Friday, December 31, 2004

Friday, December 31, 2004 - Closing of the Year

If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you home
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we haven't sold

This is the time to be together
And the truth is somewhere here
Within our love for people
At the closing of the year

"At the Closing of the Year"
Wendy and Lisa
Toys soundtrack

Friday, December 31, 2004 - The Death Toll Rises

There is no God.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - Oooh, Return of the King...

Somehow I managed to keep from watching Return of the King until Monday. It has now been in the DVD player for 3 days, during which time we've watched the movie, parts of two of the four commentaries, and most of the supplemental material on the other two discs.

Maybe for New Year's Eve I'll pop in the whole trilogy and watch all of it in one shebang for the first time... Ooooh....

Side note: A big thank you to Martin for the chocolate! My favorite kind too!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - Post #200!

For a long time Blogger has said that I have posted 160 posts to this blog. I knew that it was wrong, so I _just_ counted, and it turned out that I had 199 posts. And that means...

Huzzah! It's ShadowAngel's 200th Postiversary!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - Christmas? Oh, yeah!

I never actually got around to describing Christmas Day, so here it is in brief.

Ironwolf and I tumbled into bed pretty late the night before, and thankfully the boys slept until a reasonable hour (about 8 AM). Rascal quickly went downstairs because he was excited about the presents, but when I made it downstairs with Zipper a few minutes later, Rascal seemed very grumpy. I think he needed a little more sleep. Zipper didn't quite know what to make of the scene. It took us 10-15 minutes before we could persuade them to open their first gifts.

Present time took quite a while, as the boys wanted everything opened up so they could play with it before opening the next gift, but that wasn't a problem because we had no place to go and no one else was coming over.

After presents and breakfast everyone settled down for a relatively quiet afternoon of assembling and playing with toys. Except for me, who strangely enough didn't really have any toys to play with (that's ok, the IPod for my birthday more than makes up for that - besides, Ironwolf got me a minijack --> RCA cable so I could hook the IPod to our stereo - very cool). So I ended up cleaning and cooking most of the day (what else is new?).

But we had a lovely ham dinner (would anyone like some leftover ham? Please?), and we talked with several of our far-flung relatives on the phone.

It really was a wonderful holiday.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - A Strange Sort of Guilt

Not long ago I described the "Kill Everyone" project (which you can see on my sidebar). I'm feeling a little guilty because right now in the project the target is "killing" the population of India.

Of course the project is just a joke of sorts, but it seems a lot less humorous when real-life disasters happen.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - Personal Medical-Type Yuckiness

If you aren't into hearing this sort of thing, feel free to skip this post, because it falls into the category of "too much information".

Over the summer I developed a cyst in my groin, which I saw my doctor about. He was unconcerned about it and recommended that I not bother having it removed unless it was really bothering me. Ok, fine.

Last Thursday morning I wake up and discover to my shock a red, painful lump in that location that has grown from the size of a large pea to that of maybe half a ping-pong ball.

So on Monday morning I gave the doctor a call. He had me come in that afternoon. He determined that it was an infection and decided to lance it. Thankfully he gave me a shot of Novocaine, but that shot hurt like you would not believe. I wanted to grab the doctor's hair and pull it out (but I settled on my own hair instead).

For two days I walked about with a big dressing over the wound, which was left open and stuffed with gauze so it could drain. I'm walking around funny, pick up Zipper, and strain a back muscle. Now I can't bend _this_ way or *this* way. Later I'm picking something up off the floor and go down onto my knee and land with all my weight on one knee on a small toy, resulting in a bruise.

So now it hurts to do _this_, *this* and ^this^.

Today I went back to have the dressing removed, which also hurt like hell, but it's looking a lot better. I just have a pile of antibiotics to take for a week. Once it heals up I'll need to make a decision as to whether the cyst needs to come out (assuming it still exists). My back is slowly getting better too. I'll probably be back in action by early next week.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Sunday, December 26, 2004 - Holly-Day Wishes

Good wishes and good will to you all!

Christmas Eve didn't exactly go as expected. We were hit by a rather large snowfall that afternoon (about 8 inches), making driving trecherous, but as we live only a few minutes drive from the church, we made the trek anyway (very slowly). A surprisingly large number of people made it to the early church service, and it was lovely. Rascal didn't really have enough patience to sit through it, but by and large he kept quiet.

