Friday, December 31, 2010

Me and my BIG mouth!

I should have known that this post was going to jinx me! I just walked into the laundry room to make a phone call, and I almost face planted!! There is water everywhere!! DAMN IT!!! Not only did the temperature soar to almost 60 today, it's been pouring for a while now. We had a pretty nice thunderstorm going for a bit, which normally would make me very happy. Actually, it DID make me happy. That is, until I walked into the laundry room, without turning the light on, and started to hydroplane!! Looks like I'll be ringing in the new year by wringing out the old towels. Oh, joy...

Happy New Year!

Bestest Friend just sent me a link to this awesomeness. :)

Happy New Year to all my Bloggy Buddies!!

Oh, and I thought of something else for today's prompt:
Friday, December 31, 2010
Tell us about some of the things you experienced for the first time in 2010.

I went to Louisville, Kentucky for the first time, and met Tiffany and Ben for the first (but hopefully NOT the last!) time. All the things I did there (seeing Churchill Downs, the Louisville Slugger museum, etc.) were all things I experienced for the first time in 2010.

There, I feel better now that I have a 'happier' answer. (But, I STILL hate my job!)

This Year in WTF!?

I've written before about the Friday feature in the Chicago Sun-Times called "This Week in WTF." Well, today they put together a pretty funny one, with the their favorite viral videos of 2010. Enjoy!

2-for-1 Special

I don't know why the hell this wasn't up yesterday, but the Thursday prompt is finally up. I'm STILL going to do it, cuz that's the kind of standards I have (I don't know what that means, either, just go with it!). I'm nothing if not committed. (Yes, C, I hear you screaming, "You NEED to be committed!" Thanks!)

Thursday, December 30, 2010
Name five things you never want to put in your mouth.

Wow, it's gonna be hard to keep this G-rated for my girl, Suz. But, I'll try....

1. Cilantro!!! Most disgusting thing to ever come up out of the ground!! YUK!

2. Raisins - they're like little bugs! Gross!! (Now, if you cover them in enough chocolate, I might be able to choke a few down. The bugs, not the raisins! I kid, I kid....)

3. Menudo/Tripe/Chitterlings - whatever you call it, it's still stomach lining and intestines. thanks....

4. Tongue - as in beef tongue, prepared for tacos, etc. Beyond yuk!!! (Scared you there for a second, didn't I, Suz?)

5. Johnny Depp - Gag me!!! He ALWAYS looks like he needs a damn shower. Ewww!!! Well, when he doesn't look like a gay pirate, that is. Nope, even then he looks like he needs to bathe. He's just straight up NASTY!! (Sorry, Suz, I tried!)

Ok, on to today's prompt:

Friday, December 31, 2010
Tell us about some of the things you experienced for the first time in 2010.

This is really going to take some serious thought. Nothing is coming to mind right now, so I think I just may need to save this as a draft and come back later.

OK, I just had a yummy breakfast (well, lunch actually, but since I had to literally drag my son out of bed, it was breakfast to him!) of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. I gotta say, I still haven't thought of much for this prompt.

Sadly, the one thing that keeps popping into my head is that this year I experienced such a loathing toward my job, unlike anything I've ever experienced. The fact that I have to go back there in less than 100 hours is physically making me sick. I already have a knot in my stomach just thinking about it. I have such horrible feelings about my job this year, that I almost never mention it here, because it just stresses me out too much.

I don't really want to give any more thought or energy to my job, and I can't really think of anything else right now that I experienced for the first time this year. If I can think of something else, I'll come back later.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I forgot to mention...

...there was an earthquake in nearby Indiana this morning. Some people here in Chicago said they felt it. Weird, huh? You might remember that we had an earthquake here back on Feb. 10. What the hell?

I give up...

I've checked the NaBloPoMo site at least 12 times today, and there's STILL no prompt up for today. Since it's nearly 7pm, I'm gonna give up and just write some crap on my own. (You're welcome!)

