The Perkmaker

I realize it would only be customary to have one of those sappy, look here he is as a baby and here he is now entries for Dants, as he turns 14 today. But… I haven’t the energy. I’ll save that for a cheery disposition, and cake-cutting skills later. He already has his gift (a new snowboard — my goodness those things are pricey), so I’ve nothing else to do but be kind and try not to look as exhausted as I feel. He doesn’t like parties or big fusses over him (another inherited gene from his dad) on his birthday, but he won’t object to gifts, of coarse!!

. . .

Well, I done shot all my high expectations of daily posts all to heck, didn’t I? With Christmas and birthday and work and some personal crap that I’m too tired to discuss — I skipped some entries.

The world stopped, but only for a second. Did you notice?

Shooot. Hardly.

. . .

Work is very busy, being newsletter week plus bulletins for Christmas, Christmas Eve and the regular service. I was on the receiving end of some delicious yummies (bars and breads), and… yeah. It hit the spot and perked the day up. The little things, I tell ya. Another perky-perkmaker is my Sigg.

I chose the SIGG “Maharadsha Turquoise” one after numerous visits to the display rack located inside Whole Foods. For many months I’ve eyed up the bottles, fondled them, fantasized about them (would I like it, would I not… would they be hard to drink from, do I get the flip top or the ringed top… what cooooolor should/would I get if I got one… would it fit in my cupholder in the van… would it fit in my purse… would the kids like it… is the inside coating poisonous — just the regular questions, you know), and then walking right on past them to the olive bar. Finally, yesterday, I did it. I bought one.I take a bottle of water to work each day. Normally I’d take my water jug, but it broke months ago. Probably about the time I started fantasizing about the SIGGS. I have spent well over the $20 investment cost of a new SIGG. What was I waiting for? It was either buy the bottle, or pick up yet another case bottled water.

Hooray for me. I like my shiny new bottle. I took it to wrestling practice last night (the boy’s practice, not me wrestling, you silly thing) and the boys all drank out of it, refilling it twice. That’s about $5 in water bottles right there. Took it to work today. Another buck or so. I’d like to get another bottle or two and maybe some extra caps (probably a sport top). They have all kinds of stuff you can get, different styles, bags, doohickies.

. . .

A few more days until Christmas. Am I done shopping? Not really. But I’m ready for Christmas. Family, having off work. Reflecting. A longer Thanksgiving with more meaning, that’s what Christmas is for me. It is really hard not to get sucked in to the stress and expectations of this time of year, regardless if you celebrate. Be well, don’t stress it, don’t be unhappy. I say this to you and to myself, heh. I stress easy, I worry even easier and I often stress out over (imaginary, perceived) expectations. Sigh.

Worker Man

Yesterday Lootie went to my parent’s house to help move some boxes. A pastor friend of theirs has been staying with them since early summer as she sought employment. Recently, she found a church north of here, and is in the process of moving. Knowing how Lootie likes to work (weird, huh), they called him up. The deal was that he’d help move boxes and then someone would take him to lunch.

Lootie came home sporting $5 from their thankful friend. He was thrilled. Proud, and thrilled.
Today, more work. Dad needed some help pounding nails in a project (and, apparently, was also in need of someone to watch the last half of the Packer game with). He picked up Lootie, they finished the game, went to work.

Lootie came home sporting a huge black toolbox with a few random tools inside. Proud, and thrilled.

Sentimental M&M

Like free stuff?

. . .

I don’t usually crave M&Ms. Sometimes, but rarely.
They are a delectably poppable, dangerous snack. Pop, pop, into the mouth. The candy coated equivalent of popcorn. Not good.
They can inspire an arrangement by color.
The light brown ones tasted the best, but now they’re extinct.
Sentimental M&M eater, I am. I am.
They come in a dark chocolate option. I appreciate that, but am not fooled. They’re still… M&Ms.

. . .

Friday. Can’t lie, it is nice to know the weekend is ahead of me instead of behind… from a “work” point of view. If only I could put work completely out of my mind instead of letting myself slip into calculating next week’s tasks. A job I can leave at work, is a job worth pursuing.

Or a discipline I have not yet mastered.

If Pets Could Talk

If my pets could rat me out…

She doesn’t manhandle me too much, but talks to me a lot. Pets me when I sit on her lap. Fondles the bump between my ears. Leaves my tummy alone; I hate having it touched.

