31 December 2007

See ya next month

I've mentioned before how vacations aren't a good thing for me, unless I have some sort of itinerary I end up doing very little. Sometimes this is a good thing, but most of the time for me it's not. Oh well. Such is life.

So I'm working on my Christmas letter - yeah I still don't have them finished, in fact it'll probably become an Epiphany letter instead. The latter is probably more appropriate since my new year began around Epiphany last year with start of my new job. But I thought to help my writing of that I should recap a few highlights here:

In January I said goodbye to the cities and hello to back home. I started my new job, which everyone knows by now that I love. I started my job quickly, jumping in with both feet and haven't stopped since. It's been great.

February was monumental. I tried sushi for the first time with my awesome friends K&E and I made a few goals for the year. I actually accomplished some of them which makes me glad.

May was another monumental month: I finally got my computer, I signed up for the TC marathon and I ran a 10K. I also went up to the cities to see my friends and spend some time at graduation. It was a good month overall.

June took me south of town to see my nephew and niece play a lot of baseball and tee-ball. I'm so glad I'm here so I can see them. I also started wearing my contacts again for the first time in several years. It's been great for running.

July was a crazy month. It started off rough but I got my new camera and then spent two weeks in the Black Hills, getting to see fabulous Karen and spend sometime in the middle of nowhere.

August began with a tragedy in the Cities. But my life was blessed as Sarah and Eric got hitched. And then I popped my cherry and made it to the lake with the cool kids for the first time ever.

In September I took my nephew to the cities to see the Indians triumph over the Twins. Z was just excited to be at the Dome. I have a feeling we'll be going again. I also designed my new office and stressed about the upcoming race. How did I survive?

I don't remember much about October, other than this. Did anything else actually happen?

November was NaBloPoMo again and for once I actually had a lot to write about. Not sure why, but I did. I am participating in Pay It Forward - the Blog Version as well. To my winners, I am working on your items! I promise you'll get them within 365. I think I talked a lot about my job this month too...like how much I love it? Yeah. I did.

This month has been a good month. New furniture, new promotion, and trying to organize my life. Let's hope 2008 goes as well.

Blessings to you all!

30 December 2007

Making headway

Well, no, not really. I've been sorting through papers and trying to sort through a few boxes and it's been insane. I did find my table and put my very wrinkled tablecloth on it so hopefully that will keep me from putting more things on it again. It looks so nice now! (Next step: buy chairs)

But the rest of the papers...ugh. I do feel better that I've been able to sort through a lot and created two boxes of items to recycle and a half box of things to shred, with a pile of more possibilities. I have a crate of my military papers that I need to organize and file - I'm thinking a new filing cabinet just for that stuff.

And in the midst of it all I found some items that made me smile (much needed in the sea of papers): I found letters from some old friends I haven't talked to in a long while (Joy, Tim, Noogie Grant, Terri), and I found some great quotes in my books. One was "It's not a lie, it's a gift of fiction."

But my favorite was from either a book or my humorscope one day: "There are at least 70 matters that you could become fully immersed in today, but all of them will be in varying stages of undress, disarray or disrepair by the time you're finished handling, uh, deconstructing them. Moreover - for obvious reasons - your sense of accomplishment will be nil. Just stick to your knitting instead."

I always thought this was hilarious, but many of my friends were confused. It did come in handy today as I became overwhelmed a few times and took a timeout to knit instead. My next blanket is coming along well. YAY!

But back to my, ahem, project. God willing I'll figure out the best thing to do with all this stuff. A large bonfire sounds great but not practical. So I'll just try to sort and keep my sanity.

29 December 2007

I need to purge

I have way too much shit. When I began packing a year ago to move here for my new, awesome job, I initially tried to sort through items as I was putting things in boxes. Unfortunately time constraints between packing, needing to leave for the new locale by the 5th and still having to finish up my job - setting up a contingency book and writing down everything I knew so others could try to fill my shoes - left little time to really delve into everything I owned and sort through books, clothes, and papers to either sell, donate or recycle.

This past year I had set a goal to go through a box a week, which is really hard to do with the way I packed (re: tossed) things in boxes. So eventually I gave up. Well, this past weekend I tried to begin again and grabbed the first box in my storage unit. Sadly, it was filled with papers and papers and more papers. If I felt safe about just dumping it all I would, but I don't. I have no idea what I put where, one box could have articles I rip out of magazines mixed in with receipts or medical info, so inevitably I have to look at everything.

So I'm in need of a new plan for this process. Any suggestions?

I do know that I need a better plan over all - like filing things right away when they come in and reading the magazines right away and then getting rid of things before they pile up. It just has become an avalanche lately and I'm not sure how to dig myself out.

28 December 2007

More proof of my insanity

Yes, I signed up.

You can, too!

Yes, Master?

I took a big step in my career today. I met the promotion board and by the grace of God I was awarded Master Sergeant. This is a huge step and I still can't quite believe it.

When I first joined the Air Guard I had many reasons: money for education, getting some discipline (see how well that's helped?), and great opportunities. Of course these were the thoughts I thought at the time. Looking back on it I think I need to be more honest. I joined to serve my country, to follow in the footsteps of my brother (an Army Guard brat) and to achieve the same rank my father was able to achieve in 4 years of Active Duty: Staff Sergeant.

I did make this rank back in 2001, and one-upped Dad in 2005. But now I'm stepping into something that just is overwhelming, amazing, and overwhelming (did I say that?) all at the same time. Becoming a master sergeant takes on so much more responsibility, so much more opportunity. I've moved into the top tier, the one that people look up to, Lord knows I did. My mentors have been chiefs who have been there for me every step, guiding my path, guiding my career. A toast to Ronny, Mungie Boy, Dinger (aka Murdock), Buck, hell even Ozzie. You guys helped make me who I am today. And not just chiefs - senior master sgts have guided my ways. Here's to Tommy and Jenn and others.

To be honest, I'm a little scared with this. Plus RAC told me he never quite knows when he's going to retire, he could at any time now, and his is a job that would be awesome, but would be a step to a completely different level. All this is so much to take in on the last day. One of the questions was "What does this day mean to you?" I choked up - this is monumental. Seems pathetic to say, but I really does mean a lot. I never thought I'd make it to this point...it seems really surreal.

