Sunday, December 31, 2006

Snow Day

North Winds Blow! It's finally snowing here!

My knitting buddy left yesterday and I'm sad. I'll post more later about what a great time we had, but in the meantime, here's a meme I was tagged to do before Christmas.

ABC MeMe - Tagged by Chelle!

The Letter A
Are you agnostic? I am not always a yes or no person, so here it goes. Honestly, there are times that I think I am. I have lots and lots of questions. I have faith, but then again, I’m not sure.
What is your age? Oh no you don’t! I’m young enough not to care if you know but old enough not to say it out loud.
What annoys you? People asking me how old I am.

The Letter B
Do you like bacon? Oh yeah! And that’s why I never have it in the house.
What is your birthday? April 26. Bet you thought I’d put the year, didn’t ya? I’m not that stupid.
Who is your best friend? A true friend wouldn’t rank her friends. But A, T, and RJ are way up there.

The Letter C
What is your favorite candy? I love a really good box of chocolates—not just creams and a combination of dark and milk chocolates.
Who is your crush? Hmmmm. Lately, Gerard Butler, Tony Curran. It’s easy to crush on an actor because there’s no chance you’ll meet him, so there’s no chance of making an ass of yourself.
When was the last time you cried? I am the biggest crybaby. And with it being Christmas, I’m pretty much a waterfall with every sappy commercial.

The Letter D
Do you daydream? To the detriment of getting anything else done.
What is your favorite kind of dog? I love most dogs. My darling Daily Dog was a Petite Bassett Griffon Vendeen (PBGV), but I also love boarder collies and Scottish Deerhounds.
What day of the week is it? Sunday.

The Letter E
How do you like your eggs? I love eggs! Any way you cook ‘em, I’ll eat ‘em. I will eat them in a boat and I will eat them with a goat . . .
Have you ever been in the emergency room? Yes, but not for me.
What’s the easiest thing to ever do? Smile

The Letter F
Have you ever flown in a plane? Yes. I love to fly.
Do you use fly swatters? Well, yeah. How else will I destroy those evil little critters that like to dive bomb me while I’m trying to read or take a nap?
Have you ever used a foghorn? No, but my hubby wants to put one on the Miata. And may I say, that I was a little concerned about what question would come with “F” but it’s all good.

The Letter G
Do you chew gum? Yes, and I can even walk while I chew it.
Are you a giver or taker? Oh, we’re all both, aren’t we? There are times I take, there are times I give. I’m multifaceted that way.

The Letter H
How are you? Fine, and you?
What’s your height? 5’6” but I wish I was at least 5’8” because then I’d be the perfect weight.
What color is your hair? Right now, it’s dark brown with reddish tones. I have no idea what color it really is.

The Letter I
What is your favorite ice-cream? Cherry Garcia and Chocolate and Peanut Butter
Have you ever ice-skated? Yes, when I was a little kid. I’d like to go again, but I seem to be the only one in my little group who does. Party poopers.
Do you play an instrument? I used to play the guitar. I’ve thought about picking it up again but I don’t have those calluses any more. Or the energy to practice. Or the talent, come to think of it.

The Letter J
What is your favorite jelly bean? I like jelly beans, ok, but one too many and I’m sick to my stomach the rest of the day.
Do you wear jewelry? I would if I had some. We saw a commercial for a Kay’s Jewelers and I said, “Diamonds are always a nice gift.” Al said, “That’s not you.” I said, “Yes, it is. You just don’t buy me that.”
Have you heard a really hilarious joke? Ok, I love this one. Angus walks into the Highland bar and orders a double whisky and to keep them coming. The bartender asked him what was wrong, and he said (in Scottish accent) “Ya see that bridge? I built that bridge with me own two hands. That bridge will stand for a hundred years. But does anyone call me Angus the Bridge-builder? No. Ya see that church? I built that church with me own two hands. That church will stand for a hundred years. But does anyone call me Angus the Church-builder? No. Ya see that house? I built that house with me own two hands. That house will stand for a hundred years. But does anyone call me Angus the House-builder? No. But ya f*#k one goat!”

The Letter K
Who do you want to kill? That’s awful! Ya coulda asked “Who do you want to kiss?” Wouldn’t that be nicer?
Do you want kids? No. Sure I seem nice and friendly and all that, but I’m really very selfish, neurotic, and set in my ways. I’d be a horrible mother.
Where did you have kindergarten? I think it was in Harrison, AR. But I don’t remember much about it. Mom says that I always wore a dress because I thought I’d turn into a boy if I wore pants.

The Letter L
Are you laid-back? No, not particularly. I’m a lot better than I used to be, but I’m still pretty tightly wound.
Do you lie? I’d be lying if I said no.
Do you love anyone? It’s all about the love, baby.

The Letter M
What is your favorite movie? I don’t have just one favorite. I like a lot of different kinds of movies, but I’m not a big romantic comedy fan or a slasher-movie fan.
Do you still watch Disney movies? Of course I do. I’m very comfortable with my inner child.
Do you like mangos? Mmmmmm, mangos. Especially in Mango Lassies (like a mango slushy at Indian restaurants)

The Letter N
Do you have a nickname? Kell is my nickname, if you can call it that. I’ve never had a cute nickname. Poor little nicknameless me.
What is your favorite number? I really like the number 3. There’s something really balanced about 3. I always chose 3 and/or 33 on lottery numbers. Of course, I never win . . . maybe I should find another favorite number.
Do you prefer night or day? “You know the night time darling (night and day)/Is the right time (night and day) . . .” Anyone know that song?

The Letter O
What is your one wish? World peace. Wait, I’m not in the running for Miss America! I wish for a puppy. OK, actually, I wish for joy, great heart-filling joy.
Are you an only child? Nope, a younger brother. But you already knew that, probably.
Do you wish this year was over? No because then there’s that whole “what did you accomplish this year” and “what are your goals for next year” and I can’t handle the pressure!

The Letter P
What is one fear that you are most paranoid about? Breaking down on the side of the road.
What personality trait would you look for in someone you wanted to date? Funny and fun-loving. If I was going to have to date again (God forbid), I would want someone I can have fun with. And have a lot of money (kidding!).

The Letter Q
Are you quick to judge people? Yes, and many, many times I’m not wrong. However, I’m becoming more apathetic as I get older, so I don’t care enough to judge.

The Letter R
Do you think you are always right? My hubby thinks I am, that’s what’s kept us together for so long. He’s always saying, *as Eyore* “Kell’s always right.” Of course, I’m not. And he doesn’t really think that.
Do you watch reality T.V.? I’ve watched Project Runway through the whole season, but that’s it. *she says smugly*
What is a good reason to cry? If someone takes your toy.

The Letter S
Do you prefer sun or rain? I love rainy, stormy days. We moved from Shreveport, LA to Pensacola, FL, to San Antonio, TX and I said to Al, “You keep moving me closer to the sun! I don’t want to be closer to the sun!”
Do you like snow? I love snow. Don’t like driving in it so much, but I love snow.

The Letter T
What time is it? 1:30 pm
What time did you wake up? 7:00 am but didn’t actually get up until closer to 8:00.
When was the last time you slept in a tent? 1991 or so when we went camping with friends in northern California. I’m too old to sleep on the ground now.

The Letter U
Are you wearing underwear? Is this an obscene phone call? Yes, I am. Victoria’s Secret. And you can use your imagination for the rest.

The Letter V
What is the worst veggie? Brussel sprouts
Where do you want to go on vacation? Dog-sledding in Alaska
What was your last family vacation together? Mom and I went to England and Scotland.

The Letter W
What is your worst habit? Too many to name, but probably procrastination. I prefer to call it procrastination than laziness.
Where do you live? In my happy place.

The Letter X
Have you ever had an X-ray? Yes. I don’t think that sets me apart from anyone.
Have you ever seen the X-Games? I don’t even know what that is.
Do you own a xylophone? No. But I had one of those little, colorful ones when I was a kid.

The Letter Y
Do you like the color yellow? Yes. My house is a lovely shade of buttery, light yellow. It’s a happy color.
What year were you born in? Oh no you don’t! I’m not stupid! You can figure out my age if I give you that. Ha! Thought you could trick me, didn’t ya.
What do you yearn for most? Yearn? Hmmmm. Yearn. I yearn for contentment and joy.

The Letter Z
What is your Zodiac Sign? Taurus
Do you believe in the Zodiac? Well, there are some pretty interesting coincidences if it isn’t real. I don’t believe in my horoscope, but some of those Zodiac descriptions are pretty close.
What is your favorite zoo animal? The big cats

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Still On Holiday

'Tis Herself will be continuing her holiday break this week while she entertains and is entertained by her good friend and knitting buddy RJ.

Have a wonderful week and a Hap-Hap-Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Merry

This is a really, really easy fudge recipe. It's pretty much foolproof--I swear!

