Monday, December 28, 2009

End of the Holiday Weekend Wrap Up

The past week has been crazy busy, and full of eating. I'm still trying to load video to share, but I do have some images to put up.

Christmas was extended for 3 days this year - Christmas Eve was spent at The Dude's Aunt's house for an open house where I discovered Peppadew stuffed with a mix of cream cheese and creme fraise. Heaven in a bite, and like potato chips, I could not eat just one! We started a new tradition this year at the request of The Oldest, to open one present Christmas Eve, only I got to pick what present it was, and I borrowed my Sister-In-Law's idea to make it Christmas pajamas. The Youngest was pissed off because he was thinking it would be a toy, and kept asking if he'd be allowed to stay up late to play with it.
Christmas morning was thankfully a bit later this year (7:00) than last year (4:48). Both sets of In-Laws were over at 7:30 for bacon, cinnabon, and english muffins, oh, and gifts. The Boys had fun opening all of their gifts, and got a Wii from Oma and Opa. They've been playing and fighting about it since, and it was taken away all day yesterday after breakfast and an unfortunate choking incident. Today is a bit smoother, with only words exchanged. The oldest likes Rabid Rabbits, and The Youngest likes Lego Indiana Jones, and Star Wars, so that is what they argue about. I think I'll be adding a timer to what they play, and of course they will be really upset when school is back in session and they can't play during the week, because it goes with no screen time on school nights. The Oldest got his video camera from Santa and has taped at least 24 hours of mundane household things. The Youngest got the Lego Star Wars Battle of Endor set (890 pieces), which I finally finished helping him put together last night!
Christmas dinner was at my folks with sis and the nephews, and an aunt. My uncle has been in the hospital since early last week. He went in for some tests in preparation for a kidney transplant, but they found he had to have a triple by-pass. That happened on the 26th, and he's recovering well. That is the uncle who was a body builder in the 70's, lifted with Arnold, and fashions himself as Uncle Buck. We don't agree politically, but our conversations are always lively, and he always challenges me to have well thought out arguments, and all of my facts before we talk.
The 26th was dinner with The Dude's family, more nephews, and another great meal. We ended up playing Wii ski, and it was hysterically funny to play and to watch as the 3 bros hit the slopes! While the cousins were playing they would ski up to one another at the lifts and visit - as if they weren't standing next to each other the entire time - it had me laughing! That and one of the nephews was saying the others should slow down and look at the beautiful scenery!
Yesterday I took The Boys to Toys R Us to use their Christmas money and we ended up with a couple of Wii games, another Nerf Gun, that is insanely huge and automatic, and I bought myself Brain Age for DS. We also picked up batteries for the Nerf gun and a Slot Car track which is now on the floor of their room. Oh, and I have an eye twitch from too much screen time. And I'm sore from Wii boxing, skiing and Rabid Rabbit dancing.
Here is a slide show which includes the result of adding room temperature water to a 400 degree pyrex dish.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My annual putting hats on anything that isn't nailed down post

So last year I adopted the tradition of my dear friend and started putting hats on the pictures around my house. This year I added several portraits, and even made mouse ear hats for in-laws who love Disney.

Scuba Santas:

The Boys getting into the holiday spirit:

Even Parrots get into the act:

Cousins looking festive:

An Old Family Photo, updated:

Dear friends:

The Dude and I:

And if you can name this image, you win a WHATZIT prize, no fair if you were with me when I bought it, or at the event where it was purchased - really this is more for Gordon, and a little bit for Bagman...

More to come on the aftermath of Christmas :-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A funeral for a friend

The weekend (yes last weekend) soared by in a blur of Fudge and Irish Cream making, A Birthday Party for The Oldest and his best friend, which was really fun for almost all attendees, and will be shared more as I get my shit together. For those of you who know me IRL, you can stop laughing now...

