Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas, etc.

Another Christmas has come and gone. This was probably one of the best ones for me.

Last Saturday was the Van Rooy family get-together up at Adam’s uncle’s house in Green Bay. The house was full of relatives and sugar-shocked children. At times the chaos was deafening - but in a good way. I got to meet some of the people I’d heard about but had never seen. Adam did his Santa Claus bit for his younger cousins and apparently even some of the adults had no idea it was him until we told them later! While at first I kind of felt out of place, I entertained myself by discussing wedding stuff with Adam’s mom and sister, talking a bit with his aunt, and then having a conversation about forensic accounting with his uncle, the detective. Many people were taking pictures the whole time. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get my hands on any, but I’ll try and get the one of me sitting on “Santa’s” lap. :)

Sunday was Christmas Eve and the handbells were playing before the 10pm mass in a concert with the adult choir. It was packed up in the choir loft and Adam ended up sitting directly behind me for a while. That was kind of disconcerting, but I can adjust. The program went well. I was having temperature issues though. Playing bells is relatively physical and you can elevate your body temp just doing that. But when you have a break for a bit and the windows are open it can get cold pretty quickly. I was pretty wiped out and had a big headache by the time we left. We got home around 11:30 and headed directly to bed. Yay for drugs.

Monday morning we got up and had our Christmas at home before heading to Adam’s parents’ house. Adam was inspired to make waffles even though I told him there was only one egg left and waffles take two. In any case, they were still edible, if not aesthetically pleasing. We arrived at his parents’ right on time only to find out his sisters were at the hospital. His younger sister had apparently hurt her foot getting out of bed that morning but hadn’t gone to the doctor until his older sister looked at it. We watched Ice Age to kill time until they got back. We had a light dinner of sandwiches and cranberry fluff. When his sisters returned we exchanged gifts. Adam took pictures of this all and they’re posted on my photobucket site. His aunt and uncle showed up later on and we did some more gift exchanges. After that I was getting a headache again (I haven’t been sleeping very well lately and I tend to get headaches when I’m tired) so we left early. We took some cheesecake home with us though. :)

Tuesday was a holiday for me but Adam had to go back to work. I went grocery shopping early in the morning. Our little $20 weekly trips for the last month and a half caught up with us. I spent enough to get 4 scratch-off cards. And I didn’t even get everything I needed. They were in the process of restocking the shelves and I couldn’t find some things I needed. I ran a bunch of errands later in the day including Sam’s club, Wal-mart, the library, the bank, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond (thanks Evan & Jodi!) I made a slow-cooked spaghetti sauce that simmered in the crockpot all day. I also cleaned the house a lot in preparation for dinner with his aunt, uncle, grandma, and cousin. It was a busy day. I was in the middle of making dinner when Adam came home. The rest of the crew arrived a little early so I was kind of frazzled trying to finish everything while his aunt and uncle and grandma poked around the house. Everything worked out and the meal went ok. I made turkey meatballs and mashed potatoes (made from real potatoes.) (The spaghetti sauce I mentioned before was a backup in case what I intended to make didn’t work out.) We have lots of leftovers so I no longer trust Rachael Ray’s serving sizes. After dinner and dessert I banished myself to the kitchen to clean up the gigantic mess I’d made. His aunt kept me company while his grandma relaxed in the arm chair and his uncle and cousin discussed wireless internet and laptops and then set to critique our movie collection. They then began to watch a not-so-family-friendly movie. Thank goodness Grandma has bad eyesight! And his uncle is hard of hearing so he cranked that baby up. I took refuge in our bedroom with a book until they decided it was getting late and they should be heading home. The kitchen is still a mess, waiting for me to be motivated tonight after work.

The rest of the week should be relatively low-key. I mean, as low-key as year-end prep can be. We have a ton of file shredding tomorrow and then year-end inventory on Friday. Monday’s a holiday and then the fun begins. Yet another year-end in a different position. One of these years I’ll keep my job for more than a year!

Our open house in Saturday and while I don’t doubt people will come, I do doubt that Adam has informed them all about it. And given them the right times. He seems set on 1-5 when it’s really 11-4. But whatever. We’ll be there all day anyway. I’ve got one more shopping trip to make to get fresh veggies but other than that I’m pretty much prepared. I’ll be cooking Saturday morning. We’re trying to have a variety of things for people to eat. We baked and frosted cutout cookies on Monday morning and I plan to bake a few more kinds tonight and tomorrow. I got a box of different cheeses from work (that I’ve had to keep swatting Adam away from) that we’ll put out with crackers and summer sausage. I’ll be making the yummy spinach artichoke dip, Adam is making mini pigs-in-a-blanket, and I’m planning a little chicken appetizer, assuming I can find the wonton wrappers by Saturday. Some fresh veggies and lots of sparkling grape and apple juice should give everyone something to love. And if not, too bad. :) I don’t want to make all kinds of things I don’t like because I’m the one stuck with leftovers the next day. I’m stuck going to Dad and Cheryl’s open house alone since Adam works all day on New Year’s Eve. I still don’t know what we’re going to be doing at midnight. Knowing me, probably sleeping. I’m so pathetic.

After the new year, I should have my yearly review at work and then I can submit my vacation requests for the wedding/honeymoon and our two camping trips. I’ll also be able to revamp my 401(k) distributions. We just got moved over to JP Morgan so there are new funds to choose from. Adam looked at them last week and I’ll be moving my contributions around a little from where they mapped them. We’ll see how much I can accumulate this year. I really like the company match though. Free money rocks.

Monday, December 25, 2006

An IMA Xmas

Last Tuesday’s IMA Christmas party was… interesting.

I got to El Azteca around 5. I was the first person there and was led to the back area of the restaurant where our shindig was to take place. I sat around for about 20 minutes, bus boys leering at me and probably talking about me in Spanish. Finally some other people arrived and things got interesting.

I had set my stuff up on a big round table which I was later informed was supposed to be where they put the buffet. Oops. Then when I leaned down to pick up my plastic box that I carry everything in, my pants split down the back. So I spent the rest of the evening wearing the fashionable “coat around the waist” look.

Our speaker had cancelled because he had the flu. This frazzled Sheri (the president) a little, but everyone seemed ok with just doing the raffles, having some margaritas, and participating in some quick holiday trivia. Three people showed up without an RSVP (and it’s always the same rude guys who do this…I so want to not let them eat) but two people who HAD RSVP’d didn’t show so I guess it worked out. Adam made a killing on his raffle ticket sales (while wearing a nametag that said “Raffle ticket guy”) and we came out WAY ahead for the first time in my tenure as moneygirl. I suppose it helped that it was a relatively cheap dinner.

Raffle-wise, Adam got a box of pretty nice Christmas cards (too late for this year, but perhaps we can use them next year.) I got a frilly pink photo book (which was re-gifted to Adam’s cousin) and we also got a talking dictionary that Adam was pretty excited about.

Overall things went well.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The End of a Computer Era

So last week the computer saga came to its highpoint. The desktop Adam built me almost 2 years ago flaked out one time too many so I kicked it (literally) and went and bought a laptop.

Adam pulled the computer out from its lair underneath the desk to take a look at it earlier this week. Turns out it was so dusty the motor couldn’t work, causing it to short out all the time (or something like that.) This is what I get for having it up against the wall and ignoring it I guess. He spent some time this afternoon clearing out the dust and it appears to function when clean. Since I had already bought the laptop and transferred all my stuff I wasn’t interested in battling with the computer anymore. So he took the hard drive out and sold it (plus the keyboard) to a friend on eBay for $50. Better than nothing I suppose. We’re keeping the flat-screen monitor for now.

I’m enjoying the laptop thus far. I rejected the idea of buying a separate keyboard and opted instead for a number pad. I am using my optical mouse still since I despise the stupid pad things that laptops come with. I also had to get a USB hub since the laptop only came with 3 and I need many more (printer, mouse, number pad, iPod charger, digital camera, scanner, etc.) I also hooked up the new speakers to the laptop. They’re pretty awesome but I’ve tried to limit my booty-shaking bass so I don’t annoy the neighbors. I’m toying with the idea of transferring my IMA stuff to the new computer so I can take it to meetings with me but I’m not sure about that one yet.

I (heart) my Crock Pot

During a recent phone conversation with Adam he asked me why I hadn’t gotten a crock pot sooner. I said it just hadn’t occurred to me. But now that I have one, I wonder the same thing. It’s so useful. I’ve already used it for pot roast, hobo meatball stew, a chicken and tomato dish, and right now it’s working away on a whole chicken with veggies. I like that I can take some time in the morning, hit a few buttons, and dinner is done (and the house smells wonderful) when I get home after work. This is so convenient since lately I’ve been coming home with a complete lack of motivation. This takes the work out of preparing dinner. Or, I suppose, transfers the work to the morning when I am apparently more motivated. In any case, everyone should own a slow cooker. There are tons and tons of great recipes out there and they’re all pretty much a “cut up things, thrown them in the pot, add broth/water, cook for X hours” deal. The one I got is a "smartpot" or something and has an internal timer. It switches to warm mode after the time expires. It's difficult to screw it up. So easy, a caveman could do it. (Bwahahahaha.)

Holiday Schedule at a glance

Thursday 12/21 – Holiday Dinner at Milprint. They’re serving spaghetti, which doesn’t really seem very “Christmas-y” to me, but whatever.

Friday 12/22 – Both Adam and I are on vacation. We have a flower consultation appointment in the morning. Afternoon plans are undecided, but Adam works at Wal-mart in the evening.

Saturday 12/23 – Adam’s family’s annual Christmas party up in Green Bay. Adam will be doing his Santa gig for his younger cousins. We missed this last year because he had to work.

Sunday 12/24 – Handbells play at a concert with the adult choir before the 10pm mass. Adam plans on coming with me.

Monday 12/25 – Christmas hoopla over at Adam’s parents’ house in the early afternoon. Secret Santa exchange, etc.

Tuesday 12/26 – I have vacation again. Not sure about Adam, but his aunt and uncle from Florida are coming over for dinner.

