Friday, December 31, 2010

Out With The Old

At midnight tonight, billions of people will be celebrating the end of 2010 and welcoming in the beginning of 2011.  Me and CT... well, I doubt we will stay awake until midnight.  Heck, our goal is to try to stay awake until the East Coast rings in the new year, which occurs at 11 p.m. Chicago time.  (We just celebrate with the New Yorkers.)

So, as the world is saying good-bye to the old (2010) and hello to the new (2011), I will be whispering my own little celebratory chant.  You see, I will be celebrating the tossing out of CT's old pair of worn out bachaboos. 

What are bachaboos?   (Side note - the BACH part is pronounced like the composer's last name Johann Sebastian Bach.  BACH-A-BOOS.)   Bachaboos are slippers, and can be worn indoors or outdoors.  CT's outdoor bachaboos are convienently located by the garage door, and are there for an easily slip-on when CT has to go outside for quick things like getting the mail, picking up the newspaper, taking out the garbage, feeding his birds, getting something out of the garage, etc.  

Left:  new pair of Bachaboos.  Right:  old pair of bachaboos.

Everyone has their favorite "something" that has seen better days and is way past even recycling - be it a favorite shirt (stains and all), a favorite pair of torn jeans, a favorite pair of grungy socks.  For CT, it has been his blue outdoor bachaboos.  I have been begging CT to throw out these bachaboos for the last few years because, 1) they are so worn out that the toes were starting to wear through at the bottom of the slipper, and 2) well... let's just say that they no longer carry that fresh, new, scent they had five years ago.

Every Christmas for the last three or four years, CT has received a new pair of bachaboos as a gift from either me or someone in my family.  Some of the bachaboos have been returned after the Christmas holiday, because, according to CT, they weren't quite "right".  Others became new indoor bachaboos.  None replaced the old blue pair, until this year.  When CT opened the new pair and tried them on, much to my surprise he said, "Ok.  I think these will work.  I'll toss out my old pair."  Wahoo - out with the old, in with the new! 

So, I raise my glass (ok, my cup of coffee this morning) and I welcome you to join me in toasting the old, and welcoming in the new!  From CT and me, we wish you and your loved ones all the very best for the coming new year.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Double Take

As CT and I were driving through the neighborhood this morning, we had to do a "double take" - and then just laughed at what we saw.  Thought I'd share the picture with you (please forgive the poor quality of the photo.)

Yes, a snow-woman complete with a wig, red lips and a bra.  Unfortunately, one of her eyes popped off, but still, it is just too funny.

Our laugh for the day, from me to you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Schedule Changes & Productive Days

It's the Monday after Christmas, and I hope you've recovered from a weekend of holiday festivities.  For me, today is the start of week #2 of CT's two-week vacation, and I'm still trying to adjust to our new schedule with him being home.

Google Image Search found at

When CT works, he's up at 4 a.m. each day and out the door by 4:45 a.m.  And because I get up with him too and see him out the door, I get my days started early.  I like getting my days started early and getting the most out of each day - "Productive Days" as I call them.  Yes, I love having productive days.  The downside is that since we are both up at the crack of dawn each day, we crash like babies by 9 p.m.   

I like to tease CT and tell him he cramps my style when he is off from work.  Some days, he does.  Since I've been unemployed, I've developed my own schedule each day (ok, I'm a creature of habit) -- job searching, workout, certain days of cleaning, laundry, errands, babysitting for Katie and Ella, etc., etc, etc.  It seems that when he is home, then my schedule and my good intentions just go out the window.  For example, we've been sleeping in until -- wait for it -- 6 A.M.!!!!  The shame of it!  Heck, when CT works, I am usually at the healthclub working out at 6 a.m.!  Not today, though.

So, we are leisurely enjoying our cup of coffee this morning, and CT has the TV remote control glued to his hand flipping channels.  I'm relaxing on my comfy couch with my laptop, thinking that we really should get our day started.  I've got a list of things that we need to do today, and if we get started now, then we will be sure to have a productive day.  But then again, there are plenty of days to be productive next week.  After all, CT will be back at work, and I'll be back on my regular schedule.  So, until then, I think I'll just let CT cramp my style a little longer.  

