Thursday, December 31, 2009

I wanted to get a few more Christmas pictures in here before January.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Egg on my face.

I broke out the new mixer today. Just when I started thinking: Wow! This is easy! I cracked an egg and dropped (the whole thing) into the bowl of the mixer.

CRUNCH! Crushed to pieces. I tried to get it out but don’t think I necessarily salvaged all of the shell. So we might have a slightly crunchy pound cake to enjoy later.

I couldn’t start over because I used the last of my real butter on the project. Paula Deen I am not, but I did learn a lesson in humility from my Kitchenaid this morning. Now, onto the cheese ball covered in nuts! I have faith this one is going to turn out better than my first foray into auto-mixing my food.

I was so looking forward to sharing the pound cake with my grandmother as we both have a love for buttery, sugary pound cake. But now I don’t know if I can risk giving it to her unless I warn her first. A baked gift just isn’t the same if you have to say,

“There’s a possibility it may have eggshells in it.”

Not much can deflate the ego faster than admitting that something you’re usually good at has turned into a failure. The only other thing I can think of at the moment is stepping on the scale after New Year’s Day and realizing that the pound cake you’ve been eating should really be called:

Pack on the Pounds Cake

Why do you think I’m trying to give the cake away?

To avoid that particular scenario 5 days from now.

One day left of 2009! I am so looking forward to making that final X on my calendar for the year. I just know 2010 holds better things for our family. I hope you are all looking forward to the future as well, and enjoying the end of the year.

Go Big Red!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thank you Grandma.

I think I'm going to stop reading the news. Between the underwear bomber, Charlie Sheen's most recent arrest, and msnbc constantly warning me that what I eat could kill me (heart attack, stroke, drug resistant e-coli, oh my!).

It's just one of those days today.

Holden received a playskool farm for Christmas from Grandma and played with it for about 4 hours yesterday, constantly hitting the button and making it sing, "Old McVinkle had a farm...eeeiiiieeeeiiiiooooo."

I'm not exaggerating about the 4 hours straight part either. Thankfully (sort of) old McVinkle ran out of batteries today. But now Holden is bugging me to fix it and I don't have 3 AAA batteries to replace the ones he wore out yesterday.

On another note, who the hell is Old McVinkle? Has Old MacDonald kicked the bucket?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Again with the Reese's Pieces...

Any amount of snow that makes my Cadillac look small is...well...a lot of snow.

We had to hire somebody to come and clear the driveway because it was drifted up above the roof of the Sentra--all the way across the driveway and up to the house.

My dear husband trying to shovel snow up to his shoulders was something I'm sorry I missed, but I was sitting at the only bar in town that was open having dinner with my son.
Before you get this picture in your head of me drinking mixed drinks and having a good laugh, it was me trying to keep my kid from screaming his head off in a small bar over two medium rare hamburgers (sent back and then still red the second time--the waiter did give me a discount since I couldn't even take a bite without gagging and didn't want to feed Holden any sketchy hamburger).
Then I fed him Reese's Pieces from one of those bar candy machines (I'm not worried about the candy because my cousin happens to own the ones in that bar--strangely enough I know two people in two different states who own candy machine businesses.) one at a time with the $0.50 I had fished out of my purse.
I get that Reese's Pieces are made from peanut butter and my toddler isn't supposed to have peanut butter products, but I was desperate--and let's face it, I wanted to have some candy for my trouble. I did get to open my new mixer and enjoy the gleam of the new stainless steel when I got home, so it was all worth it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to me! For Christmas from Santa* I received the long coveted KitchenAid mixer. It’s white if you care. I also got the mini food chopper I wanted and a pair of gloves I really need (among many other things—our family is so generous).

The main thing I received this Christmas was the ability to spend it with my immediate and extended family despite what will forevermore be known as:

The Blizzard Of 2009.

Sitting in my grandparent’s basement in an old blue wingback chair watching football while my husband lies on the bed snuggling with my son…I don’t think life can get much better than this.

We have power, food, and water to boot.