Wednesday 12/27-Friday 12/29 – Normal workdays. Boo.

Saturday 12/30 – We’re having our little holiday open house for a few hours.

Sunday 12/31 – Dad and Cheryl are having their open house. Not sure what we’re going to do in the evening. Last year we went up to GB and I sat around while Adam played Madden with his cousin and his friends. We’ll see I guess.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Driving is Dangerous

In a matter of about 15 seconds on my way back from lunch this afternoon I had 3 near-accidents:

#1 – ballsy PT Cruiser turned left directly in front of me. Had to slam on brakes to avoid collision. Proper horn and “wave” followed.

#2 – moronic pickup truck “went left to turn right” (damn, I hate people who do that) and almost side-swiped me. Luckily I was going pretty slow (see #1) so I just swerved a little into the turn lane to avoid him.

#3 – A completely psychotic, perhaps mentally impaired old man on a bike rode leisurely across the street AGAINST THE LIGHT AS THERE WERE CARS COMING. Luckily I was turning left and was going slow enough (see #1 and #2) that I hadn’t pulled out into the intersection yet. He barely missed getting smooshed by an oncoming car though (they got to do the brake slam and gestures this time.)

Idiots.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Housewares Addiction

So today I was on a mission to find a ginormous martini glass. I went to Wire Whisk. I went to Home Goods. I went to Pier 1 (which, by the way, I've never done before. I should probably never go again. It could be dangerous.) I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (which is always dangerous.) No luck with the martini glass, but I did buy this



at Pier 1 and this



at BBB.

These damn kitchen supply stores! They lure me in with their sexy spatulas and I'm defenseless against their shiny kitchen appliances and nifty gadgets. It's an illness I tell you!

In any case, if anyone knows where I can get a huge martini glass (30oz+) let me know!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My Purse is a Curse

So, this is my purse:



It keeps getting me in trouble.

When I go to the grocery store, one of the baggers always seems to feel the need to comment on it. "Do you REALLY like nerds? I mean, REALLY? Do you mean nerds, the people, or Nerds, the candy?"

The cart pusher at Walmart has said "nice purse" about 5 times now.

But Friday's episode took the cake. I had a grand time running some errands on my lunch hour. I went to the post office and there was no line! I went to the bank and there was no line there either! Then I stopped by Burger King to pick up some food before heading back to work. Not only were there a lot more people there than usual, but there also happened to be not one, but two screaming children. One of whom's parents didn't have the common sense to remove them from the restaurant for a good 10 minutes. Anyway, I sat down at a table near a couple and their grandchild. The only way I can describe them is "white trash." And considering I'm apparently a "hick" because I like my Spongebob pjs (which Adam picked out, by the way), you can only imagine what these people were like. Anyway, their grandson, who was named Dante (I kid you not) ran around the restaurant with abandon while his grandparents ignored him. As they were leaving, the man came over to me and tapped my shoulder.

"It is true?" he asked me.
"What?"
"Do you really love nerds?"
"Uh, yes?"
"I should introduce you to my son. He's a nerd. He works at McDonald's."
(trying not to laugh in his face) "No thanks (shameless flash of the ring), I'm taken."

*sigh*

The (Controversial) Christmas Letter

I read this article about Christmas letters over on MSNBC.com the other day. I found it interesting. I certainly hope my letters aren't full of bragging and I hope those who receive it aren't offended that I sent it so impersonally.

For my part, I look forward to getting Christmas cards and the potential update letters. We don't keep in touch much throughout the year, being so far away, each so busy with our own life. I enjoy reading a (usually very brief) synopsis of the past year. Some people are apparently uninterested in this. I hope if someone gets a letter from me and they hate it they just throw it out.

I also took a peek at the related message board. Some people are way to sensative about this kind of thing...

So far this year I've received 2 letters. And I happened to be mentioned in both of them. Score! :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sunday, Lively Sunday

It wasn’t a busy weekend, but it was a good one. Adam returned from California late Saturday night. Even though we didn’t get home until around 11:30 and didn’t get to sleep until much later (for some reason he wanted to unpack and show me everything he had bought) we still got up when the alarm went off at 7. Kind of.

We had some shopping to do so we headed first to Menards to find our yearly ornament. We didn’t find exactly what we wanted but we did find an ornament. We chose a gas camping grill to commemorate our camping experiences this summer. After some other random stops (like Office Max and a scrapbooking store) we headed back to the highway. As we were waiting to turn onto College Ave, Adam spotted a big cloud of smoke. He deduced that since there was smoke, there was probably fire, and who doesn’t like to see things burn? So instead of turning left, he went straight and parked the car in the parking lot of the bank across the street from the burning building. The firemen and all the necessary public workers were already on site hooking up their hoses so we just watched the flames shoot out of the roof until it collapsed. It was fun. I eventually convinced him we needed to get going so we could stop at Walmart on the way home. We did just that but discovered he had failed to edit the engagement picture he had sent to be printed online so they were junk. After spending a mere $68 of the $216 I have left in flex spending, we headed home so I could get dinner started in the crockpot.

While at Walmart we had also picked up some new speakers for my computer. I have the same dinky ones Evan gave me back when he sent me the original computer. Not that there’s anything wrong with dinky speakers…we were just looking for something with a bit more oomph so we could properly blast our Christmas carols. When Adam plugged them in, my computer (once again) freaked out and crashed. He thinks there’s something loose in the wiring or something like that. This is (at least) the third time that this kind of thing has happened. Every time I buy some new thing for the computer it dies. That ungrateful piece of crap…Fortunately this time my hard drive wasn’t erased (yet, at least.) But I had the chance to move my money files and the all important wedding stuff over to his laptop. I’ll try to get the rest of my stuff off before it self-destructs but I have a feeling that might be difficult. Anyway, this whole thing will result in me buying a new computer. Most likely tonight.

Anyway, I got dinner all ready and we decided to tempt fate and try and run back up to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get some big bowls before my dad and Cheryl showed up. Luckily, they called as we got off the highway to tell us they were running late. Score. We got the bowls (and, through Adam’s impulse buying, some really yummy candy-covered pretzels) and made it back home with plenty of time to finish vacuuming before everyone showed up.

When Dad and Cheryl got to our apartment we headed up to Kaukauna. We actually passed Adam’s parents on the way and they followed us the rest of the way there. I had this bad feeling that we were going to get to the store and they were going to be closed. I thought perhaps I should have called them to let them know we were going to be coming up. Luckily we got there right as they were going to close up shop. They are open 12-4 on Sundays but apparently no one had come at all until we showed up around 3 and the salespeople were getting restless. Whew! What luck. So we all swarmed into the store. I believe I referred to the crowd as “my entourage.” I took Cheryl and Adam’s mom with me back to the dressing area where I showed off my dress. It really is a beautiful dress. While Adam was busy picking out tuxes we stole my dad and his dad away for a minute so they could peek at it as well. I don’t have to do any alterations or anything until about June so the dress will be hanging out in their vault until then. Adam decided what color and style all the tuxes will be so his job is pretty much done. (heh) I also placed the order for the Catherines’ dresses. I have no idea how long they’ll take to come back but I highly doubt they’ll be as quick as mine was.

After thanking the ladies for sticking around for us, we all headed back to our apartment. Dinner still had about 45 minutes left to go so we just settled in to watch the Packer game for a while. Dinner went well. I was kind of nervous since this is the first time I cooked for 6 people. It worked out though. The Hobo Meatball Stew was yummy and Adam’s choice of cheesecake was a hit as well. After dinner we watched the rest of the game, opened some gifts from Dad and Cheryl, and then everyone went home. And I left the mess in the kitchen until last night.

We went to bed totally early. I think we fell asleep during Family Guy even. Kind of sad, but it was a long day.

Guinea Pig Crisis

I kind of completely forgot to mention something important last week.

Last weekend (or, I suppose, two weekends ago now) I finally got around to doing some online research about our two guinea pigs. Mo had developed some nasty scabs and Einstein started to lose his hair. From a few different resources I determined it was probably mites. The only thing we could do was take the boys to the vet. Unfortunately, the closest exotic pet vet is in Hortonville. So on Monday both Adam and I took off from work early and we loaded the guys into carrying boxes and headed to the vet. The doctor examined them both and did skin grafts to see if she could see any mites. She found them. The treatment for mites is in shot form since the mites burrow underneath the skin. So both Mo and Einstein got a shot. Einstein was really good about it but you could hear Mo scream throughout the clinic. Poor guy.

I had to get to handbell practice so Adam dropped me off at the church and he went home and cleaned out their cages. Fortunately they don’t seem to have a very good long-term memory and they don’t hate me. I only cuddled with them once since then though since I don’t want to spread anything around. Einstein is definitely looking better and Mo seems to be improving as well. On the downside – the treatment is a series of 3 shots, each a week apart. So tonight Adam will be taking them in for shot #2. Hopefully it will all be taken care of after the third shot. Otherwise we’ll have to decide if we want to do a round of antibiotics. There comes a point where you have to do a cost analysis but hopefully we won’t have to get to that point. They both seem happy enough. They’re definitely eating and playing around.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Earning Interest

Savings Accounts earn 4.5% APY @ INGDirect.com and 5.05% APY @ EmigrantDirect.com

How is it that I was completely unaware of these banks? It’s kind of annoying to think of how much more I could have earned if I had put all my individual and joint savings into one of these accounts rather than let it all sit at Capital earning a measly 1% APY. Grrr. Live and learn I guess. At least I still have 8 good months to let it make a little more for me.

Reading various personal finance blogs has educated me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Xmas Overachiever

I am SO on top of things this year. Right now all my Christmas cards (including tons of Save-the-Date cards too) are sitting on the ledge, waiting to be taken to the post office tomorrow. Yes, my tongue is totally dry and tastes like nasty minty stuff, but it's done and I can let the papercuts heal. Ok, so there weren't really that many. We are sending out a little more than 50 cards. Even so, it was a good two or three hour job to get them all assembled.

