Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Why is it that working the week between Christmas and New Year’s is pure torture? It shouldn’t be. I mean, it’s quiet and relatively peaceful. The phone is unusually silent and there isn’t much going on. I should be organizing my office and getting ready for the debut of 2011, but instead I’m daydreaming and wishing I were at home with my family.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I’m sitting here doing nothing. It’s just that I’m not doing things very fast. Maybe I’m on sensory overload from all the twinkling Christmas lights. Or perhaps I ate one too many sugar cookies?!

Or maybe I’m just ready for a nice long weekend.

Yeah, that’s probably it. No matter how many days off I get for the holiday, it seems to go by much too quickly. The only people who might disagree are those short folks whose age can be measured in single digits. Since they’re the ones eagerly awaiting the arrival of the white bearded guy in the red suit, the days leading up to his arrival seem interminable.

I, on the other hand, think someone has been spinning the clocks faster than normal just to confuse me. Wasn’t it just September?? I swear…

Of course, it’s been so long since my age could be measured in single digits, I can’t remember the last time I thought the wait time was interminable. Well, unless you count the time waiting at red lights in front of the mall at Christmastime. Or sitting in the dentist chair waiting to hear if you need a root canal. Yeah, those waits are pretty interminable. I guess I should clarify the statement by saying that I can’t remember the last time I was so eagerly awaiting a day to arrive that the wait seemed interminable.

Sure, I eagerly awaited the arrival of our wedding day last September…but it was mixed in with feelings of panic as I realized the day was getting closer and closer and we still had so many details to finish.

Okay, so that’s not really true. Our wedding went surprisingly smoothly and we were ready for the big day. Probably the only time in my life that I didn’t procrastinate, but that was mostly because I didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of a large group of people who know me.

No, I guess the only time you eagerly await an event in which you don’t have to handle a multitude of details is when you’re a kid. You get to reap the rewards (i.e., birthday presents, trips to Disney World, the arrival of Santa, summer vacations), but you don’t have to do much to get the ball rolling. That’s the adults’ job.

So my basic premise here is that the only time the wait seems long is when you’re a kid. But I realized that’s not entirely true. As I sit here anxiously awaiting 5 o’clock to roll around, I’m thinkin’ the wait is pretty interminable.


Yep. It will be an interminable wait – but I guarantee you that the rest of my long weekend will be gone in a flash and January 3rd will arrive before I’m ready to be sitting back in my office starting the new year!

So…in case I run out of time to write another blog before 2011 rolls around, I wish you health and happiness. I wish you lots of love and much laughter. And I wish for you to remember how it felt to be a child who has so many events to be eagerly anticipated that time seems interminable. Yeah, that’s what I wish for you. And for me, too.

C’mon, clock. It's not 5PM yet??

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Twinks and Jinx

Wow – eighteen days have passed since my last blog…hope I remember how to write one!

Well, despite having all of our Christmas “chores” completed in plenty of time so that we didn’t have any last-minute hustling and bustling to do, things still seemed hectic for me and I didn’t find time to write. Too bad I didn’t get an iPad for Christmas…perhaps then I could’ve kept up with my blogging. (Yeah, like anyone cares enough about my blogs to fork over $600 for a new iPad!)

Anyway, we had a lovely holiday. Christmas Eve was spent in Newark with Vince’s dad and family. It was a fun evening spent with family and friends. And Marilyn, as always, gave everyone amazing gifts.

My favorite? A Garmin! (Did’ja hear that, Cousin Brian?!) I swear – I had a tear in my eye when I tore off the wrapping paper and then wouldn’t let the thing out of my sight all evening! Perhaps I will never again write a blog about getting lost…buuuut, on the other hand, I wouldn’t count on it. Not unless my GPS machine will also physically drive my car for me so I get to my destination without getting turned around! (At this point, I have little faith in my navigational abilities. I pray Garmin proves me wrong!!)

Ah, but I was talking about the holidays and not just about my cool gifts! My parents drove to Columbus on Christmas Day. Still here, as a matter of fact, which is a gift in and of itself. Plus, my sister and her family will arrive here tomorrow to spend a few days with us.