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well, my friends in Blogland, it is December 24th.  The craziness of the holiday season is starting to wind down for me and CT.  All gifts have been purchased and wrapped.  Christmas cards have been sent.  One last Christmas cookie recipe to make this morning, and then we load up the car and head over to Leanne's tonight, and RW's tomorrow.  Looks like it is going to be a white Christmas for us Chicagoans too, with snow in the forecast for today and tomorrow.  (And no, I'm not taking a snow blowing lesson from CT this weekend -- I don't "study" or "practice" on holidays!)

So, as I extend my heartfelt Christmas wishes to everyone out there, I thought I'd end this post with Linus' explanation of the true meaning of Christmas. 

"And the angel said unto them,
‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy,
 which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior,
which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’
 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,
praising God, and saying,
 ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Google Image Search found at

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Katie Tradition

The holidays are full of family traditions and Katie and I have our very own tradition.  Every year, we go Christmas shopping for presents for Mommy (aka, Leanne), Daddy (aka, Phil Guy) and Sissy (aka, Ella).  Here's how it works:  we go to our local Target or Walmart and Katie makes ALL shopping decisions (of course with some financial boundaries.)  Then, we come back to my house while Katie wraps her gifts before returning to Katie's home to carefully place the wrapped presents under the Christmas Tree.

Katie and I started this tradition when she was three years old.  That first year, we walked around Target for more than an hour before Katie selected the PERFECT white ornament with long white feathers for Daddy (because, according to Katie, "It is SOOOOOO pretty and Daddy will love it!!").  For Mommy that year, Katie selected a really, really, really long pair of earrings that hung down past Leanne's shoulders.  Again, Katie thought they were the most beautiful pair of earrings that would be absolutely perfect for Mommy.  No gift for Ella that year because Ella had not yet joined us in this world.

This year, we upgraded our store to Kohl's and headed out for three perfect gifts.  As Katie gets older, she is more confident in her decisions and, within an hour, we were out of the store with six gifts in hand (two gifts per person), and back at my house wrapping. 

I love this tradition with Katie and the time that just the two of us spend together.  And I hope that we keep this tradition for years and year to come - even when she is older, has money of her own, and is driving ME to the store instead!     

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Education

In a recent conversation with a very good friend, we discussed our futures, our careers, and the lack of job prospects.  I contemplated with him whether I should return to school for a certification, not really sure whether that would increase my chances of landing a job.  Bill wisely said, "Education is never a bad thing."

So, I've been thinking a lot about that statement (and will probably write more about it later) and while I still haven't made any decisions yet about returning to school, I have begun a continuing education "course" if you will, from my personal instructor, CT.  Yes, CT is educating me on... wait for it.... here goes... using the SNOW BLOWER! 

What can I say, I am a wimp when it comes to machines (like the lawn mower, the leaf blower, the snow blower, etc.) that I know absolutely nothing about, nor do I care to know anything about them.  It's not like I don't have the intelligence to learn how to use these machines (I'm a college-educated woman after all!), it just that I do not have any INTEREST.  Heck, I figured that CT's job.  Since CT doesn't have any interest in learning how to turn on the stove (to cook), then I see no reason why I should learn how to operate the snow blower.  But then, the guilt sets in.  After all, CT works all day long and I am at home.  The least I can do is keep the driveway and sidewalk free from snow so CT doesn't have to do it when he comes home, right?

This morning was a perfect morning for another lesson (my second lesson) on using the snow blower.  About four inches of snow fell overnight, so the driveway had to be cleared.  First, CT shows me how it is done like a pro.  Here he is:

And here:

And here (trying to be funny by throwing snow at me on his already cleared part)

As I mentioned, today was my second lesson.  The first snow blowing lesson was not-so-good.  At the first lesson, I took hold of the two handle-thingies and pressed the grips down tightly (as CT showed me), and all of a sudden, the fricken machine had a mind of its own, and took off pulling me down the driveway!  I could barely stay on my feet as I shouted out "WHOA!!! WHOA!!!! " like I was riding a horse!  I thought for sure I was going to fall on my a _ _ and mess up my one good knee.  Needless to say, it was not a pretty sight. 

Today's lesson went much better.  Here I am, and you can see the look of joy on my face, because I was so thrilled to be using the snow blower (not really). 

So I made it down the driveway, just once, and then I hit the curb at the end of the driveway and yelled for CT to take over.  Yup, I was finished with my second lesson.  I think the third lesson plan will be to learn how to turn the snow blower around in order to come back UP the driveway after making it down to the end of the driveway.  The fourth lesson will be to learn how to START the machine (can't be too difficult, it has an electronic push button start, and I can push a button, right?)  Fifth lesson:  filling the machine with gasoline.  Then hopefully I will graduate from CT's Snow Blowing School.       
Well, even though I'm not particularly thrilled to be using the snow blower, I do believe that education is never a bad thing.  Now, about going back to school....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Flying Time & A Funny Story

Wait a minute.... is today really December 17th?  Has it really been 10 days since my last post?  Boy, time sure is flying by fast. 

