Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

It's New Year's Eve and we are getting a slow start around here, but that is what vacation is all about. Tonight for a change we are going to our neighbors for their New Year's Eve bash. Change is good!

The newspaper this morning had a big article about New Years resolutions; setting them and then failing. And why do people fail? Because their resolutions are too grandiose most of the time, unattainable.

I would like to report that I did a pretty good job on my resolution from last year. I saw a short coming in myself and did my best to correct it. And what was this task? Returning answering machine messages. Faithful patrons to the cafe know about my love/ hate relationship with the phone. This attitude extends to the phone's evil ally, the answering machine. Here's a sample of my former behavior. Remember, this is the OLD me.

Me: (shouting) How long has this light been blinking in here?

Everyone else:

Me: When did the phone ring? When I was at the store?

(Marco comes in and frantically licks my hands.)

Me: Yuck! (wipes off one hand and pushes the button)


Somebody on Scout business: Hey, Jennifer. I was wondering if you still have that form blah, blah, blah...

Me: No...

Scout person: We were going to blah, blah, blah...

Me: Good for you...

Scout person on overdrive: If you could call me back tonight or tomorrow or blah, blah, blah...

Me: Doubt it...


Somebody on school business: Jennifer, as you know our annual blah, blah, blah...

Me: How could I forget...

School person: If you could be willing to blah, blah, blah...

Me: Oh, I'm sooooo willing....

School person, pouring on the charm: blah, blah, blah, so much fun, blah, blah, blah, call me!

Me: Ugh!


So that was me. Being snarky to the answering machine and never returning phone calls. When I would get called out on this -- "You never called me back!" -- I would blame the machine, the kids, a power outage, anything but myself. It was shameful.
So I made my resolution to returning all calls and promptly. But it wasn't easy. No sir. As much as wanted just to walk away and forget I heard anything, a little voice would pipe up "New Years!" And with a huge sigh, I would reach for a pen to write down the number, even (*GASP*) listening to the whole message again to make sure I wrote it down right. Then.... I would call.

I'm certain no one noticed this self-improvement. People usually only take note of rude behavior and then only when it happens to them. Everyday is still a struggle though. I'll never be completely cured of blowing off the answering machine and right now I'm probably only running at 75% return rate, but that's a hell of a lot better than 0%! So to bolster my efforts, my resolution again this year will be to return all calls. There are no support groups for this kind of thing; I'm a woman alone on this frontier. But if you wanted to find some way to help me, probably the best thing to do is to stop leaving messages.

So, what's your resolution?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

School days are here again

E left this afternoon for Vermont again. This time he will be gone until January 9th. He has to go one more time in June and then next December will be his final trip for graduation! His truck was packed to the roof with all his stuff and he only came back to the house once for things he forgot. If you want to send him a note while he's there, I know he'd appreciate it. He's really busy, but he does get a chance to check his email from time to time. He took his laptop, but WiFi hasn't caught on in Vermont it seems. To contact him at school, use his "On-the-road" address
This just in! Vermont does have WiFi finally!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Pictures Finally!

Callie playing Guitar Hero with Andrew waiting for his next turn.

Jim playing guitar hero. Look at those cool chairs!

Grandma, Pop and Jim got this puzzle done in no time flat.
Heather hoping the cats stay upstairs where they belong!

Happy Holidays to you all!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Three Day of Christmas

That's how much Christmas we have around here, three days. Christmas Eve at Grandma's which is always a big time. It was really crowded this year down in here basement. Lots of food and good talk. Most of the people who come to Grandma's only see each other once a year. Old picture usually come out and everyone tries to put names to faces. There was the annual BINGO game and a poker game. The slot machine gave up 3 jackpots during the night. The days of talking over the super loud pinball machine are over, but I really miss it. It sits in the corner being used as a shelf these days.

Christmas day is at my house and we had a great one this year. I finally caved in and we got the kids (and ourselves!) a Playstation. They were completely shocked. Never saw it coming.

I would post some pictures here, but Blogger is being a Grinch right now. I'll try again later.

Anyway, we did it up big with the Playstation. Dance Dance Revolution, Star Wars Lego and Guitar Hero, which might be the coolest game ever. Love Guitar Hero! Grammy and Poppa got us these excellent gaming chairs that you can plug into the game for the sounds in stereo up by your ears. Very cool!

