Best Holiday Song – EVER

I love Christmas music – it’s part of the holiday season that I really enjoy.  Now, I want to bring part of my joy to you.  If you have never watched Straight No Chaser perform the 12 Days of Christmas, then you need to do so… NOW!

Sorry to yell at you – but seriously… now!!

So, Maybe I’m a Bit Sentimental

So, maybe I am a bit sentimental.  Or, maybe it’s just this time of the year.  I love the holidays, once we hit October 1st, I’m on a high the rest of the year (of course, some of that could be the candy and breads and other goodies!).

Halloween is super fun, Thanksgiving is a great time to renew my vow to live a life of gratitude, but Christmas, Christmas is all about the family life I’ve made.  Not just the nuclear and extended family, but my friends that have become family, too.

We put up our tree yesterday.  I know it seems early; however, Thanksgiving comes late and well, it’s a lot of work to put my tree up and I want to enjoy it as long as possible! I’m sitting here with a nice bowl of chili, watching the Cowboys and letting the glow of the lights on the tree take me away! (And, well, because doing three things isn’t enough, I’m writing this blog post, too!)

Tons of memories are made this time of year, and in our family, our traditions have traditions! Every year when we were growing up, mom and dad would let each of us kids pick out an ornament for the tree.  You could track our lives via the ornaments and year after year as we were putting our special ornaments on the tree, one of us would occasionally hold up an ornament and go “oh, I remember when…”

I’ve carried this tradition on with Mr. T, and yesterday was filled of moments “Oh, this was when you did this” or “I made this back when…”

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Our tree is nestled in the corner of the living room, out of the way but still visible from every angle.

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Here is the little stained glass church that was one of my childhood ornaments.  It is the first ornament to go on the tree, period.  Nothing goes on until I have placed this little guy.  I absolutely love this ornament.  I don’t remember when I got it, but it will always be my favorite!

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Look! It has my name!  All the way back from 4th grade!! Which also gives away my approximate age for those of you good at math!

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Merry Kissmas! I got this ornament when I was a teenager – and you know you’re as old as me if you recognize the character!

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Here is a new ornament!  My friend Kari sent this to me all the way from Alaska!  It’s entirely too awesome for words!

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I bought this for Mr. T’s first Christmas – isn’t it adorable? I did have a traditional baby’s first Christmas ornament that was a beautiful blue china rattle sent to me by my friend Melissa; however, one year we dropped it and no amount of glue was fixing that!

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First off, yes, there are candy canes all over our tree.  I load the tree up with peppermint and mint chocolate candy canes.  Everyone has gotten used to this and almost everyone who visits automatically grabs one off the tree to enjoy – including me and Mr. T!

Nestled among the branches and candy canes is Elmo, the first ornament that Mr. T picked out all by himself.

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Here we have a cloths pin reindeer that Mr. T made when he was little.

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Even Spongebob and Patrick get in on the action.  And, to be clear – those are two separate ornaments, I realize now that it looks like they are attached, but they aren’t.  We also have Shaggy and Scooby doo and on the other side of the tree in a perpetual battle you will find Spiderman and Dr. Octopus.

Putting up the ornaments gives me time to reflect on years past, think about the upcoming year and to spend 30 minutes with Mr. T where all we have to do is enjoy each other and sing along with Christmas carols playing in the background.  We laugh and joke, reminisce and make plans and let the stress of the world melt away.

And then I put up another one of my ornaments… it pretty much speaks for itself!

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On a slightly related note – I now have to go search for Supernatural ornaments – cause I think that I’d enjoying looking at this every year! Maybe when I write my letter to Santa I’ll ask if he can just wrap up Dean Winchester and leave him under my tree!

Seriously, who wouldn't want to be him?

Sometimes the Movie IS Better

Thanks to The Book Boozer and her Frightening Fall, I’ve been reading some classics.  She picked some books to read to get her in the mood for the spooky holiday season, (Yes, Halloween is a holiday season!) and I decided to play along with her.  I wasn’t going to read all of the same books she was; however, a couple of them sounded good so I decided it was time to hit the books!

In addition to The Book Boozer, Sleepy Hollow was going to awesomely be turned into a TV show on Fox. Score!

Since the Universe was pointing me in that direction, I hit the books!

I started with the classic The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.  I love this book and rereading it, I wasn’t disappointed.  Even after all of these years, it was still entertaining!

Of course, I will admit, I may still prefer the Disney version!