27 December 2007


Sometimes Stumble stumbles you upon something so great (via http://www.ibelieveinadv.com/commons/jess_pali.jpg)

Thank goodness

Finally! Yes, I got to go back to work today. Don't get me wrong, I love vacations, but I'm not one to motivate myself if I can put it off easily. Like cleaning. I hate cleaning, but whatever - it will get done.

But today I got to go back to work. I'm thinking it was the excitement of it all that kept me from sleeping well last night. I tossed and turned for hours...it sucked. So for your reading pleasure, I have borrowed one of the approximately a shitload of meme's from Lotus.

Your Month Meme

Tagged by: no one, like I said, I'm borrowing this from Lotus.

1. Mention the person who tagged you and create a link back to them.
2. Copy-paste the traits for all the twelve months (see below).
3. Pick your month of birth (see below).
4. Highlight the traits that apply to you.
5. Tag 12 people and let them know by visiting their blogs and leaving a comment for them.
6. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve done it!

My birthday is in April. I'd give you the actual date so you could mark your calendars and start ordering gifts for next year now, but I'm okay with surprises and gifts all month long. Feel free to start mailing in March if you'd like. I promise to wait until April to open it. And if you're a little late and I don't get it til May, you'll still get a thank you card. Thanks! *smooch*


Active and dynamic. Maybe, I'm not so good with this kind of thing. I try to be active. Dynamic? I don't know. Maybe

Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. You have no idea - when I can actually be decisive it usually is hastily done and I often regret it. But when I take my time deciding things, I still regret it.

Attractive and affectionate to oneself. I have my moments.

Strong mentality. Yeah, I like to be strong.

Loves attention. Yes and no. I don't know... You tell me. What do you think? Do I love attention? Do I?

Diplomatic. Almost to a fault.

Consoling, friendly and solves people’s problems. Yes, again almost to a fault.

Brave and fearless. When I am decisive about something. :)

Adventurous. If you looked at me this past week, no. But there have been moments in my life.
(sheesh - am I really an April baby?)

Loving and caring. Yes. This is true, again almost to a fault. I love my friends and family and it kills me when they are in pain or hurting, and I love to celebrate with them.

Suave and generous. Yes, I'm not suave but I do love to give to others. I wish I had more money to give as much as I really want.

Emotional. Holy crap...this is so true. What? You don't believe me? Well how's this for embarrassing proof: I cried at "Honey I shrunk the kid" when the girl and neighbor boy kissed for the first time in the Lego.

Aggressive. Only if you want me to be.

Hasty. Didn't we talk about this already?

Good memory. See above and my nickname in college was Calendar Girl. You tell me.

Moving. About every 2 or 3 years, sometimes sooner, sometimes later.

Motivates oneself and others. Others more than myself...I'm working on that.

Sickness usually of the head and chest. Huh? I guess this is better than my ass or gut.

Sexy in a way that only their lover can see. Hello? Lover? Is this true? Since my lover is a phantom, I must be sexy only in a way he can see.

It's a little scary how close these were, with the few that I'm not. Interesting. Does it match you?

All right, I'm tagging anyone who wants to play...and tagging everyone to go read Lotus. She is a riot. Oh and I decided to leave the months off because it was getting really long, so catch them at Lotus via the link at the beginning. Have fun!

26 December 2007

South Beach Breakfast, kind of

I got bored this morning so I made bacon and eggs for breakfast. Dr. S is coming by later so I made some for him too, except I don't eat ham so he's getting bacon.

25 December 2007

This is Christmas

Seriously folks, this has been a very weird holiday this year. I slept in this morning again after a great Christmas Eve service. Olaf had a great sermon and boss #2 surprised me there with his family. That was a shock. And I think I accidentally spit on his wife after church - I was chewing gum and telling a story and I think I glicked a little. Whoops. Hopefully she won't hold it against me. Maybe not since she hugged me before we parted ways.

But today I talked with my family a bit, then putzed around for a couple hours. Then I went to this. Truly a Christmas movie if there ever was one. I was surprised how many people were at the movies today. It was crappy weather - snow, snow and some more snow to mix on to the crappy streets - but the theatre line was packed. Charlie Wilson's War sold out but luckily I wasn't going to that one.

There were more people at my movie than I thought there would be. I mean, yeah, it has Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, and was directed by Tim Burton, but it's a musical. The guy to my right said to his friends after the show, "I just about threw up when they started singing. I didn't know this was a friggin' musical." But at least he said he liked the show despite of the singing. The guy to my left, however, snored through the first 30 minutes, then his date/wife/whatever woke him up so he breathed loudly for another 15 before pushing through our row to go get food. He came back with the one movie snack that should totally be outlawed: Nachos.

Popcorn isn't a quiet food either, but at least you can kind of eat it quietly - it's all about taking just a few pieces at a time, squishing it in your mouth and then chewing quietly. Nachos aren't a quiet snack. The guy chomped and chomped for 20 minutes, occasionally pausing to slurp (seriously, slurp) his drink. Then he'd sigh because it was a lot of work to chomp and slurp. And I think he had some breathing issues because he breathed really loud for a lot of the movie, snoozing a bit more later, and truly annoying me and the people in front of him (who left about 75 minutes in and didn't return - not sure if it was because of the show or because of him).

Anyway, the show was amazing. Tim Burton is a genius. The color of the film - hard to describe - but it fit so well...showing the dark side of the life Sweeney had to live, but the flashbacks and fantasies in brilliant color. And the music....ah Sondheim. *sigh* The music was incredible - brilliantly written and scored. And Johnny can sing and so can Helena which surprised me. It brought back a few memories since I sang "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" for my senior recital. I'm really looking forward to seeing the stage version in February.

Do go see this film if you like musicals, or Johnny Depp, or bloody shows. It's a win, win, win on all counts. And Merry Christmas! :)

24 December 2007

Is it really Christmas?

This has been the weirdest holiday ever.

After sleeping off my wine stupor from last night, I spent most of the day watching A&E's Cold Case marathon. It's scary to think of how many unsolved murders happen every year. My heart went out to all the stories of people - even those they solved, it was just emotional.

