Monday, January 09, 2012

Time Flies!

Wow, November 11.  Go figure.  I got a little note from Merry Mom asking how I’d been and realized I hadn’t posted in TWO MONTHS.  YIKES.  I guess I’m due for an update!

All is well here.  BUSY.  Like, crazy busy.  As usual.

So, the big news is I survived my organization of information class.  I really had a VERY hard time with it.  I felt stupid the whole semester and was so glad it was my only class.  I somehow managed to get an A, and when I tell you it was a miracle and in no small part due to my partners in the small group project, I am not lying.  Not even a little bit.  I had a lot of help from our local friends too, who attempted to teach me XML and database building, and thanks to my husband who took lots of time off so I could get caught up and get homework done and whatnot.

I am registered for 2 classes this semester:  Ethics for Library and Information Professionals and Introduction to Archives.  I’m excited about it, neither class seems too hard core and both seem interesting, more importantly.  Classes start Wednesday.  I’ve gotten a volunteer job at a local archives, so I should get some hands on learning, which should help with a paper I have to write for the archives class!  I hope the archives class and volunteer experience helps me decide once and for all if that’s the direction I want to go in.

AFS kept me busy.  There were some problems with Kristin and her new family and their other student, so I wound up doing an intervention, which is not really what I think I’m good at, but I did it and got the family to stay together for a little so I was proud of that accomplishment.

Thanksgiving was a lot of fun.  We did the Turkey Trot in the morning—my goal was to do it in less than an hour and I accomplished that goal, which made me happy.  My dad was here and made the turkey, but we were all tired from walking and running so I can’t say as we did very much.  We had a little birthday party for my niece that weekend, and I really can’t believe she turned 3.  The time is just flying by!

December was a whirlwind!  Emily and I went to see Diane Keaton in November and decided to go back and see Michael Ian Black on December 1.  He was HILARIOUS—we were at 6th and I Synagogue and he started a joke that mentioned Anne Frank (it wasn’t a joke about Anne Frank) and he looked up at the stained glass window waiting for lightning to strike and said, “Well, if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen now!” and everyone was just laughing hysterically.  It’s the second time I’ve seen him, the first time doing a solo act, and he was really great.

We took Kristin and fellow student Ilaria to Wolf Trap for the annual holiday sing-a-long and for pizza afterwards.  They had a lot of fun and I enjoyed having them along for the tradition.  The following weekend we spent some time at my sister’s and then went to our friends Paul and Kris’s house and church for their annual Christmas pageant and dinner.  It was really lovely, and wouldn’t seem like Christmas if we didn’t go.

Unfortunately, I was in a minor car accident the following week, and my car was in the shop until after Christmas.  I was driving to meet some friends for dinner and a kitten ran in the road.  I stopped and the person coming towards me stopped, but the guy behind me didn’t stop and hit me.  At first glance, it didn’t look so bad, but ultimately cost Allstate somewhere in the neighborhood of $6000 when all was said and done.  They did give me a rental, and I was pleased about that since I put almost 800 miles on it in just over a week’s time.

The following weekend was my Christmas concert.  This is my second year with the Stafford Regional Choral Society and in November I was elected to the board of directors.  I really thought that this Christmas concert would be the best concert I’d ever sung in, and I dare say I was correct.  I did a lot of rehearsing at home with the on line tracks, and managed to sing without my music, which made me happy since I didn’t have to lug a bunch of books around!  The choir chairman was nice enough to give me rides to rehearsals and the concert since my car was out of commission and I hadn’t gotten my rental yet.

The following day, Monday, my dad and his girlfriend decided to make a big turkey pre-Christmas dinner, and since I was still eating turkey from Thanksgiving, I decided to go ahead and invite some people over.  We had about 15 people who came to eat turkey and still had plenty of leftovers!  Leah had a ball.  Our neighbors came and brought her gifts and some other friends came and brought us fresh eggs from their chickens.  It was great!

Tuesday, for their first Christmas present, I took Dad and Linda to see ICE! at the Gaylord National Resort.  Mike’s and my theme for Christmas this year was cherishing old memories and making new ones.  To that end, we made a conscious decision not to buy “stuff” that people wouldn’t want or wear, and instead to either make things or make memories.  A few years ago, we bought tickets for the whole family to go see ICE! but couldn’t afford it this year, so I just took Dad and Linda (Leah got in free).  We had lunch with my sister beforehand and then went to the show, which was really lovely—it had a Madagascar theme, which didn’t mean much to the rest of us, but I enjoyed it anyway.  It was a really nice afternoon.  Midway through, I got a text from my mom that she was coming up early, so I prepared myself for her arrival as well!

Wednesday, Mom came and Mike and I went down to Richmond to pick up Penny’s brother Mickey at the airport.  He is in boarding school out in Kentucky (Or Cuh-cucky as Leah calls it) and needed a place to go when the school closed for 2 weeks for Christmas.  He took one look at us when he saw us at the gate and kept on walking and when I stopped him to ask if he was Mickey, he said he had to get his bags and took off to the baggage claim.  That was essentially the high point of his visit.  He was a rude little bugger. 

Thursday, Mom came back to our house to stay for a week plus.  She and my sister started arguing and at this point I can’t say who’s wrong or who’s right, I just really wish it hadn’t happened.  My goal for this Christmas was for everyone to get along, no fighting, and to have a peaceful and calm time.  It didn’t happen.  By Christmas Day, I had a nervous breakdown.  There were SO MANY people and SO MUCH was going on, it was crazy!!!  Friday, my buddy Joe arrived and Saturday we went to my sister’s for Christmas Eve. 

Christmas Day was here, my sister brought a stray with her, so if you’re keeping count, there were 13 people here.  Judy’s stray wanted to make wassail for everyone and the crockpot wouldn’t hold it all, so we had to do it on the stove, which he fretted over literally all day.  The present situation, even though we all scaled back, was again totally crazy out of control—even if you only buy each person 1 thing, that’s 13 presents for 13 people (for a total of 169), and you know that no one bought ONLY one thing for each of the kids.  So it was pandemonium.

For our part, Mike and I made each family member (Mom, Dad, Judy, Lucas, and Joe) a scrapbook of memories of our times together.  It was a special moment for everyone and there were a lot of tears flowing as everyone looked through their pictures and swapped books and traded stories.  We also made a photo collage of all of us making funny faces (mostly unintentionally).

facesAnd framed them. Everyone got one of those.  So it helped lighten the mood a bit from all the other crying.

Dinner was the traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.  Mickey announced the first night he was here that he wasn’t eating a thing I cooked, all he wanted to eat was beef ramen noodles, despite the fact that he doesn’t eat beef.  He informed me that the noodles are only beef flavored.  I asked him where the beef flavoring came from and he couldn’t tell me.  I read the package and sure enough they contain beef, but I didn’t give a damn and didn’t tell him.  And I also let him eat Yorkshire pudding, despite it having beef “flavoring” in it. :-)

Dad and I did our traditional trip to Richmond to see the Ginter Gardens Festival of Lights, which was beautiful, as was the weather!  It wasn’t warm, but it was far warmer than usual when I had to stand by the bonfire for an hour mid-way through.  They expanded their repertoire slightly so we got to see some new lights and of course, we got crapped on at our favorite awful Burger King, where we ALWAYS get lousy service.  It was a fun night!

Post-Christmas was similarly busy.  Our “memory” present to Mom was a trip to the Melting Pot, so I took her out one night for that.  Joe decided I needed to start watching Ghost Adventures and Ancient Aliens, and we invented a drinking game to correspond with those (every time someone yelled “DUDE!” in Ghost Adventures or said “Aliens” or “extra terrestrials” or some variant there of in Ancient Aliens, we took a drink).  By the time we were done, (and let me be clear here, we were drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonades, this was not serious alcohol!  But I haven’t had a drink in probably 5 or 6 years and Joe is a real lightweight when it comes to alcohol so this was never going to end well), I was sitting on the floor convinced I could understand every word some German guy was saying, and Joe was moaning about a headache, which took him most of the next day to get rid of. 

We spent one day with Andy and Melissa bowling and taking Mickey to Coldstone Creamery, since he wanted ice cream.  Mike took the whole week off, which was nice for me to have a break! 

I took Mickey on my famous nighttime tour of DC in an effort to get him to spend some portion of the day either not watching TV or playing around on the computer and to interact with some member of our family.  I think he enjoyed it once we left, although he put up a bit of a fight about going.  I was excited to see the new Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, which I hadn’t seen yet and somehow almost drove past.  You can’t believe how big that thing is.  The pictures I’ve seen of it do it no justice at all.  It is literally massive.

We essentially did nothing to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  We forced Mickey away from the computer 10 seconds before the ball dropped on Times Square so at least he could say he saw it, although he wasn’t much impressed.  Mike went back to work on the 3rd, so I tried to come up with things to do with Mickey every day.  We went and saw a 3D movie—my first one ever, The Adventures of TinTin, which was OK, went to the mall, and had lots of Thai food, which is in short supply in rural KY.  Friday we started getting ready for our 3 Kings party, which was seriously scaled back this year—half what it was last year.  I didn’t want to have a huge crowd and be exhausted, so I decided just to have a few people and call it a night.  Mickey announced the beef stroganoff smelled terrible and that he was going to sit in the kitchen so he could leave, and then after watching me cook, clean, and set up for 2 days, just as we were ready to sit down, he asked if he could make ramen noodles.  I should have told him what he could do with his ramen noodles, but held my temper and told him no as politely as I could.  When I sat down to dinner on the other end of the table, my friend asked me what was wrong, that I looked like I was ready to commit murder.  Haha.

We dropped him at the airport yesterday and spent the rest of the day tidying up.  I had a nice evening last night, preparing English tea and watching the Downton Abbey premiere on PBS.

So that brings us to January.  Leah is in dance lessons—has been doing it for over a month now and LOVES it.  She is particularly fond of tap dancing and although she is the tiniest and youngest girl in her class, she is doing just great and learning a lot.  We have started back to Toddlin’ Time on Tuesdays and now are on the hunt for pre-school.  I am touring one place tomorrow which is probably the one that is farthest from my house and at the far end of where I am willing to go.  I start school on Wednesday.  We are going to my dad’s for a week next week, but Mike is staying home again to have some peace and quiet. 

Otherwise, I am watching lots of Quantum Leap on NetFlix, trying to keep up with housework (a losing battle), and trying to make good on my New Year’s resolution of cutting back and doing less while making it mean more.  I would like to get back into Weight Watchers, but every time I say that, I go for 3 weeks and quit again.  I need to find the motivation I had in 2008.

So I’ll probably write again in another 2 months when Merry says “WAKE UP!” :)