Monday, December 29, 2008

SAG additions

When the SAG nominations came out I compared the list of films to those on the Golden Globe nomination list. Many repeats, but two additional titles which I’ve added to my list: Frozen River and The Visitor.

Since posting the original list I’ve managed to watch two more: Kung Fu Panda and Mamma Mia. Neither of these movies is deep or meaningful, but both provide some laughs and, in the case of Mamma Mia, some cringe-worthy moments of well-known actors attempting to sing (Pierce Brosnan, I’m looking at you.)

Oscar nomination ballots are out and the nominations are set to be announced January 22nd.

Christmas Recap

I had the afternoon of the 23rd off which was spent decorating the tree, doing grocery shopping for non-perishable party food. Adam left work a little early and came home with an early Christmas present for me -

a journey pendant on a box chain that I proceeded to break almost immediately. Luckily we weren’t pressed for time and could stop at the jewelry store on the way to dinner to get it replaced. We dined at Victoria’s for the first time since a three-on-three wrap up dinner three years ago. I kept it simple with salad and some rigatoni and meat sauce. A lot of rigatoni. I ate some there and had three more meals at home from it. Adam was kind enough to walk my leftovers back to the car and then rejoined me inside the PAC. We took our box seats on the right side of the stage. Unfortunately this left us with no view of the performer’s hands, which I think would have made the night much more interesting.

So, George Winston. First off, not at all what I expected. Second, definitely not my thing. Although I suppose when my mom compared him to Yanni and John Tesh I should have considered that a warning. A few of the pieces in the first half were easily fifteen minutes long. On and on, repeating the same rather unexciting “melody” over and over. *yawn* The second half had mostly shorter tunes with some semi-recognizable songs. But mostly the same old stuff. He could just be improvising up and down the keyboard for two hours and no one would know the difference. He seemed very uncomfortable on stage. He bowed in a very quick and jerky manner. He said very little aside from “thank you very much” and “the next song is…” He didn’t have shoes on. He stomped his left foot quite aggressively while he played. I will admit he had some interestingly unconventional piano-playing techniques. At one point he reached up into the piano and held the strings down so all we heard was the banging of the hammer rather than any notes. And if I were into the new age music scene, I’m sure all the names he dropped while introducing his selections would be impressive.

Christmas Eve morning I did some prep work for lunch, put the ham in, and relaxed. The Dodds crew showed up a little later than usual but luckily our meal choice was flexible. We ate, did a gift exchange (yay for fun holiday socks!) and observed some strange kitty behavior. Catherine even managed to get Carly to sit on her lap for a little while. Everyone left to go to a birthday party and I cleaned up. I’m not even sure what else we did the rest of the day. We did open our gifts. Well, the few that we hadn’t already opened - mostly the ones from my mom. I considered using the Santa cake pan for the party but decided I was already being ambitious enough. We left for church early since it was snowing still and we wanted a good parking spot. This also gave me an excuse to leave early since I set everything up. For the first time the concert didn’t go over its allotted time. It was also not unbearably hot up in the choir loft. We wished everyone a Merry Christmas and then went home. It was way past my bedtime.

Christmas morning we lounged in bed a little. Adam made some Chex Mix. We left early for lunch down in Falls. This was a good thing since we saw an accident on northbound 41 near Oshkosh and then got stuck at another on 23. We turned around and took a detour that went up and down some mighty scary hills. We made it in one piece, arriving a little early even. We gave Gus and Max their Christmas gifts. We said hello to Catherine’s cat. This is the first time I’d seen him since, well, forever, and compared to our behemoth monsters, he is TINY. Brooke was there (minus Tom, which we found a little weird) but we didn’t really interact much. We had lunch, which included an absolutely fabulous chocolate cake for dessert. We looked at Catherine’s pictures from Argentina. We discussed movies. Then we left to get home and feed our cats. They were appreciative.

Friday Adam had to go back to work and I had the day off. I went up to my hair appointment and since Adam had told me the roads were horrible I left myself a lot of time and ended up arriving half an hour early. I sat in my car and played solitaire. After my haircut I stopped to get the perishable ingredients for our party food. I spent over an hour and a half looking for wonton wrappers. I went to four different stores before I found them. Apparently everyone in the Fox Valley was making wonton stars. This made me kind of crabby. When I finally returned home I spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen baking cookies and making meatballs. We also had our loveseat swap to wait for. They were to show up between 4 and 8pm. What time did they arrive this time? 9:15. I guess they were having a bad day. Again. But hopefully this is the last time we’ll have to worry about it for a while.

Saturday morning I started in the kitchen pretty early prepping veggies and cheese. I had planned my day so I made things in a logical order while enabling myself to clean up in between. I think I sat down for maybe twenty minutes between 8am and 3pm. My feet hurt. But everything was ready for 3. No one showed up until after 4, but things were ready. Everyone had left by a little after 7. We put food away, I loaded the dishwasher, rinsed off other dishes, and called it a night.

Yesterday I did round two of dishes. We looked at ads. Went to Menards (where we got new barstools that actually fit.) Adam’s parents came over to eat some food during the football game. I did my best to be civil. I finished washing all the rest of the dishes and put everything away. We took down the tree. I did laundry. We watched Mamma Mia. Ate leftovers.

And today I was back at work. I spent most of the day catching up from being off for almost a week. The rest of the day was spent preparing for The Longest Day of My Life (aka Wednesday, the day of year-end inventory counts with an auditor trailing me all day.) I have a feeling I’ll need to drink heavily to ring in the new year.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post Party Post

I've written this post twice already and have deleted it all and started over because it became something I didn't think I should publish. So I'm going to keep it short.

We had a party yesterday. Profound thanks to the six people who attended: Dad, Cheryl, Rich, Julia, Karen, and Jackie.

To those who didn't, you missed the fruits of days of planning and two days worth of my time spent baking and cooking for you:

Thanks to you, we now have 90% of what I made still in the fridge.

I don't know what else we could do. We sent out invites in October trying to get ahead of other parties. But through a series of events, this is how things turned out. Makes me wonder if it's even worth it to try again since we're obviously not a priority.