Dinner was excellent, if I do say so myself, but I can't take credit for the awesome ham that Grammy Anderson brought. Wonderful! We've got enough food here to feed an army still! I froze tons of cookies this morning, enough to last us through spring!!!

Today it was back to my Grandma's for the third day of tons of food and more presents. I don't think I can look at any more ham or sweets, but the season has been a festive one! I hope everyone out there had a wonderful holiday. Time to go play Dance Dance....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Parties!

It's the last day of school today! Hurray! I'm going up there in a little bit to run Ethan's class party. This is the first year I've ever been the "Room Mother", if it's even called that anymore, probably not. In the past, I've just sent stuff in and hung out at the party. This year I'm the party planner and tell other people what to bring. It's a pretty sweet job. The Halloween party went fairly well, so we'll see how this goes. We're attempting a craft. Might be pushing my luck with sixth graders!

Tomorrow is the Girl Scout troop party. Then Sunday is the big yearly wing ding at Grandma's. I WON'T be forgetting my camera for that bash! Something crazy always happens!

We're all set for the big day around here except that house looks like a parade of monkeys went crashing through. Oh, well. This too can be dealt with. We've baked a ton of cookies, done a bunch of shopping and even more wrapping. Bring it on!

The cats are all still here. Their blog got 32 hits in one week after I put the ad in the paper. That's more people than visit this blog! But no nibbles. I'll put another ad in after the first of the year and try again.

If you want to check out something fun, there's a wonderful concert being hosted over at Citizen of the Month. The link is right over there-------------------------------------------------->

Saturday, December 16, 2006

An Uncanny Disappearance

Our garbage can is gone.

We are not the most diligent of families about getting the can back up to the house after pick-up, so one might say that we have been asking for this for years. It's true that some weeks, we have taken the trash out to the can still on the curb a week later. Plenty of times it's only been brought up to the house because it was out in the middle of road and we couldn't get out of the driveway. But still, this is a blow.

Our first ever garbage can was a shiny metal one we found in the garage of our first apartment. It was just the cutest thing! When we moved, we brought it with us, which I suppose means we stole it from our landlord, but he was a creep, so we didn't care. We didn't live here very long before it disappeared, definitely stolen. What goes around comes around, eh? After that we had a hodge podge of clunkers, posing to be trash cans, but all of them one step from being garbage themselves.

One day we broke down and bought a real can of our very own. It had a lid and wheels and it was BIG! We got all the trash in there! But as the years crept on, the can started to show it's age. A wheel was loose, the bottom was falling out. For the past few months it crossed my mind that pretty soon we would have to go out and (Gasp!) buy a new one.

So here we are today and it's gone. It was there this morning according to Ethan, but when I came home at 3 PM, it was MIA. The lid is out there, but the can is gone. Did it blow away? Unlikely. It wasn't particularly windy today. Did someone take it? Why would they? And if some strange being did take our beaten up can, why didn't they take the lid as well? It's a true mystery.

What's not a mystery is that we only had one can and now we have none. We are at the mercy of mutant huge raccoons and possums and insane feral cats. Does Santa bring garbage cans? I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask.

Have you seen me?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Welcome New Visitors!

Here's a big hello to all the new visitors to the cafe. You got your Christmas card from me yesterday and inside was a little sticker with this address on it. And you thought "Hmmm, what's this?" So you sat down and typed it in (Maybe wincing a little because you don't like the name much) and found this, my blog. I'm not a big fan of the Christmas letter, but I suppose you could look at this as the longest Christmas letter you've ever gotten. In here you can find out everything that we've been up to since May, when I started this. So now you're thinking "Does she expect me to read all of this?" Of course not! But please, don't make this your only visit. I post on the average 3 or 4 times a week and I truly try to make it interesting, well... at least to me. So come back now and then and catch up with us. And if you're so inclined, leave a comment. I live for the comments!

As for the name of this blog, I understand that some might think it's inappropriate, but there is a history and a story and I like it. Even so, not long ago, in a half dreaming state, a new name for this blog came to me that was even more perfect. I was so excited by it, I jumped right out of bed to write it down before I forgot. But then I found that graphic of the blinking sign and I LOVE that sign so much, I'm never changing the name!

We're not home much and we don't like to answer the phone, but I love to write blogs and read other peoples. I might use the word "really" too often. I might use too many exclamation marks. But I blog because I truly want to connect with you and be a part of your life. I really do! So put this on your "Favorites" list now!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Meme This

Nobody has directly asked, but the coincidence is just too much. The two main bloggers in my life, within a week of each other, both wrote meme blogs. One was "6 weird things about me" and the other was "5 thing you didn't know about me". So I'll cut the difference.

Five and a half things about me that may or may not be weird:

1. I can't sleep in absolute silence. I can't sleep if I can hear music or a TV. I have a magical little machine that makes white noise that knocks me out in no time flat.

2. While I grew a whole inch when I was 18, my feet are the same size they were when I was 12. I shop in the little girl part of the shoe store.

3. I hate when the phone rings. It sets me right on edge. I think it must be because it's how my day starts everyday, a phone call. I'm also not fond of the answering machine. When I see that little light flashing, I usually think "What now?!?!??" That said, if you end up on the phone with me, I'll talk your ear off.

4. I love Christmas decorations. You'll never catch me complaining that stores put them out to early. They could leave them up all year as far as I'm concerned.

5. I'm the world's biggest tea snob. Iced Tea is the only thing I've ever sent back in a restaurant and I've done that on several occasions.

1/2. When it comes to big musicals....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Forward Christmas

The trip to the tree farm was very successful. Without a doubt, it was the quickest we have ever found a tree. Usually it's a lot of "Yeah, that one's okay, but let's go look over there first." Over there being like a half a mile away. But this time we saw the tree and that was it. Here's my mighty warrior over his quarry.
This year the tree farm bought this neat tree carrier which is a million times better than carrying the damn thing yourself through the snow, mud, and unexpected pits. The kids had a big time with it as well. The only flaw in the day was that Boccardi's was closed. That place never keeps the same hours or days from month to month! It's the best pizza, but the way they run the place is a complete drag! We ended up coming back to town and having lunch at that Mexican place that moved into Red Robin. It was okay, but not Boccardi's.

So now the tree is up and decorated. All the Christmas paraphernalia is out as well and the boxes are put away. I still haven't put up my kitchen tree yet and we haven't put up any lights outside. The way it snowed today, lights outside might just get skipped this year.

Tonight, I'm working on Christmas cards, can't you tell? Okay, I'm going to start working on cards once I finish this. We've gotten seven cards thus far and each one is a reminder that I need to get a move on. But here's a strange thing: One of the cards that came today is a complete mystery. Neither of us have any idea who sent it; we don't recognize the name. It's addressed to us, our name handwritten on the envelope, but nothing personal inside, just a pre-printed card. Being that I don't actually know them, I'm not sending a card back, but here's some recognition anyway: Dan and Cathy Nixon of Wellington, Merry Christmas to you, too!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Tree Day!

Everyone has a different way to get the holidays started and when they put up the tree. Some are Thanksgiving Day people. Lots are The-Day-After-Thanksgiving People. One notable family I know is die hard Nothing-Before-December-1st. Today, the 5Th, is our day. Today is our anniversary and we have almost always been able to go out and get the tree today.

We're leaving here in a bit to spring the kids from school to go tramp around in the woods and find the tree. On the way home, it's lunch at Boccardi's in Birmingham for the best pizza without question. I'll post later tonight with some pictures. Should be interesting because right now it's snowing like crazy.

Happy, Happy Anniversary to Weaver and Brewer, the one anniversary I can never forget! Here's hoping we all have a fabulous day!

And, of course, Happy Anniversary to you E. Thank you for 14 years of love and Christmas Trees!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Even got a homepage for my...cats

There's a new link at the cafe today: We Need Homes, my new webpage created just for getting rid of these cats. In a guide that I read about finding homes for animals, one of the things it said to do was make flyers and hang them up everywhere. But I'm thinking, what a pain is that! And there's not a lot of places around to hang up flyers anyway. And finally, does anyone read those crumpled cornered flyers you see at Convenient? I barely glance at them most of the time. If you're shopping at Convenient, you're in a hurry!
So this site is my solution. Tomorrow I'm going to the newspaper to place an ad in directing interested parties to read all about my kitties at the website. I figure it's better than wishing they would go away, which is all we've been doing so far!
A word of warning: I heaped it on heavy! It's chuck full of guilt and heart wrenching sentiment. Have a hanky at the ready!