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 (6oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup water
12 oz chocolate chips (I use a combination of bittersweet or dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Prepare a 9X13 pan. Spray it with nonstick spray. Line with a sheet of wax or parchment paper and spray that, too.

Combine sugar, milk, butter, and salt over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it comes to a boil, cook for 5 minutes until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add marshmallows and water, and stir to melt (switch to a spoon). Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Pour into prepared pan. Chill 3 hours or until firm. After you take it out of the fridge, let it warm up a little, then you'll be able to take out the fudge, with the paper. Cut into squares and serve at room temperature.

And now I think it's time for a Christmas break. So, warm, fuzzy thoughts for all of you this holiday season. I'll be talkin' to ya soon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ho Ho Hum

Jay tagged me with a book MEME, so I’ll start with that.

Rules for this tag game are:
-Grab the closest book to you
-Open Page 123
-Scroll down to the 5th sentence
-Post the next 3 sentences on your blog
-Name the book and author

I’m not going to tag anyone, though. If you need quick blogfodder, though, jump on in!

“This will be much better than Arkansas,” Felicia said.
“Why’d you leave Arkansas?” I asked, because I just couldn’t help it. Felecia was the simplest vampire I’d ever met.

Defintely Dead by Charlaine Harris.

How weird is that the sentences are about leaving Arkansas. Life is just freaky some times.


I haven’t noticed a headline telling us that Lindsey Lohan hasn’t had a drink for 2 weeks now. Whatever will we do without our “Lohan Update”?


It’s a cold, rainy day today. No snow yet, to my hubby’s joy. The temperatures have been unusually warm this winter. I’m not sure how I feel about that.


My knitting buddy RJ is coming up on the 26th. I’m so excited! We’re going to a knitting workshop at my LYS (local yarn shop) and just going to hang out for a while. She’s had a very rough year and she needs some time to just chill. Al is planning on just sitting down in the pub and letting us yakety-yak all we want. He wonders how we can always have something to talk about. I’m not really sure how we do it, either. It’s the same thing with my friend, A. Talk, talk, talk. And more talking, still.


I’m still reading my vampire/detective/romance book. I had to take a break while I finished off some Christmas stuff, but now I’m back into it. Tell me something, why do feel so guilty just sitting and reading a book. See? Notice how I said “just sitting . . .”? I feel like I should be doing something more productive—I think of all the things that need to be cleaned and groceries that need to be bought and a gym membership that should be utilized. I don’t feel guilty if I sit and knit all day, but then, I knit for other people. Sure, I enjoy it, but I give away almost everything I knit. Reading seems very self-indulgent. I wonder if I’d feel the same if I was reading, say, a biography or the latest political/historical tome. Then I could feel all superior because I was reading something “intellectual” or “worthy.”


Within another year, my hubby will either be accepting another assignment or getting out of the military. I’m a bit panicky about either one. Staying in for at least one more assignment would be a little less stressful because I’m used to that. I enjoy moving around and living in new places. If he gets out, well, that’s a little more uncertain. He could probably get a job here and we could settle here for awhile. I say “awhile” because as much as I like it here, I’m not so sure I like it enough to stay here for the rest of our lives. Not that it would have to be that way, but I think my hubby is ready to settle down some where. But the scariest thing about his retiring is that I’m not sure we have the same idea about where and what we want to do. And although we’ve financially been planning and thinking about it, it doesn’t seem like we’ve been planning and thinking enough. I’ve always just followed along, and now I might actually have a choice. What the hell do I do with a choice?


I took the nerd test on Cynnie’s blog. *Sigh* It’s so typical.

I am nerdier than 38% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

“Not nerdy, but definitely not hip” That’s me—friggin’ middle of the road.


The temperature has finally dropped back into the 30s, so I’m making chili tonight. Might light a fire in the fireplace. Maybe watch a Christmas movie. Snuggle on the couch with my sweetie. Hey! I may even read some of my book!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Christmas 25

I haven’t done a list of 25 in a while. How about a list of 25 Christmas memories? Yeah, I thought you might like that. If nothing else, there will be some funny stories about Jay and Mom.

1. I was in college before my mother asked if she could please put the gifts out before Christmas night so that she wouldn’t have to wait until we were asleep to do so. I hate being an adult.

2. One late night before Christmas when I was about, oh I don’t know 10 or so, my parents’ good friends and their 3 kids came over really late—like I was in bed late. The eldest son, Tommy, *sigh* came into my room and got a board game out for us to play while Jay and the other two kids were in the playroom. That was a pretty romantic night for me. I didn’t quite know why or how, but I knew it was.

3. That same night, the middle son, who was my age and mean spirited, kept telling his little sister that there wasn’t a Santa Claus and we kept telling her there was.

4. Our first Christmas after Dad left, Mom, Jay, and I painted wooden ornaments for the Christmas tree. We sat at the dining room table, and I wished that I was as good at painting them as my mom was. I still have many of those ornaments, and they are on my tree right now.

5. We couldn’t wait to get the Sears Christmas catalogue so we could circle all the things we wanted for Christmas. I circled a lot of things.

6. The first Christmas that we couldn’t go home and no one could come visit, we were in upstate New York and a little homesick. On Christmas Eve, Al and I went to see A Muppet Christmas Carol. When we came out it was dusk and snowing. It was so beautiful and hadn’t made the roads slick yet, so we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. Is it any wonder I love that movie?

7. Jay and I always searched the house for our Christmas presents once we realized who Santa really was and usually found them. They were usually in Mom's bedroom closet.

8. My Nana Ruby (Mom’s mom) caught me trying to peek into Mom’s closet when I young.

9. One of my favorite gifts was a Baby Alive doll. She was so cool because she ate and pooped, like a real baby. But it wasn’t so cool when I asked Mom to buy some diapers for my doll.

10. Mom would start taking down the Christmas decorations the day after Christmas, sometimes even starting that night. I thought that was very sad and too soon to be putting everything away. I think that’s why I leave mine up until after New Years.

11. I actually asked for and got an autoharp for Christmas one year. Our music teacher used one and I thought it was very cool. Did I mention I was very young and didn’t know better?

12. My Nana Creta used to give my cousin and me the same thing for Christmas, usually something she had made. I have a picture of us in matching tutus. Luckily, my cousin is a girl.

13. Jay would get so excited about Christmas that he would be sick on Christmas day and spend it sitting on Mom’s lap.

14. When we were little and our folks were still married, we always went to Yellville to my grandmother’s house on Christmas Day. I really loved that. But when my folks split up and Dad remarried, his new family (wife and 2 step-daughters) got to go instead. But I’m not bitter. (The hell I’m not.)

15. Mom and my dad’s family went out of their way to have a Christmas with us on a different day. They did the best they could with what they had.

16. Once my Dad passed away, all of a sudden we were invited/expected/wanted to come to Christmas. We did, but I just felt out of place.

17. When Al and I got married, my Mom told him that there was a law that you always go to the daughter’s mother’s house for Christmas. We did as often as we could, then because of his work schedule, it was easier for her to come visit us.

18. I enjoy having a full house at Christmas.

19. While living in San Antonio, we were part of a Mazda Miata driving club. Every Christmas we had a progressive dinner, and I always cooked either the main meal or the desserts. The last year we were there, we had over 40 people at our house.

20. It was warm enough to drive with the top down, so Al strung Christmas lights around the roll bar and wore a Santa’s hat while leading the 20 or so cars to our house. It was quite a sight to see.

21. When we were in Florida, we were members of an amazing church with a fantastic choir who stood in front of a stained-glass window. During their cantata, while they were singing “Mary Did You Know” and the song was building—The blind will see/The deaf will hear/The dead will live again…—the wind picked up and the shadow of the trees were whipping around behind them, also building with the music. Then, at the crescendo at the end of that verse, the wind stopped and the trees stood still as they quietly sang the last verse. It was heart-stopping.

22. When Al got me an engagement ring for Christmas, he gave me the clue that my gift acts like a clutch. I had never driven a standard and didn’t realize that a clutch engages the gears. Isn’t he clever?

23. The first year I shipped Christmas presents to Al’s family, I told him that if someone got a gift, I didn’t send that person a Christmas card. Therefore, his extended family got cards and immediate family got gifts. His grandmother was pissed that I didn’t send her a Christmas card. Now, cards for everyone!

24 While Granny (Al’s grandmother) was alive, I always sent fudge because she loved it. After her first mild stroke, she was starting to have trouble talking and getting around, but I was still sending the fudge. One Christmas, my mother-in-law said she got over to Granny’s house and she had chocolate all over her mouth and said, “Kelley sent candy” just as clear as day. I wish I had been there for that.

25. I send out over 50 Christmas cards every year. I’m blessed with many wonderful people in my life.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Making a List and Crossing It Off

I’ve crossed a lot off of my to do list, but there’s still plenty to do. But why dwell on those pesky things like shipping gifts, getting those last-minute things, and vacuuming all those little green “needles” scattered over the floor from putting up the artificial tree.