I finally pulled my fat ass off the couch and went out into the world. I needed some sunlight or I was going to go nuts. I bought some more wine and ran a couple errands. Surprisingly traffic wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, though as soon as I thought that to myself while driving on the busiest road in our town, I was almost the part of one could-have-been accident and the witness to another. People were in just a huge hurry. I wasn't so I'm sure I was the problem. :)

Now I'm trying to decide if I should go to the 10 or 11 o'clock Christmas Eve service. I'm thinking the 10, but I have nothing going on so I could go to the 11. Santa already came for me so it's not a big deal.

Yes, I'm a dork. I bought some little things today at put them in my stocking so I have something to open tomorrow. I should have wrapped them but that would have been a waste.

But for now I continue to clean during my Discardia phase and watching the best Christmas movie ever (well, after White Christmas, of course): A Christmas Story. TBS is the greatest.

23 December 2007

Napping - bad for your brain; Discardia

Vacations aren't good for me. The time off is nice but when I start it out by taking a 3 hour nap that I didn't need but decided to have just because I could, that's not a good thing. I came home from church today and read the paper, read Post Secret, had a little breakfast and then decided to take a nap.

I just woke up. And the dream I had was pretty weird.

It was the last day of work before a holiday. For some reason my boss and I were sharing the same office. It was the office I have now, but his conference table was perpendicular to the window with his desk at the window end and mine by the door facing him - like a big capitol I. He was in jeans and blue shirt and I was in uniform for whatever reason. At 11 I decided to go for lunch, but when I left I was walking around my hometown outside our old elementary school. Around 2 I decided to go back in, and when I did I ran into Maria from my old job (Hi, Maria!) and Sandra Oh, for some reason.

Sandra asked me to watch her 3-yr-old boy for an hour until she finished her meeting. I agreed, Sandra took off, and I asked Maria questions about the boy - mostly how to pronounce his name because I couldn't remember it. It was something like Chai Lee or something. I kept pronouncing it wrong and the boy kept correcting me.

Then I started feeling guilty that I hadn't been back to work yet, so I took the boy and we headed toward the cafeteria (not on the way to work). Suddenly there were a bunch of kids I was taking care of and they had all taken their coats off and thrown them on a booth. They got their food but sat at the booth behind the coats. I started picking up the coats and on my left showed up 4 big, burly men who had been sitting at the booth. I apologized for the children and they smiled big grins with teeth missing and said it was fine (it felt kind of like a truck stop, not really a cafeteria at this point).

Well, then I ditched the kids (I think Sandra showed up and I left) and headed back to my office. When I got there my boss was sitting on the floor behind his desk going through his recycling bin. I chuckled and asked if he was sorting out the stuff with SSNs so I could shred and the color/magazines so I didn't have to. He said, "No but if you take this one then you can shred it." He handed me our goals for this year, based on last year's and pencil marks all over it. I said, "You want me to type this up?" He said, "Yeah, then shred it." Ok.

Then I walked back to my desk, took off my gortex coat, and sat down, watching his head as he went through papers, occasionally seeing his hand come up and set paper on his desk.

Then I woke up.

I'm sure part of this stems from my slight, ever so slight, guilt at taking a non-needed nap. It also stems from my need to clean my house. Discardia started again on Friday but with my niece coming and Christmas I just didn't get started yet. So I need to start it now.

The one good thing about napping - it keeps me from eating. Maybe I should sleep this whole week and I could lose some righteous weight. :)

22 December 2007

As the days go by

I just thought of this, which is funny that I forgot to mention it sooner since I've been thinking about it all week. A year ago today I resigned from my job at the sem. Interesting.

I've been counting this down all week. Thursday I had my review for the year (this is an annual thing from my part-time portion of my job). Before my boss and I sat down to talk about it I reminded him that a year ago that day he and I had met at that same table and I interviewed for my position. That played into my review a little bit. In '06 and previous years my interview revolved around PA (Public Affairs), classes and training I needed for advancement and moving up in that world. But now with the job I'm in and the change in the PA section, that opportunity won't be there for several years.

Well my review began with my boss telling me what a great job I've been doing and how happy he is to have me in that office (with all the nice furniture). I reiterated to him that I'm so happy where I am and that I love my job. He said that every time another position opens up he fears he's going to lose me, so I chided him for disappearing to conferences during November when the other job was open. We had a good laugh and then he asked me about looking at an officer role.

This floored me. I wasn't really expecting him to ask me about this. He wondered if I had ever thought about it, and I had but next week I meet the board for promotion and I start the top tier. Do I really want to go back to the bottom and work my way up again? The money would be great, but I'm not certain it's for me. However, that said, boss 3 will be retiring in a few years and his job would be awesome. My boss said that's one reason he was asking me about my thoughts on it.

We had a great conversation. I was so grateful for the few moments we had together, alone, without phone calls or interruptions. It seems any time he and I try to talk we get interrupted which sucks.

Anyway, he wants me to stay so I guess that means my review was a success. :)

And yesterday at 8:52 a.m. a year ago was when I received the call from said boss inviting me to take the job. And I said yes and subsequently went to sing at a funeral. Interesting.

And one year ago today, I sent in my resignation, shocking the president and vice of the sem. It has been a crazy, wild ride since then. And other than leaving the awesome atmosphere of the Cities, I don't regret it at all.

I'm just a love, uh, bun machine

Well, that doesn't sound good either.

The last two days I have been a baking freak. Yesterday after having an awesome lunch with Sarah, I went grocery shopping to pick up the items I needed to keep a 7-yr-old happy and to bake the things I needed/wanted.

My niece came to stay with me last night. We made snowmen cookies. Put together graham cracker houses and made dough for no-knead dinner rolls. While this was a super plan I learned a very valuable lesson:

Don't try new recipes when your niece is coming - always test them prior to her arrival.

None of these worked. I was ticked. The snowmen cookie recipe was bad, and so if I do those again I'm going to use my own sugar cookie recipe. This one was just odd and the cookies ended up being really heavy and not turning out well. The graham cracker houses wouldn't set so our roofs fell apart, and soon the buildings did too (we even frosted everything together last night and did our decorating this morning and they still fell apart - sort of. I think mine are still together.) And the rolls...oh the rolls.

