Wednesday, December 31, 2008


"Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

You have come such a long way to get to this point in your life today. You have traveled so many miles on a journey filled with so much, including sorrow and happiness, pain and joy, defeat and victory.

Lay down everything that is a burden. And turn everything else over to a power greater than yourself.

It is a time for peace.
It is a time for love.

It is a time for joy.

Today I know that I am at choice. Today I have all the willingness... all the energy and all the guidance I need to continue to choose the path of peace and love and joy.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Start a Love Train

The Saturday after Christmas we had Christmas with my "natal family." The Bradley's. Vickers couldn't fly out this year- and Andi was in Mexico (lucky girly). So it was Bradley's minus 2. My dad has a small obsession with prime rib. This obsession I support whole-heartedly. I love prime rib. (Is my blog revolving too much around food? I'm a meatie. Can't help it.) Anyway he ordered a prime rib for our Christmas celebration and it was divine. I love the crust. All those herbs and flavors. Mmmm. The guest list was Ginger and George (aka Mom and Dad), Krissy and Nick and their kiddos- Evan, Bradley, and Josslynn, then Me and Kenneroo, and Julie and the new hubby Chris. I love being with my family. They are the goofiest people I know. And they love to play games. We played speed scrabble. Fun fun fun. Krissy quickly got in the habit of using initials or abbreviations. "iv" "id" we let those slide. But when she put "ag" out there- short for agriculture- we instigated the three letter word rule. Wasn't well accepted by one. But it made the game more fun. My mom played which was really special. Normally she'll spend the night doing dishes or taking care of the baby- but she was in the game- laughing with the rest of us.
We had a gift exchange. We all draw names and keep it a secret (the best we can) and then exchange gifts on Christmas. Rodrigo (Andi's husband) had me and he gave me a gorgeous V-neck sweater from the GAP. I love it and am wearing it today. It's long and has tan and white think thick stripes. Oh it's gorgeous. My mom was just ga ga over the V-neck. She said someone really cares about you when they buy you a v-neck. We had a good laugh at that theory. I had Vicky in da 'burgh and I set her luscious lounge wear. She's quite the ski bunny.

The evening rounded out with: The boys dressing up like Santa. Pretty home-made outfits. We did the best with what we had (IE- Winger's work uniform and power ranger gloves.)

Chris loving his total cheeser t-shirt from Nick... Ken being a TOTAL baby-hog... And Josslyn spelling her first word! (b-o-t-t-l-e)

It was a very Merry Christmas.

The Bless-ed Day

I love Christmas with Ken. There is something pretty special about waking up just the two of us. We sodder into the living room in our comfies and exchange a few gifts and kisses. Then, we lay there and snuggle until we get hungry enough to make breakfast.

Ken has outstanding taste in Christmas gifts. He knows just what I like. He gave me new pink girly pajama bottoms and warm socks. I la-hove being warm. He gave me fun art supplies and all my favorite sweets. (I'm going to hurry up and eat them all before I start my health plan.) Ken bought me these slippers that have sparkles all over them and it literally feels like I am walking on air when I wear them. He really knows how to shop for a girl. He gave me sudoku and word search books. I am a bit of an addict. I got pretty gold earrings for work- AND... fishing stuff!! Last summer I got really into fishing. I love being outside and spending time with Ken and I'm not a bad fisher-person. So I got new lures and bobbers and sinkers and all kinds of fun new stuff.

I got Ken a new watch, a dutch oven, an old Time magazine from the 60's I found at a yard sale about the stock market, and a new movie. Yeah- he way outdid me. But, like I said the best part of Christmas is spending it together. Mushy, I know. The second best part is the food!

