Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

Just a quick message of good cheer for everyone!

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy New Year. Everything else is gravy ;)

I've enjoyed blogging and meeting new people on the web. It's nice to have places to go and read about books that I haven't even cracked the spine on yet! ( easy - just walk it off - there, see no pain) I'm working on the best books of the year blog and my New Year's Resolution blog (about books because other than that, I can't do 'em).

We were off the hook and Bob and I were going to spend the night in and watch movies but he got up early and took my Aunt, Sabrina and Chris to breakfast and they asked if we were doing anything. Bob froze. Apparently we are now going out to Nora's to play a game. Luckily I am awake.

It's snowing here finally! After two weeks of rain, fog and blah it is nice to see a clean white horizon. We better take the truck to Nora's.

I might get an opportunity to post again but I am going to run around and read everybody's blogs and then go over to AAR. I also have to get my HDD thingie Bob got me for Christmas hooked up but I'm afraid! I get frustrated fast when I follow the directions and nothing happens. I turn blue. Smurf Cindy is not welcome here but Bob seems to be dragging his feet on hooking up the system. I may have to get good and riled before Bob steps in and fixes the situation.

So there we be. No reading yet. Have to go out. Have to hook up a system that is sure to get my blood pressure up around 'dead as a doornail'.

Happy 2006 Everybody!!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Holding Pattern

At the moment, we are in a holding pattern on the activities for tomorrow.

I have invited the best buddies and their crew up for a turkey dinner and a visit tomorrow night. I thought it was going to be about a 5 hour visit but it sounds like one will stay till the New Year. I'm okay with entertaining for a set amount of time because I know there is an end time. This is too wide open for me.

Good news is that it is not me that is the hold up. One of the best buds has a sicky on her hands and we're waiting to see if it would be better to stay home than spread the germs. I'm all with NOT spreading the germs but it could be my 'holiday anxiety' talking so we are waiting on her decision.

New Year's (oh, I forgot about the Polar Bear swims - I have often thought I would like to do this and then remember I don't like being cold) is not my favourite holiday and is probably the second to last with Valentine's Day being my worst holiday. It's not the sentiment of VD although I think the card, candy and jewelry people are making hay but February is a tough month and VD is smack dab in the middle and I'm usually smack dab in the middle of the Feb. blues - bah! It's probably a weird admission for a lover of romance books but then, I never had a secret admirer or received those candygrams in school. I wonder what bah humbug would be for those of us not thrilled with Valentine's Day?

Aside: Go read what Valentine's Day is like in Japan! Women *must* buy for their male co-workers!? Marketing teams have run amok! There is a compliment day called White Day where the men are supposed to buy white chocolate but have decided it really means lingerie. Only men can do that ;)

So New Year's is just weird. We had a blast as kids because we got to stay up and we were with our family's best friends so it was noisy and fun. Not having kids and having us all grow up it is much more quiet and well, anti-climatic. I enjoy January and I like getting the tree down and stuff so you would think NY would work but I'm not that person anymore. Now I prefer just staying in and watching a movie with Bob or treating the day like any other - which I think we are doing with having our friends down on a Saturday night for dinner. We'll see.

I'm going to work on my favourite books for the year, although I think I may have listed most of them already. I have done no reading over the holidays because I didn't want to get sucked into a book and then resent those around me. If the friends don't come I think I'll pull the latest Kleypas from the pile and get cozy with my new cotton blanket I got for Christmas from Bob. I need a kick start and I'm not sure where to turn for a good read. I was going to pull a Stuart but I need those when I am in dire straights. Right now, I'm just running on time constraints.

I believe Kristie and Renee have some great books in their sidebars under the coming soon section. It's a good thing others are looking ahead and posting the covers or I wouldn't know what was going on. I need to get to AAR and do some research on what's coming up and what I may have missed this year. I received some Chapters gift certificates but I don't want to go until everybody is back to normal. That way I can peruse at my leisure.

Off to play for a bit. Anyone watch Primetime and the story (which ends tragically so beware) of the female Pope Joan? I'm not sure she really existed but there are some really interesting arguments that she did. I liked the historical references to women in religion before the Church took over. I get 'smoke out of my ears' mad when I think of what certain men in powerful positions did to the image of women. I think there may be *finally* a renaissance of women in religion. It's about time!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm A Dreamer - What About You?

Today we went to see the movie Narnia. It was excellent and I can't say enough about the computer animated animals in this film. The art has been perfected in this except for maybe the beavers but the cheetahs, lion, birds of prey, etc were excellent and I truly believed that they all existed.

I have never read the book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and in a way I am happy for it.

Watching the movie today I was hit again with the wish that such adventures could have happened to me as a child, teen or even as an adult. I'm not sure about other people but maybe it is common among readers and here is where you can tell me if you are like me in this or not.

I saw Star Wars when I was seven years old and in my mind I lived in the world that was created for many years. Even though I was young I knew that I would never ride in an X-Wing fighter or meet a wookie. I was certainly never going to be a princess because you had to be born one and well, I wasn't. Even though I wished to be able to live in the world created I knew that the world didn't exist (at least, not that *we* know of).

I am a person who has lived in her head for most of her life.

Seeing Narnia made me yearn to be the young girl Lucy in the story and there is a bittersweet sadness in knowing that I never will be. I will never fight along centaurs or woodland creatures against an evil that is easily quantified and identified. I won't be a hero to a world or a person of great wisdom that others turn to when things go wrong.

I won't be free of reality unless I create a world in my head and I do. I remember meeting a woman in university who had mentioned being able to create a world in her mind but that she taught herself to stop it because it was detrimental to reality. She said it was part of becoming an adult. I didn't get it. Why would you stop something that took you to another time and place?

Now don't get me wrong. I am far too grounded to ever confuse reality with fantasy. Reality bites me in the ass more times than I can count so the other world is a place where I can't get bitten. At least, as long as I can stay there which normally isn't long because it is where I go just before sleep. All the same, the other place can get boring as hell if I don't muck it up a bit ;) so reality can be placed in there at every turn.

So here is the question for today. Can you create a world in your mind? Do you still visit it or is it no longer a part of your life because you are an adult? Can seeing a movie like Lord of the Rings or Narnia make you long to live in such a place or to at least, experience it. Some might suggest that reading it makes you experience it but I think I want the real experience.

I want to be the one to find the world inside the wardrobe.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

An Embarrassment of Riches

We got Spoiled!!!

In all fairness, we get spoiled every year. In my family, there are no small children so my parents have me and Bob to spoil. Normally my brother and his wife would also be spoiled to distraction but because of Billy's job loss he asked the family not to buy gifts. What stunned me was that my dad actually told everyone to take the gifts they had back. I was impressed! On that note, Billy did get a job the Monday before Christmas. It sounds like a great opportunity and we are all hoping that it goes well for him. That was good news for Christmas.

My Aunt Nora did a spectacular job hosting Christmas and raised the bar to a level where I might have to start planning next year's celebration now. We had a blast! She had us there Christmas Eve and had a few new games for us to play. A guess the carol game and a puzzle. Then we did the White Elephant exchange and that took us to 11pm. I needed to hit the bed pronto so I drove us home and was in bed by midnight.

The next day we were back at Aunt Nora's for 10am and she served a baked french toast dish that was excellent. We opened our gifts and then Bob and I left at 1pm to go home and take a break. We fed and watered the dogs and I crawled in for a nap at 3pm and slept till 4:30pm. We opened our stockings and then we had to head back to Aunt Nora's for dinner. We finally got home at 11pm-ish and we opened our gifts to each other. We actually finished opening all gifts by 11:45pm and the bed beckoned. It's weird how doing nothing but opening gifts all day can wear you out. I slept until noon the next day and then had to go back to bed for the afternoon.

As you can see by the time stamp I am up too late but I am hoping that I can correct it over the next few days. It just takes so much energy to stay awake all day. Weird.

Anyways, with us being a small group we tend to spoil each other. It's my Mom and Dad, Aunt Nora, Sabrina and her beau Chris and Bob and I. For dinner, Chris went to his family's and Billy and Krista came for dinner. In comparison to most families, this is a small gathering but, we make it fun and we ooooh and ahhh over everyone's gifts.

Bobby and I naturally spoil each other although I don't know why this is. We've heard of other couples that will just get little gifts for each other but we seem to go all out. I got Bobby his Eclectics Milkshake machine, the Calvin and Hobbes special edition and a swing arm for his TV. Then there are all the little goodies like scarves, hats, ski-doo mitts because he has been getting cold lately. Sweaters, socks and T-shirts.

Then there was what I got. An HDD / DVD recorder. It's like the American TiVo so I am very excited to get it up and running. Right now, the manual is freaking me out for sheer number of pages but once I get this thing figured out there will be no stopping my TV watching pleasure!! Spoiled? Why, yes, yes, I am.

