Ruining the Neighborhood

According to a letter in today's local paper, "Sunday beer sales [in Nibley, UT] have attracted certain persons to the new Maverick gas station." We are two of those people, as you learned here. Go here to read more about how we are ruining Nibley. An excerpt:
I think she’s talking about you Craig, MacKenzie and Bridge! You are taking Nibley down an “undesirable path” and allowing “this new beer policy [to] spread across the valley, [losing] our moral distinction as a valley community”. You know, like those godless heathens in Box Elder and Franklin counties that sell beer on Sundays! They have higher rates of teen pregnancy, less patriotism, far less virtue and I’ve even heard a few people in Brigham City using four letter words on occasion.


Confusing you some more

I realized I wrote that last post and didn't really explain why I needed silver shoes by today. All you guys know is that I am going to North Dakota tonight. And no, I don't have a psycho crazy mother in law that insists I wear non-super disco metallic ball but still silver shoes to dinner every night. That isn't the case, I have a nice cute MIL that probably doesn't care what shoes I wear to dinner. But immediately following our trip to ND, I am headed down to Texas to do some bridesmaiding.

My dear friend, and frequent commenter on this blog, amanda g, is getting married!!!!

So I need silver shoes to wear when I stand up and support her as she takes her vows and marries a guy who I can only describe as a super-duper fellow.

Now, the rest of this post probably will not be of much interest to you if you are not my mother or someone named amanda g. But I promised my mom I would post a picture of me in the dress. When amanda first described the dress I would be wearing and the words "jade" and "bubble skirt" were used, I will not deny that I was scared. But I love her, and was willing to wear whatever she picked out, however awful it would be. But then she drew me a picture of it, and unlike me, when she draws a picture, I can actually tell what the object looks like. And the picture looked cute so I breathed a sign of relief. And when the dress came, it was indeed, quite stylish and pretty. So here is me, in the dress. Except that I don't have a head. Because I looked really awful in all the pictures. Red nose, baggy eyes, hair hasn't been washed in 48 hours awful. Craig did not think so, because he loves me. But I just couldn't put my head here for everyone to see. So imagine me, in this dress, with a pretty bouquet and a head, and you will see what I will look like in a 8 days.

I can't wait!

The shoe blues, no more.

I went to the mall yesterday. I don't like the mall. I only go when I absolutely have to. But when I do go, I never find what I need. I need cute casual shoes to wear with jeans - nope, they don't exists. I need jeans - the mall is suddenly devoid of jeans. I need something festive to wear to a Christmas concert, there is nothing festive out there other than bright red reindeer sweaters. Ahhh!

But I had procrastinated as much as I could. I needed to find a pair of silver dress shoes by today. Maybe I should have gone before Christmas but I didn't know I would be sick and I would still rather go when I am deathly ill rather than try to go before Christmas. Oh, the horror of the mall before Christmas.

So out I went. I tried to be optimistic with thoughts that many silver shoes are out there for occasions like prom and fancy-shmancy New Year's Eve parties. There should be silver shoes coming out of the wazoo this time of year. Well, not so much. I went to Payless. Nothing. That's not true, there are a ton of cute shoes there. I probably saw 10 pairs that I would love to own, but nothing that would be acceptable for a wedding. I went to J.C. Penney's. Nada. I went to Dillards. Nope, lots of really expensive ugly shoes, but nothing silver, nothing dressy. I went back to J.C. Penney to buy a kinda ugly pair because that is all I could find and I was sad. A hard, deep sadness that only comes when you are about to purchase shoes that you know are ugly but you also know you have no choice.

Then I saw them. How did I miss them the first time? They are cute. They are dressy. They are as comfortable as fashionably possible. They are silver. And not a super disco ball metallic silver, no, a dark pewter silver, just as instructed. They are also $50. But that is okay. My feet need to look good so I will pay the $50 and think of what to tell Craig later. But what is this, a sign saying that all shoes by blah-blah-blah shoe designer are marked down to $24.95. These shoes are designed by blah-blah-blah shoe designer!. And look, what is this little red tag. These particular shoes are marked down even lower, to $19.99. Ah, it's a shoe miracle!

I still don't like the mall. But I do like my shoes.

Santa, where are our smittens?

Why didn't Santa bring these? They are just what CraKenzie really needs.


Kwanzaa = Krap

I really really really hate Kwanzaa. I passionately hate Kwanzaa. And I was pretty sure I wrote about my hatred of Kwanzaa and the reasons for it on my old Xanga site last Christmas, before my days of "real blogging." But I can't find it and I'm really too tired and sick to think through and explain all of the many reasons why I feel the way I do about Kwanzaa. So I'm going to be lazy and link to this on Coyote Blog. Please go read it, because why wouldn't you want to read an article that uses the phrase "socialist-Marxist-collectivist-totalitarian crap?" Even you, Rachel, I know you do, just so you can argue against it of course, but that's okay, that's why we love you. And if for some odd reason, that phrase doesn't inspire you to go read that article, do it anyway, because if you don't, I will know and I will feel compelled to write my own. And that will take energy away from more important things, like napping. Because when you are sick, even napping takes energy.