After the service Ironwolf and the boys headed out to grandma's house. I was about to make a quick trek home (since I was the one responsible for the bell choir director's Christmas gift, and I, uh, forgot it at home...), when the Chancel (vocal) choir director told me not to bother because the bell choir director had just called - she was snowed in and couldn't make it for the next service.

Oh, yay. We in the handbell choir were without a director, with 1 1/2 hours until "showtime".

Thankfully we have another musical professional in the chancel choir (she teaches at a local college). She arrived early, and was kind enough to agree to direct the group. So I made a copy of all the music (since our regular director had the conductor's scores) and went through it with her while other members of the bell choir set up.

We had barely enough time to practice each of the three pieces once.

So, how did it turn out?

Not too bad, actually. The first piece was rather rocky, since as a group we weren't terribly familiar with it, but we kept it together. The second piece (which we had performed before) went alright, with a few minor errors (obvious to me, but not necessarily to the congregation). The last piece, which is a very difficult version of _Carol of the Bells_, went incredibly well. I don't think we have ever played it better.

Thank you Lois for being our angel that evening!

After that I did head off to join the others, and while things were winding down, everyone stayed long enough for me to unwrap my gifts and to socialize a bit for they started taking off. Plus they also saved me some dinner, which I was very grateful for at 10 PM. We shuffled the boys off to bed when we arrived home about 11 PM, despite cries of protest. "We're not tired!" Then we prepared for Santa's arrival before tumbling into bed, exhausted from our day.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Friday, December 24, 2004 - A Little Holiday Humbug

This is the first Christmas that I will not be spending with my extended family (because my parents and my sister and her family have moved to South Carolina). It's rather sad. But I know that next year things will be more settled and we should be able to get into a "new" old routine for the holidays.

That is, assuming that I'm not writing this blog from the other side of the world come next December.

But I still have my hubby's family, right? And they are still all around here!

Well, true. Except...

Ironwolf's sister decided that she didn't like the Christmas schedule. She didn't like rushing off to her mother's house on Christmas morning, as was our tradition, because she wanted to spend a quiet Christmas at home with her family. OK, that's fine, nothing wrong with that at all. So she proposes a Christmas Eve gathering. We'd all go to the early church service together and then go to Grandma's house for dinner. Great for everyone.

Except me. I'll be going to that early church service, and I'll be staying there, because it will be time for me to rehearse for handbells and choir for the 7:30 PM service. Now, of course, by the time I roll out of church at 9 PM or so, it will be getting too late for the kiddies, and by the time I get there things will be wrapping up.


Who knows why later on Christmas Day could not be considered? It's not like my husband's sister has anyplace else to rush off to later that day - her husband and his family is Jewish.

I'm being a humbug, I know, and I also know that I'll still enjoy and appreciate the holiday with my immediate family. But it's just not right. I'm used to a whirlwind of family and fun, and this year there will be none of that.

Friday, December 24, 2004 - There, I Did It

I am finally all caught up on my blog reading. It's about stinkin' time.

Forgive me for flagging in my "duties." It won't happen again (for a little while, anyway)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Thrusday, December 23, 2004 - Holiday Shopping Blues (and Reds and Greens)

Must remember not to tell Jewish bro-in-law Happy Hanukkah tomorrow at the Christmas Eve family gathering - the celebration is over already...and it would be like saying "happy halloween" when it's already mid-November...

I am happy to report that I did not rip open Return of the King. But, oh, the temptation!

As always, I had a bunch of "last-minute" shopping still to do this week. On Tuesday I packed up the kids and headed to the mall in the late morning. It wasn't too bad then but it was starting to get crowded when we left a couple hours later.

I get home with my packages and discover that I don't have one of the bags. Ugh. I probably left it on the floor when I was trying to get everybody's coats and hats back on, or someone could have just walked up and taken it, and I probably wouldn't have noticed. I'm betting on the former though - my view of humanity isn't too dim today.

Thankfully the package didn't contain an expensive gift (about $20 - none too pleasant, but it's not going to kill me). But, since Ironwolf insisted, I went back to the mall that night after getting the kids to bed. Customer Service didn't have the package (surprise, surprise), so I went shopping.

Let me tell you, the mall is a wonderful place to go shopping after 10 PM during Christmas week, when it is open until 11 PM! No crowds at all! Oh, it was heaven, and I finished up the last bit of shopping I had to do (including replacing the lost present).

Thursday, December 23, 2004 - It's Really Strange...

when you are shoveling snow and it's 50 F outside.

There's been a lot of bitter cold and a couple inches of snow last night, but today we got this freaky warm front that came through for a few hours, and then the temperature dropped back down into the low 20's.