So, what have I been doing over the last ten days?   Probably the same things that you've been doing.  Lots of hussle and bussle.  Last weekend we had back-to-back days of visiting/entertaining family and friends.  Then there was the finishing of Christmas shopping this week, followed by this:

Wrapping.  Still not finished wrapping the gifts, but heck, I still have a week to wrap.

And then there was CT, who gave me a two-day notice that he needed some homemade Christmas Cookies to bring in to work for the annual "Sweet Table" day.  This year I decided to put CT to work making cookies.

One of the funniest moments of the season (thus far) was at Ella's pre-school holiday program last Sunday.

After listening to the first group of three year old kids singing their cute little songs, followed by the next group of four year old kids SHOUTING out their songs, we were treated to a live action performance of the real Christmas Story, complete with full costume actors (aka, kindergarten kids.)  The teacher read the story and the actors came out on stage right on cue:  Joseph, Mary, the donkey, the Angel, Baby Jesus, etc.  Then there came the three Wise Men.  As they marched across the stage carrying their gifts and heading toward the manger, I noticed one particular interesting gift the second Wise Guy was holding.  It was... a.... MARTINI SHAKER!   So, I said to CT, "Is that a martini shaker?"  CT, looked and said, "Oh no, it is!"  Then I said to Leanne, "Do you see that martini shaker the Wise Guy is holding?"  Leanne looked and said, "ALLELUIA AND AMEN!"  And we just laughed and laughed.  Unfortunately, we could not see (from our seats) that the martini shaker was actually decorated with beautiful jewels, thereby making it a perfect Wise Men prop.  Still, we just loved the idea of the Wise Men carrying a Lemon Drop Martini on their way to the manger.

So, that's a quick (maybe not-so-quick) Christmas update of the last ten days.  Hope you're having some good Christmas Days too.  And if you have any funny Christmas stories, please feel free to share! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Shopping Challenge

As we are in the midst of the holiday shopping season, I find myself in good shape with all my Christmas shopping, with the exception of one person:  CT.

Each year I am challenged with what to buy CT for Christmas and his birthday (which is in February).  CT is a guy with pretty simple tastes, wants, and needs; he is definitely NOT a materialistic guy.  Every time I ask him for gift ideas, he very sincerely replies, "I really don't want or need anything, Hon."  Once in a while he throws in, "I got you and that's all that matters", after I frown at the first reply. 

The last big gift I bought CT was about four or five years ago.  Here is the gift:

Yes, a Leg Lamp (from the hilarious and classic movie "A Christmas Story", one of CT's favorite movies.)  If you have ever seen this movie, you understand how absolutely GREAT this lamp is, even though it is a bit "FRAGEELY"! 

So when CT received the Leg Lamp for his birthday one year, he was NOT happy that I spent the money and bought him such an extravagant gift.  (Personally, I did not think it was that extravagant.)  But he came to love the gift, and now each December the lamp is the first decoration CT unpacks.  And yes, it is displayed in the living room window instead of my beautiful Christmas Tree.  He waits to see if our holiday visitors notice the lamp as they drive up to the house, and he loves showing it to everyone.  (Side note:  When Ella saw the lamp for the first time this year, she said, "Auntie, where is the rest of the lady?")  And my beautiful Christmas Tree?  Well, it sits snuggly in the corner of the living room.  

Well, I've got 18 days to come up with a gift or two for CT.  Whatever it is, it will never be as "extravagant" or as funny as the Leg Lamp, and that's ok, because I know CT is truly happy with or without Christmas gifts.  For me, that's all that matters.    

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Daily

While I can't say that I am a artsy/craftsy type person, I do enjoy scrapbooking.  And thanks to the Cellar Chicks, I've been encouraged to work on a December Daily album this year.  What exactly is a December Daily album, you ask?

Starting today, and then every day until Christmas Day, I will take photos of something for that particular day.  The photos can of anything - Christmas-related or not, something unusual or something routine that I am doing that particular day.  It doesn't matter.  Ultimately the photos, along with my written notes/stories of that day, will be placed in the album.  In the end, I will have documented my day-to-day life during the month of December, in the year of 2010.   Here is the start of my album.