I love this recipe so I'm hoping that I can get it to work. There's no kneading needed and it's fun to make. But I'm still new to this bread thing so I'm not really sure what I did wrong, if the yeast wasn't happy or I didn't let them rise long enough, I don't know. The buns I made ended up not poofing up like they should have and my oven was heating weird so they burned on the bottom before they even were able to poof. I have some dough left so I'm going to try the rest tomorrow.

But it was fun to spend time with my niece. We had a good time and the next time she comes to stay with me our baking projects are going to succeed.

The rest of today was Christmas at the Moe's. We had dinner, opened presents, played our traditional game of Cranium, and then packed up and headed home. Pretty quiet but fun to be with everyone again.

It was Christmas today

I'm borrowing this from JB, 'cause I liked hers so much.

what was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave?
I think it was the year before Dad died (or maybe a couple years before) and we gave him and Mom a print of John Green's “A Family Christmas”. It was significant to us because it was actually a painting of Dad's homestead. He had seen a small picture of it in the local paper one Sunday advertising a show coming up of John's work. My sister happened to live in the same town as John and knew him so she asked him what his inspiration was. When he indicated the farmplace right near our exit, exactly the place Dad grew up, we knew we had a winner. That same year I gave Dad nose-hair clippers. He was ecstatic.

what is one of your favorite christmas recipes? bonus points if you share the recipe with us.
Well, our tradition is to make krumkake and flat bread for our family. These were traditions on my father's side and so when he and mom married, Grandma Emilie took Mom aside and trained her in the technique. Now I'm learning so mom can retire sometime.


Beat until light and fluffy:
3 eggs
½ c. sugar
Blend in:
½ c. melted butter or margarine
½ tsp. Vanilla, lemon, almond or any other flavor desired
¾ c. sifted flour.

Stir until batter is smooth. Place 1 teaspoon batter on preheated Krumkake iron. Bake and remove, rolling on Krumkake cone. Makes about 3 dozen.

Flat Bread:
2 c. white flour
½ c. rye graham flour
½ c. yellow corn meal
1 tsp. Salt
½ c. bacon drippings
¾ - 1 c. boiling water

Mix together and add only enough boiling water to make dough stiff enough to roll. Form loaves and cool before rolling. Flatten as thin as possible and bake on heated griddle, turning mid-way through.

Again these take a little practice so if you have questions on these, let me know.

what is a tradition that your family can't do without? (and by family, i mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.)
See above and add in spichamere. It's a ring of meat that is specially cured. I don't know how to make this or I'd add that in. Another is that the 'adults' play Cranium. This is basically my sister and I taking on my brother and his wife. Usually my sister and I win, but this year there were way too many distractions and the Wonder Twins won instead.

pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the "work" of the holidays. what happens at your place?
We have thousands of Christmas parties. The building has one on our weekend work schedule for everyone as well as our section (I've never been to this one because I hate it but whatever). Then there is the building party for the full-time workers which involves a white elephant gift exchange. And then there is the base-wide Christmas party which basically consists of eating, drinking, door prizes, and a short, clean, censored skit.

if you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected... what would it be?
One year I did spend Christmas in Turkey (on a work trip). No one wanted to work that day (we were staffed 24/7) so I volunteered. It helped keep my mind off what was actually going on back home. That holiday kind of sucked, but New Year's in Turkey was a blast! My other thought was to travel somewhere – London maybe - or I don't know, maybe just give up all the traditions and do nothing. I'm getting close to that one this year.

21 December 2007

My Office!

I have written a lot (understatement) about how I much I love my job. At the end of September I got to order new furniture for my office. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures before the new stuff arrived, so all you get to see here is the new stuff.

For the record, my boss agreed with me that I was a dork for doing this. :)

This is from the corner.
If you were to look directly to the right you would see my
boss in his office laughing at me taking the pictures.

This is from my bosses door leading to his office.
Notice the Kandinsky on the wall?
Yeah, one of our generals looked at it for a long time
(after he asked me what it was - I said, "Art.")
and he said, "I really like wildlife paintings."
Yeah, I don't, but I'll be sure to get you a Thomas Kinkade print for Christmas. ugh.

Another angle from my bosses door. This is my desk and workstation.
I love this!

And this is from the hallway door. Those chairs are blue leather,
not the most comfortable but much better than what I had before.
There's a lot of room in this office now (it used to feel really crowded).
In fact one colonel said I had too much wasted space.
This from a guy who grew up in the Dakota's.
Can we talk about wasted space? Seriously?
Hasn't he ever driven across South or North Dakota toward
the Badlands? What do you run into? Buffalo, maybe.

20 December 2007

one of the few reasons I hate this season

This isn't quite how Christmas is supposed to be. I'm supposed to be the one giving the gifts, not getting. Well, okay, it's nice to receive gifts too but I wish there was some sort of guidance or instruction on how to do it.

I have three bosses...well two officially but I claim the third because he and I do a lot of work together...so that means three gifts, right? So I mapped out what I wanted to give them. I was going to do a small GC to B&N for the third, a GC to GNC for the 2nd and then a bigger GC to Sportsman's Warehouse for the first because he is my boss and he's great. Well, then I started running the numbers and trying to be fair, because I'm all about fairness, so I ended up getting $10 GCs to the first two places and then $10 to Scheels instead of Sportsman's because SW doesn't have anything smaller than $25, and if I got $25 there I'd feel like I'd have to get $25 for all three - that adds up to way more than I can afford right now.

So last night was a battle of wits with myself. I think I lost. I had all these different options and looking at it now, I should have done this: $25 at SW for the first boss, $25 at GNC for the second, and $10 at B&N for the third. But I didn't. (A note for next year.)

And so when I came in this morning and there's a huge gift (cocoa set and ornament and cookies) from the first, and the second brings in a beautiful box filled with handmade stuff from his wife (and I know how long those things take to make - earrings, necklace, scarf) plus a penguin light thing, I feel horribly guilty for only getting them those small gifts.