Her hair makes a nice bed. When she’s sleeping I like to knead it with my paws. I purr and drool, in ecstasy. When it is fluffed to my satisfaction, I curl up on it. Sometimes she makes a loud noise when I’m kneading and pushes me away. But I’m patient. Persistent. I wait. Then I sneak back and try again. Sometimes she sleeps through it, sometimes she makes an even louder noise than the first time and pushes me away again.

She sings. A lot. Usually on key, but sometimes in weird voices, using strange words that I know aren’t her native language. Sometimes I join in. Sometimes it scares me, her singing like that.

We howl together. I throw back my head Woooooo-woooohhh. Good times.

She talks a lot, even when nobody’s there to talk with her. Her attempts at conversation intrigue me. But I’m a dog, why’s she think I’m gonna talk back?

Day Off

It was so nice to have a day off. Feels… normal. Frank and I shopped, searching for a Favre #4 jersey, kids size 8. We scoured the rotten, evil mall. Every store said they were sold out.

“Number four’s a popular number this year…”

I didn’t even know I was looking for a number four, just Packer, Favre and kid size. But that number four, uttered from a kind salesperson’s lips, was what ended up saving the day. Steve & Barry’s was having an eight-dollar sale, everything for 8 bucks. I picked up 3 pairs of jeans (twins and Dants). Had them wrapped at the “free with optional donation” kiosk. They weren’t intentionally gifts, but since I could get them wrapped for free, why not?

The lady was kind, but slow, and I ended up wrapping one of the boxes myself. We left a $2 donation.

I stopped in at Payless shoes, hoping to find another pair of the furry suede boots that are all the rage (right now I’m outfitted in my daughter’s too-big ones), but no luck. We left the mall, ready to get some food, but made a quick stop at TJ Maxx. Frank ran down to the athletic store to see if he could find the jersey. I browsed the purses, fragrances, boots (still looking), wandered past the women’s clothing, back to the linens where I picked up a twin flannel set to hold in my hands and “ponder” while I shopped. Frank showed up with a Favre jersey that looked fit for a toddler.

I shook my head. “How much was it?”


Frank. Take it back!! He’ll be lucky if he fits into it at all, there’s no room to grow even. No way. We’ll have to shop online and hope we find something. And hope it comes before Christmas.” I set the flannel sheets down on a display table by the men’s clothes, deciding not to get it. As we walked by the customer service desk I saw a flash of green and gold and the number four amongst a rack of clothing behind the desk. I leaned into the counter, fondling the shirts. Two were large men’s size and one — I knew from the experienced eye of a mother — was a child’s size 8. “Are these on hold?” I asked the young man who was ringing up a customer.

He came over, looked at them and pinched the two man-sized shirts in his fist. “From here down is.” He motioned opposite of the jersey I had my eye on. I snatched it up and checked out the tag. Size 8. Price? $29.99. Score.

As Frank came back to see what the hold up was, I held up the jersey. “Size 8.” He was about as shocked as I was. I shrugged. Smiled. Stifled maniacal laughter. And raced my fat little legs over to pay for it before someone could tell me differently.

Lunch was at the Hong Kong Cafe, Madison. We had calamari for appetizer, Mongolian beef and governor (something). I liked Frank’s governor (something) better, and ended up mixing both dishes for a satisfying meal.

. . .

Frank has off tomorrow, and we thought I should go ahead and take tomorrow off, too. It is hard for me to take a day off, for some reason. I feel guilt. Like I’m playing hookie. Heh.

The Plow

My mom once told me that I could not be quiet. She feared an intruder in our home. If someone ever broke in and we had to hide? It would never work. I could tell you to be quiet and you simply would not have been able to. I thought it was funny when she told me that. But now, as a mom of a (couple) apples that landed quite close to the tree, I share her concern.

. . .

This morning there was a threat of an icy commute. I braved it anyway, and went to work. Everyone that called said they did not expect me to be there on such a wintry day. Two ladies that stopped in to make baskets for shut-ins around noon, an hour before I leave, warned me to get an early start out of the office. The snow was coming down hard and the plow had not visited yet.

As I left (on time, not early), the plow was getting started in the parking lot. The only vehicle in the east lot was mine. The plow passed me and I crossed the lot. unbeknownst to the driver of the pick-up/plow, he backed up his vehicle, gunning it, coming within half a foot of crushing me. In the moment I registered that I was still standing and alive, I noticed I had been plowed in, up to the door on the van.

“Make your heart jump?” I heard from behind. The truck had stopped. I could see two men inside, neither face registering the fear and anger that mine was. I made a sideways motion with my hand, saying, “So-so.” It took all my strength not to spout off on the mouth about being nearly hit, and on top of that, PLOWED IN.

