Monday, December 29, 2008


Mid-holiday here. Christmas has come and gone and New Year's is just a few days away. Papa headed to the country yesterday; FS left for the cactus state in the early morning (after some flight cancellations and being rerouted through Denver vs. Chicago) and I'm staying at the city house to await the arrival of the trash man tomorrow. Such a task have I.

Papa and I are usually one can people and can afford to miss a trash day here and there (we only get one pickup a week). But after the holiday and having family around for days, we have three overflowing cans out there right now. Too much to ask the neighbors to take care of for us. Snoopy has been having a hard time patroling the grounds and keeping the squirrels out of the trash because we had to put into service our yard waste can which has no lid. Oh the trials and tribulations...

Our holiday was enjoyable. We finally ended the work week with a successful happy hour with co-workers and a very nice dinner with Lana and Mr. Fun. The first few days off work we spent in the country wrapping up loose ends and shopping and resting.

After a few days in the country, I headed back to the city to get ready for the onslaught. Darling Daughter and I took the P's to see Santa,,,not really a failure....they were both crying and screaming but we got that all important picture we wanted of them and Santa. We also started a new tradition of going to Build-a-Bear and getting them Christmas Bears (although Precious picked out a bunny and Perfect picked out a dog). It's now a tradition because I joined some sort of money-saving club and have a membership card to show. Yes, we'll be back.

Then Christmas Eve was here and Fantastic Son arrived a little less tornadic than usual. He arrived sick and exhausted. They (him and Serious Girlfriend) just moved into a new house literally the week before. But he left in good health and pretty well rested and well fed. I have so much food here still that it's shameful. He's one person, I don't know why I cook so much. DD, SIL and the P's were over Christmas Eve and Day but Precious stills eats baby food and Perfect eats like a bird (although he did enjoy several dozen cookies). While I cooked enough for a small army not to mention a few meals out and we added some to-go boxes to the mix in the refrigerator.

Cookies, pies, puddings and leftovers from Christmas Day. Yes, I purchased a huge turkey for Christmas and we had all the fixings and everyone seemed to enjoy our "belated Thanksgiving meal".

Everyone also enjoyed their presents. FS actually thinks I met Ben R. (the Steelers QB) because of the autographed picture I gave him--"Nate, Be Your Best...Ben". Aw, the secrets I keep.

Perfect still doesn't understand Christmas and the gobs of presents yet. He arrived and immediately got a Blues Clues DVD from the rack and went to the bedroom to watch it (because we told him he couldn't watch it in the living room---there are just some days I can do without Steve, Joe, Blue and the gang). When we tried to coax him out to open presents, he kept saying "no thanks". (The same comment he made when we took him to see Santa on Tuesday.) He finally did open some presents and got more into the holiday spirit. Precious on the other hand was all about ripping paper left and right. She didn't care whose present she was opening, she had to rip that paper.

Papa and I got our Wii and several packages with it so we'll be improving both our brains and bodies now. And I got an upgraded Ipod that can hold 30,000 songs so I've been downloading music right and left to hurry and get it filled! All in all, it was a nice holiday with our small group.

I spoke to Gulliver (my brother) and The Professor on Christmas Day and they are both doing fine. Papa found out Almost Step-Daughter is pregnant again...not such a fine thing. Oh and I won a prize from the scavenger hunt I told you about a few blogs ago. So Tiny Sun and I have a date to lunch and do some shopping with our winnings (I'm sharing).

But now it's just Snoopy and I all alone at home waiting on the trashman....with two tons of food scattered about on tables and cabinets and in the refrigerator. I should possibly be filling more bags of trash in the form of leftovers before tomorrow arrives. But I think I'll have a snack first and go visit the Mii's I've made.


Monday, December 15, 2008


Hi readers. Don't really have a topic today. The big ice storm didn't pan out....yet and we are in the final countdown week at work before our two week holiday break. I feel a little better----healthwise, and a little better---Christmas-wise.

