Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006 in review

This won't be a year that I'll be sad to see go. It's been a drama-filled year, full of twists and turns not unlike an old, rickety, wooden roller coaster.

Sandra has challenged her readers to list 10 things they've learned this year, and I'm going to see if I can't rise to that challenge -- and then some.

  1. Hating the sin but loving the sinner is difficult. No matter how much we want to kid ourselves into believing that we still love the sinner, it's still an enormous stretch to hold firmly to that belief. Human nature would dictate that we hate the sinners, on some level, BECAUSE of the sin.
  2. Leaving the door open, without restrictions, continually invites them to step through and, eventually, they do.
  3. While I will never be ready for my son to leave home, I realize it's time for him to go out on his own and make his own way.
  4. While it may seem that leopards can, in fact, change their spots, it's an illusion -- a fancy bit of camouflage.
  5. Charmin Ultra does not fit on the toilet paper roller.
  6. No matter how much you want to, you can't make someone happy who is so immersed in their own unhappiness as to make it a way of life. Do not tolerate or otherwise enable their negativity and unhappiness -- like laughter, anger and negativity are infectious.
  7. Artichokes aren't so bad after all.
  8. Shit floats to the top. Just take a look around.
  9. It's not foolish to consider your pets to be of the same caliber friend or family member as their human counterparts and the loss of those pets is no less than the loss of their human counterparts. We miss you terribly, Tig.
  10. Just because some people are users, not everyone is. For everyone out there that will use you and make you feel bad, there are dozens more that will treat you with dignity, respect, and human compassion.
  11. Family is important -- even the uncles that nobody likes to talk about (or brothers...or parents...or...).
  12. The quality of my life improves exponentially with each day that I have Lisa in it. I like the person I am with her love. But my life doesn't just stop there, and each day that a new person enters into my life, whether I choose to believe it or not, they shape my future and affect how I see the world and the people in it.
  13. Knapp Jammin' Strawberry wine tastes like ass and, even when mixed as a "spritzer," it tastes like an ass spritzer.
  14. Pot holders and oven mitts are not meant to merely accessorize the colors in a kitchen.
  15. Children are a lot tougher than we give them credit for and every adult could take a lesson in toughness from a 5-year-old.
  16. Old comfortable sneakers eventually stop providing support. Sometimes, no matter how much we love them, we have to step out of them and into a new pair.
  17. Menopause sucks, but will eventually end.
  18. Even though this year will finally end, it's impact and lessons will live on.

I've had a wonderful period of time off and am looking forward to eleven more days yet. I have had the privilege of having Lisa at home with me for five of the last seven days and, when my 16 days off end, I'll have had the privilege of having her home with me for eleven of them.

Hope your final days of the year are peaceful and joyous, and that the new year brings peace, prosperity, and a host of new (good) lessons.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

After today, only one more day to go, and I'm done for sixteen, yes SIXTEEN wonderful days to myself. Out of those sixteen days, I get Lisa for five of them, consecutively over Christmas, and 4 or 5 over New Years as well. I'm psyched. I adore time off with her. While we get a LOT of "us" time, I never seem to get tired of it.

Michelle and the girls will be up on Christmas Eve day, and will spend the night. Since Michelle and Doug have split, and are maintaining separate households, and Michelle JUST got a job (after having spent the last two years going to college), Christmas wasn't viable for them. Michelle had her power turned off because she couldn't pay the bill. I told her she had to bring the kids up and we'd make sure they had a good Christmas.

This is what happens when you get your Christmas shopping done early and gloat about it!

I promised steak for dinner Christmas Eve, and Lisa wants to do cookies with the girls (not sure who the biggest kid is there...) We have some Christmas DVDs that might be fun to set up with the fireplace going later after dinner. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is Lisa's absolute favorite. The guy at the left, Yukin Cornelius, is her "hero." Him being a redhead and all, I suppose is why she loves him so. I cannot truly articulate how childlike she is about Christmas. She brings the fun and magic back somewhat.




Then there's Polar Express, that came out last year or so. We ordered it on Pay-per-view and just loved it, and I'm now in the hunt for it for Christmas Eve. I think the kids (big and small) will thoroughly enjoy it. View the trailer -- it's awesome.
Finally, you've probably seen this already, but I never get tired of seeing this Christmas light show -- I think the music is by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I just think it's very cool.


I'm not sure, but this could be my last entry for the year, depending on what I get into (or don't) while on vacation. Have the best of times with your friends and family, and have a wonderful holiday season.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sugar Hangover

I woke up yesterday morning with what can only be a sugar hangover.

