Monday, December 28, 2009

totally unrelated to the holidays

You'd think there would be a nice holiday recap post here, wouldn't you? Especially after I just was doing a little housekeeping by posting my 2009 reads. Nope. While it was a really good holiday and Santa was nice to us all and we were even nicer to each other and there were no tears even though there were multiple family gatherings, I'm going to go in an entirely different direction.

Months ago I bookmarked this. Here's my version of the list--basically horrific things that pop into my head without me wanting them to. And just for the record, no, this doesn't happen terribly often.

  1. That the plane will crash, sometimes from something mechanical and sometimes from gravity and physics just no longer working. That I'm forced to make those frantic, last-minute phone calls to loved ones before we all die.
  2. That up ahead? On the other side of that hill? Is a car barreling towards me in the wrong lane.
  3. That Chucky is in my room, you know, just at the edge of the bed. (Why on earth did I just search for him so I could add a link?)
  4. That the test results are positive and not in a good way.
  5. Like I mentioned the other day, that our freaky neighborhood drunk shot at us and I'm kneeling beside my dying husband. (I'm telling you, I was pissed at that guy.)
  6. That I dislocate my knee. Again.
  7. That there are roaches. Near me, on me, whatever.

I know there are more but that's all I can conjure up right now. Happy topic, no? At least I can take writing about it off my To Do list (so in a way I guess this is part of end-o-year house blogkeeping).

2009 reads

It's that wrapping-everything-up time again.

19. The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods
18. March
17. Twelve Sharp
16. Eleven on Top
15. The Reader
14. What No One Tells the Bride
13. Breaking Dawn
12. Eclipse
11. Ireland: Little Known Facts & Well-Known Places
10. New Moon
9. Into the Wild
8. Skinny Legs and All
7. The Working Woman's Wedding Planner
6. Planning a Wedding to Remember
5. The Everything Wedding Book
4. Priceless Weddings for Under $5,000
3. Easy Wedding Planner
2. Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts
1. 101 Amazing Things About Love

Sunday, December 20, 2009

it's the most wonderful time of the year

Or, you know, something... Christmas is always so fun but stressful. I love picking out presents for the family (er, families). I enjoy putting thought into something each person would like or sneakily doing research for the perfect gift or just paying attention when they don't have something or say they need something. I'm less of a here's-my-list-now-please-pick-something-off-of-it kind of person. But I'm having to learn that that has its place.

I do love decorating for the holidays. Here's our tree (with its crooked star apparently--someone should fix that) and lots of presents.

Here you can't tell the star is crooked but you also can't really see the ornaments. And why has no one taken any pictures of it at night? No bokeh shots? Must get on that.

I also love wrapping pretty presents. I bought paper on sale last year and was apparently already in wedding-color mode. Turns out, that was a fantastic idea. I could use the leftover wedding ribbon for the packages. And since I culled the ornament herd this year, I used some of the cute ones to tie on the gifts. Is that regifting? Is that wrong? I think it's green.

Generally, I enjoy holiday baking as well. It is, however, one of those bittersweet times what with the lack of Mom and all. But, on my third attempt this year (usually I only give myself two), here's the divinity:

Yeah, it's cooling in the living room, avoiding any kitchen heat. This candy has been around a long time and in doing some troubleshooting research last night, I found out that it got its name because it's so good. I don't buy that. I think it got its name because you need divine intervention for it to work. Bygones...

There are also, as Grandma called them, Ice Box Cookies in the kitchen. Love these.

So I'm skipping the "Best of" for days 19 and 20. Don't really have anything to contribute. But! Best new kitchen appliance?

Sigh... Not only is it pretty, but it's a workhorse. If you like divinity and your sanity, this is totally worth the large purchase price. If you can work out a marriage and have some super nice ladies in your family, maybe you'll get it for free.

And, finally, the saddest moment. Good thing The Hubby came with a comparatively tiny bottle of Mexican vanilla.

Friday, December 18, 2009

best of 2009: 14-18

I'm not sure if it's because I usually travel on Tuesdays, but when yesterday was over it didn't feel like there was only one more workday left in the week. But, Lordy. After the teleconference schedule for today and the sifting through tons of e-mails, I'm ready for the weekend.

