Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007, Hello 2008

(Click on the Post title for a song)

It is the time of year when most people reflect on the past year, and have high hopes for what the New Year will bring.

Here are some good things 2007 brought to our family:

* Our new kitchen early in the year, that I had been wanting for 20 years in this house (the new built-in dishwasher is my favorite addition).
* A new Brother-in-Law, when my sister got married in March.
* My ability to quit my stressful job and work from home.
* Working from home provides me with a flexible schedule, that allowed me to spend more time with our 3 year old, and our grandsons.
* Our new Son-in-law, when my daughter Megan got married in November.
* A renewed focus on our health and well-being (our will power is another story, but we'll work on that).
* Continued contact with Good friends
* Supportive and loving families
* My kids did not have any major difficulties this year and are healthy.
* My new Bloggy friends !

Of course, the year brought bad with the good, but no point in focusing on that.

Here are my New Year's Resolutions, if you want to call them that. It's a list of what I hope to accomplish and be in 2008.

1) I want to take a few classes this year, for fun. The first class will be either a Health Food cooking class, or a Watercolor class. I'm undecided right now. The local Adult evening school offers both, so we'll see. I need to register in the next week or so. I'd like to take 2 more throughout the year.

2) Since I've been working from home, my brain has gotten a little lazy. I've found I need to keep my mind working more, so I am going to try to do crossword puzzles this year. I've always enjoyed them but don't often think of doing them when I have a spare half hour. I'm dragging out all my crossword books and keeping them in a visible place so I will be more likely to do them.

3) I love to read, but again, don't always have time. We have 3 tall bookcases in the house overly-crammed full of reading material. I've decided that instead of buying new books this year, I am going to start reading the ones we have. I've read some and have held onto them, but a lot are given by others and haven't been touched. Once I read them, I will either try to sell them on or pass them to others. I think I will add a sidebar to my blog soon, with books I already read and would like to pass on, and if anyone is interested, I'll send it to you for you to enjoy. I started a book swap at my old company and everyone loved it. I'd like to be able to get rid of one bookcase by the end of 2008.

4) I want to de-clutter our home and our lives. Our closet is the first place, then the living room, then the game closet, then the basement and...well, the entire house actually. Our house is very small, and I can't figure out how to hide the clutter, like DVDs and books and all of the other stuff that ends up laying around everyday. We are not sloppy, just cluttered, and it is hard to come up with new space for storage.

5) I want us to be healthy and more fit.

6) I want to be less critical. I try not to voice criticism often, but a lot of times I will think it. So I want to learn to be more tolerant.

7) I want to help my mother with things more often.

8) I want to be more firm with Little Grim when it comes to her sleeping in her own bed. She ends up in our room almost every night at some point, and it makes for a poor night's sleep most of the time. With her and the dog, we now need a king size bed. But when she knocks on the door at 3 AM, it is hard to be tough about it.

9) I'd like to have more dates with my husband, so we have to find time for that. Even if we just run out to a local pizza joint or the mall is fine with me. Getting out by ourselves is one of the biggest thing I miss because my income dropped this year. We don't get out the way we used to.

10) Hmm, I don't think there is a number 10.

So that is it. I'm sure I'll think of others. What do you hope to accomplish in 2008?

Happy New Year, Everyone! And Thanks to everyone who bothered to stop here and read my thoughts this year. I appreciate all of you - you help keep me connected (at times in some bizarre way!) with the outside world.

I'll leave you with this U2 song. Click on the title of this post (sorry, I couldn't get it directly on the post like most normal people). See you next year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How much is your blog worth?

I swiped this from USA Admiral.

My blog is worth $6,209.94.
How much is your blog worth?

Mine is worth $6,209.94, but I have no idea why.

Who exactly is going to be paying me this money? That's what I want to know.

Christmas Meme

I'm so excited, RT tagged me for a Meme and it's my first one!

1. Wrapping or gift bags? This year, it is wrapping, I decided. I have the time, so rather than just quickly drop something in a bag, I thought I would wrap everything. I bought some nice bows and stuff.