Fish sticks for Jesus

There's a local jewelry store in our town that does a big advertising push in the newspapers during the holiday season. They have an ad everyday from Dec 1 through Christmas Eve and if you cut them all out and take them into the store after Christmas, you are rewarded with a small token gift.

Craig did it last year but I really didn't think the snowman head candle holder was worth the effort. But even so, offering him something free is really one of the only ways I could get Craig inside a jewelry store, so I figured "What there to lose?" This year the ads named the item as "a nativity figurine." This really had us wondering. Would we get a wise man and our neighbors would get a shepherd? What does one do with just part of a nativity scene?

Well, Craig picked up our figurine yesterday and it was in fact, one figurine but it had Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus on it. And unlike the snowman, I actually kinda like this one. So I almost hate to bring up my one issue with it. But does Joseph remind you of anyone?

The Gorton's fisherman perhaps? Because everyone knows that Jesus loved fish sticks. That's why he always hung out with the fishermen, right?


Fighting for Change

John Kerry did not let his electoral defeat in 2004 get him down. He's still out there fighting for the people - and winning. Saturday night's NFL game between the Patriots and Giants was to be broadcast only on the NFL Network, which only 40 percent of the nation has. This did not sit well with Kerry, so he fought back.
"Under the unfortunate circumstance that this matter remains unresolved, leaving 60 percent of households across the country — including thousands in Massachusetts — without access to Saturday's game, I will ask the Senate Commerce Committee to hold hearings on how the emergence of premium sports channels are impacting the consumer, and I will consider what legislative measures may be necessary to ensure that consumers are more than bystanders in this process," Kerry wrote.
With the game only days away, Kerry has prevailed. Kerry, of course, is the Senator from Massachusetts, where the Patriots are based. There was a dispute between the NFL Network and cable companies about how much the latter should charge subscribers for the former, and what cable packages it should be part of. The NFL Network wanted big bucks, and the cable companies said, "No, your network sucks," which I believe it does. So there was an impasse.

But now the game is going to be on pretty much every channel; it will be simulcast on NBC and CBS. The reason for the furor behind this game is that the Patriots have a chance to finish the season undefeated, which has only happened once before. The thing is, this game will be boring. The Giants are going to sit many of their stars, and the Patriots may only play their stars for part of the game, depending on how they balance finishing undefeated and setting records vs. resting their team for the playoffs. But you can watch it, thanks to Kerry.

Isn't it a good thing he didn't win in 2004? If he were president, he would have been way too busy to worry about this!

Christmas Colds and Convictions

I'm alive...barely. I have spend these last 48 hours with what can only be described as a cold from hell. I hesitate to even refer to it as a cold because that just doesn't do justice to the horror it has put me through. I'm feeling slightly better now but there were times when I really thought it would be better if I just died. I didn't feel that great over the weekend but Monday morning I was okay so I went ahead and did all my errands while Craig was working. But by mid-afternoon, it came again, stronger than ever. So my Christmas Eve was not spent at a lovely almost midnight service at church and my Christmas day was not spent eating my Christmas ham and Christmas green bean casserole and my Christmas afternoon was not spent playing games at a blogging friend's house. No, it was spent downing cold medicine. Gone were my hopes for a our first Christmas morning to be a romantic event spent opening our presents and watching old Frank Capra movies. No, the most romantic part of yesterday was when I laid down on the floor of the bathroom while Craig took a shower so that I could finally breathe a bit. And to tell you the truth, while it was steamy, it wasn't very romantic (but it did remind me that I need to clean the bathroom floor).