Tonight we are going to put up the last tree in the basement. I'm mailing my last package tomorrow to Serious Girlfriend and the bonus kids. My shopping is all done except for Papa and I'm taking him out Saturday to pick out some specific items of clothing he has requested. Tomorrow we have a holiday luncheon at work and Thursday night we have the Holiday Happy Hour. And, of course, Wednesday, the P's will be over.

Then Friday night, Lana and Mr. Fun and Papa and I are having dinner in a little village close to the country house. We started doing this 3 years ago and have made it a tradition that we all would drive out to this quaint area with this marvelous restaurant and we would start our long holiday by having dinner together. The food is spectacular and there is always a nice holiday motiff and a roaring fire in the fireplace. It's all very nice so it's a very fine tradition that I hope lasts for years. Last year FS joined us but he's not coming into town until Christmas Eve this year.

FS's visits are always like a tornado coming through that lasts for several days. This visit, however, we don't have alot planned, so may be a little more relaxed and lowkey, we'll see.

Signing off for now.....Grammy

Saturday, December 13, 2008

So I'm a Year Older!

And also older again than our new president! (Don't know why that is so important to me.)

First, I must apologize for any typos and/or grammical errors in this blog. I was reading through some older posts and saw some things and after changing some, I thought what the hell, you can figure out what I'm saying. Maybe if this post-retirement gig pans out, I'll have an editor in the future.

Papa was sick last weekend and into the week and I picked up when he left off mid-week. I'm not as sick, only a 4-5 on the sick scale whereas Papa was a full blown 10, but I feel just as crappy at times.

So I turned 48 on Thursday, a routine day as I was feeling sick on Wednesday and then again on Friday. Thursday, I felt a tad bit ill but attributed it to the tavern pizza I had for lunch. (Polly, our friend "Blue" said hi!)

DD took me out on Thursday night (for my birthday) to her hair stylist who proceeded to give me a hair makeover---cut, highlights, etc. DD says it took ten years off my looks...hum? And I was thinking I didn't look my age yet. Definitely not as old as the new Treasurer Secretary and possibly the new President! But I must say I do like the new look. Papa hasn't really weighed in on it yet. The only time he has ever commented on my looks was when I was contemplating lasik surgery and he said something about he liked me in glasses and didn't know if he could get used to me not wearing any. I didn't really know what to make of that. I ended up not getting lasik but his comment had no effect in my decision, my eyes were just too far gone.

We kind of take each other as we are and are very comfortable around each other. Being sick it was comical one night this week when he walked through the hall and commented on his sexy look....boxers, t-shirt and socks (what he had worn all that day). I laughed and looked down at myself. I'm wearing pj pants that are too small on me that have rainbows and sunshines (yellow) on them, a black t-shirt from some function, and navy blue socks. Oh, how attractive we both were that night but that's what makes our relationship work. We are very comfortable with each other no matter what we look like (in sickness and health, eh!).

For my birthday, Papa took me out to see The Rockettes Friday night. As I mentioned above, I was sick Friday but was going to go to this show come hell or high water. I enjoyed myself until about 3/4's through the show and got real nauseous again. When looking at the person sitting directly in front of me, a young girl about 11-12 in her Christmas finest, all I could think of was I was going to ruin her Christmas experience when I threw up all over her head. So I told Papa we had to leave....NOW.

Feeling better today but not 100% yet. Maybe by the start of the workweek. I hope. It's a busy week for me, the last before a two week holiday break. And, of course, we have doom and disaster forecast in the form of an ice storm starting tomorrow until Tuesday morning. So I can't really be sick and have weather to deal with at the same time. And several Christmas activities scheduled.

And lastly, some good thoughts go to Aunt Cracker's husband, The Weatherman. He is home from the hospital after receiving a new hip this past week and learning how to get about again. Hope your recovery doesn't take too long and please stay inside if the ice comes this week!

Until next time.....Grammy

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I have been feeling a little freaked out by the idea that I am the same age today as our new President is. We are both 47. I didn't realize this until he announced his new Treasurer Secretary and they said "he was 47 the same age as Obama".... and ME. Unnerving, huh?