It is only December 1st, and I am already finding this project challenging.  Here are the empty pages for December 1st and December 25 (with lots of empty pages in between) that I will eventually fill. 

I've got a list of things to do today, and frankly, they are all too boring and mundane to photograph and write about.  I mean, do I really want to capture my on-going job search as I sit at the computer applying for what few jobs are out there this week?  Not really.  Or should I photograph the cleaning of my closet, which I've been putting off for months now?  Nope.  Oh, how about the cleaning of the bathrooms?  Oh yeah, that's fun, but years from now, I don't want to look back at a bucket full of cleaning supplies sitting next to a toilet.  No way.  But then again, this is my life and my life for today, and this what the project is all about. 

In email exchanges this morning, PK had a good suggestion to try to incorporate Christmas in the photos, even in to the most boring or routine things of the day.  Then Leanne suggested I use my favorite Christmas coffee mug as I sit at the computer working on my job search.  That might work.  Better yet, how 'bout if I wear my Santa's hat while I scrub the toilets?  Now that photo will definitely make me chuckle years from now when I look back at this album.

So, December Daily, here I come.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Nothing Says Christmas Like... STAR WARS!

Before CT and I got married, we decided to sell his house.  As we went from room to room packing, I came across bags of Hallmark ornaments.  In one closet, a bag or two with a few ornmanets... in a cabinet, another bag with a few ornaments... in a drawer, a loose ornament.  Well, you get the point.  There were ornaments hidden everywhere in that house.  (CT was NOT the most organized bachelor.)  Here was our conversation:

Me:  What are these?

CT:  Oh.  Ornaments.

Me:  Ornaments?

CT:  Yes. 

Me:  How great!  (As I looked at the boxes of ornaments stacking up everywhere, and realized...) Oh.... ummmm... Star Wars?

CT:  Yeah, and I have a few Star Trek ornaments too.

Me:  Oh.  (Looks like these are NOT going to go on my very traditional Christmas Tree.)  Well... what an interesting Christmas tree you must have.

CT:  Oh, I don't have a Christmas tree.  I don't put these up.  I just collect them.

Me (Light bulb going on in my head)... Well, you have so many ornaments, why not have a Stars Wars and Star Trek Christmas Tree?

And the rest, as they say, is history.  Fast forward to today:  Here is storage bin #1 of 5.

CT is the proud owner of approximately 83 Star Wars and Star Trek Christmas Ornaments (which are tracked on an Excel spreadsheet, of course) and he has his very own Christmas Tree that sits proudly in our family room each December.  Blue lights for the sky and white lights that twinkle like stars in the sky.  It is one very cool Christmas Tree, complete with a YODA Tree Topper.  Here is today's finished product (and a couple of ornament photos):

Remember the story about CT's coins?  Well, now CT saves all his loose pocket change during the year, and every July when Hallmark debuts their new ornament product line, he cashes in the spare change to buy the new Star Wars and Star Trek ornaments.  This year, I think he saved about $225 in spare change, and had enough money for eight new ornaments.

See, nothing says Christmas like STAR WARS!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving week.  Here we are. 

Lots to do this week, as CT and I prepare to host Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 of our immediate family members.  My thoughts of Christmas and all that goes along with that are on hold until Friday, as my focus is on Thanksgiving.  House needs to be cleaned, Thanksgiving linens washed and ironed (I hate the ironing part), tables set, last minute grocery shopping, food prepared, etc., etc., etc.  I've feel like I've turned in to a regular Martha Stewart.  Just yesterday I was surfing the internet finding different ways to fold dinner napkins!  Sheeeesh - HOW PATHETIC!  When did my life change from conference calls, and meetings, and projects, and deadlines, to how to fold a perfect dinner napkin?  Well, if I put any more time into thinking about this one, then I'll get really depressed.  So let's move on.