That's all. More of the rest of the holiday week when I've stopped wanting to throw wontons stars around.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby, it's Cold Outside

I chose a good day for vacation. While I didn’t really do much on Friday, it was a nice day to stay inside and cuddle up with a blanket (or a cat.) I wrapped the remaining Christmas presents, did an initial run through our taxes (it was Adam’s last payday of the year and my paycheck is always the same), watched The Muppet Christmas Carol, unboxed the new crock pot, beverage dispenser, and toaster oven (that Adam got me after noticing me lusting after the one at the IMA party.) Adam stopped home at lunch to blow out the snow that had accumulated in the drive-way. I called my mom. I made dinner.

Saturday morning we went grocery shopping before heading up to De Pere for Adam’s grandma’s party. It was held in the community room at her apartment complex. It was a great room. There were two sections, really: a sunroom in the front with tables for playing games and a big Christmas tree and a lounge area with a fireplace and couches in the back. We ate some food, chatted with some relatives. Gifts were exchanged. We left and headed to Walmart and then to Simon’s where we loaded up on the cheese. We spent the rest of the evening indoors. It had begun to snow again.

Sunday came with more snow. And cold, cold temperatures. Adam went outside to clear the driveway and spent probably an hour or so out there in -2 (-30 with windchill) weather. He had ice frozen to his face.

(in my defense, he WANTED me to take this picture...)

It took him awhile to warm back up. We went to Menards (what weekend would be complete without a trip there?) and got an additional runner for the front door along with some other things. We also stopped at the Wire Whisk so Adam could find some orange peeler thing that I’d never heard of. They, of course, had it, being the awesome store that they are. If you’re looking for some obscure cooking utensil, try them. They have all kinds of strange things. We then went to Red Lobster for lunch (Adam got a gift card from someone at work.) Their new wood-grilled menu offers a lot more options for the non-seafood diner such as myself. When we got home Adam started a fire and then did some closet reorg. I went to Copps and got all the party food I could buy ahead. I’m going to have to find a better place for it than on the kitchen counter before Wednesday though. We watched Transformers (in Blu-ray, with surround sound. Awesome.) Had leftovers for dinner. Went to bed early. My excuse is that Carly wakes me up multiple times each night.

Sunday night it was more JC that caused the disturbances. I (stupidly) left a glass of water on the nightstand that he knocked over around 4am. I put it in the bathroom and he knocked it over again about 10 minutes later. *sigh* I finally took it out to the kitchen. When I returned, Carly had taken over my pillow and JC had jumped up on the bed too. I had to rearrange cats so I could lay back down. Sometimes I think they’re trying to get rid of me…

Anyway. This week is a short one for me. I worked a full day yesterday, half a day today, and now I'm done until next Monday. Yay!

Adam put up our new tree last night and I decorated it this afternoon.

So far not too much kitty interference, although they do love laying underneath it.

Except for Carly. She's shown absolutely no interest. Adam even picked her up, put her next to it, and she just walked back to the couch and laid back down. What a weird cat...

Right now the forecast for Saturday shows snow. Boo. Tell it to go away.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Newsflash: It's still snowing.

Tuesday night at IMA was successful despite the crappy weather. We did end up having four people not show up. Not too bad overall I suppose. Dinner was good and we had some wonderful veggies and the awesome potatoes I like so much. Mmmm. Carbs. I somehow got roped into doing all the raffles, so I got a lot of face time. Adam and I had bought $10 worth of raffle tickets and Adam bought some on his own. There were 27 prizes raffled off. I had my eye on the toaster oven from the start. Unfortunately it was not meant to be mine. We did win a crock pot - because I totally needed another one. Although now I can make another dish for our party! I’m thinking some kind of beef chili dip. The menu has a definite red meat void. We also won four (yes, FOUR) mugs left over from a sales pitch from an office supply rep at the October meeting. Stellar. We became this year’s running gag as we kept winning the mugs. Grr. We also each got a gift from “Santa”. I got a Wisconsin Badgers cap and Adam got a travel throw blanket. I think we’ll swap.

Driving home was interesting. It was still snowing and the visibility on the highway was down to almost nothing when it blew around. Totally sucked. We had taken two cars up since my “check engine” light had come on earlier in the day. We planned to bring my car up to Adam’s parent’s house so his dad could take it in to work with him on Wednesday to get looked at (aah, connections...) Of course the light went off on my way up to the meeting. So I was stuck driving home in the snow. Boo. It's snowing again today and a lot of things in the area are cancelled again, including our furniture swap. And it’s not even officially winter until Sunday. It’s getting to be a little nuts.

Last night was the Milprint Holiday party. At Holidays in Neenah. Cute. This is the first year we've had this kind of get together. It looked to be fairly well attended and there was an open bar (!) The food was ok - good eggrolls. And luckily it hadn't started snowing yet when we left for the evening.

The Christmas cards keep coming. I like this time of year since I like getting mail. We got a package from my mom on Monday, but both Adam and I failed to notice it by the door until Tuesday morning. I don’t know how we managed that since it was totally obvious when you looked left. My excuse is it was dark when I got back from hand bell practice. I don’t know what Adam’s is. In any case, it was marked perishable so I’m figuring it didn’t hurt it to sit outside in sub-zero temperatures all night. Right, Mom? Now I consciously peek by the door when I get home. Not that I expect to be getting lots of big packages, but you never know. Also, no cheese from work yet. If nothing shows up by Saturday I’ll go up to Simon’s to get some. We’ll be heading that direction for the Van Rooy party anyway.

On the cat front, Carly is not really progressing in her “be nice to the other cats” path. I have no idea what they do all day when we’re not around, but each evening she spends most of her time curled up on the couch. At least once Ted will get too close and they will have a noisy confrontation. JC often gets one as well. She still spends most of the night on my pillow. She’s been eating pretty well although we have to keep everyone else away from her or she’ll abandon the food and hide. No accidents that we’ve found. Hopefully she chills out at some point. She even growls at Adam and me. We’ll be sending another poo sample to the vet soon to see if her parasites are gone. We sure hope they are, as the forcing of medication into the cats mouth was not fun. If they’re not, we’ll have to regroup and decide what we want to do.

