I'm just a girl trying to find her own custom groove in this world without bending to the expectations of others.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Myst - End of Ages (End of an Era)

It's become sort of a tradition around here that my oldest son and I started when the Myst games first came out. I usually get them for him for his birthday or Christmas and we spend weeks together on them trying to figure out the clues and puzzles and ultimately, how to beat the game.

I think he was only 10 or 11 when we first started this quest and we kept a little journal of all the mysteries we figured out. Neither of us would play it without the other and we'd even talk about the game and what we were going to try the next time we played it. It was something only him and I shared.

This year, the final chapter of the game was released. I got it for us for Christmas. He loaded it yesterday and we decided to play after everyone else went to bed last night. I got a bag of chips and two Cokes and we parked ourselves in front of the computer ready to delve into new worlds and break unbelievably hard codes.

Right from the get go, it seemed different than normal. I usually sit back and point to the screen saying things like, "ooh, try that switch," or "wait, did you see those numbers? they must be a clue, let's write them down". He navigates through the worlds and keeps track of the journals. I'm not sure if he didn't want to play last night, but he seemed more annoyed at my observances than anything else. He didn't want to try my suggestions or maneuver where I thought we should go. Eventually, he feigned a stomach ache and retired to bed.

Having a slight headache myself, I decided to hit the hay too after checking on the baby. I accidentally woke him up and he stayed up with me for almost two hours. This I didn't mind, because he was being unbelievably cute and unoridinarily cuddly. It did, however, get me thinking about my older son and how his time with us at home is coming to an end.

Just as this is the last segment in the Myst series, soon the last days of Steve living at home will be here. Now he'll only be 17 next month and he at least has one full year left of school, but the day will come when my first baby will not be with me all the time. The disappointment I felt last night over the early ending of our play time is only a prelude to the sorrow I'll feel when he moves on.

"Myst - End of Ages" is an ironically appropriate title to finish our tradition.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Bells ringing, lights flashing wildly, Christmas music playing in place of the normal carnival theme. This is the scene at our local mall very near to the food court and the make shift North Pole where children can tell their deepest desires to Santa. Not the jolly, red-suited, synthetic beard fella either. This Santa looks like the real deal. Real hair and beard, bright blue eyes, rosey cheeks, but only red pants and this pathetically ugly blue pajama top under his suspenders.

We took Drew to have his picture taken last night and after shopping for a half hour, our little pager went off signaling that we only had 15 minutes to get back to the location for our turn. I think they need a new system because we waited in line for 45 minutes once we got back and had to endure little David and Zack-y in front of us. I'm not sure if I wanted to smack them, or their mother. While she chatted on the phone, the kids ran in and out of the gaited line making each person step to the side or move their strollers so the brats could get through. Everyone was annoyed and the mother, oblivious. They hit Drew with their little basketball that they were throwing around, they screamed when I wouldn't move our stroller for them to get out and then they ran into the shot of Drew and Santa. We had to take another picture and of course, Drew wanted down by then and our picture turned out horribly.

We decided to treat ourselves to pizza and lemonade to calm down before finishing our shopping.

We sat by the carousel.

We decided to take Drew for a ride.

Daddy rode with him and the excitement on his face was the best. He clapped his hands and waved to me and Emily and then the horses began to move. The first time he went by, he laughed and clapped. The second time was just a smile. The third, a frown and the fourth time around, Dad was struggling to keep his squirming body in the strap. He was done. I found it very amusing. Half the kids were crying while their parents tried to comfort them and half wanted to go again.

I'm not sure the mall should be the source of children's entertainment. Without fail, there is always a handful of kids having serious meltdown and frustrated parents ready to leave them there.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I'm Rollin' Now

Tonight some of the ladies from my church met for their monthly craft night. Each woman brings a various craft they are working on or comes to learn a new one. I took advantage and decided to make my own Christmas cards. While I didn't get them all done, I will be able to send them out in a couple days now. Here's the finished product.

The inside reads: How beautiful the feet of those who bring good tidings. From Isaiah. I did the photo's myself and you wouldn't believe how many tries it took to get the above shot. The rejects are funnier than this. Nevermind the Sasquatch feet on the left. LOL

So, since I don't know anyone's address, here's your Christmas card. Merry Christmas.

One Step Closer

Is that the choir of angels I've been waiting to hear? -pausing to listen- Nope, that's just the sound of silence that comes with the satisfaction of a job completed. Nothing as grandiose as finishing the holiday shopping, BUT, the Christmas beer is bottled.

We accomplished that daunting task over the weekend and I've captured it digitally to share on my blog.

There's an equivalent of 450 - 12 oz bottles, but some if it is in 16 oz bottles and some in mini-kegs. A lot of this is for Christmas presents and we are planning a beer tasting party in January, so I don't want people thinking that this is all for our personal consumption. Each year we do a special Christmas beer, but only for the last two years have we decided to keep one bottle from each bach to display proudly in our bar.

2004's edition was Santa's Brew. The fine print on the bottom says, "For those on the naughty list".

2005's version is Jingle Ale. The label says A Mulled Blend of Holiday Spices. "Get your jollies".

At least if I'm not ready for Christmas this year, I've got my libation. :)

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Third Candle

The third candle in the Advent Wreath was lit yesterday at church and I think my heart actually fell into my abdominal cavity. Christmas Eve is in like, HELLO, 12 days! I have a huge Christmas confession to make. I haven't even started my shopping. Not one single gift is in my house patiently waiting to be wrapped.

