Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Traditions

The party is at our house and here are some of the traditions we have adopted.

* Champagne toast I have no idea where this started and why it is done.

* Eat 12 grapes. This is a Spanish custom. The 12 grapes symbolize the 12 months of the year and the folklore is that if you don't eat the 12 grapes you will have a month of bad luck for every uneaten grape.

* Toss a bucket of water out the front door. Not sure where it came from but the water used to be the actual dirty water from the final cleaning of the home. It the whole out with the old in with the new idea. Now we use clean water and its purely (no pun intended) symbolic of the dirty water.

* Eat lentils. This I believe originated in Europe. Lentil soup is a soup full of small round green beans which symbolize an abundance of coin and financial wealth in the coming year.

* Wear yellow underwear. I was told that this is a Costa Rican custom for good luck. I do know that yellow is always considered 'lucky' with the birth of a child. I think that dates back to pre-sonogram days when people didn't know the sex of the child so if you bought decidedly blue or pink clothing you jinxed the actual sex of the baby. So, I will go with yellow symbolizing luck, what the heck.

* Parade around the perimeter with luggage. No idea where it came from but we were told that it is to promote travel in the new year. It's fun and we are easily amused. It's has actually become a favorite of guests to either do or watch because we look quite foolish.

I know there are many other traditions around the globe. I think I may have to research this a bit and add something new for next year. LOL!

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Counting down

So, are you ready for the big countdown? The only thing left to do at my house is clean the floors again.

Everything looks so presentable I almost don't wnat anyone to come over and mess it up but then what would the point be of getting everything all tidied up.

Last night I even gave my self a mini mani and pedi. I say mini because it was done by moi and well I'm not a pro but mom would be proud that at least I made an effort.

We aren't expecting too big a crowd tomorrow only about 40 people total we have had much more. I hope the weather holds up. Cool but not cold would be nice. Dry not wet would be fabulous.

I still haven't figured out my theme for the new year. I kinda wanted to toast to it at midnight. I was thinking a toast 'to action' since I want a verb but haven't picked one but there I go again with a noun so I don't think so maybe 'to verb' just to cover all my bases but that sounds silly. Well, I still have some time to figure it out but I really just want it to come to me, to just feel right. Hmmm maybe maybe a toast 'to act' that has potential. I've got to noodle it a bit more.

We brought home the case of champagne yesterday. Yes, I can say Champagne NOT sparkling wine because it is French from the champagne region. It's my splurge.

Well, here's hoping its a healthy happy one.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolution time!

It's the time of year again when we look back and look ahead and think of ways to revamp our lives.

Last year I didn't have a resolution to abandon 2 weeks into the new year. I came up with a theme which was Comfort and Joy. I have been thinking about that a lot the past couple of weeks. It's not that the whole year was just peachy there were plenty of moments when I was in the pits. It's just I tried to focus on the comfort and joy I found in things and that I gave (hopefully) to others. Right now that idea is feeling kinda lame, bland and maybe even cheesy.

This year I think the theme needs to be action oriented. A verb if you will not a noun. I thought of Comfort and Joy as nouns - the comfort and joy I felt or brought to others. I don't think that's going to cut the mustard this year. I need verbs; I realize to joy doesn't work but to comfort does. I'm not sure what the final verb will be but I have decided the theme will be to ??? (insert verb here) not a noun. That's as far as I have come after 2 weeks of mulling it over. If its taking me this long to think of 'the' verb I can't imagine how long its going to take me to actually do it. Thank goodness I have a whole year.

Side note: this is the first time EVER I have run the spell check and it has found no misspellings! Cool way to end the year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Change is different

Things change. I know this. Everything changes even Christmas.

At my house this year here are a few things that changed:

* On the Eve, I only had a couple of gifts to wrap that were last minute purchases. The boys were sequestered in a room doing wrapping of their own. We could hear them having more fun that gift wrapping normally warrants and we were suspicious but it was nice to hear.

* Santa was summoned to the workshop. They boys couldn't wrap a perfect square. They had gone through half a roll of paper before calling me in to show them how to wrap. Over exuberance of fun was now understood.

* I woke up by myself. I went and prepped a light breakfast, tidied up the kitchen, got batteries for the camera, let the dog out, fed the dog and then

* I woke up the family to open gifts. This was completely new. I have always been the one woken up not the one waking others on this particular morning.

* Sleepy children and hubby gathered around the dinning room table all wanting coffee before opening gifts. I was the only one excited about the gift opening.