At least the Treasurer Secretary (I've forgotten his name) looks like an older person and that makes me feel a little more confident but being the same age as everyone is still freaky to me.

Can you imagine the people that actually attended grade school with Obama? It's funny, my birthday is tomorrow, December 11 and I remember two kids I attended grade school with. Scott, whose birthday is November 10 and Darrin, whose birthday is October 11. Why in the world do these birth dates stick in my head. We were all in the 3rd grade together and birthdays were a big deal. I remember these two boys, one my babysitter's son and the other a neighbor were in my little grade school world and we all thought it was cool that our birthdays were pretty much one month apart.

For some reason these dates have stuck with me all these years and still to this day on October 11 and November 10, I always send out a silent Happy Birthday to them both. Wonder if they remember my birthday? Wonder what little grade school oddity that Obama's classmates remember about him?

So tomorrow I'll turn 48 and then I'll actually be older than the President, not as freaky to me for some reason, until, of course, he turns 48---anyone know when that is?

Swifty Aging Grammy

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beginning of the Holiday Festivities

Hello readers. We're now in the countdown to Christmas and the end of the year festivities and a hectic time for all. I have really been trying to get things done earlier this year but I swear, Christmas is coming sooner than it has in the past.

Last year I remember I was still decorating things on Christmas Eve and just trying to catch up. Now it's over two weeks until the day and I already feel like time is running out. Maybe it's because Christmas day falls during the week, I feel like I'm being cheated out of some weekends. Who knows. I've just decided that no matter how early I start, I'll never feel like I'm ahead at this time of year.

I have 2/3's of the trees up (still need to get the basement tree up). I have most of my shopping done (thank God for online shopping), and I started my cards last night in a panic that they won't get sent on time. But I still feel like I'm scurrying to catch up. Deep breaths.....

And I decided that I want to have fun this year and enjoy the holiday instead of being overwhelmed by stress. That's the big goal this year. Deep breaths....

Friday night we did something different. A small village close to the country home has a Christmas Candlelight Walk every year on the first two Friday's in December. Every year, I try to go to this but every year, we have a snowstorm, an ice storm, frigid temps, or some other weather calamity that stops me from going. But this year, the weather cooperated (in the 30's and dry) and me, Papa, and Tiny Sun all met in one of the village parks to go on the Candlelight Walk.

We weren't sure what to expect and so we walked around a bit and started going in some of the small shops/antique stores to look around and then we went to a historic church where they were serving hot chocolate, chili, and roast beef sandwiches.

We believe this walk is a ruse to get people shopping and buying in these stores which is partly true but while we were taking a break in the church, we read a flyer and discovered they were having a scavenger hunt. Two wineries, a brewery, a restaurant, and 12 of the shops were participating. You had to answer their respective Christmas question thereby getting an item to prove you were at the store and answered their question.

A game to play!! What fun, and off we went. Along the way, we did buy some things but that wasn't the sole purpose of going to the shops, we now had a mission. Every place we went offered hot chocoloate, wine, cider, wine, cookies, wine, candy, cheese, etc., so we ate and drank our way through the Village and really had a fun time.

Papa left after about an hour (he had eaten enough for his dinner and was tired and not so fond of boutique shopping) and that was fine. Tiny and I continued on until the bitter end answering questions and drinking and eating. And we were actually the first and second to turn in the completed scavenger sheet. (and Polly and Cracker, you will be happy to hear that we only had to cheat for one question...asking someone else but we traded an answer to them so it all worked out...we knew all the others on our own!!)

Now we have to wait another week to see what prize (if any) we may have won. They had a whole list of various prizes but the hunt continues this coming Friday before they start doling out prizes. Wish us luck.


Friday, December 5, 2008


Figured I'd better write something about Thanksgiving before Christmas goes speeding by. We had a real different holiday this year as it was the first time I didn't cook a big turkey dinner. Darling Daughter and family were heading to SIL's grandparents in Iowa and Fantastic Son and Serious Girlfriend were hanging in the cactus state and it was actually just Papa and I. I couldn't see cooking massive quantities of food for the two of us, especially since I'm trying to cut down on my food intake, so we went to Plan B.

