Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Call Me Gadget Girl

I love electronic gadgets. I am not embarrased. I am just a techie at heart. I know it's usually a "guy thing" but I have had gadget guys tell me I am worse than them.

I don't have to have the latest toy as soon as it comes out. I let other people buy up the first models while they work out the kinks. But when I see the relevance to my life, I must have it. Some examples:
  • I have two digital slr cameras, a point and shoot digital camera, and a film slr camera. Oh yeah, and a video camera. I use them all.
  • I have a cell phone and a blackberry (now known as the "crackberry") for work.
  • I just bought my kids new Instinct touch screen phones for Christmas.
  • I'm on my 2nd Ipod and my daughter is on her 3rd.
  • We have two Tivos and a DVR - one for each TV we watch regularly. We have a drawer of nothing but remote controls. Only one TV is a large LCD, HDTV.
  • We have 3 DVD players - again, one for each TV we watch regularly.
  • We have 2 desktop computers and two laptops.
  • We have a portable GPS for our vehicles.
  • We have a Wii and a Wii Fit, the only game systems that we have ever really enjoyed at our house.
  • I love my XM radio in my car.
Wow, that was hard to look at. I just love convenience and new inventions, that's it. Is there a Serenity Prayer for gadget addicts? Well, apparently this gadget addiction has been studied. By real professors at real universities. See here and here and here. According to that last article, "There is a thin line between addiction to gadgets and enthusiasm for 21st-century life, writes Claudine Beaumont". So what does that mean for me?

I'm not really an addict. Really. I can put the crackberry down any time. Yeah, I can go without updating my Facebook status for 8, maybe 9 hours. Sure I can. Really. Just don't take my cameras away, okay? Or my Tivo. Or my laptop. Ok, maybe I need help.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Captured Moments

Plans. We make plans for the holidays. Then we get frustrated when things don't go as planned. Not me. I like to have some idea of a plan but I have found that the best times have come when we do things that are not in our plans. I have learned to have a flexible outline, if you will, of how things will go but to not be surprised when we change it at the last minute. It's so much less stressful that way. And more fun. This Christmas was no different and was one of the best ever.

My sister and her family were joining us on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from Louisiana. My Dad was driving over on Tuesday evening from the Nashville area. Dad was to arrive at around 6pm Tuesday and my sister and family were due at around noon on Wednesday. That was the plan.

Dad decided to leave a little early and popped over, arriving at around 2pm. I told him that I hoped he didn't mind that I was still doing laundry and we sat and chatted. My refrigerator had stopped cooling this week and the repairman had been there that morning. The cable box had gone out on one of the TVs. Dad and I drove to the other side of town with the cable box to switch it out for one that was working. We talked in the car about a wide variety of things and it was nice to just enjoy each other's company. We stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things and returned home to cook dinner. Not the dinner I had planned but it turned out yummy anyway.

On Wednesday morning at 5:45 AM, I was startled out of sleep as the dogs started barking and running to the front door. My sister and family had arrived early too! They had driven through the night without stopping. We installed them in the sunroom to get some sleep. I, however, was wide awake. So I made some coffee and sat downstairs and watched the Today show on the TV with the now working cable box. Then I put my makeup and festive holiday clothes and began breakfast. Not the one I planned but it turned out yummy.

My cleaning people come on Wednesdays and they were due between 11 and 12 that day so we would need to get everyone out of the house for a couple of hours. My daughter had to work that afternoon so I decided to take everyone else to pick up one of her gifts - a snowboarding jacket - that was due in to the store that day. While wandering the store, waiting on them to find the jacket, we decided that it would be fun to take the kids snowboarding on Christmas Day. My nephews live in Louisiana, not the snowy capital of the South, so they don't get the opportunity very often. And my daughter and boyfriend were both getting new snowboarding gear for Christmas so they would be excited to use it. It would be fun, we decided. As we left the store, we still needed to kill some time so we headed downtown to market square to go ice skating on the temporary rink. My daughter ended up not having to work so she joined us. We shopped a little while the kids skated and then grabbed a bite to eat before the last restaurant closed for Christmas Eve then headed back to the house.