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I was really excited to hear about the new TV series on Fox, Sleepy Hollow.  It was marked on my calendar and my DVR was set!  Mr. T and I sat down and watched the first episode together.  About half way through I couldn’t imagine how they would carry this series; however, the “coming soon” teaser at the end of the show put my fears to rest!  I’ve watched it again, and Mr. T and I both aren’t sure if we are in love with it yet, but I’m not giving up just yet… plus, the new Ichabod, well, he’s just yummy!

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Next I tackled Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  It’s been so very long since I’ve read this book and I remember being thoroughly put off by Dr. Frankenstein.  This hasn’t changed!  Victor Frankenstein is still one of the most self-centered, arrogant and obnoxious characters to grace the pages of a book.  His narration throughout the book still drives me nuts.  He worked so hard and ended up letting go of family, friends, his studies and even his health, only to look up in horror at what he had done and turn his back on the Monster.  I still prefer the Monster who, despite everything, has a spirit that you have to admire.

Gotta say, the book drives me nuts, but you can’t go wrong with Boris Karloff’s portrayal of Frankenstein’s Monster!

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Here’s where I have to confess.  I will take Young Frankenstein over the original any day!  How can you go wrong with Peter Boyle dancing to Putting on the Ritz? Add in classic lines of “Walk this way” and then there is this:

It was good to revisit Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster, I’m very comfortable that I’ll never have to read that book again!

Today I finished Dracula by Brom Stoker.  My confession here is that I have never read this book before.  Somehow, it got missed.  Don’t get me wrong – I own the book – I just never picked it up and read it!  Another confession:  I didn’t pick up the book.  I found a free version and downloaded it to my Kindle.  Don’t judge.

Oh my goodness but this book is looonnnngggg.  It just drags on forever!  And it lags, oh does it lag.  For those that haven’t read the book, it is told through the diary entries of 6 different people, and overall, it is pleasant, but the few times that the book doesn’t drag don’t make up for the times it does.  I’m glad I read it and have a full understanding of the story (and again, Van Helsing is still one of the most awesome men in history, and even though he is older in the book, sometimes I pictured Huge Jackman!  The movie was campy, but oh Hugh!)

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You guessed it – the movie was better!  Bela Lugosi is a genius and brought the vampire to life!  Or, at least made him UnDead.

Of course, if I have to meet a member of the UnDead in real life – I’ll take David Boreanaz, the Vampire with a soul from Buffy/Angel.

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I Am A Magnet

Okay, so, here is a rule of thumb.  Never give someone a gift you’ve already given them.

This is not as easy as it sounds.  Most people give so many gifts that they can’t remember what they’ve given and to whom they gave it! (I will make a confession: I have a spread sheet.  I only use it for Christmas , but I put down what I give everyone so that I have a record.  I don’t keep a record of BD gifts, but I may have to start!) (Okay, another confession:  I don’t exchange a lot of gifts with my friends.  I am up front and let them know that I’d much rather spend time with them than get trapped in the non-optional social convention.)

Moving on.  I must be a magnet for duplicate gifts.

This happened recently.  I was asked about ideas for my BD, and I told them “I need this cheap box from Hobby Lobby” and instead, I got a beautiful, glossy wooden box, with a hinged lid and a key with a tassel.  Just like the one that has been sitting on my dresser for years and is 2/3 full of items it totally wasn’t meant for!  I toss ticket stubs in it – so if you ever want to make a list of every movie I have ever seen – just go through that box.  I honestly don’t know why I keep them; but, I do!

One time doesn’t mean I’m a magnet, right?

So, not that long ago, I got a great Christmas gift – it was something I really wanted! I was very profuse in my Thanks and even months afterwards I called and told them how wonderful it was.  A few months after that – I got the same gift for my birthday.

It must have been on sale.

I have several more examples, okay, I have more than several; however, I think that I’ve proven my point!

Some times I speak up, but it’s just easier not to.  I just feign surprise and give them thanks – and the thanks are heartfelt, as I appreciate them thinking of me, I do!

Then I put the gift in my gift closet to pass along to someone who doesn’t already have it!  Unless, it’s really good, then this works out well for my sister – as at the first opportunity I pull her aside and go “uh, they’ve already given me this, do you want it?”

My sister has gone home with some great items over the years!

As for me – it really just cracks me and my friends up.  I’d like to attract things other than duplicate gifts though – so I’m opening myself up to being a magnet for $100 bills.  I think those things should just start randomly finding me.  I’m walking down the street and BOOM, there’s a hundred dollars.  I could totally handle that!

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What I’ve Learned This Labor Day

ImageLabor Day is a yearly national holiday that celebrates all the work we’ve done throughout the year.  You would think that a holiday that is set up to reward me for all my hard work would be the one that I don’t do anything, and I came close!