Without further ado, here is our Thanksgiving menu:

Roasted Turkey with Savory Herb Stuffing and Giblet Gravy
Cranberry Relish with Candied Lemon Zest
Butternut Squash Bisque with Candied Pecans
Mashed Potatoes with Condiment Bar of Sour Cream, Bacon Bits, and Butter
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Baby Carrots in Dill Butter
Deviled Eggs
Potatoe and Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Apple-Cranberry Cobbler
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Brownies
Wine (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and a nice California Red)
Coffee - regular and decaf
Milk (for Katie & Ella)

So, that is our menu.  Very traditional but very yummy.  No Jell-O, though, and now I'm having second thoughts about Jell-O.  You see, we are a Jell-O family and we grew up on Jell-O.  We ALWAYS had some kind of Jell-O mold at every holiday meal or family party.  There is the ribbon jello with six or seven thin layers of different jellos, or the strawberry pretzel jello, or the lime jello with cottage cheese and pineapple (I think), or the ice cream jello.  And at Christmas, it is the white jello decorated with candied red and green cherries to look like pointsettias.  So, my mom called me last week and said, "Are you having a Jell-O?  Do you want me to make a Jell-O?"  My response was, "Nah, I really don't think we need a Jell-O."  So, no Jell-O this year. 

Anyway, we are looking forward to Thanksgiving, where we will gather and reflect and count all our blessings and be truly grateful and thankful for each other, the wonderful feast, and all that we have in this life.  Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!    

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rushing It

It's not even Thanksgiving yet, but just look around - it's beginning to look A LOT like Christmas everywhere.  Go into any store, and you'll find the reds, the greens, the golds in abundance.  You'll hear the Christmas tunes and smell the cinnamon scented pine cones in the air.  You see the sparkle of the Christmas lights and trees and decorations.  And one of the Chicago-area radio stations has already changed their format to all-Christmas.  Heck, my blog design was changed to a Christmas theme two weeks ago (compliments of Leanne - thanks, Sis!) and CT and I even started working on our outside house decorations, which we hope to finish those today.  (Side comment:  we do NOT turn on the outside Christmas lights until the day AFTER Thanksgiving.)

Anyway, while surfing the TV this morning, CT stumbled upon a commercial for one of our favorite Christmas movies.  The first airing of this movie is scheduled for TONIGHT on USA network, and the station is running the moving twice - back to back.

"Elf" is one of those movies that we will probably watch at least a half dozen times between now and Christmas.  When I can't find it on TV, I pop in the DVD.  It's one of those movies that I really don't have to WATCH - I can just LISTEN to the movie and do other things (like wrap presents, write out Christmas cards, bake Christmas cookies, etc.) and still really enjoy the movie.

There are a few other Christmas movies that I will probably watch/listen to as much as "Elf".  These classic movies are truly the best of the best of all Christmas movies.

Everyone knows "It's a Wonderful Life" and "White Christmas".  But the lesser known movie, "The Bishop's Wife", with Cary Grant (big sigh.....), Loretta Young, and David Niven, is also one of THE BEST Christmas movies of all time.  If you've never seen this movie before, I strongly encourage you to check it out, as I know it will become one of your favorites too.

Yes, it is not even Thanksgiving, yet the world is just rushing towards Christmas.  And while I can't help myself, I'm rushing it too - and I'm lovin' it!  So, if YOU are rushing it, just enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I See Dumb, I See Dumb

"I See Dumb" is one of my favorite expressions that PK and I used when we worked together.  We would use this expression (only between ourselves) when we saw or found something that someone did that just truly defied common sense and logic -- ok, well, our logic anyway.  (I originally came across this expression on a coffee mug in a magazine.  PK and I contemplated buying two mugs to use at work -- then I decided that given our positions at the company, it would NOT be appropriate!)

Google Image Search found at

This past weekend, I found myself in need of saying this expression out loud over something I witnessed.

CT and I stopped by our local gas station to fill up our car.   As CT was pumping gas, I looked over to the mini-van at the next gas pump.  A woman was sitting in the driver's seat and her passenger was out pumping gas.  She looked like she was cleaning out her purse or something else in the car, and proceeded to throw stuff out the window.  Now mind you, we are in a gas station and there are garbage containers RIGHT NEXT to the gas pumps.  I was half-tempted to get out of the car, pick up the crap she was throwing on the ground, tap on her window and say, "Excuse me, I think you dropped this."  But with my wobbly knee, I figured I couldn't make a run for it, should she decide to chase me.  So, "I See Dumb" #1 was in order.  Well, maybe not dumb, but lazy and ignorant definitely works here.
Next, the woman proceeded to light a cigarette, and then proceeded to flick her cigarette ashes out the window - all the while she waited for her passenger to finish pumping gas and go inside to pay for said gasoline.  I don't know about you, but I've had my fair share (and CT too) of getting out of my car to pump gasoline, only to find myself stepping in gasoline that was recently spilled.  The smell gets on your shoes, and then in your car when you return to your vehicle.  It takes a while to evaporate.