We're having a bit of a heat wave here in ChiTown. It was in the mid-to-high 40s today. Yesterday it was in the high 30s. That means all of the snow we got last week is melting at a pretty steady rate. I'm glad I didn't take the time to shovel my enormous driveway last week, as the snow is nearly all melted now. Tomorrow, it's supposed to be in the 50s. Yuk!! Too warm for me. I'll bet my ass there will be tons of yahoos walking around in shorts tomorrow. I guarantee it!

I'm actually really worried that all that rapidly melting snow is going to cause me to get water in my basement tomorrow. We'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, the temperature is supposed to drop to the 20s, which will mean all that standing water will turn to ice, which should make driving really awesome!! Man, I LOVE CHICAGO!!

Let's see, what else can I bore you with? Well, my car needed a jump today, which is always big fun! "Someone" left the dome light on in the car, and it was dead as a doornail this afternoon when I tried to go to my parents'. (Since there are only two of us in this house, and I KNOW it wasn't me, I'm pretty sure who the "someone" is....just sayin'...) I had to have my daddy come give my car a jump. The real kicker is that I was going to my parents' because my dad called me earlier in the day to ask me to do something for him on the computer. But, he wanted me to come there. In the windup, he had to come here, which is pretty inconvenient for him, don't you think? After we got the car going, we still went there, and ended up staying for dinner (Chinese, yay!).

I'll leave you with one last thought for the night. It's something that will make you go 'ewwww.' I grew up with this guy. We went to grade school, junior high and high school together. I used to hang out at his house, back in the day, with one of my best friends. I think the two of them kinda had a thing for each other, which seems really creepy now. Click over to see why, and then go take a shower.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 29

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Describe what happiness means to you using just six words.

Being content with what I have.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 28

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
What's your biggest Life responsibility right now, and how are you handling it?

Well, I guess the obvious answer would be raising my son. As far as how I'm handling it, I gotta tell ya, most days, I feel like I'm doing a piss-poor job. Especially when I get a look at his grades. I can't tell you how disheartening it is, as an educator, to have a child who despises school.

I've been handling it on my own for over 15 years now, and it hasn't been easy. Most of you know that in order to send him to the private school he attends (the same one where he's getting those abysmal grades!) I had to work 3 jobs for a while. I've had to make many sacrifices over the past 15 years, but I wouldn't change a thing. My son has always come first, and I don't regret that for a minute.
I don't want this post to turn into a CSJ-bash, but I'll just say that that isn't the case for him. He walked out and never looked back. He's been living his life for himself first, and Stud has always had to just fit into that life somehow.

I sometimes wonder if I'm doing my son a disservice by living my life this way. Am I teaching him to follow in his mother's footsteps and put himself last? I certainly hope not. On the other hand, am I teaching him to be narcissistic, and only put himself first? Again, I hope not. I pray that he finds a happy medium, and that I haven't completely screwed him up.
So far, that seems to be the case. I am so proud of the kind, caring, generous young man he has become. I just hope it 'sticks' when he's an adult!

Wow, this post is started to get a little too serious and deep for me. I think it's time to go eat a truffle and call it a day!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A little peek at our Christmas Eve

Once again, Momma set a mean table.

Santa is awfully cute, isn't he? I don't know why this is so blurry, though.

I can't believe how blurry this is! It was a great picture of how the table was set, as well as some of the many yummy appetizers that were on the table.
Here's my little nephew, in the cute sweater I bought him last year for Christmas.

