December 11, 2005

I clean up nice

That's what I've been told. I was in much need of a haircut and a new outfit. Just in time for my husband's company holiday party. This is the first year I've ever gone to one of Richard's work parties. At his prior job there were different reasons why I managed to get out of them. Most of the time the reasons were legitimate, but there's no secret that I'm not the social butterfly in all situations. I'm the anti-social butterfly. I don't feel the need to say things unless I really feel like saying them. I don't bother with the small talk. What's the point? I'm not uncomfortable by silence. I just don't feel the need to talk, just for the sake of talking. I know you don't care and either do I, so let's just skip it. To me, it's even worse when you don't know anyone at all and everyone there works with your husband.

I prefer to people watch and listen. I tend to observe and analyze everything around me, and when I really feel like talking, then I will. These people are his co-workers and I have a policy about co-workers and neighbors. You either work with them or you live next to them. They aren't friends. Friendly chat is one thing, but when you start acting like the drunken fool, talking about ex-husbands and how you need a raise, then I'm about ready to make like I'm friends with the wait staff.

Determined to please my husband and get out of the house I spent all of Friday getting my hair cut, buying make up, and finding an outfit. My husband actually came along with and by the end of the day I was sure he was about to divorce me. Men just DON'T get that you REALLY have to try on 12 pairs of pants before you find one that will do. It also takes just as many tries for a top, if not more. Shoes? Don't ask. I felt confident in going in something that was nice and comfortable. Never mind those strappy dresses in below zero weather. I don't like having nipplage at company shindigs. I found some sassy black pants, a gold satin shirt with a beaded bust & a sweater with faux fur. Richard said I "clean up nice". There was a photographer there and I'm hoping our pictures turn out good. I love taking the pictures, but hate having my picture taken; the pictures never do me justice.

The company party was at the fabulous
Midwest Express center. (*picture from their website)The air was frigid and the ground looked like it was covered with a dirty gray slushie. The second I tried to gracefully shuffle through the dirty slush in my black leather boots I was thankful I wasn't the woman next to us in the spaghetti strap dress with barely there shoes.

I checked in my coat, we dropped off our canned goods, and Richard headed for the bar. Each person was given two tickets for drinks. Soda and water was hosted, but after the two tickets were gone, then drinks were five dollars. I rarely ever drink and when I do I'm at home or at homes of my close friends. I gave Richard my tickets and responsibly took on the role of designated driver. We dined in the ballroom which was as big as it was beautiful.
Here is a link to check out pictures.

Women wore everything from gowns to slacks and sweaters. I was so glad to see a wide range, and especially glad I didn't go too dressy. Even though some women did have on gowns, there were very few and I'd rather not be one of 20 women in a gown while everyone else just has the standard Christmas party attire.

The lighting was dim and complimentary. There were tables with crisp white linen and white glowing candles. There were many food stations, with two tables of each. We started with the gigantic shrimp. And I do mean gigantic. I have never seen shrimp cocktail that large. Followed with the typical relish tray with raw vegetables, roasted asparagus, dips, fancy olives, and herb infused breads.

There was also scampi and chicken skewers. Then there was the potato sundae bar. They had martini glasses arranged and everyone chose between mashed red potatoes with skins or skinless yukon. We scooped potatoes into our martini glasses and built our "sundaes". There was ranch dressing, sour cream, chives, cheddar cheese, bacon, onions, black bean salsa, picante sytle salsa and other dressings. No party is complete without the pasta bar. This one had greek pasta and creamy pasta with peas and prosciutto, ceaser salad, and breads.

There was also a table with fresh fruit, quick breads, cookies, mini quiche and other goodies. We totally missed this table and by the time we realized it was there, we were both too stuffed to try anything. The main course was prime rib and pork loin with four cheese au gratin. Richard and I were laughing when we discovered we'd need a knife to cut through some of the still very hard potatoes. Nothing is ever perfect, everyone knows something has to go wrong at these things. Considering how much food was served, everything was fabulous and no expense spared. Except for the two drink limit of course.

