Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Almost 2009...

I haven't made a True New Year's Resolution List in years.

I used to do them every single New Year's Eve, and I had to do them before midnight in order for their 'magic' to work. I'd inevitably be at somebody's house, flying into an empty bedroom at 11:45, frantically trying to remember what I'd fuzzily thought about putting on the list, scribbling on a ripped-out sheet of notebook paper: "Lose lbs...kiss a boy...keep room clean..." as everyone else had a grand old time puckering up in the next room. And invariably, I wouldn't keep a single one. "Kiss a boy" isn't exactly a resolution anyway...more like a wish.

I've definitely been more on top of regular To-Do lists lately, and especially with the wedding this year, I had about twelve going at once. But the nutso-ness of life lately has pushed all minor to-dos to the side, and my recent rash of days off (FIVE! Five in a ROW!! I was sick for them, but they sure were nice otherwise...) put my important to-dos in fuller focus.

I think I'll do one this year. And I'd love to go back to this, gray out those I've done (or have made progress on...maybe I'll darker-gray those), and get back on track for some things I've let slide.

1. Begin Weight Watchers; stick with the plan for a full month. (I'm hoping this will lead into another month...and another...and another!) I'm not going to outline a specific weight-loss goal, because I believe that invites failure.

2. Join the ARC, or work out at home at least 3 times a week.

3. Write out all thank-you notes; send out with photos.

4. Work out Pensacola trip with Neil & family.

5. Read/return at least one DBRL book every other week.

6. Work on clearing apartment clutter (books, kitchen, fridge).

7. Purchase desktop PC/set up wireless internet.

8. Use restaurant.com coupons.

9. Clear Hotmail inbox regularly.

10. Complete work training; become comfortable with ref duty.

11. Begin 30,000-mile tune-ups for Corolla.

12. Minor things: keep up with DVR recordings; keep up with EWs.

13. Purge/clip old magazines.

14. Floss regularly, or use WaterPik. Visit the dentist!

15. Use my spare time for good, and not evil.

16. E-mail friends more regularly, and with substance--and more promptly. I love writing; why don't I make more time for it?

17. Keep my relationship with Neil open, strong, loving, and healthy.

18. Be a good or better friend.

19. Pay off some of our debt.

20. Quit Sprint!

I will probably add to this as I think of more, and come back to it regularly to remind myself of what I'm bound and determined to get a good start on. Or perhaps to provide a running commentary on how it's going.

{eh...who am i kidding?}

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Simply Ha-a-vin'...

Oooh, am I a fan of that song! I don't know why it escaped me in recent Holiday seasons!

I know it's not unusual to like Christmas songs, and I know this isn't the *only* reason, but I've recently had an epiphany about them: I like almost every single one, because they're ALL covers. And you know how much I love covers. I know all the words, and different versions are played all day...the only difference is, I really only like old or classic-sounding versions. So I'm not so keen on, for example, Madonna's "Santa Baby" (EW. Just, EW. 50-year-old women should NOT be singing in a baby voice. Plus I just saw her on Britney: For The Record on MTV and her plastic surgery is ABOMINABLE. Who could look in the mirror and think that's an improvement?)

This year has been a little different for me, because I've discovered that KPLA changes to The Christmas Station before Thanksgiving, and I'm in the car a LOT more than I ever was previous years, so I listen to the radio for about an hour every day (with the occasional Stephen-Fry-read Goblet of Fire commute), and I'm getting to know a lot more versions of songs than I ever knew. I also sometimes play it quietly in my cube in Jeff City, and always when I'm at Stephens, to cheer me up from the feeling that I'm all alone and a killer is waiting for me in the Penthouse and is going to corner me in my office and I shall have no choice but to break through the windows into the Bitter Bitter (Way Too Bitter For December, People) cold to escape, but I will have forgotten my keys AND my coat so I'll have to walk to Dad's house and he can drive me home.

I'm loving The Chrismas Station, and have been discovering a few new songs--the aforementioned John Lennon vehicle, Trans Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Eve in Sarajevo (which I'd heard of, but avoided in recent years because what kind of scary name for a carol is that, PLUS the name of the band doesn't sound traditional), and also their Christmas Canon, which almost makes me cry every single time. Damn you, little kids who can sing good! Why must you tug at my heartstrings so?? Also, I'm not ashamed to admit it: I am loving Last Christmas. You know how I feel about George Michael.

Songs I'm not liking so much:

Grown-up Christmas List. By Anyone. Yuck. I mute the volume and wait three minutes every time it comes on. SHOULD BE OUTLAWED.

Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg. Depressing, sounds like the ending of a bad 80s movie, and I have never, ever liked Auld Lang Syne.
Christmas Shoes, by some country guy. I. Don't. Like. Feeling. Guilty.

