Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks are for giving.

I am thankful for my husband.  I am not a perfect person, and oftentimes our weaknesses are so different that it makes it difficult to be anything but frustrated with the other.  Luckily he overlooks my faults and loves me in spite of some of my more infuriating tendencies.  He brings to my life a perspective that I would never see without him.  I am so blessed to have him in my life.

I am thankful for my parents.  That they continue to parent me even though I am pretty much old enough to be a parent myself.  They just keep teaching and guiding and investing in me and in my success.  I do not underestimate how lucky I am to have them both still with me.

I am thankful for my sisters and my brother.  All having the courage to go out into the world everyday and live their dreams.  Of course, they have always looked up to me as the awesomest big sister ever, but I hope they know how much I learn from and admire them too.  It is always considered one of the best compliments to say that friends are "like family" but to me it seems an even greater gift is family who are "like friends."  I have the best ones.

I am thankful for my furry four legged babies. For countless happy memories of Stitch. For Elliott's sensitive and cranky little soul. For Simon's snuggly self, and Compass' never-ending enthusiasm and affection. They enrich my life in ways that I never imagined and make every day a better day.

I am thankful for so many wonderful friends. Old friends who remind me of who I've been and new friends who help me figure out where I'm going.  All who help me to become the person I was born to be.  While having so very much fun along the way.

I am thankful for a job that I love and that I work with people that I admire and respect. It is hard to imagine that selling bbq for a living would change my life in the most amazing ways. I am thankful also for A's new job, that he found it quickly and it been such a great fit. I am, of course, thankful for our financial security.

I am thankful for my health. That my body is strong enough to carry me towards my goals. I know this is not something to take for granted.

I am thankful that I continue to grow and become a better person.  That I still face new challenges.  That I am still learning new things about myself and the world around me.  That I remain optimistic and hopeful (most of the time).

I am thankful for all the joy in the past year. So many wonderful memories with family and friends. So many accomplishments to be proud of.

I am thankful for the promise of the coming year and all that it will bring us. I am thankful that no matter what happens, I know that a year from now I will sit here again with too many blessings to count.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dear Baby

It is strange to me, to think of you.  Little you, maybe only a handful of cells so far.  Maybe more.  Maybe nothing at all yet.  I struggle with what you mean to me, who has never fallen for the rhetoric of "life begins at the moment of conception."  I cannot think of you as anything but a real person, already fiercely loved.  But then again, you have been real to me for years.  I have dreamed of you since long before I even met your Daddy.  It is amazing to me that you have been a part of me since I began, tucked away deep inside waiting for the right moment to start your long journey.  I want you to know how I waited for you, how I prayed that you would come to me when the time was right, when I could give you the life that you deserved.  It is strange to be ready for you, after so many years of feeling panicked and afraid of your arrival. 

I wonder how it feels to be you, to be a brand new person just starting out.  I heard that people who are dying sometimes talk of it as a gradual process, of being both in their body and beyond it, floating back and forth between the two.  I believe that you might be doing the same, getting adjusted to your new body that will be both wonderful and limiting, and still going back to wherever it is that you are starting from.  Heaven?  I don't know quite what I think about where you are now, but I am certain that it is somewhere wonderful. 

I hope that all you know is love.  I will do my best to make it so for as long as I can.  I hope that you always how loved you are.  Even before I knew you, even before you were even YOU I have loved you.

I don't know when you'll make your way to us.  I hope that it is sooner than later but I know that isn't up to me.  But I'll be here, I'll be waiting for you, sweet baby.  I cannot wait to start the rest of our lives together.

Your Mama

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Naughty or Nice?

Our little Elliott always has an opinion about everything.  Here's an interview with him about his recent behavior and what he hopes to find under the Christmas tree this year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly - OR - One Long Ass Homemade Garland

So pretty much every year in exchange for tolerating my husband's Christmas obsession, I insist that he helps out with Christmas Crafttime.  We've made aprons, quilts, ornaments, etc.  This year I wanted to make a fabric garland for our Christmas tree. 

Now, this would be simple if we had one of those lovely little miniature trees like normal people.  But NO, not us.  Our big ass tree requires literally YARDS of garland.  I googled "how much garland for enormous Christmas tree" which was mostly unhelpful but advised that I would likely need approximately 8-10 feet per foot of tree. So we started out by doing some basic math (it will not surprise you how this turns out) and calculating that we would need approximately 10 yards of fabric to create approximately 100 feet of garland.  I would tell you how I came to this calculation but I honestly don't even know.  Probably I mostly made it up, but anyway, we started with 10 yards of fabric.