So, as this woman sat there smoking her cigarette and flicking ashes our her window, I had visions of an amber or the tip of the cigarette cracking off and hitting some recently spilled gasoline, blowing up the place into pieces.  Maybe that would never happen.  Would the amber blow out before it hit the ground?  I don't know, and I guess I don't want to test it to find out either.  Still, I thought this act was so completely stupid, I mean, WE ARE AT A GAS STATION!   "I See Dumb" #2 was in order. 

It still amazes me how dumb people can be sometimes.  Have you seen "Dumb" lately?

Friday, November 12, 2010

What Makes Me Smile

It's been a week since my last post.  I really haven't had much to say.   The week hasn't been the best for me...  I went through some unemployment blues and am frustrated about the continued poor job market.  Additionally, I am battling a bad knee and I can't get in to see my doc until Monday.  The knee has forced me to hobble around a bit, and I hate it when my mobility is limited.  I'm just used to being active and going and doing.  Still, I do have so much for which to be thankful and grateful, and I still think I'm one of the luckiest people around.  Yes, I remain really happy.  (Big sigh and deep breath....)  And today I had one thing that really made me smile.  Here it is:

Google Image Search found at

Yes, Play-Doh makes me smile.  Why?  Because playing with Play-Doh is one of Ella's favorite activities.  Yesterday, Ella and I broke out 12 new containers of Play-Doh, and because Uncle (aka, CT) was off from work yesterday, he joined us.  Here are my two Play-Doh colleagues:

There is nothing like new Play-Doh to brighten one's day.  Fresh, new, bright colors, and that new Play-Doh scent.  (We tossed out all the old "gray" Play-Doh that Ella has mixed together over the last six months.)  Together, Ella and I make all kinds of amazing things with our Play-Doh, but more importantly, we TALK.  Yesterday, we talked about about mommy, about Katie being in school, about Santa Claus, about daddy, about why Uncle should NOT put too much Play-Doh cheese on his Play-Doh pizza (because we all know what too much cheese does to Uncle), about Ellie's new friend Allison, about my knee hurting.  We talked about our trip to Disney and Ella asked CT, "Uncle, what was your favorite part?"  We sang all the latest songs Ella has learned in pre-school (the "Days Of The Week" song, "When You're Happy and You Know It", and of course, the macaroni song, a cute little song that my mom composed.

What started out to be a not-so-good week actually turned out pretty good, because it ended with a smile -- all because of a little Play-Doh.  Something so simple as Play-Doh... and Ella, of course.  Anyway, I hope you find smiles in some of the simplest things too.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Five years ago today, CT and I got married.

Neither one of us was looking to get married.  We were both young 40-somethings living pretty full, single, happy lives.  I had absolutely no interest in getting married, so I think it came as a complete shock to our families when we got engaged after four months of dating.  12 months later we were married.
CT and I had a typical Midwest wedding... church (Catholic), bridesmaids, groomsmen, reception with dinner/dance/drink.  CT looked sooooo handsome in his tux, and I loved my dress (although no veil - PLEEEEZE, I was 42 years old, and as I told my mom at the time, I was too old to be wearing a veil and I would look and feel absolutely STUPID.  My mom thought that all first-time brides should wear veils, including me.  Eventually, though, she came around and agreed with me.)

I don't have very many photos to share, because most of my wedding photos are from the wedding photographer, and I don't own a scanner to scan the photos.  (Now, a scanner would make a GREAT anniversary gift!  Oh Honey.....)  Anyway,  I did the next best thing and called Leanne this morning to see what photos she had from the wedding.  Again, most of what she had were professional photos and no scanner to scan the photos.  She managed to find two photos.  Here's what I got:

1) Our feet.  Actually, the feet belong to me, CT, Katie, Phil Guy and Leanne.  And yes, white gym shoes.  For the record, I did wear a lovely pair of high heels during the ceremony, but I wisely changed into brand new gym shoes after the ceremony.  We took this photo right after the ceremony as we were leaving the church.  It is a classic, classic photo.

2) Me and CT (others cropped out of the photo.)  Not the most flattering photo of me with my neck turned, so I took a picture of the cover of our wedding album... here it is

We've had the best five years together, and I've never been happier.  It's so very hard to remember my life pre-CT.  It seems like he's always been part of my life.  CT is truly a good man, with the best heart of anyone I know.  I'm one very lucky gal.  Everyone should have their own CT, and I hope you found yours.  