Once again, let me remind you that this ginormous spread was for EIGHT people!!! EIGHT! Not 18, 8!!
Let me tell you what you're looking at, starting in the back row (top of the photo?): crustini topped with Gorgonzola, basil and roasted red peppers, mushrooms sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic, oven-roasted broccoli and garlic, fried calamari, sepia (another calamari dish, made in a tomato-based sauce) Row 2: whole calamari stuffed with cheese & bread crumbs, lime & pepper breaded talapia Row 3: Chicken breasts made with olives, onions, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, celery and roasted red pepper (just a little something I came up with that morning), ravioli
The photo above is the other half of the island. Under the foil, and pictured below, are cheesy potatoes, in front of that are breaded cauliflower patties, you'll see what's in the foil try in a second, and in front of that is a traditional Christmas Eve feast dish, pasta made with alici (anchovies).
I've mentioned before that we do the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Here are the seven fishes we had that night.
1) stuffed calamari 2) breaded talapia 3) fried calamari rings 4) sepia 5) pasta con alici
6) grilled octopus
7) shrimp

The two dishes we ALWAYS have are the sepia and the pasta con alici. Truthfully, I don't care for the pasta, but everyone else loves it. That's why my mom always makes a second type of pasta, like this year's ravioli. To be honest, it doesn't at all taste like fish. The anchovies are sauteed with garlic (surprise, surprise, right?!) in olive oil, along with toasted bread crumbs. This "sauce" is then combined with pasta (we like angel hair). A third dish that is very traditional is bacala, (I'm not 100% sure of that spelling) or salted cod . It takes a lot of work to prepare it, though, so this year, my mother decided to go with the talapia. As long as there are 7 different fish dishes, you're good to go. But, as you can see, there are plenty of other dishes, as well. Let me reiterate - all that food was prepared for EIGHT people!!! Ah, that's the Italian way of life!

Here's a little peek at the sweets we enjoyed. This is the tray my sister baked and brought. There are at least 10 kinds of cookies here. She makes kolachkis (sp?) that would make you slap yo mama!1) rolled shortbread cookies 2) almond crescents 3) peanut butter blossoms 4) kolachkis 5) oatmeal cranberry cookies 6) almond surprises (there's a Hershey kiss inside!) 7) cornflake holly wreathes 8) M&M bar cookies 9) coffee cookies (a VERY closely guarded family recipe - I don't even have it!!) 10) chocolate chunk cookies
I made my traditional yummy fudge. I also made:
1) Sugar Cinnamon Roasted Almonds 2) White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies 5) Rolo Pretzel "thingies" that my sister and I decided to call Christmas D-Lights. My sister made 3) White Trash (a delightful combination of things like Cheerios, Crispix, M&Ms, peanuts and pretzels, all covered in melted white chocolate) 6) a freakin' AWESOME thing we have dubbed Snack Crack (because after ONE bite, you are instantly addicted!)

My mom did some baking, as well. You know, in her free time!!
1) Rice Krispie Caramel Balls (something my brother's girlfriend introduced to our family over a decade ago. Sorry, Mom, KC's are better.) 2) Nut Cups 3) Magic Squares 4) chocolate chip biscotti.

It has now become a tradition to take a picture of my brother doing this every holiday. He would KILL me if he knew this incredibly unattractive photo of him was out there for all to see!
Once my brother got up, his 'son' took over his spot on the sofa.
Wow, this has taken well over an hour to post this handful of pictures (damn you, Blogger!) so I'm going to take a break. If you behave yourselves, I'll share some more pictures later. :)

Day 27

Monday, December 27, 2010
What's the best gift you've ever received? What's the worst?

Well, this is a no-brainer! My baby boy is the GREATEST gift I've EVER received. Duh!!

The worst gift? Hmmm....that's hard, because all gifts are pretty great, right? Oh, wait!! I just thought of something!! Years ago, back when CSJ was still around (although, wait, we may have been separated, I don't remember) he, my dad and my brother-in-law had this really brilliant (aka-STUPID) idea to send me, my mom and my sister to Minnesota to The Mall of America. Seriously?!? It's like he had never met me before!!! I would rather get a root canal than go shopping at a mall. I would rather give birth again, with NO DRUGS, than go shopping at a mall!! I think you get the picture. What the hell was he thinking!? Now, for my mom and sister, this was the PERFECT gift. Those two would live at the mall if they could. But, for me? Not so much. In the wind-up, I didn't go (the two of them STILL bring it up every once in a while, and tell me what a baby and a party pooper I was, blah, blah, blah...) I think a friend of ours ending up taking my place, I don't really remember. Or care.