I did do a little shopping, a lot of hanging out in the pool, some crafting and catching up on my sleep!  Mr. T is off for opening weekend of dove season, so I had the weekend without him.  He’s having fun and I’m so proud of him.  I really do enjoy watching him morph from little boy into the man he is going to be.  It’s such a process and it fills me with such pride that he is mine.  I know I give him grief, and tell you all about the challenges he presents me on a weekly basis, but I’m so very blessed with that kid it just fills my heart!

Here is what I’ve learned so far on my holiday weekend:

  • The sock bun is almost as easy as it looks.
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Sock bun courtesy of Pinterest

  • Just because your hair will go into a sock bun doesn’t mean it will stay in the sock bun.
  • When buying ribbon for a project – BUY THE SECOND SPOOL! You can always return it if you don’t need it.
  • You can’t run back to Hobby Lobby on Sunday to get another spool of ribbon, so your project will sit half way done on the table all day long.
  • When you color your hair purple and then wrap it up in a Walmart sack to protect, well, everything around you, you will accidentally rub the color into your scalp at your hairline and you will have a purple scalp that will take days to wash out.
  • You will not be able to visit people when your scalp and hairline is purple without a massive scarf.
  • Not all of your friends are amused when you tell them that you are getting them all pill dispensers for Christmas.
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I honestly think that this is a great gift!

  • It’s not my fault that we are getting older and all of the sudden 90% of the people in my life are on pills/supplements/etc.  It’s not, I swear.
  • You know your dog is spoiled when your mom calls to find out if she should stop by and visit him since you are out of town.
  • I also learned that your real friends are there for you no matter what, and that when you are accepted for who you are, there is no better feeling in the world.

So, that was my weekend!  And I still have one more day of it! I’m so excited! Mr. T will be back late this afternoon from dove hunting.  Last I heard, he didn’t score any doves, but did get a rabbit!

  • Oh, one more… You can never watch the A-Team movie too many times in one weekend!
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Two Words: Bradley Cooper

Happy Anti-Valentine’s Day!

First off, let me tell you that being a grown up sucks.  I’m reminded of that every year on Valentine’s Day.  You know how I finally knew I was a grown up? I didn’t get a chocolate heart from my parents.  That was a bad year.  Fortunately, my parents decided the same year to stop giving my sister and I our annual treat – so at least I got four more years than she did! hehehehe. I’m so awful!!

I did wake Mr. T up this morning and give him a card and his heart full of chocolates.  Due to the fact that he had wrestling practice this morning and had to be at school at 6:45, I have no idea if he got to have a piece before we left – I’m sure he did though! I worked for a couple of hours and then got ready for lunch with Bert.

Me and Bert at Christmastime

Me and Bert at Christmastime

Bert is my friend, and in the same industry.  He calls on me professionally, so I see him every month or two, but as friends, we text almost every day. Last year Bert and I decided to have lunch, on Valentine’s Day.  It’s a time where we get together and eat and talk and laugh, and be very, very cynical!  It’s what we do best!  Okay, he’s better at it than I am, but, it’s all good.  I’ll let him be cynical, cause he pays for my lunch! In that spirit, we decided to call it our Anti-Valentine’s Day Date.  Don’t ask me why.  It’s just how we roll!

Today was our second annual Anti-Valentine’s Day date, and it was by far our best one yet!  We met at the same Mexican food restaurant, and boy did we pig out!  It was so good, so very good.  We caught each other up on our lives.  You’d think that since we text every day, we’d know everything there was; however, there are some things that can only be shared face-to-face.  He had to tell me about a Stage 5 Clinger that he’s somehow picked up.  Okay, I know how he picked the clinger up, he didn’t listen to me.  I was very clear; however, he was very drunk!  This happened at one of the few events that he attended without me.  We’ll be in Houston in June, and I’ve promised to stick by his side.  He thinks it’s to protect him, but we all know that it’s for the free drinks.  🙂  I kid, I love Bert, he’s a hoot.  While, I’d like to feel sorry for him and the Stage 5 Clinger, I can’t.

Once I got all of my “I told you so’s!!” out of the way we got down to business.  It was good to sit and catch up.  Expand on everything that we’d only touched about in our daily texts.  We talk about mutual friends, of which there are many, catch each other up on industry gossip, discuss our kids and generally just enjoy each others company.  It’s one of my favorite days of the year.  Right up there with my annual margarita Christmas lunch with TD.  Oh, and Bert got me the biggest heart full of chocolates I’m sure the store had AND a box of turtles.  Oh emm gee.  A girl can’t be any luckier than to have friends like mine!