So, to my beloved CT... Happy Anniversary Honey, I love you!  I hope we have at least 50 more!  Now, about that scanner...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Protector

Yesterday we had another great Halloween, spent with family and friends at Leanne's house.  Here are just a few family photos (CT, Katie, Ella, me, and Leanne).  Unfortunately, I did not take very many pictures yesterday, but here goes:

Since we were gone from our house during trick-or-treating hours, we left a big bowl of candy on a table by the front door, with a note inviting the visitors to take some candy.   We've done this the last several years, and I must say that the trick-or-treaters that come to our house are very polite - we've never had a problem with pumpkins being smashed outside, or the candy bowl being taken, etc.  In fact, there are always a few pieces of candy remaining in the bowl when we return (not many pieces, but still a few).  This year was no exception, but for some reason, CT thought we needed a "protector" to watch over our house while we were gone yesterday.  Here is a photo of our protector for the evening:

Yes, this is a picture of the outside of our living room window, and yes, that would be Captain Jean-Luc Picard from the television series "Star Trek".  CT inherited Jean-Luc from Leanne's father-in-law, RW.  Over the summer, RW had a big garage sale and when we stopped by his house, CT stumbled upon Jean-Luc.  RW was all too happy to give Jean-Luc a good home, and said to CT, "Take it - it's yours!"  CT thought he just won the lottery.

So, not only did Jean-Luc come to a good home, he was put to good use as our protector.  And all was well at our house on Halloween. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Heeeeerrrrrrre....

To all the Ghost and Goblins out there - HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Google image search found at

Here's to having your day filled with lots of treats (and maybe a few tricks!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love On A Sheetpan

We were at the grocery store yesterday and I was just minding my own business in the checkout line.  I waited patiently for the clerk to finish with the customer in front of us as CT viewed the gazillion types of chewing gums, contemplating on which pack he should buy (heck, that alone can take 10 minutes!)

Then I heard this whisper... "Yoo hoo... over here."  I quickly turned around to see who was behind me, but found no one.  Then I heard the whisper again... "Psssst... to your right."  I looked to my right, and saw it.  It was speaking to me, and this time I heard it loud and clear.  Here it is:

At lightening speed, I reached for this magazine fearing that someone else would grab it before I could (even though no one else was even around me.)  Without a second thought, and without a quick flip-through to look at some of the recipes, I declared to CT, "I have to get this!"  CT, as good as he usually is about my unauthorized purchases, just shrugged his shoulders and said, "Ok."

Did I really need to spend $6 on a magazine?  No.  Do I have many of these recipes already?  Maybe.  If not, can I find these recipes online?  Probably.  Was this really an unauthorized purchase?  Well, I DID tell CT I was going to buy it before I actually made the purchase, so technically, it was not an unauthorized purchase.   Anyway, the title "100 Best Cookies - Love On A Sheetpan" sold me.  That is why I bought this magazine.  That, and the fact that I love reading the recipes and looking at the photos.  Call me old-fashioned, but I like turning the pages of a magazine, appreciating the art of the beautifully photographed goodies (I'm not sure why my cookie pictures don't turn out as good.)  

Love on a sheetpan... that pretty much sums up my feelings of homemade holiday cookies.  Leanne, my mom and me are pretty good... no, wait... we are EXCELLENT cookie bakers, and our holiday cookies are the best you will find.   And I never met a homemade cookie I didn't like (well, there was that one recipe from last year that will remain nameless, because the baker might be reading this post!) 

At any rate, there truly is nothing better than a homemade holiday cookie - made with REAL butter, REAL vanilla, lots of love and maybe a little passion.  After all, love on a sheetpan is what it is all about!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Day In The Cellar

Yesterday I had the wonder opportunity to spend some quality time in The Cellar with The Scrapbook Cellar chicks:  Leanne, Peggy, and Cindi.  The Scrapbook Cellar is a portion of our unfinished basement where I've set up tables, shelves with supplies, a desk and a computer, all for the purpose of working on craft or scrapbook projects.  Here's me and the chicks: 
Photography by CT, our Scrapbook Beeeatch.

So, the projects of the day included Leanne's Disney Album (from our trip to Disney in September):

Followed by Peggy working on some school photos of her son:

 And then Cindi working on a couple of projects, one including an album about "Gratitude":

And what about CT?  We affectionately refer to CT as our Scrapbook Beeeatch.  As the SB, CT helps set up all the tables and lights (yes, I have special lights that provide a more natural light -- very important in order to match the right colors on the scrapbook pages!) and helps carry in the girls' bags when they arrive.  Then, he does a lunch run for us (yesterday it was Italian Beef sammiches.)