We drove down to PA Friday afternoon and went out to dinner with Lisa's parents just shortly after we got there. We had a pleasant evening and helped Lisa's mother pack some stuff in their motor home, as they were going to leave for Florida Sunday morning.

Saturday we helped pack some more and, around noontime, Lisa's mother ordered steak and cheese subs for lunch. We each had a half-sub and I think I had a Squirt or some sort of lemon-lime drink. Then we went over to Lisa's grandparents' to say hello and, by 5:00 were at Lisa's sister's house to help set up for the Christmas gathering. It was to be a "dessert" gathering, since it was agreed that putting on a dinner was just too much work. I was starting to feel a little hungry, since I'd only had that half sub, but pressed on with the preparations.

Family began arriving about 6:30, and the table began to fill with cheesecakes, "ultimate" chocolate cake, brownies, pretzels, cookies, M&Ms, carrot cake, and even a "fruit pizza." A chocolate fountain was running, with cookies, fruit, and other items surrounding it. Fruit punch, pop and some sort of fruit chai was also available. A veritable cornucopia of sugar.

And I knew better, I really did.

But, I was starving and, even though I didn't eat all that much, my subconscious told me that this was as close to a meal as I was going to get that night.

I had a cupcake sized mini-cherry-cheesecake. I had a piece of carrot cake but didn't eat the too-rich cream cheese frosting. I had a handful of pretzels, dipped in that chocolate fountain. A handful of M&Ms with peanuts (needed protein, right?). Some milanos (cookies). Some fruit punch. Some fresh strawberries. Some pineapple. A couple of slices of apple. A cup of coffee.

I felt queasy by the time we fell into bed at a little after 1:30 AM.

Lisa's father came and woke us up yesterday morning at 7:00, asking Lisa to help her mother with the packing/loading. Lisa poured us coffee -- fully caffeinated. We usually only drink half-caffeinated. My head was raging. I felt disoriented. My eyes hurt. My head felt like a helium balloon. My heart was racing. I felt flush.

At 10:00, as Lisa's parents pulled out of the driveway in their motor home, on their way to Florida, I told Lisa "I have to have some REAL food, and soon." We went back into the house and Lisa called her sister to tell her that Mom and Dad had left, and Diane invited us over for breakfast. Ten minutes later, Lisa was fixing fried egg, cheese and English muffin sandwiches for us. I ate mine very slowly, at Lisa's insistence. She was concerned.

Our plan for the day was to go and see Lisa's grandparents (always a highlight of our trip). So, she called them to see when they were going to go for their weekly Sunday lunch at a local restaurant. They had been waiting to hear from us to see when we were going to come see them, and invited us to have lunch with them. Twenty minutes later, we were ordering lunch, having just had breakfast forty minutes earlier. I had a BLT wrap -- didn't want anything heavy.

We said goodbye to Lisa's grandparents around 2:00 and set off for home. I was still a tad disoriented, but was feeling a whole lot better, having had as much protein as I did. We stopped off to see my Aunt Wanda and Uncle Bob on the way back, at around 4:00, and were home by 6:30 -- just in time to watch the tail end of the day's late football games.

I'm tellin' ya -- I've never done anything like that before and I'm positive I'm never going to do anything like that again. My system has spent the day today sort of flushing itself out. I don't mind saying that I feel like I've been shot at and missed, and shit at and hit.

Anyway, we had a great time with Lisa's family but it's always good to be back home.

We fell into bed last night and that's the last thing I knew before the alarm went off this morning.

I have just this week to work, then we're shut down for the week after Christmas, and I'm taking the first week of January off.

Michelle and the kids will be up Sunday night to spend Christmas Eve with us. It's sort of unexpected (they're spending the night) so we have to scramble around and get some "santa" stuff for the kids, but it'll be fun.

Heavy work week -- final exams and final grades to get done. Then it comes to a screeching, grinding halt until classes start back up the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

Hopefully I'll be up for air from time to time.

As long as there's no sugar in it...


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Help me, I'm drowning!

It's the end of the semester, next week is final exam week AND final grades week, I'm flying solo, and everyone needs shit done NOW!

I continue to work with the "8 to 4 and out the door" mentality as I cannot bring myself to care enough to stay until things get done. If they don't get done, they don't get done. The Division VP and his cronies made the decision to leave my staff position out front vacant, without giving me the benefit of consultation, and having done so behind closed doors. I've been flying solo for nearly two years now.

