Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

For me, tonight's no different than any other night. I've never really been a fan of ringing in the beginning of a new year. I guess I don't really see the point.

That said, I do sincerely wish you a very Happy New Year and hope that every happiness is yours in 2008.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The After

Christmas has come and gone and I'm in my usual post-Holiday ugh. I don't want to call it a slump, because that's not entirely accurate and I don't have the luxury of time required for a slump what with the Muffins nearly killing each other at every pass.

The Holiday went well for the most part. I've had a rather massive sinus infection for the past week and it hindered my pre-Christmas progress, but I pulled off a pretty great meal, making it all myself - mashed potatoes excluded. My sister M made them and, as already established, I can take 'em or leave 'em. Last year I didn't serve mashed potatoes at all. Who needs 'em when I make a killer sweet potato casserole (sans marshmallows, thankyouverymuch). By the time we sat down to Christmas dinner I was too tired and my sinuses were too stuffed to allow for much appreciation of my efforts so it wasn't until Wednesday night that I was able to truly enjoy the fruits of my labor in the form of leftovers. I did, however, make a very nice creme brulee french toast breakfast for J and me that I will absolutely be repeating for New Year's morning.

The Muffins weren't terribly interested in opening their gifts, but they loved having company over and were particularly enamored of the shiny ornaments on the tree. #1 is in love with his new stuffed Elmo and #2 is a bit territorial of the play kitchen (sometimes charging #1 from across the room in order to prevent his messing with her "cooking"), but the kidlets are enjoying their new loot and finding new and creative ways to fight over toys and torture each other (and me to some extent).

J and I are enjoying the Wii and we downloaded the original Super Mario Brothers and Adventure Island, the two classic NES games that I love to play. I'm a bit tired of leftovers at this point and am looking forward to something different. I don't know what our New Year's plans are - I rather hate New Year's and think it a frivolous Holiday - but we'll most likely treat ourselves to the traditional Chinese food (why is it that pretty much everyone orders Chinese food on New Year's Eve? We discovered one year - quite by accident - that apparently no one goes out for Chinese on New Year's Day, though.). I tried to get J to invite his sister and her family down but he wouldn't. I don't particularly enjoy my SIL's company, but she's been down lately and I thought a change of scenery might do them some good.

I'm looking forward to this four-day weekend and hoping it goes by very slowly.

OK, time to have another bite of fudge.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Speechless

Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated.

It's a sad and scary day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

From Our House To Yours


Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Living In A Winter Wonderland


The view from my living room window as dusk settled in last night.

Four storms in less than two weeks. This a winter like we had when I was a kid. The snowbanks are unbelievable.

We're definitely in for a white Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jaw Dropped

Brit-Brit's little sister is pregnant (she's 16 years old, people!).

Momma Lynne must be so proud.

ETA: The publication of Lynne Spears' parenting book has now been postponed indefinitely. Thank God.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We're A Little Bit Crazy

Good God, N was successful in her venture to get a Wii and then we took our lives in our hands and went out and got one, too. I think the theory was something along the lines of, "why should H go to the store alone in the middle of nor'easter when we could all potentially die together?" Fortunately, we didn't die and - for a guy who claimed to not be interested in getting a Wii - J is seriously loving the early Christmas gift.

(You didn't actually think I was going to wrap it and put it under the tree did you?)

So addicted.

I'm currently trying to not pee my pants while I watch J box (actually, he's quite good).

J and I made our little Miis of ourselves and I made one for C, too. I gave her a moustache and, man oh man, I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time. She's being a great sport about it and letting it stay.

Damn I'm funny.

And here's what the kids decided to do this afternoon:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Running On Empty


I bought groceries last night in anticipation of tomorrow's storm. Aside from a trip to the local candy store next weekend, I picked up the last few gifts today (now I just need to wrap all and ship some - UPS store here I come!). I tidied up the house before heading off to church and holy hell there were a ton and half of people there! Apparently, everyone wanted to get their Jesus on tonight in case they couldn't get out of the house tomorrow morning.

My sister, N, dropped off her kids and they visited and entertained the Muffins while I decorated the tree. N and her husband are on a mission to find a Wii and she's crazy enough to be going out early tomorrow to try and score one. She tried to sweet talk the people at Toys 'R Us to let them have one tonight given the forecast for tomorrow, but that was a no go.

I'm exhausted. But doesn't the tree look nice?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

O Christmas Tree

Last year, as the Muffins were becoming increasingly - and rapidly - mobile, J and I decided to bite the artificial tree bullet and forgo the joy that is bringing a live tree into the house, only to clean up needles until the following Christmas. At first, I didn't want to be one of "those people" - I'd always felt a little sad for people who had artificial trees and was convinced that those who chose not to have a real tree were somehow missing out (maybe it's because fake trees were so ugly for so long?).

