It's been so nice being on vacation this last week. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed being home with my family. We've played the Wii, the Playstation, Uno, and cards. We've also stayed up consistently past our bedtimes, so much so that I'm worried about how hard its going to be to get us all back into our normal routine.

Last night we went over to my brother's house to play cards. My sister's girlfriend is visiting from North Carolina and wanted to meet everyone. It was the perfect opportunity. I know she was feeling a bit jet-lagged and probably would have enjoyed a dozen hours or more with a comfy pillow and a warm blanket, but I hope she had fun. Of course, after being around our horde, she may also need an eardrum transplant when she returns home. Poor thing. If the kids weren't being loud, the adults were. There was no escaping the noise.

After we played cards for an hour (maybe more), we played DDR on the PS2. Here's a few pics.

New Look...Again

Well, what can I say? That last one was driving me crazy. I hated that it didn't have the navbar at the top. Hopefully this one isn't too hard on the eyes. I really like the background, so be prepared to see this one for awhile!

Fatter by the Day

Well, it feels like it, that's for sure. I tell myself to enjoy all the sinfully tasty morsels I've been shoving into my mouth because after the New Year..gone. All of it. No more candy, pop, cookies, or ice cream. It'll be carrots and celery, water, and the like. It'll be hell, but if I actually manage to lose weight, it'll be worth it.

Oh, and exercise. I start the new regime on January 2. (We'll be busy indulging at the last Christmas party of the year on the 1st, so I'd be telling a big ole whopper if I said I plan on starting exercising that morning).

Speaking of exercise, my girlfriend is going to start doing kickboxing once a week at the place just down the road from my house. I told her I'd go, too. I'm thinking once a week isn't enough, though, so maybe I'll just break down and buy a monthly membership. I hate spending $40 a month though. Seems like such a waste of money when they're all exercises I could be doing at home. Well, most of them I can do at home. The problem is that I wouldn't.

Hey, at least I'm honest. Home + exercise does not compute. It's like an oxymoron or something.


funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Holiday Stuff

Let's see...

We've had our annual family gathering on my dad's side. It went well. They even had a Santa show up to hand out the kids' toys. I'll try to post one of the cutest pictures I managed to snap. I tried last night from home but my wireless keyboard HATES me. (Yes, it's Christmas Eve and I'm at work..)

Tonight we have Oyster Stew plans. I had made Potato soup for those of us who don't like the stew, but it's since been dumped into the garbage because it ended up all over my kitchen floor. The crockpot broke into a good half-dozen pieces.


Oh, well. McDonald's it is for me and the munchkins. We'll survive, but I'd rather have the soup! Am more than slightly pissed at myself.

Hard Lesson Learned

My youngest son learned a hard lesson this week. Over the weekend he used his birthday money to purchase a new Pokemon game for his Gameboy Advance. To say that he was enamored would be putting it midly. He played it for hours, putting it down only when mom and dad had had enough and forced him to find alternate means of entertainment.

Well, Monday night he needed a bath. I interrupted his game - or so I thought - to have him get into the tub. Up the stairs he went with only mild grumblings. I saw the Gameboy in his hands. I expected him to put it in his bedroom, maybe on his bed or dresser. I didn't expect him to take it into the bathroom with him.

Can you see where I'm going here?

He comes down after his bath all worked up. "Mom, my Gameboy won't work." Then he hands me the device and I realize it's leaking. Water. On my couch. Not good. I pull out the game cartridge and more water drains out.

Yes, he tried playing with while in the bathtub. As you can imagine this has cost him dearly and there have been many tears. It looks like the power supply is fried. He's going to be Gameboy-less until he's earned enough money to purchase a new one. This means lots of extra chores. It also means many weeks of watching his brother happily playing on his Gameboy.

Thank goodness Santa comes in less than a week. Hopefully some new distractions will help wipe away a few of those crocodile tears.

Holiday Plans

There's so much I want to accomplish. I want to finish my novel. I want to read a half-dozen books between now and the first of the year. I want to get my Christmas scrapbook up-to-date. I want to watch movies and Christmas specials. As you can see, there's a lot I want to do.

The nice thing is the only thing I need to do and don't much feel like doing is wrapping the Christmas presents. Bah! Humbug! I hate wrapping gifts. They always look terrible, so much so that a two-year-old could probably do better. Seriously, people, I've used parts of anatomy that shouldn't be used to hold paper in place while I wrestle with the tape dispenser. (Minds out of the gutter, please! I'm talking elbows and toes here...)

