Wednesday, December 26, 2007

and to all a good 2008...

Well, another year is almost over, and again, I've failed to accomplish most of the things on my list of things to do in 2007.

So, because I *heart* lists of questions, I've created a little questionnaire all about the new year and things less about the new year. Please feel free to share your answers - we love to learn more about our reading public.

1) on a scale of 1977 (or year of birth) to 2007, how would you rate 2007?

i'd put 2007 somewhere in the middle. 2004 was by far the most impactful, having been the year i got married and bought a house, and got a dog. and i can't really judge the earliest years, but i can tell you that the year i got a stroller for christmas was up there with the all time best years ever. i recall a lot of barbie time and glamour gal time -- i'd guess it may have been the year I was 6. so i think my favorite years went something near this order: 1977 (how can you beat that first year?), 2004, 1994, 1985, 1986, 2005 (two nephews in one year), 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982 (1981= year i had chicken pox on my birthday), 1983, 1984, 2007.. and then the rest kind of fill in from there.

2) what new year's resolution did you not fulfill in 2006? what *did* you stick to?

i believe it's safe to say my resolution to blog more. i had resolved, however, to stress about work less. i think that while i still work way long hours, etc, i've done a good job not venting or carrying too much stress home with me.

3) what one thing do you want to accomplish in 2008?

i'd like to learn conversational french (thank you, j, for the audio Berlitz "learn to speak french in your car" set) and then, possibly, italian.

4) what was your favorite thing about 2007?

kat's wedding was the most fun and memorable thing, hands down.

5) what will you do different in 2008 that you did this year?

i will aim to take more pictures. i think it'd help me remember the year better if i put together a "year in review" slideshow for myself, kind of like all of those news programs do.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Gather 'around the fire, children. We have something to say...

When we were little, Santa left large, unwrapped gifts around the tree, while the gifts from our parents were the wrapped ones. As we got older, Santa divided presents into piles for each of the kids.

One tradition in my family was tons of stocking gifts. Apparently, we had some unusual stocking stuffers, which included rolls of film, batteries and almost always a jar of peanuts. (The Pretend Husband and I have continued this tradition and know our Christmas shopping isn’t done until we’ve bought peanuts for each other).

One year, my dad made a turkey for our holiday meal. But he made ONLY a turkey. No sides, no stuffing, no gravy, no dessert. He’s made up for it since, but I’ll never forget looking down at a plate with only a slice of turkey on it.

This year, the PH and I will spend Christmas morning alone together. It will be a rare moment of peace in our hectic lives. While we are enjoying plenty of time with both sides of the family, the time with just the two of us is really special.

Whatever your traditions, SJ and I wish you the happiest of Christmases. May the day be filled with love, laughter, family, friends, good food and moments of peace and relaxation.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Don’t look now, but there’s a dog following me

One of the nice things about having two dogs is there’s two of them! Who love me! And want to be with me! And won’t let me out of their sight! Ever!

Granted, they spend a good amount of time wrestling with each other and playing tug-of-war with toys and trying to scratch each other’s eyes out, but really only when I’m in the room. Look, Mom! Watch me hang off Molly’s ear while she tries to get away!

The rest of the time, they lavish me with attention… running between my feet anytime I try to walk anywhere, following me the three steps from the sink to the cabinet, whining at the bottom of the stairs when I run up for something.

I’m working from home today and, while I admittedly have a couple of pounds to lose, my lap is not so big that I can manage an 18-pound Pekepoo, a 6-pound Cockapoo and my laptop at the same time. There’s also been some shoving to see who gets to nap closest to me and two dogs who are instantly awake the moment my feet hit the floor.

Anytime I’ve left the couch (you know, for my “lunch break” or “Christmas present wrapping break” or “knocking off early because I deserve it”) I’ve had an entourage. I just washed the dishes with that feeling of eyes on the back of my neck. I’ve also accidentally closed Molly inside the bathroom twice because I walked out and closed the door, not realizing she had snuck in behind me. And I’ve closed Casey inside the pantry, but that was because I had ordered her to come out repeatedly and needed to teach her a lesson about not listening to Mommy (tough love, people!)