Anyway, since I now am free from the bonds of waiting for delivery men all day, I have to decide what I want to do. I'm thinking vegging in front of the tv is a good idea. I'd just be following the cats' lead:

But then again there's a lot of prep work for our party next week to be done. *sigh* such a dilemma.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend Rewind

Friday night we stayed home. We watched Kung Fu Panda (not a bad movie) and I made a clam chowder that turned out not so good. Oh well.

Saturday we had furniture being delivered. Their computerized person called four times on Friday to tell us they’d be there between 10am and 1pm. When did they show up? 1:50. So our entire morning was shot. They dropped the furniture off and about a minute after they’d left Adam found a rip in the loveseat. So we’re going to have that swapped out this coming Friday. Luckily I have a vacation day so I’ll be the one sitting around waiting all day. The floor lamp we got with the set was also apparently out of stock (which they neglected to tell us) so we’re waiting on that as well. Such service.

After the delivery, we set out to do everything we had planned to do. We went grocery shopping. We went up to Menards to get wood to reinforce the couch. Then Adam went up to Green Bay to help his cousin shop for a new phone. This left me by myself for the evening. I went to Blockbuster and swapped two DVDs for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (cute movie) and Step-Brothers (funny, but entirely too much swearing, which seems to be common in the Judd Apatow world.)

Sunday morning we went back up to Menards since we forgot about half of the things we’d needed the day before. We also stopped at Walmart. Then we went back home and Adam watched the game (ack) while I caught up on some food blogging. Adam made dinner (French toast.)

That’s about it. I’m almost done with all the Christmas cards. So far we’ve gotten one returned card – one of Adam’s I might add – but it had the forwarding address on it so I could re-send it. Not too bad all things considered. We’ve gotten seven cards from other people. Yay.

This week begins the festivities. Tomorrow is the IMA holiday meeting. We’ve got a good crowd signed up. Not stellar, but it should be a good time. We’ll see if we can win some raffle prizes this year. Thursday is the Milprint Holiday Party. Saturday is Adam’s grandmother’s party in De Pere. Since his mom’s side poached our party next week for their “Van Rooy” get together, this will probably be the only chance to celebrate with most of the people who will be at this party. Then next week we’ve got a PAC concert (George Winston), two Dodds Christmases, hand bell concert, and our party. And a yet to be scheduled Paalman Christmas some time the following week. And then it’s New Years (and year-end! Woo for working on Saturdays!)

On a completely un-related note, I managed to get a picture of Carly not looking completely pissed:

Although this might not count because, well, she's asleep.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Furniture

Definitely brightens the place up. And we're already having fun with the glass tables. We put a spider toy on top of the coffee table and had a good laugh while JC tried to attack it from below. I'm sure endless hours of hilarity are yet to come.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

At least she’s stopped slobbering on me.

Carly’s back to sleeping on my pillow again. She’s not there when I fall asleep, but when I wake up in the middle of the night, I’ve got cat feet in my face. I get up, go to the bathroom, and when I return she’s completely taken over the pillow. I nudge her northward with my head as I lay back down and I get growled at. *sigh* It doesn’t help that JC is usually on the blanket down by my feet, so not only am I pushing a cat out of the way with my head, but I’m kicking one around with my feet at the same time. It’s a tricky dance, getting in and out of bed at night. Meanwhile, Adam’s blissfully snoring away on the other (read: not kitty infested) side of the bed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Golden Globes

So the Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning. Since they’re usually a good indication of what will go on at the Oscars, I decided to see what was on the list and get a head start. Here’s the list (film only, excluding the foreign category)


Of this list of 27 films I’ve seen only 1. Not so great. But not so bad either considering quite a few of them haven’t even been released yet. There are some that I meant to see or won’t mind watching. Then there are the others that I’ll watch just because they’re on the list. We’ll see how many others I pick up after the Oscar nominations are announced.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sticker Shock

We got the bill from the lawyer for our marital property/power of attorney dealings.

We're definitely in the wrong professions.

Little Helpers

JC and Conner "help" with the laundry:

Carly "helps" with dinner:

What would I do without them?

Christmas Party Preview

With two and a half weeks left until our party, the menu is pretty much set. I’ve still got some room in the roaster for a couple more hot dishes, but I don’t know that I’ll add anything unless it really sparks my interest. Here’s what’s on the docket:

Chex Mix – both Traditional and a yummy Caramel Chocolate version Adam spied in the latest issue of “Taste of Home.” This is Adam’s thing – he made it last year and it turned out great.

Veggies & Dip – I plan to get a container of ranch dip from the store and I’ll also be making two of our favorite dipping sauces from The Melting Pot: Green Goddess and Gorgonzola Port. I might also throw some mini ham wrapped pickles in the mix. They’re delicious.

Crab Dip – I found this recipe on a crock pot blog I read. Looks simple and will fill the seafood void. I tend to lean toward making things I’d actually eat, so some things get overlooked.

Cranberry BBQ Turkey Meatballs – Last year we had sweet and sour meatballs. This looks even better. And easy!

Spinach Artichoke Dip – You can pretty much assume any get together we have will include this dip. It’s fantastic!

Sky Blue Potatoes – I’m hoping they turn out prettier than the last time I made them, but they still taste good no matter how they look. And I figure I’ll have some gorgonzola left over from the dip, so why not?

Chicken Wonton Stars – a favorite from the past couple years.

Sausage Wonton Stars – a new spin on a favorite.

Cheesy Corn Bites – so simple, so yummy, and good at room temperature!

Cheese, Meat, Cracker tray – I’ve already got a huge summer sausage stashed in the cupboard. I’ll wait a week or so to see if my employer will be sending the box of cheese from Simon’s I’ve gotten for the past few years. If not, I’ll have to plan a trip up there myself.

Cookies – I’ve got two boxes of pre-fab dough from Market Day due to show up this Friday: Chocolate Mint Chip and Macadamia Nut (I’m harboring a grudge against the macadamia nut recipe I made – it broke both my scoopers.) I’ll also be making some M&M and Snickerdoodles myself. I’m hoping other people will fill the remaining sweets void. Baking is not really my thing.

