Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I learned this year

My life is strange and chaotic all the time but this has been a very strange and chaotic year for me. There has been so much happen to me that I can't even begin to list it here but each and every event, whether it was good or bad, has been a blessing and a learning experience. I thought I'd share some of the life lessons I got this year. some are serious, some aren't.
1. Let the people you love know everyday how important they are to you because you never know when you might not get that chance again, and you will forever regret all of the things you should have said. (I'm sorry, Mark)
2. When tragedy strikes, you really learn who your friends are and who really knows you, and who doesn't. (Thanks Nanc.)
3. Life sucks and it isn't fair. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and hope it comes out even.
4. Never put your pjs on to drive home after a race at 1:30 am and say "no one's going to see me anyway" because it's no fun to stand along side the interstate wearing your striped pajamas waiting for the Highway Patrol to get there because you crashed headfirst into the guardrail at 2 in the morning on Memorial Day. **and the officer will not believe that you haven't been drinking BECAUSE you are wearing pajamas*** (Cris and Bill, you were right, I should have stayed)
5. I am stronger than I think. There were times when I was sure that I couldn't survive one more minute, and there were times that I actually prayed for death, but those times passed and I am all the better for it. (Thanks Sandy)
6. I am not as strong as I think I am. There were times when I thought I could handle anything and all it took was one small thing to topple the house of cards. (thanks again Sandy)
7. Never underestimate the cleverness and determination of your pets. They will always surprise you. (Buddy, why do you get the ramen noodles?)
8. When the internet tells you that a trip is going to take 12 hours to drive and you think it will really only take 10 because you drive like the devil is chasing you, it will really take 15 or 16 hours to get there because the universe conspires against you. (Branson, MO- nuff said)
9. Always read the alcohol content on a bottle of wine you've never had before, especially if you have to work the next day. Trust me on this one, it will save you a terrible hangover. (Thanks, bottle of Terra White and your 13% alcohol content)
10. You can't make sense out of everything. Some things don't have a set of instructions, or someone to tell you how to handle it. You just have to wing it and find your own way to get through it.(thanks Weesa)
11. The people who work at the house depot place don't belive a woman can purchase a riding lawn mower by herself. I showed them, didn't I?
12. Cigarettes, coffee and alcohol is a very BAD diet. (thanks Maxwell House, Camel lights and Cafe Zinfandel)
13. Don't assume that you know what is best for you. You aren't always right. (I admit, I'm not always right)
14. You don't always have to be strong and capable. Sometimes you need to be vulnerable and let someone take care of you. (thanks Shawn)
15. Something that seems like a very simple act is actually one of the kindest, most caring things that someone can do for you. (thanks for feeding me macaroni and cheese.)
16. When you wake up in the morning after consuming copious amounts of Ketel One & Grey Goose and you think you feel fine, you don't. Really, you don't Go back to bed and sleep for at least 6 more hours. AND, being near any kind of breakfast food the same morning is a VERY. BAD. IDEA. (thanks everyone at the hotel bar in Cleveland. I hope you felt as bad as I did the next day)


Always, undeniably, LOVE WINS (thanks Pastor Ryan and all my friends and family)

I hope you have a safe and happy new year and that life brings you many valuable lessons in 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Gift of Re-Gifting

Are you a Seinfeld fan? If so, then you know what a regifter is. My sister L took regifting to its highest art form this year and it was freaking hilarious! Last year right after Christmas my family collectively decided that there would be no gifts this year and we were all fine with that. Right before Thanksgiving this year we discussed it again and we were all still fine with that. Cool. Less shopping, less $$$$ to spend, less wrapping. Its all good.
My sister L interpreted "no gifts" to mean something different. In her mind, no gifts meant it was OK as long as she didn't spend any money on the item. I know you might be imagining some sort of lovely hand made, heartfelt gift. Not a chance. No, my sister took all of the things that she had been given as gifts that she didn't want or need and re-gifted them to all of us. The cherry on top was when she said "this is all the junk I don't want". It was one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed. My other sister laughed unil she had tears in her eyes.
It was truly a lesson in one man's trash is another man's treasure because we swapped and traded and in the end everyone got something they wanted and L got rid of her junk. I asked "What is next year's theme - Yard Sale?" I meant it as a joke but the idea has taken off. So it looks like I'll be scouring all of the garage sales and flea markets looking for that one perfect item that screams "Merry Christmas!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I love this game!

We allowed the kidlets to open up one present that was to both of them this weekend. We bought them the Pictureka! game. Its a game where you have to find certain objects in a picute, sort of like eye spy or Where's Waldo. Let me tell you, this game is F.U.N.! We played on teams, first girls against boys, then we switched, but basically it was always 1 adult paired with 1 child. I think the adults had more fun.

If you are looking for a fun game for the family, this is it. If you're looking for a good party game, this is it. I bet it could even be turned into a game to be played in the car with a little imagination.
What games do you like to play as a family?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Questions no one asks me.