Sheesh! I haven't thought about that in a long time. Yes, hands down, WORST gift EVER!

Oh, and I found out what the hell yesterday was all about. Go here. :)

***It just occurred to me, while rereading this post, that both of these gifts came from CSJ. Ok, well, Stud Muffin is also a gift from God, which explains why he's so awesome. ;-)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wait, WHAT day is it?

Ok, somehow, I've lost a day. Apparently, my body decided that today was the day I was going to catch up on all my lost sleep. Christmas Eve was a late one, but not nearly as late as normal. I think we left my parents' house at about 2am. It's usually closer to 3 or 4, but my sister had worked all day, and was exhausted. Once one of us decides to call it a night, the rest of us pretty much follow suit.

Despite getting to bed at almost 3, Dorky Dog still woke me up at 6, so he could go potty. I tried to go back to sleep, but it wasn't really happening. Stud slept in til nearly 2, then he opened his gifts and left shortly after with CSJ. I headed back to my parents' house for leftovers.

Christmas Day is always so nice. It's just the 5 of us, as Stud and his cousins all go spend the day with their fathers. They usually get dropped off at my parents' later in the evening, but for the most part, it's just "us" for the day. Just like when we were kids. We eat ourselves silly, feasting on leftovers from the night before, as well as the 2 million kinds of cookies and candy that are all over the house.

Last night was even a later night than Christmas Eve. I didn't get home until after 4am this morning. I more or less forced Buster to go out, hoping he wouldn't then wake me at 6. Yeah, well, it almost worked. He waited until 7! I tried to go back to sleep, and managed to snooze from about 8-10. I stayed in bed, though, hoping to fall asleep again. I watched some TV, which is my usual Sunday m.o., and read magazines. Sleep finally grabbed me around noon, only to have the phone wake me up around 2:30ish. ARGH!!! I heard Stud start to stir around this time, probably also awakened by the phone. He came upstairs at nearly 3 to say "good morning" and I heated up the pizza my brother insisted I take home this morning. (My brother decided he wanted pizza last night at around midnight. Believe it or not, our favorite place was actually open on Christmas Day! And, it was open til 2am!!) A Mama Barocco's (stuffed pizza, with spinach and ricotta cheese, extra sauce! Yum!!!) was the perfect breakfast!

After we ate, I headed back to my cozy bed to watch some more mindless TV. (I know, I'm a loser! But, hey, I'm on vacation, people!) Before I knew it, it was 6:00, which usually means America's Funniest Home Videos, but instead, when I flipped to Channel 7, I was horrified to see the opening credits to The Sound of Music! OMG, I HATE that movie!!! So, I called my sister, who freakin' ADORES that stupid movie, and told her to turn it on. She tried to convince me to watch it, since I've never seen the whole movie at one time (only bits and pieces over the years, since it's 4 freakin' hours long!!) but she was unsuccessful. Instead, I flipped on America's Test Kitchen. That's the last thing I remember. I must have fallen into a pizza coma or something. I woke up after 9:30!

Despite all the little cat naps today, I still don't feel completely rested. Probably because it was all little bits of sleep, as opposed to one nice, long slumber, huh? I'm actually ready to go back to sleep for the night. Don't judge! Maybe I'll see if Stud is still awake, and wants to watch a movie with his mommy. That'll put me to sleep ASAP. I guess that's why he never wants to watch movies with me. I can't say that I blame him. But, right now, I don't care, I just want to sleep. I'm such a loser...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I'm so sweepy...

It's just after 2 am, so it's technically Christmas Day. Stud and I just got home from my parents', after a lovely evening. I took pictures, but I'm far too tired to upload them right now. I'll come back in a couple of hours, after I sleep off this food hangover.