* They started with the stockings because they were closer and didn't require getting up. They could easily open the items while drinking their coffee.

* I had to urge them to open the gifts under the tree from Santa. They dragged their chairs over to the tree. No kids sat on the floor scrambling to grab gifts. They in a very civilized manner opened one gift after the other placing the garbage in the bag which hubby supplied.

* Everyone calmly left their gifts behind to dress and go to another house to deliver gifts. It was all very grown-up.

* At the homes of others where we delivered gifts they handed them out one by one waiting for each person to open their and react to the surprise inside. There was no mad dash around the house handing everything out at once.

What didn't change. I still blinded them with the flash of the camera. We all had a good time.

Things change but change can be good. My kids are all grown up and that was very apparent this Christmas but that's a good thing.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve. I am at the office. Bah Humbug! Some things need to get done so whatever.

The family will be gathering later at MILs house. My 3 boys will be there shortly to help (read: hang out) with the roasting of the pig.

Every year at MILs they get someone to dress up as Santa and give a gift to each child. I am toying with the idea of still putting a gift in for 20 even though he's 20 because I think he would get a kick out of it. We'll see what I decide.

I actually stopped at Target this morning on my way into work only because I love the rush of shopping on the 24th. I really didn't NEED anything but I bought the boys some t-shirts that were on super sale just because.

I didn't get all the baking I was supposed to do done and so had to relent and buy some baked goods from the store as gifts. *sigh* Better planning is in order for next year. I would love to have a Christmas of only homemade gifts but I know that's just pie in the sky.

I was very worried that my brother would be stuck by himself in Boston where he has been working on assignment for months but he texted me early this morning that he made it home. I am truly happy and relieved that he will be with his family in Chicago for the holidays even though he says he will spend most of the day shovelling the driveway before the in-laws get there.

My kids are of the age where they tell me they are missing the Christmas feeling. I told them it changes. They aren't kids anymore. They will feel "it" if the spend some time prepping gifts for others especially kids. The joy you feel when giving is the "it" that replaces the rush, excitement and anticipation you had as a kid. It will be fun to see what they come up with and how they feel about it later.

I hope everyone has a nice holiday whatever one you celebrate. I choose Christmas and so I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Green, not my best color

The other day I was asked if I was jealous of anyone. I said no because really I'm not. Why should I be jealous, everyone has problems. The grass may look greener on the other side but its fertilized the same way if you get my drift.

But today I am jealous. I am jealous of all of those and apparently there are many who are on vacation right now and I have to work. Yeah, yeah I'm grateful I have a job, happy to cash that paycheck yadda yadda. But let me tell you I got to work today in like 6 minutes. Why? Because it seems there are only a handful of us still working this holiday everyone else is on vacation!

So, today I am jealous of those on vacation while I am here working. I could be home making macaroons. *sigh*

Monday, December 21, 2009


I can't hear you over the cacophony of thoughts in my head. The loop de loop that is the list of things I want to do. It's as if there was a scratch in the record and it just keeps replaying the same part over and over again. It pretty much sounds like this: clean this, bake/make that, wrap something, clean this, bake/make that, wrap something....

Gratefully, friends came over on Sunday and even though I know I talked about baking I didn't. I truly disconnected for a while at least. I sat, talked and laughed. Imagine, I enjoyed some downtime with a friend. How awesome is that? Of course, as soon as they left I cleaned something, wrapped something and planned the next day's baking (all the making is done!). To give you a clue as to exactly how much this has taken over my brain. I found myself (I think I was sleep walking) in the kitchen at 2:45 standing in front of the open refrigerator. I don't know why exactly but this morning when I actually woke up I felt a compelling urge to check the supply of milk on hand. Who knows.

I have also started thinking about next year because apparently I don't have enough on my plate trying to finish this year that I feel I must start with the next one. What do I want to do next year? Am I happy with what I 'did' this year? Should I set goals or just let the year roll however it wants, as if my goals could actually alter that anyway. But I want to do so much baking before then, hmmm maybe I should start baking for next holiday at the start of the new year. Can I freeze things for a whole year? Will they be any good? Maybe I should research that a little in all my free time? I'd really hate to do the work and freeze the stuff and then it would be bad next December and I would feel even more pressure than I do now. OK, I need to stop thinking about January and focus on the 3 days I have left. Yes, I can do math! I know that Christmas is the 25th but we have our big celebration on the 24th and since I have to work on the 24th, I need to have everything finished before going to bed on the 23rd. So, 3 days left to do whatever is going to be done.

