Friday, December 31, 2010

I hate to see you go but I'll love to watch you leave...

I cannot believe another New Year's Eve is here! Mama always told us growing up that once we hit 30, it'd be gone and boy, was she right! My mama was right about a lot of things. :)

I just LOVE a new year. A fresh start. Another chance to get it right.

2010 was a pretty monumental year for me. I went back to school! And I lost nearly 60 pounds! Both of these accomplishments are things I never thought I'd do or could do. I found out that I like being able to cross my legs, I like being able to sit on the sofa and pull my knee up to my chin as I sit there (that is really, really cool!), I liked getting rid of all the XL stuff in my closet and replacing it with larges (and some mediums!). I like being in a smaller size than I was in high school. I will have to fight my weight the rest of my life, I know that. It is a struggle every. single. day. But there are so many advantages, not just the crossing my legs part but for my health, that I have to do it. I have to fight it.

I don't make resolutions. They're like diets. They don't work. We get bored or tired or fed up or just don't care anymore and we give up. Instead of a resolution, I just try to be a better person in the new year than I was in the old. Instead of a diet, I just try to work on eating right and exercising. I've been really lazy lately. I know that once I start walking and running again, I'll be just fine.

I'm starting my fourth quarter at school January 11th. When it's over, I'll be a year into this thing!! I can't believe that either. Working during the day and going to school at night has definitely been a challenge but it's been so much fun! This quarter, I'm taking Solid State at the college and a microcomputers class online. I'll get my interview at the base the end of March and we'll see what happens there.

I've been a cleaning, organizing fool the past few days! It started with taking down the Christmas tree and putting everything away in the attic. I have organized cabinets, the pantry, cleaned out the fridge, mopped behind the washer and dryer and the fridge, put new screws in my front door, cleaned house from top to bottom and I even got the bug man yesterday to clean the leaves off my roof. I am ready for this new year!! :)

Here are some fun highlights of my year! I learned how to play bunco in 2010! We got substantial snow in 2010! I went to see a show at the Grand Opera House in 2010! I went hiking at High Falls all by myself in 2010! I saw a movie at midnight for the first (and last!) time in my life in 2010! I fell in love with True Blood in 2010! I went to my 25th high school reunion in 2010! I got trigeminal neuralgia in 2010! (Okay, that last one wasn't much fun but it was part of the year that was and it's still going on into 2011 so it deserves its spot, aggravating thing that it is.)

I'm planning to welcome the new year just like I do every year, in my jammies, watching the ball drop on TV. It's safer that way. Too many drunks out there. So I'll have a nice quiet peaceful night at home. A nice quiet peaceful end to what was a really great year for me!

Happy New Year and be safe out there!! See ya in 2011!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter mantel

I've had Gary Sinise and Mark Herndon on my mantel for so long that I am in need of a change. I love the autographed pictures that my sweet hubby got for me but I want to do a little something different. I think we have a beautiful fireplace, mantel and hearth and I'm thinking of doing seasonal mantels next year. And TRY to use what I already have!!

This is what I've put together so far for winter.

I organized my candle cabinet last night and found these white taper candles that I'd gotten at IKEA ages ago, along with the crystal star and ice cube candle holders. I'd forgotten I even had them. I added a silver lantern, also from IKEA, and topped it with a red bird. The frosted pine cone came right off my Christmas tree and the gorgeous paper roses my sissy made me and put on my Christmas presents just look so sweet up there.

I just got these cute little felty snowmen at Target for 50 cents each! I'm still holding out for some snow!! We didn't get any last year 'til February.

I just had to show a close up of these paper roses!!
They are sooooo beautiful and I absolutely love them.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merriest Christmas part two

Just part of the loot!
No matter how we say we're going to have a simple Christmas,
we never do. I'm just as guilty as the rest, though!
I mainly posted this picture because I wanted
to show off the gorgeous paper roses that Ami made for my gifts!!

Me with my gifts from Larry

These were two of them! A Cuisinart popcorn maker and a Breville stainless steel tea kettle! My baby knows what to get me. I don't like jewelry unless it's his old dog tag or my wedding rings and he knows better than to try to buy me clothes. Ha! I love stuff for my kitchen and gadgets!