I was wrong.

A decent looking artificial tree isn't cheap, and we'd figured that we'd need to get at least 5 years' use out of it to justify the expense, but so far it's been worth it. Certainly, set up and take down are much easier, but the tree's really nice, too. Add to that the fact that it's pre-lit and that I can have it up, though not yet decorated, and still enjoy it to a large extent, and I'm a happy artificial tree owner.

I've always found a bare tree somewhat depressing, but I haven't had time to pull out the ornaments and garland to appropriately decorate yet - no worries, though, since the tree at least sparkles with a ton of white lights and isn't just a green blob sitting in the corner of my front room. That would depress me. I'll get around to decorating this weekend, and I'll love it. We're in for another storm tomorrow afternoon and are supposed to get clobbered with another on Sunday. Overall, I have to massively scale back my house decorating for the foreseeable future (read: the next 4-5 years) because the kids would destroy pretty much anything within reach.

Still, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Do Good

Oh my Good God but this is cool - and it's for a great cause!

j from Cheese and Whine posted the link, I followed it and now I'm sharing it with you (you know, all 5 of you who occasionally check me out).

Go here and do some good.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Can I Just Say...

..how much I love cold pizza?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Finally Able To Connect For More Than 10 Minutes

I've been having issues with the computer lately and it's driving me insane. J thinks it's Comcast's DNS servers that are the problem, but all I know is that it usually results in my not being able to access the sites I need/want when I'm able to have some quality computer time. For the moment, everything seems to be working...

Snapshots of my day:

~ #2 can move the end table. She likes to sit on it, looking out the window, while she lines up the shapes from the shape sorter toy on the windowsill. Her brother likes to come over and knock the shapes down. Being an independent sort of chicky, she decided to take matters into her own hands - literally - and push the end table (which looks very much like a small, tallish trunk) out of the way so she could pick all of her shapes up.

The living room is slowly losing major pieces of furniture. We're down to the couches, one lamp the armoire for the television, and a bookcase which already houses more toys than anything else (and that's only because the Muffins can't reach the top bookshelf, yet).

~ J worked from home yesterday because of the weather. At one point, in a rare moment of children playing nicely together and #1 forgetting that I was out of the room (he's going through some serious Mumma-separation anxiety lately), J and I were both on our respective computers when we hear #2 start saying "I yuv you" over and over again, each time pronouncing it a little more clearly. You can't begin to imagine how sweet it was. She told Daddy that she loved him last night, but the most frequent recipient of #2's love? Little Dog. Today, she told the dog she loved him more than once. And he doesn't even really care about the kids. I, on the other hand, get a major bonk to the head while we were playing peek-a-boo.

Hey, anyone else watching Tin Man?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Remember


I was 12 when my brother, Danny, died. Next May will mark the 20th anniversary of his death. Today is World AIDS Day and I want to take a moment to remember my brother.

Danny was nearly 20 years my senior and he wasn't around much when I was young. He was the exotic brother who lived in New York City and would come home for the Holidays regaling us with stories of meeting famous people and hearing fabulous musicians and making art. He loved to cook and he adored his cats. I remember one visit home he was grieving because there had been a fire in his apartment building and he couldn't save his cats. I'd never seen anyone so devastated before.

Danny would promise that I could visit him in the city when I was older. When he would visit, we would take long walks through the woods and he wouldn't treat me as though I were a child. He'd ask deep, probing questions, trying to help me figure out who I was (sometimes it was a little more than a young kid could handle but I liked that he didn't just ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, that he actually cared about how I saw the world). I remember him describing Invasion of the Body Snatchers in such gory detail that I still get chills just thinking about it. I laughed at his description of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! and sat in awe the first time I heard The B-52's, courtesy of my brother.

When he got sick, my family rallied and took care of Danny. It was amazing. He came home to die and every Holiday and every birthday became a major celebration because it may have been the last time he was with us to mark that particular occasion. Although it seemed as though he was sick for a long time, Danny declined over the course of a year and a half. His illness was debilitating and he lost pretty much all of his faculties.

On the night he died, my mother and siblings were with him in the hospital. It was late and there was a raging thunderstorm outside. Slowly, one by one, my siblings found reasons to leave the room - a phone call to make, a stroll down the hall to get a drink. My mother was alone with Danny in his room and he was able to make the slightest of sounds (he had lost the ability to speak entirely). She got up, went to his side, pulled him close to her and held him in her arms as he breathed his last. For all of the suffering, it was a beautiful death.

********************

I used to feel as though I hadn't "earned" the right to mourn Danny in the way that my other siblings could. Because my siblings are so much older than I am, we don't share the same childhood memories and I somehow felt that this meant that his illness and death couldn't leave as indelible of a mark as it would for my siblings.

I was wrong.

I miss you, Danny.