After calling around in the city and country, I finally found a church close to the country house that was having a big turkey dinner. So Papa and I drove over there Thanksgiving afternoon and stood in line for quite some time to buy dinner "tickets". While standing in this line, we noticed the buffet line was not moving at all. So when it came our turn at the ticket table, we opted for carry-out dinners and trotted across the courtyard to the carry out building, stood in a line of 5 and took our large bags of food home with us to eat. Food was good....things tasted different from the way that I make it (stuffing & cranberries) but we had enough for leftovers the next day. All in all, I thought our turkey dinner was success but don't know if we'll repeat that, it just seemed somewhat unnatural.

We had a restful holiday weekend but it was also melancholy thinking about Thanksgivings past. Wednesday night as we were headed to the country house, I couldn't help but think about Thanksgivings at my grandparents house because we take the same highway, although we get off it after an hour versus the 9 more hours to the grandparents.

But it was restful. We were sleeping 12 hours every night which is unheard of but this caused me to miss the Macy's Parade. By the time I woke up it was already football time, so I was disappointed I didn't get to see the parade and new floats and, of course, Santa at the end. (What a big kid I am!)

A positive thought I keep for this time of year is that by the time Thanksgiving arrives, deer season is over. Papa hasn't hunted in years so deer season isn't a big thing in our house. However, we have the country house and lots of deer share our territory.

The first few years we were at the country house were pretty terrifying because the hunters seemed to be so close. I had to make sure FS (when he was still at home) wore orange outside so he wouldn't get shot roaming the woods. I had to keep Snoopy and another dog we had at the time, close to the house so they wouldn't get shot roaming the woods and if I could have, I would have outfitted my neighborhood deer with orange sock hats to protect them as well. As it was, we always rejoiced in the evening when we got home from work and would see our neighborhood deer in the corn field next door...still alive!

I don't know how they made it through some seasons (and I know that they can't possibly be the same deer all the time---the varying sizes give that away but we always have some neighborhood deer in the cornfield) but it's reassuring their being there and thinking they are the same deer. Another perk to our country home. (But wait until next summer when I start complaining about them eating all my houseplants on the front porch, I'm not so happy with them then.)

Back to subject....One Sunday, I remember the gunshots were so numerous and close that I was afraid to sit up in bed one morning. And yes I know bow season is also around this time and lasts into January and it far more dangerous because I can't hear arrows flinging through the air but for some reason I always focus on gun season more. Maybe it's because it's more popular and has more hunters out in the woods. Some of them aren't used to the woods or country and don't realize there are houses WITH PEOPLE and ANIMALS living in the woods also. That's what is more scary to me, I believe.

I also find it interesting that when it is deer season, it is also rutting (mating) season for the deer, so they are all crazed during this time. The does running from the bucks and bucks chasing the does. All this makes it that much more dangerous in the country especially when driving.

We have the elderly and teenage humans crashing into each other on a regular basis and now we have crazed deer running out on the roads more frequently---running from and chasing each other as well as running from the hunters and thus causing more accidents.

It's all pretty chaotic in the woods and neighboring roads in November. We try to avoid driving at dusk or after dark as it is and when we do get in the car, it seems like it takes two---one to do the driving and the other as a spotter to yell "DEER" when we see their eyes on the side of the road glinting from the headlights.

I know I'm bursting yet more of your bubbles for quiet, peaceful country living. Yet when Thanksgiving arrives, it always seems to calm down considerably. The gunshots cease, the hunters go home, the deer relax a little more, and the best thing is I can quit counting on seeing dead deer attached to cars or in truck beds wherever I go....the grocery store, McDonalds, the gas stations----it seems dead deer are everywhere I happen to go and it does get unnerving, looking at those blank dead deer eyes. Why don't the hunters close their eyes? Wouldn't it be hideous to go to a funeral home and see a deceased friend or relative with their eyes wide open? That's what I'm talking about. Come on hunters, give us a break and show the deer some compassion and close those eyes. (OK now I'm just writing bizarre so....)