If you know me and my need for organization, you know this is so not like me. I'm always done by now. I'm going to seriously have to haul if I want to be ready by Christmas. (All you Christmas Eve shoppers can just keep your comments to yourself!) I don't have any choice but to handle this challenge and maybe, just maybe it will be good for my anal little world.

*despondent sigh

Saturday, December 10, 2005

After all the fanfare....

...leading up to the big party last night, I'm sorry to disappoint my readers.

Don't get me wrong, we had a great time as usual, but as far as our neighborhood parties go, this one was pretty mild. We did the usual eating and drinking, shooting pool and playing Screw Your Neighbor for quarters, but no wild shananigans (sp?). We did consider going sledding in a farmers field around midnight, but I'm sure someone would have ended up being arrested.

We did lots of giggling and picture taking, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Looking through the digital camera this morning though, I'm not sure I should post any of them.

Well, no one will know which one I am. (and I'll thank Clew and Martie to keep their mouths closed.)

No that's not Sammy Hagar in the center. That's my friend Molly.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Another Currier & Ives Scene

Last night was my neighborhood's annual Christmas Cookie Exchange. I hosted it this year and while normally I stress out trying to get ready for any event, I was looking forward to the night and had a fun time decorating and visiting with my neighbors.

The snow was falling (10" which resulted in a snow day today) and the luminaries that I lined the walk with were picturesque.

Pictures never capture that warm, glowing feel that you see in real life.

There were nine of us in all and we each made three dozen cookies to share. The efforts resulted in a wide variety from Pecan Sandies to Toffee Bars to the traditional sugar cookie cut outs. We had a great time chatting and sharing hot spiced wine, coffee eggnog and crackers and cheese.

Tonight we gather again for our annual Christmas party. I love our neighbors. We have so much fun together. We have a party for almost every holiday and even make up reasons to have parties. We've gone on small weekend camping trips together and with the exception of a few people, we never seem to tire of one another.

Did I mention it's a "fun" association. If one family doesn't show up for a party, they are guaranteed to find a 'for sale' sign in their yard the next day. Or a bra hanging from their flag pole or (very limited) toilet paper streaming from their trees.

Another favorite prank is the panther. One of the neighbors found this old ceramic black panther with a missing paw and the mouth shaped in a perpetual roar at a rental property and brought it home to hide at another house. We never know where the panther will end up next, but last we saw it, it was peeking out from the landscaping at the first house on the street. She was dressed in a leopard bra and thong, had purple Mardi Gras beads around her neck and a red feather hat on.

You can see why we have so much fun. I'm sure there will be a story for me to tell tomorrow about the gathering tonight.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Only a few of the missing pictures have been found and posted. If anyone is interested, they are in the previous post.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Norman Rockwell with a Twist

Despite the unusual lack of Christmas spirit around here and the impending implosion of my ear drums from this unending illness, I decided this was the year to cut our own Christmas tree. We usually have two trees. An artificial in the basement and a real one upstairs-purchased from any corner lot. My kids have, sadly, never had the experience of chosing and cutting a tree themselves.

Anticipating hesitance with at least the teenagers, I braced myself for their resistance. When they seemed amenable (I don't dare say excited) to the idea, I decided to make a thermos of hot cocoa to take along.

Finally, after finding enough warm clothes for everyone and a saw for hacking, we were on our way up north.

The snow was falling in big, lofty flakes and piling up fast. It was a perfect scene for our Christmas tree hunt. I would have preferred to continue the mood with Handel's "Messiah" or some such musical pleasure, but the kids and my husband with their weird senses of humor all seemed more interested in listening to Bob & Tom's "It's a Wonderful Laugh". I conceded, just happy that every one was in a good mood and hummed "O Come All Ye Faithful" to myself.

As we drove further north into snow country, the flakes became smaller and smaller and finally ceased to exist at all. At least there was still some snow on the ground.

After an hour of driving, we pulled into the tree farm, woke up the baby, and bundled up. It was cold! Taking the saw, we headed north out of the parking lot in search of a Balsam Fir. I wanted an aromatic tree this year. We walked past the Concolor Firs, the White Pines, the Spruces and the Balsams. They all start looking the same after a while. (I think I'll remember a sled next year so we can pull the baby instead of carrying his thirty pounds through the snow.)
There was no light shining down upon it nor any choir of angels singing, but when we saw it, we knew that was our tree! It was such a pretty shade of green, had a perfect shape and it's trunk was nice and straight. We sawed it down, and pulled it back to the vehicle, taking turns heaving and hefting.

Then it was time for hot cocoa and peanut bars. The 17 year old promptly burned his tongue with the hot treat (complaining the rest of the way home) while hubby spilled his on the dash in a failed attempt at balancing the cup so he could remove his gloves. Yes, down the vents and all. I'm sure it won't last, but right now the Suburban has a faint chocolate smell in it when we first turn on the heater.

We took our little tree home and got it set up and decorated even. It's beautiful and smells wonderful. I ended up getting a Spruce. (Next year, I'll brush up on my tree identification before we go.)

Norman Rockwell-esque it wasn't, but it was perfect for who we are!

PS: I had pictures on my digital to include in various points of this story, but when I plugged it in, the only pictures were of my 17 year old in his tuxedo from the violin concert last night. Pictures I did not take. The kids must have somehow deleted the tree chopping pictures. Grrrr!