It’s nice to be so loved. But, seriously, I wouldn’t mind going to the bathroom without an audience. Or, you know, walking from one room to another without kicking Casey in the head four times. Is it weird to hope my dogs love me a little less in the future?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Who would think a sweater could make me this frustrated?

I mentioned to the Pretend Husband that I bought his sister a beautiful cashmere sweater for Christmas. Not only that, but it's normally $88 and I got it for $30. I don't know the Pretend-Sister-in-Law's taste very well, but I quizzed my coworkers and the consensus was that a cashmere sweater is something you might not buy for yourself and are sure to enjoy.

So I told the PH about the sweater and mentioned I was thinking about going back to the store to get one for myself.
"Well, can it count toward the gifts I'm getting you?" he asked.
"Ok, sure," I replied, thinking he's probably having trouble coming up with present ideas.
"When you get it, could you just wrap it and put it under the tree?"
*I think that's about the time my phone accidentally hung up on him*

So, this sweater... the PH and his sister decided to do some Christmas shopping last night, so I showed him the sweater I got her and asked him to get me one while he was at the store. When I got home later, his comment was, "The sweater's yours." Apparently, while his sister was helping him pick out a sweater for me, she mentioned how much she didn't like it. And the color? The beautiful periwinkle blue I picked out because I thought it was nice... and so much better than the bland black or grey? She thought it was "an old lady color."

Well, this old lady's wearing a pretty nice sweater at work today and has gotten plenty of compliments. Oh, and in future years? The PH can do all the shopping for his family. I give up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

...And then I beat him over the head with a Christmas present.

What is it with men and Christmas?!? Would it kill them to do their shopping before the last possible moment? The Pretend Husband is terrible about this, to the point where I got tired of waiting and did most of the shopping for his family. He basically only needs to shop for me and he's planning on doing it sometime this weekend.

But this little Christmas tale takes the cake. Yesterday, the PH mentioned that he needed a grab bag gift for a party today. I came up with the idea of a travel mug and a gift card for coffee. Easy enough. Then I drove to Dunkin' Donuts to buy the items, then I brought them home for his approval, then he asked me to wrap them for him.

Like a good lil' wife, I agreed to do it, but didn't get around to it until this morning (because I was busy hanging shades in our living room while the PH watched football upstairs, but don't even get me started about that one!). So this morning, while the PH was getting ready for work, I dug through some closets, trying to find wrapping items for the grab bag gift. No boxes were the right shape for the mug, so I finally settled on a blue gift bag and made it all "purty" with some blue and white curly ribbons.

PH: "I don't want a gift bag. I want it in a box."

KAT: "We don't have any boxes that fit it. This is the only gift bag that was the right size."

PH: "But I want it wrapped up like a Christmas present."

KAT: "Then you can do it yourself."

Not surprisingly, he took it as it was, but had to get in one last remark as he walked out the door.

PH: "Thanks for the baby shower gift."

KAT: (I wasn't going to mention it because I didn't want him to be all self-conscious, but after his comment, I figured he had it coming). "Actually, it looks like a Hanukkah gift. The Hanukkah colors are blue and white."

And I sang the Dreidel Song as he walked out the door.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The upside will be having plenty of stories for the blog

Molly tested us with vomit. Casey is taking us in a whole new direction. It seems she's a reincarnation of Houdini himself.

On Sunday, we left the dogs alone for about two hours, figuring it was a good test for the next day, when they would be alone for about four hours while I went to work. Casey was gated into the hallway off our kitchen by a baby gate on the kitchen end and some Rubbermaid bins on the living room end. Molly was gated into the kitchen itself by the same baby gate and some boxes between the kitchen and the dining room (Molly is not an explorer and has never tried to test any of the boxes we leave in doorways although she could easily clear them if she tried). In addition, we had a duffle bag and some boxes between the living room and the rest of the house.