At first I was kind of bitter. Not only did I not get to spend Christmas with my family, but Craig's one day off this week was spent wasted because I was sick. But then I had an attitude adjustment, and not just because I was high on cold medicine. No, because I realized that I still had a lot to be grateful for. I have a great husband. One who didn't complain when instead of a nice meal, he got to make himself a grilled cheese for dinner. One who didn't mind driving around last night trying to find someplace that sold medicine and was open - even before he knew he would be able to pick up a 6-pack at the same place. And it was only our first Christmas. We have plenty more to enjoy in the future. Christmas morning where we can sleep in. Christmas mornings with kids waking us up at 6 in the morning wanting to rush downstairs. Christmas mornings where we have to drag our teenagers out of their beds and force them to be festive whether they want to be or not. And Christmas mornings where our kids come home with their kids to celebrate. And each one is a chance for me to remember that part of Christmas that doesn't ever change - the gift that God has given us. Some people say that Easter is more important than Christmas but I have to disagree. Yes, Easter is important, I'm not going to deny that. But it isn't just that Jesus died for us. It's that he knows what it is like to be a human and live in a human body. Bodies kinda stink. There he was, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and he gave all that up to be made into a human where he has to deal with things like colds and zits (but not PMS, even Jesus didn't have to deal with PMS). I take a lot of comfort in knowing that God knows what it is like to be a human because he has been one himself. He did all that and much more, just for us, just for me. So when I got to thinking about all that, I realized that it didn't matter if our first Christmas together isn't all that I had planned. Plus I get another chance to celebrate when we head off on Friday to visit Craig's family in North Dakota so hopefully that one goes better.


Never believe the labels

Poor Zeeba has had a rough week. It started with her not feeling so good. I'll spare you the details but don't worry, it is a common kitty ailment and is remedied by this gooey stuff she is supposed to eat twice a day. The label says it has been "formulated with high taste appeal. Place a small amount on your cat's paw to stimulate initial taste interest." Then supposedly after than she is going to lick it off my finger every time because it is just so darn tasty. Fat chance. Despite the fact that it looks like molasses, it apparently doesn't suit her tastes. The first time I put it on her paw, she sniffed it, then wiped it all over my couch and her head. So now we just put some on our fingers, pry open her mouth and rub it on her teeth. Lucky for us, she doesn't bite.

But of course, she was covered in the medicine so we had to give her a bath. But before we did that, we knew we had to clean out her ears and since it was going to make a mess too, we might as well do that first. The label for that said: Apply 10 drops to inside of ear. Massage base of ear for a few minutes then allow pet to shake it's head. Wipe excess solution from ear. Sounds easy but apparently that really means: Hold cat on your lap using arm and elbow to secure cat in head lock and prevent skin from being slashed by claws. Pry open cat's ears and squirt however much comes out in 0.5 seconds. Touch ear for one second before cat gets her head loose and shakes cleaning stuff everywhere. Wipe up excess from your face and all surfaces within 2 feet of cat.

After that, she was all ready for her bath. Except by now she was really mad and had taken to hiding behind the Christmas tree. So we chased her around for a couple minutes then took her over to the sink where the Botanicals Sweet Ginger Cat Shampoo was waiting for her so she could enjoy a relaxing and reinvigorating bath that would also condition and coat her fur with its special hairball prevention beads that would be released in the water. I'm not sure if her previous owners bathed her frequently or if she had just given up by now but she did pretty well with the bath. But when we turned off the water, I think she was ready to get out. What do you think?

I wrapped her up in a towel and took her over the couch. I let her go and thought she would run away as fast as she could but she decided to take her revenge subtly by staying on me until the water soaked through the towel and I smelled like a wet cat who had eaten sweet ginger for lunch. Then she needed to get herself looking pretty again so she spent 3 hours grooming herself which unfortunately contributes to the original problem so wish us luck on the next few days with the gooey medicine.

He Doesn't Like the "Facts"

This is bizarre. Chuck Norris is going after his meal ticket:
Chuck Norris says a new book called "The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World's Greatest Human" is a big lie. And, he wants to stop it from being sold. So, Norris has sued the author, Ian Spector, who's a student at Brown University. He's also sued the publisher.

Norris says his good image is being spoiled by a book that shows him as callous and a law-breaker. And, he says the book includes fake "facts" that are sometimes racist and lewd.

In the lawsuit, Norris says the preface of the book refers to meetings between him and Spector and the book also thanks Norris for "playing along."
Wouldn't Chuck pretty much be forgotten at this point without these "facts?" I think he should just go along with it. That, and drop his endorsement of Mike Huckabee.

The dreams of denim

My goodness, I haven't posted for 5 days and Craig has already posted 4 times since then. Work was crazy as everyone wanted stuff done before Christmas so I worked a couple late nights and early mornings but I have the next two weeks off and we aren't doing much this week so I should have time to write down all the posts I have thought up.