Oh, and small point…but we have two new kittens at home!

NOW it’s clear why I haven’t had time to write! We’ve been cuddling and petting them. And feeding and watering them. And cleaning up litterboxes. And pulling them off furniture that they seem determine to claw to death. Not to mention the store runs to pick up kitten food and little pink collars with jingly bells and kitty nail clippers and Neosporin and Band-Aids!

So it has been a busy time at home, but oh so much fun! We have Twinklebelle who is a black and white “Tuxedo” kitten. I lost my cat, Tux, over a year and a half ago and have been thinking for some time about getting a new little furball at home. (Oh, and yes, Tux was black and white. And, no, I did not know that the proper name for such cats is actually “Tuxedo”! By the time I found out, it was too late to change her name. But it was always a little like naming your Beagle, um, “Beagle.”)

Anyway, Twinklebelle – or Twinks for short – is a little bundle of energy. Except when she’s napping and she does, in fact, nap a lot. But when she’s not napping, she’s whizzing about like a little crazy kitty. We have several nicknames for her already – Vince calls her “Motocross.” And we both call her “Killer.”

See, she isn’t too crazy about our other little kitten, Jinx. She hisses or growls at Jinx whenever she spies her and then chases her under furniture. Fortunately, Jinx is just a tiny little thing so she can hide under cabinets and other pieces that Twinks can’t fit under.

Fortunately, I think Twinks is getting used to Jinx. As a matter of fact, I was holding Jinx and Twinks came right up to Jinx and looked at her for several seconds without making a sound. Suddenly, it must have occurred to her that she was standing next to the “enemy” so she let out a weird kitty cry and then threw in a hiss for good measure. But we think that soon they’ll both be playing together like happy kitties. Or at least we hope so!

Twinklebelle seems to have bonded with Vince. She lets me pet her, but she lets Vince hold her for HOURS. She’ll fall asleep in his arm while the other attempts to carry on IM chats with his family and friends. (Not an easy thing to do!) And Jinx is a placid little girl who doesn’t seem to be bothered by Twink’s hissing. She curls up on just about anyone’s lap and purrs. So we’re spending time holding kittens and playing with them and laughing at their antics.

So…life is good. And, even though I don’t have a new iPad, I’ll try to write more. Now I have additional fodder for my blogs - especially since I’ll NEVER get lost again and, thus, lost one big topic.

Ah well. There are always things to spill on myself and stuff in the garage to fall on me…or the car.

Until later then.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good Thing It’s Friday…

For some reason, I’ve been really sleepy this week. I’m even going to bed earlier and still getting up at my regular time…so I’m getting plenty (and I mean plenty!) of sleep. Maybe it’s the cold weather. I far prefer staying snuggled under the covers than getting up and heading out into the cold.

Whatever the reason, I’m not likin’ this snow stuff, even if it is just a “dusting.” Oh, sure, it’s pretty and all – but when I wake up and hear about school delays on the radio, I know I’m going to head into a big ol’ traffic jam and will have to fight my way downtown.

This morning my first instinct was to pull my comfy clothes out of the closet, including my warm fleece jacket. It’s not very professional-looking, but I work in a place where people wore jeans and sweatshirts to our holiday party – so it’s not like I need to dress up. Yet I did. I wore a nice cream-colored blouse with a red blazer and black slacks. I look like I’m ready for another holiday party, except that I don’t have any holiday-party-attending plans today. But that’s okay. Dressing up is what I do and I’m actually more comfortable dressed up a bit than dressed down.

I hop in my car grateful that it came equipped with “butt warmers,” which are perpetually in the “on” mode once the temps outside hit anywhere close to freezing. I rarely wear gloves or button up my coat because it’s so nice and toasty in my car.

So I drive downtown sipping coffee from one of our many travel mugs in between grumbling at the other drivers going speeds of about 5MPH on roads that may have been a little damp, but that’s about it.

When I arrive in the office and hang up my winter coat, I notice that my blouse is all wet. Yes, every time I took a sip of coffee, it dribbled out from the side of the mug and spilled onto my blouse. Because I don’t drink really hot coffee, I never noticed.