That afternoon we went to Dad and Sheri's. They are Christmas fanatics! I love that their house is decorated floor to ceiling for Christmas. They really go over-board. This year they surprised me a lot. Mostly, with an iPod! Wah? Yup! Me. Miss Un-Techy who still jogs with a discman. I got an iPod nano. It's violet and perfect. I've spent all weekend putting my collection on it and jamming out of course. It's much more fun to do chores with an iPod lemme tell ya. I decided to organize/clean out my closet on Saturday... and thought "Hey why not listen to old Patty Cake." When you register an iPod you have to give it a name. I called mine Patty Cake. Anyway I put my little ear buds in (check it out-I know all the cool iPod words) and sang and danced and cleaned! Ken caught me singing once or twice and told me I was singing pretty loud. But hey, I gotta give Cher the respect she deserves right?

For Christmas dinner we had Grandma Grace ribs. Ohh they are so good. SO GOOD! The sauce. The meat. The mess. I love it. I feel like I ate my weight in ribs. But, everyone did. Dessert was double layer coconut cake. Wow. 2 pieces for me there too. De-lish.

Me and Ken ended the night at home, alone- in our love nest- watching his new movie.

Isn't Christmas/Ken the greatest?

The Night Before Christmas

On Christmas Eve my mammy cat and daddio came over. It was a wonderful evening. We had a "fancy" dinner party of sorts. I define fancy as everyone had to dress up a bit- we used our nice plates- there were wine glasses and sprakling cider- and candles. Ken made a delicious home-made chicken pot pie and butternut squash. It was so good. SO GOOD! My dad really loved the chicken pot pie. He kept saying "This is my type of food" everytime he went in for more. I was really glad they came over. We opened a few presents and they played with Rusty. I love the attitude my parents have taken towards Rusty. They call him their "Grand-Dog." Like grandchild- but canine. My mom, who is not a dog person, just swooned over him all night. And my dad got down on the floor and him and Rusty had a wrestle party. Hey, if grandparents don't spoil him who will?

My mom is a really great story teller. She always has been. She can tell a story twenty times better than I can. Maybe even thirty. She told us this story about when she taught in Duquesne. (Duquesne is where I lived until 3rd grade. It's in Pittsburgh and is a very very poor area. The ghetto. My sisters and I were the only white kids in our school.) My mom had her students write an essay about the world's biggest problem. Whether they thought it was pollution or a disease or what have you. She got this one paper all about eggs! "People die from eggs. Eggs is very dangerous. Lots of people have eggs in certain communities. You can get eggs lots of different ways." My mom was really confused. Eggs? What's so bad about eggs? "Some people think eggs came from monkeys. There is no cure for eggs." *Lightbulb.* AIDS! Her student had never seen AIDS written down and thought it was eggs. She tried explaining it to him- but thought she was wrong and trying to trick him. Poor kid.

She told us stories all night. They left around ten- so Santa could come.


Seriously. Inhale the air outside today. It feels like Spring. It smells warm. The snow is melting. The highways are all clear. Did I hear birds chirping? I think Spring might be just around the corner. Sure does feel like it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

iLove iPhone

Last night, Kenner got an iPhone. That lucky stiff. I seriously did not get what the huge hype was. It's a phone. It will make calls just like my dinky old phone I got for free when I signed up for my plan. But this... this is more than a phone! It's a revolution.
This "phone" has a full keyboard on the screen, it e-mails, it texts, it tells you what restaurants you'd like, it can sing all your favorite iTunes, it has GPS so will help you when you're lost. It's practically a member of the family. Judging by all the time Ken spent on it last night it apparently is his new best friend. (Picking up on the jealousy, yet?)
I did get to play with it for 3 minutes. And I say 3 minutes in all seriousness because it was timed. When 3 minutes was up I had to give it back to Ken. At first it's kinda strange touching the screen and sliding it every which way. It feels "wrong." Kinda bad. I felt like "This shouldn't be able to work like this." But I think if you give it a few days- it'd be hard to go back to using a regular phone. I know Ken gave me his old phone (which is "dead" to him) and after using his ultra cool iPhone I kept touching the screen on mine... hoping for the same effect. Nope. Didn't work.
As a testimonial, the iPhone is outstanding. Those cool commercials you see on TV? Nothing for the real product. It's so much more than what they show on the commercial. It does everything. I'm hoping Ken's grows little arms and legs and pulls a little weight around the house.
PLUS!!! It has this feature- you can set your phone to "Fake Call." So if you are going into some one's house or a business or something and you really don't want to stay long but you know that a certain person in there is impossible to get away from... you set you iPhone to ring in x amount of time. Anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. And it'll ring! No one is one the line! It's just a safety net! How cool is that?
Ken loves his new little iPhone so much. I'm pretty sure he is going to name it. And I love my new hand-me-down phone.... because I have to.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Da 'Burgh!