Two blankets - one cotton and one chenille but I am going to take the chenille one back because Bob told me the price and now I am afraid I will destroy it in the first wash. Also, chenille is not nearly as warm as cotton and when I am watching TV or curled up with a good book, I enjoy being warm and cuddly. The cats agree.

I'm making us dinner tonight - chicken fingers and mashed potatoes - I know, the gourmet chef at work! Bob is still puttering in the downstairs kitchen (that's what he calls it) and I have been watching the first season of Deadwood which I have never seen. I am smitten.

I am going to watch the next few episodes tonight, get up tomorrow morning and go to a local tea house with Bob, my cousin and her beau and then off we'll do to see the movie Narnia. Bob would also like to find time to see Fun with Dick and Jane but I think we are booked solid for the next bit. I'm getting to the point where I wish Bob was off for two weeks instead of just one. I keep having to share him with everyone! Today with his family again, tomorrow with my cousin, the next day with our best friends, luckily Friday to ourselves or I would scream and Saturday we are having my best buds for cards and dinner. Not to midnight because of a young one and I'm almost all visited out.

January 3rd is a date to look forward to. No more people for a while.

I know, I'm an anti-social bitch *shrug*

I'm just tellin' it like it is ;)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

HO! HO! What? Too Soon?

Yep, one more day to go.

I've been relatively calm except for wanting to hit my husband over the head with a blunt object whenever he does something not on the itinerary.

Example: We went to our God children's house to open gifts but we had literally a half an hour because of baking and such and they were going to church. So there we are all rushed and when we get there Bob disappears into their basement and we hear the air compressor turn on. WTF? Not today!

The poor kids were foaming at the mouth but something caught Bob's eye in the basement and the internal contractor came out. Curses! Get your butt up here so the kids can unwrap their gifts!

Such is my lot with a socially stunted husband. It's okay though because I love him to pieces and everyone has become inured of his quirks. It's nothing to the family to have Bob snoozing in the corner while we all play board games all night. I used to worry about it but now the family just jokes about his sleeping. Hey, he's up at 6 am everyday because of his internal clock. My family has nocturnal tendencies so we just get slamming by 8pm. Poor guy doesn't have a chance. Now, if you challenge him mentally he can keep his eyes open. That's why we get him to play the games first, keeps him up and active.

The last time we were out I discovered what it can be like when 8pm is closing in and all the others are playing games. You tend to drift in and out of consciousness. I'm bringing an extra game board tonight so that everyone can play and everyone can try and stay awake!

So my craft project bit the dust this afternoon but then, I always have my back up plan. All the same, I wish I could have had another week of time to get this back on track. As it is, I sprayed this glass froster in the house and the fumes are just hanging in the air. My husband can't smell it but I could still smell it when we came in this afternoon. I should probably crank some windows but if we're going to get high then I guess it's already happened ;)

Okay, off to crank some windows now that I've mentioned it. Isn't it weird when you can't feel your tongue.

Damn. Just me again?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Holding Down the Fort

It's the time of year where we are all way to busy to be on the computer but then, I go on the computer to unwind before going to bed. Bob and I do not stay over night at anyone's home (which is wonderful because I love my own bed) so we will be home every night this week. I'm not sure if I will blog on Christmas day only because by the end of the day I can barely see straight. Then again, I usually have a hard time winding down after the big day. Afterall, this is the season of my greatest anxiety.

I just told Bob that it is about this time when I start wishing that Christmas was over and it was now Boxing Day.

What's funny about this is that Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the year. There is something special on that day when you are surrounded by your family and playing board games (our family's game is Upwords right now) and knowing that the next day, nothing is open and all the world is staying in one place.

Okay, so that was my belief as a child and it wasn't far from the truth. There was no such thing as Boxing Day sales and stores were closed for two straight days. Two days where there was no escaping your family. Again, that was my childhood. Remember when stores were closed on Sunday? I really don't know how my parents coped without being able to shop on a Sunday or get money from a bank because it was closed.

As convenient as everything is today, I still come up with more things I wish the stores would do.

Surprise! Walmart in Canada is going to have a certain number of stores open on Christmas day. I'm not feeling great about this although I know we are a multi-cultural nation so there are many people who would think nothing of shopping on Christmas Day and feel that the stores being closed is an inconvenience. Then again, I know what happened when Sunday was no longer considered a day of rest. I'm not sure one could even get a job in retail if they told the employment manager that they would not work on Sundays.

At this point it is fair to call me a hypocrite because I am heartily glad that stores are open on Sunday and that I can run to the store if I forgot to pick up something for that special dinner. Then there is the fact that Bob and I are hobby shoppers and we would have to find a whole other thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.

Hmmm. To recap. Super anxious time of the year for me so I am eager to get past the next few days. I'm unsettled by the idea of working on Christmas Day even though I never would and Sunday shopping is apparently better than sliced bread for Bob and I.

Here we meander back to where I left off somewhere up above. Christmas Eve during the evening is one of my favourite times of the year and it is followed by the day I get the most anxious about. Is it me or is that one hell of a funny cosmic joke.

Christmas morning is always fun but as a teenager I had been obsessing about the day for about a month before it arrived. For the week prior I would eat very little believing that this would make me so hungry for Christmas dinner that there would be no way I would have a panic attack. Years later I discover that not eating slows down the metabolism so that a person would be less hungry. Again, funny as hell.

Now I know I can eat breakfast and try to eat it early because that tends to send my metabolism into overdrive and then I am hungry for most of the day. My anxiety, however, has nothing to do with being hungry and has to do with feeling like I am out of control and that at any moment I could ruin everyone's Christmas by not being able to eat the dinner prepared.

Hey, panic attacks follow very little logic.

So at about noon I start getting anxious and by three o'clock I am in true panic mode. Imagine the sound of electrical currents running through those massive wires in an energy plant. That low voltage hum that you hear that lets you know that something dangerous is in the immediate area. That's what I feel like for the last few hours before dinner. At this point I try to distract myself and will throw myself into helping get dinner on the table. When I was child I would go upstairs and pray that everyone would forget I was there and they would eat dinner without me. Either that or I would pray to black out and have to go to the hospital where the doctor would tell my parents that I should never be made to eat with anyone. Once I realized all this wasn't going to happen again for the upteenth year I would start praying 'Please, God, Please, God, Please, God..' over and over again in my head until I got past those first few bites and my panic eased off.

That was the hell of my youth.

Nowdays, I have these pills that are supposed to stop a panic attack in it's tracks. I haven't tested that theory because by the time I hear that low level hum I take one of these pills. Now, on Christmas day, it normally takes two of these pills to keep my brain from releasing all the wrong chemicals at all the wrong times.

You want to know how masochistic I can be. I will sit at the table just before the prayer and this is when my panic attacks used to destroy me. They would last until after I took my first few bites and I realized I could swallow. With the pills the panic doesn't come so last year I tried the thinking that normally causes the panic to attack and I couldn't get it to come. Too Cool!!

FYI: Cognitive Therapy teaches you to retrain your thought process because the obsessive thoughts are what leads up to the panic attack. So I was taught tools to stop that kind of thinking and I know how to keep a panic attack at bay without medication. Even though this is true, I can still get to that low hum stage in under a minute even with the positive thoughts so having the pills for back up, especially on Christmas Day is terrific.

I just wish I could remember that whenever I get myself worked up. Hey, I don't have to get worked up because this little pill will keep me from panicking.

I know there are people who are very anti-medication and all the power to them. For someone like me who suffered from panic attacks from the age of 10. For someone like me who faced panic attacks daily without backing down for over 15 years, these pills are a miracle. The fact is there are people who can defeat their anxiety by facing it down time and again. For some reason facing my panic everyday for 16 years never lessened it so I don't know whether I am my own worst enemy or there are differing degrees of panic. Whatever it is, I am grateful that someone took the time to find an aid for this. Someone out there believed their child, or friend or loved one when they told them what it was like and these people went about finding a way to help us. I will be forever grateful.

Ho-kay. Getting sappy here so I'll sign off.

I should probably start writing these during the day when I am up now. I seem to get sappy just before bed not to mention very sloppy in my writing. I promise to post something happy tomorrow if I have time.

Hey, I know! I am baking 2 apples pies from scratch tomorrow. Mmmm, pie.

Oh, questions for those who celebrate Christmas and want to share. In my family, gifts are only ever opened on Christmas day. Gifts from Santa were not wrapped and were waiting for us kids under the tree. My family was very strict on the opening thing and I like to stay to that as much as possible but Bob gets so excited that we end up opening our stockings the night before. These are wrapped, unlike when I was a kid because Santa filled our stockings.