2. Real or artificial tree? Real, I like the aroma. Although when I see the prices each year, I wish I had an artificial one.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually three weeks before Christmas, because I like to enjoy it for a while.

4. When do you take the tree down? End of the first week of January usually.

5. Do you like egg nog? Gag; no! (I'm with RT on this one!) Why put the booze in a thick creamy substance? I prefer hot cider that's been heated with cinnamon sticks and slices of oranges in it. And it makes the house smell great.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Wow, that's a tough one. For years I wanted a pottery wheel, and never got it. Then I finally did and it was a letdown, cuz it kind of sucked. I guess it would be a doll I had could walk when I held its hand. That was pretty cool.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes, it is on top of the entertainment center in the living room. I don't put Baby Jesus in til Christmas Eve. I guess technically, the three Wise Men should be in another room since they haven't gotten there yet either.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Maybe that pottery wheel, just for the disappointment factor. Or maybe the year my ex-husband shopped for me at the dollar store at the last possible minute and didn't think I'd be able to tell.

9. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail, we sent about a hundred this year. I don't have addresses for all of you folks or I would have included you as well. No email usually.

10. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a toss-up. I love A Christmas Story, but I also love the Muppets Christmas Carol, with Michael Caine as Scrooge. That one is edging into first place.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? We try to keep our eyes out for things during the year, so I would say sometimes we've started as early as the summer. Then we put them in a bin in the attic to store them. But the bulk is done in December.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Gosh, another hard one. Snickerdoodles for the cookie choice, my mother made them every year forever. My brother does the baking now. And candy canes, for the candy choice.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Both, I put clear lights all around the center of the tree, and the colored lights around the outside. It gives the tree kind of an inner glow. No blinkers this year on the tree, we must have got the lights mixed up because we ended up with blinkers outside on the front bushes.

14. Favorite Christmas song? "O Holy Night"

I tag SoHoS, USA Admiral and Jeffro (if he's up to it!). Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Happenings and Random Ramblings

I've been a very poor blogger this past week and haven't posted anything on my own site since last Thursday. I think it's just the holiday fervor. Here is what has been going on here at the Grim household:

Last Saturday, my sister and her husband had a cookie-baking party. I know people who do cookie exchanges, but they usually bake them in their own house and then show up with 50 million cookies to share with the group. Instead, the family got together to bake them together. My sis has two kitchens that are sort of adjoining, as their house has an In-law Suite that they opened up to give them more space. So we had the ovens going all day. I made Paula Deen's Loaded Oatmeal Cookies. They were yummy. I did substitute dried cranberries for the walnuts since I don't care for nuts in my cookies.

Of course, by the time the day was over, there was not a whole lot left of everything to take home! And what we did bring home is already gone. So I will probably make a batch or two of something this weekend to have on Christmas Day. One of the best cookies of the day - one of the teenage friends made a chocolate cookie with a Rollo candy baked inside. The candy melted and there was gooey chocolate and caramel inside when you bit into them. I only got one of them, which is probably a good thing.

The next day, we were supposed to attend another family Christmas party, this time on my brother-in-law's side. We usually only see this part of the family for a pool party in the summer, and then at Christmas time. But the brother-in-laws got iced in and couldn't attend, so we were not obligated to go. While we enjoy all of their company, we were relieved that we had the day to catch up on our own stuff at home. So we dragged Little Grim out for an afternoon of shopping and an early dinner at the local Bennigan's. It was exactly the kind of day we needed to get refreshed - no rushing. Hard to believe with the holiday shoppers out there, but we actually had a nice relaxing afternoon.

Monday, Little Grim and I had dentist appointments. This was her first actual visit, although she had come with me six months ago and recently with her brother, so she was familiar with the office. She did terrific. She drew the hygienist a picture to hang up in the office while I was getting my teeth cleaned. She stood next to my head and watched, and asked all kinds of questions about what the hygienist was doing. She was concerned about the bib they put on you. Bibs are for babies and she didn't want one. But she hopped right up in the chair when it was her turn and wore the bib, and actually had a fun time. She asked for Princess dental floss and a Princess toothbrush, which she was given, along with Princess toothpaste.