The real star was the dessert table. I was in heaven and I'm not even that fond of sweets. They had MINI eclairs. Can we say cute and delicious? Caramel apple cake, carrot cake, pies, fudge tart, cheesecake with ganache, mini fruit tarts, mini chocolate raspberry tarts, mini cheeecake slices with dark chocolate, and everything else you can think of. None of this was substandard. We're talking decadent.

Entertainment consisted of a cover band and sports comedy. It was a great night full of fun and terrific food. I'm so glad I went with Richard and he finally got to go. The year before last he was a contractor and they aren't able to come to the parties. So this is the first year out of three years of employment with this company that he attended. Before we left Richard and I snuck off so he could have one last drink while we chatted privately. He told me how how glad he was that I came, how thankful he was that I was driving, and just how nicely I cleaned up. I took him home and took advantage of him.

I guess work parties can be fun after all.

December 09, 2005

Foto Friday

Little Mouse

Look at that cute mouse! I can't believe I found this picture after all these years. I took that about 10 year ago. That's my oldest daughter, Snoo, at Halloween. She's 13 now, and only about 5 inches shorter than me.

Have a great weekend! Tonight I get to dress up and eat free food at Milwaukee's Midwest Express Center.

December 08, 2005

Yucky Snacks

"Mom, you don't have to give me yucky snacks anymore. I've got fruit roll-ups now."

Thanks his dad, my wee little son now thinks fruit roll-ups indeed count as fruit. My husband is a Sabatier when it comes to these sorts of things. I tell the kids they need to eat fresh fruit and whole grain cereals and he lets them have cereal that amounts to nothing more then crunchy balls of sugar.

Whereas, I send the child to school with apples and peanut butter or cheese cubes and grapes, Dad lets them have candy disguised as fruit leather. Or better yet, he let’s them eat Pop-Tarts for breakfast because nothing starts your day better than something less nutritional than pie and nothing ends it better than MICBSWS or Migraine Induced Cranky Butt Sugar Withdrawal Syndrome. I think the stores are selling tablets for these now. Look for them right next to the Sunny D juice boxes. So this morning LiL' J informs me that I've been fired from snack duty for the time being. Tsk Tsk. I’m known for being brutally honest so why should I expect my children to be any different? Don’t count on a small child to tell you that you look fine in that dress when really it appears that you’re about to give birth to two Billy goats long after your youngest child has gone off to college. With children, truth happens. Unless of course, you inquire as to which of them has been wiping their booger on the bathroom wall, incidentally located right next to the toilet paper holder.

Since LiL' J (5) is my son, so I suppose his bluntness should be of no surprise, but it still stings a bit. I’m sending that boy of to school with a Superman lunch pack with a built in cape, light saber spoons, and a monster truck ice pack. Nevertheless, I've been sending him to school with "yucky" snacks. My feelings are intact. I've toughened up long ago. I had to when becoming a mother. Otherwise I'd have an emotional earthquake every time one of my children-- whom I've given every thing and devote all my blood, sweat and tears for--screams I HATE YOU and YOU DON'T LOVE ME ANYMORE because I ask them to stop doing cannon balls onto the couch. In case one should think he's just an ungrateful brat, take another look HERE Isn't he cute? The poor kid is asking me ways to be less "hamsome" so the girls will stop chasing him at recess.

December 04, 2005

Some of Me

GrandPooOfAwesome of It's All Relative? has a great new look with my favorite color. I ran into her online awhile back and encouraged her to just keep writing because she likes to. She asked me to blogroll her which I did. Apparently she likes the show Grey's Anatomy as I do. In Greys Anatomy Dr. Burke tells Meredith that there's nothing she could reveal about herself that he wouldn't want to know. GrandPooOfAwesome reveals her own stuff and then asks, "what should I know about you"?

I'm in the spirit of giving these days so I'll share:

*I love history and geography. I watch the history channel all the time. I also love the National Geographic channel and I DVR shows from both every week. I actually play around at
Sheppard Software, taking geography quizzes or seeing how many U.S capitals I can remember. My children want to know why I do this when I don't have to do "school" anymore. They think I'm nuts. It satisfys my need to absorb things. I love learning. I have to be stimulating my mind constantly. It's not always a good thing when I want to relax or spend time with people, because my mind is often wondering off and into an entire different direction. My husband is always telling me to choose. Either I'm reading my book or watching the movie with him. I can't do both. I certainly try to.