I suck. And then a colleague down the hall brings in an ornament for me and I wasn't going to give her anything, so now I feel guilty because I didn't and I'm toying with running home (half hoping I get tasked to run for something for the afternoon Christmas party so I can) and getting one of the extra sets of Envirosax bags for her, which would also be good since there was one other person I was going to bring a set of those for and I totally spaced on it this morning. But then if you add the costs of those up then I'm giving more to people I like but don't work with directly and very little to my bosses who have been fabulous to me all year long.

So now I feel like a heel, but loved by my first two bosses, which makes me feel like a bigger heel because I should have gotten them more.

19 December 2007

Sometimes it's a sucky time of year

A good but somewhat shitty kind of day.

Work was great, of course (because I love my job!). But JB wrote about Logan's Mom. K wrote about the multiple deaths in her congregation. One of our general's FIL died. A retired chief's mom died. And at lunch my friend told me that his sister's pseudo foster daughter (long story) had died yesterday. She was 37.

37. This sucks. She had 5 kids, all amazing kids. And it came on so suddenly that there was barely time to realize what was happening. Not going into details here, but it was scary. And so freakin' close to Christmas. Her family has lost their matriarch. And me being selfish I keep thinking that's 4 years from me. And it's just a reminder of how short life is.

Holy crap life is short. It flies by in a blink of an eye and those days, those minutes are lost forever.

Sometimes (a lot of times) I think I'm not living my life well enough, that I just coast through life without really thinking about what I'm doing. I should be doing more, but I don't know what more is. What is more?

I used to have goals in my job. Tomorrow I have to meet with my awesome boss for my annual retention interview. I don't know what to write anymore. I've lost my direction, yet I'm sure it's there somewhere. But where? And what more?

18 December 2007

Called out

So JB called me on my last post, and it's so true. I remember when I was growing up and Ellen Degeneres was just starting out in the comedy scene. She had gotten a gig on an HBO comedy special, one of the few women of the time. I have the commercial for it on a VHS I have from back when I used to record movies all the time. Anyway, the joke is that Ellen is talking about those people who always try to get you to taste something they don't like, and she takes a drink of water, "Oh, this is disgusting, taste this."

That kills me every time. And that's basically what I did with yesterday's recipe post. The funny thing is that the reheat I had today actually tasted better than the original. And again, I never really follow recipes and I really, really didn't follow that one - no onions, too long in the cooker, and mashed potato flakes instead of rice.

But the truth is, I never should have tried this recipe. I know better - I don't like stews and this was basically what this was...a stew. I've never been a fan of stew, unless of course I'm watching The Princess Bride and the scene where Fezzik is trying to revive and explain the circumstances to Inigo comes on, then suddenly I crave Dinty Moore Beef Stew. I blame Karla-Ernie for that one.

If anyone has any recipes for slow cooking that wouldn't turn into a stew, doesn't need onions or have mushy carrots, please let me know. I have a feeling I'll be waiting awhile for this one. :)

17 December 2007

Slow cooking, swaying to the sauces

So I finally did it. I attempted the Tangy Tender Chicken in the slow cooker I talked about last week. Part of my fear of trying this was leaving the SC on all day. That's not usually the thing I do. But I did and it was okay.

Of course I didn't follow the recipe completely, because I never do, and so maybe that's why I wasn't as pleased with it as I hoped. The recipe calls for onions which I hate so I didn't put those in. I don't like mushy carrots but I did leave those in. It also says to only cook for 8-9 hours and I'm at work for 12 so that didn't work either. I wasn't impressed with the chicken...it wasn't tangy, though it was tender. In fact, I thought it fairly bland, but the sauce was good.

So anyway, probably won't be making this one again. But just in case any of you would like to try it and actually make it according to instructions, here's the recipe:

Tangy Tender Chicken
1 pound baby carrots

1 medium green pepper, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 can (20 ounce) pineapple chunks
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Hot cooked rice

In a slow cooker, layer carrots, green pepper and onion. Top with the chicken. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Place pineapple over chicken. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, bouillon, salt, ginger and garlic powder to pineapple juice; pour over pineapple. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours.

Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into cooking juices. Cook 30 minutes longer or until sauce is thickened, stirring once. Serve over rice. Yield: 4-6 servings.

- 2002 Taste of Home's Quick Cooking Annual Recipes book

16 December 2007

Every day is a new day

Okay, so this is probably going to be very lame, but I was just watching the end of 50 First Dates and it got me thinking. At the end, Lucy meets her daughter for the "first" time and is overwhelmed with emotion. What if everyone began the day like that? That every day is new, and every person in it is a glorious gift? What would daily life be like?

Great day

Today I got to go to church at Central LC. I miss this church. Not only is it almost right up my alley theologically (except for the whole "covenant" and breaking the bread literally thing), but the music there is so incredible. This is not a church choir like any other. Somehow Mark, the director, and Jane, the associate director, pull together incredible and novice musicians to create a moving, musical, and spiritually sound worship service. It was really incredible. And my friends rocked the house with their solos and trio (with Roy). Love you both!

But I miss it. I miss singing with them. I miss being a part of that. My other friend (my date for church - YAY!) and I were talking after the service about our various enterprises we're both involved in. I'm not even going to go into everything he has going on, it's exhausting and amazing to think about. But he asked me how life was going down here and I told him how I love my job, but I really miss the life of the Cities. I miss the music, the theatre, my friends. But, as he wisely stated, at least I have a lifeline there. I have my Guthrie season tickets. I have Debbie, JB, Edith, these guys and countless others to keep me in touch with things happening there and to visit as I get opportunity.

What's sad is the opportunities to come up are less than what I'd like and the timing is limited when I do make it up. There are people I'd like to see but I can't always make it work. I do think about everyone and do miss you too! (E - thanks for the calendars!)

So anyway, my super quick trip this weekend was great. Too short though. I'm looking forward to June when Debbie and I are going to take our road trip to the Jake and to see the boys in Cincinnati. I can't wait. I'm adding to my goal list for the May marathon to get in shape for the Ohio trip. I want to look hot for the opera. How insane is that?