What are the 'rules' that you followed as a child and do they differ now that you are an adult with your own child? Just curious ;)

Winding Down

I am trying to get myself relaxed before heading into bed. So I don't think there will be any pics or anything fancy going on here because that takes some time.

First: A Rant - Should mention that this can turn into the ravings of lunatic. Forewarned, forearmed.

So, you may have seen a few references to how sick Bob and I got last year and because of that, I have become very strident in protecting our health. Not only am I protecting Bob and I but I tell people before they visit if Bob and I are getting over colds or some such. One of my friends is so grateful that I do this as she usually cancels because she doesn't want her 2 year old to get sick.

Now, I'm not a hypochodriac but I may be a bit of a germ phobe. I don't wear masks or anything but I do wash my hands continually and will only allow the kids to kiss my on the cheek. Also, I now carry around hand sanitizer in my purse so that before I eat something out at a food court I can wash my hands before I touch my food. Also, when you do take out and are going to eat in the car, you have no way to clean your hands so we use Purell to clean them. So far, so good. *knocks on wood*

So what does my dumbass best friend do today!?

She allows a parent to drop their sick kid off at her house (I would not be pissed if it was a cold or something but no, it was a stomach virus because he was throwing up - I hate throwing up!). Her upset was that she felt sorry for the boy because the parents wouldn't stay home with him. Guess what, they might have had to stay home with him if you hadn't said you would take him. She mentions how she won't tell her husband about it because he will freak. Mark is a lot like me and gets sick fairly easy so I wouldn't blame him for being pissed. She said she lysoled everything before he came and will lysol everything after he leaves and that she told the kids they weren't allowed to touch each other. Yeah, that should work. NOT!! Anyways, if the child had a stomach virus it could incubate for 3-7 days which means they would be contagious for that long. So now I don't want to go to their house on Christmas Eve to give the kids their gifts. I told Bob that I hear of any of them getting sick I will drop their gifts at the door and see them in the New Year. I can't believe she would play Russian roulette with her children's and her families health 3 days before Christmas.

This would lead into the rant about how sick people, instead of taking sick days will go to work and hack all over their co-workers! We are positive that Bob and I got sick because of a guy in his office who came into work looking like he was on the verve of death and hacked and coughed and in general caused everyone else in the company to get sick. Ridiculous! Keep your nasty self at home!! Apparently, it happens every year at the same time because he goes to some Football finale and gets royally drunk for about 4 days straight. Then he comes back from this trip completely wiped out and obviously his immune system is down. So this year, Bob forced the issue with his boss saying that either so an so had to stay home for two days after his weekend or Bob was going to call in sick for those two days. Yeah, we've become the keepers of our own health ;)

So, if you are one of those people who will go in the office when you are sick because it doesn't matter where you are so you might as well get paid. Knock that shit off!!



I have finished wrapping almost all the gifts but the ones I have left are the crafty kind so I am going to start on the big one tomorrow. Knowing that the gifts are wrapped and sorted according to family groupings makes it easier to get some fun stuff done.

I have signed all the family cards and stuffed them with their lotto treats.

I dis-infected our mattress because a cat threw up (luckily just a little) and cleaned the sheets and the duvet. It takes 3 hours for me to dry our kingsize duvet. We get the new washer dryer tomorrow. Squeee.

I dusted and disinfected (where the cat was sick) the bedroom furniture.

I washed and made up the middle room bed.

I vacuumed the carpets but the hardwood floors still will need some good vacuuming.

I filled the dishwasher with the dishes from all over the house.

I moved all the excess bags of dry goods into the *new* pantry downstairs. (I always forget it's there because we've only had it for a while so it struck me today that the grocery bags of chips and the bag of cat and dog treats did not have to sit on my counter until Christmas day because I could put them in the pantry! Yeah for me because I used to have to store stuff on the counter and I don't have that kind of space.

Okay, I think that is all I got done and I am sufficiently tired enough to fall into bed now.

If you are signing off for the next couple of days, Have a safe and healthy Holiday Season!!

I'll be here for the most part but I don't know if I can post Christmas day.

Other than that, I'll be holding down the fort.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quickie before Bed

I'm heading into bed in about ten minutes but thought I should mention I tried Donna Kauffman's story in Merry Christmas Baby. I love her voice and would like to read more by her but for me, it's not Christmas without snow and cold weather so I couldn't get into her Caribbean set story. Nope not for me. So, I may find time tomorrow to start the next story in the book. *Please* let it feel like Christmas. It seems I may be looking in vain.

I went to the bookstore today thinking I would just grab titles off the shelves by author's I have heard of but, not so much that I have thought about buying them. That's right. I wanted to go off the beaten track. I was quickly disabused of this notion when I picked up three separate books by three separate authors that, from the back blurb, were obviously romantic suspense and it seems I am sooo over that.

Then I got tired. Happens time to time when I am up during the afternoon (I got up at 10:30am this morning and was out of the house by noon). I still had a few more stops to make and I was too anxious to sit in one spot. Man, I hope my anxiety cools off after the holidays so I can sit and read some great books. I mean, I hope I still have some great books by the time Rocky and Cody get back to their digs!!

Can you believe Christmas is 4 days away? Crap, I haven't started any of my craft projects.

Also, it seems that by 6pm I am good for nothing except veggin' in front of the TV. There is just no energy left! I have been snapping at Bob in the evenings because Bob doesn't have the *fade to black* kind of energy that I have. I don't want to be bitchy but by the time he gets home, what's done is done!

To Do List:

Finish wrapping all presents including secret Santa which is a game we play that we are trying to find the official rules for.

If anyone knows of this swap that happens where everyone buys a gift of equal value (it should be unisex and something you would want) and then names are drawn from a hat. The first person picks a present and opens it. The next name picked can either take the gift from the first person or pick another gift from under the tree. It seems the person who had the gift taken can then pick another gift from under the tree. The question has arisen on how this game ends. Does the last person either pick from someone else and then gifts all move until the last person who then opens the last gift and that's it. What happens if the last person picks up the gift? Is the game over or is there another chance at a swap.

We do our normal Christmas shopping and then we do a secret Santa round just for fun. Everyone has enjoyed it and it seems Aunt Nora wants to carry on the tradition. We just wish we knew the rules.

Seriously, anyone know the rules or perhaps the name of this game?

Much Appreciated if you can help me with this little thing.

And, I'm tired so I'll sign off.

Can't even finish a To Do list. I'm baked!

Edited: Is disabused a word? Disabuse is but, I can't find disabused. Again, tired.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I'm Under Marshal Law

I have been ordered to post pictures of Bob's progress in the basement. Apparently posting anything about Bob on the blog makes him 'hup to'!

I read him some of my posts and also some of my e-mails to family and friends AND their too funny responses. Bob was not impressed but, he knows it's all fun and games.

With that said, I have been getting some flack for not posting new pictures of the basement. 'Do your blog buddies know that the laundry room has been tackled? Do they know my minute by minute attack of the new kitchen?' Okay, he didn't say 'minute by minute', that's just my smartass self embellishing.

So without further ado, here is Bob's progress!

Pretty isn't it? The laundry room now has DRIcore down and all my floors are level for the very first time EVER!!! I can't wait for the downstairs kitchen to be finished because I know it will look good and I'm sure Bob will insist on lighting the kitchen 'just so' for it's huge debut on my blog. (I'm under the impression that Bob thinks I get lots and lots of traffic. It'll be our little secret.)

Course I have to bring the funny. I mean, it's not Bob's Blog afterall and there is this itty bitty thing that keeps making me laugh. That is, until the day I stub my toe, then it will be all ass kicking! Three days ago my husband had to buy a new toilet for our bathroom. By this I mean I was out of bed *angelic chorus* and it was imperative that Bob go to Home Depot. Now, normally I hear home depot and I need a nap. Not so on this day because I had just got up *angelic chorus* and it was the crack of 9am and there was no way I was going to fall back asleep. Note, it's now three days later.

Yep, you know it's Christmas when you have a toilet in your dining room. I'm wondering how long it will be there. Then again, I was asked to bring this little gem to the right into my living room there about 6 days ago. It's a ceramic tile saw. Apparently someone really, really needs to borrow it. Why it's still in my living room is something I don't care to think about.

Okay, I bought the salter thing on Friday but I sooo used it on Saturday so it doesn't count.

Hey, it's all in the math ;)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I Think I Broke It

Just a quick post to tell you that for some reason I cannot nap.

Has the earth stopped spinning? Are pigs flying? Is Hell frigid?

I was on the bed for an hour and a half and then realized that sleeping was probably not in the picture. I'm tired but for some reason, my body has decided napping is out!

Yesterday my best bud came up with her adorable son so I was up at Noon when I didn't have to up until 1:30pm but my eyes opened and I knew it was over. So I got some quick running around done before she showed up.