Speaking of work, does anyone have any suggestions on how to get pump oil out of jeans? There was a little incident at work and the first wash didn't do much to get it out. Googling got me lots of information about removing stains causes by lipstick, pen, chocolate and even blood but nothing on pump oil. Personally, I think there is a business opportunity that is being wasted - someone has to know how it can be done. It will be a shame if I can't remove the stain because those are my favorite* jeans, according to the "newest jean = favorite" rule and I don't have money to buy a new pair. Does anyone else live by the new jean rule or is that just me? You know, when you have a favorite pair of jeans and all your others and "old" and unwearable so you need new ones. You go looking for a pair as similar to those as you can find. After days of searching for something but finding only mom jeans that cover you navel and taper to create that oh-so-flattering triangle shape or jeans that you can't tie your shoes in without the possibility of being arrested for indecent exposure, you finally find that pair that is just what you are looking for. And no matter how much you loved your old jeans, the new pair is your new favorite and the only ones you want to wear. So you are again left in the position of only have one pair of jeans you like. It is an impossible situation. And now my "favorite" ones are stained and I have no jeans I like. So sad. So please please please, if you happen to have a husband that works on an oil rig or a kid that likes to pour items from your cupboard on himself or have any other reason why you know how to remove oil from pants, please share. I will be very grateful.

*When I say favorite jeans, I am of course talking about favorite respectable jeans. My favorite favorite jeans are really awful looking. The bottoms are all torn up and the material is so thin that it barely feels like denim anymore but they are just so comfortable. Of course, I can only wear them around the house on Saturdays....or maybe Wal-Mart. But standards of dress are really lax at Wal-mart. I could probably wear a mumu and be better dressed than 60% of the people at Wal-mart. So favorite favorite jeans are pretty trashy, but important as they give the now non- favorite jeans a reason to keep going - some day, if they get worn enough, they might become worn out and reach favorite status once again. Such a hopeful story. It's like the velveteen rabbit of the fashion world.


California Justice

Here's a great example of the wackiness that is California. Once again, they have a budget crisis due to massive overspending. What is the Governator's solution? Release prisoners!
The plan would cut the prison population by 22,159 inmates and save the state $256 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1, the Bee reported. Savings could reach $780 million through 2010.
And on top of that, they're going to try to implement a $14 billion dollar mandatory health plan. Remind me not to move there.

Programming Note

Who cares about the writers' strike? We have the rare opportunity to catch some great sports programming this weekend. That's right, curling will be on! Tune into NBC Sunday at 12:30 (Mountain time) to see the US take on Sweden at Rockefeller Plaza. Click on the link to watch a preview that is sure to put you in a curling state of mind.


Savvy Shopper

I scored a great deal this Christmas season. Staples had a deal online through which you could buy a Kodak digital camera, and after some rebates, get the camera plus a photo printer for a total of $70. So I bought the camera (it's my Christmas present) and put the printer on eBay. I'm not really interested in printing my own pictures. I'd rather just upload them to Walmart's website and let them do it.

Well, yesterday the printer sold for $52. I was quite surprised, because the most I saw the printer selling for on eBay was about $35. It was two important eBay selling principles that helped me get this great price:
  • Start the bidding low. I started the printer at $0.99. While it may seem risky to start that low without a reserve (don't set a reserve price), you can see by looking at completed listings how much money you can expect to fetch for your item. Bidders are more likely to bid an item up to $52 starting low than they are to bid $52 on the item as a starting price.
  • Don't inflate the shipping costs. Most of the auctions for this item listed shipping at $25 or so. I took the package to the Post Office to weigh it, and determined how much it would cost to ship, and listed that as my shipping price. It came to about $15.50. Of course, shipping cost depends on where the package is going, so I usually type in my home zip code from ND to get a representative price.
I don't know if this made a difference, but since there was a "free gallery picture" promotion, I put the $0.35 I saved towards the $0.25 gift icon for my listing. Judging by the results of this auction, I should do that more often. Of course, maybe it was the combination of Christmas and the gift icon that made the difference.

In the end, I will have gotten a digital camera for about $25, factoring in eBay fees and whatnot. But I'm not supposed to know that. It's my Christmas present, after all.


WFMW - Have pie, will travel.

This was meant to be a Thanksgiving WFMW but life was crazy then so I decided to post it now when it might be useful for upcoming Christmas events when you need to carry a bunch of baked goods.

I made three pies for Thanksgiving but then was stuck with trying to figure out how to get them to the dinner on the other side of town. I don't own one of those fancy pie/cake carrying cases that stacks them and they normally only hold two things anyway. I thought about using boxes but only one pie fits in each box and they end up taking up a lot of room and we still had to fit a lot of other stuff in the car. But Craig come to the rescue with this:

(please ignore all the random junk in the picture, as well as the odd angle that makes it look like it was taken by a giant, I'm not sure what that's about)

Yep, it's just a long, skinny, shallow (I heart adjectives) rubbermaid container. It fits three pies (or cakes or 9x9 pans) perfectly. Plus, you can actually use it those other 10.5 months of the year when you aren't transporting bakery items around town. And it doesn't take up a lot of room. We had it sitting on three laps in the back of our car, but I wouldn't recommend that if those laps belong to children, that's kinda risky.

And that is what works for me.