*I'm a very good multi-tasker.

*I love to read. I can't cope without reading. For me, reading is like a breath of fresh air while standing in a smoke filled room. If I find a really good book, chances are I'll totally lose all concept of time and reality happening around me. I lose track of time, I forget to eat, I ignore my house, and I snap out of it long enough to feed my family peanut butter and jelly for dinner. Actually peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been a regular fixture in this house for longer than I'd care to admit.

*Which brings me to reveal that I really don't like to cook. It has taken me years to figure that out. I know that sounds ridiculous, how can a person be thirty-two and not know they're not fond of cooking. It's true. I love the idea of whipping up a variety of fabulous dishes. The evidence is in my closet. I collect cookbooks. I have a whole bookcase full of them. I have about twenty folders full of holiday meal recipes and every other kind of recipe that you can think of. I have torn out recipes from my favorite magazines for years, then placed them in clear plastic liners and put them into binders. I have binders for chocolate desserts, muffins, fruit dishes, pies, cakes, cookies, soups, stews, vegetarian meals, chicken, ethnic, kid-friendly dishes, Easter menus, Christmas menus, Thanksgiving menus, and everyhing in between. If it exists, I probably have a recipe for it. And most likely, I've never even tried to make it. What kind of person collects hundreds upon hundreds of recipes and never even tries to make any of them?

One suffering from mental illness that's who. It's my dirty little secret. I'm a recipe hoarde. I think I like the idea of cooking more then I like actually cooking. Or maybe I just hate the prep part. Come to think of it, once I'm cooking it's not so bad. When it comes to the choosing, shopping, washing, chopping, measuring, and all the mess made as a result of preparation, I end up exhausted and reaching for the take-out menu folder.

I love to bake though. Go figure. I make the most fabulous cookies, muffins, breads, cobblers, and pastries this side of europe.

*I'm into trivia. I always have been and it's not something I conscientiously work at. I just seem to remember useless facts that for some reason or another, I find interesting. At times, I will blurt out these useless facts to innocent bystanders. I think a by product of my love of reading is the tendency to gain knowledge most people find insignificant. I then feel I must share with other people.

Like, did you know that Einstein approved the mold that is used for the Toblerone chocolate bar? Or that coffee beans are really the seeds of the coffee cherry? Coffee came from Ethiophia, not South America like many people think.

Did you know that it took approximately 70 days to mummify a person? Or that the first Egyptian King's tomb made of stone was Djoser's Step Pyramid, built around 2680 B.C? It was the first true Pyramid, the smooth shape didn't come until the reign of King Sneferu.

Greenland is the world's largest Island. Despite its name, it's nearly completely covered in ice.

The leading producers of cobalt ore, uranium and zinc ore is Canada.

Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the world's highest mountain measured from the sea floor. The total height of Mauna Kea is 33, 481 ft, but only 13, 796 ft of the mountain can be seen above sea level. Of course Everest is the mountain we all think of as being the highest, followed by Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. But, Mauna Loa is the world's single largest mountain.

Costa Rica has no army, unless it was reestablished since I last learned about it. After their civil war the army was abolished in 1948.

Nollaig Shona Duit means Happy Chrsitmas in Irish.

None of that was probably information that is useful or new to all people. Nor do most people care to have someone randomly share useless facts that their brain spits out intermittently. I never just ramble these things at people, but if something remotely connected comes into the conversation, my mind retrieves the data and depending on how I'm talking to, I'll just let them have it.

*I love movies. Since I am a Chrisitan, being a movie lover can be complicated. I feel the need to be careful with my choices, but I do watch a lot of movies that many of my staunch evangelical peers will not. For a lot of Christians, even Veggie Tales is questionable. I won't sit and watch something that relies heavily on using the Lord's name in vain, is riddled with foul language or gratuitous s*x. But, I do watch R-rated movies. I am inexplicibly attracted to a good story. A story full of humanity and struggle. Stories full of love and loss. Hope and heart. Stories full of the darker realities of our world, our minds, our hearts. Stories full of humor and the lighter side of life. I dedicate movies to people. I have an endless list of movies that I reach for in times of depression, celebration, certain moods, seasons of the earth, and seasons of life.