This would be ok, but that meant that snow was melting and flooding the sidewalk and the end of the driveway. And if that (and the snow still on the driveway) sat, it would all turn to ice by nightfall. So I bundled up the kids, and we headed outside into the rain and shoveled snow.

I also learned that my snow boots cannot stand up to 4 inches of water. Brrrr....

Thursday, December 23, 2004 - Boo For Me

I seem to be losing my readership because I have fallen off the wagon in my blog reading too. And posting less often.

Despite what you think, it's not because I'm playing _The Sims_ all the time (ok, it was that for about 1 1/2 weeks, but never mind that).

It's partially because we keep the computer room closed off in the winter, so it's nasty cold in here, and not really the place where I want to spend a lot of time.

It's partially the busy busy holiday season.

And it's partially that I'm just making excuses.

OK, that's it. I am going to sit here until I catch up on everyone else's blog. (Ironwolf won't be happy about that). And I'll try to get back to my posting nearly every day schedule.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Saturday, December 18, 2004 - Tae Kwon Leap (Boot To The Head)

Rascal and I had our second Tae Kwon Do lesson yesterday. I had a good time, but all Rascal wants to do is to jump around and do cartwheels. The instructor thinks that probably he will not be ready for group classes because he doesn't follow directions.

This is really disheartening to me, because this would not be the first time that Rascal has been rejected from an activity due to his rambunctiousness. I was really hoping that he would be interested in this and that it would help him to learn discipline and get him ready to deal with a structured environment. Rascal will try a group class on Monday to see if he responds better to it, but prospects look bleak.

The horrid thing is that I know that is very much my fault for not providing the structure and the discipline that he needs. It's my fault that he isn't in a Pre-K program (although I would have had to shell out a lot of money for a private Pre-K, since he didn't get a spot in the public "universal" Pre-K). It's my fault that he really isn't involved in any activities. He's a smart kid, and I'm probably dooming him to a childhood where he is a social misfit (like my childhood).

I know, I'm beating myself up over this, and I don't really need to. I'm not the type of mother who lets him get away with anything he wants, but I do like to give him a lot of freedom. But the fact is that he does need some structure, and I'm at a loss at how to provide it.

On a good note, I seem to be doing quite well, and I must say that I look very good in my uniform, and have finally learned how to tie the belt. :-) I'll be starting group classes on Monday as well. I'll be a clueless newbie in a sea of seasoned adult students, but everyone's gotta start somewhere. Now we'll just have to find out how much these classes are actually going to cost me...

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - Kill Everyone!!!

I am happy to announce that I have joined the _Kill Everyone_ project at It's a fun little "game" that has been running since 2002 where the object is to eventually exterminate the entire human race (virtually, via mouse clicking on a box - 1 click = 1 "dead person").

It's surprisingly fun on those days when you have a particularly bleak view of existence.

If you want to join in the murderous fun, you can click through the Kill Everyone graphic (showing my current body-count) in the sidebar! Enjoy!

Thrusday, December 16, 2004 - I'm A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Mother...

I could not stop myself - I screamed at my children far, far too much today. Every little thing grated at me, and I could not take it.

I know I've brought this topic up before, but it's really gnawing at my soul. For about 48 hours every month, I become this horrible, miserable, bitchy, unbearable person. Intellectually I know it's insanity, but I can't make myself stop.

I know I should bring it up with my doctor, but I don't know if it will do much good. I did tell him about the migraines, and he gave me some stuff which has helped somewhat.

In an ideal world, what I would like to do is to take those days off and go do whatever my little heart desires. Unfortunately, you don't get vacation days from being a mom.

So I end up taking my unstable emotions out upon my loved ones (oh, btw, to my real-life friends - yeah, that pretty much accounts for the times over the years when you have seen me at my worst. The sad thing is that I probably have better control over it now than I used to have.)

I can't live like this any longer. But I don't know what to do.

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - Thum for Dummies

I'll admit to all of you out there in cyberspace; I bite my nails.

It's a nasty, disgusting habit that I picked up from my mother (and most of the rest of her side of the family), and now I seem to have passed on the bad habit to Rascal.

Ironwolf, finding the whole thing rather distasteful, is trying to nip it in the bud. He bought one of those concoctions to make your fingers taste bad so that you won't bite them. The particular formula he purchased is called Thum, and it is basically nail polish with cayenne pepper extract.

So far, Rascal doesn't seem to be too deterred by it.