Two hours after leaving the dogs separated but within sight of each other, we returned... to find them both in the kitchen. With the baby gate and all other obstacles intact. Hmmm... a little detective work revealed Casey pushed aside one of the boxes separating her from the living room and, in a dark house in which she had only lived for 24 hours, made her way through the living room, over the duffle bag in the doorway and through the dining room. Then, for her final trick, she managed to get through the boxes in the dining room doorway in order to break BACK INTO the kitchen so she could be with Molly! (Obviously, it would have made more sense to just get from the hall to the kitchen through the baby gate, but that thing's pretty sturdy).

Last night was a similar episode shortly after we put her into the blocked hallway and went up to bed. She whined for awhile and pushed against some of the boxes... and then went eerily quiet. I went downstairs to find she had jumped over a box onto the ottoman the Pretend Husband had added for weight and then into the living room. She again ran through the first floor and into the kitchen, presumably looking for Molly (who was upstairs with us but, thankfully, the full flight of stairs is still a bit too challenging for our little daredevil... but give her another week or so!) By the time the PH got done putting Casey back into the hallway and stacking boxes and duffle bags in the doorway, it looked like we were awaiting the moving truck.

Three months old... already pretty much house trained... can go up and down the steps into the house... able to scale tall boxes... can navigate unfamiliar territory in the dark... an ingrained lack of respect for authority... yeah, I think we're in trouble.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Our family is growing (and no, I'm not pregnant)

Call us crazy. Go ahead, you're going to be saying it by the end of this post anyway.

The Pretend Husband and I have been discussing getting a second dog (what with how easy Molly is and all). This has been a topic of conversation for a few months now for a bunch of reasons. A big one is how bored Molly gets being alone all day. And with winter here, it's dark by the time I get home from work. Many days, she gets a greeting and some playtime when I get home, then sits around watching me write out thank you cards. It's not fair.

The grandparents are against the idea. Molly has a close relationship with her Grandma and Grandpa and spends a lot of time at their house. Grandma was nervous about having two dogs to care for. Grandpa promised he wouldn't love a second dog as much as he loves Molly.

Well, they're just going to have to deal with it. Meet Casey.

Casey is a three-month-old Cockapoo (a cocker spaniel/poodle mix) who won't shed and, like Molly, is hypoallergenic. She and Molly get along famously. It's been wrestling match after wrestling match in our kitchen, but no one has been hurt yet.

No, we haven't gotten a lot of sleep this weekend. Yes, the grandparents said, "Why'd you do that?" when we said we got a second dog. And yes, there is going to have to be A LOT of puppy proofing done to our house before Casey is allowed out of the kitchen.

But she's cute, Molly's happy... and I was running out of ideas for posts anyway.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thank you, thank you very much

SJ’s away and this blogger is ready to play! SJ and her husband left yesterday for their annual vacation, which usually includes Dutch food, Danish Christmas ornaments and a big mouse in flashy clothing. That’s right, the SJ family is in Disney for a few days. But SJ sort of half-promised she would try to find a business center and be the Funny Gals foreign correspondent while she’s away (although she may have only said that to get out of the headlock I had her in). But c’mon, I left a comment from my honeymoon in a foreign country using a comment window that was written in Dutch! How hard could it be to comment from Florida?!?

A co-worker asked me this morning, “How’s married life?” and my response was, “There seems to be a lot more writing than before we were married.” That’s right, I’m in thank you card hell. The Pretend Husband and I are blessed to have tons of family members and friends who are generous and awesome and awesomely generous. Which means thank you cards for gifts and their friendship and attending our wedding, which I don’t mind doing… at all. In fact, I love telling people how grateful I am to have them in my life and I get a kick out of fashioning an interesting thank you note. But it is a lot of writing.