You've read in my previous posts that I like to read the This is Reverb blog by Ryan. Today his blog is about questions that no one asks him and he tagged his readers to do the same and link it back to his blog. So I am. Here it is:

1. What do you do unwind?
First of all, no one asks this question because they know I don't have time to unwind.
If I had free time I would make a pot of coffee or some tea, or maybe even open a bottle of wine, get a good book, bake some cookies and get into a luxurious bubble bath with music playing and shut out the world.

2. Why do you have 5 jobs?
I had 3 jobs before my husband died and took on the 4th one as a result of his death. (I took over his position as township clerk) Then I quit one of the first three jobs. Then this spring I was asked to develop a set of training classes and the money was to good to turn down. It was so successful that I decided to teach another series of classes for the same company. Right now, I'm back at 3 jobs for the time being but 2 are full time plus. I like to keep busy and I like to help people learn and having so many jobs does that, and then some.

3. Why don't you like to eat shrimp?
It looks like intestines. I just can't get past the way it looks. Yuck!

4. How many colors has your hair been?
All of them. I can't even remember what the natural color is, ut I can tell you that I've got more grey than I used to.

5. If you were given $100 with the instructions to spend it frivolously on yourself, what would you spend it on?
A pedicure and a massage and if anything was left over, some tea or coffee.

6. How many tattoos do you have?
Currently, six. I'd like to have more.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Me. Want. COOKIES!

Cookies are a weakness of mine. The sprinkles and the frosting are too tempting. I can't pass them up. They call out to me, beckoning me. It's a curse, I tell ya, and you can see it plainly on my size 16 behind. It's that time of year and everyone is baking cookies or making candy or some other sinful fattenting thing that tastes so good it should be illegal.

I like to bake cookies for my kids and send them to them in the mail and this is the recipe I like to use. I don't frost them though, the icing gets too smoshed. Just sprinkles. sometimes I put in a can of store bought frosting so they can decorate them themselves.

What is your favorite cookie?


2 cups butter or margarine, softened

1 pkg. (8 ozs) cream cheese, softened

2 cups sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar, egg yolks and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add flour. Cover and chill 2 hours or until firm.Roll out on a floured surface to 1/4 in.thickness. Cut into 3-in. shapes; place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until set (not browned). Cool 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool. YIELD: about 7 dozen.

(that graphic is a book cover for FOOD! illustrated by Mike Pantuso. You can find it on if you like)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hello, My name is Pip and I'm a caffeine addict.

I love coffee. I love everything about it.The way it smells, the way it tastes, the way it makes me feel. I can't function without it. There is just something about the whole coffee ritual that makes me feel good inside. It brings me great joy. I drink coffee to perk (pun intended) me up and to calm me down. I drink it when I feel great and when I feel lousy. I even like SONGS about coffee (Cigarettes and Coffee by Otis Redding) One of the things that made me fall helplessly in love with my sweetie was that he fixes my coffee in the morning and brings it to me in my favorite coffee cup. Yes, coffee and me, we're on good terms.
We had an interesting conversation about caffeine this morning at work and I was very surprised that caffeine is a psychotropic drug that can cause hallucinations. I was also very surprised that 90% of Americans consume more than the "recommended" amount of caffeine each day. I would have guessed that number to be higher. I can't think of one single person I know that doesn't drink coffee, tea, or pop (soda) or eat chocolate.
So, what is your guilty pleasure and how does it make you feel?
BTW-That is a caffeine molecule over on the right.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In a mood, part one

In a mood

I am in a black mood today. I feel mean and wicked and my temper is short. I feel like the universe is conspiring against me. No one needs to thank me for my patience because it ran out a long time ago.
This mood started last night when I had to go pick up something I ordered for Christmas. I drove 40 miles one way and when I got there the stupid place was closed. So then I decided to do a little bit of shopping. That seems like a harmless enough thing to do, doesn't it? Well, apparently I was the only person in the place who thought so! It was rudeness the likes of which I have never seen. I didn't encounter one singe smiling person. NOT ONE! Everyone looked tired and rushed.
It continued this morning when I was so busy at work I didn't know if I was coming or going. And now it is being perpetuated by some business dealings I have with the bank. Grr!
I've heard it said that you become like the 5 people you are around the most. I sure hope that my foul attitude doesn't rub off on anyone else today.
So, I've issued myself a challenge or an ultimatum, what ever you want to call it. I am going to find a way to be in a better mood.
What do you do to put yourself in a better mood?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Burning Questions

2 inches of snow dropped this weekend and IT. IS. COLD. I hate the cold. Where is my blanket and fuzzy socks? Why is it that people who have lived all thier lives in Ohio, a state where is snows, forget how to drive when the very first snowflake drops? Is there some kind of mind altering chemical in those frozen little flakes? It's a government conspiracy designed to drive up the cost of road salt and car insurance. I just know it.

My gram's funeral was Friday and I'm longing to know the answer to this question: Why do people bring food when someone dies? I think this practice is akin to religion inthe south. They even have casseroles named for it! Who hasn't eaten Funeral Potatoes at least once in their life? (And if you haven't you are missing out on one of the most delicious calorie and fat laden foods on earth)

Why does the number of socks you put INTO the washer never match what you take OUT of thw washer, and where do all those socks go? I have a basket full of sock solos. You would think at some point there would be 2 that match. No dice.