Monday I was considering not attending the funeral. AJ was not a particularly close friend of mine, though I did think of her often, and she was one of the most kind hearted and generous people I've known. She was at one time, a very high powered executive in Silicon Valley, and also very down to earth. She'd had cancer, and been dying of it for the entire time I'd known her, and at age 47, lost that battle on December 12th. Her funeral mass was at St. Joseph's Cathedral in San Jose, and well attended. I was unable to stay for the reception, and on one hand was glad for that, but on the other I wish I could have stayed.
You see, AJ was a friend in a group that I've kind of fallen away from due to several factors, most of which could have been avoided or mended by me. It is my level of maturity (or lack there of) that has caused much of the falling away. I fairly sure all of our common friends would likely welcome my friendship again (and some have stuck with me despite all of the shit), but I really don't know if that is true. I also don't know if I am ready to open myself up to all of it again, revisit old wounds that are still painful, and risk losing dear, dear friends again. I am so scared in fact, that just typing this has me crying into my keyboard. Sometimes it takes the death of a loved one to open such doorways of opportunity. Do I let it shut quietly, or do I throw it open wide and just grow up already? I can't lick my wounds indefinitely, nor hide in the background. I think it's time for some New Year's reaching out and apologizing. Some of these relationships may restart, some may not, but none will if I just sit on my hands.
AJ wrote a poem that was printed in the memorial, as well as read at the service:

Something Good

Wouldn't this old world be better
If the folks we meet would say:
"I know something good about you,"
and then treat us just that way?
Wouldn't life be lots more sunny
If we praise good we see;
For there's such a lot of goodness
In the worst of you and me
Wouldn't it be nice to practice
Just this way of thinking, too;
"You know something good about me
I know something good about You."

I think she was on to something, and I'm here to say I know something good about you.
Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Town Shoot Out - My Town Dressed for Christmas

This week's shoot out theme is courtesy of the My Town Blogger Team "The idea for this week’s topic came from the need to fit our Town-Shoot-Out to how busy we are this month and what we are busy doing. There is not any of us that don’t admire how our town celebrates the Christmas Season – it becomes just a matter of carrying our cameras in our back pocket so while we go about shopping or to tree lighting ceremonies or going to school plays or pageants, or watching our children and grandchildren participate in the church choir, we can snap some photos to share. GingerV"
I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here or here.

I drove around looking at the usual places that have good diplays and usually their neighbors also have really nice lights. What I found out, is that a week before Christmas, and not many people are decorating, or if so, not as extensively. I think it might be due to the economy, and being a target for theft. Last week my neighbor across the street has his garage broken into, and there has been a rash of thefts at the office. However, I did find some lights ablaze in my neighborhood:

The inflatable yard decor is very popular around here, where it is likely to rain a bit, but not snow at Christmas.

The Tree in front of the Dublin Public Library:

The Dublin City Tree - In Front of Civic Center.

Then I took a short drive to Pleasanton, where I grew up, and the home of Bob's World 1, which is down the street from my folks:

Bob's Garage:

Another nearby home:

This is Bob's World 2, also in Pleasanton, and the home of a 9 hole miniature golf course, turned into a Winter Wonderland:

Trees in synch with Christmas music:

Out buildings full of train sets:

Lighted Penguins in bikini tops and hula skirts:

An Angel to bid you safe journey:

And I couldn't resist a self portrait on my way out:

Happy weekend all!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sherpa Mom

Mark of The Butler and Bagman Chronicles inspired me with his post yesterday and so I am going to relate the tales of my own Sherpa life. The Boys affectionately call me Sherpa Mom because I always end up juggling backpacks, jackets, science projects, permission slips, hats, gloves, lunch boxes, books and sharing items on our walk to and from school. Plus I usually have a cup of coffee in the morning and a bottle of water in the afternoon (just kidding, it's really a margarita ;-)).
This is my laptop case for when I drive to work. It holds lots of other suff too, like magazines, files, notebooks and all cords for connectivity, including an inverter just in case I'm stranded in my car during the 5 mile drive to the office...

This is my bike, on which I commute, loaded down with both paniers stuffed - laptop in one and clothes in the other. capping it off is my ice chest for lunch and snacks. I also take the ice chest when I drive.

