Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All's Quiet...

Its too quiet here in the house. Of course, it is, after all, 1am. But I've gotten used to the glow of my brother's laptop in the corner of my office, and the familiar clicking of his NONSTOP texting (I swear. I am NEVER texting.) If he's not texting, he's snoring, seriously. But over the past month, I've gotten used to having him around. Its nice, actually, now that we're grown-ups and not tearing each other's hair out. He left today to head out to Vegas for a week or two. A few odd jobs here and there, something to keep him busy, so I think it'll do him good. And I know a little alone time for just M and I will be nice, and a 4 day weekend this week on top of it :)

I find myself unable to go to bed before 2am anymore, for no real reason at all. The vicious cycle, of course, is that it means I sleep later, so I get tired later, so I don't go to bed until 2am, so I sleep later, and so on. I have GOT to get back into a normal sleep pattern (having an insomniac for a brother didn't help!) When I'm sitting up at 2am, I find myself staring at the calendar on my desk, wondering WHERE in the world 2008 has gone. Here we are, December 30th, and the last year has just slipped through my fingers. . .

Two trips to MI - practically unheard of, I almost never travel more than just for Thanksgiving, and we didn't even do that this year! One trip to celebrate the grand opening of my Mom's Curves, then another, 6 months later, to WORK at Mom's Curves after she was in a bad accident, breaking her collarbone in 2 places, and a bone in her neck.

Visiting with my oldest brother a few times this year, having "the other brother" move in over Thanksgiving. I've seen more family this year than I have in the past seven, and for that I'm grateful, as I find myself without any real friends here in AZ. Oh sure, I had a couple here and there but none of them stuck around... the old saying about friends coming and going, sure does seem to be true.

Lots of my (non local) friends have become parents to some darn adorable children, and many will become parents early on in 2009. Perhaps this time next year, I'll be the one announcing a pregnancy. My nieces and nephews are growing at an alarming rate, save for Caitlin, who is desperately trying to regain the weight she lost, when we nearly lost this year due to the most severe appendicitis case I've ever heard of (and so agreed her surgeon).

I lost one of my three Grandmothers this year, and I've just received word that another is very ill and to "expect the worst" in the next two days.

**UPDATE - my Grandma Grace passed away this evening, around 5:30pm, 12/30/2008**

M started school, finishing his first semester with a shiny 4.0, and I've had the best year ever with my business, which is a nice accomplishment. Otherwise, I mostly seem to just sit here and watch the world change around me. Which is fine with me, most days :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

M's Film Debut

Thought I'd share with you the project that M worked so darn hard on all semester. Please turn your speakers on to watch and let me know what you think!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Added bonuses for having my big brother around

My brother and M are the same age, just a few months apart. They are currently parked on the couch, watching football together. I LOVE that M has someone he can talk football with (because its certainly not my favorite sport..), and its really nice to hear them having such a good time :)

They also made chili for dinner tonight. M did most of it, and then Alan came in and doctored it up, resulting in a huge pot of AMAZING chili that we'll probably enjoy that for the next week or two.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Are you one of those people who feels blue and lonely during the holiday season? I am. Maybe its because I'm so far away from my family, maybe its because I don't feel quite "home" here yet, but I find myself feeling particularly isolated this year.

We put our tree up last weekend. Four days later, I put some ornaments up. Alone. M and I have always decorated the tree together. The last time I remember decorating a tree alone was when I was 17. Mom and I lived in this gorgeous condo in Plymouth, MI. She was working about a zillion hours a week and I knew that if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done. I put on some Christmas music, just loud enough to be obnoxious to the cranky seniors who lived in our community (ooh, did they ever hate me!), and I put up lights and ornaments as high as I could possibly reach. That year, Mom was taking us all to San Diego, right after Christmas, to visit with my oldest brother and his wife, who was expecting baby #1, my first nephew. The gifts under the tree were to be light that year, since the trip was our big gift. I bought Mom two CDs - Pete Droge and the Sinners and George Thorogood.

She bought me a Clapper. Yeah. "Clap on! Clap off! Clap on, clap off, the Clapper!"

Honestly? I loved it :) I had white Christmas lights strung all over my 4 poster bed, and it was a heck of a lot easier than trying to plug them in every night (because I kept them up all year long. My room was cozy with those lights!)