Maybe I should have worn my fleece jacket – I wouldn’t have cared that I had a big coffee spill down the front of me. I could’ve zipped up the jacket and would have been good to go.

Instead, I had to take my blouse off in the restroom and do a quick clean-up to get me through the day. Except that I keep smelling coffee. And I’m not all that fond of the stuff to begin with – so smelling like coffee all day is not really a great thing.

I tell you – I never had these sorts of problems when I drank Diet Coke in the morning.

That’s why I say it’s a good thing it’s Friday. Now it’s just a matter of getting home safely and beginning our weekend. Of course, I have no idea what we’re doing this weekend. Darn me and my organizational craziness of the past couple weeks. We don’t have any cards or letters to write. We don’t have any trees or decorations to put up. We don’t have any gifts to buy (unless we go shopping for ME, which is always a great idea!). And we don’t have any real cleaning/organizing to do. Well, except for maybe laundry - to at the very least de-funkify my coffee-stained blouse.

No, instead we can just R-E-L-A-X all weekend. What an awesome concept. Maybe we’ll have to light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the flames. Nice. I’m in!

Although I DO think we may have to take a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a 12-pack of Diet Coke. Just in case.

And the travel coffee mug I used this morning? It’s in coffee mug purgatory now. That’ll teach it to mess with me!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Out with the Old?

One of the things I did when I was trying to clear out some of the clutter in the garage was to throw out a box of old Christmas cards. This was not easy as I’m one of those “saver” types and will save basically anything that is addressed to me, including pizza coupons and ads for new siding installation.

Okay, not really. But I do save all my birthday, Christmas and thank you cards – pretty much anything that is from an actual person I know. I save it until there is just too much clutter and I get aggravated and I go on a tossing rampage. Which is what happened last week.

Sometimes when I’m cleaning, I’ll come across a box filled with cards or – gasp! – an actual letter from someone – and I will stop myself from tossing it. If I’m not terribly focused I might even start reading the cards and letters, which is a fun way to while away some time, but is not so great when you’re trying to make some headway in the cleaning process.

This got me to thinking about our sending out Christmas cards – a project Vince and I finished up last weekend. We sent out about 100 cards and included one of those generic Christmas letters in each one. It’s the second week of December and we have received exactly two cards in return.

Now, maybe it’s just payback for writing that generic Christmas letter…but I sort of doubt it. It could be that people haven’t bought enough stamps. Or maybe the only cards they have at home are some ratty thank you cards left over from their wedding 10 years ago, which won’t work so well for a Christmas card unless they draw a pretty fir tree over the words “thank you” and throw some glitter on the thing. Or – I don’t know – maybe it comes down to either buying us a Christmas card – or buying their kid an Xbox 360.

Yeah, we pretty much have no shot at getting a Christmas card from that person, do we?

So is the whole process of sending out Christmas cards becoming another one of those antiquated rituals that is slowly going the way of the dinosaur? Are we holding on to the way it has always been? With emails and blogs and Twitter and social media sites like Facebook, is sending out actual cards to family and friends a waste of time and money?

I’m sort of on the fence about it. I wouldn’t mind letting the whole costly and time-consuming process go by the wayside. But I also love writing actual letters to folks or sending cards through the mail.

Yet I have to admit that I’m sending far fewer cards and letters than I have sent in the past. I send emails instead. Or I figure people can read my blog and find out what’s going on with me since I pretty much detail our days as we go along.

Plus, since I pay all my bills online and I don’t buy stamps on a regular basis anymore, it’s a little difficult to send a snail-mail letter. I’m guessing that the Post Office frowns on affixing a smiley face sticker where the 44 cent stamp is supposed to go.

Besides, sending out cards during the holidays isn’t cheap – first you have to buy the cards and then you have to buy the stamps for each one and then the paper for each letter and also the labels (because ain’t no way I’m writing out 100 addresses and 100 return addresses!).

And I’m sure the "green" people would say we could save a coupla trees by not performing this annual ritual.