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It’s okay to be jealous!

One the way home, I called the local take’n bake pizza joint and put my name on a heart shaped pizza.  The past four years, this has been dinner for me and T.  He always loved that we got pizza on a school night, and the fact that it was heart shaped, well, he tolerated it because I get such a kick out of it.  I also stopped by 7-11 for a pint of vanilla ice cream.  I have a brownie mix just calling my name – and it’s Valentines Day, a regular brownie just won’t cut it, I think we need a brownie fudge sundae!

Then, I dropped the chocolates, pizza and ice cream at home and turned around and left again.  I have worked for a month on Bert’s anti-valentine gift.  I put some serious thought into it, I enlisted the help of one of his best friends and I finally made him the best gift a guy could get.  And walked off and left it when I left for lunch.  So, I headed up to the mail center and had them ship it, just a couple of cities over, for me.  Seriously, the postage cost almost as much as the gift did!  But, it’s worth it.  He’s going to love it when he finally gets it.  But really, I’ve had the gift done for a week.  It’s sitting on the top shelf of the secretary, right above where my purse is!!  I literally was inches from the gift and FORGOT TO TAKE IT!!!  Yup, that just happened.

The gift that got left behind...

The gift that got left behind…It has manly items like beef jerky, pistachio’s and his favorite part, four different types of whiskey.  

In conclusion, Happy Anti-Valentine’s Day to everyone out there!

 

Gone to the Dogs

My life has gone to the dogs.  Literally.  Well, last month it did, anyway.  Every year my parents take the grand kids camping the week between Christmas and New Year – and every year, the one week I have without my son, Mr. T, I usually get sick.  It’s like my body knows that I don’t have anyone to take care of and it decides that I shouldn’t have any fun.

This year I would have welcomed being sick.  What I got instead was way worse…

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Meet the cast: Zack

I’ve mentioned that my 27 year old brother has congestive heart failure.  So, since he isn’t working, he decided to go camping this year.  Mom and dad took Zack, the giant German Short-hair Pointer that is the sweetest and gentlest of dogs and he loves to go camping.  I always take Zoey, the Bichon Pomeranian mix that wakes up in a new world every day, as Zoey and my dog Shorty get along very well.  With my brother, Lee, going camping, this left his dog Cassius, the Boxer, to take care of.

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Meet the cast: Cassius

Now, don’t let his sweet and innocent face fool you.  Cassius can’t stay home alone, he loves getting into the neighbor’s yard, he loves barking loudly and as he’s only a couple years old, he loves chewing up everything.  Being the good sister I am, I said “sure, I’ll take him for the week.”

Obviously I’ve lost my mind at this point; I just couldn’t see it yet.

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Meet the cast: Zoey

I live in a subdivision.  I have a lock on my gate and I have a doggie door.  Shorty pretty much has free run of the house and yard.  He and the dogs behind us run the fence line playing with each other.  He likes to bark at the dogs to the side of us, which are huge, just to show them who the boss is.  He very seldom bothers the dog on the other side of us.  I only have to lock Shorty inside if one of the neighbors is using the weed-eater, as the weed-eater is his mortal enemy.

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Meet the cast: Shorty

Day 1 I learned that I can’t leave the big door open providing access to the doggie door.  All day long I was up and going to the back door to call the dogs inside.  Every time another dog was let out, Cassius lost his mind.  I’m sure he wasn’t trying to be mean, but he’s a boxer, and he has a loud bark and he will “box” the fence, he pounds his front paws on the fence.  I’ve learned that this creates a huge ruckus.

Day 3 I learned that it is pointless to sweep and mop your kitchen when you have ground still wet from the snow and you have three dogs.  I hadn’t even finished mopping before I had mud on my floor again.

Day 4 I learned that if a boxer boxes a fence too much, it will break.  I also learned that a Bichon Pomeranian can fit through an opening the size of a fence board.  I also learned that when you put rusty nails in your pocket while you are replacing the fence panel to be careful when you sit down! I kinda forgot that I had put them there, but they reminded me pretty quickly!

Day 5 I learned that a fence is a fence is a fence and it doesn’t matter that they’ve already broken panels on one side that you have had to replace, they will break panels on other sides, too.  I also learned that some neighbors aren’t as understanding… Fortunately, we mended fences – literally and figuratively.

So, due to incoming inclement weather, I got a call that they were coming home from camping a day early!  Yay me!! So very happy!  I got all the dogs loaded in the car, gathered up leashes, bagged up the left-over food and collected the toys.

My car battery was dead.  Yeah, that happened.