The day we arrived in San Diego, I felt like I was having a bad allergic reaction. 24 hours later, I'm in the ER, with a pneumonia and bronchitis diagnosis. Once I got on the meds, I was fine. The next day, EVERYONE ELSE IN THE HOUSE got the flu, except for me and my brother-in-law (who suffered silently with just a cold sore). I think he and I were the only ones who enjoyed that trip to Disneyland...

Anyway. Tangent.

This year, as I said, I've pretty much "decorated" alone. M's busy with work and finals, so I'm just here, doing my thing, right? Sure. I half-assed decorated the tree. The box with the rest of the decorations is still sealed in the living room. M keeps telling me "see if you can finish getting it all up while I'm at work/school tomorrow", but I just don't have it in me. A week later, we're still about a quarter of the way decorated, and I'm to the point where I'd kinda rather just put it all back in the box and forget Christmas this year. I just don't feel like I have the heart to do it this year. I spent the community Christmas party sorta hanging out with my brother - who charmed the entire table, while I sat 2 feet away, manning my little Avon table that my property manager asked me to host. Money is tight, and we'll have next to nothing under the tree this year. There were about 4 things I REALLY wanted to get M this year that just didn't happen. M has just one class left on Tuesday. He's going into work tomorrow, so there's one more day I won't see him at all, and though he doesn't have to, he's going in to his Wednesday class anyway to burn a few more DVDs and watch a movie - never mind that he's already turned in his project AND taken the final. I would think he'd want to take a break, enjoy some time at home perhaps. I know he's just busy, but its Christmas, you know?

I think I'm ready to just skip right to April. Past Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day and our anniversary.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

a little more randomness

Outside of my apartment I heard lots of footsteps moving at a run, and a whistle blowing every few seconds. I look up to see a group of people apparently running laps around my building. All wearing red, white or green. Some wearing Reindeer antlers, candy cane headbands, or Santa/elf hats.

I'm not particularly sure what's going on outside. Some sort of Christmas Elf training program? Its times like these I wish I had a digital camera, or at least, a camera phone.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rosemary and Carmen

I'm sitting at Curves this morning, and the Best of Abba is blaring in my ears. We didn't have this CD at the Curves in TX, but most of the Curves discs have the same 130 beats per minute techno-style rhythm. Something about this particular beat makes me homesick, specifically, for MY Curves.

At MY Curves, I worked the afternoon shifts, and around 5pm, Rosemary would come in. Rosemary and I had a very...special friendship. She and I would pick on each other relentlessly, chat about her deep crush on Robert Horry, and she'd pester me about having babies more than my mom and mother-in-law combined. Rosemary is convinced that I will first have a girl, who by the age of 3, will have long, curly, auburn hair. The curls, maybe. The auburn is unlikely - my red hair for the last 10 years came from a bottle.

We'd laugh and joke through her whole workout. She'd come in and say "I saw your car, so I decided not to skip my workout today. But if you weren't here, I wasn't coming in". Sometimes if I had M's car, she'd show up anyway and act surprised to see me, as if I wasn't there every afternoon anyway. She's feisty and sarcastic and swears (on accident, she always covers her mouth like she had no control of letting that last one slip) and her cardio is this particular hip-shaking move that works perfect with the beat on this Abba CD, and if I didn't know better, I'd think I could just look up and see her out there on the circuit, singing along, laughing and doing her thang.

Carmen also came in around 5pm, and she and I were also pretty close. Carmen intimidated the HELL out of me when I first started there. She looks fierce and wanted to try on the new Curvaceous clothing line on my first day there alone, and just started grabbing things off the rack and running to the dressing room. I didn't know where anything was or what to do with that side of the business, and she had such a take-charge personality, that I just sat back, slack-jawed and stunned. Once I got to know her, I learned that she too is hilarious, sarcastic and feisty. The three of us together - well, lets just say that if you were out there with us, getting a word in edgewise was difficult, unless you were willing to join in on picking on ME.

Once, I was really sick, but couldn't find a cover for my shift, so I sat behind the desk with a box of Kleenex, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and a fever over 100. I looked pathetic, and I felt like hell. Carmen came in, finished her workout and left, only to show up again about 10 minutes later, with two grocery bags in hand. One was filled with cold medicines of various types. Some were open box things she had at home, the others were brand new. The other bag contained a Tupperware container filled to the brim with homemade, piping hot chicken and rice soup. "I just happened to have made this yesterday and have a TON of it! There's a plastic takeout spoon inside too if you want to eat it now". Had I not been dehydrated, I might have cried, it was such a sweet gesture, and there's nothing like feeling mothered when you're sick and away from home.