So maybe we should all agree to stop sending cards to each other during the holidays. (As Hallmark faints…and the USPS frantically makes plans to hike the cost of a first class stamp to a buck forty…)

The thing is… I really do love getting cards in the mail. It’s so nice to discover a hand-written envelope amid the sales circulars and credit card solicitations. With all the hype about the holidays and the rush of shopping, cooking, baking, decorating, wrapping, socializing and all that – stopping for a moment to open a card from a relative or a friend is a wonderful little time out – and if they’ve included a generic Christmas letter with it, it’s that much more of a bonus.

For now I guess we’ll keep on sending out our annual Christmas cards. But lemme tell you…I’m willing to revisit this subject again next year before we start on the process. Especially if those two cards are the only two cards we receive all season. It’s not all about “getting” – but we’re not going to be the only ones “giving” either!

So what do you think? Are you sending out cards this year?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Project Clean-Up

I went out to lunch with some friends on Friday and, during our conversation, I told them of my weekend plans to finish Project Clean-Up, aka my home organization plan.

I said that I had bins of clothes to sort through and a closet that resembled one of those sitcom closets wherein some unsuspecting character opens the door and gets conked on the head with things that fall out of it like Jimmy Hoffa, bowling balls, hockey sticks, Santa costumes, and other miscellaneous flotsam that got shoved in there back in the mid-70s. In real life, though, I was most likely to get conked in the head by an errant shoe. Plus, there’d be no laugh track. (Well, unless Vince happened to be passing by.)

Nevertheless, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer to get this little chore handled – so telling my friends was one way of ensuring that I’d follow through. I told them they were welcome to write on my Facebook page and embarrass me if I didn’t accomplish this little task.

Nice friends that they are, neither wrote a word about it.

However, I’m happy to report that I did, indeed, accomplish all I’d set out to do.

The first part of the task was the scariest – going through my closet. I didn’t have any hockey sticks stashed in there, but strangely enough I did find half a ham sandwich and my tax returns from 1988.

Nah, just kidding. I shudder to think what sort of person stows partially eaten processed meats in their clothes closet! I do confess, however, that probably – somewhere – I still have my tax returns from 1988. Gotta tackle paperwork next…

Anyway, for the first time in two years, I actually pulled out my summer sandals and sorted them and put them away in an under-the-bed shoe carrier. And I pulled out all those shoes that I never wore because they pinched or the heels were too high, or were just plain ugly and I never did like them (and wonder why on earth I bought them in the first place). Shoes that were worn out went into the Discard pile and shoes that might not pinch some other person in need went into the Donate pile.

Then I moved on to my clothes. This required the use of every flat surface in the bedroom for sorting purposes – plus Post-Its to identify which season the pile included.

This was a task of gargantuan proportion – but eventually I got it done.

Somehow I managed to clear out three dresser drawers so Vince can stop using the guest room bed as his supplemental closet/dresser. He didn’t seem nearly as thrilled as I that no longer would we have to hurriedly shove a bunch of polo shirts into his filled-to-bursting closet whenever unexpected overnight guests dropped by (or even expected overnight guests!).

All I can say is that the effort was worth it. My morning is far less chaotic now that I can see all the clothes in my closet and can pull together an outfit appropriate to wear in 8 degree weather – as opposed to sorting through several pairs of flip flops to find a pair of boots and moving tank tops in an effort to find a turtleneck.

My mission will be complete once I find an appropriate charity to donate several large bags full of clothing. I hauled them to my car and put them in my backseat yesterday with the intention of taking them to the AmVets located near us…only to discover that they are no longer there. Sigh.

Now my car resembles what I’ve always feared being called – The Bag Lady!

This weekend, I’m looking forward to relaxing just a little bit since the last two weekends have been hectic. I might even let Vince decide our weekend plans. I’m guessing they will in no way involve moving anything, sorting anything, rearranging anything, hanging anything or clearing out anything.

And that’s just fine with me!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Just Call Me Martha!