As for me, I put several coats of it on, and I still don't notice the taste unless I'm actually looking for it. But then again, I have a history of stuff like that not working. I guess they (used to?) have this "bitter apple" stuff that was supposed to taste _really_ bad. My mother tells me that I liked the taste of it. *hee hee*

I suppose I should knuckle down and try to beat this habit... [ShadowAngel places the back of her hand upon her forehead and sighs] ...for my children's sake!

Thursday, December 16, 2004 - A ShadowAngel Improvement Update

First of all, a big hello to Ann Marie!

Well, things are mixed in the ShadowAngel improvement department. I let the trial membership at the Buffalo Athletic Club lapse. It really wasn't the place for me. Oh, the facility was ok (though I wish it had a pool), but I was really unhappy with the atmosphere there. People just didn't seem very friendly, and the staff... well, it seemed to me that all the staff cared about was getting me signed up to a long-term membership (I think maybe their membership signups are linked to bonuses or promotions or job security or something).

The holiday season has not treated me well and I have regained a few pounds (boo).

But! A new development is at hand. Rascal and I have joined a Tae Kwon Do studio. We had our first introductory lesson yesterday, and we will have another one tomorrow. I'm not sure how much Rascal likes it yet (he was really crabby yesterday), but I think it's a lot of fun. We've got a couple more lessons before I'll be asked to make any financial commitment, so we'll see how things go, but if I can manage the cost, I'm certainly sticking with it. I really hope Rascal wants to do it too. One of the big reasons that I chose this particular studio is that they have daily family classes where parents and children can train together.

My only problem with Tae Kwon Do is that I can't seem to get my belt tied right...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - LOTR:ROTK X is here!

Hooray! The long-awaited L0rd of the Rings: The Return of the King Extended Version DVD set is out! I got my hands on my copy this afternoon. I can't wait to see the scenes with Christopher Lee that were cut from the theatrical release!

But...I must be a good ShadowAngel. I am giving it to Ironwolf for Christmas.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - Maybe I Shouldn't Be Such A Perfectionist, But...

I was seriously annoyed about the music in last Sunday's church service. I can chalk a lot of it up to PMS, but still hear me out.

Every year, two Sundays before Christmas, the chancel and handbell choirs prepare a large number of pieces for a service which is almost exclusively music. I thought we were just awful on Sunday, compared to our usual performance.

Now, I don't usually fret too much about the handbell choir, since there are a number of beginners in the group, and mistakes happen. But our first piece was one of our "showcase" pieces - a rather difficult rendition of _Carol of the Bells_. Now, I have the dubious distinction of being the one carrying most of the melody for the first half of the piece (you know how the piece goes). Now, the player immediately on my right needs to come in with the harmony at the right time - and she's a measure ahead, and it's screwing up other people, and I'm counting off measure numbers to her, but she's got earplugs in (because it's a very loud piece and the volume is too much for her ears), so she doesn't hear me. She finally got things straightened out after 15 measures or so, and it's not as though the piece fell apart, but still, after all the work we did on that...

Then there's the Chancel Choir. Everyone, but particularly the men's sections, were *really* flat. It's just painful to listen to it. It was particularly annoying in one piece which was supposed to be a quiet piece, but the rest of the tenor section behind me was just absolutely blasting into my ear, and they sounded horrid too. Ugh!

I'm sorry; I've been whining. But we work really hard at this music, and sometimes it's just perfect, but when a "performance" comes around and it's just so bad I can't stand it. I know, don't fret over it. The congregation doesn't much notice when we make mistakes, and even when they do notice they tend to forget about it quickly.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - My Baby's Not A Baby Anymore

You're smart readers. You already know that Rascal turned 5 on Saturday. Oh, my little boy is getting so big! It seems like just yesterday he was a tiny baby. How quickly the time goes...

On his birthday proper we kept things low-key. His grandmother and great-grandmother stopped by for a short visit. Ironwolf gave Rascal a little build-it-yourself Home Depot wooden workbench, and they spent much of the day putting it together. Rascal was very proud of it when it was finished.

Also during the afternoon he and I baked a birthday cake for him, which he decorated in typical Rascal fashion - which pretty much consists of taking every little bottle of colored sugar and other decorative bits and dumping them all over the cake. (hee hee)

I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner. After much serious contemplation, the response was "eggs". Eggs? Well...okay, if that's what you want...

Happy Birthday Rascal!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - I Would Cry If It Wasn't So Damn Funny

Tonight I was not expecting to be blogging; I was planning on baking some cookies. But unfortunate events led me to this point...