Carmen and Rosemary liked to call me the "drill sargent" or "circuit Nazi". I was one tough cookie out there. If your heart rate is too low, I'm GOING to get it higher. If you're not kicking out hard enough or using something wrong, I will physically MOVE you to the right position. The ladies out here in Scottsdale are lovely and nice, but I can't find that same rhythm with them, and it makes me homesick for my old Curves.

At my Goodbye dinner after my final shift, I hugged Carmen and Rosemary last and tightest, and the three of us both failed miserably at holding back the tears. I miss them both SO much!

*side note - the folks walking around this center today are REALLY bizarre and random. 5 people in suits just rode by on Seguays, a group of guys who look like they stumbled off a Black Crowes tour bus went into Quiznos, and a group of EMO skaters crossed their path to Panda Express. Its a WEIRD day out there...

Monday, December 1, 2008

My brother A is staying with us for a while. Could be just until Christmas, could be a few months - sorta depends on the whole job situation down here in Scottsdale for him, but I'm happy he's here. A is 5 years older than I am (and just a few months older than M) and though he only arrived on Thursday, we've had a good time. Stayed up too late too many times, but playing cards, trivia games, catching up. Whatever. Tomorrow, A and I plan to go for a walk to wander the neighborhood a little, and it will be really nice to have the company.

Last week was my birthday, as I previously mentioned, and I'm a bit sad to report that only two of my good (local) friends actually remembered. I shouldn't let it bother me, I know, but I would be lying if I said I didn't care. Was I expecting a party, ticker-tape parade, piles of gifts and cards? Of course not. I'm 28. A "happy birthday!" would have been nice though.

But the friends who DID remember my birthday - friends I've had for over 7 years now - and my family, are what really count. My In-Laws bought me 2 turkey platters and a gravy boat for my birthday gift. Not the most exciting gifts, but as I was without both platter and boat 2 days before Thanksgiving, I was more than THRILLED to unwrap them :) M decided in the end to not go to class Tuesday night, and so we went with his parents, to dinner at Buca di Beppo, where a platter of spaghetti was dropped on the floor just inches from M and I (I knew there was a "kitchen table" at Buca. I did not know there was a "splash zone"). We drank wine and ate pasta and cake and talked and planned, and it was truly lovely. I really do enjoy my In-Laws.

What I didn't enjoy, or understand (and this is my ONLY gripe about my MIL), was why, the day before Thanksgiving, my mother in law felt it was absolutely necessary to make M a cake. Because I wasn't busy enough in the kitchen, or had enough dishes to worry about. Wednesday, M and I rush off to work. I finish my shift and run to Wal-Mart for some last minute stuff, rush home, inhale a bowl of Cocoa Puffs for lunch, and ask MIL if she'd get the cornbread started for my stuffing and get the turkey thawed while I went to pick up M from work. As I'm leaving, she's gathering the cornbread ingredients...and preparing to make a cake. *groan*

An hour later, M and I walk in the door to the smell of cake...and burning. MIL had underestimated the size of my cake pan, so the batter puffed up, spilled over, and (having placed the pan on the TOP rack of my oven), hit the heating elements, burned, and spilled all over the inside of my oven. The day before Thanksgiving. In my CLEAN, ready-for-turkey sink, is the cake. Wet batter. Partially cooked batter. MIL, FIL and M are standing around the sink, picking the cooked batter out and nibbling on it. I honestly think I was in a bit of shock, because now my turkey still isn't thawed, I have a hundred things to do that now include RE-cleaning the sink AND the oven and about 12 unnecessarily dirty dishes. And they're standing around eating cake from the sink.


When MIL and FIL left to pick up dinner and M went to class, I had no choice.

I called my mother. And I bitched. And it felt good.

And later, MIL cleaned the oven. In all honesty, was it that big of a deal? No, I was just overly stressed out, worried about everything, and a bit blue about my birthday. And looking back, the cake thing was pretty funny anyway.

A said tonight of the whole Thanksgiving process "Next year, it will be a piece of cake.

. . .

No pun intended"