Well, it was a busy Thanksgiving holiday weekend and it has been a busy week, so this is the first time I’ve even thought about writing a blog. I’m sure you’ve all been anxiously awaiting my next entry in the wonderful world of blogdom…right? If not, don’t tell me about it, okay? I choose to think I spread sunshine and lightness wherever I go and with whatever I write. (Why yes, I DO live in a fantasy world. How did you know?!)

Anyway, despite our burgeoning colds, Vince and I had a productive weekend last weekend. We got the tree up and the decorations out and even managed to wrap the gifts and place them festively under the tree. We worked on our Christmas card list and wrote our annual letter and labeled and stamped at least half the envelopes. And we even managed to do a little cleanup around the place. Not bad, eh?

But what I’m even more proud of is the fact that I made some organizational progress in the bedroom. Just call me Martha Stewart, Jr.! I rearranged the room so that when Vince gets up at the ungodly hour of 4:15AM, he doesn’t have to stumble across to my side of the room in the dark to dig his work clothes out of the dresser. Not only that, but his dresser is now organized so that he can easily find what he’s looking for and doesn’t have to sort through a pile of socks to find an undershirt. (I may have even pruned a few of the old, ratty undershirts, but that’s just a rumor and I’m not willing to confirm…)

This means, of course, that my dresser is now on the other side of the room, too. And the only problem with this arrangement is that so far I’ve gotten up every morning and crossed to the wrong side of the room to reach my dresser. We are such creatures of habit, aren’t we? Ah well. Eventually, I’ll get it right. (And by then I may have figured out a new configuration for the room!)

I turned my old desk into a vanity table and set up a lighted mirror so that I can actually see when I apply my makeup in the mornings. The mirror is even magnified on one side, although I admit this is a little scary. Our eyesight tends to get worse as we age, so we need magnification to see – but nobody (and I mean nobody!) needs to see their wrinkling-as-we-speak skin magnified 8X. Boy, is Mother Nature cruel, or what?!

Nevertheless, I am thrilled with having my makeup table set up and organized.

Not only that, but a friend of ours delivered my Christmas gift from Vince early – and I would have none of that “Wait to Open Until December 25th” stuff. It is a beautiful jewelry armoire; something I’ve wanted since, well, forever.

I’m a jewelry-lovin’ fool and I have lots of it. Some of it is fine jewelry, but much of it is not – and that’s okay with me. Until now, it has been spread all over the place. Necklaces hung up there, rings hidden away here, bracelets in this bowl, watches in that box…well, you get the picture. As a matter of fact, I had so much fun rediscovering jewelry I’d forgotten about, I might not have to go shopping for any more jewelry for a good long time. (Yeah, I wouldn’t count on it, either…)

I was particularly happy to find some of the sentimental pieces that I’d stowed away – like the sapphire earrings my Uncle Joe gave me when I graduated from college and the charm bracelet that belonged to my Nanna, which she gave to me before she passed away.

So now that I have been bitten by the organization bug, I’m turning my laser focus on other areas of our home that need some attention. Frankly, I think this scares Vince just a little bit. Before I could get to his desk and all the paperwork piled on his table, he boxed it all up and practically wrote on it “DO NOT TOUCH! THIS MEANS YOU, JANE!”

But we also had a little incident where something (like maybe an old desk chair) fell onto the hood of my car in the garage and put a nice ding in it last weekend. Some of us in the household were not happy about this little event, and so we made an unexpected detour from our holiday cheer to work on reducing the clutter in the garage. I’m happier, although not completely satisfied. But I have several large bags filled with items to donate to charity – and we gave the trash collection guys a workout yesterday. We’ll have to see what else we can part with this coming weekend.

And that darn old desk chair has magically disappeared, too. Yahoo!

The only problem with all this organization? It never seems to last. Every time I get organized, I vow to keep the drawers and the closet in pristine condition…and then life gets hectic or the seasons change – and then it’s a slow slide back to disorganization. Why oh why is this?

Martha Stewart, indeed. Wonder if her stuff ever gets disorganized? Maybe she has “people” to help keep her organized.

But I’d be willing to bet that no old office chair ever fell off a stack of boxes in her garage and onto the hood of her car! (Just a guess.)