I should also make sugar cookies at some point in time. My sister is planning on doing it over the weekend. Maybe we should combine efforts and mess... I'll have to talk to her about that. Of course, Saturday will be difficult because our mom will be making her Christmas rounds and we have a Christmas party to attend that night with my dad's extended family. Busy day!

I'm also hosting the annual Oyster Stew dinner on Christmas Eve. We usually have pizza on hand for those who are revolted by the slimy soupy concoction that somehow became a family tradition. (Apparently this tradition was started by my great-grandmother on my dad's side of the family way back when...) This year the alternative meal is going to be Cheesy Potato Soup. Yum!

After everyone leaves we'll open our Christmas jammies. Then we'll need to sprinkle the reindeer feed in the front lawn. Maybe we should do the sprinkling before we do the unwrapping. Something to consider...

After Christmas I'm sure we'll all be busy playing with our newest toys. Yes, even us adults. In fact, I've already got one of my new toys and have been sucked into endless hours of gaming. Final Fantasy XII is so much better than Final Fantasy X-2! So I'm sure I'll spend several hours over the holiday break leveling up and advancing the storyline.

The last of our holiday parties falls on the Saturday after Christmas. We'll be spending the day with our in-laws, playing games and eating.

That pretty much sums up what my holiday plans are..what are yours? Do you have any traditions you must fit in?


When I first searched the internet for a community of writers I could join, I found a place called the Mighty Quill. It was small and homey and I seemed to fit in just fine. For a good year or more I called that community home. I can't say exactly why I drifted away, but I think it had a lot to do with the mutating member list. During that first year I found several people I could talk to about a life-long passion, but there were two who really stood out: Erik and Lola.

I remember working on an Anthology Erik had been mulling over for some time. I wrote two short stories set in that world. It was challenging and oh-so-much-fun. I still have those two stories on my harddrive and back-up drives.

Despite our growing friendship, real life happened and we drifted away from each other. For awhile Lola and I kept in touch and even managed to exchange e-mails and catch each other in instant messenger conversations. But then our schedules changed and availability diminished. Our budding friendship faded.

Erik just kind of disappeared into the ether. So imagine my surprise when I found a comment from him in my last post. Somehow he managed to stumble across my blog. I'm so glad he took a moment to drop a quick note of hello. It was a very pleasant surprise.

I hope his writing is going well and his life turned out to be e everything he had wished and hoped for!

One More to Go

Well, that's it. Finals are behind me. I took my last exam this morning. I'm not as confident as I should be, though. Those true and false questions really got to me this time. I studied, but apparently not the right stuff. Oh, well. You can't ace them all, right? Everyone needs a dose of humble-syrup every now and again.

On a happier note, I think I did fairly well on the final I took last night. It was an essay on the Pamuk's Snow. Since I had just finished reading the book, it made sense to focus my energies on what was still fresh in my memory. (I should be able to find out on Monday how I did on both the exam and final paper for this class.)

What does all this mean? I get my nights and weekends back until the New Year! Yay!

I plan on making a lot of progress on my WIP during this time. I'm sitting at that 89K mark. It'd be nice to get to "the end". I'm soooo close. Of course, that's not including the time and effort I'll need to put into editing and revising. That'll probably take a month or so to complete.

Almost done...

Today is the last day of class for the Fall semester. Tomorrow is a "study day" and then exams start on Wednesday. Luckily, I get to get mine over and done with this week and will be school-free by Thursday night. Yay!

Christmas Songs

My 13 favorite Christmas songs!
Christmas just isn't Christmas without Christmas carols.
  1. The Little Drummer Boy (makes me teary-eyed every time)
  2. Silver Bells
  3. The Chritmas Song
  4. Silent Night
  5. Away in a Manager
  6. Jingle Bells
  7. Frosty the Snowman
  8. Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer
  9. Winter Wonderland
  10. Jolly Old St. Nicholas
  11. Up on the Housetop
  12. Let it Snow!
  13. The Twelve Pains of Christmas (makes me laugh every time)


No, we didn't win any money. (Thought I'd get that question out of the way real quick-like.)

Vegas was lovely. It might have been the world's shortest vacation, but it was still nice to be able to walk down the street in sandals, a pair of capris, and a lightweight jacket. Not quite shorts weather (the hubby thought it was, but he's insane), but warmer than the Midwest weather we left behind for those few short hours.