Merry Christmas to all my Bloggy Buddies!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 24

Friday, December 24, 2010
What's the fastest you've ever driven, where, and why?

I LOVE to drive fast, so this is actually a little hard to answer. I think the last time I can remember driving particularly fast was the last time I took Stud and his friends to Michigan. I know, I know, nice, right? Especially since I had my child, as well as other people's children, in the car!! The speedometer hit 95 without me even realizing it. We were too busy singing and 'dancing' like idiots! Ah, good times...good times....

Thursday, December 23, 2010

O Holy Night

I just lifted this from Jo's blog (Me Lil Irish Thots). I've always adored Josh Groban's rendition of this beautiful song. The video made me cry. I vaguely remember this movie being released a few years ago. Now I wish I had actually seen it. Maybe I'll look into renting it, now that I've seen this clip.

My Girls

I know it's a pretty crappy picture, but I wanted to show you the cute card that my oldest niece had made for Christmas. My sister had nothing to do with it. The girls took the picture at their dad's house, and then my niece handled getting the cards printed. It turned out pretty cute, don't you think? I know you probably can't see the text, but it says, "Wishing you some holiday CHEER!" Funny, right?
They're both so adorable. I kinda wish they had their big shiny bows in their hair, since they would look more like they were gift wrapped. :)

A little holiday humor...

I just stole this from Ricochet who I think stole it from someone else. Wherever it came from, it made me laugh, so I'm sharing it with you. You're welcome!

Day 23

Thursday, December 23, 2010
How are you interesting?

What the...?! Who writes these prompts?! am I interesting...?

I have a job from hell, that provides LOTS of unbelievable stories, that's for sure! Most people can't believe most of the stories I share, but let me assure you, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!!

I have the most amazing son, who, in between making me want to shank him (thank, Suz!), makes me so proud, I don't have words to describe it.

I like to think I'm kinda funny. At least my family and friends think so. ;-)

I kinda have a lot of 'book smarts.' More than once I've overheard my brother describe me to people as "the smartest person I know." He actually calls me pretty frequently to ask me questions. Usually, this happens when he's at the bar, and is arguing, I mean discussing something, with someone about whatever. Then, he'll say, "I'm calling my sister. She'll know. She's the smartest person I know." This has happened less and less now that he has an iPhone, though, cuz he can instantly look up whatever it is he's discussing. I've been replaced by modern technology. :(

I come from a wild, crazy, funny-as-hell, stereotypical Big Italian Family. That, in and of itself, makes me interesting, right? I've never met anyone who didn't love hanging out with us!

Finally, the thing that makes me MOST interesting is that I blog!! bwah hahahaha!!! I know all my Bloggy Buddies will agree with this one, since it's what makes you all so interesting, too! tee hee hee!

I think I'd like to know what YOU think makes me interesting. What brings you back here day after day? Please share!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You may need to brush your teeth after this one...

I came across this freakin' adorable video this morning, while perusing my bloglist. I stole it from Jabacue over at Ocean Breezes, who had stolen it from Life with Kaishon. Now, I'm sharing it with all of you! You're welcome!

(For some reason, today's prompt still isn't posted yet at NaBloPoMo. I'll be back later with that post.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 21

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Do you have a special, non-traditional cure for colds or some other illness? Share it with us.

This prompt made me laugh out loud, given all the whining I've been doing lately about being sick. Obviously, my non-traditional cure is to bitch and moan on my blog, and then not do anything else!!

In all seriousness, I've NEVER been a proponent of the "better living through chemicals/pharmaceuticals" school of thought. It's VERY rare that I take any kind of medication. I've mentioned before that I endured a horrific and long labor, and then birth, without the aide of any drugs. I've had root canals without drugs.
I've suffered with migraines nearly my entire life, yet I only deal with them by closing myself in a dark room and/or sleeping. I think you get the picture. I guess my non-traditional cure is to let nature take its course. So far, it's kept me alive for over 4 decades! ;-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Look out DWTS!