CT pretty much leaves us to ourselves to do our thing, but he will check in with us every couple of hours to see how we are doing.  During one of CT's Cellar checks yesterday, we put him to work.  Leanne needed help adding pages to her album, and tightening the screws on the album.  So, there was CT to the rescue.

Our day begins early -- usually around 7:30 or 8 a.m. -- and we end around 4 or 4:30 p.m.  We talk, we laugh, we complain and vent, we provide input to each others projects, we share, we sing to the music (oh yeah, and Leanne and Cindi were singing REALLY REALLY loud yesterday.  At one point I threatened to turn off the music and put on a movie!)  And with all our busy schedules and lives, we manage to pull off this one day a month in the Cellar.  Somedays it is hard - we may feel tired, we may feel guilty about not being with family or that we should be doing other things at home, we may not feel particularly creative, organized, or productive.  But none of that matters.  What matters is that we spend some quality time with good friends, doing something that we all really enjoy.     

Any day spent in the cellar with The Cellar Chicks is truly a perfect day to me. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Coin Habit

Today I found something that I did not know CT kept.  It was tucked behind some other things in a cabinet.

I found this really cute tin with coins (complete with a separate plastic baggie with coins.)  My first response when I saw this was, "WHAT THE HELL!",  but then I remembered the first time I found this tin, and it made me smile.  Ok, so now here is the story.

When I met CT, we were both established in our careers and we each owned our own home.  So, after a few months of dating, we got engaged and decided to sell his house before we got married.  The house sold quickly, and we were rushed to try to combine two complete households, which is EXTREMELY challenging.  (Boy, I've got to write a post on that topic!)

So, as we went from room to room packing CT's house, I discovered CT's little habit of stashing away loose coins.  You know the kind - just spare change.  Silver dollars and half dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies.   I found coins EVERYWHERE!  In drawers, closets, cabinets, in lunch bags, tool boxes, shoe boxes, plastic bags, and containers of every imaginable type and size. You name it, he stored coins in it.  As we packed, I continued to find more loose coin.  After a while, I strongly suggested to CT that he pick just one container and one place for his loose coin at his new home. 

But then something else happened.  I started finding loose dollar bills.  I found a stack of brand new $2 bills (remember those?)  Well, I stopped counting that stack at $200.  Oh, and then there were a couple of $50 bills that he received as gifts over the years, and just "forgot" he stashed away for safe keeping.   I finally said to CT, "Enough already.  You cannot continue to hide cash everywhere!  And these coins - what are you going to do with them?  Can you please take them to the bank?"  I think CT was even surprised to see the volume of loose coins he had accumulated, so he quickly agreed.  "Yeah, I'll take those to the bank," he said. 

Moving day came and went, and as promised, CT took his loose coins to the bank.  When he came home, I asked him, "Well, how much coin did you have?"  And he reluctantly mumbled something so inaudible, that I knew something was up.  "How much did you say?"  I repeated the question again, and this time, CT replied, "A little over $800."  What?!?  Yes, CT had over $800 in spare change. 

So until today, I thought CT only had one large glass container that he kept his loose pocket change.  Nope.  He's still hiding coins in this tin.  I guess old habits die hard.  After I took the picture, I returned the tin back to CT's hiding place in the cabinet, and just smiled to myself.  There are certainly worse habits a guy can have, so hiding some loose spare change isn't so bad.

CT still has his stack of $2 bills (this time tucked away in our fireproof safe).  Oh, and my reply to his $800 of coins he took to the bank:  "Hot dog, honey!  I'm upgrading the flowers for the wedding!"  And I did.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


We're having a perfect fall weekend here in the Chicago area.  Yesterday we spent the day at an apple orchard and today is football at Noon (Da Bears) and yard work after that (time to put away the patio furniture, and apply the final lawn fertilizer for the season.)  Anyway, here are just a few things I love about fall.  

Mums in my backyard.

Our tree changing colors.

More backyard mums.

Apples, freshly picked from the orchard.
Still more mums.
Other goodies from the orchard.

Oh yeah, this pie tastes as good as it looks, so I thought I'd give you a close-up photo.

Anyway, I hope you are enjoying your fall weekend, wherever it may be!