The hygienist was great with her. I'm thinking about writing the office a letter to thank them for making her first visit a good one. When we got out to the car, she said "I LOVE going to the dentist!". I took pictures with my camera phone, but can't figure out how to email them to myself (duh).

I'm having dinner tonight with my friend Lisa from work that I haven't seen in a few months, so Grimjack and the Little are on their own tonight. Then a Christmas lunch with my bosses tomorrow that I am also looking forward to - they have made reservations somewhere but won't tell me where, so I am meeting them at their office (which is also their house, since we all work from home). They've mentioned a Thai place near them so I'm sort of hoping it's there. But anywhere will be good, I'm sure.

Saturday, Megan and Baby Benny are coming up from Jersey, so we are having everyone over Saturday night. They won't be coming up Christmas day, so we are doing a causal 'Christmas' dinner so she can exchange gifts with her Pollyanna, and pick up everything we have for her and Chris and Benny, so they can open it all on Christmas morning at home, in their new house. Chris lost his Mom a year ago to cancer, and this year has been hard on him, with their getting married and the new house and not having her around to enjoy it with them. So they are laying low this Christmas.

I think I've bored you enough! Happy Holidays to all of you, and Thank You to everyone who stops by to read!

I do plan to post my New Year's Resolutions later in the month. I'd love to hear yours as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Declare Today is.....


Little Grim and I decided today was Pajama Day. She is sick this week, she had a fever over 103 last night, and decided to start vomiting all over me and the bed around midnight. So needless to say we didn't get a full night's sleep last night.

So after our shower/bath today, we both got into our fresh, matching blue PJs with the clouds on them, and are happily doing not much of anything today. Well, I'm working but it doesn't feel that way really, since I am in my...Pajamas! Oh, and a pink pair of Grimjack's socks that I accidentally washed with my red sweater.

Happy Pajama Day, All !!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Officer Chuck Cassidy

I was just out dropping off Little Grim at pre-school, and I was sickened to hear that some scumbag broke into the Dunkin Donuts where Officer Chuck Cassidy was shot and killed, and stole the donation jar that had been put there to benefit his family.

How low can someone go? Pursue him with a vengeance, Wyatt!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Coolest gadget we have for the Christmas Tree this year

Check this out:

The Christmas Tree Water Alert looks like a snowman ornament, and is attached to a sensor gadget that you place in your tree stand, in the water. When the water gets within an inch of the bottom of the stand, the snowman starts to flash. When the snowman flashes, you know it is time to replace the water in your tree stand.

We bought one two years ago at an after-Christmas sale for probably practically nothing, and hadn't used it. Grimjack tried it this year and it is awesome. I am always bad at remembering to water the tree, and usually after the first week or so, the tree starts dropping needles like crazy.

But now, I can keep the tree watered, making it less of a fire hazard. Sweet.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Remember These ??

My Number One Son, who is 17 and a half, was cleaning out his closet this past weekend (A Christmas Miracle) while I was away, and came across this,

stuck in the back of his closet. Since it has hot pink hair, I reckon that this particular Troll doll belonged to one of his sisters, which probably makes this troll over 20 years old. So it has survived quite a lot - the tortures of 4 children, and a nice long hibernation in the back of a dark closet. Remember playing with them, and brushing their hair?

Well, here is what the troll doll looks like now, after 5 minutes with the dog:

A Triple Amputee. Nice. Luckily Little Grim hadn't gotten too attached to it.

But notice how nice his hair looks - I brushed it before I threw it in the trash.

Letter to Santa

This is Little Grim's Christmas letter to Santa:

Dear Santa,

I want the froggy game. I will leave you cookies and milk, and carrots for the Reindeer. I love Reindeers.

Please leave balls for Benny and Bo. They are babies. I would like a new Bouncy Bouncy (this is what she calls one of those inflatable balls with a handle that she bounces on) and a ball for me.

You'll have to bring something for Lynda - maybe scissors. Maybe a pineapple for Steph, and a fish tank for sharks for Steve. For Megan, I would like a Peter Pan movie for us to watch at her new house.

I want a little dog that I can walk with dear Maggie (our dog). I want my own phone so I can call someone for real.