Why does my dog insist on dragging 1 package of Ramen noodles out of the pantry every day? he doesn't eat them, he just gets the package out and takes it into the living room and puts it on the floor. And while we are on the subject of my dog, why does he keep gettting into the drawer where I keep recipes? I'm worried that he might be trying to teach himself how to cook. If that happens bar the door Katie, we are all in trouble!

Where does the tape disappear to every time I'm wrapping presents. I start out the gift wrapping process all organized and stuff, with my tape and my scissors and my ribbons and name tages, but before I'm even done with the first package, everything has disappeared and I have to stop mid wrap to find it all again. Gremlins, I swear it's gremlins.

Please, help me figure it all out before I lose my mind. And if I do lose my mind, it will probably be with the tape and the socks.

Got any burning questions you want to put out there to the internet?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wish in one know the rest

I was reading some older posts on one of my favorite blogs, "This is Reverb" and found one that I thought was very interesting. The blog writer is an associate pastor at a church in Cincinnatti and his name is Ryan. He has views on religion that I enjoy reading about. And he has the cutest little blonde haired child he calls Ava Beans.
Ryan asked his readers to finish this sentence: "I wish I had..." I found some of the responses to be quite profound and moving. SO, I am shamelessly blog lifting his post and asking you to finish the same question. (Sorry Ryan. Hope you don't mind. )

I wish I had more hours in a day or less to do so that I cold stop feeling like a hamster running on a wheel all the time.

What do you wish you had?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I've Got the Music IN me!

I love music of all kids. Rap, Hip Hop, Jazz, Country, Heavy Metal, Alternative, Gospel, Bluegrass, Classical...all of it. I even have song lyrics tattooed on my back. (Under the Bridge by RHCP) I suppose it started when I was in high school and dated a DJ. I was over the moon about Angus Young and was probably the only person in my tiny little high school who knew who Yngwie Malmsteen was. Other girls could have the athletic quarter backs or the preppy pretty boys but as for me and my house, my weakness was a guitar playing bad boy who drove a fast car with a big engine.
My taste in music has changed as I've gotten older, but only a little. Just a year and a half ago I attended a Styx/Def Leppard concert and I still like to listen to Skid Row. Country music never crossed my woofers and tweeters but now I like to watch CMT in the mornings before I go to work and can I even say enough about Roll With Me by Montgomery Gentry? I'll even admit that it was the words in a Sugarland song that made me change my mind about dating my Sweetie. (Never waste another day wondering what you threw away...Don't Want To)
I have an eclectic mix of CDs in my car right now. The ones I listen to the most are
Bob Marley's Legend and something from John "Cougar" Mellencamp and any one of the 3 Sugarland CDs I own. But right now, on this cold snowy day in Ohio, I am thoroughly enjoying my latest music purchase. It is James Taylor at Christmas. If you like your traditional Christmas Carols kicked up a notch, and blended with some smooth easy jazzy music, this is the CD for you. It even has River on it, which not a lot of holiday CDs have. Natalie Cole sings Baby Its Cold Outside with Sweet Baby james and I have to say, it's probably my all time favorite version of that song. It's stuck in my head this very minute.
But the whole reason I bought this CD is because it has The Christmas Song on it and that is my all time very favorite-ist Christmas song ever (even though I much prefer the Nat King Cole version better) My favorite lyric in the whole song is this:
And so I'm offering this simple phrase
To kids from 1 to 92
Although its been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you
What kind of music do you listen to?
What is your favorite Christmas (or winter time) song?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Black Friday + Cyber Monday = RUDE

I will joyfully admit that I am one of "those" people. Yes, I am a Black Friday shopper. For about the last 15 years I have gotten up at the butt crack of dawn just to go out and get the very best Christmas bargains possible. Ask my sister L. about the time she went with me. I had a very unfortunate incident trying to buy a bread maker. (I'll tell you the story another time.) I have seen it all. From people who obviously just rolled out of bed and came in their P- Jams and slippers, to the ones who stay up all night and camp by the front door of the store. I've seen fights and tears and people who fall down inthe aisle. I normally just go about my business and get what I'm there for and patiently wait in line and try to over look the rudenes and goofiness of the other shoppers.

This year I waited until later in the morning to go shopping because I craved sleep more than I craved a good deal. I was shocked at the level of rudeness displayed by the other shoppers. In all my yars of BF shopping, I've never seen people so blatantly rude. I ran into a friend at one store and she said that one place she had been the people were so rude that she left her cart full of "stuff" in the middle of the store and went home.

I told my Sweetie about this strange phenomena when I got home and he had an intersting take on it. He said "Of course they were rude. Everyone is p'd off because they're broke and can't afford to buy Christmas presents but they still have to be out shopping and spending money."

I'm not sure if that really is the reason or not but it sounded good. It made me think of a Christmas letter my parents received from friends in TX many years ago. It said "Christmas is a strange time of year. We decorate a dead tree, and stuff our socks full of candy and we spend money we don't have buying gifts for people we don't like"

So, did you go BF shopping and did you think the other shoppers were more rude than normal? Why do you think that is?