I must pause momentarily to discuss our fabric selection.  You will see that we have some festive holiday print - peppermints, snowmen, stars, holly leaves - as well as some more non-traditional print - just different colors.  I debated long and hard on whether to use only Christmas or red and green, but my MOTHER insisted that I should use all colors and since I usually love her crafts and want to steal them, I thought that I would take her advice.  I am 80% pleased with that decision, I will let you know when it is in the tree my final verdict.  Also know that A and I in Jo-Ann Fabrics is like a train wreck - upon entering I nearly always have a poop attack (I KNOW!  It's so weird.  Jo-Anns is like my own personal laxative) and A begins to have the WORST ALLERGY ATTACK OF HIS LIFE.  Seriously.  Every time.  So it's not exactly a peaceful time to browse.

So I thought I'd do this like almost like a little tutorial but I learned that I mostly suck at that because I only took this one picture of how you cut the fabric in 3/4 inch strips.  I used a rotary cutter with a pinking blade and OMG I almost died of this part because the pinking blades SUCK.  This is NOT user error, BTW.  But honestly I'm glad I did it because these garlands fray A LOT and I want this to be handed down to my grandchildren.  If you don't plan to have grandchildren or you don't love your own children that much you could use a regular blade and it would save you a lot of time.

After DAYS of cutting strips (read: approximately 3 hours) we had MILLIONS of 6 inch strips (read: approximately 3,360).  The rest was pretty simple, albeit time-consuming.  We took each of those little strips and tied it around a long red string.  A will demonstrate.  Doesn't he look thrilled?

Also necessary for the successful completion of this project is a greyhound to wind your fabric around.  I suppose that you could use another breed, but since they must stay very still I would generally stay away from most dogs that act like, er, dogs.

We completed this project over three days.  It took us about 10 hours to go through all of our strips.  So two of us at 10 hours is 20 hours plus the 3 hours I spent cutting - you're probably looking at about a 20 hour project if one of you is faster than A.  Which is likely.  Also warning you that this is VERY messy.  I know, you are like - it is just strips of fabric!  Strips of fabric are not messy!  But you see, they fray and shed, especially since we used that goddamn pinking blade.  Trust me.  It's a mess.  

20 hours  (ALMOST A DAY OF OUR LIVES - GONE!) later we were out of strips and instead had...  wait for it...  drumroll please...  55 feet of garland.  I KNOW!  Compass didn't believe it either.  Once again, my sub-par understanding of basic mathmatical concepts SCREWS us but honestly I couldn't have taken any more.  So we'll make it work.  Updated photos to follow once the tree is decked.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quote of the day

"The unexpected disadvantage of modern life is victory over our own fates."

- Michael Cunningham, Home At The End of the World

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two is the loneliest number

You know, A and I aren't perfect.  It's not even that we pretend to be perfect, but we are generally happy and sometimes I think that other people look at us and think that we have "everything".  And we are pretty lucky - we have a solid marriage, we have good jobs and a more-than comfortable lifestyle, the best furry animals in the world and loving and supportive families.

But a few weeks back we had a minor little fight.  I said something stupid and he snapped at me and suddenly it all seemed like too much to bear and I broke down into tears.  We talked a little about it, being a misunderstanding and all, but later that night when I still couldn't sleep I got to thinking.

One isn't the loneliest number.

Because, if you're alone, well you're just that.  You're alone.  You know where you stand, you know that you're on your own and honestly, the world is your oyster.  Go get 'em.  I'm sure that it's tough not having the support of a partner, but you know what's also tough?  Not having the support of YOUR partner.

This is what I think.  Two is the loneliest number.

Because the worst is when you have someone by your side, someone who you love and who pledged before God and your friends and your family to be with you for the rest of your life, and you still feel lonely.  When they don't understand, or don't try to understand what you're feeling and what you're facing, don't try to reach out and help or hug, and they just roll over in bed and start snoring.  It's one thing to be alone by yourself.  It's quite another to be alone when you're with another person.

I don't want to blow this out of proportion or anything - I mean, like I said, I have a wonderful marriage and a very happy life.  This was a fleeting moment, and when I woke up the next morning to a hug and a cup of coffee on the counter I felt as blessed as can be.  But I also wanted to say that being with another person, having a partner - it isn't everything.  It doesn't mean that you won't ever feel lonely.  Sometimes, you'll feel even worse. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Not the Baby Anymore

So I'm just going to come right out with it.  I'm getting old.

