Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Week

Work has been very busy, the holidays have been busy, I've been trying to get some freelance stuff done, and shop, and wrap, and work . . . but there have been some very nice things happening, too.

Bob and I had a nice Christmas. We spent Christmas Eve at his parents' house with his family, as we always do. He was getting a cold, though, and was feeling worse and worse, so he stayed home on Christmas Day while I went out to spend the day with my family. I made Stephenson's Green Rice Casserole from an old recipe booklet that Bob's mother had given me long ago. I'd never made it, but now that Stephenson's is closed, if I'm going to have it, I'll have to make it!

It turned out fine, but I had adjusted it a little to make more, and I think it turned out a little dry. But it was still good.

Bob hadn't felt much like doing our own Christmas on Christmas Eve, but he had one gift that he wanted me to open -- a beautiful turquoise blue semi-precious stone pendant set in silver. He couldn't remember what the name of the stone was, and I don't recognize it, so one of us will have to check with the shop. It's lovely, though. He opened one gift, too -- a pair of slippers that he needed badly.

We opened the rest of our gifts on Christmas morning -- he got me underwear, a candle, a movie (Matchstick Men), a calendar and candy and an iTunes card, and I got him a calendar and a shirt and an iTunes card . . .

On Thursday evening I met Barb, Patti and Sue for dinner at Cheesburger in Paradise, which was a lot of fun. I brought home half of my meal (chicken quesadillas), which I took for lunch yesterday. Someone had come in for a meeting, and brought bagels, so I had a cranberry bagel with my tea for breakfast. David called in the morning, and my old friend Matt from Lynqs days came in, and Clark, Shane's dog, was there, and later Anna came in with Dominic. Both Clark and Dominic hung out in my office for awhile. Clark likes the carpet, and Dominic likes the whiteboard.

Then last night, Bob and I got home at the same time, and we immediately went back out to the wholesale club. I picked out a couple of pairs of lightweight flannel pajama pants and a bag of grapefruit, and Bob got a beef roast, a bag of shrimp, and a bag of potatoes, then we went over to Culver's for hamburgers. They had special cranberry milkshakes for the holidays, so I had one, and it was delicious. I love the "special" things that some places have during the holidays, like the cranberry bagels and shakes. I had driven through McDonald's a couple of weeks ago and was disappointed to find that they didn't have anything special -- they used to have peppermint shakes at Christmas, but I guess they don't do that anymore.

All in all, it was a pretty good week, and yesterday was an exceptional day. And now I have another four day weekend! Barb's going to come over during the day on New Year's Eve to exchange gifts and hopefully go out for lunch or dinner or something, and maybe go out and see Bob at the store. And now -- Saturday morning -- I need to go out and run some errands, go to the library and the grocery store, and I can't remember what else ... look at my list.

And think about some goals for 2008.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

And more weather

It's winter in Kansas, after all.

I always have good intentions about starting Christmas preparations early, and generally never get much of anything done early, but this year, I really almost totally blew everything off until this weekend. I went shopping last weekend and got some stuff, but I knew I still had this weekend, so I wasn't too worried about it.

We had our office Christmas luncheon yesterday (at Morton's in Crown Center, if you're familiar with it), which was lovely, then I went back to the office to finish up a couple of things, make sure I was in good shape to be gone for four days. Dave and Kurt came back to get their stuff before heading home, and Kurt walked out to my car with me. We were talking about our weekend plans, and he said that there was bad weather coming this weekend, that I'd better be careful, but it's so seldom that the weather people are right that I hardly ever pay attention anymore.

He said it was supposed to sleet, then snow, and he had heard predictions of anywhere from two to five inches.

Bob was going in to work at noon today, and I didn't have any intention of going out before that. I guess it started sleeting around 10:30 or so. He left shortly thereafter, going in a little bit early, and I messed around on the computer for awhile, then went upstairs to get dressed sometime around noon. I went to Kohl's, and Target, and Wal Mart (Wal Mart only because Bob had asked me to get something from there, but I ended up wandering around and buying paper products and bubble bath, too). As the day went on, the streets got slicker, but it never really snowed, just spit sleet all day, little sharp pieces of ice hitting the windshield. I scraped the windows two or three times after the car had been sitting in the parking lot.

Around 4:00 or so, I was tired, and decided to come home. I need to regroup, figure out what I have, and what I need, and as long as we don't get a snowstorm tonight, I'll go back out tomorrow. I came home, ate a bagel with cream cheese, took a hot bath to warm up, and am in for the night. Bob won't be home until around 11:00, probably; last night he went out for a beer after work with a friend, and got home at 1:00, after I'd been asleep for about three hours. He said he's coming right home tonight, because he has to go in early.

He was off on Wednesday, and he got the Christmas tree, and he put lights on it; we'll decorate it tomorrow night, I think, because he's going in to work at 9:00 a.m. and will get home around 6:00, hopefully. We always have a little "feast" the night we decorate the tree--usually fondue, but he's getting a cold and said that probably wasn't the best thing for him to eat. So he asked me to make chili. We'll have chili and play Christmas music or watch a Christmas movie or something--surely something good will be on on Sunday night before Christmas, then I'll probably wrap presents. "Home Alone" is on right now in the background, one of my favorites.