It took me about 10 rocks in forward and reverse, with the plow kindly watching, to release my vehicle (a HUGE van) from the packed in snow. After backing out, I stopped in the plow’s path, stepped down from my van, and scraped the ice and snow from each window. He didn’t say anything, but sat and waited for me to finish.

The ride home was a slow journey through snow and cautious drivers. Some people won’t exit the house when it is snowy, as if the flakes are something foreign and forbidden. As someone who has lived in Wisconsin and New York, snow in winter does not concern me too terribly much. I enjoy it, especially when it dumps buckets like this. Talk to me in late winter, though, when Christmas is past and snow is not as new and exciting.

. . .

The kids hoped for a snow day tomorrow, but it doesn’t look like it will happen. That means I have the day to spend with my husband. Yay. We will shop and have lunch and spend the day together like we used to before I took this job. I miss that.

Checking The List

Monday, my work-at-home day. Most of my “home” work is computer related, so often after straining my eyes and body, I take a break by throwing in some laundry, washing dishes, or some other household chore. Today dish washing was in order. We went to bed last night without doing the dishes and the stack was staring me down the second I entered the kitchen. After getting the kids off to school, I threw the dishes in a sink full of water, letting the soaking time take a bite out of my scraping and scrubbing time. I also cleaned out our coffee maker (a percolator) and made a fresh batch of coffee, in the manner I earlier explained. The picture below features 8 O’Clock Columbian beans, which I am pretty certain I won’t be buying again (unless I forget that I detest them and throw them in my cart like, apparently, I did this last time). They just don’t brew the kind of tasty, rich cup that I enjoy.

Anyway. 12 cup portion of beans + 1 cinnamon stick + a healthy pinch of cardamom.


Mmmmm. There are healthy properties in cinnamon, too, don’cha know?

Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. – link

Cinnamon and blood sugar control:

Cinnamon may also significantly help people with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their blood sugar levels. – link

More information on the health benefits of cinnamon.

Good stuff.

Checkmark I also did some meal planning and have dinners set through next Wednesday. Shyuh.
Checkmark Balanced the checkbook.
Checkmark Got my “home” work done.
Checkmark Purchased a skateboard magazine subscription for Dants as part of his birthday present.
Checkmark Ordered a Peyton Manning jersey for Lootie for Christmas

When the kids got home from school I popped up some popcorn in the iron pot.

Stove-popped popcorn, popped in coconut oil, drizzled with melted butter and sea salt. Lootie and I sat on the couch with the bowl between us, reading enjoying salty, buttery bites.

Checkmark Baked some bread (recipe from hilbilly housewife):

Gotta say the smell of baking bread warms a home nicely.

But the bread was for dinner, even though our household managed to eat an entire loaf before we made it to dinner. We had meatloaf, corn, salad and homemade bread — Franny said, I LOVE this dinner!!!.

Checkmark I even managed to go grocery shopping with my thought-out list (applause). I spent $204 dollars, with a savings of $40 (store sales and a couple coupons).Though I got a lot accomplished, there is always much, much more to do and I find myself having increased difficulty getting everything done. I used to keep notes and lists in a spiral-bound notebook, but got too busy and lazy for that (self-defeating, I know I know). I think, for my own sanity, I need to start one up again. Organization helps me to get more things accomplished and be a better manager of my time and money.

Tomorrow I go to work, but Wednesday I’m taking off since Frank has off. We need to shop. Together. Yay. I feel like we haven’t seen each other in a while. I’m looking forward to spending the day together. We need that.

Flipping Out

I don’t watch a lot of television, and don’t have any shows that I watch religiously, or regularly. Recently, I found a show, though, that’s starting to hook me. I was mindlessly flipping through the stations one night and paused on what looked like a reality-television/news short. I couldn’t really discern, though after a few minutes swayed to the side of “reality” show. There was a clean cut man, surrounded by assistants, a Hispanic maid, who loved his animals, and was… trying to sell a house. I watched up to the commercial, and through to the next commercial, and then all the way to the end. Momma’s getting into this show.

A few days later I caught it again, this time getting the title: Flipping Out. The show airs on Bravo, Tuesdays, but somehow I caught it only on a separate news channel (which was why I was confused as to what exactly it was at first). It’s basically about a guy who flips muliti-million dollar homes, while overseeing a small staff and getting botox somewhere along the way. His name is Jeff. You can find out about those lips here. The show is reality, but it a little more benign than other reality shows. You don’t feel like you’ve been assaulted after watching it and the people, despite the name of the show, don’t wig out to the point of needing the cops called, like some other shows (I Love New York).