The trick is to get it done I need to shut my brain off so that I stop thinking all these other miscellaneous and assorted rambling thoughts and focus on the day I we are in right this very minute. I don't know how to do this.

So, tonight the kitchen goals are: chocolate crinkle cookies, mix & refrigerate pie crust, mix & bake a batch of sugar cookies and refrigerate another batch, make coconut macaroons, make truffles (maybe), make biscotti (maybe), make a grocery list for hubby to buy final ingredients needed for holiday desserts that I was assigned to take for the 24th plus what I am taking on the 25th.

Tomorrow's goals are: Wrap a bottle of wine, box & tag the final cookie gifts, go to coffee with girlfriends

Wednesday's goals are: Bake 2 desserts for Xmas eve and any remaining cookies.

You will note that I have truffles and biscotti as maybes. I have all the ingredients at home for both. These are both new items that I have never made and been wanting to try. I actually already mixed the truffles and the batch is sitting in the fridge so that has a better chance at getting done albeit maybe not in time for Xmas but for New Year's Eve. We shall see. I have an assortment of things to coat them in such as cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, Xmas sprinkles, 2 colors of sanding sugar and pecans. Why so many well its simple I couldn't decide so I got them all and figured I'd decide when the time came and its almost here and I still don't know what I'll do. Who knows? not me.

So, like I said lots going on but really its mostly in my head. LOL!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Me Elf, you Santa

The past few days and the next few, I suspect are very task oriented at my house. Do this, get that, I did this now you that. Of course all of this is in an effort to create a perfect holiday. As if- LOL!

As you know if you have been reading, I have been making gifts and the past few days hubby and sons have been delivering them. They have delivered cakes and bottles of homemade egg nog to teachers, coaches, and offices. Over the weekend it will be the neighbors and early next week our workplaces and then finally the family for Christmas.

I have also sent hubby, who has time off during the holidays on daily errands. He bought boxes and stamps the other day and today he is shipping, wrapping (hopefully) and doing a grocery run. Of course, for them to do the errands and delivering I do the prep work for them the night before. It has been working out, things are actually getting done. I am feeling like I may get it all done in time for Christmas. I have had a few snafus (sp?) with the sewing machine but all that is doing is moving me into the kitchen where I know my way around to make a few things to replace the sewing projects. Thus, the grocery run for hubby today. I have even been toying with making biscotti which I have never done before but that may wait until the end to be a gift for me, if I succeed.

It's all coming together. The fact that I just wrote that unnerves me a tad because I may be jinxing the whole thing. I hope not. Comfort and Joy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Final Countdown

Only 10 more days 'till Christmas.

I thought I was done with all the shopping. I just needed to wrap and check off the list of names as I went along. That was until I started trashing my sewing gifts. Now I need to either go out and shop or come up with something else to make at this stage of the game. I am leaning towards restaurant gift cards. We shall see.

Last night I won a minor skirmish with the sewing machine but the war is far from over. I was able to produce 2 decent looking items out of 4 that were attempted. I only trashed 2 last night. People that's progress. Truly. They aren't done yet. I need to do some final hand stitching and press them before they are ready to give but I think they may be giftable (yes, I know that's not a word but it should be) and that pleases me to no end. You honestly can not imagine.

I think I am going to give it a rest tonight and finish the Christmas cards so that maybe people will get them before the end of the year. I will feel a sense of accomplishment and then I can go back to the sewing tomorrow. The goal is to be done before the weekend so that I can spend it doing the final baking. I give cakes as gifts to some neighbors and doctor's offices so they can be shared by many. So that's the plan but I always have a plan don't I just like last weekend when I wasn't going out and I didn't get home Sunday until close to 1:30 and lost half a day of doing stuff at home. Oh, well. I can only do what I can do. Gimme patience.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sew Easy, NOT!

I am almost ready to give up. It is not coming to me. I have been trying off and on for months now. I have stitched, ripped and re-stitched I don't know how many seams. I have bought books, I have read instructions online, I have bought kits of things to make "in an hour" and worked on it forEVER to only end up trashing it. I have taken apart things I no longer fit in and not been able to put them back together. I am NOT getting this and I don't know why and I am getting very frustrated.
I was originally giving quite a few gifts sewn by moi for Christmas this year. So far, I have thrown out 4 and actually finished 1! I am going to do my darnedest to try and finish another one tonight. And then I think I will put the sewing machine away maybe forever or at least until I can take a class which at the rate I am going could be forever from now.
I keep being told that it's easy. Well, it's only easy if you know how to do it and I don't know how, so it's hard!
Gimme patience!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I am NOT! I am!