With my birthday two days ago came a whole new load of gifts (Woe is me for having such generous friends!) which means I’m officially an event behind with the thank yous. I may not be the most organized person in the world, but I live and die by the thank you note. I am physically incapable of receiving a gift and not sending a note to thank the person for it. I can thank my mom for that trait (with a well-written and sincere thank you note, of course!)

And I’m not talking fill-in-the-blank “Thank you for the lovely _______________. We love it! Love, KAT” kind of notes. Oh no! The proper note has a reason why I love it so much and usually a description of how I’m going to put it to use (what I used the gift card to buy or how well the comforter will go with the color of our bedroom walls). Believe me, it’s much easier to write these things if you really mean it. And I also find thank you notes to be the perfect medium in which to thank a person for their love or friendship and tell them how much they mean to me.

I’m proud to say the PH and I are almost done with the thank you notes for our wedding and I’ve already addressed the envelopes for my birthday thank yous. I think we can finish all of them up by the end of the weekend. Just in time to get started on those Christmas cards!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Happy Birthday, old friend....

and I meant that in the non-age-discriminatory way of expressing that we've been friends for what seems like decades and is in fact, just about 5 years.

i have celebrated 5 years of birthday revelry with KAT and each year i'm amazed at how much has continued to change in our lives. five years ago we were happy go lucky reporters, both single (although j and i were dating when KAT and i met), both fancy-free (mostly because we were rePO'rters) and celebrated with martinis at bar grand openings and whatever other free passes we could get our hands on.

now things are a little different. she's moved on to be an editor, and i've moved into the corporate world. but somehow, we still manage to get into some goofy antics. here are some highlights over the past five years:

Stop and Shop runs late at night. everyone knows we play setback, although, to be fair, we haven't played like we used to in a long time. now we're content to play two games and call it a night. we did, however, used to have some marathon times that required sustenance. so natch, we got in the car, pulled on our winter hats (in the middle of a fairly warm spring, i believe) and purchased our half gallons of ice cream and whipped cream. at like... 11:30 at night. something most people do in college, that we are still happy to do past 30.

Homecoming 1984. Well not really. In fact, it was actually Halloween 2002. Me, KAT and our friend Erin all raided the goodwill store to find suitable Halloween costumes for hitting a bar costume party. Friends of mine who played in an 80s cover band were playing at the bar, so we went as Homecoming 1984, 1986 and 1987 respectively. The only woman to convince me to wear peach lace in public? KAT.

Mystic 2003. I don't quite remember what the big plan was for this night, but KAT and I decided that we would celebrate the end of summer properly: with a trip to Mystic for dinner and revelrie. Except I'm not sure what happened to the revelrie. The bar was a dud, so we decided to make our own fun by getting touristy sweatshirts, do some window shopping and drive to Rhode Island to get gas, and really just to say that we crossed state lines.

The summer of girls weekends 2004. KAT and some of our other friends put together a couple of kick-arse girls weekends to celebrate my nuptials -- including one that included my being abducted at a CVS. Sadly, we couldn't do the same for KAT, as she works 7 days a week now. But I have high hopes that her work schedule will soon accommodate a vacation (perhaps in the spring) or a road trip.

The wake for Maureen. I'm sure we discussed this, so all I will say about this is "This one's for Maureen!" and 7 and 7's don't mix with tequila.

The Wedding. 2007. We spend a lot of time together, but probably never as much and in such tight quarters as the wedding weekend last month. It's funny, because usually, it's just j that i like waking up with, but there's something about sleepovers with the girls that never goes out of style. but i think when the four of us go on vacation together (which strangely enough, has never happened), we probably won't bunk together.

I wish all of you could have the pleasure of spending the past five years in KAT's company as often as I have been lucky to do. I miss our 3 days a week good times, but I take what I can get. When you're lucky enough to have a friend who's passionate about the people around her and is up for anything as long as it's fun (and if it doesn't sound fun, then she just finds ways to make it fun), you celebrate her as often as you can. But today, on her special day, please help me celebrate her by sharing your favorite KATism.