Here's some catching up on the Best Of series:

Rush. I think I have to go with the getting yelled at by the crazy guy I mentioned in the last post.

Best packaging. Oooh, Moo cards. For our Christmas cards this year, I ordered Moo business cards. They're of great quality and have great packaging. (Sorry for the poor photo quality.) But the box is very compact, is made from recycled pulp and is recyclable. The cards themselves are made from sustainable forests. All that info is on the bottom of the tiny box. When you pull off the lid, you see this:

Hee hee. And then there's a one-page insert that looks like this:

If you can't read that, it's the "Buzzword Challenge." One side has the instructions to try to use the made-up buzzwords on the reverse side and see if anyone asks you what they mean. The buzzwords are social workfacing, blogospherical, socialocomotion, future-retroactivate, data-fluffed, viralize, and prioritorizational. It was just cute to me.

Tea of the year. Um, any? I'm not terribly picky about tea as long as it's sweet. Should be cold in the summer and warm in the winter. This year I'm particularly enjoying iced chai from Starbucks when paired with their tiny vanilla scones.

Word/phrase. Maybe "Is that bad?" And more recently, "It's rollin'!"

Shop. Am in lurve with Le sigh... So many fabulous dresses that it makes me want to order a new one almost daily. When would I wear those dresses? Who knows. I'd just roll around in them.

And since I mentioned Christmas cards, first let me apologize if you didn't receive one this year. I had to cut the list due to time and materials and had to add in the husband's peeps, too. It was brutal. Perhaps next year we'll send more again. Here's the front and inside (which were attached to one another with either blue or green ribbon along the top edge):

This time I apologize for the poor cropping and the dirty rug. Huh, and actually I took a picture of one of the cards made up with the back-up green paper as the store had 3 too few of the 1st choice paper. Oh well.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

best of 2009: new food + house changes

New food? I can't think of one specific thing but this year I've continued to really enjoy making breakfast. Last year for Christmas my husband got me a cookbook from the B&B we stay at in Brenham. She has great recipes! I've also made one non-breakfast recipe she has in there and it's fantastic, too.

Changes? To where I live? Where there any? Um, yeah. We've done a lot of work in the yard. Cleaned out a bunch of the beds, planted the lime tree, lost the papaya tree, planted a few other random flowering plants, gardened!, dug up the back "sidewalk" and are prepping for the new one, started growing herbs again. Inside, we've merged our stuff (which was way more involved than 4 measly words convey), got rid of a bunch of things, and finished the black and white bathroom. All good changes! Well, I did like that papaya tree...darn storm.

Unrelated to the best of? Ok, so Husband and I woke up sort of early (for a weekend) to head to town to volunteer at a church. They were giving out toys and books and food for folks for the holidays. We got to escort the people through the different areas so they could pick items for their kids. It was all very organized and it was fun to do with the hubby. Then we knocked out a few more Christmas gifts, grabbed lunch to go, and headed home. It was a lazy afternoon of tv watching and napping. Then we each had a few projects to work on for the rest of the evening. I thought, however, that it would be nice to make an Irish coffee and walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. We did that (except insert "hot chocolate" for "coffee").

Yesterday was very foggy--really all day down here--but the evening was so quiet and dark and a little spooky. Not many people driving in the neighborhood. No barking dogs. Weird. And we've realized that our section of the neighborhood (our part of the street even) has the most decorations. It was sort of a bust in that regard. But it was nice to be enjoying the evening together. Well, we're walking down one street and it looked like someone may have left their car's headlights on. We paused to see if they'd go off, didn't remember seeing a car recently turn down the road, and were debating whether or not to knock on their door to inform them. The hubby says that we'll do that on our way back home if they're still on. So we start walking away and the car folks' next door neighbor starts yelling at us. Either he has a screened in porch or maybe had windows open or something but he's cursing and asking why we're so near his house (because, you know, we're in the middle of the road). We tell him about the neighbor's car but kind of just keep walking. He's still yelling and cursing and hopefully drunk because no one should be so much of an a$$hole sober and we just keep walking. And you can hear his wife or girlfriend (or whatever title that poor, unfortunate soul has) trying to calm him down. He pauses and in my head I'm thinking that he's probably getting a shotgun and we'll be dead in time for Christmas. Rest easy, he didn't. But you know? I really wanted to beat the $hit out of that guy and I'm not exactly a violent person. I think I was just pissed that he ruined the evening and that he was basically threatening us in our own neighborhood and, for Pete's sake, it's Christmastime. But I know, crazies are crazies year round. I'm just glad it didn't end poorly.