So glad it's done. I can't wait for invitation time!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The 12-1-06 Post That Was Forgotten

Here is the long-awaited post mentioned here

It’s pretty cool how quickly time goes when you’re actually doing stuff.

As expected, this week was pretty eventful. So much so that I only got to torture Mo once. And not for very long (although that was more because he peed on me than because I didn’t have time for him…)

On Monday I had handbells and I was no longer the newest member. That didn’t last long. :) Another woman showed up at the practice. She apparently had been a member previously and had been part of other groups as well. But she hadn’t rung in something like 10 years. But she wanted everyone to know that she had done some shelly-ringing (where you ring two bells per hand – it’s complicated and requires much more coordination than I possess.) That said, (and with no snooty overtones at all) she kind of sucked. With all her experience, I had high expectations. And she had the teeny bells I originally was going to take. The ones that play like 5 times each song. Or not at all. Anywho, I don’t know when I last played handbells (in high school sometime… probably at least 6 years…) but I seemed to be able to pick up and go. Maybe I’m just packed with musical talent. Woo. Uh oh, I’m getting snooty. Better move on. In addition to the previously mentioned Red Hatters concert we’re also doing a program for Landmark Staffing in mid-December as well. Luckily this bumped a Saturday night mass that was on the schedule for the same night as my next UWO Accounting get-together so now I don’t have some major moral dilemma to struggle with. (Oh, come on, of course I’d choose the handbells.)

On Tuesday we got in the Christmas spirit along with Tina and Jeff (my co-worker and her husband). We went to dinner at (where else) Good Company and then headed to the PAC to see Lorie Line. We had good seats. Box seats - meaning my butt could fit in them and I didn’t have “obnoxious drunk lady” elbowing me the whole time. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had never heard of Lorie Line until Tina mentioned her. Apparently she’s really big in the Twin Cities (where Tina’s from.) Anyway, I’d describe it as Manheim Steamroller-ish. Ms. Line plays her amped-up piano in conjuction with her mini-orchestra and occasionally a vocalist. Each year there’s a theme and this year was the Traditions of Christmas. Meaning, the story of Christ’s birth. Yay. But there were some funny moments. Mr. Line (that is, Lorie’s husband) played all the narrative characters ranging from St. Nick to Charles Dickens to King Herod. Either it was completely improvised or he was having a really hard time remembering his lines. In any case, he was hilarious. I think my favorite part was when the children in the audience were herded out and then herded onstage in costumes. The camel cracked me up.



Tina says this was one of the worst years she’s seen (and she’s seen many) but it was still enjoyable. We even got a bell ornament and 3 fake candles in the deal.

I don’t even remember what I did on Wednesday. I know I went shopping and did some cleaning. Other than that I must have zoned out in front of the tv. This is when the aforementioned guinea pig peeing happened. I had him on my stomach on the couch and all of the sudden I got really warm. I almost dropped him while running him back to his cage. And I had just put the last load of laundry in the washer. Little bastard. LoL. I don’t think he did it on purpose. I had him with Einstein in their play pen and he tends to relieve himself in there all the time. I guess I took him out too soon. Oh well.

Yesterday we had our engagement photo session. We had fun contorting ourselves into strange positions to get good poses. At the end of the day we had about 70 pictures to choose from. We’ll be sending out Christmas cards next week sometime with our favorite. I’ll also be posting some of my favorite outtakes on the wedding website. There are so many of me looking stoned or with my tongue out. I’m so not photogenic. Also, Adam’s mom has printed and cut all our save-the-date cards so those will be sent out soon as well. It looks like we’ve adopted a “build-a-bear” bride and groom theme. It’s somewhat appropriate since we own so many of their products and have bride and groom bears for the reception.

This weekend will be pretty low-key. I don’t have anything planned (that I can remember anyway) and Adam will mostly be working. His stint as Santa Claus will begin soon. Then next week he’s in California for 5 days, leaving me to my own devices. Muahahahaha. (Yeah, right. We all know I’ll sit around doing nothing all week. Or maybe I’ll go on a list-making frenzy. That sounds fun.)

So, I’ll be updating the wedding website soon. I’m considering adding a blog there. I’m not completely sure yet but it’s a distinct possibility. Other than that I’ll be sitting at home with hot chocolate, mourning the end of the warm fall days.

Wedding Weirdness

I’m a little bit in shock. I got a call today from Bridal Staircase, the place where we’re getting all our wedding apparel. Apparently Alfred Angelo had the dress I ordered in stock in the proper size so today, a mere 23 days after I ordered it, I got a call telling me my dress has arrived at the store and I can come try it on and ogle it whenever I’d like. What happened to the “you must order 7 months in advance or else you’ll be walking down the aisle naked” thing? Strange…

Friday, December 01, 2006

Wedding Blog

Since I moved to Tripod and they have a blog function on their website I have started a special blog over there. URL is http://marthaandadam.tripod.com/blog/

I just posted our Engagement photos over there so check it out.

Also, I wrote a totally long and developed entry while at work today and forgot to email it to myself so I could add the pictures. I'll post it on Monday. If I remember.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Martha From A to Z

accent: Mid-western Wisconsinite with a touch of nasally Sheboyganese still lingering.

booze: I really don’t drink much anymore. When I do, usually strawberry margaritas or Miller Lite

chore I hate: vacuuming and cleaning the shower

dogs/cats: I like them both. If I had to choose, cats, because their poo is smaller.

essential electronics: Adam’s iPod is cool. It keeps me entertained at work

favorite perfume/cologne: I wear Vanilla Fields. Adam has some Mary Kay thing that smells good.

gold/silver: gold (white)

hometown: Sheboygan, WI

insomnia: not much anymore now that I’m not in college

job title: Staff Accountant

kids: nope

living arrangements: With Adam in a two bedroom apartment

most admired trait: My admired trait? I don’t know. My organizational skills?

number of sexual partners: pleading the 5th on this one. Remember – family blog!

overnight hospital stays: none that I can think of. Well, maybe when I was born. I don’t know if that counts.

phobia: I dislike bugs. Especially the big ones with lots of legs.

quote: I don’t really have one. I think my quote on my yahoo profile might still be the Homer Simpson quote, “If I could just say a few words… I’d be a better public speaker.” That still cracks me up.

religion: none. But I’m Catholic by association. :)

siblings: Older brother, younger sister. Yes, that makes me the tortured middle child. Very tortured.

time I usually wake up: On days when Adam works his normal hours, 6 or 6:30. On days he flexes time, 5:45. Weekends, 7.

unusual talent: All my talents are un-unusual.

vegetable I refuse to eat: brussell sprouts. Lima beans. Mushrooms (wait, that’s a fungus…)

worst habit: I bite my nails. Still.

x-rays: none that I can remember

yummy foods I make: everything I make is yummy!

zodiac sign: Aquarius

Monday, November 27, 2006

December is coming...

This is shaping up to be a busy week. Well, comparatively at least. Tonight I have handbells. Tomorrow we have tickets for the Christmas Extravaganza with Lorie Line and her orchestra at the PAC. Thursday is our engagement photo. And then Friday it’s DECEMBER. Crazy.

I haven’t yet got my secret Santa gifts squared away. I went to Kohl’s yesterday after church but I couldn’t find anything I liked. Ok, so I bought myself some fuzzy socks (and they’re really comfy.) But secret Santa-wise, I got nothing. I guess I just don’t know what they really are looking for. I might have to make a phone call. *sigh*

Speaking of Christmas items, Adam and I are toying with the idea of having a “Holiday Open House” of sorts sometime during the month. His aunt and uncle will be in the area for awhile along with Tony, the groomsman in our wedding. He says we’ll talk about it on Thursday but I think the most difficult aspect will be finding a day that he is free. Christmas is always crazy in retail. Add to that the fact that he’s hopping a plane to California for five days next week. Hopefully things will work out. It could be fun. And it would give me an excuse to get those cute reindeer and snowman dishes. :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Barry's New House

While looking for bedding Adam found this new house for Barry. He had been chewing through his house and it was ready to cave in on him any day. So what could be better than a house that is MEANT to be eaten? And it looks pretty snazzy as well.



And while we were cleaning out cages, Gus started running in his wheel (which was on its side) and each time he ran, he'd fly backwards when he got too high up. It was hilarious. (Ok, so maybe I was the only one who thought so. Still...)

I'm a joiner

I went to my first handbell rehearsal this past Monday. I had missed the one the previous week due to a terrible headache which induced sleep at like 5:30.

Anyway, I got there totally early, went in the wrong door, and spent about 20 minutes chatting with Nancy, the director. I indicated that I had rung before and could read handbell music. I was unsure how quickly it would all come back to me so I was hesitant to take the C & D(6) right off the bat. I agreed to take the next octave up and do the C and D in songs where fewer octaves were used. As fate would have it, the first piece they did was Carol of the Bells. It didn't use the higher octave so I got the lower C & D which are heavily used in the piece. I guess I did fine and they moved me to that position permanently.

The group is made up of 6 other ladies and Nancy. They are all pretty good and most have been with the group for a while. It was nice to be able to jump in and go through songs with people who can actually play through a whole piece. And read music. Although I admit one of the sheets I had was totally marked up and highlighted and it threw me off a bit (since the notes marked weren't mine!)

The group is playing this Sunday and again the second Saturday in December. And get this (mom, you're going to love this): They are going to play a Christmas concert for a local Red Hatters group as well. They do an hour-long concert at the church on Christmas Eve before the (10 o'clock) midnight mass. It was fun and I'm glad I went and joined in. Don't hold your breath on the choir though. One thing at a time...

Flowers

Since we both had the day off and found ourselves in the general vicinity of the place Adam wants to go for flowers we decided to stop by and see what kinds of things they had to offer. Their "wedding consultant" was going to be gone "for a long time" so we just browsed through the books they had. We got a pretty good idea about what we want for most of the parties involved. I'm still working on my bouquets and the Catherine's flowers. It looks like most of the flowers will be carnations, calla lillies, and hyacinths with some green and smaller stuff thrown in to make it pretty. I dislike roses so I'm trying to avoid them. It's really hard though. Most bouquets are roses of some kind. We'll make an appointment to actually talk to the pro whenever Adam has some time off. In the meantime, I have to keep my eyes open and see if I can find some kind of bouquet I like.

