Wednesday, December 26, 2007

When It's Over (Sugar Ray)

The holidays are, for the most part, over. Okay, I suppose we still have New Year's Eve to look forward to, but for all intents & purposes, it's over.

Christmas Eve, I worked til 3p & then came home, cooked a little stuffing (no, it wasn't Stovetop, though it was cooked on the stove top) & then headed over to Steve & Airi's for a Christmas Eve potluck. It was just a small crowd as David & Katherine couldn't make it out due to other family obligations & I guess Popeye made Trina sicky-poo. Boo! Here's a few pics from Xmas Eve.

Christmas Day was supposed to be very low key this year. In fact, I posted about the rules that Jeff & his father came up with & shared with me. Unfortunately, someone failed to include the other McCarthy Women in the rules. These were the rules as set forth by the McCarthy Men:

  • Limit spending to $50 on each of the other two couples (his folks, his sister & boyfriend) so that only $100 total gets spent on each other
  • Go out to dinner on Christmas Day somewhere (I'm a bit skeptical if this really happens)
  • Each couple volunteers in some way (either by donating money, time or gifts) & lets everyone know what they did at Christmas dinner.

The key tab there is the first one. We wanted to tone down Christmas this year to 1 - save some money & 2 - to not go overboard buying things that nobody needs/wants. The first gift we open was from Erin & Aaron & it's a $100 gift card for Travelocity. I am in NO way nonthankful for this gift, but what about the rules? So, I ask Jeff, "Uh, Jeff.... why didn't they follow the rules?" He looks at the card & the questions go flying. They (mom & Erin) say they never heard about the "rules". Faster than you can say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Jeff was on the laptop buying a gift certificate for Hawaiian Airlines for E & A.

Merry Christmas everyone... and next year, how about a bit more communication, eh?

Today, I am thankful for:

  1. No more Christmas music on the radio
  2. Leftovers (thanks to everyone who donated to our fridge)
  3. Returning 2 gifts (so far) with ease
  4. Grey's Anatomy, season 2
  5. Pat being back at work

What irks me today:

Today, I was annoyed with the girl behind the "fine jewelry" counter at Macy's. I had a pair of earrings to return & had approached one of the counters & after interrupting the employee from her conversation with the other girl to ask if I could "return these here", snottily, she replied, "No, you have to go over there" and pointed to another counter. Man, she was so 'tudey.

P.S. We had a wonderful ham dinner at home (with spinach salad, cheesy potatoes) and TONS of cookies, bars, jalepeno pepperoni sticks, chex mix, cheese & wheat thins, artichoke dip & another kind of cracker, hummus & yet another kind of cracker, Maureen's famous garlic dip & chips). What a spread of food to munch on all day long!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Against All Odds (Phil Collins)

As Christmas quickly approaches, we've received several cards from our friends & family members. I had to laugh when we received virtually the same card from two different people. What are the odds of that happening? Well, I guess technically, one in 4 as this is one of four card designs that these two people made at my stamp-a-stack last month.

Today, I finished up my Christmas shopping. I wasn't going to go out & buy something for everyone I know, but still ended up buying a gift (card) for people I wasn't going to buy for in the first place. In fact, I told folks not to buy us anything as we weren't going to do a gift exchange. Well, it's not about the getting, but the giving, right? I'm okay with the not getting part.

Monday is going to mark the first year we changed our Christmas Eve tradition. I enjoyed the tradition that Joel started with us many years ago (gathering together with your friends, late at night on Xmas Eve at whatever restaurant that was open - usually a Denny's or Shari's, for some not-always tasty & sometimes crappy service & leaving a very large tip for our server). Steve suggested still getting together with friends, but doing a potluck instead, much earlier in the evening.

Yesterday, our TV, Comcast Cable, Receiver or some component thereof decided to crap out on us. Jeff called Comcast & they said it could be the box & so we exchanged it today, hooked up the new box & the picture is still not cool. Basically, the hi-def channels work just fine, but every other channel is highly distorted (the picture is super-enlarged & shifted to the right 2/3 of the screen). What really sucks is that we had some shows saved on our DVR & 1. if they were recorded on the regular channels (most were), they played distorted and 2. all shows saved were lost when we brought the old box back to the Comcast store. Boo!

On Thursday morning, the Sounder train had some technical difficulties. I've been taking the last train into work because I've found some decent parking that works for me (I used to take the earlier train just so I could have a parking spot in the garage; that no longer works for me). Anyhow, we pull into Kent Station & we sit there. A few minutes go by & the conductor announces that the engine is having issues & that they're working on fixing it. After sitting there in Kent for 50 minutes, I ended up getting on a bus to Seattle. This is the 2nd time I've been kicked off in Kent & told to find my own way to my destination. I'm thankful there's buses in Kent to take me to where I need to go.

I'm finding myself really enjoying the new show that's been on ABC this week, Duel. I like trivia, especially when it comes to stuff I *should* know. And, this show also has a gambling component to it. Here's one question from the show:

As of October 2007, which state had the least # of Starbucks (Scroll down for the answer)?

  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Vermont
  • Alaska


Today, I am thankful for:

  1. Our newest remote control - to the fireplace!
  2. Employment
  3. Nearby friends to help out in a pinch


What irks me today:

Today, I am obviously not happy with the tv situation, but I'm not going to dwell on it. Yeah, it's annoying & frustrating, but perhaps it's a sign of me watching too much television. Maybe I'll play a game or something more 'interactive' tonight instead. ....wishing I had a wii....