I know, I know, I'm not THAT old.  But the truth is that I've honestly never FELT old.  I guess that one of the main things is that I've mostly always hung out with people who are older than I am, so no matter how old I've gotten, they've always been one step ahead.  I guess there's nothing like old friends to make you feel young!

It's been the same at work, as well.  I was hired right out of college into a lower-level management position - I pretty much skipped the entry level job.  Immediately I was at the young end of my peer group.  Sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot, but there was really never anyone younger than me in the group.  This has pretty much continued in my career - until this week.

I was in Vegas for a Marketing Summit.  On the plane right out, I watched the Hot Tub Time Machine with my boss - which he found hysterical because of many of the 80's-90's references, and I found hysterical because - well, it's a hysterical movie.  But we spent some time laughing about how the  majority of the movie took place in 1986 - when I was all of 4.  Fast forward to the meeting, where I was once again generally younger than most participants.  It wasn't until we got to the session on Social Marketing that I started to feel a little uncomfortable.

Our corporate office recently hired a "Manager of Social Media".  Now, of course this in and of itself is interesting, and I'm pretty proud that we're trying to stay on the "edge" of this important shift in the world of marketing.  And honestly, this kid is pretty sharp.  But you know what - he's just that.  He's a KID!  Seriously, probably right out of college - 23, maybe 24 years old.  He wore a lime green shirt and a white tie and his presentation was full of youtube videos and no capitalization.  I leaned over to my boss to say "Whoa, what's up with the no capitalization thing?" and he bust out laughing and pointed at me saying "Ha!  You're OLD!"

And it hit me like a ton of bricks.  He was right.  There was some shit this kid said that I'd never even HEARD OF.  And again, I mean, he's great - seems like a really intelligent kid and I know that he's going to be a huge asset to our company.  I just couldn't stop thinking about how much older I am than him.  I'm the one sitting at the table going "Huh?  What now?  Could you repeat that?  Do you mean I can find this on the, what did you call it - the IN-TER-NET?"  It was crazy, dudes.  Totally, totally crazy.

That night we had dinner with a fellow franchisee.  He brought along one of his new employees - another marketing manager fresh out of college.  She was so nice - very articulate and pretty and again probably about 23 years old.  I mentioned to her something about being away from my husband and she looked at me and said, "Oh wow - you're MARRIED?" and I was like OMG.  Seriously.  I am the old married lady at the table.  When did that happen?!?!

So I guess the moral of the story is that hanging out with old people is good for your self esteem but no matter what you do, time keeps ticking away and sooner or later you're going to be faced with someone younger than you, so at least try to humble about it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

O Christmas Tree

Well, it's that time of year again.  You know - the end of October.  When all families venture out to find the perfect christmas tree.  Okay, so yeah, I guess we're a little on the "early" side of things, but this is life when you have a husband OB-SESS-ED with all things Christmas.

Let me back up a bit and explain why we were traipsing through a tree farm on a brisk October day.  We found Exley's last year when we were once again in search of the perfect place to find our perfect tree.   We are pretty tough to please in this department since we tend to ask a lot of our trees, mainly that 1. they are ginormous and 2. they stay alive for a bazillion years (read: six-seven weeks).   We've been able to find places to "cut your own tree" (which helps with requirement #2), and we've been able to find places with pre-cut ginormous trees, we have never been able to find a place that allowed us to find both.  So last year we took a trip over the bridge to dirty Jersey and drove an hour to Exley's (Side note: I find evidence that God has a sense of humor in that many of the things I love the most are in dirty Jersey.  Namely christmas trees, wine, greyhounds, and my best friends).  Lo and behold - Exley's was everything we wanted and more - a huge field of mature trees just waiting to be cruely cut down in their prime and dragged through the mud to become the centerpiece of our holiday traditions.  Seriously there was just tree after tree.  As A giggled and clapped his hands like an excited schoolgirl, we began the search in ernest.  Quickly we found  it -  the perfect tree!  We looked for a price tag and only found a red tie.  We searched for an elf to help us and our hopes were dashed when we learned the meaning of the red tie - the tree had already been selected!  Bought and paid for!  Well, no worries then, there were plenty of trees.  Plenty of trees - all with the tell-tale red tie.  A was so sad - so many perfect trees, so many red ties.  It was then that we learned the awful truth - Exley's allows tagging to begin at HALLOWEEN!  Art was enranged - he yelled, loudly - "BUT THAT IS NOT FAIR!  THAT IS CHEATING!  CHEATING AT CHRISTMAS!"  Dejected and tree-less, we went to Exley's second farm where we found a lovely White Pine, but I am not going to lie to you, our holiday was marred by The Tree That Got Away.