We’ll have the hot water set up with tea, coffee, and a variety of hot chocolates. We’ll also have water, lemonade, etc.

Hopefully this spread has a little something for everyone. I tried to have a good variety of ingredients and types of snacks while still sticking mostly to things that I won’t mind having leftovers of for a week if we get snowed out again. If you have any ideas for one or two other hot appetizers we might like, drop me a line!

Post-Dated Ponderances

I wrote a check for our water bill dated 12/16 – the day it’s due. I mailed the check earlier this week because I was at the post office anyway. It hit our account today, even though today is only the 10th. Are they allowed to do that? It’s not really that big of a deal. The money is there and if I were cutting it that close I wouldn’t have mailed it yet. But the check was postdated and the bank took it anyway? I guess I’m fuzzy on the rules about that. We’re almost completely online payments now, but there are a few checks still. Makes me wonder what other things can slip through…

I Spoke Too Soon

Last night I broke our couch again. It originally broke two years ago. Adam's mom and I sat down on it at the same time and it went "crack." The supports on the bottom came off the frame or something. Some staples and an air compressor later, it was fixed. If just temporarily. Last night I sat down and it broke again. So between the cat pee and the sagging bottom, we decided perhaps we should jump on the good deal that we had checked out at American over the weekend.

So away to Appleton we went, where we purchased this:

minus one chair, the ottoman, and all in the green color. We got three tables and a floor lamp as part of the set as well. And stain protection. They'll be delivered on Saturday. Adam will then reinforce the bottom immediately.


Monday, December 08, 2008

The Death Glare

Friday Adam was supposed to be out for most of the night. He had a picture appointment with his sisters for their parents’ Christmas present and he had an appointment at the Blood Center to donate plasma. The plasma appointment got canceled and he was home around 7:30. Meanwhile, I had been cat wrangling, trying to keep everyone alive and uninjured. Carly and Ted got into something heated while on the couch and I had to break that up and put Carly in the office to cool off for a bit. Other than that there weren’t too many frays. Almost constant growling when any of the three cats gets close to Carly, but that’s tapering off a bit now. Maybe it would help if Carly wasn't seemingly in a perpetually bad mood. Seriously, this cat always looks pissed:

I mean, I know she wishes death on me, but geesh. She could TRY to conceal it a little. :(

I also discovered that someone had peed on the couch. I’m guessing Carly, but I have no proof. So most of my time alone was spent cleaning up the mess and holding a blow dryer aimed at the cushions.

Saturday was a busy day. We rearranged the pet room (again) and cleaned out litter boxes.

We did some shopping. Spent some money. It seemed like all the grocery stores were having sample mania. We got back home and Adam mopped the kitchen/dining room floors. We watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. We made Schnitzel for dinner. Adam does a great job of pounding meat really thin – especially chicken (although Schnitzel is pork and he did just fine with that as well.) I always manage to mangle it badly. We went out pretty early and got to The Monkey Bar before it opened. (Note to self: The Monkey Bar doesn’t open until 8.) We had a couple drinks, chatted with the bartender (not the usual one) and then called it a night.

It had been a long night the night before with kitty fights and Carly being indecisive about where she wanted to sleep. Saturday night was even worse. JC spent most of the night by my feet. Carly spent most of it by my head. Or on my head. Or eating my hair. I have no problem with that. It was when she’d drool and then shake her head, thereby dousing me in cat slobber, that I began to have a problem. *sigh* Whenever JC decided to move around Carly would growl at him. He wanted to come under the covers like he usually did but couldn’t figure out a way to get there without having to be right next to Carly for a few seconds. Poor guy.

Anyway, Sunday morning we slept in a little longer than usual. We watched "SNL" on the DVR while we ate breakfast. Then Adam vacuumed while I cleaned up in the office a little. We went out to do some additional shopping. We considered purchasing a new couch/loveseat set but decided to wait. We stopped at Linens ‘n’ Things which is now up to 40-60% off. We went to Menards to get shelving to make window seats for the cats. We got home after the game started. I unpacked and arranged for a bit. Then I worked on finishing our Christmas cards. I engaged in the annual torture of making Adam sign them. I actually also made him write in his family’s cards. Most of them are done and I mailed a batch at lunch today.

We had Adam’s parents over for dinner since we (and by “we” I mean “Adam”) bought a huge rib roast and needed some help eating it. Since prime rib is really not my thing, I didn’t mind. (I did eat a little of it though.) Plus it was “Adam makes dinner” night so I didn’t really have to do much. We discussed Christmas and while things are still up in the air for the Paalmans, I know for sure it’s not going to be Christmas Day so we should be able to go down to Falls for the festivities at Dad and Cheryl’s house.

Last night was pretty uneventful. Carly slept down by my feet all night except when she was wandering up and down between us. (Perhaps she took JC’s spot on purpose? Who knows...) JC jumped up a couple of times but never stayed for long. Much better night of sleep though.

Tonight I had bell practice. Looks like Kim has agreed to fill in for Christmas so we should have a temporary full crew. Aside from that, the week is clear on my calendar. This may be a good thing if we end up getting as much snow as they predict we will:


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Church Directory Photo

Wow, is Adam's shirt GREEN! This picture showcases my haircut, but not my new glasses. Eventually I'll get around to that...

And then there were none


Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy there. We figure Einstein went around lunchtime yesterday and Mo didn't make it through the night. When I checked on him before bed I took him out of his house and the first thing he did was stand in the corner and look at Einstein's empty cage. He didn't want to go back to his house. I figured it wouldn't be long.

So, another era has ended. We're now a completely feline household.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

And then there was one...

RIP Einstein

Things went quickly downhill in the past week. He basically just gave up. I cuddled with him extensively over the weekend.

Mo is looking to follow quickly down the same path. A gay guinea pig version of Romeo and Juliet I guess. I'm still trying to convince him to eat, but there's only so much I can do. I will cuddle with him as well.