Apologies, Lambsons, but...anything by the Carpenters. It's not the *sound* that bothers me; she has a clear, beautifully simplistic voice. I just can't ever forget that she died from anorexia and I think about it every time I hear her voice. It's the same with all dead singers really. "I like this song, but now I'm sad because they're dead." This doesn't generally apply for really old-school singers like Bing or Rosemary or Satchmo, or those who have lived a good long life. It's Death Before Their Time that gets me.

In other news:

1. This week, my mileage hit the very delightful 22222!

2. Last night, my hubs and I got a takeout G&D's large pep and settled in to finally, finally watch "Charlie Bartlett," which we have had in its Netflix envelope since August, at least. I'm not kidding. I'm going to watch the commentary with a pumelo to distract me, or a hidden object game or something, because....wow, I didn't really get it. I mean, I *got* it, but it was jaw-droppingly unbelievable. I won't get into it, but if anyone's seen it--let's talk.

However, the pizza was incredible. I always forget...G&D's has such average OTHER fare, that the yumminess of their pizza always surprises me.

3. I'm going to sign up for Weight Watchers soon. I just have no time to prepare all the things that makes low-carb bearable, for me, and while I know I won't like WW, I do know it works. So we'll just see. I was going to sign up for it this past week, but Lily was all "I bet after the New Year they'll have sign-up specials" and I was all "Oh lord, you're right, and this gives me an excuse to eat bad for two weeks. Awesome!" I mean, she made cornflake wreaths and they were sitting right there beside Dad's homemade pumpkin walnut bread. I'm not gonna effing diet right now.

4. This month, though unfairly cold, has been really great, personal-life-wise. Neil seems like his old grinning and sweet self, I love love love my new job, I rarely sleep past nine on the weekends, I'm caught up with Christmas gifts (only one to go, and it's for baby Micah, so it won't be that hard--I already have an idea), and we're doing all right financially. My one complaint is fitting in my Stephens job. It's been really tough during this time of year to run every OTHER errand that needs doing, work twenty extra hours, and do anything but fall into bed exhausted with no leisure time. I went down to 10-12 hours starting this week, so it'll be much easier, but because it's getting down to the wire this week, it's almost harder now than it was at 20 hours. I know it'll be over soon, but I fear I may have to work a dark, cold, lonely evening this coming week to make it work.

5. We're leaving for Ohio on Christmas night, after things settle down at the Dawson home post-festivity. We'll arrive sometime late Friday night, then the next day is Paul's 40th birthday open house, followed by this huge UFC fight, which will be a good opportunity to hang with my girls Stacy and Becca. I have to be back at work, so Neil will take me to the Cleveland airport Monday morning to catch a flight to St. Louis, where I hope some kind soul will take pity on me and allow me to hang on to their bumper as they drive back to Columbia. Or, Lily or Dad will come get me. Neil has the whole week off, the stinker, so he's gonna spend some high-quality time with the Family Dazet, and I'm off to StL after work on Wednesday to spend New Year's with Emily and family. We haven't had a leisurely visit in *so* long, and I'm mondo excited to see her!

6. I got two pumelos the other day. They are gone. I love them so, so, so much. Yesterday I managed to spend a FULL HOUR peeling one in front of 91210 Season Four. It was absolutely perfect. I have to get more.

7. Today, Dad, Joe, Neil & I took our annual Downtown Chistmas Shopping Trip. Dad and I had hit Cool Stuff last week, so we stuck to Absolute Vintage, Swank, Britches, Columbia Art League, Alpine Shop, Mustard Seed (Emily I was SOOOO tempted to get Noah a sweater there that he would completely hate when he was old enough to fit into it), Arsenic Leopard, Butterfly Tattoo, Candy Factory for stocking stuffers, and of course, a PERFECT lunch at Booche's. Seeeeeeriously perfect. We didn't do other stocking shopping, because we're shaking things up a bit this year: everyone draws someone else's name, and they are responsible for that person's stocking, and the person will guess who it is. We'll do them when Steve visits in January, and Gib is part of it too since he'll be back then. I'll let you know if it's an unmitigated disaster.

I'm out of words, but I have miles to go before I sleep. Happy hols, everyone!

I know, I know, it's a stock image. I ain't a photog, peeps.

P.S. I keep forgetting to do the iTunes meme and blog about our NKOTB concert...I never have time to blog at home, and I need resources there to do both things. Dangit.

In the gloom of January, I'll be glad to have something to do, though.

Friday, December 5, 2008

High on LIFE!

Okay...not really. But I want to amp up the mood on this thing, after a pretty damned crappy few months here.

First observation of the day:

Nicole Scherzinger, lead singer for the Pussycat Dolls (and a Guest Artist on "Grown Man," brought to you by NKOTB), doesn't strike me as someone who has many body issues.

For example.

I am unclear as to why she is asking four men (five, if you count Jon, which I no longer do despite him once having the rank of Third-Favorite New Kid), at an average age of 40, if they "like" her "body," and if they "think" she is "a hottie." First: that doesn't rhyme. Second: I'm sorry, but even in their hottest days, they couldn't get a Nicole Scherzinger.

