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.