I am running out of diapers and my husband is getting a little stir crazy (I think that has more to do with a certain nicotine habit than actually sitting and watching football all day), but luckily we should be able to make it home tomorrow with Holden, the dogs, and the presents in tow.

*Hereafter "Santa" and "Dear, doting husband" will be used interchangeably.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?

You know the claymation version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? I walked outside this morning to let my dogs out and the weather is sort of like that. With the whistling wind and all.

Without a flying sleigh, and a neon nosed reindeer, I somehow doubt we're going to make it to the Christmas eve/day festivities.

So at 6:50 this morning I called my husband.

"Why did you go to work today and why did you not take a cell phone?" (It's too early in the morning to be this irritable, isn't it? I still have a few dozen cutout cookies to bake).

"It wasn't that bad. I left the phone so you can pick me up when I get off work and we can go and stay in Lincoln."

Left me the rear wheel drive car for a road with 0.25" of ice. And a 20 month old. And three dogs. And wants me to stay at his grandparents (3 bedroom) house with 10 other people for 3 days? Oh my goodness I don't know which is a worse idea. But my wonderful husband just wants us to have a wonderful Christmas and see our family. I have to give him tons of credit for being a good family man. Which he is.

So now all I have to do is bake cookies, clean our house, load up ALL the presents, pack two bags with enough clothing for 4 days, find the dog's leashes, fill up the car with gas, put an emergency kit in the car, get my kid bundled up, hope I (we) don't die on the road, pick up my husband from work, drop the dogs off at the vet, and find somewhere to sleep (probably on the floor) at my in-laws house. Fun.

Not unlike Santa in the Rudolph movie, our Santa isn't quite ready for Christmas either, but the storm will stop (ahem) him from finishing gift buying. There were only two left to buy anyway. Can you believe I'm feeling guilty for something I have no control over (the weather, not the gift buying)(this is a rhetorical question)?

I'm so calling my dear husband back later today and discussing this further.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feels like home to me

I was thinking about the song "I'll be home for Christmas" because we have an impending ice storm/blizzard this week. Which means we may not make it to my DH's family Christmas. And while the family Christmas is wonderful and warm and cozy and very Norman Rockwell (except with more booze--don't tell them I said that). I'd like to say it's home to me, but it's not.

I have spent the last 4 years in this house. I love this house. But it is probably best described as a starter home, 1000 square feet with two bedrooms and one bath--one that we can't over improve because if we do we will lose money selling it. So while I love this house, it's hard to spend money on it and make it feel like home because I know if we sell it in a couple of years all of it will be for naught.

This year I have a fake Christmas tree with white lights and no ornaments because I don't want to have to yell at Holden all day long about messing with them. It was looking a little forlorn, so I have been tucking all the Christmas cards we receive into the branches to make is more festive. There are no presents under the tree, they are all stacked in a corner in my bedroom where Holden can't get to them. This isn't exactly the cozy, homey Christmas I had envisioned. The coziest thing I have this year is a Christmas DVD/CD that plays music and a video of a crackling yule log (fire). It actually looks pretty cool on the flat screen TV next to the Christmas tree.

My dad's birthday is/was December 24th. Yes, Christmas eve. So if we can even get to the family Christmases I wonder how it will be, the first year without him there. It's also the first Christmas without Ally--she would be 5 months old this Christmas if she was alive. I told my dear husband that this year I just feel unmoored.

I'm losing my train of thought here, and obviously lacking the focus to wrap this up as usual. I seem to have lost my blogging edge (if ever I had it). I will try to post again before Christmas. Something more clever and less sad. I'll work on it.