Bestest Friend and I were the hit of the Christmas party... :)


...Bestest Friend has a little too much time on her hands.... :)

Day 20

Monday, December 20, 2010
If you had been born the opposite sex, what do you think would be different about your life right now?

Wow, what a prompt! I think it's possible that many things would be different. I think I might have followed in my Dad's footsteps career-wise. (That actually sounds pretty good right now.) I'd like to think I'd still be married, as I wouldn't have been the kind of crappy ass husband that CSJ was. And, luckily for my dad, I probably would be the one to carry on the family name. (Right now, despite having 13 freakin' kids in his family, NONE of his brothers' sons have children. NONE! My brother is the last hope of carrying on the name, but it's looking less and less likely as time goes on...)'s still very early. I may just have to think about this some more, and come back later to add to/edit this answer.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today's post is brought to you by the letter "M"... in "migraine." Mother-scratchin' migraine, to be exact. (I cleaned that up just for you, Suz. You're welcome.) I was awakened by the piercing, head-splitting pain at about 5 am, and it just got worse from there. This is probably one of the worst I've had in quite some time. It feels like someone stabbed me through the top of my head with a white-hot poker. My teeth hurt. My eye feels like it's going to burst. On the pain scale of 1-10, this is about a 9. I've been trying to stay in the dark, asleep, most of this afternoon. Dorky Dog actually just woke me up because he needed to go outside. Thankfully, it's dark outside now. When I crawled into bed several hours ago, it was VERY bright and sunny outside, which only made things worse. Now that I'm awake, maybe I should actually consider feeding my child. Hmmm.... Is pouring milk into a bowl of cereal acceptable?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's finished...

I wanted to show you how Stud Muffin's 'big' project turned out. His somewhat creative mother convinced him to change the matting again. You may remember that the last time I wrote about this project, he wanted it to look something like this:Well, long story short, something happened to the red poster board. Since we had to go out and get more poster board, we started to think of other options. I decided to cut up the "ruined" red board just to see how it would look as another layer of matting. Stud liked it, thankfully. Then, he couldn't decide if he liked the pictures mounted on white or black poster board. He decided on the black.
Here's the picture that most of you said was your favorite. Stud decided that he would do the writing he wanted to do on the red matte.
Here's the finished project. I know you can't really see the writing. It isn't exactly what he originally had in mind, but he's pleased with it, nonetheless. He decided to add a new piece, there in the middle, with the key bible verse written on it.
I think it beautifully ties it all together.
He was VERY excited when he came home yesterday. Besides bringing this project to school, he also brought another drawing (which I'm beating myself up over not taking a picture of!!!), that he basically did for fun, to his art teacher. It was a drawing of a Crusader (their school mascot) in the style of the drawings of his other characters from "The Game." Apparently, she liked it so much, she immediately hung it on display in the art room. But, what got him really excited was that she took his poster board and put it on display in the main entrance of the school, in the main display case. All of this happened before school started, as he went to school early yesterday, so he didn't know about the display case until later in the day when several of his teachers commented on his project. I'm so proud of him.

Next semester, the class is moving on to ceramics. I'm not really sure how he feels about that, since his 'thing' is drawing. I'm sure he'll do just great. I just hope he gives it some real effort. He's always been the kind of brat, I mean kid, who wants to do what HE wants to do, and if it's something he doesn't really want to do, he doesn't give it his full effort. This can be so exacerbating! That's all I'm going to say about that, lest I put some kind of jinx on him. :(

Friday, December 17, 2010

Visual Miscellany, Part 2

I started to share some of this stuff the other day. I intended to share a little everyday, but quite frankly, I've been feeling like stir-fried shit lately. The past couple of days, I've been baking and candy making, which isn't really helping with the exhaustion I've been feeling. But, it needs to be done, so what can I do?