Well I'm off to do my self care. I have to start tonight so I can continue. Amy I like your ideas - yoga is on my list of things to find for the new year. There must be classes around here somewhere and my goal is to find them. That must feel great. Thanks for the tip!

15 December 2007

No dreams last night

I wanted to leave yesterday's post up on top a little longer but I've been doing so well with blogging every day I hate to mess that up. So here...read it again!

Okay, that's done. Today I'm in the Cities and loving it. I spent an awesome coffee time with JB, catching up on the latest gossip and rejoicing that Megan will be home soon. YAY! Then it was off to Keith for a massage. I hadn't been there since October after the marathon when I had, what he calls, a fluff-n-buff. Today was a little more intense working on my pecs and shoulders and some other thing I don't know what he calls it.

I miss getting a massage every other week or so. When I lived here (in the Cities) I did that and my back, neck, shoulders, entire body felt better, more complete and healthy. Today as I was driving up here I could feel my shoulders touching my earlobes - or I was "wearing my shoulders as earrings" as Keith would say. I'm not stressed but I get tense and I haven't been stretching or using moist heat as I should. I'm not doing good self-care.

So I need to start...again. I'm kicking RAC's butt in gear with a crunches and pushups each night to help his fitness scores to improve and I've agreed to do them with him. (not literally, but we'll track them and keep each other accountable). But I need to do more self-care, especially when work gets tense (but I love my job!) or when times with family (re: mom) get tense.

So stretching, moist heat and exercise for me. What do you do?

14 December 2007

Proud to serve

Sgt. Jill Stevens is also known as Miss Utah to her fans. She'll be competing for Miss America in January. But Jill is also a Soldier in the Army National Guard. On her blog she highlights the Citizen Airman video, which I'll admit is awesome.

But, me being an Air Guard gal, I'm going to plug our fabulous Airman's Creed.

In truth, I have nothing against the Army National Guard. They are my brothers and sisters in the fight and I stand proud next to them. And truly we are all Citizen Soldiers/Airmen, standing strong and proud for our country.

And yet another

So last night's dream really had me confused.

First RB and I were running around cars and buildings trying to hide from people, and then when we were found the group of us - RB, Nancy, TimDon, and several others all of whom were women - were voting on whether or not our work week should stay at 4-days or go down to 3. At one point I remember leaning over to one of the ladies and asking her if our hours would stay the same or would they be extended. She said the same and then Nancy called for a vote. We all raised our hands in Aye status and the group cheered.

Then I said, "Wait. We need to revote." Everyone groaned and Nancy called for the vote again. This time everyone voted yes except me because "there has to be at least one dissenting vote or no one will believe we really discussed it."

Then I woke up. This is starting to get annoying.

But the Indians love me and sent me this greeting. (And see the links below it just in case you're looking for any last minute Christmas gifts for me.) :)

13 December 2007

Weird dreams

This morning I woke up thoroughly confused. I had been dreaming that I was at a seminary, but it looked more like an office building. It was spring and a group of seminarians were sitting outside of the building in a circle, all wearing backpacks and having a group discussion. One of them started lamenting about how he (or was it a she? the person had longer hair anyway), how they weren't good enough and that God hated them. Despite what others said they kept saying they were going to drop out because God hated them, that they were a horrible person because of all the things they have done and there's no way God would let them lead a church.

I was sitting off to the side and eavesdropping, as I do so well. They started getting up to leave and the person was really distraught and said again, "God hates me; I'm so horrible."

And I said, (I can't belive I said this in my dream) "Fcuk that! You're great. You're amazing. You think God would hate you? Hell, no. God thinks you're the best!"

And the person looked at me like I was on crack. So I said it all again and added, "Hell you're better than best. You're the bestest!"

And then I woke up.

What the hell?

Oh and add this to it all...when I woke up, my front right tooth hurt - painful hurt whenever I touched it. Am I clenching again? (My teeth, that is.)

12 December 2007

Stupid things that make me sad

As you know, I love my job. I have new furniture in my office (pictures soon, I promise!). I have the awesomest boss ever. Seriously. People kid me when I say that thinking I'm just sucking up or making it up, but it's true. I have the best boss. It's great.

But today I was a little sad. Because of my new furniture I have been in boxes and shambles for a week. I'm finally coming out from under it all but still trying to find where I put things in my haste to clean things up. And today at 5 as I was finishing up the day preparing for tomorrow, I suddenly became very overwhelmed at all the projects I have on my To-Do list.

I will admit, I got scared.

I have a lot of crap to catch up on. Some of these things have been coming up and I knew that but now the time to complete them is here. And I have two days left this week, three days next week and then we're on break again. I'd love to come in over the long weekend when everyone else is gone but my boss frowns on that, rightfully so. Of course, I don't claim the extra time (much to the chagrin of my friends) because sometimes it's just easier to work when everyone else is gone.

I haven't felt much of the motivation to do these things lately. That doesn't help either. I haven't felt motivated to do much at all. I was even mildly lamenting that I had to go to work on Tuesday because I couldn't watch Six Feet Under then. :) Yeah, I'm sad.

I don't know...it's a rambling post today. Sorry.

But here's some fun good news: Saturday I get to have a massage from Keith and I get to see the ever-fabulous JB! And Sunday I have a date for church with a hot man! My friends have solos for a concert piece at church. WOOHOO! Then we get to go out for brunch!

*sigh* It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

11 December 2007


Okay, so I don't have an iPod yet, or an MP3, or anything cool like that so I can't give you the latest iPod playlist as JB usually does. Basically I still buy CD's and burn mix discs (which by the way leads me to this cool thing which I'm so tempted to buy just because it brings back SO many memories).

Anyway, today I'm listening to Maia Hirasawa. I found her at Aurgasm which is a site I found a year or so ago. In fact, in 2006 I started listening to Bitter:Sweet and Lily Allen before they even made it big here, so basically I think this is a pretty cool site.

I'm also listening Paste's Sampler 38 and 37. I'm so thankful to Amused, K and E for introducing me this magazine. I have found some really great bands from this. I'd go into it but I don't really feel like it right now. I'm too busy listening.