Merry Christmas to you all. Be careful if you're traveling! And doesn't like the perfect Christmas robe? Maybe my husband should buy it for me (hint, hint) (actually I don't think he ever reads this so I will have to direct him to this post).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

These boots are made for walkin' (sort of)

The picture really speaks for itself.*

My son has been climbing on things for quite some time, but this week I found him face-climbing the front of his high-chair. I spotted him for awhile and then had to remove him when he ended up with his belly flat on the tray of the chair looking like a beached whale. His arms and legs were flailing around and I figured he had learned his lesson about trying to climb into the chair by himself.
Or maybe not, we'll see.
I walked into the house today after a nice evening of shopping and dining with one of my friends. The first thing Tony said was,
"You bought another pair of boots?"
I was so excited about my acquisition I put the boots on in the bathroom of the store and wore them for the rest of the evening. So he noticed them when I walked in the door.
I didn't mention to him how much better retail therapy** is than swimming in the bottom of a bottle of red wine, I just used Christmas, my birthday, and my stressful life as my excuse.
Merry Christmas to me!
(They weren't that expensive anyway.)
(Can you tell I'm trying to rationalize this purchase?)
* Please note the orange-y stain on the ice/water dispenser is not because I'm too lazy to clean it (which I may be) but that our water is so hard it looks like that when it dries. I have a two year old dishwasher with a broken motor because the water is so hard. Did I mention both my cars broke down and so did my dishwasher the same week my dad died?
**I know the lottery is just a tax on the poor and those who can't do math but would it hurt to buy a lottery ticket just for fun? $92 million and I could buy all of you some impractical boots just like mine!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hot apple pie

This morning at 11:10 a.m. I was frantically searching for my toddler's red mittens which seem to have disappeared. I just don't understand how within 2 months I could have lost every single mitten of the 3 pairs I bought. I did manage to stuff him into his coat and find a camouflage hat for him to wear.

Because for some reason people think that my dear husband being a former Marine means we love camouflage. We don't. I think my DH would rather not ever look at anything camouflage again. But my dad bought this camo diaper bag and hat and I've been too lazy and cheap to buy anything different.

Let me tell you, me dressed up accessorizing with a camo diaper bag is smokin' hot. Even better if I have granola bar in my hair.

So now I will be carrying these things not only because I am too lazy and cheap to go buy new ones, but because they have sentimental value (dad bought them). Speaking of granola bars and dad...

Without fail every single time we get into the car my kid is suddenly starving,

"Num num? Num num? Num num? (higher pitched) Num num? NUM NUM?"

He will seriously do that for a full hour in the car if you don't get him something to eat. Even though last time I cleaned out the carseat I spent the entire time swearing that I would never again allow my child to have any sort of food or milk in the carseat ever again, I caved about 10 minutes into the next car ride.

So we got into the car at 11:15 a.m., pumped gas in the frigid weather with no pay at the pump (the freezing price I pay for living in a small town), and got on the road at 11:25. Holden started his num numming about 30 seconds into the drive, and the car was still pretty cold. I opened the console to fish out one of the sugar laden store brand apple cinnamon nutri-grain bars I had stuffed in there for emergencies.

And then I remembered that after my dad's funeral I had decided that the safest place for a little baggie of his ashes would be in the console of the car. I swore to Tony that I would take it out when we got home, but apparently forgot. So right next to Holden's mid-morning snack were my dad's ashes.


Okay, but the cereal bar was wrapped, so I threw it on top of the defroster to soften it up (tastes like hot apple pie!) and gave it to my dear boy. I know, unthinkable, right?
Such a proud motherly moment. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and so on and so forth.

And I promise those ashes are going somewhere safe until I can get to Africa to spread them (I really am going in the next 10 years or so).

I honestly think dad would kind of like his ashes in a ziploc baggie. I don't think it's disrespectful, it's the sort of practical thing he would appreciate. It's what the funeral home gave us, so it must be legal. And his ashes are riding in style in my caddy anyway. For now.

I miss him.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm going to try to make this post the last sad one for awhile, because it is the season of joy and happiness, and overall I really am very happy. Just a few things beyond my control have left me staggering behind my normal pace.