We stayed at the Gold Coast hotel and casino. It's located a ways off the strip next to the Rio. They do have a shuttle that runs to the strip, but we didn't wait around. Instead we spent $10 for a taxi ride to the Bellagio. From there we walked up and down the strip the rest of the day, remarking every few feet about all the construction. There's a ton of it going on right now. Right on the strip.

The biggest news in terms of architecture was the fact that The Aladdin had been replaced by a new Planet Hollywood hotel and casino. It's located across from the Bellagio, so it was one of the first things we noticed.

I have some pics I plan on sharing. Of course, I don't have them readily accessible right now, so I'll have to update this post later. Or maybe I'll just link to them in my sidebar as a slideshow. We'll see.

The only downside to this trip was that it wasn't long enough. You can't truly enjoy Vegas in all its hedonist glory in one day. It would have been nice if we have had even more day. Although, I'll be honest and admit I'd rather stay for the normal 4 nights/5 days we typically plan.

Oh, and paying $54 in parking fees at the airport...that's a bunch of bullcrap. What a scam!

What a crazy weekend!

My weekends are always pretty busy, but I really think this one might have been the most hectic I've had to deal with in a long time.

First and foremost, I needed to write my final paper for my Witch and Witch Hunt class. It's due the day we return from Vegas, which means I won't have time to do more than hand it in. I thought I might get the rest of the book read (two chapters!) and the paper started Saturday morning. Well, I was half right. I got the reading done before I went to bed on Saturday.

The problem was that there was just so much going on this weekend. First, we had to keep a promise to the boys. They had each done pretty well on their report cards and the deal was that if they did well, they got to buy a used Pokemon game for their Gameboys. Holy crap!!! I had no idea those stupid games were going to cost us between $25 - $30 each! I wanted to tell them no way were we spending that much, but the hubby wouldn't let me. "A promise is a promise." Ug! Money we just don't have right now, but what do you do? Make less expensive promises in the future. That's what.

Saturday morning the hubby and my brother took my dad up to his old place and moved his stuff into a storage unit near our house. This took approximately 4 hours. During this time I started reading the last few chapters of the book. I had company show up. When it was time for them to leave, my nephews pulled on my heartstrings which resulted in an offer to watch them while their mom ran some errands. After she picked them up, the guys got back. I couldn't just pretend they weren't there, so of course I stopped reading. This pattern seemed to dominate the day. Read for a bit. Get distracted. Read for a bit. Get distracted.

Oh, and the Christmas tree! We decided to get the tree before the storm hit. So into our snow pants and winter coats we went. We found the tree pretty quickly, visited with Santa, and paid our bill. The funniest memory of the day happened at the tree farm. At this point I had traded two nephews in for one and so I had three children to keep tabs on. My nephew, who is 8 going on 38, walks up to Santa and asks, "So, am I on the naughty list?" Santa handled it very well by saying he was going to have to double-check since that question alone probably meant it was very likely. It was quite funny.

So, back home, fight with the tree to get it to stay upright in the stand. We finally tied the darn thing to the wall. I think the hubby and I are both ready for fake trees that go up without any drama.

Few hours later my brothers and sister arrive to play some cards. The storm we had been hearing about finally hit and most of them left rather early for them. My sister was the only one who stayed until nearly 2 that morning. Of course, even though she only lives a mile or so up the road, I couldn't go to sleep until I knew she had made it safely home, so I had to call. She was fine and I could finally sleep.

That brings us to Sunday. Up at 8 o'clock to bake a birthday cake for my youngest. Time to decorate the tree and get out all the holiday decorations. Realize I'm missing garland and that my 9-year-old no longer things a Winnie-the-Pooh stocking is appropriate. This sent me scurrying off to the store with my dad. Back home. Finish decorating the tree. Hubby wrapped the birthday presents and made the kids lunch while I did...something else. Laundry maybe?

2 o'clock. Birthday party time! We kept it small this year, but still we had a nice little house full of people. My little guy had insisted on inviting some school friends: two of them showed up. The little girl must have felt out-numbered by my boys and my two nephews. Not that she seemed to mind.

Needless to say, I didn't start writing my paper or packing for the trip until around 6 that night.

No wonder I'm tired!

MIA for a few...

The hubby doesn't like it when I announce to the whole wide world that we're going on vacation, but this time I figure it's safe enough to do because my dad is house and kid-sitting.

The hubby and I are on our way to Vegas! We received a paid vacation just for listening to some spiel for an hour and a half. In return the company paid for our airfare and hotel. Let's just hope when we get to the airport and the casino that everything is on the up and up...

I'll let you know when we get back! Talk to you then!