Thank you,
Love, Kara and Maggie

When I asked her if she wanted to expain to Santa who Benny and Bo were (they are our grandsons, and her nephews), she said "No, he'll remember". She apparently told the Mall Santa about them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

50 Things you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask....

RT had this voluntary meme at her site. I thought I'd give it a try. I even swiped her graphic.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? Ugh, I need a haircut.

2. How much cash do you have on you? About $4.50 in change.

3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR? Floor.

4. Favorite planet? Saturn.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone? My daughter Steph

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone? Silent.

7. What shirt are you wearing? Pink Tee with sparkly beads around the collar.

8. Do you label yourself? Sure, who doesn't.

9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing? Some kind of sneaker from Walmart.

10. Bright or Dark Room? Bright.

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you? Fun chick

12. What does your watch look like? Don't wear one.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
It wasn't actually a text message, it was an animated elf mooning me, from my sister.

15. Where is your nearest 7-11? Probably a mile and a half away. Two Wa-Wa's and a Cumberland Farm closer.

16. What's a word that you say a lot? Shit.

17. Who told you he/she loved you last? Grimjack, or Little Grim. I'm very lucky to hear it from my family frequently.

18. Last furry thing you touched? Rather not say, Heh! Actually it was the dog.

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days? None.

20. How many rolls of film do you need developed? None, we went digital 4 years ago and got caught up.

21. Favorite age you have been so far? I don't think I really had a favorite, but I'm sure at the time that 18 felt pretty good.

22. Your worst enemy? Gummy Bears - I need a 12 Step program.

23. What is your current desktop picture? A picture of Little Grim when she fell asleep with a pretzel in her hand, and then she rolled over and it was stuck to her forehead. A Kodak moment she will hate me for later. See below!

24. What was the last thing you said to someone? I'll be right back.

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be? The money, since none of the rest of the family could fly with me.

26. Do you like someone? Sure, I like lots of people.

27. The last song you listened to? Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, sung by Little Grim in the car.

28. What time of day were you born? I actually don't know.

29. What’s your favorite number? My favorite number is 13, just because it was supposed to be unlucky.

30. Where did you live in 1987? PA, in the same house actually.

31. Are you jealous of anyone? Yes, people who do not have to work and can spend unlimited amounts of time with their kids doing fun stuff.

32. Is anyone jealous of you? All of my old co-workers, since I left the company to work from home.

33. Where were you when 9/11 happened? Home sick from work, watching it unfold.

34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money? I usually give it a smack to see if it will dislodge something, which never works, then I curse.

35. Do you consider yourself kind? 99% of the time, yes. If I find myself thinking unkind things about someone, I try to check my attitude - unless they deserve my unkind thoughts.

36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be? Well, I have two, so I would say base of spine (my son calls these 'tramp stamps') and...somwhere else.

37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be? Spanish would be the most useful but I would like to learn Italian.

38. Would you move for the person you loved? Yes, unless it was MN, which is where Grimjack's corporate office is. Weather up there around the lakes is way too crappy in the winter. Last time I was in MN, it snowed the whole time and was only 2 degrees out.

39. Are you touchy feely? Yes, once I know someone well.

40. What’s your life motto? Keep a positive attitude, it can make all of the difference in the world.

41. Name three things that you have on you at all times? My purse, crayons, coupons I leave in a shoe box in the car.

42. What’s your favorite town/city? Of the ones I've been to, I'd say London. But I've spent the most time in Philly.

43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash? Two coffees and a cookie at Starbucks yesterday.

44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it? I can't even remember. It's a dying art, unfortunately. I do always write things in greeting cards when I send them, though.

45. Can you change the oil on a car? No, but I can check it.

46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her? That he had beat up the current girlfriend. That was years ago.

47. How far back do you know about your ancestry? Only three generations back on my Dad's side, to Poland and Slovakia.

48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and what did you dress in? My daughter's wedding two weeks ago, a long flowery dress that I borrowed from my sister.

49. Does anything hurt on your body right now? Lower back.

50. Have you been burned by love? Sure, who hasn't?