Let us, instead, talk about what has been accomplished.

Mostly accomplished.

Sort of accomplished.

So, maybe I crossed some things off my list before they were “officially” done, but I can get partial credit, can’t I?

The Christmas cards are addressed. Not all of them because I had to get some more cards. But I got those (so cute with a barn and sheep) and I’ll finish them tonight. Of course, I don’t have any stamps yet. . .

My Grandmother’s shawl is finished, wrapped, and ready to go.

Now all I have to do is take it down to the UPS store and ship it off.

The fudge is made and ready to ship to a not-so-subtle brother I know. And I have all the ingredients for the cookies, I just have to bake them. And pack them. And ship them.

The gifts are all bought and wrapped. Um. Wait a minute. I still have one thing to get for Mom and a restaurant gift certificate for our friends and something for my knitting buddy and her husband. So, I’m really close to being done on that one.

I’m pretty close to finishing something that I’m knitting for someone who reads this blog. But I don’t think I’m going to get it done in time. I’ll be really, really close, but not close enough to get it shipped in time. She’ll understand, but it still makes me sad that I didn’t get it done.

I have groceries to buy for a food drive for our church, but I need to wait until closer to the day it’s all due because one item is a frozen turkey. So, it’s perfectly acceptable not to have crossed that one off the list yet.

So, really, I’m in pretty good shape. Mostly. Sort of.

Oh, and I made an important decision for this season. I’m not going to include the always-anticipated but never-remembered Christmas letter with the cards. It just hasn’t been that a great year. There’s one measly and ambiguous paragraph about the hubby because I can’t really talk about what he does, even if I knew what it was that he does. Then there’s the bit of a shocker paragraph about me being diagnosed with MS, even though I tried to put a positive spin on it. But there’s no way to disguise the sad paragraph about losing our Daily Dog this summer to congestive heart disease. It just gets more depressing the further along they read. And I’ve been a bit combative and frustrated, so I think that comes across in the letter. Instead of funny, it sounds snide. And although I don’t mind anyone knowing about the MS, I don’t want it to seem like I’m looking for sympathy by dropping a bomb like that. I wanna share, but then again, I don’t. Know what I mean?

So. Busy, busy, busy (said as the bad magician in Frosty the Snowman). I’m so ready to be done with all this. I think I need a little holiday cheer—in the form of Godiva white chocolate liqueur in my hot chocolate ;-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm Not Apologizing

I have a master’s in English. I graduated with a 4.0, and I can write a 5 to 10-page literary criticism paper with my eyes closed. I’m not trying to impress you (I wouldn’t be impressed with that), I’m leading up to something.

I have a library full of Norton Criticals of the literary canon. I admit that I treasure my Riverside Shakespeare from my seminars. And I am grateful that I got over my fear of poetry and actually like it now.

However, I’m not in school any more, and I get to choose what I want to read. And most of the time, I choose not to read anything that will make me think as much as I had to when I was in school. Oh, every now and then I want to be challenged, so I might go to my list of those books that I really should read or something that won the Pulitzer Prize. But, honestly, I’ve found that many times I can’t get through the books that have won those awards. I think I’ve developed some kind of reading ADD. How many times on the third page of scenery or character description have I put the book down with a moan and say, “Get on with it!” I’ve said that with many of the “woman overcoming something” books, too. Lately, I just want to escape when I read.

This is a great disappointment to my friend A (I told you about her, she’s the one I see when I go home). A’s book choices puts Oprah to shame. If she doesn’t cry while reading a book, it wasn’t any good. So when she asks me, “Are you reading any good books?” I wonder if I should lie and tell her I just read the latest Mitch Albom or be honest and tell her I just read another Rebus mystery (because I’m trying to catch up).

Even worse to her would be what I’m reading right now. I put aside Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, which seems like it’s going to be a really good book btw, because the library called to let me know that a book by Charlaine Harris that I put on hold was in. And this book is, well, it’s its own category, that’s what it is. The Denver Post says it’s “A delightful Southern, vampire detective series.”

Yep. That about covers it. Only it’s not just vampires, it’s werewolves and fairies and shape shifters (oh my!). Plus a little romance thrown in. Apparently, vampires have a voracious appetite for something besides blood. But these aren’t the erotic stuff of Laurel K. Hamilton’s vampire hunter series; it’s pretty tame and kind of sweet, actually.

They’re about barmaid Sookie Stackhouse (I swear, that’s her name), living and working in northeast Louisiana, which is part of the appeal for me because I lived in the Bossier City, Louisiana, and the towns around there are part of the books. Anyway, Sookie lives in a world where vampires have come out of the shadows and are part of our world. There are many other otherworldly creatures, but they haven’t made themselves known, choosing to wait and see how the vamps do first. But Sookie knows they exist and is even friends with some of them. Her boss turns into a dog, she has a fairy who is a kind of guardian angel, she dated a vampire, and her brother was bitten by a werepanther, so now he turns into a panther with the full moon.

You know, I type these things like they are every day occurrences and perfectly normal. But that’s the nice thing about the books. She’s created a wonderful and fascinating fantasy world. And they’re pretty good mysteries, too. There’s usually a few story lines going on at the same time, but it’s not so much that you get confused.

Also, Alan Ball (who wrote American Beauty and created Six Feet Under) has bought the rights to turn the stories into a series for HBO. I may have to expand my cable. *thinks about it* Nah. Cable’s too expensive already, and everything comes to DVD anyway.

So, I’m reading Definitely Dead. Each title has the word “Dead” in it, by the way. The first book is Dead Until Dark, then Living Dead in Dallas, then Club Dead. . . well, you get the idea.

My friend A would be so disappointed in me.


Thanks Jay for the cool banner! I feel so very merry.

Monday, December 11, 2006

One Year, More or Less

‘Twas 2 weeks before Christmas, and Kell cannot sleep.
She worries and types and tries not to weep.

“It’s an emotional season,” her friends tell her sweetly.
They have no idea, not even an inkling.

‘Cuz what they don’t know and what they can’t see,
Is the blog that she writes, anonymity is key.

“It’s been a whole year” she says “since I wrote my first post.”
And she’s finally got the hang of it . . .well, almost.

There are so many blogs that are better by far,
And compared to them, she can’t even make par.

First there’s her brother's and mom's, both intelligent and witty.
She obviously didn’t inherit those genes, more’s the pity.

And her book buddy Newt, whose love of life is so apparent.
With the Hubster and pets, her blog is most reverent.

There’s Peggy and Neil, who live in the home of her soul.
She lives vicariously, using their blogs as a keyhole.

Gary, Murph and JD, so exceptional with their quills,
To attempt the same would just be chasing windmills.

Ch3ll3 and Lisa post photos extraordinary.
And their similarities with Kell are just downright scary.

Susan and Tink blog of life's moments they relive.
They’re funny and frank, making us all happily captive.

Some new blogs to explore and new friends to make.
Her Indoors, MJ, Gracy, Digital Janitor, and Chelle Y are the icing on the cake.

Thank all you bloggers for writing and commenting.
Here’s to another year, with no more personal lamenting.

So, no more worries and no more stressing.
‘Tis the season of joy and the season of blessing.

And before Kell nods off, she has one last thing to write.
Happy blogging to all and to all a good night.

Friday, December 08, 2006

That's Weird

I got tagged by Jay to admit how weird I am. Now I’m sharing the joy with 6 others (listed below). This is dangerously close to those annoying chain do-this-or-have-bad-luck-for-the-rest-of-your-life emails, but I’m gonna play along any way.

Here’s how the system works: Each player starts with the "6 Weird Things about Me." People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says 'you are tagged' in their comments and tell them to read your blog."

I’m usually really good at self-censoring but I’ll let you in on some weird things about me.

1. I’m weird about that big, nasty vein in chicken breasts. When I cook chicken I cut it up so that I can cut out that vein. When I eat out, I rarely will eat chicken because other cooks aren’t as fastidious about cutting that nasty thing out.

2. I’m weird about having things covering in my face. When I was a kid, I got trapped under an air mattress in the pool, so I get panicky if I feel even a little bit suffocated. I can’t sleep under the covers, I have to turn around and tilt my head back in the shower to wash my hair because I can’t have water in my face, and I don’t water ski or go tubing or any of that fun stuff because the thought of falling and being forced under water scares the hell out of me.

3. I’m weird about silence. It’s difficult for me to feel comfortable in a silent house, so I always have the TV on. I may not be actually watching anything, but it’s on because I find the other voices around me comforting. However, I complain about how loud restaurants and bookstores are, wishing they weren’t playing any music, and when I go for walks, I usually don’t even take my iPod because then I like the quiet.