Friday, December 11, 2009

best of 2009: place

So my favorite place is home. Is that lame? And my favorite place at home is wherever my husband is. Is that cheesy? And my favorite place where my husband is is that spot. You know, the one right where his arm meets his chest, just below the top of his shoulder. That spot where my head fits perfectly and I'm terribly comfortable. Yeah, there.


In unrelated news, there's a deer head in my freezer, outdoor Christmas decorations and lights are up, and I'm trying out a new mac and cheese recipe. Perhaps this one will be good enough to cross it off the Life List.

Thanks, peeps, for letting me know you're still here. Maybe I'll try to make these posts a little more interesting then. And how 'bout you? What place would you vote the best of the year?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

best of 2009: challenge and album

Best and biggest challenge of the year? Marriage. Hands down.

Best album? I'm going with all things Ray LaMontagne.

Just throwing these two up here before bed. Since no one reads blogs anymore it's only for myself anyway... Ho hum.

And tomorrow? I'm giving up the internet for personal use. Just for tomorrow. Going to be my own slave driver at work.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

best of 2009: moment of peace

This year was a lot of things but peaceful does not rank highly. However, things are often peaceful when snuggling with the Hubby. And, amidst all the wedding craziness, there was a lot of peace (but not so much quiet) during the girls' weekend in Brenham. It was such a good break from everything.

Monday, December 07, 2009

best of 2009: blog of the year

Given the main topic of my life this year, my favorite new (to me) blog would have to be weddingbee. I highly recommend it to engaged peeps. You get to see real brides planning real weddings. They're very diverse--culturally, geographically, budget-wise. But, if you're just seeking ideas on some craft projects, flower arranging, party's a good resource. I must admit that I still read it even though I was finished wedding planning 4 months ago. I'm just not getting invested in the new brides. Just reading the recaps of the ones who were planning along with me. Speaking of recaps, if we ever get the negatives of our pro pics, I'll have a little recap series of my own.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

best of 2009: workshop/conference

Not much to report here. I had two training meetings for work this year. One was in Atlanta and was very brief. We were away from the city a bit so I didn't get to look around. It was the first time I was outside of the Atlanta airport, however. I got to drive by (in a cab) the Hubby's alma mater. And we got really good food.

The second was in Vegas and I'm going to say it was my favorite. Got to hang with some nice folks, friends and strangers. Food? Less good. Gambling? Lost $20.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

best of 2009: night out

The best night out? It seems like I've had many more nights in this year. While relationships and married life comes with their own set of challenges and sometimes stress, the one thing I probably am most happy to see go (related to the single life) is the pressure to go out. The whole "you can't meet anyone at home" thing was annoying when I was single. I was past the clubbing stage but hadn't met someone to stay home with. Ahh, but now the joy of couch snuggling!

So nights out? There have still been a few. The first one that comes to mind is the night we got into Chicago. My SIL2 (since there are now 2 SILs it seems like maybe there should be a way to differentiate them) picked us up from the airport and we headed to a little bar. We had a bite to eat and drinks outdoors (perfect weather). And nice chatting.

We had a few good nights out with The Brother and SIL. Saw Les Mis earlier in the year and A Christmas Carol just recently. While it's not The Hubby's favorite thing to do, I really enjoy going to the theatre district. Always such good shows!

And then there was our pub night in Ireland. Drinks, snacks, live music. A mellow good time.

The evening where we finally decided our search for a rehearsal dinner venue was over...that was a good one.

Pub dinner and Ray LaMontagne in Dublin. Fantastic!

BBQ and Willie Nelson in Nashville. Also fantastic.

Enjoying the fire at the vineyard outside of Nashville, followed (of course) by more BBQ...

There really were lots of good times this year. Hope 2010 can top it!