Then we spent the rest of the day gabbing and putting on winter clothes to go out and play in the snow. Haven't been outside like that in ages. I was getting tired around 7:30 and she left around then.

I watched The Island which I thoroughly enjoyed because sci-fi anything (okay, not anything!) is pretty much guaranteed to make me happy. I went to bed at 1 am and think I was out a 1/2 hour later.

I woke up at 8:30 am.

The dogs started barking the minute they saw me because on the old schedule, I would get up around 2 - 3 pm and the first thing I do is feed the dogs. Poor things didn't know it wasn't dinner time.

Bob and I went to breakfast which was a nice treat and then to Home Depot which wasn't a real treat. Sears followed with a purchase of a new washer and dryer which will show up here on the 23rd between noon and 5pm. I just kept looking at Bob waiting for him to realize that that was the day we are going to his parents. Didn't occur to him and then when I filled him in he suggested I get up at 6 am and we can be back in time for the delivery.

I give up.

We then traveled to my cousin's house and gave her her birthday present. This is Aunt Nora's first time hosting Christmas and when I got there she declared she was on break. I started laughing and told her that maybe she wanted to host Christmas for a few years before I stepped up. She said, 'No way, you get Christmas next year.' Apparently my mother is as happy as a lark. It's probably the first time in almost 20 years where she doesn't have to host. My dad wouldn't hear of it being held somewhere else but Aunt Nora and I finally got the gumption up to approach the subject last year. Apparently Dad got told. So we get Christmas and I think Mom may announce she is retiring from hosting. Ugh. What did we get ourselves into!!

We're going to my parents at 7 pm tonight to see their decorations and stuff. We're going to a bookstore first because I am worried I'm just going to drop somewhere and snooze. Maybe it won't happen in a bookstore. I decided to go to my parent's at night because I figured I would be sleeping in the afternoon. Nope. Now I am worried I will fall asleep at their house!

I'm such a nut.

Thanks to Renee!

I tell you.

I'm not bright.

It's only when Renee mentions she is reading Christmas themed stories that I am struck by a 'doh' moment. Of course! Why did I forget that I have Christmas anthologies in the house. One I haven't ever read before and the other is from 1997 and I think I only remember one of the stories.

Merry Christmas Baby is an anthology that I bought last year but never got around to reading. It has six authors sharing a 316 page trade size. It'll be perfect for those anxious moments I have been having about what book to pick next. Phew! One down.

Upon a Midnight Clear has, yikes!, 5 authors in a 488 page special hardback. Not quite tradesize but, uh, just dividing the pages by authors, this book gives the authors 100 pages to play while Merry Christmas Baby only gives each author just over 50 pages to play.

Hmmm, wonder which one I am going to like better? Turns out that the story I remember that kinda worked for me was the Linda Howard story called White Out. Apparently others were scarred by this story ;) Says so in the reviews at Amazon.

I do remember reading a Christmas anthology years ago that were historicals and some were quite depressing so I hope that is not this one. I wish I could find the one with the 'Mad Earl' short story. I should see if I can find out which anthology this story may have been in because I remember this story was awesome but, of course, I can't remember what the other stories were like. I'm pretty sure the 'Mad Earl' was in a Christmas Anthology and it may have been between 95 - 00.

Anyone know?

Okay, off to bed for me.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Playing Tag!

I got tagged by Megan! Squeeeee!

What the &*^%?

Those are some serious questions. This might get icky, but then, you've read the friends posts. If you haven't, don't bother, this post will make you want to heave just as much.

Seven things to do before I die:

HOLY SHIT!! I'm gonna die?! I so didn't see that coming. What to do, what to do...

1. Finish something I start.
2. Stop being a big ol scaredy cat.
3. Travel to every place I have ever wanted to see. That's a lot of places but I am afraid to fly and no, I'm not going to fly before I die! So, I'm going to need some time. Lot's of time. Yeah, years!
4. Have a couple of kids. Hey, not going to happen but maybe it is healthy if I cop to it. Or not.
5. Earn a couple million dollars - don't care how. Okay, I'm not going to do anything illegal or anything but, I would like to make my husband a 'kept' man. He's been keeping me for the past eight years, it'd be nice to say 'hey babe, relax, I got it. Go play with your tools.' Easy, you know what I meant.
6. Have a house on a beach. Nothing overly fancy but cute and white and clean with cats and dogs that are free to run and, what the hell, my 18 year old body back.
7. Create new fantasies.

Seven Things I Cannot Do:

1. Pee standing up. C'mon, you saw that coming! What? True, I could pee standing up, but it'd be messy.
2. Have a vacation with my extended family because I would have panic attacks up the whazoo and quite frankly, that ain't no vacation.
3. Work for a living. (Gonna blow that whole 'making a million dollars' thing outta the water)
4. Lose weight. Okay, maybe I need to try but I thought not eating french fries everyday would at least take a few stone off. Nope. Should've stuck to the french fries.
5. Take care of a sick person. I have told Bob that if he ever gets 'vomitty' sick I would have to go to a hotel until he was better. Yeah, I'm a peach. See, not having children is a good thing. I hear they puke a lot. ::shudder::
6. Laugh quietly.
7. Age gracefully. Hell, I couldn't be young gracefully either. Apparently you cannot grow into it.

Seven Things That Attract Me To My Spouse:

Only seven? Okay, I'll just pick a few off the top of my head.

1. His acceptance of me
2. His wacky humour
3. His whole body - yep, even the creaky back
4. His confidence - surprisingly sexy
5. His talent and capabilities
6. His brain (that's what I have been trying to say for the last 5 - sheesh)
7. His compassion (okay, don't get him talking about teachers or terrorists or people who hurt people)

Seven Things I Write Or Say Most Often:

1. Sonofa ( I never finish it )
2. Hmmm
3. What?
4. MotherTucker (It's a restaurant up here so I don't count it as swearing)
5. Bobby, Bobby K, Robert Kenneth!, Sweetie (whenever Bob has zoned out and needs to be reminded I am still yammering at him)
6. How many times have we talked about this? (I shouldn't admit that I normally say this to the dogs when they are doing something they shouldn't)
7. No problem. It's fine. Don't worry. (to parents who worry their kids are going to break something in my house. Get over it. It's just stuff. People with children have a fear that those without children will somehow be 'bears' if something goes wrong in their house. Okay, Bob can be a bear, me, not so much)

Seven Books (or series) I Love:

Again, off the top of my head because my brain is starting to ache from all this thinking. Hey, uncool.

1. Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
2. Moonlight by Anne Stuart
3. Lord of Danger by Anne Stuart
4. Passion by Lisa Valdez (filthy words and all - if you've been following the AAR thingie you'll get what I mean)
5. J. R. Ward - I'm just declaring her right now.
6. Time Enough for Love - Suzanne Brockmann - one of the best TT I have ever read.
7. Julie Garwood historicals (the Scottish ones) I know. I have let you down.

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again:

1. Bridget Jones' Diary
2. Star Wars Trilogy (the original) I have seen the first one over 20 times but haven't watched it again in years.
3. Indiana Jones the first and fourth - again, have seen many times but not recently
4. When Harry Met Sally - although it is starting to grate
5. Mr. and Mrs. Smith - I just saw it tonight and I better get it for Christmas!
6. Lord of the Rings trilogy
7. The Matrix - I have no clue how many times I have watched this but, uh, yeah can still watch it again.

Seven People I would Tag:

Uh oh.

1. Jay
2. Keishon
3. Nicole
4. Tara Marie
5. Renee
6. Kristie (J) but only if you are up to it.
7. MAILI!!! Where are you? You got tagged baby! Time to ante up!

Only do this if you've got time. No pressure. Me, I've always got time. At least, I hope I do.

You haven't heard differently have you?!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Running Out Of Books!?

I hit Nicole's blog and found she had done a post for RTB found here. Okay go read her post first because there is a lot to cover!

You back?


First, it was like looking into another world and yet, there were elements that reminded me of myself. I mentioned in the comments that I cannot read more than one fiction book at a time. I can grab a magazine (used to be O) when running to the car or that how-to book I need to read but, if I pick up another fiction book, then I know there is something not working with the first book. At that point, the first book is almost never picked up again.

Crap - you've been here long enough - hold onto your hats!

There are exceptions to the rule. Yeah, what a shock. If I have somehow misplaced the book, I get antsy until I am able to find it again. Nothing will do and normally Bob is blamed for moving a book that is currently being read. Then there are those horrifying days where I realize I left the current book in Bob's car and he is at work. There are no words. Sometimes I go without but I have had those days where I will pick up another book but it is normally a short story that I know I will finish quickly or an Anne Stuart that I know will grab my attention and not let go.

Now Nicole mentions that even when she is engrossed in a book, she can pick up another.