. . .

Today the boys went sledding while the girls stayed home and watched a movie. We don’t have enough snowpants and boots to outfit the whole family, apparently, either. Frank and I have shared a pair for a couple years. Franny, being the smallest, wears all hand-me-downs, Carlito got a new pair this year. But Sophia and I have none. I also have no jacket. It ripped two years ago. Last year I limped through using my leather jacket when I really needed one, and a sweatshirt when I felt I could do without.

I’m going to hop online and see if I can find a jacket that will do. I also am going to do some shopping for football jerseys (two of the boys have jerseys down on their list for this year). I have basically none of my shopping done and am doing the minimal possible (due to financial and personal reasons). Frank and I don’t usually exchange gifts, but sometimes take some money out from the early Christmas checks my grandparents send and buy something for each other. Frank’s all about not giving gifts (he says it isn’t what the season is about and if it were up to him the kids might not get anything at all, doesn’t like all the consumerism of Christmas time).

Onto the meme swiped from Amy:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. Every now and then we have a gift bag given to us by someone else that I might re-use if it’s not too beaten up, but I don’t buy them myself. It wouldn’t feel right lifting gifts out of bags and not tearing wrapping paper off of them. My conscience is eased a bit on the waste issue because we recycle all of the paper we use.
2. Real tree or artificial? Real. Well, both. I have a very inexpensive artificial tree in the dining room that’s decorated with all my gingerbread-themed ornaments, but our main tree in the living room is (and will always be, as long as we’re physically able to haul one home and stand it up) a real tree. I once heard someone say, “You wouldn’t give your wife artificial roses, why would you buy an artificial tree?” I totally get that perspective.

3. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually by New Years Day, sometimes sooner if it starts to drop needles.

5. Do you like eggnog? Shyuh. With brandy, please.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I loved my Cabbage Patch Kids, one year I think I got 1 of those and 2 homemade ones. Wasn’t as fond of the homemade ones, but I was still happy to get friends for my Cabbage Patch Kids.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. We did have one but don’t know where it went.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Probably my dad.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Frank’s pretty easy, if we’re buying for each other.

11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Snail mail.

Favorite Christmas movie? National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually not until after the first week of December. Sometimes I’ll see something on sale, or something just perfect months ahead and will buy it, hide it. Occasionally I forget I bought the darn thing, too. That’s what I get for trying to shop early, I guess.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Most likely, yes.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I can’t narrow it down to one specific thing. I like the sweets, the appetizers… it’s all good.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? We’ve got both. The clear ones flicker and the colored ones are steady.

7. Favorite Christmas song? I like all kinds, but enjoy more of the old hymns and traditional songs.

18. Travel for Christmas or stay at home? Home.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Sho’ can.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? It is a star, from ShopKo I think.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Depends. Frank sometimes works on Christmas Day, so we kind of go with the flow. Sometimes we open gifts from others on Christmas Eve and from each other on Christmas Day. Just depends.


Eggnog and brandy. Yum-yum delicious. Although, 11pm, writing an entry with eggnog on the brain…

Work. Staff meeting, bulletin compiling, printing and folding.
Dinner out with Frank and Sophia. Indian food.
Come home, check email.
Go to doctor, quick visit. All OK.
Back home for a short while.
Take daughter to work, head out to mall.
DT’s birthday coming up, bought him a hoodie from Zumiez. He’s love a snowboard, but we haven’t enough money.
Also bought a belt for Franny.
Sweatshirt for Lootie (for Christmas).
T-shirt with the Hulk on it for Sal (bought on the sly along with the sweatshirt from Steve & Barry’s). Got DT some desperately needed jeans.
Went to Barnes & Noble, got a coffee and window shopped.
Went to Verizon and replaced Frank’s dying cellphone with an upgrade (thank goodness we were due for one or the phone price would have been outrageous).
Came home, Frank went out with a few friends, I went to pick up Sophia from work.
Did a little shopping while I was there, just me and Soph. Nice. Things have been so rocky with us, her — it was nice to just walk and enjoy some time together.
Got deodorant, dental floss, a new purse (after slinging a half dozen or so options over my shoulder, annoying my daughter to near tears — she just wanted to get home and eat pizza).
Came home, heated up some pizza, transferred my things to my new purse.
Ate pizza, had some eggnog and getting ready for bed. Have to get up at the obscene hour of 6am to get the twins to a soccer game.