I flew to Idaho June 20, 2002. It's been six and a half years. Incredible. I still say I am from Pittsburgh although little Idaho has taken a place in the cackles of my heart. (Mostly because of Ken.) I think about Pittsburgh everyday. I do miss it. There's a group on Facebook called "You know you're from Pittsburgh when..." I love to read that list! You outsiders won't get it but it makes me smile. There's a restaraunt there- Primanti's. They make killer sandwiches and they put the french fries and cole slaw right on top of it for ya. That's how they serve every sandwich. Why have them as a side dish? At the PPG Place they have an annual International Santa display that is amazing. In elementary we always went on field trips and had to report about our favorite Santa. La Bofana is the Italian Santa. (She's actually a Christmas Witch- I reported on her.) There is a theme park, Kennywood. If you ever meet someone from Pittsburgh ask them about Kennywood. They will go on for hours! Their favorite ride, a school picnic story, a time they got lost there... it goes on and on. Also, when someones fly is down... Pittsburghers say "Kennywood's open." And that means your zipper is down. Strange, huh? At Giant Eagle (the grocery store) if you were under 12 you could get a cookie card. And every time you went to Giant Eagle (pronounced Jiiiite Iggle) you could show the bakery your card and you got to pick a free cookie! Any cookie! For free!! In Pittsburgh everyone calls the ATM the Mac machine. I still do and it really confuses Ken. We call the ice "slippy," a thorn bush a "jagger bush," the vacuum "the sweeper." I really love Pittsburgh. I've got 2 Pittsburghers that live on my road now! It's cool. When we're out we talk about it. We talk about it like Pittsburgh died. And we talk about all the weird Idaho stuff. As time goes by, what seemed so strange at first becomes common place.
Take the following:

I landed in Idaho Falls and didn't pull up to the airport. There was no terminal. We got our own bags off the plane and walked over to "the airport."

Notice the blue neon sign: "ALL ARRIVALS." Shouldn't be too hard to find who you are picking up. Now, the IF airport has been renovated but when I came it wasn't an airport. It was a room. And this was it.
How could you talk for 1084 minutes! 18 hours! And for only $20. In PA it $20 might get you 20 minutes. MAYBE half hour. And where in SAM hill did they come up with 1084 minutes. Not exactly a nice round number.

In case you can't read it, the sign on for real estate says "PERSONALIZED DRIVE BY LIST." My mom and I couldn't get over it. Maybe because in Pittsburgh "drive by" normally refers to a shooting and a death. In Idaho it means.... what exactly. I don't know.

Fireworks are illegal. All kinds. They are illegal and they are dangerous. But, not here! Here you can buy them on every street corner all summer long.

This is my brother-in-law Nick. Standing on the back of his car. Watching as he gives someone directions. You see you can stand on the back of your car and do that here because there are no trees. And no one cares. It's not vandalizing some one's property or anything like that.

This is Nick's dad, Phillip. He made us dinner our first or second night. I thought it came off the chuck-wagon! Now, of course, I know dutch oven is some of the best cooking around.

My roommate had this bedspread. She made it. From blue jeans. I thought she didn't know you could give your jeans to Goodwill and buy a bedspread. It was so country!