In the feline world, we released Carly from her enprisonment this afternoon and the evening has been filled with hissing and growling. Yeah. That "absence makes the heart grow fonder" thing didn't work out so well. We'll see if we have to close her in the bedroom for the night later on.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holidays & Cats

With less than a week still remaining on her quarantine time, Carly is getting increasingly annoyed with being shut up alone all day. Cats are generally pretty low-key animals. They sleep, eat, poo, play. But being left alone in a room for a week would make anyone go nuts. She’s taken to lying in front of the door. The other cats sit on the other side of the door and they meow at each other. And scratch on the door. Not so happy about that second thing. She tries to escape when we open the door just as much as the other cats try to get in. For the past few nights we've let her run around the house for a little while when the other cats are eating. As long as they don’t use the same litter boxes or get all up in each others’ butts it should be ok. But then we have to put her back in her room and she's not happy. She seemed to be on somewhat of a hunger strike, although that might have been because we put a new kind of food in her bowl. Maybe she didn’t like it. We switched her back to the Iams and she started eating again. We're done with the pills and we'll be finished with the orange liquid on Tuesday. We’ll be so happy when we can let her back out and let everyone get reacquainted. We’re hoping for some kind of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” thing whereby everyone will magically get along. We’ll see.

I think I forgot to mention it in the slew of “catching up with life” posts, but we put our Christmas lights up a few weekends ago. Last year we never got around to getting lights or putting them up. This year we got them at low, low post-Christmas prices last December and decided to be pro-active. It was a little chilly but they went up pretty easily after we figured out which kind of clips we needed to use. We plugged them in on Friday. We’re still kicking around the location of the Christmas tree, and whether we’ll put it up any significant amount of time before the party. We have a new tree this year - this one’s pre-lit – and we also bought a ton of new (shatterproof) ornaments. But I suspect if we put the tree up, we’ll have cats climbing into it and knocking ornaments off in about five minutes. I did bring all the other Christmas stuff up so we've got some holiday cheer spread around already. Cat-proof holiday cheer.

The Thanksgiving holiday was low-key for us this year. The turkey I get from work was dropped at Adam's parent's house earlier this month. We went over there for an early dinner. It was a big crowd - Adam's parents, sisters, Chris & Terry, Mike, Donna, and Paula, both his grandmothers and Dave. Lots of good food, especially since I didn't have to make any of it! We picked names for Christmas and, while we got some new people, I ended up getting who Adam always got. *sigh* Oh well.

Friday we did go out, but not for any Black Friday sales. We did our normal grocery shopping etc. There were some good meat sales that we took advantage of as well. That was about it. We discovered that we're getting all the movie channels for some reason so we ended up staying home and watching some newer movies that we hadn't seen (for free!)

Yesterday we went to see Four Christmases in the theater. Not a terrible movie, but not great either. So many talented people in the cast, it could have been so much more than it was.

Our plans today are minimal. It started snowing around 9:30 and there are winter weather warnings out for tonight and tomorrow morning. Ugh. It just figures that on inventory day I'll probably have to fight through stupid people on the highway. Grr. Adam's watching the game right now and I've got a movie (Priceless) to watch. It's in French, so he was not interested of course. Other than that, some cleaning up and perhaps addressing of Christmas cards. It's amazing - my list includes 18. Add Adam's side and it balloons to 54. Crazy.

Hopefully I'll have a picture of the new glasses to post soon. It's been a challenge to get Adam to do it when I'm looking halfway decent.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Double Argh.

Days of cat medicine administered: 5. Days remaining: 8. Scratches received: many - most are easily covered up, thankfully.

But! I think we may have figured out a system that not only gets the medicine into the cat, but also minimizes the pain of kitty scratches and frustration of being spit up on. We were at Petco this weekend anyway (you get a free book with all kinds of coupons when you adopt a pet) so we picked up some pill pockets. We were initially unsure they’d work, but they seem to do the trick. Adam’s figured out just how far down Carly’s throat he has to stick his finger so she can’t spit out the pill but doesn’t barf. We then swap and give her a breather. I inject the orangesicle liquid in small squirts into the side of her mouth and she licks it off her face. We generally have to take another break halfway through the orange stuff because she starts struggling. It still takes some time, but nowhere near the 40-50 minutes it took the first few days. We try to get it done while the other cats are eating. I can only imagine that nothing’s worse than being forced to take gross medicine while JC gloats at you from the floor.

Friday night was pretty low-key. We ate dinner, watched some TV. Saturday morning we went out for some shopping. A lot of shopping. We stopped at Menards so Adam could check out a tool kit he was considering swapping his Christmas gift out for. We went to Petco, Walmart, Walgreens, Target, grocery shopping. We spent pretty much our entire weekly cash. Which is ok – we’ve been under for the past few weeks. We were out the whole morning. We grabbed some lunch at KFC while we were on the road. When we returned home Adam changed the oil in my car. He started a fire in the garage (on purpose) that he had to put out with the fire extinguisher (not on purpose.) We re-filled the indoor wood storage area by the fireplace. Adam made scallops and stuffed mushrooms for dinner. I had leftovers.

Sunday morning we went up to Menards when it opened so he could make sure he got one of the tool sets. It was on sale and had a $75 rebate. We also picked up a new fire extinguisher. We then stopped by his parents’ house. He bought a new laptop and was giving his old one to them. Unexpected wireless router issues turned a “quick stop” into a much longer visit. We then headed back home. I ate a quick breakfast before heading back up to church. The bells did play, albeit a truncated list of songs. We were not at our best. It went alright I guess. I snuck out early after the bells were put away and still only managed to get out at noon.

I stopped at Walmart and Pick ‘n Save on the way home (to return things and get a good deal on milk.) I returned home to a house full of baking smells. Adam made two pecan pies, two pumpkin pies, and a loaf of sourdough bread. And a sinkfull of dishes. I had a headache and was feeling generally awful so when I went to drop receipts off in the office I just laid down on the bed in there and took a nap with Carly for a little while. When the neighbor started chopping firewood I moved to our bedroom and took a nap with JC. Adam finished watching all his DVR programs so we put in Deception. Reminded me a lot of Derailed and The Last Time. Decent movie I suppose. I’ve also got The Darwin Awards waiting in the wings. We ate dinner and caught up on the most recent SNLs. Then it was clean-up time. Adam got pay-per-view wrestling so I retreated to the bedroom to watch Hannah Montana (I wish I were kidding, but I’m totally not.)