We had planned to eat Christmas dinner at about 7, then open gifts. My daughter's boyfriend's family was doing their celebration at the same time so we decided to wait since my son didn't get off work until 10pm anyway. Dad and my sister surprised my son at work. My sister and I decided we would start cooking when we got ready to, and whoever was there when the food was ready would eat. Then we would open gifts at 10 when my son and his roommate arrived. Not what we had planned but it was what we did. And my sister and I got to spend most of the afternoon, side by side, with our laptops, trading photos while they guys watched sports. Then at 10, we had the present opening fest and finally got in bed around 2:30am. That certainly was not in the plan.

Christmas morning we had Santa for my daughter, started breakfast and as people woke up, they joined us. Dad began preparing for his drive home and he left at about 11, sticking with his plan. The rest of us gotready to drive to the snowboarding adventure. The four kids had the best time on the slopes while the "grown ups" watched and drank hot chocolate. There was a viewing area where we could watch and take photos but stay out of the cold. We stayed until about 7:30 that evening before my sister and family left to have Christmas with my brother-in-law's family in Kentucky. It was so much fun we have decided to make it a yearly tradition and started making plans to get a cabin for next year. Uh, Oh . . . there we go trying to plan things again.

My flexible outline did not include ice skating, shopping, snowboarding, or changing meal times. But it wouldn't have been the special Christmas it was without all of that. And it was one of the best. I hope yours was too.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookies and Cakes and Candies, Oh My!

I am not usually a holiday baker. We are not really a family of sweet eaters so it is a waste of time and ingredients for me to bake during the holidays or any other time of the year. Give us cheeses or dips or pigs in a blanket or just about any appetizer type food and we will fight you for the last bite. Cakes . . . not so much.

So why am I baking? I spent Sunday baking two different types of cookies and a spicy fruit cake. Last weekend I made rum cake and bourbon balls. I will do the chocolate stuff - cookies and candies - today and then tomorrow will be the chocolate yule log.

My family is coming. My sister, her husband and their two teenage boys will be joining us from Louisiana and my dad will be coming from the Nashville area. At first I thought that might have spurred on the urge to pour sugar into bowls and add fruit and chocolate. But they don't really eat sweets either.

Maybe I'm nesting. It's the holidays, I am on vacation, family is coming. Hmmmmm, that didn't translate to decorating . . . we got the tree up and a wreath on the front door but little else. Our sunroom looks festive but the rest of the house looks like the grinch lives here.

Whatever the reason, maybe it's just the season. Holiday celebrations deserve holiday sweets. So I am making them. Lots of them. Want some?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It'sThe Thought That Counts

Well if it's the thought that counts, I should make people very happy this Christmas. I have thought A LOT about the gifts I will give this year. And thought about it. And thought about it.

I haven't done a lot about it though.

I have recently started my online shopping. I tend to shop on line as I hate to shop in stores. I know, what kind of girl hates to shop? This girl. Except online. But I digress.

I spend a great deal thinking about what each person enjoys and try to come up with a creative, unexpected gift. But the people in my life tend to be blessed and they don't need a lot. And if they want something, they buy it. Good for them, bad for those who would desire to give them gifts.

I know people that take very little time with gift giving. The latest candle holder or fleece blanket that a store has stocked up on and then put on sale should be just fine for the 5 people for which they need to buy. I can't do that. It's just not in me.

I have to think about it. It has to be right for the recipient. They should love it. It doesn't have to be perfect but it has to be "them". It's exhausting! And the thought that someone might re-gift one of my gifts . . . devastating!

So this year, I have thought about it and thought about it some more. I have come up with a few things. I still need to come up with some more. Again, exhausting!

Is there a therapy group for co-dependent gifters?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Starting To Feel A Lot Like Christmas

We have been working on getting some holiday spirit. Today, the elf meter rose a couple of notches.

After making some homemade chicken soup for my son's ailing room mate, I was in the mood to bake. I put the Ipod on the speakers and hit the Holiday Playlist.