I am not going out this weekend. I am not running any errands this weekend. I am not leaving my house this weekend. I am not going out this weekend.

There! It's in writing and on the Internet, therefore, it must be true.

I am going to stay home this weekend. I am going to finish my gift sewing this weekend. I am going to do all the Xmas cards this weekend. I am going to start wrapping this weekend (especially those that must be mailed). I am going to get lots and lots of baking done this weekend. I am going to be exhausted and satisfied after this weekend.

At least that last line if true... Tis the season people! Gimme patience for all this comfort and joy!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009



–verb (used with object)
1. to send or appoint (a person) as deputy or representative.
2. to commit (powers, functions, etc.) to another as agent or deputy.

I am telling others to do this and don't do it enough myself. So, I thought I needed a little reminder as this (delegating) is not my best event in life.

I must learn to let some things go. I must learn that someone else can do this. I must learn that it is okay to not do it exactly as I would do it. I must learn to delegate.
Taking a deep breath...something I cannot delegate ;).

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dream Room

I asked hubby last night if I was a bad mom because I wanted one of the kids to move out so I could get their room for my crafting. He laughed and said no because I will probably be making stuff for them. He has a point. I really don't want anyone to move out I just want a room.
My back aches and its all because I don't have a room of my own. My latest dream is a craft room of my own. Right now I have packed up all the scrapbook stuff and moved all the sewing stuff from 20's room to the back room which is a open to the living room and has a bar in it. Not really appropriate for a craft room. But anyway, the ironing board is set up and the 2 round plastic patio tables are in there one serving as a cutting table and the other housing the sewing machine. These tables are not the right height for these jobs and my back is reminding me of that very fact right now.
Can you imagine a place with a plenty of surface area to layout patterns, cut fabric, lay out scrapbook pages, let painted items dry, excellent lighting, enough storage space so that everything is its place because there is a a place for everything? Do you see it? I can. Ahhh.....dreeeeeam, dream, dream...

Monday, December 07, 2009

TCO or Only in Miami...

A TCO is a Typical Cuban Operation and its what I (read: my family) refers to as things you can find only in Miami....

This past week a local ethnic market had a grand opening near my home and had some fabulous sales. I mean they had things on BOGO (Buy One, Get One Free) that I have never seen before: milk, coffee etc.

So, I tell hubby he should go by on the way home from work to just get a handful of things. That was Wednesday, he couldn't even park the truck, almost got in an accident and said there were even cops there to help with the traffic. He gave up after 20 minutes and came home.

So, we wrote a short list and gave 20 the credit card and he would go during the day. That was Thursday. His attempt was in the afternoon before picking me up from work. He gave up after 15 minutes of searching for a parking space.

His second attempt was on Friday. He was there early (by 9:30) and sent me a text: Does this place ever close? Says it took him a while but he did finally park. As he was walking to the storefront he saw a large group of people standing around and thought to himself OMG there cannot be a line to get in this place, that's ridiculous. As he got closer he realized they were standing at the exit door and couldn't understand why. He thought they were nuts and proceeded to enter the store. He looked around, there were no carts. Light bulb moment: that's why they are standing at the exit to follow people to their car and get their cart. He doesn't have that patience or time so he proceeds to the fruit and vegetable section to get the BOGO lettuce puts in the plastic veggie bag. Gets another bag to put in the plantains which are 10/.99. He how has 2 bags and heads to the milk section which he thought would be by the juice but not in this store. He finally finds it and grabs 2 gallons; again BOGO. In one hand he's carrying 2 gallons of milk and in the other he has 2 bags one with lettuce and the other plantains. He now goes the to vino seco which is also BOGO, scans the shelves, sees some are in plastic bottles - cool, dang those are on sale. The sale ones are glass. No fear he bought more bags. He puts everything down on the floor to bag the 2 bottles and picks up the milk and the plantains and the lettuce is gone. He looks around. OMG, someone stole his lettuce. He goes back to the veggies, gets lettuce again and notices that what he had grabbed as plantains were actually green bananas. He leaves the bananas and looks at a group of grandmas hovering the plantain section. He walks over and they are grabbing the last ones. The other stand there arms crossed to wait fro more to come out. He's outta there. No plantains for us today. He now goes to the coffee and bags 2 of those. In all of this he is seeing men walking around with stacks of meat on their shoulders, women with carts that have mountains of groceries that defy gravity. He's amazed at the chaos and the shouting going on amongst the shoppers and this is the child who goes Black Friday shopping.
He heads to the registers with his bag of lettuce, bag of coffee in one hand, bag of vino seco under his arm and 2 gallons of milk in the other hand. He figures its a toss up which register will move any faster than the other.
The checkout line crawls because the conveyor belt isn't long enough to hold all the purchases to empty the cart to refill with the bagged groceries. More yelling and chaos there. The person in front of him is a tad hard of hearing and the exchange between the cashier and patron is hard to not laugh at.
He finally gets home with his purchases and after we wipe the tears from our face from laughing so hard at his story he hopes we NEVER send him there again.
Too much fun!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Have to put my foot down.