First of all, I was trying a new recipe, and I quickly realized that the mixing bowl that I was using, along with my electric mixer, was way too small. And how did I realize this? Because the mixer was throwing the mixture from the bowl and splattering it all over me and my kitchen! (and this was *before* I added any flour). So, with a little difficulty, I searched and found a larger bowl to accomodate the mixture and proceeded to add the flour.

I had just put the last scoop of flour in and was completing the mixing process when suddenly my hair caught in the electric mixer, rapidly winding itself countless times around the beaters. Thankfully the mixer was on low speed, for I was able to react quickly enough to shut it off the mixer became thoroughly embedded in my hair.

I wandered down to the basement, mixer and bowl in hand, to where Ironwolf was wrapping presents. He was a little annoyed because he was wrapping a present for me at the time, but soon he realized my dire predicament and cut my hair loose from the machine.

So my cookie dough is ruined, I've lost a lock of hair (though it's not really noticeable amongst my unkempt mane), my kitchen is a terrible mess, and I won't be able to make more cookies until I go to the store again for more ingredients.

*sigh* You may all now proceed to make fun of me... :-P

Friday, December 10, 2004

Friday, December 10, 2004 - Stats Don't Lie, Or Do They?

It's very odd... I looked at the stats I keep at the bottom of my web site, and it appears that Wendy's blog has 100 referrals to mine in the last 24 hours. Strange...

Friday, December 10, 2004 - Celebrations

Today was a day full of celebrations!

First I had the pleasure of attending my church's seniors' luncheon. Ok, I didn't really go for the luncheon - I was part of the entertainment. Part of the handbell choir (the half-dozen of us in the group that are retired or could get out of work [or be lucky enough to have dh at home watching the boys today]) played a selection of Christmas handbell pieces. Our director surprised us with Santa hats to wear during the performance. We looked really funny!

It was a lot of fun, but unfortunately we didn't get to have a lot of rehearsal time, and some of the handbell choir members are not so skilled (I do pretty well for myself though), so the last two pieces didn't come out quite so well. Usually if you have a weak piece of music, you shove it in the middle so people forget about it pretty quick. Nope. Both the tough ones were at the end. Ah, well. What do you expect from volunteers anyway! *chuckle*

Later in the afternoon we surprised Rascal with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's because my baby turns 5 years old tomorrow! I didn't want to throw a big bash (there will be time enough for that when he starts requesting them), so we just had his aunt and cousin as guests. Oh, it was so much fun! The little ones had a great time with the games and rides (and the adults managed to get a few cracks at the games too). It was surprisingly quiet there too until about 6 PM (when the parents finally got of work to take their kiddies there, of course). Rascal was very surprised and happy.

I told myself I wasn't going to do it, but Rascal had been requesting the Fisher-Price Imaginext Dragomont Fortress for months. I told myself I wasn't going to get a crappy piece of plastic toy, but I broke down and got it anyway. Well, ok, not exactly. The Fortress is a new toy in their Dragon set. I looked at the set and found that the older "scenery pieces" cost much less (and looked cooler imho) so I got him a "dungeon" set and some extra figures to go along with it. Rascal was thrilled to get it! There were about a million pieces to put together, but it wasn't too bad. There's a slight tendency for a couple of the pieces to fall off, but it's built to bew easily put together and taken apart so it can be constructed in different ways. Very cool. I wish I had one as a kid.

Actually, I'm kind of lusting for the Fire & Ice Dragons set put out recently by Mega Bloks. Oh, I saw a display of them today and they are so cool! I would have gotten them for Rascal instead but they are all ages 8+ toys. Ah, well. Maybe there will be one in my stocking.

Wow, I've really digressed here. Party hearty, y'all!

Friday, December 10, 2004 - The Quest For The Beer Is Completed!

Yea, verily, my valiant husband, Sir Ironwolf, traversed the wilderness upon his steed and captured his long-sought quarry!

Yup, he finally found the Paulaner beer!

Since Ciara commented about it ( I got a good laugh too): We had the opportunity to have this beer while in Hong Kong. Actually, we had quite a few of them *chuckle*. Unfortunately it would not have been reasonable to import the quantity we wanted by bringing it from China. And wouldn't it be strange?

"Do you have anything to declare?"
"Umm, yeah...these three cases of German beer we brought back from Hong Kong."

Expensive stuff though. Ironwolf paid $52/case. Ouch. Our "everyday" beer is Labatt Blue, a nice, lightweight (but not watery) Canadian lager available everywhere here for about $16/case.