I need a moment.

*deep breath in and relax and out again*

I realize at this moment that I am a mess! If I am engrossed in a book, food will burn, laundry will pile up and well, people need to move on without me. *snort - food burning, like I cook* There are no TV shows that will pull me away and even though LOST and The Amazing Race can do it, there is that little part of me that wants the show to be over already because I have to get back to Joan and Rick or Mark and Susan or whoever it is I left miserable and without their mate!

Oh and don't go and get yourself hurt because there will be little sympathy as I dial 911 (poor Bob) and there is the famous 'Bob, I am on the last few pages, I need you to be quiet. I know your 'whatever' hurts but really, I need you to stop moaning until I am done. 'kay? Thanks.' At this point I get the evil eye and a crack about how it's a good thing we never had kids. Wiseacre.

It's a good thing I have Bob in my life. He says he is real happy for me when one of my favourite author's books come out. Yeah, he's happy until everything in the house goes to rack and ruin ;) All the same, all I have to do is tell Bob the author's name *cough* Anne Stuart *cough* and everything around the house is taken care of. Food is ordered in, laundry is done (so half of my whites turn out pink - who cares!) and the puppies and kitties are looked after. Course this only happens every once in a while but, maybe I should try that with every book. Hmmm.

Then Nicole hits the part where we are sorta similar. Picking the next book to read. Yowza. It has been, what now, two days since I finished my last book and I have not been able to decide what to read next.


You know it!!

I have always had this problem but it has never been so pronounced before and this is where we get to the meat of this post.

Easy. You knew we were in rambling mode when you got here.

What if I run out of books!!??

Yep, I have anxiety about something that will hopefully never come true and yet....

I used to have many authors that I would automatically buy. That list is now down to *carry the 1* uh, three. Two of whom have only written one book. Ugh. If you can't guess the first one then you need more caffeine - Wake Up!!

In the last year I have been looking at the books 'coming soon' and realize there are no books that I want to buy. Now, whether I have forgotten what it is like to just go to the store and browse through books because of on-line opinions or if I have in fact, not found anything that excites me, I can't say. Well, I can and maybe it is that first thing. I mean, before the internet I would have to go to the bookstore and read backblurbs to decide if an author was worth trying. Now, I take a quick peek at the grades and don't try anything that gets a grade below a B.

It was working there for a while but I am beginning to think I have 'graded' myself into a corner. How can there be no more authors out there writing what I want to read? Also, I found a reviewer who seemed to have the same likes and dislikes I had but then her last few keepers turned into 'meh' reads for me and now I don't know how to pick a book. Like many of us, I have been burned one too many times by a book that I thought sounded interesting and turned out lighting my 'good lord this is a piece of crap' fuse.

So now I have the irrational fear that I will one day run out of books. This fear means that even though I read to the 3/4 mark of that book and stopped caring, I can't send it away in case I missed something and need to re-read it. Also, someone with my memory needs to keep some books around. There are people who have been talking about Whitney, My Love for years and even though I have read the book (and I think I have read it more than once) I can't for the life of me remember what it is that upsets them. (No! Don't tell me because I will eventually re-read the book and I want to see what my reaction will be.)

Is it just me? Are others struggling with their book picks this past year? Have you looked at the 'coming soon' section and realized it will be 3 months before a new book will come out that you really want to read? Have your eyes crossed and you are seeing double?

It's okay, that should pass once you read another blog ;)

Thanks to Nicole for inspiring this convoluted post. Then again, maybe Nicole would rather I not attribute this thought process to her! I'm going to post this now even though I know I have left some stuff just hanging there but that's because I have been up since 8am *trumpets blare* and I am crashing as we speak. Nap Time!!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

More Gifts?

Hmm, we left off with the thumb wrestling ring because quite frankly I needed to deal with the fact that there are people who can make money from the stupidest things while I couldn't make a buck walking a street corner.

Let's see if I can find some good gifts before we go looking for the 'holy crap, you really shouldn't have' gifts.

For those of us watching our weight. In my case I seem to be watching it pile onto my body but that's a whole other story.

Which I am going to tell you now! Lucky bastards!

It's the time of year I tell you.

I won't go out in the cold because I am a pussy. I don't do winter sports because, hi, it's cold and I'm a pussy. I don't have children to get to school, sports or playdates so again, I don't have to go outside in the cold and I don't because I'm a ... woman without children so I need to lord something over my friends with kids!! Nah, nah, I don't have to go out in this horribly 'oh my God my nipples just popped' kind of weather, aren't I lucky! Actually now that I think about it, it's not my nipples that are the problem as they are safe in my jacket. It's my lack of sense and the need to get out of the house ASAP so no scarf, mittens or hat. Look at me! I don't have a dorky hat on but I can't feel my ears. Fair trade.

So, to sum up, I don't go outside. Yep, I went to make dinner tonight and discovered we don't have any pasta in the house. This hasn't happened in the 10 years Bob and I have been married because Bob lives for pasta. That's right, I haven't even left the house to go grocery shopping ... in a month but, if Bob asks I'm telling him it was because the contractors were in the house and I just couldn't get anything done. *bottom lip quivers slightly* Works every time. Good thing Bob doesn't know the address to this puppy!

*where in the hell was I going with..*

Right! So other than watching TV, playing on the net or cleaning my house (please) there is only one thing to do.


'Yeah, but you said you haven't grocery shopped in a month!'. Good job on paying attention, special treat for you. How do you feel about a doggy eared copy of a book with no cover, spine or the last six pages? Great, I'll mail it to you tomorrow!

Bob has been doing 'spot' shopping. This is where Bob buys milk (which I don't drink), pop (which I drink waaayyy too much of) and bread (which I have been eating with peanut butter and have officially OD'd on it). Problem is Bob doesn't stop there. Oh, no. He has to get all the major food groups in so there is always a bag full of chips and chocolate. My prince. If he knows I have been particularly stressed out he gets one of those mega chocolate bars that you think there is no way you could eat in one sitting and then you do.

What? Only me?


Still here? Good. A fellow face stuffer. Welcome. Meetings will commence ... please, who am I kidding. Meetings. Sheesh. I need therapy and to go on the Survivor diet. Pronto.

Now you would think we could just stop buying the junk. 'Get some normal food you big butt!' So, we do, only we have these, uh, friends for the lack of a better word who know we love to eat. Really, how did you guess? Perimeter of my waist? The need to make sure I never get thinner than you? (oops, inner bitch just dropped in) Trust me, you stand in a picture with Bob and I and you are set for the perfect picture. You may even decide it is the best picture ever and mail it out as your Christmas card. (oops, there she is again)

So we get chocolate, chocolate, uh, let's see, OH! chocolate with some nuts for the protein don't you know and chocolate. Screw the little boxes of chocolate because 'Lordy there was a great deal on the Basket of Chocolate Death at that famous box store and we just knew you guys would love it!'

I hate you. (whoops)

Just in case you are worried that this is going to end with some sobbing and the eternal grab for the household candy jar (that'd be the second door on your right when you enter our house) you are wrong. Well, partly anyways.

Bob and I have learned to move the crap out of the house. Okay, only the crap that others give us because the stuff we buy is usually gone by the end of the night. I have dropped chocolate at the parents (who are usually yelling, 'don't leave that here!'), the aunt and cousin (who are usually yelling, 'don't leave that here!') and my godchildren's homes (kids - 'woohoo!' , parents - 'I hate you')

So Christmas cheer is brought to all those who think of us and think 'hmmmm, chocolate would be the perfect gift for them!'. Fat is a gift that can run both ways my friend. Give the gift of fat and it'll make it's way to your house!

Aren't I precious?

*mumbling* okay, I took a left, did a U-turn, no, where did I start, AH!

Let's call chocolate the 'you shouldn't have gift' especially for those friends of yours that are a wee bit on the 'broke the scale' side. Seriously, unless they specifically ask you for chocolate, get them a mug at the dollar store that says they 'hate Mondays' or something. They'll love you for it. Forever.

So here is a gift I told my friend she could buy for Bob and I because she loves it when I am specific and I try to keep her from spending a wad on us.

It's the Stir Crazy popcorn maker for us lazy bastards who have gotten used to microwave popcorn and are afraid they will burn their house down if they try and make the stuff on the stove.

Hey, it's not chocolate so wipe that grin off your face!

I figure it's basically a fat free snack made with a special 'Bob' gadget that should make him squeal in delight. Or not. I don't really know but, I'm a betting woman. Also you can decide the exact amount of butter you want on your popcorn. Sweet!