Duel answer: Vermont with 5 Starbucks. WA had 640, UT had 60, AK had 30

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

O Tannenbaum (Various)

I was wrong. We DID get a Christmas tree this year afterall. Mind you, it's only about 8" tall, but by golly, we got one! It sits upon our mantle & is the perfect size for our village. I tried tying some ribbon on it to make it a little more decorative, but the ribbon just kept falling off & so I just tied a bow around the base there. It's cute. And, once the holidays are over, we'll plant the tree outside & hopefully it will thrive.

Kat & I did our 4th annual volunteer work this past weekend, stuffing stockings for over 2,400 homeless children. It just amazes me how quickly it goes: all the stockings stuffed in just over an hour. Wow! As chaotic as it is, it truly is organized. I don't think I could do it any better if I had to organize it.

After volunteering on Friday, Kat & I went to Happy Hour for a little bit at the Pyramid Brewery so that we wouldn't be smack dab in the middle of Friday night rush hour traffic. We got 2 appetizers (nachos & fries with a curry dipping sauce) & a BBQ Pork sammy that we split. The BBQ Pork was mighty tasty! The nachos weren't bad either. The fries/curry sauce could have been better, though I don't know how. I wouldn't order it again to give it a second chance. Neither of us drank beer, but I did buy a 12 pack of Hefe for my husband.

Saturday, we finished our volunteer work & Kat was so thoughtful & nice to offer to buy me some birthday lunch. I chose to go to Qdoba for two reasons: I got a BOGO coupon for my birthday & they're mighty tasty! I love me some nekkid burritos & 3 cheese queso.

Later that night, Jeff suggested we go out to get some dessert of sorts for my birthday. We ended up going to Trotters, a local family restaurant, here in Auburn because they have a giant menu of sundaes. However, we didn't have any dessert because we were full after having dinner. Trotters used to be my favorite local restaurant, but once they changed owners, the menu changed & they weren't all that great anymore. This time, they were a bit better than just okay. We'll probably go back, but they're still not my favorite.

On Sunday, Jeff's parents, sister & boyfriend came over to celebrate all the Sagittarius birthdays by watching the Seahawk game, dinner & a movie in the theater room. I also baked cookies for a cookie exchange at work. I wish I had a KitchenAid mixer. I'm also convinced I need to get a FoodSaver as well. I do see this in my not too distant future. Yee!

Today, I am thankful for:

1. Department lunch
2. A warm bed
3. 2 weeks until Christmas
4. Being done with my Christmas shopping
5. Goose down vest

What irks me today:

Once again, my procrastination is getting me down. Tomorrow, we're doing a gift exchange at work & I've got my gift(s) for my person, but now I have to wrap them. I usually enjoy wrapping presents, but right now, I'm feeling absolutely no motivation to do it. And, I kinda want to go to bed early tonight, but I must get this wrapping done first.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

O Christmas Tree (Various)

See those two little trees over there? That's about the extent of our Christmas tree set up this year (And the past 2 years as well). While we have a decently sized home, we don't exactly have room for a full-on Christmas tree at this point & so we get to decorate in other ways, such as with my little winter village. Jeff did say the other day that once the holidays are over, we should go all out & buy a ton more decoratives. I agree. Watch out after Christmas sales, here I come!

I don't think I wrote too much about it in earlier posts, but Jeff & I decided not to "do" Christmas this year. Instead, the intent was to save as much money as possible so as to pay off the debts we accumlated from the past year (including Christmas, where we went overboard). My mother-in-law was quite adamant about doing some sort of "Christmas" & here's what was decided by Jeff & his dad:
  • Limit spending to $50 on each of the other two couples (his folks, his sister & boyfriend) so that only $100 total gets spent on each other
  • Go out to dinner on Christmas Day somewhere (I'm a bit skeptical if this really happens)
  • Each couple volunteers in some way (either by donating money, time or gifts) & lets everyone know what they did at Christmas dinner.

*Last weekend, Jeff & I each spent about $25 at Walmart (my favorite store!) on toys to be donated to the Salvation Army for the kiddos. I thought I would dread the day when I had kids of my own because I thought buying birthday/christmas presents would be way expensive. We actually bought quite a bit of stuff for the $50 we spent. And, I can't speak for Jeff, but I really enjoyed the shopping.

*Last week, I anonymously donated 16 hours of my Personal Leave to a co-worker who had none left & needed to take some time off so that her black eye (caused by her abusive husband) would heal without too many people knowing about it. My department & her department are also "adopting" her two boys so they can have some fun gifts from Santa.

*Tomorrow marks day one of two of my annual volunteer work in conjunction with the Coast Guard, stuffing stockings for homeless children. Tomorrow, Kat and I will arrive near 1pm to help sort all the donated goodies. On Saturday, we'll spend a couple hours helping to stuff over 2,000 stockings. It's chaos & I usually dislike it when I'm there, but I always feel good afterwards. And, well, now it's like a tradition that Kat & I do together. I don't want to quit this.

Today, I am thankful for:

  1. Cooking my first pot roast
  2. Having my last stamp camp of the year
  3. No more rain for the next couple days
  4. Dreaming about my next vacation
  5. Going nearly a week without being "sick"

What irks me today:

The fact that the squeaky wheel gets the oil... We have a member where I work & she is really not a nice person. Just mention the name & people cringe. Seriously. I honestly do not understand why this person is still allowed to be a member. Anyways, in an effort to make something look better & it not working, things are more "messed up" than before I touched it. At least I didn't have to talk to her to explain what happened.