Determined not to let it happen again, A sent me an actual Outlook appointment request for Halloween 2010.  Fast forward to this year, when at 8:30 am on October 31 I opened my eyes to A's smiling face - "LET'S GO GET OUR TREE!!!"  I begged for another hour of sleep but he would not be dissauded, telling me that I was lucky that we hadn't slept in the parking lot last night.  So there we were, once again on the road to Exley's.

We arrived to face the expanse of beautiful trees.  A was momentarily shocked to learn that since Halloween was on a Sunday this year tagging had actually begun the day before, a fact that caused great indignation and almost ruined the day (and in truth - although his mood rallied A could not help but point out EVERY TREE that had a red tie and that it would have probably been THE ONE). 

We started right away, being careful to walk down each row of trees, leaving no poverbial rock (tree) unturned. 

Halfway though the day, we thought it would be helpful to remember which trees we liked if we snapped a photo of each one.  I honestly did not consider the amusement value they would provide on the old (new) blog, but here you have it:

You can see A here, posing next to the tree as a size comparison.  You can see he takes his job very seriously.

Not the one.

Not the one, either.

And then, finally, after many miles and much searching, we found it:

Isn't it BEA-U-TIFUL?  It is a lovely Norway Spruce.  Shorter needles and stronger branches for our menagrie of heavy christmas ornaments.  It is quite tall (as you can see by A's comparison) and very chubby.  We are only nervous that it will last til Christmas as it has a reputation for being less hardy than other species, but we have to risk it for our perfect little (enormous) tree.

After we found it, we decorated it with some garland so that it would start to feel festive the last few weeks before it joined our family.  We can hardly wait for thanksgiving!

Compass wonders what presents Santa will leave under there this year.  A new bed?  A giant bone?  A screaming monkey?  The possibilities are endless.

It was a perfect start to the holiday season.  Christmas is coming, that's for sure!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Short and Sweet

I think that a little problem that I've been having on this old (new) blog is that if I don't have time to get all my thoughts out and write a novel and a half, I just don't want to write at all.  Damn that Zelda.  But you know  life is crazy, and busy and it's nearly impossible to find enough time to blog all that often when I have such great expectations of myself.  Ahem.

So I'll just give a short synopsis of the past week.  On Wednesday, we headed to Indiana, PA for A's sister's wedding.  Thursday I had my second manicure EVER.  Woot.  I also had what I am hoping does not become my first documented migrane EVER.  Boo.   I've actually been having some weird headache deals lately, but this was the first one that came together with the vision weirdness and pain.  Hello, STRESS. 

Also on Thursday, Compass went ape shit crazy in the hotel room when we left for the rehersal dinner.  No seriously, the hotel called A's cell and  do belive the words "ape shit" and "crazy" were both used.  A quick google of "Indiana Pet Sitter" and two phone calls later we found a literal angel who came right over to our hotel to hang out with a certain spoiled little greyhound.  He was, of course, happy as a clam the rest of the evening (and the next day, as well - was a wee bit expensive but worth every penny to know that our darling was safe and happy - do you see why he's spoiled, eh?)

Friday was the big day and everything went mostly according to plan.  I got my hair done for the fourth time in my life if you count the two times I had it down when I was wee little in my aunt's weddings.  While the final result was kicking awesome, I was not a fan of the spraying and teasing and pulling.  I'll take a ponytail any day.  The weather even cooperated for a few quick snaps outside.

After being announced into the ballroom as "Doctor and Mrs. R" courtesy of a very kind and perhaps too trusting DJ, the fun really got started and we danced the night away.  I will tell you this much - we Yings can dance.  By which I mean, we are really enthusiastic about throwing our bodies around as if we are dancing.  At any rate, we have a blast, and that's the most important thing. 

We made it home on Sunday just in time for my vision to go all wonky in which I am hoping will not be the second documented migrane.  Ugh.  I know - it's just stress.  Too much, too long - my body needs a break.  And break it will have!  Well, after my little 18 hour stint in Vegas this week.  After that, a break! 

Well, I guess that wasn't so short after all.  Ah well.  You know me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In which Christine O'Donnell and I find some common ground

We are both, officially, NOT US senators.

Well done, Delaware. I am not gonna lie to you, you had me a little nervous there. Glad you came through and I don't have to move.

Post script for my someday children: Your father was called suddenly out of town and was not able to vote today, saving us a messy divorce and ensuring that you might have a chance to someday exist. Talk about a close call all around.