*This is your captain speaking, we're about to make a hard bank to the right. Stewardesses, strap in!*

My aunt bought us a special gift one year of everything you would need to watch the movie she gave us. Really cool except the buttered microwave popcorn (oh, no, don't buy the 'lite' stuff for us) came with a tiny packet of goo that you poured on. I didn't know this so when Bob brought the stuff out I just started to eat. (what a shock) At one point I do remember looking at Bob and asking what was wrong with the popcorn and he told me about the little packet. Did that stop us? Nope. As Anthony Bourdain would say *nods to Suisan* there was a night spent on the thunder pot by both of us. Too much? Yeah, well, go try that popcorn and see if it is too much! I haven't been able to stomach microwave popcorn since and that was two years ago.

*This is your captain again, we have come out of the turn and we may be in for smooth flying here on out.*

Okay, time is running out here so we'll move forward - I bought this little precious gift for my 20 year old cousin!

Okay, according to the website you can get this gift for 29.95 American. I am too embarrassed to mention how much I paid for this but, oh well, I think she will love it because it is cute and pink and you can use the case over and over again. Dang, I want one! So this could be a gift for that impossible teenage girl on your list or your 35 year old best friend who has decided to find her inner child. Dang, there's chocolate in this thing.


Post over.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Blather and Rot

I won't have contractors in my house anymore!! Woohoo!! I may actually reform my sleep schedule before that horribly ardent day, Christmas. Or as I call it, 20 straight hours of no sleep and way too much family time to be healthy.

So here are the semi-after pictures because my Mega-Gotta-Put-My-Fingers-In-Your-Pie husband will be installing the new kitchen/diner (a kitchen with 50's kitch is the way I am thinking of it, class with some advertising sass, yeah, anything to keep me from re-living the horror of a 50's diner in my basement!) and of course, re-doing the laundry room all before Christmas.


Sorry, cheap shot ;)

Okay, don't judge the plaid couch. I bought that ten years ago and I am washing the slip cover as we speak. It is a store bought slip cover which means it's not much prettier than what you are looking at but, it's a change. We are thinking of buying a new sofa but the money flowing out of this house is making me weak in the knees so I have put a hold on that idea. Here's the other room and then, the wreckage of my laundry room. I have to walk through my laundry room to get to the pretty new space. Yetch.

Yep, pretty, pretty, pretty, OH, MY EYES!! I also took a new picture of the puppies and their book room but I don't have the nerve to post it. Tonight I was able to get my wedding album (which I didn't know was in there) out of there before they ate too many of the photos. My dad took the time after the wedding to put the album together so it starts with my shower pictures (which now have a chunk out of them) and then my wedding pics which thankfully, do not have chunks out of them. Bob and I did not hire anyone for photos so they are pictures that our friends and family took.

I love my dogs, I love my dogs, I ....

Bob said I had to get in there and move all the books from the dogs level out of there. Thing is there is no where else to put them. Also, they seem to have kept to one area of the room. If I move those books out they might go supernova on the books left near their eyeline. Go-go-gadget Cody fingers! Trust me, it's like having two perpetual two year olds in the house. Never again!

Okay, I'm going to go surfing for a bit before I wind down. Hopefully a new start on sleep!

No True Gentleman

Renee put up a post about her thoughts on No True Gentleman by Liz Carlyle here.

I'll say right off that I liked this book much, much more than Beauty Like the Night which I talked about earlier. I would give it a B+ because although it was original and refreshing there were no scenes that made me gasp or tear up or want to re-read parts so, not so much a keeper. Not saying it's leaving the house but, one I might not get back to again in the near future.

So we have Catherine Wodeway who has been a widow for 2 years and is feeling horribly lonely. The good news is that she loved her first husband although she married him when they were both very young. There were a couple of moments where Catherine compared her first husband to the hero Max but I think that would only be natural. Also she is a very straight forward thinker and not burdened by missish qualities or shyness. She fought her older brother to marry her first husband (although that is not mentioned in this book, I only know that because I read BLTN) so I knew she would be just as determined to marry a man like Max.

Max de Rohan is harder to define. He is a policeman, no wait... a hmmm, let's just say he is no true gentleman although maybe he has a title but, it is from another country and I don't know enough about the English class system to know if an Italian (French?) Viscount would be considered equal to the British Viscount. Phew, long sentence but, you get my point.

Max is my dream hero with enough angst to make him edgy and it is based on situations that ring true. Not those puffed up, 'ow, I hurt' kind of situations that can be annoying and immature but a situation of violent loss and a scandal that has plagued him in his career. He is also a man who thinks that contentment is enough for his life and he tries to hold to this when he meets Catherine.

So they meet, he offends her, she reacts appropriately (in my estimation), they re-meet, apologies, attraction, fighting against the attraction and then a whole bunch of stuff that just made me happy. Nope, don't want to spoil it for someone. Just that it is nice to find a go-getter heroine who can also get mad as hell and react the way a normal person would. It was also nice to see the hero almost brought to his knees by his bad behavior. Gotta love that!

Oh, did I mention the murder? Who cares really, except for Max and the police but I wasn't reading for that. I forgot to mention that the book is also very sensual and sexual which also made me a happy camper. Also, I am vastly intrigued by Bentham (Catherine's brother) now that he has grown up from BLTN and I may be forced to dig out his story. Let's hope I have it. All the same, I don't like to read too many books by the same author back to back. Even when I know the author is writing keepers and has a huge backlist I try to space them out.

Thanks to Keishon for her TBR Challenges that force me out of my comfort zone and make me try new authors! Looking forward to the New Year (if you're still up to it)!

On that note I'm not sure how much time I will have for reading. I now have a semi-complete basement to get put back to rights and some painting that probably needs to be done (no probably about it!). Also, there are those craft gifts that I need to get to.

Dang! Also, my e-mail is bouncing and yahoo can't seem to find me. So if you have sent me an e-mail on a group I may not have seen it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Heading to Bed

I'm about to head off to bed after a wonderfully productive day. I picked up some surprise gifts for Bob and some odds and ends for others in my family. I also went and picked up some scrapbook supplies for the framed picture set I am doing for my friend. (Yep, crafty Cindy strikes again)

I bought and took some paint over to my best friends house because she is ready to start painting in the basement reno Bob is doing over at her house. Our contractor's at this house picked it up a notch and they think they will be done sometime tomorrow. I'll believe it when I see it but hey, miracles do happen.

I then came home and cooked my husband a dinner of beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes and carrots ( I was going to do a salad but the steaks were huge and well, I cooked carrots didnt' I?) to celebrate the end of his three year commitment to his employer. This wonderful contract kept Bob at his job for 3 years and if he quit we would have had to pay a $25 000 penalty. We gained things from signing the contract but I didn't realize that Bob is a lot like me in that he needs his freedom. It has been a weight over him for three years and he threatened to quit at least once every month. Now, if he quits, he's free to go but suddenly, not being forced into a corner has turned Bob's frame of mind around 180 degrees and he told me tonight that he may be over renovating. He thinks being a General Contractor may be the way. I think that is where the money is also but I'll believe it when I see it. Right now, I think he looks at all our benefits at the place he works and realized it would be stupid to walk away at this point. However, knowing that you can without a penalty is priceless ;)

That's it from me for now. I hope that I get a few more things done tomorrow and that I am up during the daylight again. It was nice to be out in the sun.

I may be nocturnal but, there is definitely a sun lover in me!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Misty Eyed

Saturday was a great day here in the Smith household.

We went to my best bud's house where 6 of us got together and celebrated our version of a Mini Christmas. It will probably turn out to be one of my best memories of Christmas this year because I just don't stress about dinner or anything like that. With a friend who throws on Chili and caesar salad and thinks nothing of the fact that I can't eat in restaurants during the cold months, well, I'm in Heaven. We took some group shots and traded gifts. There are two couples and a single mom and her tossle haired son. I try to spoil the single mom because I know the little guy is going to get most of the gifts and he was quite happy with his new 'diggers'. He suggested that we head upstairs to the other tree and unwrap those gifts. He's only two so doesn't get the whole concept yet but, it wasn't hard to explain that the upstairs gifts had to stay wrapped.

We then went to see the Christmas lights which I hadn't seen in almost 20 years since I moved from the small town. A few things were new but other than that, it was just as I remembered only, it seemed like fewer lights. I'm usually the one that has problems getting around (panic crap) but I knew we were going to go see the lights and I wasn't going to let myself get worked up. Turns out that it was Bob who had us turning around!

Bob has been taking blood pressure meds now for about 6 months but has had a problem with each one he has been on. The first one caused a dry hacking cough and honestly, even I couldn't believe how grating on the nerves it could be. He did this for 2 months and when he mentioned it to the doc, she said if it hadn't gone away then the dry cough wasn't going to stop. Yetch. So they changed meds and Bob's dizzy spells started. Now, being who I am, dizziness is not something I get worked up about ;) Bob, on the other hand, is really worked up about the 'spacey' feelings he is experiencing so they changed the meds just this past week. First day Bob was dizzier than he had ever been so he stopped taking it for a day to get it out of his system. He started to take it again and it seemed it was going to do the trick.