Finally this foolish quest is over!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Thursday, December 9, 2004 - Quest For The Beer

Those of you that followed my Hong Kong blog may remember my mentioning a certain German beer for which Ironwolf has been looking for many months. Here now is the story so far:

Ironwolf had a discussion with his bro-in-law (last year, I think_, in which the BIL mentioned that his favorite beer was this unpronounceable German beer made by Paulaner. I don't know if he had it in Germany or whatever, but I wasn't part of this conversation. Anyway, the BIL was sad that he was unable to find the beer anywhere locally.

So Ironwolf went on a quest to find this beer. Sad to say, it was true, the beer could not be found locally. he did find a place that sold pilsner glasses with the beer's logo on it (he bought those), but they no longer carried the beer.

Months later he decided to go hunting on the Internet. We found that there were distributors of this beer in the U.S., but could not find one closer than Binghampton (about 3 hours away), and they of course are wholesalers, not retailers. Ironwolf planned to drive out to Binghampton this weekend just to find this beer *somewhere*. Luckily, some additional phone research located a retailer with plenty of cases in Rochester (*much* closer!). Yay! Tomorrow evening my hubby will be off to collect the long-awaited brew!

Thursday, December 9, 2004 - Because I Feel Guilty

I want to apologize to my dear readers and to everyone else whose blogs I read that I haven't been there in so long. I really, really, really want to catch up on everyone's lives. I think it's going to take a few days to get through it all though.

I miss my online friends.

Thrusday, December 9, 2004 - He's A Foul One, Mr. Grinch...

I am such a Scrooge. I feel so un-filled with the holiday spirit this year.

Maybe it's the fact that there isn't any snow (hey, it's Buffalo!). In fact, we are having a bit of a heat wave right now (high 40's to low 50's). It doesn't seem like winter has arrived. (yes, I know, technically winter doesn't arrive for two more weeks).

Maybe it's that I'm already suffering from holiday overload. For example:

  • First day I saw a Christmas display in the stores: October 25.
  • First day the first 24/7 Christmas song radio station started playing here: November 1.
  • First day I saw a big, garish holiday light display in someone's yard in my neighborhood: November 11. (Some people still had Jack O' Lanterns in front of their homes.)
  • First day I noticed Santa in the mall: November 17.

This is getting ridiculous.

Or maybe it's just that I haven't really done much in the way of holiday preparations yet. Yeah, I put up some lights outside the other day (in the cold rain, btw), and I've done some of my shopping, but really that's it.

(cue music)
Oh, we need a little Chirstmas
right this very minute
Candles in the window
Carols at the spinet
Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Need a little Christmas now

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Sunday, December 5, 2004 - Thank Heavens For The Internet

When I was cleaning up today I came across a bill for some CDs from one of those evil music services. It was due today. (Eeek!) So I fired up the computer, got myself an account on their web site, and paid off my bill lickety-split.

Now, of course, it'll be on next month's credit card bill, but for the moment, disaster averted!

Sunday, December 5, 2004 - Quite A Weekend To Cover

Wow, this weekend has been busy. I haven't had a moment to get online and post.

Friday night was Ironwolf's company holiday party. I always look at these affairs with a bit of dread. Oh, boy, let's go to another party where I meet the same people again and still can't remember any of their names! *laugh*

Really, it's not all that bad. I remembered 3 or 4 people! Not including Ironwolf's former boss (oops). Nice dinner, good company at our table (though no one that I knew before). And it's always a lot easier to socialize after you've gotten a couple drinks in you. I made Ironwolf dance a little, joined in the Electric Slide as I always do, and tried to bite my tongue during the company awards ceremony (instead of making fun of it like last year).

Nearly every woman was dressed in black (as was I). Damn, I have to get me a baby blue dress or something so that I can stand out at one of these parties. Wait.. I'd rather not stand out.

I got a good chuckle about a dress that one young woman was wearing. It was very low cut, and as I was taking to her my eyes kept straying to her chest... There was just no avoiding it! Ironwolf tells me that she dresses like that all the time at work too. Well, I guess, if you've got it, flaunt it, but...

Saturday: good day, quiet, except for an ill-advised trip to the grocery store. I brought both boys, because they wanted to shop with Mommy, and they misbehaved, and the store was surprisingly crowded, and I couldn't find what I wanted. Grrr... oh, well.