* I didn't get my driver's license until I was twenty. I learned on a stick shift, but after I almost snuffed out an old lady crossing the street I decided an automatic was a better option for me. And the shorter and slower moving people of San Diego.

* By the time I was twenty I had three children.

* I hate coffee. Once when I was about six or seven and my mom was trying to apply for social security death benefits for my dad, a receptionist offered me a cup of coffee. She had a sly expression that said, "I can see you want some. I won't tell your mother." I went over to the coffee pot, poured the coffee into a little paper cup with a handle and drank it as is. It was the most disgusting thing I had ever tasted in my short life. And I had been forced to eat pond fish with beets!

Perhpas the woman was being kind. Or maybe she was just bored. I think I saw a look of amusement on her face. I do love the smell of good coffee though but I won't even try to have any unless it's an iced mocha frap from Starbucks. Or unless it involves alcohol. Does Irish coffee count?

*Hot cocoa is my hot drink of the moment. The more whipped cream the better. I'm also a huge tea drinker. I drink black and green tea daily. I'm also a recovering chai addict.

*I'm a perfectionist, yet my house rarely stays clean and organized longer then two days. Which makes me regularly go insane.

* I'm intensely private. Which is ironic because I share intimate details of my life with complete strangers, and I have no idea why. Even more ironically, I don't share my blog with most of family and only half of my friends. I am very private about my house. I don't like it when anyone uninvited stops by. I keep my blinds partly shut and I screen all my calls. I would prefer to have a huge distance between my house and my neighbors. Say, like three miles.

* I first tired alcohol when I was about fourteen and visiting my grandparents in Michigan. I was having trouble sleeping because of the three hour distance and I did what I saw everyone in my family do. I reached for something intoxicating. I snuck into some of my grandpa's scotch whiskey. After a few nights of bedtime shots my friend and I got stupid and tried to see who could drink it faster. After feeling like my head was in a hoola-hoop competition, and watching her throw up greasy hamburger chunks, I not only didn't drink again for ages, I haven't drank whiskey since. I also worried that I had killed enough brain cells to insure failure in highschool geometry. My grandma never made a big deal about it nor punished us. She just made us clean up that disgusting aftermath, which was punishment enough.

* I've been with my husband since I was fifteen. I've wanted to divorce him and re-marry him at least a dozen times. But, I've held in there every time.

* I keep my christmas tree up until after New Year's.

*Purple is my favorite color. Followed by pink and then black.

* I can't stand lying. I think God is testing my patience and unconditonal love since my second child has practically been a compulsive liar since she could speak.

* I loathe commericals. Most people do I'm sure. But I'd rather pause the TV (gotta love DVR) and wait until I can fast foward to the show. This drives my husband nuts.

* I like to look up the meaning of words and browse through the dictionary.

* When I was younger I wanted to be a f-14 pilot, teacher, nurse, photo journalist, and dancer among many other things. I ended up a mom.

*I have been known to be brutally honest. I'm also a great listener and rarely judge others.

* My worse quality would probably be my tendency to be snarky and sarcastic. Or my propensity towards procrastination.

* I'm terrible about sending out thank you cards. I'm thankful. I really am. I'm also thinking of you on your birthday. I just think my telepathic abilities have evolved further than they really have.

*I'm the queen of typos. I think I'm in the hall of fame now. My friends razz me all the time. They're just all forks.

* I'm obsessive about taking pictures. Family and friends put me in charge of taking pictures at gatherings because of this and usually by the end of the day I've made a few enemies. Curiously, some people don't like it when you keep walking about the room, randomly taking pictures of them, especially if they are drunk or bending over. Or both. I also have a very hard time throwing out pictures, even when they aren't good. It's a sickness.

*I think I might be vain. Even though I don't like to admit it. I love to swim. Love, love, love to swim. As a child growing up in San Diego I practically lived at the beach. I was a fish. Yet, I haven't been in a bathing suit in public for about six years or more. I have a hard time dealing with the fact that my body went from Barbie to Mrs. Potatohead. This is not a good thing since I have children who also love swim and want a mom around. Who else is going to survive the onslaughts of LOOK AT ME-LOOK AT WHAT I CAN DO-WATCH THIS every two minutes.

That's enough of me for now.