The Magic is Gone

I used to be a big Magic Johnson fan during the glory days of the LA Lakers. I even made a Magic Johnson-themed Valentine's box at school for Valentine's Day in 6th grade. When he got HIV and retired, I was quite sad. That being the case, this endorsement of Hillary Clinton by Magic is unfortunate, indeed. It's like when you go to Disneyland and see Mickey Mouse take his head off and expose the pathetic teenage kid underneath the costume.


My Kind of Cat

How do I do these things?

I had to be at work at 6 am today because we are working on a big test. I tried to get ready as quietly as I could so I wouldn't wake up Craig. I failed miserable at being quiet but at least I managed to get dressed without turning on the lights. Then half way through the day, I looked down and saw this:


My Perfectionism Problem

We had our Christmas cookie exchange last night which meant that my past few days were spent furiously crafting to get our place nice and festive before anyone came over.

I finally finished the tree skirt that ended up being the tree skirt from heck. I was planning on doing a large, simple whip stitch around the edges, but then I decided I liked the blanket stitch better but I'm not very good at it (well, I am now, I got a lot of practice) so that really slowed me down. Then I decided that I liked little stitches better than big ones so that slowed me down more. Since the skirt's radius was 3 feet, that left me with more than 18 feet of teeny tiny blanket stitches. Dang my perfectionism. But I did go easy on myself when I decided to use iron on fusing to attach the snowflakes instead of sewing them on. I think if I had to do one more blanket stitch on that thing I would just throw the whole thing out. I should have just bought a tree skirt, but I wanted something simple and everything I saw was just too much.
After that was done, I moved on to my candy cane Christmas wreath. This too was not as easy as I had planned. I mean, all you do is hot glue tons and tons of mini candy canes onto a green Styrofoam wreath, right? How could that be hard? Well, it was going fine until I ran out of candy canes. (I bought 300; who would have thought that I would need more?) I went back to the dollar store where I bought them but they were out as were the next 3 stores I tried to find them at. Why was there such a run on candy canes when I still have 12 days left until Christmas? It makes no sense. I finally found some at Wal-mart but they were a different kind. That left one chunk of my wreath looking completely different from the rest and even a bow wouldn't cover it up. So I had to add a whole new layer on top and try to blend the two types. Again, this would not have been such a problem if I could let the little things go but sometimes I just can't. I am going to post a picture which I think is a good baby step for me and my problem. Despite my complaining, this was a fun, easy craft and as long as you realize it will take 400-500 candy canes to complete. Really, does it look like that many? I don't think so.
It's not that I think if I didn't have a wreath or a tree skirt somehow everyone would think my holiday party was a sham and not attend because that would just be silly and I really think much more highly of my guests than that but it was just the deadline I set for myself so that I would not be stressed in the days close to Christmas. And I'm not as stressed as my last few posts would leave people to believe. Well, I am until I write about it then I feel much better even though I leave the impression that I am a completely psycho Christmas decorator. But that's okay. I am probably completely psycho about other things that I don't share so it evens out in the end.

But I'm not that stressed since I am down to just the stockings before my Christmas craftiness is over. But I will work on those during the days that I have off when Craig still has to work. I need something to do while watching Matlock. I have to admit that I heart Matlock. He is most definitely my favorite fictional criminal defense lawyer. But that is another post in itself.


Presidential Dentist

Here's an Onion article that's funny in a nuanced, political geek kind of way. It's about confirmation hearings for the nominee to be Presidential dentist
WASHINGTON—The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Monday that, after five days of intense questioning, internal debate, and outside testimony, it is no closer to confirming Dr. Richard J. Applebaum, President George W. Bush's controversial nominee to be the 73rd presidential dentist in U.S. history.

Applebaum—a Howard University College of Dentistry graduate, owner of the private practice Gentle Dental, and close friend of the Bush family—faced a seemingly unending battery of questions during the first week of his confirmation hearing, with the committee's 19 members grilling him on issues ranging from tooth decay to tartar control to the divisive "brushing side-to-side or up-and-down" question.
This is more like something you'd see on Scrappleface. I like it.

Lyrical Misunderstandings

As I said in my previous post, I like Christmas music. Actually, I like non-Christmas music too. I'm not one of those crazy people that knows all the latest bands and goes to cool concerts or anything but that is really a reflection on my lameness, not on my love of music, because I do love music. But every once in a while, there is a song line that just bugs the heck outta me.

Of the 5 songs we sang at the Christmas concert, my favorite was a combination of a couple different older Christmas hymns, including God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. I might be crazy so you try to spot what seems wrong in the second verse before I share:

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Did you catch it? If you didn't notice anything odd, then you are just not as observant as I am but come on..."The which His Mother Mary." That makes it sound like Jesus's mother is a "witch" which I do not feel is a very respectful term to describe the mother of our savior. I will say that this lyrical mishap was slightly exaggerated because it was right at a page turn, meaning I always read that line by itself before turning the page to find out she didn't take anything in scorn but still, I think Mr. Unknown could have done a better job.