You aren't allowed to swim in any body of water you want to in Pittsburgh. It's limited to pools. Here, you can swim anywhere- and wear anything while you do! I was jumping off a wooden plank here.

And who knew horns were decorations? Not I, said the Patty.

For you natives. I am not scoffing. I am not poking fun. I am pointing out differences. I love my life in Idaho. It's nothing I ever expected. And pretty much every Friday night when Ken asks what I want to do for date night... Eat n' Park comes to mind.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Love Bite

After Kar taught me how to put beachy waves in my hair- I've become a bit of an addict. "What?," you may ask, "I haven't seen you with beachy waves." The reason for that is I normally do it for work if I happen to wake up early- or on Saturdays when I have time. And rarely do I see my friends at work- and Saturdays I am a bit of a hermit.

Point of blog: A curling iron burn and a hickey are not similar. That whole thing is a lie. Mothers: If you have daughters and they come home with a love bite on their neck and try to tell you it's a curling iron burn- they are lying! And obviously out with some hottie late at night. Daughters: Wear turtle necks if you have a hickey! Sheesh!

I have learned this because Saturday I burned myself with my curling iron. Not on my neck but on my finger. It's all a white hot, painful blur as to how it happened. But this burn doesn't look like a hickey and it hurts to be touched and it's been nearly 48 hours and I still have it.

So, obviously it's a burn. And why would Ken give me a hickey on my finger anyway? In closing, if you are getting hickeys on a regular basis- and are still using the old "curling iron burn" razzle dazzle... you better think of a new story. Because the word is out!

*P.S. This picture does my pain no justice.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Cup of Cheer

I cleaned out my car last night. It needed it bad. Ken said it looked like a homeless person was living in it. I normally wear one pair of comfy shoes to work and then change when I get there. The shoes don't always make it out of my car. I had been transporting files back and forth from our offices as well. AND, all the junk from Young Women in Excellence (dress-up clothes, stereo and CDs, lights, spotlights, and dirty dishes from the church) were in there too. So, yeah, homeless looking to say the least. Anyway I cleaned it all out and found a ton of change. TONS! I don't really know where it came from either because I rarely have cash. I put it in a little bucket and figured I'd treat myself to a JBC (junior bacon cheeseburger) every day for the next month.
When I went inside Ken asked if I would mind running to Albertson's to get some eggs for the meat loaf. So, me and my newly cleaned car take a jaunt to Alby's (as Karlenn calls it). It was there in the parking lot I heard it. The Salvation Army Bell Ringer. I watched her for awhile before getting out of my car. She looked at everyone and smiled and rang her bell hoping someone would drop a few pennies in. I was really surprised by how many people avoided her. Some people went in the out doors. Some people zoomed by her looking the other way- yeah, couldn't even look at her! Sheesh! Some people looked at her a shrugged as if to say, "Sorry- I can't even spare a dime." Now, I know that some people really can't spare a dime. Some people live on a really tight budget. But some people can! Some of those people were probably going into Albertson's to buy snacks! Or Egg Nog! Not necessities! And on the Bell Ringer rang.
So, I hefted up my bucket and headed straight for her. I was ready to dump all my change into that little red bucket. I walked up to her and told her Merry Christmas and started putting my change in. She was so happy and very conversational. She asked all about my Christmas plans and where I found all this change and if I had kids and on and on. It just brightened my day. A family with some little kids walked by and they asked their mom if they could have change to give to the lady. She told them no. So, I (overstepping my boundaries) told them they could help me put some of my change in. The mom let them do that and soon we were all talking about Santa and Christmas and giving to people.
It was such a cool experience. Putting change into a red bucket. It changed my whole night! I walked into Albertson's beaming. Waving to strangers, whistling Christmas carols, helping people reach things on high shelves! I was the epitome of Christmas Cheer! And I am planning on keeping it that way. So- scrooges beware!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Remember that nursery rhyme about the old lady who swallowed the spider to catch the fly?