Friday, December 04, 2009

best of 2009: parts 1-4

The best trip of 2009? You'd think that would be easy. Hands down, doesn't 10 days in Ireland on your honeymoon sound like a shoe in? And you know what? It was great. We got to experience lots of new things together. See a tremendous amount of a country neither of us had been to. But there was some stress leading up to it and we were still trying to settle in to married life (heck, we still are).

Truth is, I think every trip we took this year was fantastic. We had a quick trip down to Moulton/Shiner for Joe's birthday in February. Costa Rica for a week in March. Chicago in June. I had a great girls' weekend in Brenham in August. The honeymoon in August/September. Southern California (so The Hubby could be a groomsman) in September. The Hubby went with me to San Antonio for work in late September. And Nashville in November. We were busy bees.

The best restaurant moment? There have been many memorable ones this year. Eating fantastic food one night in Costa Rica with the now in-laws. The food and company was great, we were enjoying the perfect weather outdoors, the music was a little quirky but entertaining, and there was a cat lingering in wait of leftovers. Then there was the breakfast we had when celebrating the new SIL's graduation. The Riverwalk meals in San Antonio. The BBQ and home cookin' of Nashville. The Italian we had with The Brother and SIL a few weekends ago before heading to the theatre. And the time in Ireland where we wandered around trying to find a place to eat and ended up being followed around by a nice stray dog. Although, technically, that would be my favorite outside-of-a-restaurant moment.

The best article? Geez, this one is a toughy. The one I remember because I read it fairly recently was this one about the Obamas. Now, it's not super politically-charged. It's about their marriage. I like reading realistic things about marriage instead of rose-colored-glasses stuff. Makes me feel more competent.

The best book? I read a lot of wedding stuff this year and some fluff to distract me from real thinking. I guess this is the year of the last 3 Twilight books. Those just sucked me in and I did tell other folks to read them. (You know, me and the entire media world...) I read Into the Wild. The movie got me all riled up. I was so pissed at the main character and had to talk to other people who saw the movie to see what their reactions were. The book, however, painted a slightly different story and I felt a little better about the guy. Still, what a waste. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts and What No One Tells the Bride were both good marriage prep books. The latter took into consideration that current brides don't often move in with their husband immediately after leaving their parents' home. You have your own individual life you're giving up in a lot of ways. I think that was helpful to read about in advance. And the last book I read was The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods. Even though I've never met Kate (of sweet salty, see blog link in margin), I am just so proud of her for writing this book. It's a fun read (meant for young adults but this not-so-young adult enjoyed it, too).

Perhaps what I've learned so far about the "best ofs" is that I'm either super non-committal or it's been a fabulous year.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

best of 2009

I was reading the Superhero blog (linked on the side down there) and Andrea is doing the Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. When she does something like this it's usually an interestingly enough idea that I want to do it, too.

For some reason, the link above doesn't work on my PC but does on the Mac. For those of you who may not be able to see it, here's the short list of prompts:
Dec 1: Trip
2: Restaurant moment
3: Article
4: Book
5: Night out
6: Workshop/conference
7: Blog find of the year
8: Moment of peace
9: Challenge
10: Album of the year
11: Place
12: New food
13: Change you made to the place you live
14: Rush
15: Best packaging
16: Tea of the year
17: Word/phrase
18: Shop
19: Car ride
20: New person
21: Project
22: Startup
23: Web tool
24: Learning experience
25: Gift
26: Insight/aha! moment
27: Social web moment
28: Stationery
29: Laugh
30: Ad
31: Resolution

So you can do one or all. You can write a novel or a sentence. Since I'm already procrastinating by doing this, I'll have to start later but I find many of the "bests" interesting to think about. Join me (and Andrea and Gwen)? Anyone? Anyone still blog?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

it's december

Geez, time has been flying. So, how's it going? Whatcha been up to? Have a good Thanksgiving?

Things are still just rolling along. No terribly exciting updates but I do have a question for you (but feel free to answer the ones above, too). So over there on the side? Down a little, a little more...right there! Is my Life List. I've recently added a few things. Do you have one, formal or informal? What's on it? Just curious.

Also, what's the largest number of strands of Christmas tree lights you can connect without fear of burning something down?

One more thing, word on the street is it may snow on Friday. Nuts.

That's all. Back to work.