I'm not a flower person.

Thanksgiving

This year I got a turkey and a pie free through work. Instead of attempting to cook the bird myself, I pawned it off on Adam's mom. We got the whole family together for a more traditional version of the holiday than last year. (Last year we had lasagna because his mom had just had shoulder surgery.) Everyone brought something and it was a good time. We arrived a little early and I sat and watched football with his dad and sister while Adam installed their new all-in-one printer. The dinner was great with lots of good food. I think everyone ate way too much. Adam disappeared again for a while to mess with another computer issue, taking Chris along with him for a bit. I stayed mostly in the living room with everyone else. We left along with Terry and Katie and Chris and after a quick stop at Walmart (for pet bedding so we could clean out the cages - turns out they didn't have it anyway) we headed home to recover from the turkey shock.

I've never been very big on holidays. In fact, I generally loathed them. But in this past couple years, things have changed. Well, ok, MANY things have changed. But get this: when we got home last night we hauled out the tree and it's up and decorated already. Presents are wrapped and under it. The garland and lights went outside this afternoon. And I'm ok with it. I even bought a Santa hat. I suppose there's nothing wrong with being enthusiastic about holidays. It's just so out of character. I enjoy spending time with Adam's family. We did a secret Santa thing again this year. I think it's so great that I can hang out with his parents and sisters and feel so welcomed and part of things.

Anyway, yesterday was fun. We didn't go shopping this morning. We're the sane kind of people. We did head out around noon to go get pet bedding and it didn't seem too busy at the places we went. I'll be heading back to pick Adam up at 11 and we'll be investigating some kind of snowman or reindeer to put on our balcony. It looks naked. Then the only thing missing will be the snow. (Which can stay away for as long as it wants in my opinion. It was 50+ today. In November. Crazy.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wedding Website

Ok, hopefully this will be the last time I have to build our website. I got totally frustrated with godaddy and just gave up on that site. Forget about that one. I got a new one with Lycos. The new site is linked on the right or you can click here to view it. It's not totally done yet but it's decent.

Film Confusion

So I'm a member of the Columbia House DVD club. At least until I muster the motivation to call them and cancel. This month's director's selection card came with a big booklet of gift ideas. In the "romance" great gift makers section it says "Love conquers all in these odd-couple romances." The romances shown are Prime, Sleepless in Seattle, and The Way We Were. Am I missing something here? The couple ends up together in only one of these films. How is that conquering all? True, I particularly liked Prime because it bucked happy-ending tradition and kept them apart. And The Way We Were, that's just a classic. It just struck me as odd that this is the way Columbia House chose to categorize and promote these films. Maybe it's just me...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Random Wedding Post

So we’re at the 9 month mark. 270 days until THE day. We’re in good shape.

We’re trying to find a time to go talk with the flower people but their hours of operation aren’t very compatible with our work schedules. We’ll get to it. We still have to talk with Adam’s parents about their budget anyway.

I don’t think I ever mentioned it, but I ordered my dress a week and a half ago. So now I have the swatches I need to get moving on the candles. I ordered my first attempt at my shoes and they should arrive sometime soon. They’re 4” heels so we’ll see if that pumps me up enough. I haven’t ordered the Catherines’ dresses yet because I’m still waiting on measurements. Perhaps I should have given a due date… I’ve investigated the veil/tiara options and know pretty much what I want but I haven’t narrowed it down to a specific one.

Right now we’re having a debate about the wording on our “save the date” cards. I can’t wait until invitation and program time. :)

We have our engagement photo session next week at which point we can send out Christmas cards and think about putting announcements in the paper(s).

We haven’t heard back from our prospective vocalist. I also haven’t made up my mind about what I want to do organist-wise. I got a few names from my mom but I think I’ll do some more reconnaissance before I make a decision one way or another.

As mentioned in a previous post, we made some progress on gifts. We plan to check back with Sprecher in a few months to see how their development of gift bags is going.

That’s about all for wedding updates for now. I plan to revamp the website before I send the link to 100+ people so keep an eye out for that.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Beer... and an Opera

Yesterday was a busy day. We had opera tickets for Don Giovanni down in Milwaukee and decided to make a day of it.

We had caught part of an episode of Road Tasted featuring 3 Wisconsin places: Beechwood Cheese Factory, Sprecher Brewery, and Bendsten's Bakery. We decided that since the first two were (kind of) on the way to Milwaukee we stop by and take a gander. With the help of Jill we wound through some rustic country roads avoiding being shot by hunters to the Beechwood Cheese Factory. We couldn't take a tour but we could buy some of their famous chicken soup cheese. From the store we could see into the production facilities. It's a cute little place and Adam tells me the cheese curds were excellent.

Then we headed to Glendale where we had reservations for a brewery tour at Sprecher. The tour itself was relatively short since it's a small microbrewery with only one brew kettle. After the tour we got to the fun: the tasting. With our $3 tour admission came a complementary 8 or 10 oz beer glass and coupons for 4 samples. Between Adam and I, we tasted 6. Neither of us could manage to get through all four samples. It's not that the beer wasn't good - it was great - it's just that it was a lot of beer to be drinking before eating lunch. In any case, we stopped by the gift shop on the way out and bought some of their beer bread mix, beer cheese soup mix, and enough root beer to last Adam well into the new year.

After imbibing a little too much alcohol on an empty stomach we decided we should go get some food. We tried stopping at Kopps but I wasn't really in a greasy food mood so after a random stop at Casual Male we ended up at McDonald's for salads. (Applebee's and Red Robin were too busy. McDonald's was practically deserted. Go figure.)

After lunch we went to two of the three local Marshall's stores. I found a pair of jeans I liked and managed to get a great dress coat for 50% off. Go me! We didn't need to get to the Marcus Center until 6:30 so we had some time to kill. We first stopped at Target for a lint roller. I still needed to get changed though so we attempted to find a Walmart since the bathroom at Target was "closed for cleaning." After two false Walmarts from Jill (the first was a Sam's club, the second a Bally Fitness club and CBS office building...) we ended up at a Walmart in Mexico. Ok, so it was in Milwaukee but you could have fooled me. After fighting through a crowd of unruly children up in the bathrooms in the front of the store I opted for the layaway bathrooms. I had to wait a few minutes for an obnoxious little girl to get out of the handicapped stall and then she yelled and screamed in Spanish the entire time I was getting changed. Then I discovered my chosen outfit had become a tad too small in the last year or so. That was depressing. So I was kind of crabby when I emerged from the bathroom.

We headed to the Marcus Center and got there in plenty of time. After some confusion about where the men's bathroom was, we settled in to listen to the pre-performance lecture for a few minutes. We got seated as soon as the doors opened. I must say that even though the price of the tickets seemed steep, it was well worth the money. They were great seats. We had the last two seats of a row right by a railing so no one sat in front of us. Legroom is good. We were also almost straight on to the stage, relatively close, with a good view of the supertitles. I don't think we could have gotten better seats without going for a box. There was some unpleasantness with our neighboring opera goers crinkling candy wrappers and drying to discreetly open a contraband soda. And then there was the guy hacking up a lung behind us. And the people who were late, tried to sit in the wrong row and had to walk all the way back out again. But, after all that stuff was settled we were free to enjoy the show.

All in all, it was a good performance. All of the singers sang in tune and none of them had particularly grating voices. Donna Anna in specifc had a nice, clear voice that I enjoyed. There were some interesting stage things and during the epilogue they had a smoking suitcase thrown onto stage and Don Giovanni emerged wearing a white suit, looking kind of like George Michael. As the other characters sang about the lesson to be learned, Don Giovanni drank champagne with some blondes in slinky dresses. It was a cute way to end the classic opera with a modern touch.

I had been a little concerned since this was completely my idea and I kind of had to drag Adam to come. He enjoyed it though and thanked me for making him come. He even asked if we were going to go to the other operas being performed this year (MacBeth and The Barber of Seville.) I had originally told him no. We had a conversation about the famous "Figaro" aria though (he thought it was from "The Marriage of Figaro" and I was pretty sure it was from "The Barber of Seville.") Turns out I was right so perhaps he'll want to go see that one as well. We'll see I guess. It makes me happy that he can appreciate some of the stuff I introduce to him.

Anyway, after fighting with massive traffic and road construction we got back on the highway and headed home. I changed in the car and I think I gave a guy quite the show at a red light. Heh. We got home and pretty much crashed.

I made some of the beer bread this afternoon. It's a bit salty at first but it's pretty good. I've got two more batches to do though - we're trying to figure out which beer tastes the best. (The beer bread mix and a bottle of a local beer are going to be part of the giftbags for out-of-towners at our wedding.) I'll be making the beer cheese soup in about an hour so it's fresh when he gets home from work.

Words of Wisdom from the December Issue of Cosmo

So, I stopped subscribing to Cosmo earlier this year, but when Adam needed to use up some points for some survey club he's in he re-subscribed me. So now I am the recipient of many, many hot and naughty tips on various subjects. Woo.

In the December issue I got yesterday, there were a few things that attracted my attention. Firstly, apparently I'm not the only one hooked on the food channel. Cosmo tells me "these days, lots of women are clicking on the Food Network to relax." "Viewing someone prepare a meal..comforts us." Good to know I'm semi-normal on that one.

Secondly, there is a whole article entitled "What Smart Girlfriends Never Do." Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and talk show host, shares his seven biggest no-no's for couples who are too comfortable around each other. Hmm. Let's just say that according to this guy, I'm a really dumb girlfriend.