Anyway, I wanted to share some more with my Bloggy Buddies. This is one of the Christmas presents I bought myself this year.

Oh, yes, I did! I've been wanting one for a very long time. Then, last week, while shopping at Sam's Club, I came upon a display of these beauties. (Apparently, I just missed the samples. Poop.) The price was WAY too good to pass up, so I finally bit the bullet, and bought it. Before I share all the details, and make you all jealous, let me tell you a funny little story.

After I bought it, I called my sister to tell her all about my awesome score, and she immediately became exasperated with me. Um, yeah...apparently she has already bought me one!! Like I said, I've been wanting one forever, and being the awesome sister that she is, she took note. When a different model went on sale at the store where she works, she snatched it up for me for Christmas from her and my mom.

She was even more annoyed because this isn't the first time this has happened. See, here's the thing. I realized years ago, after being on my own for quite some time, that the only one I need to depend on is myself. And, as part of that realization, I decided that from that point on, if there was something I wanted, I could just get it for myself, and it would be ok. There was no husband/boyfriend who was going to swoop in and surprise me with the perfect gift (which, on some level, is a gift in and of itself!). So, for the past few years, I've been getting my own Christmas presents for myself. And, surprise, surprise, I always get myself the perfect thing! tee hee!

So, back to my thoughtful sister. She's very attuned to the things I want/like, and makes mental notes to herself. Then, when she sees something she knows I would like, she picks it up. She's like that with all of us, not just me. Unfortunately, the last couple of 'big' things that she's picked up have been things I've already picked up for myself. Then, she gets stuck having to return those things, which really annoys her. Which would explain why she was so ticked when I told her about my newest toy. I convinced her that the one I bought was a better deal, since it was a nicer model, and came with a 'bonus.' (In the windup, a friend of ours actually wanted to get one of these for her daughter for Christmas, so she bought it from my sister. It was a win-win, since my sister didn't have to take it back, and our friend got it for a really great sale price.)

I finally opened the box on Monday. (I was waiting to find out if my sister returned the one she bought before I opened the one I bought. It was an excruciatingly long couple of days!)
Here's what was in the bonus pack.
I'm REALLY excited about the reusable filter cup that came in the bonus pack. That means I won't have to buy the coffee cups if I don't want to, which I probably won't very often, because they're a little expensive. Although, when you compare the cost of the cups to buying coffee through the drive-thru every morning, it's pretty comparable. I figured out that by the time I use the 60 cups that came in my bonus pack, it will have saved me more money (by NOT going to the drive-thru) than I spent on the machine. And, just yesterday, while at Target, I checked out the price of the reusable filter, and it was nearly $20! So, yeah, bonus pack, indeed! I came out ahead in this deal.

After unpacking the coffee, I removed this from the box.
It was a cute little folder with all the manuals inside.
My beautiful machine!
I was so psyched to try it out. The manual says to use filtered water so you don't get a build up of minerals in the machine. That is seriously the only downside I see for this new toy. I used those water bottles the first time I used the machine because it was all I had in the house, but I bought a 2 1/2 gallon dispenser bottle of filtered water at Target yesterday just for the machine.
I decided to try hazelnut first, since it's my favorite coffee flavor.
The model I have brews 3 different cup sizes. The "small mug" setting was perfect. It left the perfect amount of room for my extra cream.
I couldn't wait to drink some before taking the next picture. Ah, it was delish!!
One of the boxes was a variety pack. Being the nerd that I am, I'm keeping notes on every cup I try from this box, so I'll have an idea of which cups to buy later. So far, they've all been yummy.
This machine can also be used to make iced drinks, which I'm really excited about. I LOVE iced coffee, and I start my day with some most days. Two of the boxes that came in the bonus pack have coffee that is labeled 'bold,' which worried me a little, since I don't really like my coffee super strong. But, then it occurred to me that those would be perfect for making iced coffee, since the ice will dilute it just enough. Yay! I can't wait to try it.

