. So very, very happy.


My lamp is on fire.

I love moments like these. Catching smoke out of the corner of your eye, and really believing it for a second, until you realize incense was placed directly beneath it.

By the way, doesn’t the shade look like pantyhose from the 1950s? Yes, that’s how I roll.

Turkey Giblets

We had a nice time over the Thanksgiving holidays. We slept in a half hour later each day, it was delightful.

On actual Turkey Day, the whole family (minus two lovlies in L.A.) came together. Here are some snippits.

:: coloring with my niece before the feast ::

:: my uncle bringing over some of mee-maw’s oyster dressing, brought directly from her spirit apparently ::

:: setting out the glassware. Yes, the blue one was mine ::

:: catching my husband in awkward photo positions ::

:: hanging out with my sisters and posting a good-looking photo in hopes that one of them will forgive me for what is soon to come ::

:: holding hands and saying a couple prayers before committing gluttony ::

:: holding back on portion size ::

:: giving thanks to our hosts ::

:: also giving thanks that I don’t have to look at this carnivorous activity straight on. A side view is plenty, thank you ::

:: going for a post stomach-suicide walk ::

:: watching home movies, including one in which my sister, L, asks a question on the Leeza Gibbons Show while in college. This one made our stomachs hurt we laughed so hard ::

:: watching a late night dance production ::

:: while Aunt Carrie played the piano ::
But I have to say there was one thing that most contributed to this being a great weekend. Not the family time, not the sleeping-in….

:: prunes, baby. that’s all I need to say ::