4. I’m weird about the shower. I know it’s supposed to be all erotic and romantic to share a shower, but it’s just not for me. I’m always cold if I’m not under the shower head, and I’m always afraid that I’m going to get water in my face if I am under the shower head. Oh sure, there have been times I’ve been able to go outside myself and relax but usually, it’s better to just let me take a shower by myself, thanks.

5. I’m weird about a dirty plate in front of me. When I finish eating, I move the plate away from me. At home, I put it in the dishwasher, but at restaurants, I actually push the plate away from me. My mother said that when I was little and finished a bottle, I’d just throw it over my shoulder. Done is done.

6. I’m weird about talking on the phone. I have a phone phobia. I get so nervous when I have to make a phone call, that I have to prepare what I’m going to say, then I still ramble and “um” and sound like an idiot. I pray for the answering machine to pick up when I call people. I even get nervous calling people I like. And it drives me batty when my husband forwards our phone to his cell phone when we go out because I know that if it rings, it’ll be while we’re in the car and he’ll hand it to me to answer because “he’s driving.”

I tag







Thursday, December 07, 2006

Catching Up

Busy, busy, busy. Al went out of town Tuesday and I haven’t slowed down since. Usually, I take at least one day to wallow in pseudo-independence and watch Charmed reruns without editorial comments from the peanut gallery and eat popcorn for dinner.

OK, so I have watched Charmed reruns and I have eaten popcorn for dinner at least once. But I really have been very busy with catching up from one holiday and getting ready for the next one. I’ve finally gotten the tree up and decorated for Christmas.

I also am caught up with my quilt blocks for that block-of-the-month club, and thought I’d catch you up, too.

Month 5, Block 1--Old Favorite

Month 5, Block 2--Treasure Chest

Month 4, Block 1--Around the Corner

Now, I’ve gone backwards because I wanted to show this block last. For you puzzle lovers out there, see if you can figure out what is wrong with this block. You might be able to figure it out by comparing it to the others. It's called Crooked Path, but the path shouldn't be this crooked.

Month 4, Block 2--Crooked Path

Do you see a symmetrical pattern? Nope, me either. Know why? Because I screwed up. I guess I wasn’t paying attention when I put this block together. Here’s a close up of the culprit:

Those 2 triangles on the right are backwards. It should match the triangles opposite, with blue on the bottom and flowers on the top.

So, now I have some seam ripping to do. I’m trying to decide if I can just fudge it and only take out the seams around it, fix it, and sew again. I’m also thinking of leaving it in and seeing if anyone notices, but since I’m probably going to give this away, I really should at least make an effort to do it correctly.

But you know, the Amish make mistakes on purpose in their quilts so that they won’t be perfect because only God is perfect. So really, I have a moral obligation to leave errors in. Especially since my errors are organic and natural.

I’m also working on a wreath quilt that will be a wall hanging. Thought you might want to see what a block looks like before it’s sewn together. I’ve sewn the first row together, but you get the idea.

Well, that’s enough for today. What should I do tomorrow? What should I do this weekend? One can only eat so much popcorn.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time

It’s December 4th, and I haven’t decorated for Christmas yet. This is unlike me. Usually, at least the tree is up by now. It’s not the end of the world, and actually, I told myself last year that I was going to wait a little into December before I decorated because I didn’t want to get burned out. So, you could say that I’m following through with a healthy objective rather than just being lazy.

I haven’t written the highly anticipated Christmas letter to go with the Christmas cards, either. Come to think of it, I haven’t addressed Christmas cards. And I need stamps. I might actually need cards, too.

I need inspiration.

I decided to go to K-mart. OK, so maybe that’s not holiday Mecca, but I thought I might need a little Martha Stewart infusion. Maybe if I could channel Martha, I’d get in the decorating spirit. Besides, Al is open to the idea of getting another tree, one that’s pre-lit, and I have to strike before he changes his mind. Martha has trees, too, so maybe it could be one-stop shopping.

And do you know what I bought? *drum roll please* Nothing. Not a blessed thing. They’re going to kick me out of shopaholics anonymous. Besides the fact that everything was picked over and strewn all over the floor, making it impossible to find anything, it was all ugly. Well, not all of it, but nothing inspirational.

And you know, our little tree isn’t so bad. I mean, I’m pretty attached to it now. Sure, a couple of branches are missing, and one branch isn’t really supposed to be with this tree, but that’s why you put a tree by a wall or a window and not in the middle of the room.

Plus, I just had bad shopping karma today, so I decided not to piss off the gods any more by staying in that store. No matter where I turned, someone was parked in front of me, stopping me from going forward and someone was careening around the corner, almost running me over. And this store was practically empty. The lack of humanity, however, didn’t stop there from being a screaming child always one aisle over from me. But this is my curse. Practically every store I go to has a screaming child one aisle over from me.

I think I’ll just start decorating and fill in the holes. I’ve pared down the Christmas tasks quite a bit. As I said before, I have realized that it’s not my responsibility to make a perfect Christmas. Most people are just happy to be with family and friends, with maybe a Christmas cookie here and there.

A few years ago, I decided not to go overboard for Christmas. Minimal decorating, minimal baking, no letter with the Christmas cards, no itinerary to follow. And do you know what happened? Christmas came any way. It came just the same. And no one noticed that I didn’t do all those other things. And what did I learn from this? I’m completely unappreciated, that’s what I learned. But I also learned that there can be joy in the smaller things. And that it doesn’t have to be a Martha Stewart Christmas.

So, I think I’ll get some egg nog, put some Kahlua in it, turn on the Christmas carols and prepare for a Merry Christmas. Maybe I’ll bake some cookies and watch A Muppet Christmas Carol, that should put me in the right spirit. Forget channeling Martha, I’ll channel the ghosts of Christmas past and present instead.

Chritmastime's a Comin'

It’s time to decorate for Christmas, so I thought I’d do this MEME from Jay to put me in the mood.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate. Although, Egg Nog with Kahlua is not a bad way to drink Egg Nog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Half the fun is unwrapping the presents. Sheesh! My hubby said he was just going to buy me a bunch of wrapping paper for Christmas since I enjoy unwrapping so much. But, see, that wouldn’t work because the wrapping has to be around something. Preferably, something sparkly.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Both on the tree. I couldn’t decide between them, so I just put both. However, Al’s a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to lights outside :-(

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Yes, for all the good it does. We’ve just gotten so afraid to show any kind of emotion for fear of reprisals that mistletoe is just another decoration now. *Sigh* No more groping under the mistletoe. I miss that.

5. When do you put up your decorations?
It depends on how late Thanksgiving is and if my brother is here to help. But usually, I wait until December. Although, there is a fine line because if you decorate too soon, you’re sick of Christmas before the big day, and if you wait too late, then you run around like a mad person trying to get everything done and then you can’t enjoy it. It’s so stressful!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
I always make a prime rib at Christmas. Nothing better than a slab of succulent meat for us carnivores. Oh, and we always have mimosas with breakfast and while we open presents. Does that count as a dish?

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
The year Jay got a bicycle for Christmas. He was so sure he wasn’t going to get one that he walked right past it Christmas morning. I had to turn him around so he’d see it.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
What are you insinuating? Santa is watching you, you know. You don’t want coal in your stocking.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
When we were kids we used to open one. And surprise, surprise! It was always new pajamas. Now I’m forced to wait because I have a family that thinks it’s fun to torture me.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
We have a very eclectic tree. I have wooden ornaments that we painted as kids with Mom our first Christmas without Dad and some that Al and I painted our first year of marriage. Plus all the ornaments that I get as gifts. I love getting ornaments as Christmas presents.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it! Especially if I’m inside with a hot chocolate, sitting by a roaring fire. Then I love that first walk outside in the undisturbed snow, hearing that crunch and squelch under my boots. And since I have the coolest snow shovel ever (it has wheels!), I even like shoveling the driveway.

12. Can you ice skate?
When I was kid I could, but I haven’t even tried as an adult. I’d love to go though. But I seem to be the only one in my little circle who wants to go. Oh, poor deprived me. How dare they keep me from breaking my neck.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
When I was a kid, it was a Baby Alive doll. It was such a cool doll. And my engagement ring, which was in a box-in-a-box-in-a-box type of gift.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Trying to just enjoy the season without getting all wrapped up in it. (Wrapped up. Ha! I slay me) Anyway, I used to spend a helluva lot of time trying to make it a perfect, memorable Christmas. Then I realized that I didn’t have to work so hard because the people around me just enjoyed being around at Christmas.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
What isn’t?!? I usually make a platter of cookies for the people in Al’s office and some to ship off to deserving family members ;-).

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I really enjoy those mimosas on Christmas morning. And I watch every version of A Christmas Carol.