This is the first time a Christmas song lyric has ever bothered me and since this is a popular one, I will probably be bugged by this lyric until I die. In the past when I have issues like this, I just have to wait for the song to get older and then it doesn't get played on the radio much so I can move on with my life.

Like this one from Faith Hill's "Mississippi girl":

I still like wearing my old ball cap
Ride my kids around piggy back

Most people are nice enough to let their kids ride instead of forcing the poor children to carry their mother, but I have never had kids, what do I know?

Or this one from George Strait's "She let herself go":

Let herself go on a singles cruise,
To Vegas once, then to Honolulu.

While a cruise to Honolulu does sound nice, I am pretty sure their are no cruises into Vegas as it is slightly land locked.

See how well I have moved on with my life.

Fred Still In It

Fred Thompson hasn't been getting a whole lot of media attention recently. He's been lost in Mike Huckabee's rise and religious spat with Mitt Romney. But Fred scored big at the Iowa debate yesterday. Here's a roundup of reactions. People liked that he refused to play the "raise your hand" game, that he spoke hard truths about Social Security, and that he took a swipe at the National Education Association.

I think Fred is in a good position now. He's currently 3rd in Iowa and 2nd in South Carolina (he's way down in New Hampshire, but that state doesn't appear to be part of his strategy). I expect the Huckaboom to dissipate as his record becomes widely disseminated, and this will put Fred in position to get at least 2nd in Iowa, thus increasing his standing in the race, and giving him a good shot at winning South Carolina. This in turn will put him in a fine position come Super Tuesday.


Get a (Second) Life

At first, I was impressed when I learned that Rep. Ed Markey was going to address the UN Climate meeting via Second Life, an online hangout, rather than traveling to Bali. Although I am a global warming denier, I applauded his choice to forgo a trip to the tropical paradise in hopes of preventing lots of carbon emissions. More global-warming types should put their money where their mouth is, I thought. While I disagree with Markey, I supported his commitment to the cause.

But this article says the reason he is doing the Second Life thing is because he's involved in the congressional negotiations over the energy bill in Washington. So I'm not impressed anymore. But still, they could have had the whole conference in Second Life, and prevented a lot of the carbon emissions they claim to be worried about. But then they wouldn't have gotten a fancy vacation.

It was for free!

I read about this Michael W. Smith blogger CD giveaway on another blog and I was sooo excited. I l-u-v Michael W. Smith! and Christmas music! and free stuff! The only requirements were that you have a blog with at least 100 unique visitors every month and that you listen to the CD (that they would send you free!) while involved with some sort of Christmas event/activity and then you write about it. I know some people have qualms about taking free stuff in exchange for advertisement and I have to tell you, I just don't get it. I love free stuff and if I like something I will write about it anyway. Even if I don't like something, I will often times write about it so why not get it free? I mean, I wouldn't want something for free if I was morally opposed to it so that shouldn't be a problem. I mean, I don't have to worry about being pressured to give a positive review for the latest "Girls Gone Wild" video since I would never want that to begin with. But scantily clad women aside, when it comes to free stuff, I say Bring It On!

I was a little concerned that I wouldn't qualify on account of the 100 unique visitors a month requirement so I quickly called Craig, as he is in charge of all the blog tracker things we have and asked him to check. Apparently, we have like 200 unique visitors every week! I was shocked. Of course, some of those visitors only came here because they Googled things like "republican official hex colors," "a blond at christmas," or "what is the boys name from the movie harry potter that has blond hair and is evel?" (that last person really needs to work on both their Google and spelling skills) but that still leaves a number of people who come here because they actually want to read what we are saying. That's cool.

Anyway, since we qualified and I was one of the first 150 people to respond, I am now the proud owner of a "It's a Wonderful Christmas" which I listened to while decorating my tree. My verdict: I liked it.

Okay, I probably should say something more that just that but I don't want to be all "Well, I thought the acoustics blah blah blah and the harmony was blah blah blah" so I'll try to find a happy medium.

He didn't just do remixes of traditional Christmas songs but instead wrote some good Christian Christmas songs which at first, I was unsure about since I don't normally like non-traditional Christmas songs. I shouldn't have worried. They are good songs, they just happen to be about Christmas and Jesus' birth. There was also a choir and a symphony which I don't often like on CDs but in this case was nice. I have already mentioned that I love him so unsurprisingly I loved his voice in this CD too. He could probably sing about how my toilet is overflowing and I would still find it relaxing but his voice...it's just so...nice. (Someone should probably get me a thesaurus for Christmas).