Second news item:

I got my nameplate today! "Genevieve Dazet," all black and official looking, resting on the top entrance to my cube (which actually isn't so much a cube as a shotgun, railroady-type long office space thing). My lone Office Decor is the argyle sock, framed from Sarah (oh, and a peppermint-striped ribbon from a box of lotions, strung around a file holder), and I'm excited to start making this area my own. I'm thinking the Gashlycrumb Tinies poster behind my computer, and maybe the American Folklore Theatre print on the other side.

A Summary of Now:

So...life is puttering along. It's better than it has been, and I'm relieved at that. I don't know if anything changed specifically, or if it's just the forced re-adjustment we had to deal with and are currently used to. But our home is no longer a Festival of Tension, and I don't feel that eggshells are underfoot all the time...I hope we're settled into this pattern of rest for awhile. I know everything can't be perfect all the time, but I was so worried that something had changed for good, and I had no way to make it better. Thank you, friends, for your support and love during that time of mondo-insecurity. I'm not promising I won't call you weeping/come over crying/send you a venting e-mail that's all about me anymore, but for the time being, things are all right.

We're mostly set with our Christmas gifts, for which I am grateful. If there's one awesome thing about working so very, very much over this month, it's that I don't have to worry so about affording all the nice things I want to get for everyone. I know in the past I haven't been particularly smart when it comes to being financially responsible over the holiday season, and I get into a vicious cycle: I set vague amount-limits on everyone's gifts. Then I see something perfect for Joe that's a little more than what I spent for everyone else. So I feel guilty and get everyone else a little something extra, because it's super-obvious I spent more on one person. Then, the most perfect "little something extra" for Lily costs more than everyone else's something extra, so I get another extra something for everyone else, inevitably finding something for Steve that costs more... See? It never stops. And I'm normally not in a position AT ALL to be spending what I want on these things. But I do anyway! If I were buying things for myself and it was out of control, that's one thing, but it's hard to look at buying things for other people as *wrong*.

Also, after over a year of wanting it, we finally bought this!!

It is so smooth...and light...and just freakin' fantastic. Neil took great pleasure in hauling my cheapo blue Wal-Mart vacuum out to the trash last weekend. We suddenly got a few wedding checks in the mail, and since they would all be deposited in a chunk, rather than $20 here, $50 there, it was easier to step back and say "Whoa, we can actually do something with this money!"

Our Thanksgiving weekend was a joy, as ever, but a couple things changed.

First, Jordan asked me around about the wedding-time why we never had pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. "Jordan," I said, "I'm going to change that." We used to, but it was never eaten because the apple-pie-with-Mom's-wigwam-sauce was always chosen in favor of it, and then we'd have a totally uneaten pumpkin pie left over. But I missed it. I love a pumpkin pie.

My first day of JC-work, Sarah and I went to Cafe Via Roma for lunch, a coffee/pastry/sandwich/etc shop across from the capitol building. They advertised holiday pies you could reserve, including a yummy-sounding praline pumpkin pie with a vanilla crust. I called and said I'd pick one up the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I was so excited for it. It was expensive, but I figured--I never contribute anything but dish-doing to the occasion; I might as well bring a freakin' pie.
So I drop by on my way home Wednesday night, go up to the counter, and say I'm here to pick up my pie. The barista sends another employee upstairs to get it. She comes down with a Sara Lee box, throws it on the counter, and yells "Does anyone know if we have a box?"

I mean, I don't want to be a snob. But seriously. Don't advertise on your chalkboard that we need to 'reserve a holiday pie' if you're just going to order it from a big company, box it up in your own bakery boxes, and charge an arm and a leg for it.

And it could have been that the pie was delicious. When I tried it the next day, though...it just tasted like Sara Lee. A good pie, with a nice crunchy pecan topping and a vanilla-y crust.



Wildwoods Farms, where we've cut down our tree for nigh-on 30 years, is closing after this year, so they haven't been planting in recent years. Thus, we knew we couldn't find a suitable 11-12 footer for the living room's vaulted ceilings. We made the decision to go elsewhere. I did some research and made some calls, and we decided on a small, VERY organized tree farm off Brown Station Road. I'm not sure how I feel about the rows; our Wildwoods experience always involved a search, walking around a large acreage of land, going over hills and around a huge quarry, and it was lucky if we ever found the perfect tree within view of our car. This one, though...it was, frankly, easy. We immediately found several that would do the job, and the one we settled on was even chosen by Lily herself! (If you didn't know, one of our rules is that if Lily says a tree looks good, IT NEVER IS.) Every tree was a short distance from the car, and it was less of an expotition (TM A.A. Milne) than we were used to. But that's okay; it was cold and sleety and snowy and wet, and pretty miserable.

And I love this picture of me and Lily taken there:

The tree is at Dad's, waiting for me to hairspray it before they take it in (watch the Christmas episode of Mythbusters if you don't know what I mean). I'll bring over my South Park Christmas DVD this weekend and maybe it'll all be done next week!