This morning we awoke to this:

Gah. I guess we should have watched the weather at some point. My reaction included a few four-letter words not suitable for reprinting. Adam shoveled the driveway out but had to go back over the end when he got home from work (thanks plows!) The drive this morning wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t being run over by irresponsible drivers and while things were a bit slow, it wasn’t unbearable.

This week is a short one with the holiday. The Paalman Thanksgiving is on Thursday afternoon. We plan to exchange names for Christmas again. The “secret” Santa deal works out pretty well although we seem to keep getting the same people each year. We both also have Friday off. No plans to do anything that I’m aware of. I’m going to throw some ribs in the crock pot and hope to start working on our Christmas cards.

On a sadder note, we lost Julie again for bells. She came back a month or so ago and we were so glad to be a full crew again. She was not doing so well yesterday but made it through. But she won't be coming back in the forseeable future. She is starting another round of chemo. I don't even know which round number this is. She's a fighter, but has been fighting for so long now... We're not sure what we'll do for Christmas yet. Make do, as that's all we can really do. So that's a bummer.

On a happier note, here are some Carly pictures:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We know how to pick 'em

So Adam called me on his way home from the vet yesterday. They do a fecal floatation test (hence the need for poo) as part of the wellness exam. They apparently found two difference parasites - giardia (Connor also had this when we got him) and something else. Turns out it's contagious. Excellent.

So this new cat we just rescued from being cooped up in a room full of cats now has to be quarantined for two weeks. And force fed a nasty tasting pill and some liquid that smells like an orangesicle every night. It's a ton of fun. I hold her while Adam administers the torture. A lot of it ends up in my hair or on my shirt. I've gotten three new scratches. And this is only day two. *sigh*

Needless to say, we're kind of pissed off at the Humane Association. They (allegedly) had their vet do the same exam before they gave her to us. How did this miss this? It's not the end of the world - if we can keep getting her to take the medication we should be ok. None of the other guys seem to be affected by it (yet) but we're supposed to keep an eye on them since they shared litterboxes for a couple days. I am just angry that the Humane Association knew we had three other cats but still neglected to tell us that this new addition had a CONTAGIOUS PARASITIC DISEASE. I mean, damn. That's low. I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they didn't know. But that's hard to reconcile.

So, we have her in the office with her own litter box and food again. We play with her in the morning and evening. I stop and chat with her at lunch. JC howls outside the door. So much for bonding with the other cats.

This too shall pass.

Neglected Happenings

With all the posting I did this past weekend I forgot to mention some of the more important stuff. Firstly, we went to sign our paperwork at the lawyer’s office on Thursday afternoon. Once again, we waited months to stop in for five minutes. It seems pretty ridiculous to me, but hopefully we’re done with that for awhile.

Also on Thursday I had my haircut (beautifully displayed in a previous post) and an eye doctor appointment. We went back on Saturday and I picked out new frames. I really hate the ones I have now. They’re totally cheap and the lenses are chipped. So it was time for a new pair. I opted out of the Transitions this time, which really brought the total down to a more reasonable level given I didn’t expect to get new glasses so I didn’t set aside more flex dollars. I had to wear sunglasses in the car anyway, so I might as well just get a decent pair of those. I picked the new pair up tonight (7-10 days my butt) and I'll try and get a picture up soon.

On Friday I spent most of my day at home, watching TV and making sure the cats didn’t kill each other. Since Carly spent the majority of her day under the couch, that wasn’t too difficult. We had our photo appointment at church to have our picture taken for the directory. Why is it that photographers are always semi-obnoxious? We were in and out of there pretty quickly, not falling for any of their sales pitches. We’ll get a complimentary 8x10, but that’s it. Like we need more pictures of ourselves.

This week has been flying by so far. Monday was the first real snow of the season. It wasn’t really a lot, but it was cold enough that it froze on the roads. Once again, people completely forgot how to drive in the winter again. Tons of accidents on the highway caused by people being stupid. My drives home and to and from handbells weren’t bad at all. I guess I managed to avoid most of the idiots.

Tuesday was IMA. It was at the Darboy Club, which I like because it’s a family-style meal (ie – no meal choices for me to worry about) and they’re used to our group: Things are always set up the way they should be, the bill is easy to settle (the same bartender/manager has been there the past few times so he knows me), and my job is a whole lot easier because of that. The presentations were a bit dry – it was tax update time after all – but overall the night was good. Smaller attendance than we’d prefer, but we take what we can get. I’m still being pestered about moving to the president role. Ugh.

Yesterday Carly had her vet appointment for her free check up and rabies shot. We needed a stool sample so Adam shut her in the office Tuesday night when he got home. He was hoping she’d poo relatively quickly so he could let her back out. She ended up being in there all night long. Stupid cat wouldn’t poo! Luckily when we went in there yesterday morning there was a fresh one in the litter box. I suppose it wasn’t that big of a deal since we were leaving her at the vet all day. But it was still a relief to know she’d been eating. We worry a bit since she doesn’t appear to like wet food and we don’t see her eat an awful lot of dry food. She runs around and plays with the laser like a pro so we know she’s got to be eating something. Unfortunately it wasn't all good news when Adam picked her up. More on that later.

The rest of the week (what's left of it) should be back to normal (whatever that is.) I’ve got a lunch meeting tomorrow with the entire accounting department to figure out what we’re going to do when SAP steals so many of the key users next month. I’m a little afraid to hear what’s going to happen. On the bright side, because Thanksgiving lands in a bad way for month-end, we’ll be counting on 12/1 and there will be no 2nd day estimate requirement. This means not only will one day of invoicing adjustments be eliminated, but I won’t have to stay late on day 1 or come in at 6am on day 2 either. Woo! That said, my counting crew is pretty sparse. It’s becoming a monthly struggle to convince people to take an hour out of their morning to help. *sigh*

Bells are supposed to play this Sunday, but seeing as how two people weren’t at Monday’s practice it’s a real possibility that this one will get cancelled too. Eventually we’ll play. Even if it takes until Christmas Eve. Ha.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A 4 Letter Word

Starts with S.