I refuse to stay one minute past quitting time, which has left some of the faculty with knots in their knickers but I continue to suggest to them that they call and complain -- not to me, but to the decision makers.

I'm frustrated and just can't get myself to give two shits about anything other than when I'm taking the next day off, or how close the weekend is. While I'd like to kid myself into believing that, as long as I'm here, I'm giving 100%, I think the reality is that, if you're not happy with your job, you sure as hell aren't giving 100%.

Lisa has similar frustrations at work and, while I'm pretty much locked into my job, she's not with hers. She applied at the Home Depot (three stores) night before last. We did the math and, if she doesn't have to drive halfway across the county to work, she can make $2/hour less than she does right now, and still break even. It's a good incentive to aggressively pursue other employment.

I say I'm locked into my job because I figure I'm officially at the age where I'm too old to get a new job and be able to expect any sort of meaningful retirement benefit from it. While the mandatory participation in the state retirement program ended this month for me, my employer still contributes to my retirement. Hard(er) to walk away from than someone in Lisa's position, making hourly wages just above what my son makes at the garden center, no raises in 5 years, health benefits cut in half, and no contributions to her profit sharing plan in the past 5 years. If she walks away, she's 100% vested in just over $3000 for eight years' worth of loyal dedication. That's not even enough to pay off her truck, so it's negligible.

We leave tommorrow for Pennsylvania for the weekend. Lisa's family has Christmas the Saturday before the actual holiday, so everyone is free to do what they want on the actual holiday, with less stressors regarding who wants their time and where. Leaving at lunch time, and will get there around dinner time.

After that, it's just next week, then that's it until after the first of the year -- I'm taking the first week in January off, too. Hopefully I'll be able to get that darned blanket finished up, once and for all! I won't likely post much during that time, as I try to make it a point to not be on the computer so much at home, but I'll still be reading your blogs and commenting, from time to time.

Sorry everyone's having such a hard time with comments on the beta version. Second biggest mistake of my life, switching over to the beta version. If I didn't have so much time and "stuff" invested here, I'd seriously consider moving to another provider.

And may still........

Monday, December 11, 2006

Devil-Man Speak With Forked Tongue

It would seem that yet another Republican hypocrite has been "outed." Oh, I don't mean "outed" as in discovering he's gay, I mean "outed" as in having said one thing to garner support from a specific voter base, and then done another.

In 1994, while opposing Senator Kennedy in Massachusetts for a seat in the Senate, now-outgoing Mass. governor Mitt Romney apparently showed quite another side where same-sex couples, and the GLBT community is concerned.

You may (or may not) remember that just after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered same-sex marriages to begin in Mass., Romney dusted off and invoked an old 1913 law that had not been used in almost 100 years to prevent same-sex couples from outside the state from getting married. He has consistently, at every turn, fought against any positive strides the GBLT community has made toward equality. Most recently, he has asked the state's highest court to order the legislature back into session to vote on an anti-gay-marriage measure that, if passed, would be put to the voters in 2008. It seems Mr. Romney was pissed off that they adjourned without addressing the issue, even though they're technically still in session until the first of January.

Now, it has come out that in a 1994 interview with a Boston gay publication, Bay Window, Mr. Romney said,

"People of integrity don't force their beliefs on others, they make sure that others can live by different beliefs they may have," Romney told Bay Windows a dozen years ago when the paper interviewed him on LGBT civil rights."

In more remarks in that interview:

He told Bay Windows that he opposed "extremists" who were trying to impose their positions on the Republican Party and that he believed marriage was a state issue.

He tied his willingness to advocate for the rights of gay people, Bay Windows reports, to the Mormon concept of “free agency”.

When I speak of free agency, I don’t just mean that each person can do what they want to do, I mean that our society should allow people to make their own choices and live by their own beliefs,” he told the paper.

In the 1994 interview he said that supported then President Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy but said that “I believe that there will be change over time as the military establishment and the rank and file become more comfortable with the realities of sexual orientation in the military.”

Romney went on to say “I will support progress being made in that area as time progresses and the military and society becomes more accepting.”
Of course, now that he's making a Presidential run and trying to gain favor with the ultra conservative Republican base, he presents a different front with regards to same-sex marriage and GLBT rights.

Last year, as he was beginning to seek support for a presidential bid he delivered a speech to a GOP audience in South Carolina that not only opposed gay marriage but also civil unions "from day one.''

"Today, same-sex couples are marrying under the law in Massachusetts,'' Romney told the crowd. "Some are actually having children born to them,'' he continued.

"It's not right on paper. It's not right in fact. Every child has the right to have a mother and a father.''

Once this interview had been republished by Bay Window, the Log Cabin Republicans released a letter written to them by Mr. Romney in his campaign for Senate in 1994.

The 1994 letter was written to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts, a gay Republican group, when Romney was courting gay voters during his unsuccessful campaign against Kennedy.

Citing Kennedy's record of advocacy for gays and lesbians, Romney wrote, ''For some voters, it might be enough to simply match my opponent's record in this area. But I believe we can and must do better. If we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.''

I think these revelations beg the question of which Mitt Romney people would be voting for, f they were inclined to do so -- the one that says what they want to hear, or the one who makes a name for himself by what he does? While there is no way in Hell I would have thought (then OR now) that Al Gore would have made an effective President, it galls me that conservatives such as Romney used the terms "flip-flop, waffle," an other terms to describe what appeared to be Gore's inability to stand firm on an issue.

One conservative, from the Free Congress Foundation points out:

"Unless he comes out with an abject repudiation of this, I think it makes him out to be a hypocrite,” Weyrich said. "And if he totally repudiates this, you have to ask, on what grounds?”


Indeed. And I think that is a question that absolutely MUST be answered.

In an op-ed piece in the Salt Lake Tribune, Romney is exposed as a right wing panderer, willing to sell his soul to the devil in order to win the ultimate prize.

It's like turning a ballerina into a right-leaning elephant.


Romney, who is a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, claims he was unaware that several of the workers employed by Community Lawn Service with a Heart to take care of the grounds at his suburban home were illegal immigrants. While I can certainly understand being caught off guard under NORMAL circumstances in this type of situation, it would seem that someone so staunchly against illegal immigration would insure, beyond any doubts, that a company with predominantly Hispanic workers, would be on the up-and-up as far as immigration law. If you're going to go public against something, as a public figure, you mke sure that little details like this are checked out.

Let's hope that the Republican party can see through this guy (and if they can't, they're in some real trouble) and show him the door before too many tax dollars are spent in a fruitless campaign for this putz.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

More fun stuff

Took this quiz this morning -- the thing is, I learned most of the stuff on the quiz AFTER school (which was when I paid attention more).


You paid attention during 74% of high school!

68-84% Pretty good, you know that there are libraries and newspapers, and you remember what you've read. You were a child that wasn't left behind!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz







This one explains a lot about some of my previous relationships...


What type of person do you attract?
Your Result: You attract unstable people!

Congrats, you are an 'insane' magnet, and you probably have no idea why. Something about your mix of styles, how you walk not just 'one' lifestyle, but appear to have a foot in them all. To the insane, you appear to be a beacon of hope and they will flock to you, like it or not. But, they ARE insane. Lucky for you, the insane tend to be the best sexual lovers, just the rest of the package deal may not be for you.

You attract artsy people!
You attract rednecks!
You attract geeks!
You attract models!
You attract Yuppies!
What type of person do you attract?
Quizzes for MySpace







I ♥ my books!

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Dedicated Reader
Book Snob
Fad Reader
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Non-Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz




Hmmmm..........


Your score on this personality test was 59%

Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

Personality Quiz
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz





Don't ever get this drunk...







How's this for flexibility? I'm thinking this could come in handy in the...er..."private" room.



Finally...and they say women are the "weaker" sex.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dyke the Halls extra

As promised, here's the video of the rockin' reindeer.



If clicking on the video doesn't work, try clicking here.



This is a picture of the Christmas tree skirt I bought as well. The picture doesn't really do it justice, but hopefully you can get a good idea of just how whimsical it is.

I brought stuff in to work today to decorate the office.

I'll tell you a secret -- Lisa's childlike love of Christmas is contagious...



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Caught Simba grooming the little one last night -- they're the best of buddies and it's just so cute to see them this way. When she's ready to settle down for a nap and he's already laying down, she snuggles right up with him, he grooms her, and they both nap.

Finally, a Christmas meme from sassyfemme:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate. Egg nog is...........EWWW!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Depends on the size. Larger items sit under the tree unwrapped, smaller items get wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Mostly colored. But some inside decorating is with just white lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Sometime after the first of December.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Whatever is on my plate at the moment -- which explains the rather large derriere I sit on.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Going to my grandparents' house. Even now, 25 years after losing them, Christmas just doesn't seem the same. But, I try to make Christmas for my own grandchildren just as special a tradition as my own grandmother did.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My mother, in a fit of anger one day, told us. I was devastated.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Even as a kid, we were allowed to open one gift Christmas Eve. It's a tradition I've held over with my own kids.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Our tree is a sort of family history. There are all sorts of things that the kids made over the years in school, along with new priceless works of art from the grandkids. There are blue "blobs," paper doilies with school pictures pasted inside, glass unicorns received one year for Christmas, Buffalo Bills ornaments, wooden craft figures hand painted or decorated during Christmas camp, all sorts of wonderful memorabilia. And they're beautiful! Also, since Lisa and I have been together, we've gotten into the practice of buying an ornament each year that best represents the theme of the year.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? UGH! Hate shoveling it. Hate driving in it. Hate cleaning it off the car. BUT, I love the looks of it after a fresh snowfall, clinging to the trees and ground and with the sun sparkling off it.

12. Can you ice skate? *I* can, it's my feet that can't.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My Thumbelina doll when I was five.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? See response to #6.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? The youngest member of the family present when the tree goes up puts the tree topper on. These days, Uncle Joe has to lift one of the little ones up to reach it. We always play Christmas music and light the fireplace when the tree goes up

17. What tops your tree? A popsicle stick star, with little poofy balls at the end of each stick -- made some 20 years ago by my little boy.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I really enjoy giving gifts to other people. I've always felt a bit self-conscious about receiving gifts, always afraid I'm not going to react appropriately for the gift-giver.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dyke the Halls

It's started.

That Christmas spirit is creeping in.

Saturday morning we stayed in bed until after 10:00, just snuggling, dozing, chatting softly. We talked about how nice it would be to have a tree upstairs where we sit and watch television.

We got up, relaxed over coffee, then made the decision to go look for a smallish, slim, artificial tree. There were some other things we needed/wanted to pick up as well, so it was a good time to just get out and go.

We checked out the Big K near our house but didn't find anything that floated our boats. We did, however, find some cute stuff for my newest grandson and I picked up a couple of nice sweaters for myself. We thought maybe Big Lots was a good place to look for something inexpensive and, while we were right about inexpensive, everything they had was pre-lit with white lights. I like the colors, and want no part of a pre-lit tree.

We went over to the Home Depot and found a nice 7½ foot slim tree, not pre-lit. We also found one of those "One Touch" adjustable wrenches for my Uncle Bob. I got one for Lisa a couple of months ago and was really psyched to find the one for my Uncle.

We got home and unloaded the stuff from my RAV4 and got some lunch. Lisa got out the pieces and parts to the tree and said to me "Why don't you go down to KMart and get some decorations and lights and garlands -- you know what we want."

So, off I went, unsupervised, to KMart.

Let's just say I spent more for the decorations and stuff than we did on the tree itself.

But I have to make a confession -- I fell for something so whimsical and dorky, it'll surprise anyone that knows me.

I was walking up and down the aisles, perusing the ornaments and garlands and bows and candles, and found this cute little stuffed reindeer sitting in a rocking chair. It was about 15-18" high. By itself, it was adorable and I thought "This would look cute under the tree just as a decoration." Upon closer inspection, I saw the telltale "press me" pad on his paw, so I set it on the floor and obliged.

The reindeer shifted forward in the rocker, then back, making it rock and the familiar chorus of "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" filled the aisle. I howled. I laughed so hard people began to look at me oddly -- but I couldn't help it, lost in the moment, I just laughed and laughed and laughed. A woman came upon me and said "Someone is having fun," and all I could do was laugh and point at the object of my amusement. Soon, the two of us were standing there sharing raucous laughter at the reindeer throwing itself forward and backward in that rocking chair.

Yes. I bought it.

I also found a nice, whimsical tree skirt that I just cannot describe, but also can't upload a picture for (as blogger doesn't seem to have that feature enabled today).

When I arrived home with my purchases, I excitedly told Lisa "You have to see this!" and placed that rocking reindeer on the laminate floor and pressed his paw. He began his song and his rocking, eliciting more peals of laughter from me, while Lisa rolled her eyes, shook her head, and looked at me sadly as I recounted my trip to the store. As the reindeer rocked and sang, the cats circled cautiously around it, tentatively walked toward it with their noses out, and then backed away -- much to my continued amusement and laughter.

We got the tree trimmed and are quite pleased with its appearance. And yes, the rockin' reindeer has a place under the lower bows.

And I'll take a video of the reindeer and a picture of the tree and the skirt, as soon as I can figure out why there's no photo upload links displaying here. (Anyone else have this problem?)