Until next time....Grammy

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Back to blogging....been a bit busy with our Thanksgiving Holiday and just trying to stay awake now that I'm back in my routine but more about that later. I was thinking about "dark morning" this morning at the crack of dawn...actually pre-dawn--my alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. and it's pretty dark for a good hour or so while I'm getting ready for work.

When I was much younger, we used to call this time "dark morning", me and my brother. Usually the only time we were awake at this time was when we were leaving on a trip and getting up at this time was pretty exciting to us. Our parents, for some reason, never traveled like ordinary people. They always had to leave on trips about 3:00 or4:00 in the morning and get on the road, no matter if we were leaving for vacation or coming home from one.

When I grew up and starting questioning "things", I never quite understood this concept of leaving so early. Before a trip, you are excited and usually find it hard to go to sleep. Getting up at this time might get you to your destination at a more decent time in the afternoon/evening BUT you feel like crap during the day while traveling and not much better when you arrive. All you want to do is sleep which then messes up your sleep patterns for the next night or so. Having a late nap when arriving at the destination keeps you up late at night and again you are tired in the morning unless, of course, you sleep late. But who sleeps late on vacation?

You'll be happy to hear that I leave on trips at fairly normal times (unless I have to catch an early plane to save money). We get up, have breakfast, and try to be on the road, if driving, by 9 or 10 or so. We may drive a little later in the evening before stopping, but we're not crazy tired during the drive and we don't get our night and day sleep cycles mixed up.

Once we did try leaving in the late afternoon and driving all night but that didn't work so well. It was Christmas Day and after the presents were opened and the dinner eaten and all the kids went their respective ways, Papa and I decided to drive to New Orleans and get a start on our vacation rather than leaving the next morning.

Boy, that was a mistake. For one thing on Christmas, there is absolutely nothing open. I mean NOTHING. All the fast food places and all night gas stations you can usually count on are all dark and lifeless on Christmas night. Thankfully, there were some of those gas stations where you can use a charge card at the pump or we might have really been in a predicament. But when we got hungry for a late night snack---we were out of luck, because the stores that go with the gas stations were all shuttered and dark.

So we were driving to New Orleans and then we got tired and although we were trading off driving every 2-3 hours, we started arguing about having to do that. Neither one of us wanted to drive any more, we both just wanted sleep. Talk about some dangerous sleep deprived drivers, not only to ourselves but to others.

Finally during one of my bouts of driving, I decided I had had enough. It was too late to find a hotel, I was just looking for a lit parking lot or someplace safe to park and sleep until the sun came up. I finally found a rest area and parked, tilted the seat back and slept. Papa was none the wiser for some time but he didn't put up much of an argument when he discovered we were stopped for the night.

The next morning, we woke up to sunrise (like normal people albeit sleeping in a van), drove to the next exit and had a good breakfast and then finished our trip. Much to our delight New Orleans was less than 30 minutes down the road (we had no idea). But we learned a valuable lesson. We don't drive during the night and we don't get up at outrageous times ("dark morning") to leave. We want to be as pleasant as possible to each other when being cooped up in the car for hours on end and getting good sleep (and having regular meals) makes up both happy people. The most important thing is that we enjoy the trip in addition to the destination.

Anyhoo, I've spun off on another tangent. Maybe the reason we (my brother and I) were so enamored with "dark morning" was that it was tied to going somewhere. However, I also remember in early jr. high school, meeting up with Aunt Cracker at the church across the street from my house to watch the sun rise. How's that for racy! We thought it was something at our age, being out and about at 5 something a.m. before the sun came up. It was almost as good as staying out later than our curfew, if you squinted your eyes just right!

Now I just think it's hideous to get up before Mr. Sun and no one in their right minds should have to do this or BE MADE TO DO THIS. But alas, I enjoy the money my job brings and so I'll continue getting up in "dark morning" and watching the sun rise as I drive to work...

More later...Grammy