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider

That wiggled and wriggled and tickled inside her

She swallowed the spider to catch the fly

I don't know why she swallowed the fly

Perhaps she'll die.

That "old lady" was me! Today! Except I didn't swallow the spider I spit it out! I am still trying to figure out how the whole thing happened. How that spider got on my mouth!

Here's the story:

Everyday at about 10:15 or 10:20 I get the munchies at work. To resolve these munchies I have a stash of PopTarts in the kitchen here. I la-hove PopTarts. Strawberry are my favorite. So I go in a grab my poptart. They have to be hot for me to eat it. So I put it into the microwave for 11 seconds. 10 seconds and they are not warm clear through and 12 the fillings oozes out. Somehow 11 is perfect. (TRY IT!) I wrap my poptart up in a paper towel so I don't burn myself and head back to my desk. I'm enjoying my snicker snacker and am about half way done when I think my hair is on my lips. So I brush my hair back behind my ears and still feel it! I try the heavy swipe with 4 fingers across my cheek. Still feel a hair! And wait.... it's really tickling.... it's moving! I wipe off my mouth and a spider is there! You know when you try to wipe one away and their insta-web starts working so you are dangling a spider from your finger? Yeah. That was me! That spider was crawling around my lips! How the h did he get there? I thought maybe he was on my ceiling and just happened to drop onto my head and webbed from there? Was he on the paper towel roll and I didn't see him? Or perhaps he likes poptarts too!

It was the weirdest thing. And now, of course, all day I have had the heebedee- jeebeddees. All over one little PopTart loving spider!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Taste the Rainbow

When Julie was on her mission I was getting ready to send her her weekly letter. Yes. Weekly letter. I was a very devoted pen pal. Anyway- I wanted to put something special in there. A little extra kick, you know? So I had fun size packs of Skittles on my desk at work and Jules LOVES Skittles. Chocolate makes her gag- but Skittles (and all fruity candy) she loves. So I take a pack and stick it into the envelope and head over to the post office. Now, working in a professional administrative occupation I often go to the post office. I know who the nice tellers are and who is a real pain. I am in line and I am eyeing up the employees trying to pick who I want to go to. Even though we don't really get to pick at all.... it's just who is available at that time. So, sure enough I'm up and the available girl is the skinny helmet-haired blond spinster one. She's mean. She never smiles. Which makes her mean.

I had her my envelope and ask how much it is to mail it. She feels the envelope, crinkles the envelope, shakes the envelope. (Just the price, please?)

Mean Mail Lady: Is there a necklace in here?
Nice Me: Nope! Skittles, close though.
Mean Mail Lady: Are you aware that Skittles are perishable?
Nice Me: Yeah- but I don't think they are going to perish in the three days it takes to get to Illinois.
Mean Mail Lady: Hmmm. Well this is too thick to send through the mail system anyway. Sorry.

I was getting pretty frustrated. I felt like she was purposely targeting me. Like she really did not want to mail this envelope because it was mine.

Nice Me: Oh I don't care if they get smooshed. It's just candy. She won't mind.
Mean Mail Lady: I'm sorry ma'am but I cannot mail this for you.
And she handed me my envelope back! I was pretty shocked. But I was determined to mail it. Maybe I'll just buy some stamps, put those on the envelope and drop it in the box outside! Genius!
Nice Me: Oh well. Thanks anyway. I would like to buy a few stamps please. (I avoid eye contact with her fearing she knows my plan.)
Mean Mail Lady: Are you going to use those stamps to mail this letter?
Nice (BLUSHING) Me: What?! No! (She knows! She knows!)
Mean Mail Lady: I'm not going to give you any stamps if you're going to put them on this letter.
Nice Me: I won't. (I'm busted.)
Mean Mail Lady: I'm sorry, hun. I'm not giving you any stamps.

I was defeated. I hung my head and retreated. In shame. In humilitation. But I couldn't believe she wouldn't sell me stamps! Maybe I was over zealous. Maybe I thought I was smart enough to outsmart the US Postal Service. But nothing can stop the US Postal Service.