"Any fool can criticize, complain, condemn -- and most fools do. Picking your battles is impressive and fighting them fairly is essential." - Dale Carnegie

With that thought I am visiting GM today. We (the ALF owners and caretakers and I) have let many behaviors go over the past +year that she has been there but today I need to draw the line. Although she has already called me and berated me (a normal happening) and told me not to go that she is shutting the place down, I will go and 'have it out' with her because she is being excessively cruel to all those around her.

She was being disruptive to the entire house yelling and waking everyone up so that they would come and plug her phone charger into the wall. Her antics woke up all the residents to the point that one fell trying to get out of bed thinking there was a fire or some other emergency. The caretaker who had also been dozing was tending the the resident who fell, tell GM that she would be there in a moment to calm down.
In protest, because they were not tending her quick enough to her liking she ripped up a weeks worth of "pull-ups" and proceeded to remove the one she was wearing and wipe her feces all over the bed, sheets and walls of her room.
She has been calling me all week complaining about bouts of constipation and insisting that she be taken to a hospital near me. When I call to confirm this with the caretakers, they tell me what she has is constipation because they discovered her self-medicating with immodium that she called a "friend" demanding they bring it because no one else cared about her.

Earlier this week while her favorite caretaker was changing her bed she got physically abusive and grabbed and scratched the caretaker's arm yelling at her about I don't know what.

So, today I disconnected her phone and I will go visit her and take her yet another pack of 'pull-ups' and see what happens.

I do not want to fight but I also don't think that she should be allowed to treat others this way.
Today I ask for patience much much patience to deal with what lies ahead for me this evening. Not the start to a weekend that I wanted.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Never assume

There are tons of things that one (read: I) assume people just know. One for example, is not to assume because we all know what happens when you assume.
Black Friday shopping 20 and I witnessed an exchange and he just couldn't believe it. We were at a high end chain patiently waiting at the register. There were more employees in the store than shoppers. There may have been 3 shoppers or maybe 2 of them were together, I don't know and there were at least a dozen employees. No matter we waited at the register while let's call her NH for New Hire asked R (Register employee) for specifics on how to take a suit to the back to another employee to have it steamed for someone coming to pick it up in 1/2 an hour. R simply told her to hang it and take it back. NH didn't know where the hangers were. Did I mention that this was a clothing store? That is ALL they sell no housewares, no personal items just clothes and she didn't know where to get a hanger. R referred her to yet another employee to which NH replied that she had just sent her here. R smiles at us and tells us she will be right with us and walks over to a closet and gives her a suit hanger telling NH that its the only one she has and she needs to return it after it's steamed. I thought to myself, how is this guy taking it home? Is he going to wear it? NH proceeded to hang the jacket as R took our item to ring us up. Then NH asked do I need a hanger for the pants? The picture forming in my head is a la 3 stooges standing there holding the pants up getting them steamed and in the process being steamed themselves. R puts down our item and tells her no, you can hang it here and then shows her how to hang the pants and the jacket on the same hanger. NH's eyebrows hit the top of her hairline as she let out an Ohhhh!

We finally get rung up and walk out of the store as no less than 5 employees thank us for shopping there. I honestly had the urge to tell them to buy some hangers with the money I just gave them but I refrained. Once we made it to the mall 20 asked, "Was that for real? She didn't know how to hang the suit?" We both laughed as we recalled the truly stunned look on her face when she was shown how.

That evening over dinner we retell our story and 20 tells us a story of how he had to show a college buddy how to sweep and mop . We all laughed 17 not understanding what he had to teach and asked what the guy was studying. We all lost it when 20 told us the guy was studying engineering. Too funny!