Saturday. We're out in this park and the wind is frigid and yeah, I couldn't feel my chin after a certain point but again, we weren't leaving because of me! Bob, who never gets cold is a mess and says it feels like the wind is blowing right through his coat. I try and stand beside him to block the wind and he says it helps but I think our friends figured out something was not right. Reg, bless him, suggested we head back to the cars and Bob was able to warm up. I apologized to the girls in private but Stephany said not to worry, that her father was forever cold and it was due to his blood pressure meds. I'm trying to stay calm about all this but Bob is only 47 and he seems young to be on cholesterol and blood pressure meds.

So that was that and we did have a great time.

We head home where I can barely drive because I am so tired. I went to bed at 12:30pm and slept for 12 hours! You would think I would have felt refreshed and maybe I would have except Bob started and things went downhill. 'Let's tell the workers we want carpet in the back room (first pic, that opening on the right hand side is a room) and save the laminate for the laundry room' 'Bob, we've been over this, we have dogs and rugs get filthy and we don't have time' 'The dogs won't be on it and we do have time' I've been fighting battles since the beginning of this reno and let me tell you. I snapped. Bob's yelling about how I am not open to new ideas and I'm think about ripping his arm off and beating him with it ;)

This story is too long to trot out here as it goes back to when Bob started renoing and how things around our house took a back burner. At the moment we are all living in an 1100 square foot area and things are not all rosey. I can't keep up with the crud and the downstairs still looks like a bomb has hit it. It's bad enough that Bob called the contractor and told him that we were going to install the new cabinets! I had it so that all we had to do was build them and they would install them but no, I got over ruled. I'm betting the cupboards are not in by Christmas. Bob is promising they will be and I know that in his heart he truly believes this but he takes on too much and then things don't get done. The laundry room gives me stomach pains. Let's see if I can get some pics up for you.

So I start crying and Bob is contrite which is good and then I know I'm not being entirely reasonable but hey, I'm just trying to get our home put back together because if we had to sell now we'd be lucky to get a nickel for the place! Then we are looking for an angel for the top of our tree in remembrance of my Gramma Grace so then I am crying in the store looking for the prettiest angel. I didn't realize that the more time went by the more you would miss the person. Hmm, remind me to tell you the funeral story another time because this is getting long! Anyways, I miss my Gram.

We find a perfect angel and at the same time find some fun wacky Christmas gifts and 200 bucks later we're on our way. Ouch.

I was back in bed by 5pm and slept until almost 10 o'clock and I tell you, I'm still tired. I don't mind having those kind of days when Bob is at work because we're only missing a few hours together but I felt bad that I needed so much sleep today.

I have a theory but, you knew that right? It has been weeks since Bob and I have had a proper meal and today we decided to treat ourselves to breakfast out. OMG, it was fabulous. For the first time in weeks my hunger was satiated in the proper way (not a chocolate bar or cookie in sight) so then my body moved onto it's other needs. Apparently shelter was fine so it needed sleep. I'll have to find that science thing that tells you the three things the human body needs to live - ooops, I forgot water but I have been downing that since Saturday. (Damn, if I am remembering from school correctly it was food, shelter and sex. I remember thinking as my virginal self, how the hell was I still living!?) Ho ha! Found it but it is much more indepth than my science teacher explained!

When I woke up I discovered that Bob had cleaned up the middle room AND cleared the desk of all the clutter I didn't know what to do with. Yep, it took 5 hours. At this rate we may have the upper floor ready for Christmas.

I was ever so grateful though that Bob tackled the desk because I didn't even know where to start. Yay, the desk is clear.

Now, to get my mind to clear.

Have I mentioned my dogs have moved onto eating hardcovers? Yeah? Just checking. That alone is getting me misty eyed and just when I think there is no way they can reach anything else, they find another. Today it was Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone - excellent book by the way. Remember that signed Gabaldon I got a few weeks ago? I have it at the highest point in the room and am praying they don't get their paws on it. Bob told me my books were starting to over run the house. Uh, yeah, you think? I'm not putting anything new in the book room/doggy day care room.

No wonder I'm weepy.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


I had no idea that people actually did this until I met my husband. Not that he is a habitual re-gifter but, when there are things in the house that are still in the box that have never been used, Bob gets creative.

I was horrified when Bob suggested we give an electric fry pan we got as a wedding gift to someone else as a Christmas gift like 3 years later. I mean, can you do that? How do you get away with it? At the time money was tight so I agreed to give this perfectly good gift to one of his brother's families for Christmas. Seeing as how I haven't received it back, I think it found a home.

Turns out I am uncomfortable with this and decide not to let Bob talk me into such nonsense again.

Then I find an article in O magazine about the etiquette of re-gifting.

I was floored.

Re-gifting was so popular that they had an etiquette for it! Unbelievable.

So, let's go over some basic rules.

1. Remember who gave you the gift before deciding to give it to someone. I have feared the embarrassment of giving someone a gift that they gave me. O covered this by saying you could say 'oh, it was so great I decided to get you one!'. Yeah, no one will see through that!

In case you didn't get the sarcasm in that, THEY. WILL. SEE. THROUGH. THAT! Scared you straight didn't I.

2. Do not re-gift a tacky present that you yourself thought was hideous unless you know someone who absolutely adores Coca-Cola paraphenelia and would absolutely die to have that Polar Bear lamp. (Yeah, that would be Bob and my father got him this for Christmas one year - I have tried to block it from my sight line but every once in a while it will jump out at me and scream 'look how tacky I am!!' Okay, the voice is in my head but you get the drift.)

3. Foodstuffs and alcohol can be re-gifted as long as you obey rules 1 and 2 and it is in the same calendar year. Do not keep that Pot of Gold box of chocolates from last year and try to pawn it off this year. I - uh - your giftee will be pissed if they spend the night horking their guts up because of bad chocolate. (Now, I don't know if chocolate goes bad but, I'd be pissed if I found out, but then how would I find out?) Screw it. Don't be a grinch with chocolate. You could hurt someone!

Wine does get better with time but make sure you haven't displayed it prominently in your home. That's right, Bob and I use wine as art because we don't really drink the stuff. Here, I'll take a picture so you can see.

Now, if this were my parent's house the wine would not be around long enough to get put up on the wall. Yeah! I said it! My parent's are lushes! I don't mind because my mother is actually more fun when she is drunk. Seriously, she should've been drunk all the time because then my teenage years may have been better than they were.

Welcome to this episode of My Parent's Suck When Sober.

Whoops, my family disfunction is showing. Excuse me while I tuck that back in place. Next!

4. Is there really a four? Are you still reading hoping against hope that I will tell you it is okay to give that pattent red leather sweater to someone else with loving sentiments?

You know what? I think it would be okay on two conditions. You would have to find something equally tacky and then you should give it to the person who gave it to you. Yep. Screw re-gifting. Give the gift that'll make them squeal in horror.

That aunt who gives you those gifts that make you teeth hurt? Give that wonderful vegetarian gift certificates to the nearest Steak House.

Oh, Oh, you have that person who is always returning your gifts because they didn't like them? Do a craft with macaroni! Return that!

The sister in law who thinks socks are the perfect gift? A wonderful satin thong - 3 sizes too big would be a nice choice. (an aside - Bob's mom does buy everyone socks but that is not the only gift she gives you. Apparently one of Bob's SIL sent everyone a pair of socks for Christmas and it was obvious to everyone that she had bought the jumbo pack and separated them so that everyone got one pair. Hey, if Christmas is hard financially then I would have no problem with that but apparently this woman would then buy gifts worth $200 - 300 for each of her family members. Uncool.)

And last but not least, send my mother an empty bottle of wine - whoops! Got away from me there.

Okay, that's my take on re-gifting. It hurts my tummy to do it but if I'm in real dire straights and I have too much stuff hanging around the house that someone else could use, then yeah, it's outta here.

Aren't you glad we don't exchange gifts.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Super Quick Post About Carlyle

I just wanted to send a thanks to Megan and Rosario for suggesting No True Gentleman. I am only 1/2 way through the book and I am loving it! The heroine is wonderful and the hero (sorry the book is not in this room and I don't want to get their names wrong) is angsty. I was getting worried that his angst was going to take over the story but he seemed to finally see the heroine for who she truly was and not what he thought she could be.

Anyways, just wanted to let others know that this Carlyle book is definitely working for me!

Any other's doing Keishon's December challenge for Liz Carlyle? I know that Kristie(J) is but I have not heard how her reading has been going recently.

Hopefully a 'Cindy' review will be in the making by Sunday. You know the kind, no plot summary but a bunch about what I loved and loathed. Normally this does not happen in the same book if I am lucky.