No day at the office is complete without a cup of coffee, and even when I ride my bike, I have it when I get there!

My current camera back pack - behind it is my secondary bag, both of which I need to carry everywhere for those shots I keep missing. It holds Dramamine for those windy roads, Model release forms, extra battery packs, motrin, lenses, filters, cleaners, flashes and memory, sharpies and business cards. The secondary bag holds my other camera body and other lenses, etc.

Of course, I'm really coveting this bag:

And my single consession to being a mom- a purse. Of course when I'm on the bike, or out on a shoot, I just throw my wallet in another bag.

What all of this allows for is:
1 - Really strong legs from peddling all this weight around.
2 - The ability to carry 10 bags of groceries at a time, plus an 8 pack of bathroom tissue, and a 12 pack of soda.
3 - I can pack efficiently nearly anything, no matter the shape or size.
4 - Wrapping weird size/shaped presents is a snap!
5 - No matter how efficient I think I am, there is almost always something left behind, neccessitating a trip back to the house or office.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just found this, and it seriously made my night!

So much so, that I had to call The Dude in from the other room to watch it!

Laugh of today and maybe a bit of weekend wrap up

Today's laugh is courtesy of This is Why Your Hold Time is So Long. Some of my favorites are lambasted, but I get the point, and my favorite paragraph/rant on a Christmas song, "Yes, they know its Christmas. You can’t avoid it. Agnostic Eskimo tribes living on Pluto who’ve only seen Earth in a telescope know it’s Christmas, and even they think it’s stupid that you put the Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving, or as they call it, SpardleFeast."

The weekend raced by yet again with working in The Boy's classroom, mid-day Dentist appointments and watching a play on Friday Afternoon.

Saturday was start of laundry, grocery shopping, picking up my Nephews, bringing all four boys to my folks for their Christmas Party with friends, and driving around to look at Christmas lights, which was really fun.
Sunday was finishing laundry and doing nearly ALL of my Christmas shopping. I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck! I actually did about 30 more minutes today of shopping, but part of that was for the tour shirts (more to come).
I only really have The Dude and a few relations to shop for. I also have 150 Christmas cards to address and mail. GAH! Oh, and I need to get all four of us together on a day that isn't POURING and take a family portrait. To do that, I have to also pick out what everyone will wear. Last year's was ok, but I looked like a Polar Bear with red on top. I made a batch of Hot Cocoa Mix, and still need to make my Irish Cream and Fudge... At least I have all of the containers for all of the goodies. OK, off to print mailing labels for the cards so I can address them tomorrow while in a live training class - wheee!
Since I'm taking the final 2 weeks off of work, I also have a BUTTLOAD of things to get caught up on before Friday, which explains why I am still sitting at a computer this late at night, having just completed something I'd scheduled for noon today.  :-P

And now for a new classic on my Christmas show list:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I know it's already Saturday

Or Sunday, depending on where you might live, and I'll be working on my shoot out due yesterday. But now I have to stand over one kid so he will do his math homework.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More slice of life with boys

So, this weekend brought more boy drama that really makes me just sigh and kind of laugh (now that it's Thursday).
We bought an iPod nano for The Oldest as a Birthday present (although the shuffle is still missing - hello Carol, could you help me out here?)