Shhhhh...Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are playing

10 December 2007

More recipe fun

My recipe fun from yesterday led me to a meatloaf muffin recipe that actually turned out not too bad. It needs a little more Worcestershire sauce, minced or real onion instead of powder, and maybe the Crispex would have been a better option than the low-carb Special K I used, but oh well. It was good.

Tomorrow night I'm going to put together the ingredients for a slow cooker recipe for tangy chicken which I also found yesterday. I have never used a slow cooker so I'm more than a little nervous about plugging it in and leaving it all day, but hopefully it'll be okay. That's the whole point of a slow cooker, right?

I could have been a the perfect 50s wife today. I ran errands: picking up the mail, getting groceries, buying yarn. Then I came home and made cookies and carrot cake cupcakes. Then I made my fabulous supper, washed dishes and now I'm watching Six Feet Under while I knit. Pretty crazy.

09 December 2007

Now it's Christmas

Yesterday, when I was driving home and heard Snoopy's Christmas on the radio. It never seems Christmas until I hear this song.

It's especially compelling today as a year ago many of my friends were coming home from the sandbox. They all came home and are safe and sound. Thankfully my personal friends aren't there this year, but there are many who are still there.

Praying for peace, as usual, but especially at this time of year not only for the military members serving, but for their family and friends who are without them today.

God bless everyone!

08 December 2007

Recipe Fun

When I was at mom's today I found a formerly coveted recipe book, which triggered Mom into helping empty out a closet I used as a child of many other recipe books of mine. So I have a bag full I'm sorting through to mark what look like interesting options. I only wanted the one book but alas, now I have 12. Oh well.

In one, there is a recipe for Peanut Butter Things. Things? That sounds appetizing. Another is called Peanut Butter Clay which the instructions read as this: “Mix together. Roll and make things which you can eat.” Things again.

Alrighty, then.

Christmas wishes

It's getting closer to feeling like Christmas. We had some light snow today which is always pretty to see. Mom and I made flat bread (another of our family favorite's) this afternoon and that coupled with the krumkake I made earlier this week has clinched the baking portion (even though I will be making more). And today I watched White Christmas again. I love that movie. The Abraham number is my favorite. *sigh* If only I could dance like that.

Angela at Fluid Pudding had a great post the other day with a lot of truth to it. Read that first, then bookmark Angela because she's awesome, then come back here.

I really do get tired of talking about Christmas, especially when it is surrounded around “lists” and “wants”. Of course, I also get tired of the “when are we going to celebrate” and crap. I wish it was just easier. It all seemed easier when I was a kid. There wasn't a question – it was just assumed we'd wake up and meet in the living room where the tree would have presents and stockings. We'd all gather together, hug and wish each other Merry Christmas and then celebrate the whole day through.

Now with the family having families of their own, it's harder. When to meet, where to meet, and how it's all going to go down seems to be the bigger issue. It becomes almost a chore and the day is filled with the stresses of trying to meet up and remembering everything, three families coming together (I'm counting Mom and Me as one since we don't have S.O.'s), what to eat, when to meet, what to do. I miss the simple days.

This year we're celebrating together the Saturday before Christmas due to other conflicts with the other families. I'm glad we can all get together, but then the selfish, single person in me wonders just what I'm going to do Christmas morning and maybe I should have planned to go to Florida with my other brother.

Sometimes I wish it could just all go away. Not Christmas, but all the hoopla attached to it. I'd love if we could all just get together and spend time together – playing games, talking, laughing, eating (we are Lutheran), and just be a family. Skip the gifts! Though we did get closer to that this year: we opted to just get gifts for the young kids – i.e. my niece's and nephews, not siblings.

But anyway, these are trivial things. Just wishful thinking.

07 December 2007

Hi Kettle? This is Pot. You're black.

My mom kills me. When I was younger she used to have a really tough time at work. She would come home and call our neighbor and lament to her about the awful day she had had at work. Then over supper she would repeat the story to Dad and me. Then her friend from work would call and they would go over the whole day again.
Dad and I would sit in the kitchen and just shake our heads. It was frustrating because Mom was never able to work things out, she just kept reliving it over and over again.

I have found that I do this at times too, but I think since I've started my blog I haven't as much. When people ask me what's new in my life or what's going on I generally say nothing has changed and all is the same.

I do have a venting post and said VP gets the brunt of my problems anymore. But I do try to limit it all to just that one vent and maybe on the blog.

Well, tonight Mom and I were driving back from Emmy and Zach's Christmas program (which was super fun but a story for another time) and Mom was discussing a friend of hers. This friend I've never been too fond of because she's always been a very negative person and after Mom would spend time with her she would be very negative. It got annoying.

But tonight Mom was talking about calling her friend but then she said, “I just can't talk to her for very long. I know she's dealing with a lot but I can only take her stories for so long and she starts to repeat herself. It gets really frustrating. You'd think that after talking to {man from church} for two hours earlier in the night would have worked out all her problems and she'd be tired of talking about it.”

Thankfully the car was dark so my smile was not seen as I inwardly chuckled – Hi, Kettle!

06 December 2007

Punch and Cookies?

Jen just gave me an idea.

Normally, I’m not real social in my office building. Often I feel a bit like an outsider just because I’m not in their particular section, and I work for the head man so I’m a little out anyway. But with my new furniture coming in tomorrow, and my plan to settle in and organize on Sunday and Monday, I could have a mini open house on Tuesday with cookies and punch. I have a cute pitcher I could put punch in and I make the best cookies ever and now with my work station I’ll have I could have everything laid out there. :)

Not that I want a bunch of people traipsing through my office all day next week, but that might be fun just to get it out of everyone’s system and open it up for people to come see all at once instead of dawdling in throughout the week.

Is that too cheesy? It’s just office furniture, so maybe that’s a bit much to have an open house. It could be fun though. hmmm

And I just realized I forgot to take before pictures. Whoops. You will get after pictures though. I promise!

Secret, Secret

Today, actually about an hour or so ago, I was stumbling around the Internet at work and I discovered *gasp* that I can access my blog…and comment…and get back to it even after I’ve closed out! Just over a year ago, if you’ll remember, they had blocked everything and I couldn’t blog at work. JB had reprimanded me in January for taking a job at a place where I couldn’t blog, which led to me buying my computer which was definitely a good thing.