17. What tops your tree?
A lovely angel that Al bought in a Christmas shop in the Cotswolds about 12 years ago.

18. Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving presents?
I love Christmas shopping. I spend a lot of time trying to decide on at least one really great gift. I don’t always succeed, but it’s fun to try. But receiving isn’t so bad, either. Especially if it’s something sparkly.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Snowfall sung by Manhattan Transfer. I love most Christmas songs, but that one is just so pretty. One of those slow-dancing-in-front-of-the-fire kinds of song.

20. Candy Canes Yuck or Yum?
Yummy! And they’re even better if you crush ‘em up and mix them into cookie dough.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's Easier to Just Answer the Questions

I got this from Lisa. Thanks, Lisa!

100* things that you may not know about me: (Although by this point, you know a helluva lot)

*100 minus #5,25, 28, 60, 72, 75, and 93. Go figure. If you have a question of your own, I'll answer it.

1) Are you in a complicated relationship?
Marriage is always complicated. You have to share everything. And compromise. And take someone else’s feelings into consideration. It’s exhausting, let me tell ya.

2) Do you hate more than 3 people?:
Hate is such a strong word. I intensely dislike some people but not hate. Peace and love, baby.

3) How many houses have you lived in?
This is an interesting question for a military person. Let’s see *counting on fingers and toes* 12 that I can remember. That’s not counting apartments which is a home but I guess not technically a house.

4) Favorite candy bar?
Candy bar—Snickers; Favorite candy—Godiva Peppermint Truffles (I always get some in my stocking because I’m a very good girl.)

6) Have you ever tripped someone?
Heavens no. I wasn’t in that clique in high school.

7) Least favorite school subject?
PE—I joined choir so I wouldn’t have to humiliate myself by trying to be coordinated and athletic. I figured school itself was humiliating enough.

8) How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Not as many as I’d like to.

9) Do you own a Britney Spears CD?:
No. But I admit to downloading “Toxic” (I’m so embarrassed)

10) Have you ever thrown up in public?:
Considering everyone in this house but me had the stomach flu at Thanksgiving, let’s not talk about throwing up, please.

11) Name one thing that is always on your mind:
You wouldn’t believe how long I had to think about an answer for this question. I’m always thinking about things I need/should/want/have to do. That’s why I don’t sleep well at night.

12) Favorite genre of music?:
I like pretty much everything, but I’m so flighty that I don’t like just one thing for very long.

13) What is your zodiac sign?:
Taurus. I used to know my moon and ascendant signs, too, but I forget. I think they’re Cancer and Libra. I know something is Libra considering that way I’m always listening to every point of view and saying, “You make a good point, too.”

14) What time were you born?:
I think my mother would be better at answering that question. I don’t remember much about that time in my life.

15) Do you like beer?
You haven’t been reading this blog very long have you? Yes, I like beer. I’m actually a beer snob.

16) Have you made a prank phone call?:
I don’t think so. I might have when I was younger, but I’ve blocked out most of my childhood.

17) What is the most embarrassing CD you own?
I guess Robbie Williams. But I can’t help it; I like him. My hubby would say the most embarrassing are the Marilyn Manson songs on my iPod, but those are just songs, not the whole CD. But I have to admit that when I downloaded the Manson songs, I looked down at my iPod and the screen said, “What the f**k is that?”

18) Are you sarcastic?
Oh nooooooooooo. I’m not sarCAStic.

19) What is your favorite color?
This, too, changes with my moods, but usually earth colors—greens, browns, oranges

20) How many watches do you own?
More than I can keep track of, and all of them need a new battery. I have a bit of a watch fetish.

21) Summer or winter?
Winter. Unfortunately, my hubby would answer summer. We have to retire in different parts of the country.

22) Is anyone in love with you?
One that I’m pretty sure of. And who knows? There maybe someone pining away for me that I don’t even know about it. I like to think it’s George Clooney.

23) Favorite color to wear?
Most of things I own are different hues of browns and greens. And a lot of black, but I don’t think there’s a different hue for black. They’re just black.

24) Pepsi or Sprite?
Diet Sierra Mist. Ha! Take that conformists!

26) Where is your second home?
You’d think by my past writings that it would be a bar, but actually it’s the Hy-Vee grocery store because I’m always forgetting something on my list, dammit.

27) Have you ever slapped someone?
No, but I’ve slugged someone. Just kidding. Peace and love, baby.

29) How many lamps are in your bedroom?:
One. That’s a weird question. Why do you care?

30) How many video games do you own?:
None. Those things make me very nervous. There’s always something chasing you and you have to destroy it before it destroys you.

31) What was your first pet?:
Tippy, a border collie who was black except for a tip of white on her tail. Get it? Tippy, tip of her tail. Cute, huh?

32) Ever had braces?
Yes, but only on the top, but it was still horrible. Oh! Quick story. When I went in to get the mold done of my teeth prior to getting the braces, the dentist had a hard time finding a tray small enough for my mouth. So, I went home and told my brother that I did NOT have a big mouth. He said, “Yeah, you just use yours a lot.” He’s always been quick.

33) Do looks matter?:
Well this is a tricky question. If I say yes I’m a shallow, the-wrapping-not-the-package-kind of person, but if I say no, I’m a liar.

34) Do you use chapstick?:
So much so that if you kiss me you get “chapstick kisses”

35) Name 3 teachers from high school:
Mr. Brewer (the liberal rebel) Mrs. Sinor (the clepto) and Mrs. Rife (who always smelled like a rose…bush)

36) American Eagle or Abercrombie?:
I should know what those are, shouldn’t I? I’m more of an LL Bean and Eddie Bauer kind of gal.

37) Are you too forgiving?:
Hell no. Well, ok, I can forgive. I don’t forget very much, but I can forgive.

38) How many children do you want?
Have you been talking to my mother? I’ve never really heard a clock ticking, so I’m not planning on any. I like kids, I just don’t want any of my own. Except around the holidays, and then I want to be an Osmond (except for the Mormon part).

39) Do you own something from Hot Topic?:
Is this something else that I should know and will be showing how totally unhip I am by admitting that I don’t? (Just looked it up on the Internet. God, I’m old.)

40) Favorite breakfast meal?
Granola and vanilla yogurt. At least I start out healthy.

41) Do you own a gun?:
No, not personally, but hubby does. And since they are in the house, I know how to use them. But I don’t like them. And for safety reasons, the ammo is stored separately from the guns. And I don’t know where the ammo is, so I’d have to rely on the fear of the sound of a rifle pump to scare off a burglar.

42) Ever "thought" you were in love?:
“Thought”? What kind of “insinuation” is that? You mean he doesn’t love me?

43) When was the last time you cried?
I’m a pathetically persistent crier. And with Christmas commercials and movies every where, I’m crying all the time.

44) What did you do three nights ago?:
Every night I’m knitting furiously to get that shawl done for my grandmother for Christmas

45) Olive Garden?
No thank you. There are so many better Italian restaurants in town. Actually, I’m not a big fan of any of the “chain” restaurants—Chili’s, Applebee’s, TGIFridays. I think they’re all the same, they just changed the name to protect the innocent.

46) Have you ever called your teacher 'mommy'?
Am I missing something here? I don’t get it. I haven’t, but then I don’t think I even called my mom “mommy.”

47) Have you ever been in a castle?:
Yes, we went to several in Scotland and England. And I’m sure that in a past life I was a queen somewhere, but since I wouldn’t bear children, I was probably locked up in a tower or beheaded.

48) Nicknames?
I’ve never had a nickname, that’s how totally pathetic I am. My hubby used to call me “sweetness” but hasn’t in a long time. Well, now I’m really depressed.

49) Do you know anyone named Bertha?
You’re just desperate now, aren’t cha. Bertha? No. But I had an Aunt Bert. Hey, maybe her name was Bertha?

50) Ever been to Kentucky?:
Yes, I love Kentucky. I would live there. It’s a beautiful state with bourbon distilleries. How great is that?

51) Do you own something from Banana Republic?:
OK, enough with the fashion requirements! This is not subtle. You’re a clothes snob, aren’t you?

52) Are you thinking about somebody right now?
Yes, George Clooney from the question 22. I’m thinking I should change that to Gerard Butler.
53) Ever called somebody 'boo'?
No, but that is cute, isn’t it. I know a lady who called her husband “puddin” and another who called her husband “sugar nugget.” So, by comparison, “boo” is kinda cute.

54) Do you smoke?
No. But I do crave a cigarette when I’m reading James Ellroy or in a jazz bar.

55) Do you drink?
Well, yeah. Ya kinda have to to stay alive. Oh, you mean alcohol. Yes. See, I knew you weren’t reading my blog.

56) Are you happy with your life right now?
Oh please, let’s not get into this. I’m not in the mood for group therapy.

57) Do you like your hair?:
Actually, yes, I do. I have great hair. It’s thick and wavy and curly and even looks great after riding in a convertible. And right now it’s a lovely shade of dark brown with hints of red.

58) Does anyone have a crush on you?
If they do, they’re doing a damn fine job of keeping it a secret. And I could use an ego boost here, so I’d like to know.