Except Sundays and Holidays.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Beginning to Look...

Last night Ken and I decided to decorate for Christmas! I have to give props to Ken. He is always so willing to feed my little desires. He doesn't complain or anything- just says, "Do you really want to?" And I say- "Yes." And then we do it.
Our past three Christmases we have gotten a real tree. I love the smell. And the feel of a real tree. (I know it's not real but I always feel a "winter chill" in the room when we have a real tree.) Anyway- my mom gave us her old fake tree and Ken I decided to save fifty bucks and start Christmas earlier than usual with the artificial tree. We turned on our Rat Pack Christmas CD and hauled all our boxes upstairs. It was a riot. Rusty even got in on the fun. Chewing on wires, eating ornaments, ramming himself into the boxes. He knows the true meaning on Christmas! We got the whole tree lit and decorated and it was time for the main event. Placing the star atop the tree.

Apparently, our artificial tree was a few sizes bigger than our past trees because our star didn't fit! We rammed it on there as hard as we could but Ken insisted that it looked tacky. So, we are on the hunt for a new star. And we need it fast. A Christmas tree isn't a Christmas tree without a topper!

Thanksgiving '08

Do you know there is pretty much only one Thanksgiving Song?

A turkey sat on the backyard fence
Singing a sad, sad tune.
Thanksgiving Day is coming gobble gobble gobble gobble
And I know I'll be eaten soon
Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble
I don't like Thanksgiving Day
Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble
I would like to run away!

You can repeat it as many times as you'd like. (If there is another Thanksgiving Day song out there I'd love to hear it.) Unlike this sad little turkey in the song, Ken and I had a fantastic Thanksgiving Day break.
We went to Boise to spend the holiday with his Mom. We got there around 7 on Wednesday night and had potato soup with her and Tracy. Tracy is her boyfriend. Now, I never told her and maybe I haven't told you but I LA-HOVE potato soup. The creaminess. It's so filling. We visited for awhile and then me and Kenner headed over to our hotel. We're not stuck up- and we love our family.... but I also really like making every mini trip a vacation. PLUS (!!) we got to swim. Everyday twice a day. I'll admit, this was my first year swimming on Thanksgiving Day! It was pretty cool.
For the holiday Mom also invited her friend Debbie over. They don't like turkey (crazies) so we had prime rib. The crust on that piece of meat... spectacular. There was mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and cranberry stuff. And pies. Wow- were there pies. Apple, lemon custard, pumpkin, and a cheesecake. All those pies for 5 people! But believe me, I wasn't complaining. One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is watching the dog show. It's on AFTER the parade. I like placing bets on who I think will win. Even though the judges pick the same breeds every year. Constantly picking the Husky! Those judges! This year Best in Show went to the Pointer. Definately a spectacular and adorable dog- but- I didn't think he should have one the whole sha-bang. They had a gorgeous Samoyed. Gorgeous.
We spent the day with his mom and that night Ken and I ventured out to the Botanical Gardens on the outskirts of Boise. It was amazing! They decorate the whole thing- every branch is smothered with Christmas lights. They are playing Christmas music and they give out cocoa and cider and it was a good kick-off to Christmas. (Not to mention incredibly romantic.) Ken bought me a little star ornament as a memento.
Friday, Tammy took us to the Festival of Trees. Different companies or people donate decorated trees to St. Al's and the money raised goes to medical research. All I can say is, there will be plenty of research done this year! There were over 200 trees! And these trees go for thousands of dollars! THOUSANDS! There are different prizes given out and, of course, there is a People's Choice. I voted for a red and gold super over the top tree. But now, I am wishing I voted for the S'more tree. It was really cool. Decorated with s'more stuff! Graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows. Pretty incredible.
We swam one more time before hitting the highway back home.
If you want an exciting ride drive across the state of Idaho. Thrilling.