My mother called me and informed me that she and my father would be coming to my place on Sunday evening. Yay! I miss my folks so much since they moved several months ago. I knew that my father and my bro-in-law were coming out because my sister and her son are moving down to South Carolina with them. But I was surprised that my mom was joining us too. She was supposed to have started a new job on Monday, but the place rescinded the offer (very upsetting) but since then she has found another position which will start up the next week. So bonus for me though!

I went out scrapbooking that night with one Creative Memories-associated group that has a monthly crop. Usually I go with my sis-in-law, but she was off at her hubby's holiday party. But I still had a couple friends there to chat with (of course, I've gone to crops where I don't know anyone - that doesn't bother me). There was also two people there that have also been to China recently (go figure, in a room of 25 ladies), so we swapped stories. I got a lot done too, so it made me a happy ShadowAngel.

Sunday: Went to church early because I keep missing Thursday night choir rehearsal (because of Ironwolf's schedule) and needed some rehearsal time. Stayed late at church for the same reason. Next Sunday is the annual big music Sunday in Advent, and there is a pile of music I'm not totally comfortable with yet. Also, the choir director would be flogging me with a wet noodle if I didn't show up for some of these rehearsals.

I spent the entire afternoon cleaning up for my parents' visit. I also called up my brother and my other sister to invite them over. My sister wasn't free, but my brother's wife said they would come, so I spent some extra time going through toys to assemble a collection of toys appropriate for their 2-year-old to play with (and removing the small-parts toys that he might be inclined to eat [strangely, Zipper has no interest in mouthing toys anymore, and I don't really need to worry about him choking on small parts {doesn't mean I'm not wary though}]).

My parents arrive and a couple minutes later my sis-in-law calls my mother to tell us that their son is throwing a fit so they decided not to come. What the heck! That's just the lamest excuse. My kids have tantrums too. So what. I put them in their coats, toss them into their car seats, buckle them up, and go. Big fat hairy deal. It's just another excuse. If they didn't want to come all they had to tell me was that they couldn't make it - I would have understood.

Anyway, we were so happy to see them, and they were so happy to see us! The boys just swarmed over their grandparents. I kept their visit a surprise, and they were so excited! We spent some time visiting, talking, and playing, and then we all went to a nice Chinese restaurant (which was, as usual, empty - a shame because it's a great place). It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately my parents had to leave at the end of dinner, but they had a long drive back to my sister's house, and they had been up since 1 AM driving from South Carolina. My mom cried. I know they miss us too.

It will be a couple months before we get to see them again, so I was very grateful that they were able to make some time for us - I know that they have a very busy schedule on this trip, and I was prepared to accept that we would not get to see them this time. Thankfully things worked out!

Sunday, December 5, 2004 - Time For A Little Explanation

Thank you, dear readers, for your kindness and your concern. I really appreciate it. You are as dear to me as my "real-life" friends.

Why have I disappeared for so long? The answer is simple, my friends: A deep lingering depression that manifested itself this time in the guise of total apathy. I became totally disconnected from my normal life - not taking part in most of my usual activities and hobbies, not doing anything vaguely social unless forced into it, and generally speaking hiding from the world.

The worst thing about it is that I don't know why I have felt this way. If I'm depressed, and I can locate a root cause for it, it tends not to grip me too tightly. But sometimes I just feel...nothing... for a long time. It's not life, it's mere existence.

Normally I would do things like retreat into the online world, but I never really felt inclined to do that this time. Yes, that was partially because of _The Sims_, but I really only played that for a few days, and I really wasn't online at all (hence the ridiculous number of email messages).

Just to put your mind at ease:

  • I am not suicidal or anything like that. Once in my life I was, but I won't let myself get to that point ever again.
  • I still take good care of my kids when I'm down. No, I'm not Supermom, but the boys remain happy and healthy.

So after 3 weeks, I am managing to pull myself out of this mental state. I suppose I could go to counseling, but they would just tell me things I already know. Or maybe I could get drugs, but I don't really care to muck around with my brain chemistry too much.

You don't need to worry about me. But if you see me disappear without explanation again for a long period, you certainly have my permission to come look for me. (Even if it means standing outside my house throwing snowballs at the front windows).

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Thursday, December 2, 2004 - I Have...

624 emails in my inbox.

Of these emails, 619 of them are spam.

Spamblocker my butt.

Thursday, December 2, 2004 - Computer Games BAD...