59) What were you doing in May of 1994?
I was living in upstate New York, working at Martin Marietta (before it became Lockheed Martin) and probably still shoveling snow.

61) Do you own a Backstreet Boys CD?:
No. But again, I did download one of their songs onto my iPod. I don’t remember which one, but it doesn’t matter because I think they were all the same song, just different titles.

62) McDonalds or Wendys?
Wendy's by far. But if there’s a Sonic close, I’d rather go there.

63) Do you find yourself attractive?:
Again with the tricky questions. If I say yes, I’m an egomaniac. If I say no, I’m a pathetic loser with no self-esteem. Hey, wait a minute. I am a pathetic loser with no self-esteem. Guess that answers that. Besides, how can I "find" myself attractive. Do I just look in a mirror one day and say, "There you are! And aren't you attractive!" Not likely.

64) Are you closer to your mother or father?:
Mother. And again, I’m not in the mood for group therapy, so let’s not get into my relationship with my dad, OK?

65) Favorite physical feature of the preferred sex?:
“The preferred sex”? Well, aren’t you politically correct and non-offensive. I tend to notice the face and shoulder area first. Strong arms with which to hold me. Isn’t that sweet? Unless of course he’s nekked.

66) Are you afraid of the dark?:
No, of course not. Heh. I’m an adult, after all. I don’t have to sleep with a light on. Why do you ask? Who have you been talking to?

67) Have you ever eaten paste?
No but I’ve chewed on some pencils.

68) Do you own a webcam?:
No. I’m thinking of becoming a Luddite as long as I don’t have to give up my iPod.

69) Have you ever stripped?
Not in public, no ;)

70) Ever broken a bone?:
No, I’ve led such a boring life.

71) Are you religious?
Sneaking in the hard questions, are we? Well, I guess I am. But I have so many questions and sometimes think my faith is more out of not knowing anything else than truly knowing and accepting.

73) Pringles or Lays?:
Walker’s Cheese and Onion crisps. I loved those when we were in England. Over here I usually get Kettle Chips if I’m craving potato chips. You had no idea there was so much to choosing chips, did you?

Is that 100 yet? No? Sheesh.

74) Have you ever broken someone’s heart?:
That’s me: Heartbreaker Kell.

76) Full House or The Brady Bunch?:
Brady Bunch. Duh.

77) Did you like your high school guidance counselor?
I had a high school guidance counselor?

78) Has anyone ever called you a tease?
Yes, the owners of all those hearts I broke. And I am not a tease. I’m a flirt, there’s a difference.

79) Do you have a birth mark?
I have several, actually. One on the inside of my right arm and one on the back of my left calf. And the gynecologist said that I have a . . . well, never mind.

80) Do you work?:
Constantly. Life is work. Oh, you mean something I get paid for? No. I’m leeching off my husband at the moment.

81) Can you cook?:
Darlin’, if you don’t come away from my home without a full belly and a smile, you’re taste buds are dead. I don’t admit to being good at much, but I am a good cook.

82) Four things that annoy you:
You’re going to make me limit this to 4? People using wrong pronoun case in a preposition, people who speed up in the lane that’s closing just to push their way in further up, people talking on their cell phones, just people, actually

83) Do you text message often?:
I don’t even know how. But if it’s another way to NOT talk on the phone, I’m all for it. I hate talking on the phone.

84) Money or love?
You wouldn’t believe how long I stared at this question trying to decide on an answer. I’m becoming very jaded as I get older. Can’t I have both?

85) Do you have any scars?
Yes, all emotional.

86) What do you want more than anything right now?:
To be on question 100.

87) Do you enjoy scary movies?
Yes, I love scary movies. But I don’t find excessive violence and gore scary, just disturbing.

88) Relationships or one night stands?:
Will you still respect me in the morning?

89) Big Red or Juicy Fruit?
I’d have to say Juicy Fruit because I’m allergic to hot cinnamon gum like Big Red. I love it, but it turns my tongue white and it itches. Boy, is that a weird feeling.

90) Do you enjoy greasy food?
Way more than I should. That’s why I have a gym membership.

91) Have you seen all the Rocky movies?:
No. How many are there now?

92) Do you own a box of crayons?
Yes. I’m very comfortable with my inner child.

94) Who was the last person you said 'I love you' to?
Well, my hubby of course. Are you trying to get me into trouble?

95) Who was the last person that made you mad?
Probably some conservative pundit. They always make me mad.

96) Who was the last person that made you cry?:
Well, that was probably my hubby, too. But if I’d stop imagining what I think he’s thinking instead of him letting me know what he thinks, then I probably wouldn’t get myself all upset over nothing. Ya think?

97) Who was the last person that made you laugh?:
Billy Connolly. I watched one of his concerts recently.

98) Who was the last person to text you?
Hello! I don’t know how to text. Aren’t you paying attention?

99) Who was the last person that called you?
Whew! I guess this means the government hasn’t tapped my phone. The last person who called me was my friend Rhonda, who has 2 Great Danes and wants me to get one, so she told me about one at the local humane society. She’s a bad influence, she is.

100) Who's your cell phone provider?
This is the last question and you’re asking who my cell phone provider is? How disappointing. You couldn’t ask something philosophical like “What is the meaning of life?” or something really personal like “What’s your favorite sexual position?” or even “What’s the real color of your hair?” *Sigh* OK. I use Verizon. Happy?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More Than You Probably Want To Know

For your MS edification. You guys are going to be so knowledgeable.

I had a great checkup at the MS clinic. Diana (the nurse I see) was impressed and proud of my weight loss, and she said I did great on walking, balance, and strength. So, yeah me!

But, and isn’t there always a “but,” I seem to have some nerve damage in my left foot.

For some of the tests she does, she uses this tool:

Not only does she use the tuning fork end to make sure I can feel the vibration, but she uses that flat-sided hammer to feel cold. She starts with the face, putting it against my left cheek then right cheek and asks, “Do you feel the cold?” Yes. “To the same degree?” Yes. And thus it continues to my wrists, top of my hands, fingertips, all the while I’m answering “Yes.”

Then to the calves. Yes
The ankles. Yes
Top of the foot. Yes
Toes. . . . Toes. . . .Um, No.

It didn’t feel cold! How bizarre is that?!? It was weird, I have to tell you. I’ve since decided that my toes were so cold that I couldn’t feel anything as cold as they were. I’m really good at finding excuses to turn things in my favor. But, I also have to admit, that’s the first time that’s happened, and my toes are always cold.

OK, so that was interesting. Then she did the test I absolutely hate. She takes the end of the tuning fork and runs it up the soul of my foot. I cringe and pull away just thinking of this. I’m so ticklish that this is almost painful, and yet, I giggle. It’s very embarrassing.

So, on my right foot when she does this, my toes curl forward as I try to pull away. But on my left foot, I flex my foot almost straight. How bizarre is that?!? She had been suspecting this at my other visits but was never able to do a decent test because I would just pull away. This time I had to look away and hold my breath. The toes didn’t flex back, but they definitely didn’t curl forward.

It’s nothing horrible, it’s just a sign that I do have a little nerve damage in my left foot. I already suspected that since I have this constant tingle in the arch of that foot, but I hadn’t had the other test results before. And it’s not affecting my gait or my balance or my ability to walk. I’m actually very lucky because this could be so much worse.

The best news is that I don’t have to come back for 6 months! Of course, I have to have an MRI then, but hey, that’s 6 months away. In the immortal words of another Southern belle, *in my best lilting southern drawl* “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

But for now, I’m going to put on my wooly socks to protect those toes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wanna Play?

We’re a game-playing family. My hubby’s family puts puzzles together, but my family likes to play board games. So, when we’re together, especially my brother and me, the big decision is not where to eat or who sleeps where, but should we play Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, or Sequence first?

Jay’s pretty much the only person who will play Scrabble with me any more. Just because I get a wee bit irritated when someone takes my triple word square next to an A and I have an X ready. And he put a T there! A T! Triple word score for AT! When I had AX ready to go!

OK, I’ll calm down. I’m really much better now, truly I am. And actually, I’m not a very good Scrabble player because I’m a horrible speller. And I really don’t have such an extensive vocabulary for an English major. I know, it’s shocking. But it’s true.

But I don’t want to tell you about Scrabble, I want to tell you about a hoot of a game called Imaginiff. The more people the better with this one because the first thing you do is write everyone’s name on a square, then fill in the extra squares with people’s names that you all know. Then whoever goes first, rolls the die and moves the token onto someone’s name. We spent most of the time trying to land on Mom.