The thing is, it has video capability, which he really loves, but makes Christmas tough for me because he'd already asked Santa for an actual video camera. So he had it for less than 8 hours and wanted to show me a video he'd taken. When he started the video though, he covered the screen and said he didn't want me to see that part. I asked why and The Youngest volunteered that it was video of his penis. Yes, you read that right. The Oldest video taped The Youngest's penis. great. I took the ipod, handed it to their father (The Dude), and told him to explain to The Boys why this was inappropriate. Instead, he grounded them to seperate rooms and was so angry he couldn't talk to them all day. After about an hour, I talked to them seperately and together, and had to ask what they were thinking. The already know it is not ok to ask to see anyone's private area, or show anyone their own. Yet, somehow doing both and taping it slipped through that filter. So now that's cleared up, and the ipod is taken away, has been wiped clean, reset to factory settings, and I removed the video camera option from the menu. And now I'm considering talking to Santa about allowing the video camera at Christmas.
Also this weekend? The Youngest called The Oldest "Fucker" and got a bar of soap in his mouth for 30 seconds. While that was a great deterent for The Oldest a while ago, I'm not sure that will work for The Youungest, but we'll see.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Picking up from my last post. Saturday we went to a Christmas party while Sis watched The Boys. I lost my Bunco virginity, and it was pretty fun, but high stress because men play bunco differently than women do. There were mostly men at the party, and I didn't get to an all women table until the last table, and I could like it, if that's how relaxing it really is. The men just roll, roll, roll as fast as humanly possible, while the women chat and visit and roll between words. There was also a white elephant gift exchange that I had to leave during because I'd lost track of time, and needed to pick up The Boys. Ended up visiting with Sis, and didn't get home until midnight. The Boys went right to sleep, but I stayed up until about 1:30 finishing cleaning and putting away laundry. I was going to just get up early Sunday, but I'm glad I got it out of the way, given my history with waking up early ;-)
Then 4:30 in the morning happened. The Dog came into our room, and his stomach was making the most horrid and LOUD sounds - We could actually hear it when he was in the living room, and our door was shut. The Dude thought that The Dog was chasing some animal in our room, that The Cat had caught. But The Cat was asleep, and we soon discovered that it was a stomach thing. The Dude went out to the livingroom to sit with The Dog for about 45 minutes, until the sounds mostly subsided, but we were all a little freaked out. I did some Reiki on The Dog, and we all went back to sleep for a few hours.
We were up at 7:30 getting ready for The Oldest's Birthday Brunch with family. Had to get my egg dish in the oven, and The Dude had to pick up a box of coffee. The Party was a success, the food was perfect, and The Oldest felt just as special as his day! Following brunch, we all headed to watch The Oldest perform in a Christmas play which was just as funny, and cute as it had been on Friday! Everyone enjoyed themselves, and we had the rest of the day to ourselves. For me it meant bringing The Oldest back for the closing show, and The Dude and The Youngest stayed home.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Busy Times, busy times

The entire time leading up to Christmas in our family is completely crazy. So no My Town Shoot Out for this week, but the theme is My Favorite Things, and had this going through my head all week:

My laugh for today is courtesy of Granny on the Web.

Yesterday I worked in The Boys' classroom. The 2nd and 3rd graders worked on ceramic projects, which is one of my favorite parts of teaching art. It was also the book fair at the school, and I brought boiling water so that the class could sell hot chocolate. Ended up buying a couple of books for each boy, hot chocolate, a couple of cupcakes, and a pencil sharpener.
Last night was the final dress rehearsal and opening night for the Christmas Play that The Oldest is in. It went very well, and was really funny and cute. The Youngest nearly fell out of his chair on a few occassions, laughing. Spent most of today doing laundry, cleaning and preparing for the family birthday party brunch Sunday morning, and then we are all going to watch the play. Tonight, we are headed to the Christmas party of a friend, and The Boys are headed to Sis' for a few hours.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to The Oldest. He turns 9 today and is a great kid! I love him to pieces, and he is growing into himself more every day. He also drives me out of my mind at times, but mostly he's totally awesome, and really fun to talk to.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tableau Tuesday of a different kind

Today is World AIDS Day. I have raised tens of thousands of dollars over decades to help those living with AIDS, and to find a cure. Despite what you may think about anyone other than yourself, AIDS affects us all. It can strike your family, your friends, the future leader of your country, and there is an entire generation of people for whom AIDS has taken the best and brightest of their lives, and their countries. I wanted to post something, and picked a slideshow of flickr photos that are not mine, but are tagged with AIDS quilt.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Care for each other, love each other, and remember our loved ones who have died and are dying of AIDS today.