#1: Giving Gifts his Mom Would Buy: Gist: Don't buy him clothes. Honestly, I've never bought him underwear. But most of the gifts I do get him are of the clothing sort. He always needs clothes and he almost always asks me to come along when he buys them for himself. What's so wrong with buying clothing for your SO?
#2: Flossing Together: Gist: Don't let your SO see you do personal maintenance. Let him believe you look the way you do with no effort whatsoever. And never, NEVER, go to the bathroom with the door open. *sigh* So I'm a total loser on this one. I've sat around on the couch with the scary green face mask and the biore pore-cleaning strips on. I pee in front of him all the time (and he returns the favor.) What's wrong with that? I think it's a good thing when two people are that comfortable with each other. Sure, it removes some "mystery" but come on, everyone pees. Or is that everyone poops. I forget.
#3: Drifting into a Sex Rut: No comment. This is a family blog. Bwahahahaha.
#4: Baring All, All the Time: Gist: Don't walk around the house naked. This doctor even says he'd go as far as to say that you should never see your SO getting dressed. Undressing only. Pfft. Sometimes being naked is just more comfortable. But I'm less of an offender on this one than Adam is.
#5: Flaunting your Flaws: Gist: You are perfect. Don't let them see you're not. What a bunch of hooey. Everyone has issues. Eventually they're going to see them. Why try and hide what's obvious anyway?
#6: Dressing Down, Down, Down: Gist: Don't fall into a flannel nightgown rut. And don't put your sexy undies in the laundry basket where he can see them. Pfft. I've got nothing to say about this one. I like my SpongeBob pjs. So there.
#7: Spending Every Night Together: Gist: Too much togetherness=bad. Since we live together we kind of have to see each other every day. And there's nothing wrong with that. With Adam working and my IMA stuff, there are times we don't spend time together. Whew, at least I got one right!

Yeah, so obviously this Dr. Ablow is an idiot who probably isn't married. Who would want to be with a guy who only wants to see the perfect you and only wants you naked if you're going to have sex with him. What an ass.

Thank you Cosmo for these wonderful bits of information. :)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Commentaire Musicale

Ok, so I'm at peace with the fact that every hunting season (which is now) I'll be subjected to at least 5 rounds with "da Thirty Point Buck" song (which I actually heard on the way home this evening.) It comes with the territory.

The new Justin Timberlake song would be ok if it weren't for the fact that he always sounds like he was kicked in the balls one time too many.

I don't give a crap why honey is calling you so late. Shut up already. I hate that song.

But I cannot deal with Christmas music yet. I heard the most awful song ever (I think I've mentioned it before. Has that obnoxious children's choir singing about "so this is Christmas. Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh") today at lunch and I yelled "nooooo!!!" at the radio and hit another preset button.

And so it begins

Pictures

Tonight I get to have my picture taken. In 7 different poses, I’m told. Ugh. This one is definitely my mom’s fault. She wants a professionally taken picture for Christmas so tonight I get to head to the portrait studio and display my un-photogenic-ness. I hope it doesn’t take too long. I also hope the crop of bad skin that has popped up over the past few days isn’t too distracting. *sigh* The things you do in the name of “family.” (Just kidding…)

I also get to have more pictures taken in about two weeks. On a whim, we decided to set up our free engagement photo appointment in time to make holiday picture cards to send with our Christmas card/letter. It will do double duty as our “Save the Date” notice as well. Not particularly looking forward to that either, but the photographer is a nice guy and having Adam in the picture will take some of the attention away from me. I hope it doesn’t become some clich├ęd tradition though. I don’t want to be one of those people who send a picture of their family every year.

Did I mention that I hate having my picture taken?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Isn't he Handsome?

This Sucks



Literally.

Bwahahahahaha

So, before my mom came to visit a week or so ago Adam broke our vacuum cleaner. He was vacuuming (duh) and all of the sudden it apparently sputtered to a stop. Permanently. (He also knocked over a lamp which put it out of commission as well.)

Anywho, since our vacuum was broken we had to go get a new one. Adam was elated when he found this one since it has an adjustable handle so he doesn't have to stoop like the Hunchback of Notre Dame while vacuuming.

Oh, the joys of household appliances.

But you'll remember how excited I was when I first got the other vacuum cleaner. I posted a picture of it back then too...



Rest in Peace, Dirt Devil.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Nativity Story

So there’s this new film coming out in time for Christmas. It’s called The Nativity Story. The plot might be familiar and I’m guessing the ending isn’t particularly surprising. Does anyone else have a problem with the fact that the actress who plays Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is 16 years old and is pregnant by her 19-year-old boyfriend? Seems to kind of go against the whole “holy virgin mother” persona. True, she’s just an actress portraying a character in a film, but don’t you think the producers of the film would have chosen someone who was a little more on their side? Take “7th Heaven”, for example. When Jessica Biel started acting out and doing things that the producers of the show didn’t like, they wrote her out of the show. The whole thing just seems a little odd to me.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Oh No...

I just noticed that I am someone who says "eee!"

Moving On...

So I’ve really accomplished nothing this week. I don’t know where the time went. Adam was home on Tuesday night so we went to see a movie (The Prestige – it’s pretty good.) Wednesday he had off from Walmart but ended up having a dinner with some Cisco people so he was gone all night. I did laundry and I’m not sure what else to pass the time. Yesterday he worked so I was on my own. I cooked some food to create leftovers and then cleaned up the mess I made. After that, I’m not sure what I did. I didn’t even torture the furry guys. I think I probably fell asleep pretty early. Tonight he has off. Yes, on a Friday. This is rare so hopefully we can live it up a little. Unfortunately it’s been snowing for most of the afternoon and it’s supposed to continue doing so for a while. Right now plans are to go to a movie (probably Stranger Than Fiction.) Not sure what else is in the works.

Anywho, this next week will be the week of dropping more money on clothing than I’ve ever done before in my life. The kicker is it’s for something I’ll only wear once. Kind of ridiculous. So it goes I guess. I’ve gotta have the big white dress. I’ll probably head up to Kaukauna again on Wednesday to order the dress. How exciting. (No, seriously.) The dress is pretty much the defining characteristic of the bride so by (finally) ordering the dress I can kick into “Eeee, I’m getting married!!!” mode.

Now if any of you found that last sentence as preposterous as I did, you know me pretty well.

Yes, I’m a control freak and I’m over-planning and over-analyzing every aspect of this wedding. I’m probably driving Adam crazy. And if not, don’t worry, I will soon enough. I just want to get as many things squared away in advance so when August 17th comes, I can sit back and enjoy it rather than obsess over whether the decorations got to the reception hall or what have you. I admired the fact that Katie seemed so relaxed and calm on her wedding day. That’s how I’d like to be. Even so, I highly doubt I’ll turn into some kind of “Bridezilla” or the kind of person who says “eeee!!!”

If I do, punch me in the arm. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Visit from Mom

I think my mom’s visit was a rather successful one. We picked her up at 3:30am on Sunday down in Milwaukee. We were almost on time except the exit Jill told us to take didn’t exist (stupid Marquette construction…) so we had to overshoot and come back to the Greyhound station. We then drove back home and got in a few more hours of sleep. We went to the 9:30 mass, which was a huge mistake. It’s the “family mass” and there were entirely too many people there. And definitely too many people in the kid category. We had to sit way in the back but at least I didn’t have to let people climb over me to go take communion. This gave my mom an opportunity to see the church but unfortunately the service was accompanied by the piano rather than the organ so she didn’t get to hear that.

After church we stopped for a donut and then went back home. Having had part of her luggage stolen in Las Vegas, my mom and I went shopping to pick up some of the stuff she lost. I also found some new sweaters and a new bed-in-a-bag. (That’s another story that perhaps I’ll get to later.) While Adam watched the Packers get their butts kicked, I took a short nap and my mom surfed the net. We headed up to Appleton to have dinner at Good Company with Adam’s parents. This gave my mom the opportunity to see where the rehearsal dinner will be held and get a sampling of the food at our favorite restaurant in the area. I think things went well. Everyone seemed to get along and the topics that may have caused problems didn’t come up. After fighting over the bill we headed back to Adam’s parents’ house for awhile. He disappeared into the basement for quite some time while the rest of us chatted by the fire. After a few loud bangs he reappeared and joined in. We headed home early since we were all tired due to the disruption in our sleep that morning.

On Monday morning we got to sleep later than usual since I was on vacation and it was a normal day for Adam. I actually got up at 7 and watched my episode of 7th Heaven that I had DVR-d the night before. Then I went back to wake Adam up. After he left for work my mom and I sat around talking for awhile and then I finally got moving, took a shower, and we left to do some heavy-duty wedding shopping. I took her to all the stores I had investigated. Originally I had only planned to go to two of them but somehow we ended up at 4 (plus 2 shoe stores…) I guess we got caught up in the moment or something. We started downtown at The Brides. I tried on two dresses there, both of which were good choices. We browsed the veils and the mother-of-the-bride selections and I also showed her the bridesmaid dress I had chosen. We then headed out to Kaukauna to Bridal Staircase. I tried on a dress there and once again looked at the head accoutrements. We peeked in at the tuxes only to find that the area was overtaken by costumes left from Halloween. After that we drove back to Appleton and stopped for lunch at Mary’s. Since we were so close, we stopped in at Bridal Event after lunch (they’re right across the street from each other.) We got some good tips for the salesperson there about veils and what kind of veil would look good with the dress I’d chosen. Then we went across town to David’s to satisfy my curiosity as to whether the first dress I had tried on back in May was still there. It wasn’t. That didn’t surprise me, but they sure did try to find something else that I might like. The salesperson even ran out the door as we were leaving to tell me that Green Bay might have it. And the tux lady accosted me for the third time. We checked out the various MOTB dresses and veils and all that jazz at David’s just for fun. I also showed her the original inspiration for the bridesmaid dress I chose. She agreed that they were quite similar. To use up the rest of her film we headed to DSW so I could show her the shoes I was considering. After dropping her film at the one hour lab in Walmart (yes, she went to Walmart. She wouldn’t let me take her picture in it for proof though) we went over to the mall for a little to kill time. After an hour and a half we got her pictures back and went back home so she could pack her things. We watched a little Rachael Ray before setting off to Kohler. It was horrible driving weather – dark and foggy – and I always seemed to have some annoying truck tailgating me. But we made it pretty much on time to Mary Ann’s place. I stayed for dinner. We walked over to Quizno’s. I had never been to a Quizno’s before but I was very unimpressed. I ordered a chicken Caesar flatbread salad thing which was romaine, chicken, a three cheese blend, tomatoes, and red onions with a peppercorn dressing. I asked for it without the cheese or onions. What I got was romaine, chicken and bacon. There is not bacon on a Caesar salad. And I didn’t get tomatoes. And they tried to give me honey mustard dressing. *sigh* Not good. Anyway, I headed home around 9:30 and the drive back was a lot easier than the drive there had been. The fog must have burned off in those two hours. It was nice.