It's funny the things that bother you when someone dies. It's never something normal, like that person being absent and leaving a huge vacuum in your life. Its little things like when I look at the little 3X5 pictures that don't even exist anymore (you can't even find a 3X5 frame anymore...I looked) and I see pictures of my smiling mom with a black and white cat, and a separate picture of my dad at 25 years old smiling with the same black and white cat, but no one can tell me what the cat's name was. I asked around, and no one seems to know. I think it may have been Bradley, but I really have no idea.
I once read that to lose your parents is to lose your past, to lose your child is to lose your future, and to lose your spouse is to lose your present. The past thing rings true to me right now. It makes me sad that no one can recount memories of walking the floor with me as a baby, screaming and colicky. And no one remembers that day I was sitting on my dad's shoulders in my favorite Berenstain Bears pajamas at age 4. No one except me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

On Monday, I knew when I walked into the room it was going to be my dad’s last night with us. Startled, my stepmom looked up at me from her position at his side. She had a nearly unreadable expression on her face. One I have never seen before. She quietly suggested that I might not want to see my dad like this. Because if any of you have seen impending death, it’s not all that pretty. It’s loud, and gray, and each minute that passes is suffocating in its grief. Keeping watch is exhausting. It’s all dark circles and red, puffy eyes. It’s all praying the Lord’s Prayer because you just can’t think of anything else to say to God that you haven’t already said. Too tired to beg and too sad to talk about hope just yet.

He took his last breath at about 9:27 p.m. It wasn’t dramatic; drama just wasn’t really his style. We left my stepmom to say goodbye on her own, and when she was done, I went and sat in the room. Nothing about those moments strikes me quite so much as how quiet it suddenly was. No breath, no machines, no TV. Just me sitting in dim light pondering where I go from here.
I was asking God the other day, “Why?” Just one of those questions that most people who have lost someone ask.

“Why? Why can’t I just be like other people? Why couldn’t my parents have died when they were old?”

And I felt an impression again (you know I’ve talked about it before).

Because I don’t want you to be like other people, I want you to be extraordinary.

As I walked out the door of the hospice house and started the car the world outside seemed a little darker, the night enveloping the car, snow from a looming blizzard starting to swirl in the path my headlights cut into the night. I drove slowly, carefully, knowing that many tears will fall, but sometimes you just have to drive through the stormy night to get to the place you really want to be.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I have to say, this is by far the worst year of my life. The. worst.
My dad died last night at 9:30. It was his and my stepmom's 13th anniversary. He died peacefully and we were there. I'll write more (much more) later.

Friday, December 4, 2009


You know, it's pretty damn depressing when I go to Target, find a cute black dress, hold it up and say,

"I could wear this to my dad's funeral."

You should have seen my poor friend's face when I said this today. We were rifling through sweaters to find the perfect one, because if you have more than a B cup most sweaters are out. Unless you want to look like you gained ten pounds in ten seconds.

My dear friend is always pulling accessories out for me to try and telling me they go together, but I have no funky style, and no Tim Gunn standing in my bathroom mirror telling me to "make it work" in the morning, so I tend to just try on that cute outfit and then take it off, throw it on the floor where it gets dog hair all over it, and find a sweatshirt. Because it is cold here. And I don't care what you say, hosts of What Not To Wear, a sweatshirt is more comfortable than your stupid cute outfits.

And friends who read this, you should also note that if all of a sudden you think it's a good idea to submit me to What Not to Wear to be embarrassed on national television we would not be friends for very much longer. Just had to make sure and tell you that.

Okay, so I'm not that bad. I clean up real nice.

I have the house to myself for two nights in a row. The only other living thing here is my cat (and possibly some mice that may be living outside under the stair to my garage). On a side note, I think my dog ate the peanut butter off the mousetrap. Wish I could have watched that go down.

Anyway, house to myself...

It is (was) my mom's birthday today. My brother emailed me and called me and told me what he did to remember her today. Then I felt guilty because all I did to remember her today was try to distract myself into forgetting. Although I did have a few moments with my dad where I was sobbing--but that was really unrelated to my mom being dead and more related to his impending death.

Today I also almost went and wrote the check for my daughter's headstone but thought better of it. My new rule for myself is: You only have to deal with one death at a time. Today and for the duration until he dies, grieving will be for dad.

It is quite important to have coping mechanisms like these, because when you look at me and wonder to yourself how I do it: that is how I do it. Break it into smaller things and it doesn't feel quite so big and quite so unbearable. All things that can be put off until tomorrow are put off until tomorrow. Case in point:

I'm going to sleep now.