So, after you know who the subject is, the person who threw the die reads the card aloud, and it’ll say “Imagine if ________ (name you landed on) were an animal. What type of animal would he/she be?” Then you’d get 6 choices, such as rat, dog, owl, cat, snake, or toad. Everyone takes their numbered cards and chooses a corresponding number to what they think everyone will say, then places it face down. Then everyone turns their numbers over and majority rules. Whoever guessed the most-used answer (say, 3 people chose choice #5 and 2 chose #4), get to move forward (2 places if you were the person who threw the die and guessed the most-used response), while the others stay put. First person to the winner’s circle wins.

Got it? Well, you can see that it can be a lot of fun since you’re using people you’re playing with. And poor Mom. We spent a lot of time trying to land on her name, hoping that it would be something outrageous and funny. And after a beer or two, it gets even funnier. She takes a lot of abuse from her ungrateful brood. But she’s such a good sport about it, she makes an easy target. Such as the question about what World Record she would be, and Jay and I cracked up at the choice, “The World’s most dense substance.” And of course that’s what we all chose, but Mom chose “The World’s largest piggy bank,” so I guess she had the last laugh.

So, wanna play? I’ll volunteer to be “it.” Here’s the question:

Imagine if Kell were a book. Which would she be?
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People
2. Alice in Wonderland
3. A Brief History of Time
4. Lady Chatterley’s Lover
5. The Shining
6. The Bible

What would you choose for me? What would you chose for yourself?

Monday, November 27, 2006

One for the Books?

Just a quick note to say hello and hope that everyone had a good week last week and a happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.

Exhausted is an understatement for how I’m feeling right now. This wasn’t exactly a Thanksgiving to remember because everyone caught the stomach flu, except me, so far. Jay had it on Wednesday, but we didn’t know it was a virus until Mom had it on Friday. Al had it on Sunday night into today. If the pattern sticks, I’ll come down with it Tuesday or Wednesday. But, so far, the flu shot I got on Monday last week seems to have kept me safe.

But just in case, I have wiped down every surface in this house with disinfectant wipes, sprayed anti-bacterial disinfectant into every nook and cranny, and washed all the sheets and towels in hot water. So, at least the house is clean for Christmas.

So, send “no flu for Kell” vibes, please!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I Wanna Thank You

While I wait for the chocolate pecan pie to bake, I thought I’d check in on the blogosphere. It’s been a really hectic few days, but everyone else is in bed now, so I can enjoy the calm and the quite. I need this time. It’s hard for me to just go to bed after a busy day—I need decompression time. And since I’ve spent the last 4 or 5 hours standing in front of the stove or in front of my mixer, this is my chance.

Newt has a wonderful post of everything she is grateful for this Thanksgiving. I admire someone who can be so open and isn’t afraid to honestly express her feelings to the people she cares about. I’ve never been very good at that. I’m not sure why, really. It’s not like I came from an uncaring or emotionally distant family. But I’m more likely to be the one who says, “Me, too” instead of “I love you” or “I’m sorry” or “I’m so glad we’re friends.” I rely on actions instead of words. I knit something or I take them dinner or I send them a book I know they’ve been wanting. But verbal expression is not my strong suit.

It seems a little ironic that on the same day I read Newt’s heartfelt thanks, I saw The Queen at the local megaplex. It was amazing, by the way, and I highly recommend it. Anyway, so here’s a woman who has spent her entire life being private, dignified, and restrained. She’s dumbfounded by the fact that “her subjects” don’t want her to be the stiff-upper-lip monarch but rather the grieving fellow citizen and grandmother. There’s more to it than that, of course, and it is a movie, so I’m addressing her as a character. The Queen and I don’t hang out or anything, so I can’t speak about her personally. But I’m willing to bet she doesn’t bake cookies to counter her lack of verbal expression.

Anyway, I’ll give this thanking thing a shot.

I’m thankful for my family. My mom is feisty, talented, and strong. She taught me to rely on myself and my strengths. My brother is the most brilliant and funny person I know. And despite his “Cynical Bastard” alter ego, he has a big heart that cares for many people. My grandmother and the rest of my dad’s family complete the circle and have shown me that you always have your family to lean on.

I’m thankful for my husband. We’ve been married 17 years now, and we’ve grown up together. It’s obvious to everyone around us and to me how much he loves me. And having lived with me for over 17 years, he obviously has the patience of Job.

I’m thankful for my close friends. I’m lucky that I have a lot of friends, but I’m blessed with some close friends who are always there for me and understand me better than I understand myself.

I’m thankful for the doctors and nurses who take care of me and keep me healthy. The learning curve for Multiple Sclerosis is very long, but luckily, I have a clinic to go to and get the answers I need.

I’m thankful for the doctors who keep my mom and friends healthy. Nothing can make me feel more helpless than when someone I love is hurting or ill. I’m grateful there are people they can go to.

I’m thankful for finding this blogging world. I started it on a whim and as a place I could dump all the extra stuff in my head. Instead, I’ve found a group of people who are supportive, funny, and creative.

And last but not least, I’m thankful that I have so much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. If you’re in Nebraska, stop by for pie. Do you prefer pecan or apple?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Down Right Perky

After weeks of despair, I turned the corner and found happy days hiding under that dark cloud I had put over myself. I tend to do that. I’ll just be carrying along with life in general, then BAM. Gloom, despair, and agony on me. I don’t like where I am in my life, I don’t like who I am, I don’t like this dull day-to-day existence—all said while dramatically draping the back of my hand across my forehead. Is it any wonder my mother refers to me as Sarah Bernhardt?

But, I’m feeling much better now, thanks.

I’ve had a wonderful few days, and Mom and Jay are on their way here for Thanksgiving, so I have some wonderful days ahead of me. I love Thanksgiving. I love to cook a huge meal (always trying something new with all the traditional favorites) and I love having people around. Our good friends the Zs are joining us this year, and the more the merrier was never truer than at Thanksgiving.

But leading up to this day was a great weekend.

My friend T and I went to see Stranger than Fiction. I loved this movie. I thought it was very clever. So clever, I’m not quite sure how to talk about it. I just know that the idea that a character in a book is real and can hear the narration of his story and goes to a literature professor to figure out what kind of story he is in is just brilliant. It’s romantic, it’s funny, it’s sad and there are wonderful people in it—Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal. It’s also the kind of movie my hubby would hate. He would be sitting in the theatre, dreading the movie being over because he’d know that this is a movie I would want to “talk” about. He just hates that. He’s so not a movie guy. So I talked about it with T and got it all out of my system, to his relief.

Saturday was a nice “couple” day and we just enjoyed each other. We did some grocery shopping, getting ready for the big dinner, laid around the house, and watched X-Men III. That movie is more his style, even though it was much more message-driven than he thought it would be. Plus, [Warning: Spoiler coming!] when Jean blew up Xavier, Al said, “I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen in the comic book.” He’s the master of understatement, that one.

Sunday, after church, we decided the day was much too pretty to stay inside, so I packed a picnic and we headed out. We drove out into the country, daydreamed about having a house and land some day, and toured around some of the state parks, before deciding which one to eat our cheese and crackers and drink our tea. He has discovered Lapsang Souchong tea, and we’ve been drinking more of that than coffee. This tea smells very smoky and has a strong flavor that at first I didn’t think I liked. But the more I drink it, the more I like it.

Then we headed to the Dundee Dell, our favorite pub/bar, for a Christmas Beer tasting. Have to say, I wasn’t real impressed. Christmas beers are really full-flavored, hoppy, high-alcohol beers. There wasn’t one that I think I would drink a whole pint of, but I’d come closest to Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale. But at 6 percent alcohol, someone would have to drive me home after I drank it. Either that, or play a really great song on the jukebox so that I have something to dance to when I climb up on the table. Oh, but the best news was that the Dell now has Smithwick’s on tap! I may never leave this town.

So, now, it’s Monday. I got my teeth cleaned and no cavities (this is only because there are already so many filled cavities and caps that there is no room left for new cavities) and I’m getting a check up at the neurologist this afternoon and a flu shot, then I’ll be done with doctors of any kind until next year. By then, Mom and Jay should be here, Al will be off work, and we can plan out our activities while eating dinner.

Posting will be sporadic this week again. But I’ll still be lurking around other blogs. Or at least, Jay will be and he’ll keep me informed on what’s going on.

Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Do Re Meme

I stole this from Betty, who probably stole it from someone else. that's the way we do things around here.

1. Christmas tree: pine or cedar?
Cedar. But we’re using a 4-foot artificial one that we’ve had for 6 years now. When I have my dream house, I’m going to have a HUGE Christmas Tree and hire one of Martha Stewart’s minions to come decorate it (I dream big).

2. Name two dumb things you did as a kid.
We’ve talked about my memory loss issues. Did you forget already? But I do remember the winter day that I heard wrong on the radio and thought we had school and insisted that I had to go (I put Lisa Simpson to shame), so Dad walked me through mountains of snow, upteen miles uphill, just to find out school was cancelled. I’m sure there are many more things, but I’ve blocked out a lot of my childhood. Either that or I just can’t remember.