So now I’m secretly checking my favorites (those I can remember the addresses for since I have everyone at home on a bookmark). Yay! Life is great again.

Have I mentioned yet today that I love my job?

05 December 2007

Who hates me now?

I know you guys are probably really, really sick of these “I love my job” posts, but seriously, I LOVE MY JOB!

Today I found out that I will get my new furniture Friday. Woohoo! I'm so excited. So today I spent packing up my office – putting dishes (yes, I have fine china...it's a long story), binders, files, office supplies by the thousands into boxes. Friday AM my colleagues have agreed to help me move out the old furniture and in the new and set it up.

Soon I'll have a workstation where people can fill out their forms without using my desk, I'll have a spot for people to sit and read magazines without sitting in crappy chairs, and I will have file space galore that I can fill and organize to my hearts content. And then I can decorate appropriately for Christmas (instead of just my little, tiny tree).

Man, I'm giddy like a little school girl.

I'm also excited because my boss has a super important meeting tomorrow. Please cross your fingers and send up a prayer that all goes well. It'll be a great accomplishment if all is completed as we hope.

And tonight I went to my youngest nephew's school Christmas Program. I'd post pictures but you can see some other kids really clearly in the shot and I don't want to infringe on their privacy. It was really sweet and cute as the kids yelled out their songs (for the most part with the tune).

This is a great part of living so close to two of my siblings – I get to see these kind of things now. I feel like an aunt. It's wonderful.


82%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Fort Worth Dating

I actually thought this would be higher.

04 December 2007

Reader's Digest version

Okay, so tonight I started a long-ass post about phone conversations and mom/siblings/people-in-general and the amount of and time-lengths between calls, but it just got to a point where I was annoyed with it all and decided not to post it.

But let me just ask this: if you don't call or talk to your parents/siblings/friends for a long period of time, do you think that they are mad at you? Or do you just figure that maybe things in their lives are quite busy? Do you then attempt to remedy the lack of conversation or are you just as busy and keep them in your prayers instead (or as usual) knowing that at some point you will visit again and it will be just as joyous as it always is?

03 December 2007


I don't know about you, but I sleep really well when it's cool in my room. Last night, I slept GREAT.

Around 8 last night, I got sick of being cold in my apartment, so I turned my electric blanket (thanks, tre!) on to 8, curled up and read for awhile. Of course my 'awhile' was only 30 minutes and then I went to sleep. I woke up at 8 this morning. Either I was really tired – which could be partly true since yesterday was non-stop but great – or the cool air was just perfect for sleeping.

Well, the nice maintenance man came and fixed my heater today and it's been running nicely since 3. It's so nice to be able to sit on my couch without shivering! Or to touch my nose and it's not like ice! I'm sure I'll still sleep well tonight, though.

I've been baking today, too. I made some yummy banana oatmeal raisin cookies and krumkake. My co-workers don't know much about krumkake, other than Ron who has been relishing it for years. So tomorrow a few more will be edumacated on the joy that is krumkake. And if they don't like it, I'll eat it all up. YUMMY!

02 December 2007

Maybe Not...

Today was a great day at work (again? Are you getting tired of these yet?). We started an hour late due to the weather but I went in at normal time just to get some work done. Which I did, but didn't get everything done I should have. Oh well.

But I had an awesome training this morning that helped me to realize just how far behind I am (which helps me have a little job security since I need to get it all done soon). Then a great lunch, awesome open house, I gave claim to my office furniture to another section (once I get my new stuff in), said goodbye to another awesome co-worker who retired this weekend, heard more incredibly inspiring words from WS at a ceremony, and helped a bunch of kids color at the Kid's Christmas Party after work. All in all, a good day.

Until I came home and my heat still isn't working. Although I will say that the fan seems to be running and keeps the heat up to a point, but I'm thinking the heat is all on my vaulted ceiling instead of down here by me. My Carpeted Floor Is Cold. There's something wrong. So tonight I'll curl up in my electric blanket and sleep soundly and tomorrow I'll stop in to pay rent and ask them to check it out, so I'm not spending every night this winter standing in front of my oven warming myself.

One good thing – tonight NaBloPoMo awards will be announced. I'm excited and crossing my fingers (which means I probably won't win).

01 December 2007

The heat is on (is it?)

There are reasons I knit blankets. And proof came again today. How I ever survived growing up here is beyond me. Hell, why I moved back here is even more amazing.

It snowed here today...a lot. And it's cold. So very cold again.

I really don't like snow. Well, actually, snow isn't that bad – it's pretty, makes the world look clean (at least for a few hours until all the cars and exhaust ruins the effect), and does fit well with this time of year. But the cold and sleet and wind that comes with snow is what I really, truly hate.

Today was no exception. This morning as I got in my car to go to work (early, even) a guy in the garage said, “Heading out in the bad weather, huh?” I said yes because I have to but was a bit confused. The forecast and predicted snow but not starting until mid to late morning. Well, I pulled out of the garage to about 2 or 3 inches that had fallen, snow/sleet falling down and roads that were just a mess. It took me 20 minutes to make it the last 3 blocks to my work entrance, partly because of the storm, partly because everyone else was running late, too.

I tried to laugh it off. I mean, I live in the tundra so it's to be expected, but I'm really not ready for this. And then I came home tonight and I think my heater is on the fritz again. Last winter when I moved in and turned on my heat, after a couple days it stopped working (on a weekend no less). Once the work week began I called the super and they sent up a maintenance person to fix it. Of course they didn't send anyone up until almost 6pm that night so it didn't get fixed until the next day, and they left a huge mess in my bedroom and bedroom closet (where the problem was). So I'm not too anxious to call them again even if I am cold.

So I'm curled up in jeans, heavy socks, a long sleeve tee shirt, a sweatshirt and I haven't moved in about 30 minutes (it's amazing how warm one can get when they stay still). I had my oven on for the longest time and it did help to warm the place up a bit. But I'm going to see how the night goes and if my apartment chills down again (to 62 as it had when I came home) I'll call the super in the morning. All I can say is Thank God for electric blankets.