I should know better to do this when I am in this kind of mental state, but a couple weeks ago, I bought _The Sims Mega Deluxe_ (with several of the expansions built in). I trust that you are all geeky enough to know of the game, so I won't explain it. As expected, I got caught up in it. Let me relate to you the sad, humorous life of my first character:

I thought that it would be easiest to start out with one Sim (turns out it's not easiest because of the social aspect, but that's unimportant). A few days into his miserable little life, he's making breakfast, and with no cooking skill manages to start the stove on fire. Now, no Sim can put a fire out by himself (he's too busy panicking - it's hilarious), so I endeavor to get him to call the fire department. Unfortunately, when setting up his home, I made the mistake of placing the phone on the wall above the stove. He watched his entire kitchen burn down. Then he lost his job, was too depressed to look for a new one, and I eventually let him starve to death.

I've been primarily running two characters now, and they have done quite well for themselves, moving all the way up their respective career ladders. Here's two good stories about one of them:

  • "Chris" was getting ready for work one morning and needed a little dose of fun, so she went outside to play with her model rocket. She started a fire next to her, which would not have been a problem except that I was at that time running that game at the highest possible speed, so that by the time I paused it, 45 game minutes had gone by and poor Chris had started burning herself and there was no saving her. I felt justified in not saving that game.
  • Chris moved all the way up the Science career ladder to the top position, Mad Scientist ( very cool). A few days later she drank one of her experiments and turned into a Criminal (one of the other career paths), so now she's a Criminal Mastermind instead (who happens to be living with an International Spy hee hee hee)! The money's better, but the hours stink.

Stupid game. Too much fun.

Thursday, December 2, 2004 - Thanksgiving and the Nightmare Weekend

Thanksgiving, generally speaking, was nice. My husband's family gathered at his sister's house (along with her husband's parents). Unfortunately, Ironwolf's sister came down with a stomach virus the night before. And of course, she was supposed to be the one cooking dinner (don't worry, she didn't have to do it). And, she's six months pregnant and couldn't take anything for it. And, she was in the hospital last week for premature labor that was brought on by dehydration.

And... it was her birthday. Poor thing!

Aside from that, it was a lovely gathering. But then...

Fast forward to Friday night, around 11:15 PM. The kids are in bed, and Ironwolf and I have a couple friends over to play games. Ironwolf suddenly complains that he is not feeling well and disappears into the bathroon. The friends wisely decide that we should wrap things up for the night and they take off.

A few minutes after they leave, Ironwolf is in the bathroom again, but now he's vomiting. He gets himself all cleaned up and as I help him prepare for bed, I hear it. Rascal is in his bed, crying, with himself and his bed covered in vomit. Oh, boy. It's going to be a long night.

With the both of them throwing up regularly (and Rascal every few minutes), I was concerned, so I called up our health insurance 24-hour nurse line to try to make sure it wasn't food poisoning (we'd had a pizza that night, and you never know). The nurse called us and I and Ironwolf (mostly Ironwolf, because I was tending Rascal) talked with the nurse about their symptoms. The nurse came to the preliminary conclusion that Rascal had a bowel obstruction. What?! Excuse me? That doesn't even make sense! I don't think that a bowel obstruction in my son is going to cause my husband to be sick at the same time! Duh.

Sometime during this conversation I become increasingly aware that I am not feeling so well. At first I brush it off as stress plus the late hour, but eventually I must accept reality, and indeed I was also bending down to the porcelain goddess by about 2:30 AM.

Thankfully I got Rascal to sleep shortly after that, and lay down myself for a bit, but right around 4 AM Zipper wakes up vomiting. The next couple hours are spent primarily tending to him.

As you may have surmised, we did indeed catch the stomach virus from Ironwolf's sister (as did his brother and grandmother). That pretty well shot the whole weekend, and left me with this incredible pile of bodily-fluid soaked laundry to take care of. Oh, the stench (one of the reasons why I never joined most of my family in the nursing profession)!

Zipper still has the runs from this illness, and it's worse than I've ever seen before. But he seems cheerful and is eating and drinking normally so I'm not too worried (except I can't keep him in clean clothes). The diaper rash was really bad for a while. It's improving, and I expect him to be back to normal in a day or two.

Well, that which does not kill us makes us stronger, so I guess we must be stronger for the experience!

Thrusday, December 2, 2004 - 3 Weeks

3 weeks.


That's how long I've been off the face of the planet. Ugh. Even for me, that's pretty bad.

I'll sound off on that topic very soon (tonight if I can keep myself awake), but until then I'll offer up a couple tidbits of the mundane.

Welcome back readers. I am indeed alive, if not kicking.