So, the conclusion to this long entry about the past couple days is this: I’ve chosen my dress and will be ordering it in the next week. I have to double check which measurements the store wants so I can get the Catherines’ dresses ordered as well. (Heads up, guys.) After which I can get color swatches and move on with the next set of tasks, including the flowers. I will also be ordering a pair of shoes soon so I can check them out. I can’t find them in any store so I decided to risk buying them on the internet in the hopes that they’re what I want. I’ll need to have the shoes and all the undergarment type things before the dress comes back so the alterations are accurate. Granted, the dress won’t be in until March or April, but I might as well get a head start since I’m the master of procrastination. I’m thinking I’ll wait for the veil and headpiece until after the dress is in but I have a pretty good idea of what I want already and I just need to find the right one in a brand the store carries.

Whew.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bumper Stickers

Saw this one on my way back to work at lunch this afternoon:

I’m so glad Mary & Joseph weren’t pro-choice

Now, I have a problem with this for many reasons. I’ll try not to go off on some kind of political/moral diatribe here, but I did have that gay marriage rant awhile back (and let me say, I will be soooo glad when this election is over with!)

First I must state that I am pro-choice. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has any idea about my political leanings. While I am pro-choice, I myself would never practice that freedom. If I had gotten pregnant at any time in the past, I’d have a child with me right now. (Luckily, that is a bullet I successfully dodged.) That said, I have no problem with other people making the decision they feel is right, no matter what their situation is. In fact, I think there are situations that would have been much better had the woman taken that path. Some people should not have children. Enough said.

Secondly, I hate that people are using some fictional bible characters to support their side of the argument. Mary and Joseph aren’t exactly Jane and Joe Smith of the everyday person. If you believe the story, they didn’t even have sex and she got knocked up! I’m willing to bet that if every woman who found herself in that situation got a house call from God, they’d keep their baby too. Thing is, the average woman doesn’t have a choir of angels hovering over her while she’s giving birth. They don’t have rich kings giving them priceless treasures. Chances are most of them wouldn’t even have Joseph anymore by the time the baby came. It’s just so unrealistic to compare these situations.

We could sit and argue when life begins forever and no one would be satisfied. I think abortion is one of those issues that no matter what the law is, someone is unhappy. I also think I’ll stop now before I get off on some tangent and digress into something less friendly.

Cooking for Adam (and other things)

This past Sunday Adam started this new “Eat Healthy for a Week” meal plan thing. He found it on MSN.com and sent it to me last week, requesting that I cook the stuff for him to take along to work. I started on Sunday afternoon and cooked all the meals through Wednesday night. I planned to make Thursday through Saturday tonight. Last night he came home from work and crashed. When I woke him up for dinner he took one look at it and made this “how gross” look. It was fettuccine with peppers, asparagus, onions, and chicken. He told me that everything was starting to taste the same. And his pee was stinky from all the asparagus. He then gave up on the eating healthy plan and dug into the spinach-artichoke dip I had made.

We became obsessed with this particular dish when we went to Applebee’s a little while ago. It was so good we decided we needed to find a recipe so we could have it every day. I got a fairly simple recipe from FoodNetwork.com and tried it out for the first time last night. Aside from the problems I had keeping the spinach and artichokes in the pot as I stirred them and the cream cheese explosion in the microwave, it turned out great. Adventures with food are fun.

Tonight I get to foray into the world of stuffed pork chops. This pork was originally to be cooked as part of his healthy week, but with that out the window I have two huge, thick pork chops to do something with. I found a simple recipe without a lot of obscure, expensive ingredients. I’ll still have to stop at the grocery store, but since I wanted to go get some more cream cheese to make more spinach-artichoke dip anyway, that’s fine with me. I’m also tempted to make some more bacon fried rice. That’s vying for my favorite recipe spot right now.

Not a lot else is going on around here right now. We’ve got a whole lotta cleaning to do before my mom shows up on Sunday. I expect that to take up pretty much my whole day Saturday. Our big plans for the weekend include, uhm, cleaning. Then we’ll be going to Milwaukee at 3am on Sunday to pick my mom up from the Greyhound station. She says we can come get her whenever we want, but I don’t really want to leave her sitting in Milwaukee in the middle of the night. Then we have church and dinner with Adam’s parents. Woo! As for the rest of this week, nothing interesting will happen. Adam has tomorrow night off and he plans to get the insulation up for the remaining windows in the house and vacuum the stairs. We party hard, I tell ya.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I'm Considering Something Crazy

We went to mass this morning and for the first time I heard the handbell choir play during the service. They were actually pretty good although the pieces they played weren't particularly difficult. It got me thinking. I kind of miss doing that kind of thing - handbell choir, regular choir. I know I said I wasn't going to get involved with anything that was a church group, but it seems like that might be the easiest choice.

As fate would have it, during the announcements they said the handbell group is looking for new members. They meet on Monday evenings, which I can do. I certainly have a decent amount of experience! I'm not sure this is a good idea yet but I suppose I could always just show up tomorrow and see what happens. Their choir meets on Wednesdays, which I can also do, but I'm not sure how much I want to get involved with considering I'm not Catholic, I'm not a member, and I have no intention of becoming either of those things... I suppose I could write it all off as a social endeavor.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Honeymoon Update

Adam and I sat down this morning and took a look at shore excursions for our cruise. The prices through the cruise line are not unreasonable so I think we'll probably go through them since that way we're assured that they're safe and the boat won't leave without us. For now, this is what we've got picked out. We plan to head to the travel agent again tomorrow to talk with her about insurance and booking these excursions.

Juneau - Mendenhall Glacier & Gold Creek Salmon Bake. I'd also like to do the Whale Watching Adventure but Adam's not too excited about that so I might end up on my own for that one.

Skagway - White Pass Railway & Klondike Gold Dredge

Ketchikan - Lighthouse, Eagles, & Totems Excursion

Victoria, BC - Victoria Ale Trail & Pubs Tour (woo!)

All in all we'll be spending another chunk of change on these excursions, but I think it'll be worth it.

Eee! I love shoes!

There a very few things I like to shop for in this world. Kitchen appliances would be one. Shoes would be another. I like shopping for shoes because my feet are one of the only parts of my body that aren't fat. I can just go to a normal shoe place and pick stuff up easily. It's nice.

That being said, it's very hard to find the shoe I'm looking for. No matter what shoe it is, I can never find it. It's a lot nicer going on the hunt because I don't mind the shopping part. But it's annoying never finding what I'm looking for. Last year I went on a quest to find new shoes for work because mine were looking kind of sad. I went to pretty much every store in the Fox Valley that sells shoes. I finally settled on something from DSW. The shoes are still sitting in their box in the DSW bag in our closet. Unworn. It's so sad.

So now I find myself browsing shoes for something for me and the Catherines to wear at the wedding. I'm trying to respect my sister's request for no heel but there's pretty much nothing out there for flats that is anything like I want. I've found a couple cute silver/metallic type sandal-y shoes but they all have an inch or so of heel. Would an inch be so bad? For myself it's been even harder. It's not white shoe season and most of the shoes I see with a heel high enough for me to be able to slow dance with Adam are god-awful uncomfortable.

But I'll carry on. My quest continues...

The Wonderful World of DVRs

So we finally broke down and got a DVR. Our VCR had been getting more and more sketchy and seemed to randomly stop recording right before the end of shows and that was totally annoying. Adam thinks the cable company and our VCR were in on this together but I think it's just a cheap VCR...

Anywho, we got the DVR last weekend and I programmed it to record 7th Heaven, What About Brian, and Rachel Ray's morning talkshow. Adam programmed it for a few wrestling shows. So far, I love it. It works great and I can fast-forward through all the commercials and other boring crap. I also don't have to stay up to watch the shows that are at 9 since I usually forget about them or fall asleep in the middle of them. I know, it's sad. This way I can watch them the next day when I'm wide awake. I love technology.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Reason #562 Driving in WI Sucks

Wide-load Farm Equipment

On the Highway

Going 35 MPH

In front of you

Dresses (yes, again)

I checked out the remaining bridal shops in the area (I dropped the one in Fondy) and discovered that one of the three styles I liked is not available anywhere. All 5 places I went didn’t have it in stock. Oh well. That narrows the competition I suppose. I’ll need to go to at least 2 stores to be able to try on the two remaining dress styles. Both stores we’ll hit have both styles, it’s just that neither of them have both of them in a size that fits me. 8? Yeah right. Maybe in my dreams. Anywho, a week from Monday my mother and I will hit The Brides in downtown Appleton and then head to Bridal Staircase in Kaukauna. We might hop on over to David’s Bridal just for the hell of it too. I’m kind of interested to see if that (discontinued) dress I tried on back in May is still there. I really have no intention of buying it, but who knows what could happen.




Unless something really unexpected occurs, this is the dress that the Catherines will be wearing. In purple though, of course. I plan to order everything for the ladies at once so I’ll need to be getting in touch with them for measurements and all that fun stuff. Then I can concentrate on the important things. Like shoes.

Pictures as Promised

Pets are just like kids. No matter what you do, they squirm around and refuse to look at the camera...

Mo


Einstein


Howie


Gus


Barry

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I had a "moment" this morning...

I’ve had to scrape the frost from my car windows the last few mornings. I hate that. I haven’t even considering getting out my winter coat yet though. I’ve been wearing the comfy Cisco fleece Adam got and my black knit hat to keep my head warm.

This afternoon on the way back to my car at lunch I even considered taking the jacket off. It was nice out and the sun was shining. I got to my car and checked the temperature reading on the dashboard. 45.

Wow. I’m one of those crazy Wisconsinites now, aren’t I. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dress Shopping

Yesterday I decided to head to the two stores in Appleton that carry Alfred Angelo dresses to check on size and style availability. I have three bridal gowns and one bridesmaid dress that I want to check out when my mom is here in two weeks. As fate would have it, each of the two stores had one of the bridal gowns in a size that would kind of fit me and another in a size nowhere near what I needed. There is one style that neither of them had. The store downtown also had a black version of the bridesmaid dress. I’m pretty sure it’s the one I’m going to go with. It is quite similar to the David’s version. It’s a little shorter (which I think is a plus) and it has beading on the edges of the layers on the bottom as well as on the straps and along the empire waistline. It’s a nice dress and I think it’s something that could possibly be worn in other contexts. I still have a store in GB, one in Fondy, and two in Kaukauna to check out. I’d like to find a store that has all three bridal gowns in a size I could try on but that’s probably not realistic. I’d like to be able to try all three on so I can make a better decision. When I actually make a decision I’m not going to post about it here though because I don’t want Adam to know which dress I chose. It’s been difficult having to go to these places with him or alone since I don’t have anyone else to do things with. That’s how it is though, and it looks as though things will all fall into place in a couple weeks. I should be ready to order the dresses by the end of November which is definitely within the suggested 6-8 month timeframe.

I was amazed that neither of the stores had any kind of computerized inventory system. At the store downtown the salesperson had to manually hunt through the gowns on the racks. At the other store they had to scan through a binder with handwritten style numbers and prices. It’s 2006. How hard could it be to get your inventory into a system of some kind? Just ridiculous. This has made me more likely to go to the remaining stores rather than call them though since I’m assuming they all will be this way so I’d end up on hold forever.

I also had a moment in the store downtown which makes me happy that I had already decided to do all the ordering and alterations out in Kaukauna. We had found the dresses they had in stock and as I was leaving the salesperson mentioned that they were getting a whole bunch of new dresses in everyday that I might want to check out - many more in plus sizes. Ok, I admit I’m not skinny. Yes, I could stand to lose a whole lot of weight. But I think it might have been a little insensitive for her to make those kinds of assumptions. It kind of annoyed me. *sigh* Perhaps I’m oversensitive to this kind of thing.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I want an organist

who can play this.

Good Things

A few good things happened this weekend:

1) I went to refill my anti-baby pills and discovered that they finally came out with a generic version of Seasonale. Instead of paying $120 for a 3-month prescription I paid $24. Gotta love generics! But this leaves me with the dilemma of having tons more in my FSA than I need for the year now. I guess I’ll be buying a lot of band-aids…

2) We went up to the casino in GB on Saturday. I put $10 in a 2-cent Monopoly slot machine and cashed out with $34. This is the first time I’ve won anything in quite some time so I was excited.

3) None of our critters died. *Knock on wood.* We’ve now gone 54 days without one of our guys croaking. Woo! I’ll have to take some new pictures and obnoxiously post them again.

I’m sure other good things happened (Minnesota won, for one) but these were the biggies.

Katie's Wedding: A Comparison

Adam’s sister is now officially a married woman. The rehearsal on Thursday night was both interesting and hilarious. The guys just couldn’t grasp the concept of not turning when they met the ladies as they came down the aisle. Each one had to go through the process 2 or 3 times. Then Chris (the groom) had a laugh attack when going through the mock vows. I think he was a little stressed… Other than that it went pretty smoothly. The rehearsal dinner was very informal. I thought what I had in mind was going to be informal but they had lots on me on this one. They kind of passed out gifts as everyone walked into Frank’s and then we sat, talked, and ate pizza. While this is apparently what they wanted, I think I’d like a bit more structure for our dinner. I also think there will be more people at ours. We’ll just have to wait and see.

On Friday, Adam dropped me off at his parents’ house and he went to be with the guys at Chris’ house. I sat in the living room with his dad as his sister and all the girls got primped and dressed. I rode to the church with his mom and she was obviously nervous. We had a few near-death experiences as she cut a truck off in a construction zone and then ran a stop sign. After making it to the church unscathed, I spent some time in the bride’s lounge before I headed upstairs to meet with Father Mike. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that one of the scripture readers crapped out and Adam volunteered me to fill in for her. Thanks, Adam! (Just kidding. I probably would have offered anyway.) In any case, I was seated next to his grandma and his aunt, both of whom are very spunky ladies. The music started and the ceremony began.

There’s not much to comment on ceremony-wise. It’s a sacrament and things go like a mini-Mass. Kind of. The girls came in followed by Katie and her dad. Father Mike said some stuff, Marge (the aunt) and I read our bible passages. The vows were exchanged along with the rings. Unity candle was lit. Poem was read. Kiss, blessing, ta-da you’re married. The end.

That was their version. Seeing an actual Catholic wedding has helped me picture what ours might be like since the form is pretty much set and you just get to pick some of the specifics. Our ceremony will be different from theirs though. Firstly, I hated all the music they chose. (Sadly?) I could even identify them all: The Pachelbel canon (the bane of cellists everywhere), Handel’s Water Music, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, and The Lord’s Prayer. Booorrrrring. Adam has told me I pretty much have free rein on the music choices since “I know more about that kind of stuff.” I also have to decide who I want to be playing the organ. The organist Chris and Katie chose is apparently an older, retired woman who was a friend of the family. Saying this as nicely as I can, she wasn’t that good. I don’t want to be distracted by obvious blunders on the organ during the ceremony. And if they happen, I’ll notice them. I’m strange like that. There is another organist at the church and I’m not sure if I’ve heard him play. When he does Mass he tends to play the piano rather than the organ. If he doesn’t work out I’m going to have to try and pull some of my musician mafia strings. Ha ha. I figure between the people my mom and dad know I should be able to find someone who doesn’t suck. I’d also love to have this woman from the church sing something. She’s the one who was the song leader (or whatever they call it) the first time I went to church with Adam. We also happened to sit in front of her and her husband once. She has a beautiful voice. The problem is I don’t know her. I guess I’ll wait and see where that idea goes. It would influence my song choices though because I think I’d want some singing as the girls come in and then again when the candle is lit… I don’t know. I’m still thinking about all those kinds of things. Secondly, I’m considering letting Adam pick all the bible readings. I don’t really care what they are and I don’t know who we’ll have read them. They aren’t optional so I can’t just skip them, no matter how much I’d like to. Other than that the ceremony is kind of set. I’m not sure how flexible the wording of vows are but we’ll get to that when we meet with Father Mike again I’m sure.

Ok, enough of that. After the ceremony, pictures were taken for a loooong time. I’m hoping there’s some way to avoid that but I’m not sure there will be since we’re doing the traditional not seeing each other thing. *sigh* I took Adam’s car and went home to grab my ID since he told me they were carding at the reception. (They weren’t.) By the time I got back to Appleton, pictures were done and social time had begun. Then dinner was served with lots of clanking on the glasses. Then dancing began and we left shortly after the bouquet and garter tossings. This is another area where our wedding will be different. We’re at a much larger (and, in my opinion, better laid-out) location. We’re having a buffet whereas they had a family-style dinner. I’m hoping there will be more (or better) toasts. They didn’t even cut their cake (the catering staff did.) Their dance floor was teeny. Adam barely danced. In any case, I’m hoping for better things at our reception.

Perhaps it’s not fair to compare Katie’s wedding to what I hope ours will be. But it was kind of inevitable. I was interested to see what she and his mom had come up with. I think I can do better. :) Not that it’s a competition…

298 days to go. Not that anyone's counting...

Oh, Barf...

In the birth announcements in the paper this weekend:

Nevaeh and Heaven Hawkins, daughters of Shawnalisa Hawkins of Oshkosh, was born Oct. 10.

Ugh.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Halloween

My place of employment has decided to have a “safe Halloween” event wherein the children of employees can come to the office for a couple hours on two afternoons and “trick or treat” amongst the cubes. This means not only do I have to give candy away, but I also have to dress up in a costume and pretend I like kids. Ugh.

Luckily I’m pretty much prepared… except for that last part. I got a big bag of teeth-rotting candy last week when we were at Sam’s Club. The best part is it’s one of those variety bags and I don’t even like some of the stuff in it. This will make parting with it less painful. I’ve also decided what costume I’m going to wear. I happen to have cat ears and a tail at home (don’t ask…) so I’m going to wear all black and meow every once in a while. I’m still debating whiskers. Maybe I should get black gloves too for paws…

In any case, I’ve decided to be semi-good humored about this whole thing. I just hope the kids who show up aren’t too obnoxious. Otherwise it will be like when someone brings a baby in. It’s like the presence of an infantile being causes the entire office to stop and coo. It’s disturbing.

Today is Friday

It’s kind of fun knowing today is my Friday. I have both tomorrow and (the real) Friday off due to a combination of Katie’s wedding and using up vacation days. I don’t really have anything to do most of the day tomorrow and Adam doesn’t have the day off. I suppose I’ll find entertainment in cleaning or watching mind-decaying television.

There’s not really much else going on these days. Excitingly, Adam has many days in a row off from Walmart. Through Saturday. That’s a lot of free nights. Yes, a few of them are already occupied with the rehearsal dinner and wedding, but we’ve got tonight and all day Saturday together. He said earlier this week that he wants to go to the Mall of America again on Saturday. I’m resisting that suggestion. It seems a little much. And do we really want to spend 8 hours of our day together trapped in a car? I can think of lots of other things we could do in those 8 hours. And no, not all of them are dirty things. Just most of them.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Shoes

I’ve got shoes on my mind.

I admit I’m taking things a little out of order. I haven’t even chosen a dress yet (soon, I promise) and I’m already thinking about finding the perfect shoes. The great thing about being the one in the big white dress is that no one sees your shoes. The dress is so long and important that no one will be looking at my feet. Theoretically I could wear bunny slippers.

Then again, there’s that foot+ height difference to think about…

So far I’m leaning toward a white wedge of some kind. Wedges are generally more comfortable than your traditional heel because more of the shoe is heightened rather than just the heel. Platforms are another option to get me a good 4 inches taller. I’m thinking cheap – Payless or Target being my first stops. I also plan to buy them pretty early so I can parade around the house in them well in advance to break them in and make sure I don’t do an uncoordinated nosedive down the aisle. Well, I suppose there’s always that risk but I want to make sure it’s not because of my shoes. And anyway, if that happens I’ll blame my dad. :)

I’ve also started to check out shoes for the Catherines. They are a little trickier since the dress they’ll be wearing is knee/mid-leg length so people will see their feet. I haven’t decided which dress I’m going to go with mainly because I haven’t gotten my lazy butt out to the two stores to see if they have the Alfred Angelo version of the dress everyone likes. Motivation escapes me. The shades of purple are a little different depending on which designer I go with. But I’m not sure purple shoes would be a good idea anyway. I might just go with white or silver to keep it simple and something re-wearable. I also have to keep in mind that the guys are tall and the girls are not. And my sister hates heels. Aah, the dilemma. I think I told her she’s 99% guaranteed to be stuck with some kind of heel. I’ll try and keep it below 4 inches though. :)

Here are a few I like for me:



And for the Catherines:


Update: As fate would have it, I couldn't find any of these shoes when I went to the actual stores. Figures...

Cars

My car is over 50% mine! Last month was the half-way mark for my car loan. As of the 13th, I own 52.8% of my car. Woo! The best part is I haven’t spent anything on maintenance aside from the occasional carwash and a couple sets of windshield wipers. All my oil changes, tire rotations, etc. have been comped as part of the package I got when I bought the car. The first time I’ll have to pay for any of that is next month when I take it in for its next check-up. It’s a sweet deal. Even nicer is the fact that nothing has gone wrong with the car yet. It always starts, runs well, gets great gas mileage (average is now 31mpg), and is generally cute. A vast improvement over the various cars I’ve had before. If things go as expected I’ll own the car outright by March 2008. I plan to keep it for a while after that though. Save the car payment and all. It’s big enough that (when needed) a car seat or two can fit in the back with no problem. Eventually we’ll want to get something bigger that can get a hitch put on. That way we can quit borrowing his dad’s Santa Fe every summer. But that’s a ways off. And I’m not sure whether my car or Adam’s car should be replaced. We’ll see when we get there I guess. There are lots of things that will come before that.

It will be interesting to see how well my “life plan” works out…

Friday, October 13, 2006

Definately Fall

Well, looks like yesterday was “*whomp* day.” The parking lot is ankle-high with leaves of various colors and the trees are looking bare. Considering it snowed yesterday and has been snowing randomly today it’s only appropriate that things are progressing. Ugh. It has been windy enough that wind advisories have been issued in surrounding areas. Last night Adam put up the plastic insulation things to try and get rid of the draft we have around our bedroom windows. By all accounts it looks as though the fun is over.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

FOCCUS, the Sequel

We successfully completed part one of our marriage preparation, Catholic style. And the nice couple from St. Mary’s didn’t look at us like we were crazy too often. That’s a good sign. There were a few uncomfortable moments (at least for me) when different items came up. For the most part Adam and I had anticipated there would be discussion points about certain things. We were pretty much right on. There was a question or two that showed up because I think one (or both) of us had misunderstood the question. The best way I can sum it up is that we don’t have many problem areas and those that were brought to our attention by participating in this process we were already aware of. Still it was a positive experience overall [and we got homemade pizza too! :)] We got our “diploma” last night and we have to drop it off with Father Mike. Next is the “Engaged Encounter” day-long “retreat.” We’ll do that early next year. St. Mary’s has it in January and April but Adam wants to do it through St. Joe’s for some reason concerning a certain Sister… I don’t know the story. I don’t really care where we do it through anyway.

Wedding planning has been at a standstill for a couple months. Intentionally so. It was our plan to get lots of stuff taken care of right away so we could enjoy some of our time together. My mother’s visit is fast approaching so dresses will be taken care of by next month. Flowers and candles will follow soon after and then it’s just the little stuff: favors, gifts, programs and actually mailing things and planning menus. Given that there are still 10 months to go, we’re in excellent shape. I went through our contracts and updated our budget on Monday. June through August 2007 is going to be an expensive time. :) We have deposits on most everything so we’ll have balances to pay on the reception, the photographer, and the honeymoon. We paid full upfront on the DJ and cake so that’s all taken care of. So far it looks as though we can come within the preferred budget with no problems. Granted, the budget didn’t include a honeymoon and that’s getting to be almost as expensive as the wedding itself. Oh well. You only do it once, right? (Oh god, I hope so!) The good news is we’ve got months to save up the money to pay for this spectacle. And we’re earning lots of world points! Yay for credit card rewards! It’s kind of annoying that our chosen photographer doesn’t accept plastic since we’re spending quite a chunk of change on that portion of the deal though. *sigh*

Nothing much else is going on right now. The weather sucks and it’s supposed to SNOW tomorrow. I’m getting a cold and I’m hoping it will do its thing before Katie’s bachelorette party on Saturday. Next week is her wedding and I was informed last night by Adam’s mother that I’ll be sitting at the “family table” at the reception. Sweet…

Monday, October 09, 2006

Progress

We made some progress over the weekend. Nothing too spectacular, but still something. We booked our flight to Seattle for our honeymoon cruise. We didn’t arrange for a hotel for the night before yet but we’ll get to that. Adam checked at Hotwire but didn’t like any of the locations I guess. We’ll see what we can find. We also got our tickets for the opera in November. We’ve got pretty good seats in the side loge with (hopefully) lots of legroom. My only concern is that perhaps we’ll be too close to the stage to see the subtitles well. Oh well. Not like you really need them…

Other than that the weekend was pretty much a success. We saw the movie Friday night (and it was as good as I'd expected) and then we heard on the news that the Big Picture Theater is closing next week. What luck! It’s too bad that it’s doomed. It was a nice place but it just didn’t have the attendance it needed to function well as a business. Saturday was pretty uneventful. I went grocery shopping, Adam worked most of the day and survived yet another Walmart bomb threat. Sunday we went to the zoo, Marshalls, Cooks Corner, and Beersten’s. Then we went to bed at 9:30. Yeah, we’re lame.

This week is unusually busy. Tomorrow we have our second (and last) FOCCUS meeting. Wednesday I have dinner plans with Uncle Kirby. Thursday Adam has the night off and we’ll probably find something to do. Then next week will be full of crazy with Katie’s wedding and the hoopla that comes with it. I’m still undecided about whether I want to go to her bachelorette party or not.

We'll also be getting tickets soon for a "Christmas Extravaganza" at the PAC. We plan to go to that with Tina and her husband. I'm not really the world's #1 Christmas cheerleader (I know, you're all shocked), but it should be fun.

Friday, October 06, 2006

This Weekend

This weekend should be an interesting one. Tonight we have tickets to see the second Pirates movie over at The Big Picture Theater. Batman Begins was awesome on the large screen and I have high hopes for this movie as well. And you definitely can’t complain about the $5 admission price. Then on Sunday we’ll be heading down to Milwaukee. We plan on going to the zoo for a while since we’ve been meaning to go there for a long time. We’ll also make a stop at Marshall’s (we’re hooked) and at the Marcus Performing Arts Center to get tickets for Don Giovanni which we’ll be seeing in November. If time allows we plan to come back up through Manitowoc and see if Cook’s Corner has any good going-out-of-business sales. The store up in Appleton appears to have been taken over by another company so we’re not sure it’s going to close and there are no clearance prices yet.

Unexpected Visit

Last week I got an out-of-the-blue email from my uncle Kirby informing me that he’d be in town (well, Madison) next week for some training. So we’re meeting for dinner next Wednesday. It should be an interesting time. I haven’t seen him since Evan’s wedding and even then I was in a perpetually bad mood so I probably wasn’t the best company.

Hand Horror

Last night was not a good night for my hands. I came home from work armed with a recipe for roasted butternut squash. We had stopped by the local farmer’s shed and picked up some apples and squash last Sunday and I figured I should probably use them up. I got to peeling, seeding, and cubing the first squash. After much frustration I decided it totally wasn’t worth it and just halved the remaining squash. I got them into the oven and went to wash my hands. This is when I noticed they were orange. I scrubbed at them with soap and water but they wouldn’t de-orange. They were also very tight and stiff. I lotioned them up good and put some rubber gloves on them while I cleaned up the kitchen. While loading the dishwasher I managed to slice the tip of my right pinky finger open with my huge (and awesome) knife. Right through the rubber glove. Wow, did that finger ever bleed up a storm. When I finally managed to get it to slow down enough that a band-aid (or three) would stay on, I kind of gave up on cleaning up the kitchen or doing much of anything. By this time my left hand had started peeling. I don’t know if it was a pesticide/chemical reaction, a squash reaction, or what it was. It was just uncomfortable. After the squash was done and removed from the oven I soaked my hand in soapy water for a while. This didn’t accomplish much other than make my fingers wrinkly. I donned gloves again when I scooped the squash out of its skin. After stowing the food in the fridge I took refuge in bed for a while. Then I tortured the guinea pigs with cuddling for a little while. Good times.

This morning my hand was pretty much the same until I took a shower. Then it started peeling like crazy. I showed it to Adam and he was kind of disgusted. Most of the loose skin rubbed right off though and now there are just little patches of flaky skin on my palm and fingers. My pinky finger is still all bandaged up though. When I removed the band-aid this morning it started gushing again. *sigh* Good thing I’m not squeamish about blood…

My question is this: what in the squash caused me to lose a layer of skin on my hand? I don’t think I’m allergic to squash but I suppose this is the first time I’ve ever prepared it myself. I was just not expecting this kind of reaction.