My UPS keeps beeping and telling me that I'm running on battery power, and should save everything and shut down. I get that little surprising spurt of adrenaline, and save everything, then everything seems to be okay for another ten or fifteen minutes. I suppose we're getting little power surges or something; hopefully we won't lose power tonight. But I guess I'd better save everything and shut down just in case.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007


The ice turned out to be nothing, at least here. I know they had terrible ice storms all over the Midwest, and a few people here lost power briefly, but the huge ice storm that all the weather people were warning us about never happened. In fact, it's been pretty mild ever since then, too. We got some snow last weekend, and it as a little slick, but nothing major. Hopefully we'll continue to be lucky in that regard.

I'd been going back and forth over whether to send the guys at work a link to my Etsy shop; something at our weekly staff meeting prompted me to, though. I can't remember what, although maybe it was just talking about what I did over the weekend. A couple of people bought things, six pieces all told. Not a lot, but that's okay. I was just kind of glad to have people see what I do.

Last night I was making a few pairs of earrings to supplement my inventory, and I was thinking about how some of the larger employers around town occasionally bring in vendors who set up in the lobby for a few hours so employees can "shop" on their lunch hours. It's too late for me for that now, but I think I'll look into it after the first of the year. I don't know exactly what's involved, but it might be worthwhile.

Up 'til now I've mostly been making the earrings one pair at a time, but last weekend I started making two at a time, so when someone buys something, if I have another one, I can immediately relist it. Of course, everything is dependent on having the raw materials at hand, but even with the things that are readily available, I don't think I want to make the same things over and over forever.

I kind of like having most of my stuff be either one-of-a-kind or a somewhat "limited edition." All of the ones with stones are individual, anyway, since none of the stones looks exactly alike.

I also have to figure out at what point I can start thinking of my business in terms of ordering wholesale. Right now I don't think I can justify it, but I placed a couple of large orders over the weekend for earwires, or what I thought were large orders--I used up most of them this week. But anyway, if the ones I made don't sell, I can always take them apart and make something else. The only thing that would be sacrificed would be the headpins. Plain ones are cheap, so they're no real loss, but I've been using more expensive, fancy Bali ones lately.

I guess I'll figure it all out eventually. It all seems to be working out pretty well lately, anyway.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Even though Kansas is in a State of Emergency, we're fine here.

Right now, the temperature isn't low enough for the rain to freeze on the streets, but that's not to say that it won't drop later. Right now it's just rain.

With all the dire predictions yesterday -- and obviously a lot of other parts of the Midwest got it much worse than we did -- around 4:00 I started thinking about what things I could take home in case I couldn't get to work today. Bob got off at 5:00 and called and asked when I was leaving work, and I said I would leave soon, but I needed to finish up a few things.

He called again a little before 6:00 and said, "You've got to get out of there! The storm is 15 minutes from Olathe!" I expected him to say, "We're all gonna DIIIIIIIIIIE!"

But he didn't. I shut the computer down, poured out the last of my glass of water, got my coat, went out and told Jeff that Bob said we needed to leave NOW, and started turning off lights. Bob called again about five minutes later, and I opened up the phone and said, "I'm turning off the lights!"

I do appreciate him looking after me, though, of course. Jeff and I left (and I was glad to have him with me), and I called Bob from the car to tell him I was on the way home. It wasn't bad, neither the weather nor the traffic. It was a little bit slow, but not bad at all, really.

Bob was worried about the trees, worried about branches breaking and hitting the house, which I hadn't even thought of, so of course I started worrying about that, too. He reminded me of the last ice storm we had, when the wind was high and branches kept hitting the windows, and he made me sleep in the basement in case one came through the bedroom window.

I woke up several times in the night, and it seemed to pretty much rain all night.l This morning, there was nice on the trees, but I think the ground must have been too warm for it to really form on the streets. The parking lot at work was slick, but the roads were fine. I'm not sure what's going to happen tonight. If the temperature drops a lot we could definitely have an ice rink to drive on, but for now, it seems like we may have lucked out.

Bob said he turned the heat way up last night to get the house warm in case we lost power, I guess thinking that it would stay warmer longer. I wouldn't have thought of that, I thought that was a really good idea. People at work said they lost power briefly overnight, but that it came back on. I don't think we ever lost it. Hopefully we won't.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

The traditional side

For the last few days Bob's been asking me to make him a Christmas CD, and I finally sat down last night (very late last night) to finish it up for him. He said he wanted some traditional songs, and "some of your weird ones." I worked hard to get that balance right. Here's his playlist:

  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - The Barenaked Ladies
  2. Deck the Halls - Mannheim Steamroller
  3. Jingle Bells - Earl Scruggs
  4. Anno Domine - Trans Siberian Orchestra
  5. Christmas Must be Tonight - The Band
  6. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Mannheim Steamroller
  7. Driving Home for Christmas - Chris Rea
  8. Better Days (Acoustic Version) - Goo Goo Dolls
  9. The Virgin Mary - Mason Williams
  10. That Old Christmas Moon - Leon Redbone
  11. We Three Kings - The Roches
  12. A Song of Christmas - Lowen & Navarro
  13. Christmas Bayou - BeauSoleil
  14. Winter Wonderland - Lenny B & Madison Park
  15. I'll Be Home for Christmas - Leon Redbone
  16. Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  17. Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys
  18. Here We Come Wassailing - Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians
  19. Christmas Time - Smashing Pumpkins
  20. Oh Tannenbaum - Vince Guaraldi

I'm still working on one for me, leaning very heavily toward the "weird" side.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas stuff

I got several jewelry orders this weekend, and I've been beefing up my inventory, so I went to Joann today for some retail therapy. They didn't have the earwires that I wanted--I ended up ordering them online tonight--but I bought a bunch of fancy headpins and some plain sterling earwires. I also bought Christmas-themed tissue paper for packing orders.

Then I went to Target and bought Christmas cards. I send quite a few Christmas cards, so yesterday I went by Half Price Books to see if they had any I liked. They had a few cute ones, but nothing that I really loved. I found some cute ones at Target, though, so I can cross that off my list. If you want to get on my Christmas card list, just send me one!

My mailing address is:

P.O. Box 27266
Overland Park, KS 66225-7266 U.S.A.

When I was at Joann, I bought a really cute little tabletop artificial tree, with a painted tin bucket to sit it in. I thought it would like nice on the dining room table (assuming I ever get the jewelry making supplies and wrapping paper off of it . . .), but Dinah wouldn't leave it alone. She got up on the table and started chewing on it, and when she wouldn't stay away from it after I yelled at her, I set it over on top of the server, and she got up there to chew on it. I figured short of putting it on top of the refrigerator, I wouldn't be able to keep it away from her, so I brought it in to work. Which is fine, but I already had a tree here. Oh well, can't have too many, that's what I say!

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Saturday, December 01, 2007


When I got home the other night there was an Amazon box waiting for me. I knew I hadn't ordered anything (well, I had, but I knew it was too early for that order to be arriving), so I figured it must be a gift. It was -- Joanna had sent me a copy of Junior, the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Danny DeVito movie about a scientist (Schwarzenegger) who tests a fertility drug and gets pregnant.

In the enclosed note, Joanna said that she had gotten it for me because it had been on my wish list for four years!

I wrote to her this morning and said that there was a story attached to that, and that I would tell it today.

Actually, the story was from back in 2000! Bob and I were in Sarasota on vacation and had an interesting last evening before heading home:

Bob called sometime after 4:00 and said he was finished, and I asked him if he'd had a snack in the bar as he'd planned, and he said that the kitchen at the country club was closed--they were having a party that night and they were getting ready for that. He was starving. So I went out to pick him up, and he said we should head directly for the restaurant. We had planned to have dinner again at Phillippi Creek.

I wasn't hungry at all, though, since I'd had such a late lunch assuming he would have something in the late afternoon, too, so we decided we'd go back to the hotel and have drinks at the tiki bar (we were becoming quite the regulars, obviously), and he could have something there, then we'd go out for a late dinner.

While we drove over the drawbridge to get to the hotel earlier, we had noticed a bunch of boats sitting in the bay--our hotel was on a key and was only reachable by the bridge. When Bob went up to the bar to get cigarettes, the bartender told him there was going to be a boat parade that night, and that the bridge would be up until it was finished. I thought, well, it was probably better to be stuck on this side rather than be outside and not be able to get back to the hotel, so we still thought we'd just wait and go out later, and we went back to the room.

We napped for an hour or so, then watched the "Parade of Boats" on local television--yachts and boats from miles around, strung with Christmas lights, parading through the bay. Not terribly compelling on television, though. It seemed to go on forever, and it must have been close to 9:30 before it was over. I still had to pack, and by that time I didn't have much interest in going out.

Bob had to get gas, and he said he'd get something for us to eat while he was out, and I'd stay and pack. It was actually kind of nice. I watched "Junior," which I'd never seen--a movie in which Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a scientist who experiments on himself and gets pregnant. Pretty stupid, really, but I enjoyed it. Bob came back with a grocery sack--sometime after he left he realized he only had $12 cash, and he ended up buying deli sandwiches and a bag of potato chips at the grocery store.

So our last night was a picnic in the hotel room--a turkey sandwich and a carton of orange juice for me. It wasn't bad at all, really. It was kind of fun. Just not what we would have done had we had a choice.

It's funny how sometimes things that don't seem particularly memorable at the time are the things that you remember most of all. I had a really nice, quiet time packing that night in the hotel, watching the movie, and then later, sitting on the beds and sharing a grocery store sandwich with Bob while we watched the ending. But yet, it seemed silly to buy the movie, even though it wasn't very expensive. It was just hard to justify. I'm weird about things like that sometimes. Sometimes I don't have any trouble buying something expensive, but other times, something inexpensive will cause me to really stop and think.

Anyway, I have it now! And tonight, while Bob's at work, I can watch it, and knit or make jewelry or something. Thanks, Joanna!

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