But my favorite part of the CD is that it is so unobtrusive. I hesitate to write that because it doesn't sound like a compliment but after growing up listening to my little brother's favorite Christmas CD, the Chipmunks Christmas, and having "I still want a hula hoop" constantly in my head for 1/12 of every year since he turned 4, unobtrusive is a very good thing. (Wow, try to untangle that sentence). I will probably be playing it at my upcoming Christmas cookie exchange party because it is nice holiday background music.

In the end, I would say that this CD is worth buying, and I don't buy CDs, especially Christmas CDs but I would buy this one except I don't have to, cause I got it for free! (Sorry but that just doesn't get old). If you don't believe my incredible well-written review just go here and listen for yourself.


Baby Mama gift?

A couple days ago, I read this article about "push presents" (also known as a baby mama gift or a baby bauble). Supposedly, women are now demanding presents from their husbands as a payment reward for pushing a baby out of their womb. These women don't just want trinkets; they want gold, diamonds, and gemstones handed to them in the delivery room. Geez ladies, don't you think your kinda forgetting the big picture? The only thing I want handed to me in the delivery room is my BABY!

However, last Saturday when we at the local Hallmark store picking out the next addition to our Willow Tree nativity set, I took a moment to admire the rest of the oh-so-cute collection. When Craig walked over to see what I was looking at, I had to remind him that "aren't these so cute, and remember these, these are what you are going to get me every time we have a new baby." Hmmm?

Am I being hypocritical? Is it the same thing even though those ladies want really expensive jewelry and want it right away? Or is my desire for a pretty reminder of each child's birth sweet and not at all the same as those crazy ladies demanding payment because they had to carry the child for 9 months and not the husband?


Farewell Gus-Gus

Today, my little hamster Gus-Gus passed away. I know some may say he is just a hamster, but to me he was a little cuddle friend. Here he is, looking cool with his one red eye and one black eye (that is how his eyes actually were, it is not just because of the picture).
He was such a good hamster. He was hand tame and he never pooped on you when he was out like other hamsters do. He loved to eat carrots and run around in his ball. He also loved to shop on eBay. Okay, that's not true, Craig and I kept the internet controls on high to keep him safe, but he would have if he could have.

We will miss you Gus-Gus.

Gator Theft

I read this in a story about Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow of Florida:
"Some people wear Superman pajamas to sleep; Superman wears Tim Tebow pajamas!" This is just one of many creative spins the University of Florida faithful have bestowed upon the Gators' sophomore quarterback. The young man from Ponte Vedra Beach is just 20 years old, but already a legend on the University of Florida campus. On Saturday, that legend can grow even stronger.
Creative, my ass! Unless you think replacing "Chuck Norris" with "Tim Tebow" is creative. I, for one, do not. This tidbit has been mentioned in every article I've seen about Tebow, but never has the origin of these jokes been cited.

Of course, maybe these jokes didn't start with Chuck Norris. Maybe they started 50 years ago. But they sure didn't start with Florida fans. They'd better hope Norris doesn't mind the outright theft. If he does, there'd be trouble.

Besides, Darren McFadden should have won the Heisman.

One More Plea

As I have mentioned, Goldy Gopher is competing to be Capitol One Mascot of the Year. Well, Goldy has made it into the playoffs, and clawed his way past Cocky from South Carolina and Hairy Dawg from Georgia to reach the final round (MacKenzie adds: This is still going on?). So I come to you one more time for help. Vote for Goldy here.

In the championship, Goldy faces Zippy, a kangaroo from the University of Akron. And here's the thing: throughout the competition, the mascots have been like a tank of lobsters. Whenever one threatens to emerge from the pack, and starts to climb the standings, the voters have quickly pulled that mascot back down. Goldy has swung from 2nd to 11th place during the competition because of this.

But somehow, Zippy has avoided this. He finished the "regular season" 11-0. I don't see how this is possible, because people from all over had to be voting against him. I know I did, many a time. So I suspect there's some funny business going on in Akron. Maybe Zippy has computer-hacking skills.

So this where you come in. Let Capitol One know that you will not accept questionable mascot activities in the competition. Vote for Goldy. Thank you.


Weekend festivities

This weekend was all about the holiday preparation. Friday night we started out with the search for the perfect tree . I think we found it. (Craig adds - as perfect as you can get for under 30 bucks). It's perfect because it is our first tree, Craig, don't be a butt.

Anyways... we did get to spend the night setting it up and decorating it while listening to my new Michael W. Smith Christmas cd (more about that in a later post). But it didn't take very long since we didn't have that much to put on it. That is the hard part of your first Christmas tree. Unlike our families, we don't have 30 years worth of ornaments to cover the tree. I want to slowly build up a nice collection over time but I still want to have enough stuff this year that the tree doesn't look empty. So I got a little creative and crafty.