I see it right now, looking out the window.

Stupid winter.

Stupid snow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cat Craziness

I know, overload of stupid posts this weekend. What can I say? I have some free time.

Adam's still enjoying a cat that will cuddle:

(Pay no attention to her glare - she's glaring at me, not because she's in Adam's lap. She doesn't like me.)

We kept her alone in the office last night with her own food and litterbox. She seems confused by the rolling litter boxes we have and had taken to relieving herself on the bathmat in Adam's bathroom. She did ok overnight but still hisses at all the other cats when they get too close to her. Ted especially ticks her off. But at least she doesn't hide under the couch all day anymore. Progress...

In Hot Water

Oh house, how have we repaired you? Let me count the ways...

So yesterday morning we both took showers (as we're apt to do) and we both noticed they were a little colder than usual. Adam blamed me, I blamed JC. (That cat takes really long, hot showers. What a diva.) Adam investigated the hot water heater downstairs and determined it was kaput. I mean, of course it was. The warranty ran out in June. So he did some online pricing, called his dad, and went to get a new one. They spent their afternoon sweating pipes, tripping over things, and installing the new hot water heater.

I know, I know. Why did I take a picture of a water heater? They all look pretty much the same. I'm weird. That's why. I mean, I bought this cute guy on clearance at Fleet Farm and he's my only Thanksgiving time decoration.

(Not the Furby, the corn guy. Although now that I think of it, having a Furby is kind of weird too.)

Anyway. The new heater works (yay!) and the water comes out hotter than ever. I think the old one was kind of wimpy. We knew we'd have to swap it out eventually, but I didn't think it would quit so soon. At least it crapped out on a Saturday. (Always look on the bright side of life...)

Now we're just crossing our fingers that the furnace stays with us for the winter. Since we anticipate replacing it this coming spring, it will probably die on the coldest day of the year. (Nooooo! Knock on wood!!!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Patented Butt Wiggle

In which you get both lame 90's references and a picture of my bed head! Lucky you!

So last night wasn't so bad. The cats all seemed to get along better. JC and Carly had a few stand-off moments, but overall everyone kept calm. Ted and Carly don't seem to get along too well yet. I guess we'll have to try and still keep them separated. (Whoa, The Offspring flashback. Anyone? Bueller? *crickets chirping* Ok, I'll keep my lame 90s references to myself. Ok, so probably not...)

Anyways. Much like the other felines in the house, Carly enjoys napping in the sink.

Made that much better by a nice tummy rub from Adam, I'm sure.

She also enjoys relaxing on the kitchen counter

(where she's totally not supposed to be, but that's a cat thing - doing the exact opposite of what you tell them to do.)

And, unlike any of the other cats, she has also taken to laying on the top of the couch. By my head. Check out my awesome bed head (and my new, shorter hairdo.)

She also camped out on my pillow for a while last night. While I was laying on it. Kind of like Candy used to do - although Candy actually laid ON my head, not just next to it...

She looks eerily like Ted, doesn't she?

Aah, memories.

So, in conclusion, cats are weird.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And because I can never post too many cute cat pictures...

JC staring intensely

Ted sleeping in the new chair

Both Ted and JC conked out on the cat tree

And, by far the cutest picture ever, Conner napping over the heating grate. Smart cat...

An early Christmas present

The Benefits of Benefits

Ah, annual enrollment. Such a joyous time of year. When you once again discover that the increase in your health insurance premiums will completely negate any raise you might be getting. Plus more. Sweet.

We did some comparison shopping between Adam’s plans and my plans as per usual. This year (well, for 2009) Bemis added a +1 category so we had more options. It turned out we were still better off sticking as employee only on our separate plans with Adam tacked on to my dental. We’ll save $58 for the year by doing this rather than putting us both on my plan. Adam’s +1 plan was even more expensive. *sigh* Adam also enrolled in his company’s flex spending program. I’ve been in it from the start, but this is the first year he’s doing it. Contacts are expensive. So it will be interesting to see how our net pay shapes up next year. It might be scary.

Yeah, I know, What's with the no posting for two weeks thing?

So on Halloween instead of sitting at home, attending to trick-or-treaters and handing out all the candy we bought at Sam’s Club, we drove to Milwaukee. To go shopping. No, really. We had initially intended to do that on Saturday, but Adam called me at work in the afternoon and suggested we do it Friday night so we would have the rest of the weekend to “chill.” So we made the drive, did the shopping (rather successfully on both our parts) and came back home. To a house full of candy. Not good. Saturday we did our normal weekly shopping, some cleaning. In all honesty, I don’t really remember all the goings on. I do remember going to Petco and buying an obscene amount of cat food. It was all on sale and we also had a 10% your entire purchase coupon. So we stocked up. And were almost tempted into adopting another cat. I also remember having lunch at Beefeaters on Saturday afternoon. Adam had a caramel apple martini at 12:30 in the afternoon. We both also got dessert. Simply scandalous! I watched Arthur while Adam was occupied by football on Sunday afternoon.

This past weekend wasn’t too exciting. On Saturday we took my car in to get new tires (can you hear the money flying out of our account?) We then went up to Appleton to do a bit of shopping. In case you were not aware, this past weekend was national adoption weekend at the local pet stores. We figured there was no harm in stopping by Petco to see if Saving Paws or the Humane Society were there with additional cats. No such luck, but we did pick up an adoption application for the Fox Valley Humane Society. We went back home for a bit, looking at some cats online. We then went back up to the humane society to check them out. We originally went in to look at a calico cat named Callie. She was in a room with three other cats: one big orange tabby who hid in the corner, a large black cat who growled every time I got near him, and a gray tabby named Carly. We liked Callie, but were soon taken in by Carly. She happens to already be spayed and front paw declawed. And she adores Adam. He picked her up and she snuggled into his arm. So cute.