Here's the other Christmas present I bought myself.
I've always wanted a Le Creuset dutch oven. However, the $300 price tag has been laughing in my face for a very long time. Imagine my delight when I saw this little beauty at Sam's Club for less than $40! It's enameled cast iron, just like a Le Creuset, so I imagine it should work just about the same, no? I'll let you know.

Ok, some more random nonsense. I've been meaning to share this for over 6 months now. I can NOT believe I found this shirt for my darling son. I literally laughed out loud in the middle of the store!
This photo doesn't do this drawing justice. This was Stud's first attempt at creating with pastels. It's a landscape of an Italian seashore. I think he did a great job, even if he doesn't like it.
Ok, I know this is a totally crappy, blurry photo. It's a picture of me and my oldest & dearest friend. We met when I was in kindergarten! Her daughter was my first goddaughter. We were in high school in this picture. The reason I tried to take a picture of this picture (which hangs on my living room wall) is because the day I took it, Dec. 13, was her birthday, and I had planned to wish her a happy birthday here. Yeah, well, you can see that didn't happen. Better late than never, I suppose.
While I was trying to take the picture above, I realized that some of my favorite pictures of Stud were in a frame directly below it on the wall. Luckily, this one turned out. How cute is this kid?! I especially love the one on the right of him with the giant mug. To this day, he still uses those mugs for everything. It cracks me up that the mug is as big as his head in this picture. Now, it look like a teacup in his hands.
Wow, can you tell I'm on vacation? This is one long-ass post! I've been sitting her for nearly two hours now! My apologies to those of you who are still with me. I guess I'll hold off on the rest until tomorrow. THAT'S how much I love you guys! ;-)

Day 17

Friday, December 17, 2010
Describe yourself using ten words that start with the letter P.

These are going to be in no particular order, other than how they pop into my head:
1. plump
2. pleasant
3. proud (mother)
4. penguin-lover
5. people-pleaser
6. parent
7. patient
8. passionate
9. playful
10. pack rat

Sheesh, that was a little harder than I thought it would be. Let's see if I can think of 10 things I'm NOT...

1. pushy
2. phony
3. perfect
4. pregnant
5. pianist
6. pampered
7. peculiar
8. pesty
9. petty
10. pompous

Ok, how 'bout 10 things I wish I were:

1. physically fit
2. powerful
3. pregnant
4. partner
5. published
6. protected
7. performer
8. photogenic
9. PhD
10. penguin

Hmmm....maybe I should try and get some much-needed sleep, cuz based on this drivel, I'm obviously slap-happy right now. Besides the delightful congestion in my chest, which has given me the cough from hell, which has caused me to have such violent coughing fits that I've wet my pants about 3 times a day for the past few weeks (oh, no, I'm NOT kidding!) and given me what I believe is a hernia, I have been up most of the night because I can't breathe, either, now. My nose is alternating between running and being stuffed up. Good times, good times.... It's just after 5 am, and I've given up. There will be no rest for me, at least not if I plan to lie down. As I sit here in bed, I can't decide which is louder - the wheezing coming from my chest, or Buster's snoring. I'm gonna have to go with Buster on this one. Why does this Dorky Dog insist on sleeping (and snoring!) right next to me!? Jeez, no wonder I can't sleep...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 16

Thursday, December 16, 2010
What's the best thing someone could say to you right now, right this minute?

"You're hired!" And, no, I don't care who says it, or what the job is!!

* It seems, after M's comment, that I need to clarify something. I still have my job, but I desperately would like a NEW one, that's all. Sorry to confuse you! :(

Email of the Day, Part 2

This, too, came from my dad today. Interesting, for sure!

imageI actually remember my parents, and the other adults in our family, buying each other cartons of cigarettes for Christmas, in decorated boxes just like this ad. They actually bought each other cartons of cigarettes for most occasions, like birthdays, etc.