My daughter made a dash to the grocery store to pick up some missing items and then we got busy.

She loves to make sugar cookies and decorate them. What a mess! But she worked for over two hours rolling, cutting, baking, decorating with icing, sprinkles, and sugar. It makes her happy. She ended up with 10 cookies, 4 of which we are not allowed to eat because "they are too pretty".

While she baked, I made a rum cake and chocolate bourbon balls. Holiday goodies in the south just seem to beg for a spike or two. We sang along with the traditional Christmas carols and the new, modern holiday songs.

So I think my Bah Humbug period may be coming to an end. I guess it's something you can't force, it just hits you when it feels like it. Welcome Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gearing Up For Holiday Cheer

Meet Cleo.

Cleo is a 3-legged, foul breathed, snaggle-toothed, seizure afflicted, yappy princess with lesbian tendencies.

Her full name is Foxy Cleopatra, just Cleo for short. We adopted her from the shelter a few years ago and we think she is over 10 years old. She has a back leg that is useless but it really does not slow her down whatsoever. She has seizures occasionally and she keeps "humping" our yorkie poo, Zsa Zsa.

She is blissfully happy and doesn't care what season it is. Not a care in the world.

Me, I am painfully aware of the season. I really would like to get rid of this humbug thing I have going on.

A friend of mine gave me a prescription for Christmas spirit suggesting I watch the movie "Elf" 5 times in a row. I had actually watched it 3 times already in the past two weeks. No change.

My daughter and I put up the tree. We started decorating. I starting purchasing a few gifts, mostly online. I still feel like something is missing.

I think it's the feeling of having small children around for the holidays. With young kids, everything is exciting and the anticipation of Christmas is contagious. I miss that.

I love my life and where my kids are in their lives. I wouldn't change a thing. But I would like for Christmas to be fun again. Maybe with grandchildren????

For now, Princess Cleo seems excited to have the tree up and for Christmas to be here. Maybe I can catch it from her.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

After The Storm

She loves him. She loves him not. She loves him. I hate them both.

Why am I dragged on the roller coaster with them?

They have decided to give it another try. That's fine I guess as long as they don't talk to me about it. I have shared my opinion when asked and kept my mouth shut when not asked. It's hard to watch your child grow up.

As if the roller coaster were not enough to distract me from my work, her wrecked car ended up not being totaled. "Just tow it back to my house" I very nicely, through my teeth, told the insurance adjuster. Then I began calling auto salvage businesses. Between the check from the insurance company and the salvage guy, I got more for it than I could have if I had fixed it then sold it.

However, the new Jeep, yeah, it broke down last Sunday. Towed it back to the dealer who fixed it, no charge. However, the repair took all week. So I was the chauffeur for the teenage undecided all week. Gotta love parenthood.

But the sun is coming out, figuratively, since it is gray and cloudy outside. This week will be better. Their relationship is steady for now, she has a vehicle, and maybe I can get some laundry done.

It's all about those little things that hint to you that normal is returning. Today, I love being able to get to the laundry.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Broken Hearted

But I don't think time is gonna heal this broken heart
No I don't see how it can if it's broken all apart
A million miracles could never stop the pain
Or put all the pieces together again

From Broken Hearted Me by Anne Murray

How do you tell a 19 year old that her broken heart will mend? How do you tell her that she will be happy again one day? That this is really for the best?

You don't. I repeat . . . do not say any of that.

Moms. We watch as the tears roll down their cheeks and we listen. They lay on our bed and cry. We rub their backs. We listen, just listen.

Inside, our heart breaks for them.

We know in our heart that this is the best thing, that this relationship would not have lasted. We see that she was not truly happy and we know that there is a soul mate out there for her. But her heart is breaking.

She believes he is the only one, that there will never be another, that she's willing to put up with his shortcomings because she loves him.

I can't fix it. Only time can. So they say. I think I disagree when it comes to that first strong love. I still remember what it felt like some 30 years later. My logical head knows it wasn't right for me and that he was not the one, even though I thought so. But my heart still hurts just a little bit. Rejection sucks.

And my heart hurts for her today.