So we amended our application and turned it in. They called our references Monday morning. They made us jump through additional hoops that I think we probably could have avoided if we’d gone with another Saving Paws cat. We had to get Ted and Conner up to date on their rabies shots. Given that we’d made very little progress in our ability to get them into their carriers, we decided to go with a vet that does house calls. It wasn't more expensive than our regular vet and it was more their problem to get to the cats. Sweet deal. The vet was a nice guy and it was an interesting experience. JC was no problem since he likes pretty much everyone. Ted and Conner weren't having any of it though. They hid under the couch and wouldn't come out. Eventually Adam got them each in a corner and the vet poked them from wherever he could reach. Whatever works. We turned in that additional paperwork Wednesday evening and Adam went and picked her up last night.

She immediately hid under the couch. JC hissed. It was a night of interruptions. Every so often it seemed like JC remembered she was in the house and would find her and hiss. She hisses right back and growls. Hopefully they'll get along eventually. And hopefully this will quell Adam’s desire to increase our brood.

In other news, I did get called in for jury duty on Tuesday. I headed to the court house, watched a stupid video, and sat in the jury room for two and a half hours. And then the case settled. *sigh* Oh well. I’m done for another four years. That just added to my chopped up work week. I was out Tuesday morning, had vacation Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, and I'm off all day today. Nice. Not too much planned for the weekend. That I'm aware of anyway. I'm trying to catch up after another busy month-end.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Conspiracy Theories (and a new number)

Out of curiosity I took a slight detour on my way home for lunch. I drove over to our polling place – the police station – to see how the crowds looked. As I approached I really didn’t see too many cars. I figured I may as well check out the line to see if I could get it done over my lunch break. I walked into the building and made a right (as I remembered doing last time.) I was greeted by a woman in a blue shirt and ABSOLUTELY NO LINE AT ALL. Not a single person in front of me. In fact the guy with the book looked a little bored and two of the other ladies were doing some stretching exercises across the room. I had been kind of worried that I had decided to vote today rather than via absentee early vote. I was hearing/seeing all these stories on the radio and in the paper about horrendous lines and how they had police officers to help with crowd control. Either these accounts are severely exaggerated or our ward sucks voter turnout-wise. Or I just have really good timing. Or maybe this is the (insert political party here)'s way of scaring off voters who may vote for (insert the other political party here.) Lines! Aaaah! Ahem. In any case, quick in, quick circle filling, quick out. And I remembered to grab my sticker this time. Civic duty done.

Oh, and John McCain called us this morning. OMG!!! (Ha. Ha. Ha. Cannot wait for the robo-calls to stop!)

On a related note, due to some confusion over our switching from Time Warner to AT&T, we lost our phone number. We're thinking it's TW's fault, but who knows. In any case, we have a new phone number (Yay! I could barely remember the last one!) If you need it, email us/me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Results Show

I got my report back from the evil biometric testing I underwent in September as part of the new mandatory Kersh deal at work. I was wary to open it since I expected it to say something like "Death is imminent, make preparations." Instead I was pleasantly surprised. I could stand to lose some weight (duh), my blood pressure's a little high (as it has been every time it's taken), but everything else looks fine. Even my cholesterol is in the acceptable range. Whew! That's not to say it's all wine and roses (or whatever that saying is.) I know I need to be more aware of the crap I eat and make a concerted effort to move around more. But it's good to know I'm not a complete medical catastrophe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mundane stuff (and random cat pictures)

An interesting week thus far. Monday night I handed out our party invitations at bell practice so hopefully a few of them can come this year. We play for the first time on Sunday. At 11. When no one will be there because the Packer game is at noon. Excellent. We regained a member at the last practice. Julie, who had been out since the end of the 2006 season due to medical reasons, has come back. As long as she remains in good health, she plans to continue to ring. This is a good thing. She took back her spot next to me so I no longer bounce between positions. Nancy can take the big C and D and we have all the bells covered.

Tuesday morning was the IMA breakfast meeting. We had 15 people and a mountain of food from Festival. The speaker was perky for it being 7:30 in the morning. She spoke about New North, a multi-county economic collaboration in northeastern Wisconsin. I got ambushed by the nomination committee to be VP of Administration next year (hence, president the following year.) I wasn’t really expecting that. I turned them down, but offered to be VP of Membership since I do pretty much everything under that office anyway. I get the feeling this isn’t the last I’ll hear of this. I have no desire to take on the president role. Ever. But we’ll see how things play out. I guess it might look good on my resume. *sigh*

We went to see the Capitol Steps last night at the PAC. We went out to dinner at Good Company. It had been awhile since we’d been there. Our waitress was kind of flaky and I had forgotten how spicy their onion petals were. Other than that it was a good time. We stopped at Intermezzo, a tiki-themed bar in the Paper Valley Hotel, for a drink before the show. We had box seats again for this performance, on the second level, right side. I have a feeling I’ve either seen this group before or heard them somewhere. The backwards talk (kind of like deliberate spoonerisms) seemed familiar. In any case, lots of smart political satire.

The rest of the week is pretty empty. Month-end starts again on Friday. Office trick-or-treating is that afternoon. I believe Neenah’s trick-or-treating is that evening. I hope to be able to take a drive down to a Marshall’s or two on Saturday. It’s been a bit since my last trip although Adam’s gone solo a few times. Sunday is bells and football.

Next week is, of course, the election. Hallelujah! I don’t plan to vote early, but will head to my polling place on Tuesday morning (Adam already voted.) Hopefully it won’t take a ridiculous amount of time. We also have our annual enrollment informational meeting next Wednesday. I can’t wait to see how much insurance will be increasing. Ha. Our assumption is we’ll continue to enroll as singles on our separate plans for the coming year.

Looking ahead there’s not a lot of exciting things going on here. We have our Very Important Meeting With the Lawyer on the 13th, after which we can both die in peace knowing we’ve signed our paperwork. :) Potential jury duty, Thanksgiving (which has yet to be worked out on the Paalman side – they don’t really plan ahead.) Our next PAC program isn’t until the end of December. I have some vacation I need to burn, but really no good time to do it. Same old stuff.

And now, a montage of how the cats insist on ruining many of the pictures I take of them...

by not looking at the camera:

Or by doing something...inappropriate:

Or by walking out of frame as the flash goes off: