Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How do you add more joy to Christmas?

How about an endometrial ablation on Christmas Eve?

After bleeding 48 of the last 60 days and taking ten days worth of medication that did nothing to help it has become apparent that something more must be done. And.. since our insurance is changing to an incredibly crappy plan January 1st I really need to do it now. I'll be working extra hard in the next few days to complete all of my Christmas tasks plus pack for our trip to California. There will be no last minute wrapping in the wee hours of Christmas morning. Getting old really sucks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Seven Random Things About Me...

MS Teacher has tagged me with this Meme. I've done it before but I'm random enough that it shouldn't be a problem to do it again. I think I will do a theme this time.

Here are the rules:
- Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven Random Things About Gina: The Pet Edition

1 - When I was born my Grandparents had a dog named Davette who adopted me as her own. When I was two I bit her nose.. then she bit mine. I've never bitten a dog again.
2- When I was seven I loved to catch lizards and keep them in my doll house. I never figured out if they escaped during the night or if my Mom snuck in and released them.
3- When I was ten I had a pet rock but I never really bonded with it. I think it ran away (or maybe my Mom released it.)
4 - When I was twelve I had a pet rat named Gabriel. I named him after Gabe Kaplan, the handsome star of Welcome Back Kotter. What a dork I was.. I didn't even notice John Travola who also starred in that show.

5 - Gabriel helped me win first prize at the Santa Clara County Science Fair. My project was Sleep Deprivation. I'm not sure who was actually more sleep deprived, the rat, me, or my poor mother who was stuck with the rat in her bathroom with the lights on all night for a month. She didn't release him though..
6 - I have an almost hairless cat named Jack. He's a Cornish Rex, he's an idiot and he's always cold. But man does he have personality!
7 - My children wanted hermit crabs. I let them buy hermit crabs. Then I started researching hermit crabs and discovered that if they are well taken care of they can live up to 25 years in captivity. The kids lost interest the first time they got pinched but I suffer from a very complex guilt complex that requires me to do everything I can to make sure these little guys are happy. I will probably have hermit crabs for the rest of my life.
*Bonus* I can't leave out Gracie.. She's eleven months old and spoiled rotten.

Now.. who do I tag??? Eeeny Meeny, Miney, Mo....

Author Mom with Dogs
Cupcake at A Truth Universally Acknowledged
Jenny at Chased By Children
Nicole at You Have Got to be Kidding
Professor J
Nikki at Rural Writings
Anne! at Nantucket Dreamer

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tagged again and again

I'm having so much trouble finding time to post lately! You would think that after Nablopomo I would just be in the habit of posting regularly, but as soon as it ended I just started slacking off!

Fortunately I have friends to encourage and pester me to post... and when I don't respond to that they tag me! I've been tagged by two friends this weekend and I feel like I would be letting them down if I don't at least try to rise to the challenge. Tonight I will do the Christmas Hoopla and tomorrow I will return for 7 random things about me.

My wonderful friend Leeann at Is It Morning Already? tagged me to do this Christmas Hoopla.

She writes:

Ok, this is specifically not a meme. It's a HOOPLA. Got it?

Here are the rules:

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a 'hoopla' and not the dreaded 'm'-word
3. You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.

So... Here are twelve random things about me that have to do with Christmas:

1 - I'm a Christmas baby.. not born on Christmas but pretty darn close. Having a birthday between Christmas and New Years stinks when you are a little kid but is pretty nice when you are over 40 and would prefer people just forget you have a birthday coming.

2 - I know all the words to just about every Christmas carol but I don't sing them.

3 - I like fruitcake.

4 - When I was twelve I made a Christmas present for our mailman but when I gave it to him he looked at me like I was a stalker.

5 - I love dorky Christmas sweaters and can't wait to wear them each year... from November 1st through January 15th.

6 - One of my favorite Christmas ornaments is a fish with giant sparkly lips.

7 - I have three trees this year. A traditional tree with lots of glass and white lights in the living room, a palm tree with colored lights in the front hall, and a small tree with great big colored bulbs on the upstairs landing.

8 - The tallest tree we ever had was 16 feet tall. This is a picture from upstairs. It was ridiculously tall.. we couldn't even decorate it properly!

9 - Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner is Chinese take-out.

10 - I have moved immediately before or after Christmas three times in my adult life. The first time we had an 18 inch tree in our hotel room, the second time we completely skipped Christmas at our house (but spent the week of Christmas with family), the third time was last year, we moved on Dec. 7th and decorated for Christmas the following weekend.

11 - Every year, at least once, I fantasize about just running away and not coming back until after Christmas.

12 - I always wanted to have a perfect Christmas.. you know, the kind where you bake all the right cookies, decorate beautifully, volunteer for important things, help the needy, give your kids the most excellent presents, cook the perfect meals, have every detail planned out so that there are no last minute surprises, and have everything done in advance so that on Christmas Eve all you have to do is drink eggnog and listen to Christmas music. I always wanted that until the year I finally almost got it right. Then, on Christmas Eve we got terrible news and needed to get in the car and drive twelve hours to be with family. We literally picked up the tree, ornaments and all, and set it in the garage. It sat there until February... I just couldn't face undecorating it because it had become the symbol of my failure. Not failure to create the perfect Christmas but failure to understand that none of it mattered. I learned that year that there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas and trying to create it distracted me from what was truly important. The important thing is loving our family because we just don't know how long we will have them.

I'm tagging the following people. I hope you all find time to join the hoopla.

MS Teacher, Heidi at Viking Conquest, Mrs. G, and I was going to tag Karen MEG but she just did another Christmas themed list so I'll just tell you all to go read her great post!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Watch your punctuation...

It was the Monday after Thanksgiving and I was tired. In one week we had entertained three different sets of overnight guests, celebrated our twentieth anniversary and celebrated Thanksgiving. I had been working odd hours, going in very early and working from home at night, in order to maximize the amount of time I could spend with our guests. It had been a great week but I was tired. Monday was our final night with guests and we were having a fiesta. Fajitas, nachos, pitchers of margaritas.. and absolutely no turkey!
In the midst of preparation the phone rang... It was the dentist's office calling to find out why my oldest children were not there for an appointment. Oops! In the craziness of the week I had completely forgotten about the appointment. The receptionist tartly remarked that she had called to remind me of the appointment the day before... the last business day before.. which happened to have been the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Oh well. Obviously this was my fault and I apologized profusely and asked to reschedule. Ms. Receptionist was not pleased. She did not like my excuses. She frowned upon my silly desire to have children that could actually chew their dinner that evening. She reminded me that I had signed an agreement to PAY A CANCELLATION FEE if I didn't give 24 hours notice to cancel an appointment. I agreed that I had indeed signed and understood that there would be a fee but I was just going to have to pay it because I was not bringing the children in. She tersely informed me that they would be unable to work my children into the schedule again until December. So I rescheduled the appointment and went back to enjoying the fiesta. Arriba!

Yesterday I received a statement for the cancellation fee. I expected it. I wasn't shocked. I wasn't upset. I understand that in these challenging times a dentist can't afford to just give away appointment slots... blah, blah, blah. However, the statement annoyed the snot out of me. The charges are entered and duly noted as missed appointment fees but at the bottom of the page, in the comment box, Ms. Dentist's Receptionist typed: Mother "forgot" appointment.

Now I know I am being petty... but I was perfectly pleasant to this woman. I admitted my wrong-doing, I apologized, I did not make a fuss about being charged extra. Plus I'm a darn good patient! I'm always on time (with the exception of this one missed appointment.) I never complain when I have to wait. I pay my copay at the time of service. I even bought a fancy electric toothbrush from their office for ten dollars more than I could have gotten it at Costco! But none of that matters. I "forgot". With one little set of quotation marks my integrity was called into question. The comment was superfluous and petty and it pissed me off.

My question to you, dear reader, is this. Am I silly for being offended enough that I don't want to go back to that office again? Obviously I need to bring my children in for the appointment next week but after that I believe I will start looking for a new dentist.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

How to gain ten pounds in two days...

I love baklava and I rarely buy it because I am physically and emotionally unable to walk away from it. If I can get past it in the store I am fine. It's not the kind of pastry that calls to me in my dreams. However, once I've let it into my house I'm done for. This weekend a huge tray somehow followed me home.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Shopping with the girls...

It was Friday night and the mood was somber. Zane was on his way out to spend a final evening with his best/girl friend. Dad was gone for the weekend. Taylor had just "dumped" her "boyfriend" (a very good choice, indeed). Delaney was reeling from her recent orthodontic adjustment. Then there was Mom... There's just no delicate way to say this.... on day sixteen of her second period since Halloween, and starting to feel more than a little, umm, drained.

Any sane woman would have curled up with a heating pad and Jack Daniels called the doctor, but I come from a long line of women who refuse to admit anything is wrong until someone forcibly delivers them to the doctor, or body parts start to fall off, whichever comes first. I was not going to let my dear, sore at heart, and tooth, girls spend the night watching Hannah Montana reruns and bickering over who's feet were on whom.

Plus, it's eighteen days until Christmas and the presents are not buying themselves. What we needed was a little retail therapy and some good food too. So off we went to the mall. We didn't actually go into the mall (that would have been crazy) but to the mall outside of the mall... the mall annex...
Don't you love the way malls have morphed into something like a university of commercial indulgence? We have mall central, the institute of higher shopping, all of your basics in one megolithic structure. Then on the outskirts of the campus we have the annexes of specialized shopping (Talbots, Ann Taylor, boutique jewelry) for those more advanced in shopping skills, or conversly, the remedial annex (Target and Big Lots) for the continuation shoppers.
Anyway... back to my story..
Our first stop was for food since Taylor had skipped lunch because the "breakup" had upset her stomach, and Delaney had been unable to eat because her teeth hurt. We needed something special, and easy to chew. The extremely thin crust pizzas at I.talia were a perfect fit, and a table in front of the enormous open fire pizza oven was heavenly. While we waited we played with the "make your own pizza" toy on the table. Pretend pizza baking quickly became an impromptu fractions lesson. It does a mathphobic mother's heart good to see girls enjoying division. After pizza came the gelato... the perfect combination of teeth comforting cold and heart soothing chocolate.. before we knew it all three of us were giggling, and one of us had a chocolate mustache. (no, not me)

After dinner we went to Borders Books and the girls picked out books for their cousins. Two hours of discussion and debate eventually produced perfect books for eleven unique individuals. They were focused and thoughtful and, despite hundreds of tempting books, neither of them asked for anything. Our only disappointment was that the wrapping station had shut down for the evening and we will be forced to wrap our own gifts. Perhaps Saturday will be wrapping day...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Advent Event - Day one

What a silly title! But I'm going to leave it because it tickles me and I've been a complete bitch all day so something that makes me smile is a big deal.

Today I have finally pulled the Advent cabinet out of storage and I'm starting our countdown to Christmas. The kids don't know this because I've scared them all up to their rooms with my growling and banging around the kitchen that they all trashed in the hour it took me to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. So, when they all come down later to a clean kitchen, dinner, and a smiling mom (riggghhhhtt), they will get to open the 4th drawer.



This post was interupted by life exploding around me... but I didn't scream at anyone so I guess everything is ok. The first night activity was Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End. The girls were thrilled, the boy said he had too much homework, and the husband fell asleep 45 minutes into the movie, but it doesn't matter because I had an evening with Mrs. G's secret boyfriend. Ha! Plus the kids have a late start tomorrow morning so I don't have to feel like the world's worst most negligent mother for letting them stay up until 11pm.

Now I'm off to bed. Hopefully tomorrow I won't be so grumpy. (Fat Chance of that!)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

If you believe the weather forcast, we have a cold, wet week ahead of us. With this in mind I'm trying to plan some nice warm meals that can be cooked in the crockpot for Monday and Tuesday. Of course, this is assuming that we won't lose power and end up eating sandwiches. Last year we had a terrible storm in December and some people in our area were without electricty for weeks. Let's hope that doesn't happen again.

This week we will start our Advent Countdown Calendar. We have a cabinet with 24 drawers that I fill with candy somedays and notes others. I have always tried to have a good mix of fun, education, and candy, however, In 2006 I only did candy. Yesterday Zane and Taylor started talking about how much fun our Advent Calender "used to be" and when I said it will be fun again Zane replied "No it won't because you are working now." Ah.. guilt.. such a Christmas-y emotion! I haven't taken out the cabinet yet but tomorrow we will officially start the season.

Hanukkah also begins this week, December 4th through the 12th, and we will having a celebration Saturday night. When I was a teen I spent one night of Hanukkah with my best friend's family each year and it's a tradition I have tried to continue with my own children. I feel it is very important that they grow up appreciating and understanding other religious traditions, as well as learning about the foundations of their own religion.

Well this is a bit long-winded... so on with the menu!

  • Monday - Beef Stew, French Bread

  • Tuesday - Chunky Bean Soup with Ham and Kale

  • Wednesday - Quesadillas and Salad

  • Thursday - Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Roasted Sweet and White Potatoes

  • Friday - Broccoli Quiche and Fruit Salad

  • Saturday - Chicken Soup, Latkes, Applesauce, Honey Cake

  • Sunday - To Be Decided Later

Thanks to Debi at for hosting. If you don't know her go visit.. she's got lots of great ideas.

Have a good week!


We had our first snow of the year yesterday. It didn't stick and has now turned into torrential rain that is flooding my backyard but, for a few beautiful hours, there were big, fat, swirling, snowflakes to fascinate puppies and girls. What a perfect start to December.