I started with these. They are the classic applesauce and cinnamon ornaments beloved by so many elementary school teachers. But they smell soooo good. And you can't really beat them for a cute cheap homemade ornament.

Then I got a little braver and pulled out this Martha Stewart idea. I thought it would be tricky, but it wasn't and I think they turned out real cute.

And they were cheap too! In fact, I bought a set of 40 cookie cutters for $10, used them to make the cinnammon ornaments then cleaned them up and used them for the paper ornaments. That, plus a pack of paper, some ribbon, and some glue brought the total up to about $25. And that was enough for our tree with enough supplies left over for our church's college group to make ornaments for their tree too.
Because I saved so much, I was able to not feel completely guilty when yesterday, Craig and I did a lot of shopping, mostly holiday related. We bought some present-y stuff for others but mostly bought more decorating stuff that we needed (Craig might disagree but too bad, it's my post), like a tree star and the next addition to our willow tree nativity set. I'm still working on the tree skirt but its coming along and I am pretty sure it will be done by January.

Even after such an exciting day, there was more weekend holiday fun. We just got back from the big holiday benefit concert that Loralee and I have been rehearsing for these last 5-6 weeks. We both looked quite festive and it went well but between today's two hours of rehearsal and an hour and a half of concert, me and my voice are all tuckered out.


Keep your Costume to Yourself

"Students Dress as VT Victims, Cause Outrage"

Even if you thought this was a good idea, why would you put the pictures up on Facebook? This kind of stuff has bitten people in the butt before.


Take the Plunge

My favorite time of year is fast approaching. No, not Christmas. I'm talking about the Polar Plunge! I participated in this Special Olympics fund raiser last year, and it was quite enjoyable. So of course I want to jump into ice-cold water once again. Are any of you locals interested in joining me in this charitable activity? Someone? Anyone? Bueller?

I'd ask MacKenzie, but she'd say no. Last year, we had to leave early because she (who was dry and comfortable) was cold.


I'm a fashionista

It's official. I am sick. I now know for sure that I am sick because my arm pit hurts. While that might not make too much sense to you, if you were me, you would know that every time I get really sick, my right auxiliary lymph node (which happens to be located in my right arm pit) gets swollen and painful. It never happens to my left lymph node, if it ever does, I will probably die. But that isn't the point of this post. The point is, I have been sick and grumpy lately but that is not fun to read about so I will tell a positive story now.

Despite the fact that I do not like moving, good did come out of it (besides living in a new place that I like). I found a suitcase of sweaters that I had lost. Back in November I did the winter/summer clothes switcheroo and I swear I looked everywhere but never found it. It contained hats and mittens but I could replace those at Kohls for $10 so I didn't worry about that but it also contained some sweaters that I LOOOVVEE and I was heartbroken. But earlier this week while unpacking, there they were. Oh happy day. It brought back such memories - I only wish I was kidding.

The one sweater had been my favorite for FOREVER. Okay, not forever, but since high school. In fact, I wore it to all my college interviews. It is a dark red and really thick with a big chunky turtleneck. I wore it with a just-above-the-knee red and cream plaid skirt, cream stockings, and chunky brown ae shoes. Actually those shoes were my favorite for about 4 years but I finally got rid of them when I graduated college, they were completely falling apart. But in that outfit, I felt cute and smart and it was warm enough to sustain me throughout the northeast as I walked around campus after campus. Looking back, I can't really be objective because in my mind, I still think it might have been cute, but I am glad there aren't any pictures of that outfit out there.

The other two sweaters are my holiday sweaters. Let me clarify - only one is an actual holiday sweater, but its very simple - it only has a few tiny white beads at the top that make a snowflake, we are not talking about embroidered Santa's. But it would have been sad if I didn't find it until after Christmas because I normally wear that sweater to church almost every week during advent.

The other is just plain black, but I wear it with red things so that it feels festive. I don't really love it but I needed it because I have to wear it to the Christmas Concert on Sunday. The woman are supposed to be festive and it is the only sweater that I have that goes with my only longer skirt. The long skirt is very important because the choir area is located above the pews by a considerable amount and I have already talked before about my inability to sit like a lady. I'll just leave it at that. I was beginning to panic about not having anything to wear so if I hadn't found that sweater, I would be spending my Friday night shopping for a stupid festive outfit instead of putting up my Christmas tree and listening to my new Michael W. Smith Christmas CD like I can now plan on doing. I don't care if my arm is too painful to lift up the ornaments. I will be decorating my tree tomorrow and I will be having a good time.