Okay, off to bed. I have to get my sleeping in because Saturday in my best buddies and our Mini Christmas. I need to be up at 2pm on Saturday and be functioning as a sane adult. For the past few weeks I have been sleeping crazy hours and I find I am sleeping in the afternoons into the evening. Not. Good.

I'll tell you more about the weekend plans later as my kitty Amber is calling me.

Awwww! That's her tucked into my bed. So if you will excuse me, I believe I will have to disturb her slumber so I can crawl into bed. Luckily for me, she does not get pissed about such treatment and usually settles down to sleep with me for the day.

First Things First

Seriously, what does that saying mean?

I have noticed there are a few bloggers who post pictures of the men they have *crushes* on. Seeing as how very few share my tastes in men I decided to post a few pics myself. We'll start with my longest crush ever.

Harrison Ford:

I fell in love with him as Han Solo when I was 7 years old and then again as Indiana Jones. I was shocked when I read his age on the back of his Star Wars card back then. He was 32 and even then, I knew he wouldn't ever be mine. I absolutely love the picture on the right. I think this was his sexual peak and whenever I talk about that guy I see as a hero in my head, he kinda looks like Indiana Jones. Now, he hasn't aged that badly but the whole Calista Flockhart thing blew my mind (she's my age! Could he have been mine?) and then friends who knew I loved Harrison Ford (including hubby) would send me articles and such about his private life. Turns out Harrison Ford is probably not a person I would be attracted to but, Han Solo and Indiana Jones - yeah, absolutely. For that alone, I will always love him.

Let's move into the Present and talk about those I find just friggin' hunky.

Mark Ruffalo:

The first time I ever noticed him was in a movie called In the Cut. Holy Lord, he was so sexy and creepy that I couldn't take my eyes off of him. He just radiated sex and the movie, although slow to start was amazing in a depressive sort of way. Now I try and see everything he is in.

One more for now ;)

Eric Bana:

The first time I noticed Eric Bana was in the movie Black Hawk Down (phenomenal movie but very realistic violence and is a true story) and whenever I catch a glimpse of him I catch my breath. ::sigh::

He was in Troy and although others faint at the sight of Brad Pitt (too pretty) and Orlando Bloom (I prefer him as a pirate or an elf), I was able to sit and bask in my attraction to a man far less popular but to me, so much more worthy.

So there you go. I couldn't just post the pics and let you drool without my take on the situation.


I'll shut up now.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Book Stuff or Headache - You Decide!

Okay, so Tara Marie got me thinking and well, we all know how that mess can turn out. I'm not sure where I am going to end up but I figure we'll all just have more questions at the end of this. No. Wait till the end for the questions. What? No, I act completely sane in person. No one knows, shhh.

I reviewed *cough* Beauty Like the Night by Liz Carlyle where I pretty much said it sucked. Hey, I'm just melting it down here. Turns out there are many others out there that love this book. It's okay. I'm happy that you love the book. You are one lucky bastard for loving the book and now, I want to read a book I love ;) Ooops, I digress. (surprise!)

Tara Marie has noted that if she cannot get past an author's voice then no matter how good everything else is, it won't work for her. Me? I'm in complete agreement. I have never read a Judith Ivory book. When people talk about how 'beautiful the author's prose' is, rather than how wonderful the hero or heroine are, I know that author is not going to work for me. This seems to be the numero uno reason people love Ivory so thanks, but, no.

So where does the question come in?

What about when you do like an author's voice but you still hit that bad book? Hmm, maybe I don't really have a question at all. I really thought I did.

I'll trudge along and see what I come up with. Hey, keep all hands and feet in the car until the ride comes to a complete stop!

Uh, oh. Looks like they actually teach full length courses on voice. Ice berg dead ahead!

Let's start with a simple definition and then I will dumb it down even further.

From: Reading Strategies

Voice can be defined as the writer's awareness and effective use of such elements as diction, tone, syntax, unity, coherence and audience to create a clear and distinct "personality of the writer," which emerges as a reader interacts with the text.

Or here:

Asking this question is about as general as asking the Ab Fab darlings, what is Lacroix (their fav fashion designer). They would respond with a prompt sentence that he is a fabulous fash designer who cannot be easily defined but is influenced by many aspects of life. The answer for what is voice is just as ambiguous.

So, let's dumb it down. I *think* that if someone hid the covers of five books and one of them was an historical by Julie Garwood that I have never read, I believe that I would be able to pick her out from the bunch. I dare say, that if MaryJanice Davidson (her link isn't working) had an entry in there, I would also be able to pick her out. Same with LKH and Janet Evanovich. These people have a voice that is so distinctive, at least to me, that I should know them anywhere.

That said, I can't do this with all my favourite authors. For example, Lisa Kleypas, Linda Howard (although maybe), Julia Quinn etc.

So for now, let's take Linda Howard. I think most of us have read her books and from what I can tell, there seems to be a division between those who love Dream Man, Duncan's Bride (me!) from those who love Kill and Tell (boo, hiss), All the Queen's Men (yak) and Son of Morning (*blink*). I have read all these books and I swear at times it's like reading a completely different author.

Dream Man had a paranormal element which I loved but also, the hero was very alpha and the heroine was not the type to put up with shit. These two people sizzled. When they weren't sizzling the heroine had such a wonderfully compelling backstory that I was glued to the pages. All that, wonderful dialogue and great sex scenes and I was all aglow. This is one of my favourite books.

Then I get Kill and Tell. Huh, the heroine is obviously grieving the loss of her father. Still grieving. Still depressed and crying. The hero, a male slut, decides he must have her even though it is obvious she is grieving. What a prince. Yes, then there is the disputed condom scene where there are the people who think it was sexy (not me) and those who had a huge WTF moment (yeah, me). As to the rest of the book, I think I remember something about a rent-a-space and someone coming to kill someone. Whatever.

So, how is it that even though I enjoy Linda Howard's voice, she can write a book that makes me want to tear my own skin off. What? Too much? That's okay, her last one made me want to pry my eyes out from boredom. Boredom! I mean, she's there right? She has the alpha hero and the equally strong but conflicted heroine and ... nothing. No spark, no heat, no passion. Blech.

Duncan's Bride on the other hand was a bouquet for the senses. (lookit me all fancy) Alpha hero and feisty heroine in a modern day marriage of convenience story. Should have been bad but, it is the best of the MOC stories I have ever read. Great banter, sexual chemistry, some relationship struggles and two people falling in love. ::sigh::

I should mention that it is not that I like her earlier books to her newer ones. I enjoyed Open Season and Mr. Perfect and liked Cry No More. Also, I read her earlier books years ago and they gave me hives. I'm thinking of trying them again just to see if my mature tastes have made them more palatable.

So, do I love her voice or just her story telling? I'm wondering because it seems that there are others who can love an author's work based on the author's voice and yes, I do believe I am one of them. I mean, MaryJanice Davidson has some serious issues with her writing but when she's on her game she rocks. So yeah, I read through the drek and still kinda enjoy the story even though I know she can do better.

Oooh, and you so better not talk smack about my Anne Stuart (ooh, The Devil's Waltz is on her front page, Squeeee!!). Even at her worst I am in Heaven and yeah, I can admit that she is not always on her game but there is always something that gives her story a spark. Ooops, fangirl moment. Next!

Janet Evanovich's voice is still there in her later books but, her characters are now spinning their wheels and I am not nearly as excited about her books. LKH has such a distinctive voice that I would know it anywhere and yet, her Anita series has not only jumped the shark, but done a triple sow cow over the bloody thing. So even though her voice is there (and lordy, has it become irritating) her stories are no longer any good.

What the hell, let's loop-tee-loo this puppy.

Loretta Chase. I brought her up at Tara Marie's. I loved Lord of Scoundrels although I do think the hero became someone totally different in the second part of the book which may have been the point but I mean, he was a whole different person! Still, loved it. I decide I must read more from this author and track down previous titles.



I just didn't get it. How in the world was this the same author? It's okay, they were her earlier books, her next books will be like LOS. Huh? There was one that I can't remember the title to that was supposed to be like LOS but came off wrong and then there was Miss Wonderful and I don't know if I could get much more bored but, I finished the book. I'm beginning to think that LOS was a complete fluke.

TA-DA! Mr. Impossible. Bestill my heart. I loved it and it was beautiful and I'm wondering who in the hell wrote it because I want more!

All the same, I couldn't pick out Chase's book from an anonymous pile of five.

So, not voice? Voice? Bueller?

Anyone else have a headache? I'm heading for tylenol and something that does not have peanuts of any kind in it. Feel free to discuss!

Oh, and just for fun, work 'sow cow' into your blog without discussing skating. You're it!