3. What foods did your mom used to make that you will never, ever cook.
Liver and onions. Salmon out of a can. Sorry Mom.

4. Describe the place you go to in your head when you need to calm down.
Well, hell. What a good idea to have a happy place. Much better than mumbling to myself, sitting and rocking back and forth in the middle of the living room floor.

5. Have you ever seen a ghost, or something you can't explain?
Yes. I can’t explain the popularity of Jessica Simpson.

6. If money and image didn't matter, what would you do for a living?
If money didn’t matter, would I need to make a living? Oh, OK, but you already know that I’d be a writer—one that actually gets paid would be a nice change of pace. Of course that would mean I’d have to actually send stuff out. Hmmmm. Maybe I’d be a sheep and alpaca farmer in the Highlands of Scotland or New Zealand, spin the wool then label it “artisan” and charge outrageous prices on the web. Oh! I know! Since image doesn't matter, I'd sing in a band--rock band, country band, big band, whatever.

7. Did you ever fall off a horse and get right back on?
I’m afraid of horses. And if I’m not good at something immediately or on the first try, I’m afraid I tend to walk away.

8. What name did you call a sibling that was sure to start a fight?
My sibling reads this! Why would I call him that and suffer the wrath? Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever called him anything, but a friend of Mom’s called us Jelly and Kay. We hated that.

9. Describe the events surrounding your first alcoholic drink.
How do you expect me to remember that far back? I do remember sitting at Sonic and taking a swig of Jack Daniels, though, and liking that “warm all the way down” feeling.

10. Have you ever had a wild animal as a pet?
No. Don’t make me get on my soapbox.

11. Do you have a deep, dark secret?
Yes. And it’s going to stay deep and dark and a secret.

12. Would you ever shoot a deer?
No. But I’ve cooked my share.

13. Do you return money if you get too much change?
Of course I do. I have to stock up on those good deeds.

14. What puzzles you?
I guess “puzzles” would be too obvious, huh?

15. How do/did you act toward a person you have/had a crush on?
I babble and push my hair behind my ears. But not in an endearing way, in a “how can she be this old and still be awkward with the opposite sex” way.

16. What makes you cry?
My deep, dark secret. (I’ve gottcha curious now, don’t I? Well, at least Mom is curious.)

17. What's the best bargain you ever bought at a yard sale?
I don’t think I have a bargain story. I can’t barter, and I wouldn’t know a Chippendale chair from a Chippendale stripper. OK, yes I would, but you get the idea.

18. How much wood can a woodchuck chuck?
Well, if a woodchuck could chuck wood, I’d have to say what the hell is a woodchuck and how does one chuck wood.

19. If nobody is watching, would you run a stop sign?
Probably not. I’m so boringly good.

20. Do you believe in Hell?
There better be one considering how many people I’ve told to go there.

21. What material possession do you value most?
iPod. That’s too easy. Ask me another one.

22. Which day is better...Friday or Sunday?
Friday. Still easy, come on, come on.

23. Do you read a book more than once?
Yes because I always find things I missed the fist time. But I don’t read books again as much as I can watch a movie over and over.

24. What is the greatest problem with today's society?
I can’t choose just one. Politics, obviously, is one. And caring too much about celebrities’ personal lives and not getting a life of their own is another.

25. How old were you when you first touched somebody else's hoohah?
“Hoohah?” If you can’t say it, maybe you haven’t seen one. I have no idea, by the way. I know who I wished it was, though (heh heh).

26. Would you ever skydive?
Why would I jump out of a perfectly good airplane?

27. Name 3 songs significant to your romantic life, and tell why.
“Is this Love” by Whitesnake because that was the big song when Al and I were dating. “You Can Leave Your Hat On” by Tom Jones and I’m not getting into that one. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” because, well, just because.

28. Would you ever have plastic surgery?
You betcha. Gravity is the enemy. When I have to move the girls to snap my jeans, they’re outta here.

29. Does bigfoot/sasquatch/yehti exist?
You want me to say yes, don’t you. Yet, you insist there is no Santa Claus. *tsk tsk* That's why you get coal in your stocking.

30. Are you a follower or a leader?
Follower, until I see something shiny, then I go follow that.

31. What's the worst thing you did when you were a kid?
When my stepmother said to be careful of the cow because she was mean to her, I said it was because that cow thought my stepmother was competition for the bull. I said this to myself, of course. Must maintain the peace, after all.

32. List three jobs you would never want to do.
Car salesman. Politician. Reality Show Casting Director.

33. Coke or Pepsi?
Coke (with a splash of Maker’s Mark bourbon)

34. Where would you live if you could move your family, friends, and job there?
Scotland. I’d live there even if my family, friends and job weren’t there.

35. Is three really a crowd?
Not in my fantasies. Ha! Just kidding, I don’t share well with others.

36. What kind of interpersonal interaction repulses you?
Being swatted on the fanny by a man I don’t know or even do know for that matter. I like to quote Designing Women’s Julia Sugarbaker, “He shouldn’t have done that. I keep a list of men who touch my fanny without my permission, and they have all died a horrible death.”

37. Who would you rather spend an hour with, a writer or an entertainer?
An entertaining writer.

38. Which calendar appeals to you:
Photos of Scotland. I like lots of gorgeous scenery since I can’t look out my window and see it.

39. What would you do if life gave you lemons?
Squeeze them into cooked pasta and asparagus.

40. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Sure. Stranger things have happened.

41. Did you ever wish on a falling star, and have the wish come true?
No, but I caught a falling star once. I put it in my pocket because I’m saving it for a rainy day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More KC

Food is not the only thing great about Kansas City; there’s pretty good shopping, too. My family would describe me as a power shopper, and I guess I can’t disagree with that. Actually, I’m a power window shopper because I don’t buy very much, certainly not compared to how much I look. But, I’d rather shop at local favorites or shops that I can’t find in the local mall. We did a little of both in KC.

Country Club Plaza is a high-end shopping Mecca. Lots of clothes, lots of gift shops, lots of restaurants, lots of famous brand names. Ann Taylor, Betsey Johnson, Athropologie, Coach, Tiffany’s, Enzo Angiolini (I admit to drooling on the windows while looking at the shoes).

One great shop was The Better Cheddar. As you can imagine, there were a lot of different cheeses, and we bought a smoked applewood cheddar. This was a gourmet shop with more Balsamic Vinegars and olive oils than you ever thought existed. Plus amazing choices of chocolates. Ya gotta love a place with that many chocolates to choose from.

We also went to Diebel’s Sportsmen’s Gallery—a man’s shopping experience. You know what I’m talking about: chess sets, pipes, cigars, bar stuff, golf stuff. It was really very nice and it smelled wonderful in there. Al bought a few cigars to give to some of his co-worker and at least one for him to enjoy. There was a time he was really into cigars but not any more. But every now and then, he still likes to have one. He doesn’t have many vices, so what’s a cigar every now and then.

Another popular shopping area is Westport. It’s the Plaza’s artsy, laid-back sister. No high end shops, or at least no big name high-end shops. There are many bars and restaurants, but the best shop in the area is Pryde’s Old Westport store. OMG I was in heaven. It’s a kitchen and housewares store! I could have stayed there all day and still not seen everything. Plus it smells incredible in there because there is a pie shop downstairs. A pie shop! What a great idea. This was by far my favorite store. Have I mentioned my tableware fetish? I would have a different set of dishes for every type of meal. And I especially go all weak-in-the-knees for teapots, cups and saucers. Plus that amazing wall full of toys, I mean tools—tools. My hubby did good. He didn’t start complaining about his back giving out until I had seen most of the store.

Then we went to a store we could both enjoy—a used books store. Bloomsday Books was opened by Tom Shawver who gave up his law career to follow his dreams of owning this bookstore. It’s in the ritzy, old neighborhood of Brookside and next to a French bistro and coffeehouse, Aixois. Ulysses is Shawver’s favorite book, so he named his store after the main character, Leopold Bloom, and on June 16, they hold a continuous reading of the novel. We really liked this store. It was small but well lit and had lots of comfy chairs and nooks to sit and read a good book. The book I bought, The Practice of Reading by Denis Donoghue, was a great entertainment for Al, “You bought a book about reading?” He thought that was hilarious. Well, it is about reading, about close reading and literary criticism, an old-fashioned idea in this age of contemporary, deconstructive criticism. Yes, I am this big of a nerd. Hopefully, my friend R will come see us at Christmas so I’ll have someone on my side and someone who’s as big a geek as I am.

So, that’s pretty much our trip to Kansas City. I’ll leave you with this little scene in The Better Cheddar.

Al held up a tea for me from a new line of The Republic of Tea:

If you can’t read it, it’s called Get A Grip, Herb Tea for PMS/Menopause.

Hubby: Look at this!

Me: And you’re point is?

Hubby: I’m just sayin’ (says while laughing and ducking out of arm’s reach)