And here's my gadget! A Snowbot. Cutest little thing!! You plug him into a USB port on your computer and his eyes light up (blue or red) and he makes a scary robot sound. I love him!! I think he'll hang out on the coffee table all year.

My mama made this beautiful arrangement of Christmas ornaments
to hang from the ceiling fan in their dining room.
It was the centerpiece for our Christmas. We all loved it.

Ami and me with one of our gifts from each other.

This picture of Ami with her sock monkey is soooooo sweet.
I'm so glad she liked it!!

Our beautiful Jessica and handsome Christopher.
They grew up much, much too fast!!!! :(

My brother, Ricky, my sister, Ami and me.

Chris, Jessi and me decorating Christmas cookies!

Here are two I made and it was Ami's idea to stand the reindeer up!
I think it turned out really cute!!

Some other things I got were a wonderfully warm gray fleece zip-up, cozy pink and white polka dot slippers and an opera wallet from Ami and Brian, a gray Old Navy hoodie and long-sleeved slinky t-shirt, Joshilyn Jackson's book Backseat Saints that I've been dying to read since the summer, a cute cloth makeup bag in a blue hippie paisley print, silver hoop earrings, the coolest spiced pears candle in an old-fashioned enamel jar that I just LOVE, marshmallow socks and makeup from Mama and Daddy, a beautiful ornament and yummy peppermint candle from Ricky and his family, a beautiful nativity ornament from my cousin, Sarah and a Target gift card from my sweet neighbor, David. I'm saving it for when I'm broke! Ha! I know I'm forgetting something (sorry, y'all!!) but I racked up!!

We just had the best day! Now it's time to pack everything away and get ready to begin a brand new year filled with promise and opportunity. I can't wait to see what 2011 brings us!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Know why Mrs. Beasley is so happy??

'Cause she's home with me, that's why! I brought a few of my dolls back home with me from Mama and Daddy's house today, dolls that I loved and played with when I was a little girl. I'm telling you, they are LOVED TO PIECES. Literally. Mrs. Beasley has had surgery on both of her arms and when I was cleaning her up tonight, her wrist ripped and 'bout scared me half to death. I was trying to be gentle with the old girl. Her apron and glasses are long gone, her voice box, too. But that sweet, sweet smile is still the same.

Her tag says Mattel 1967 but I got her in 1970, on my 3rd birthday. My daddy went everywhere trying to get me this doll and he and his friend, Jerry, finally found her and got her back just in time for my birthday party. I remember how excited I was to have her!! Kinda like I am tonight. :)

Happy birthday to you...

Baby Jesus, happy birthday to you!

Merriest Christmas!

I've had the most wonderful Christmas with my family today, pretty much just hanging out together and eating nonstop. Everybody was there, we had presents galore and love even more! It was a great, great day.

One more Christmas together, one more Christmas with all of us healthy and happy, one more Christmas filled with laughter and good food, one more Christmas with our Maw, one more Christmas. Seems the older I get, the more sentimental I am on Christmas night
, when I'm back in my quiet, cozy little house and have time to reflect on the day. I'm always a little sad when it's over. All the planning and shopping and wrapping and secrets. Poof! Just like that. Gone for another year.

I'm so thankful for my wonderful, loving family. For Mama and Daddy, for Ami and Brian, for Ricky, Audra, Jessica and Christopher, for Maw. They all together and individually bring so much happiness, stability and joy to my life.

I'll post pictures later (Ami and Brian only took over 600 today and last night!) and I'll talk about and show all the cool and lovely gifts I received but I just wanted to post something ON Christmas, while it was still Christmas. It'll be gone for good in a couple of hours. I hope everybody reading this spent the day lovin' on somebody who loved on you right back.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Busy busy busy

Mama just sent me this cute picture!
How sweet is that??

I got off work today at noon and I have been nonstop ever since! I went and got the oil changed in my car, went by Walgreens to get a few last minute things and came home and started cooking. I made a pot of wassail, a loaf of sausage cheese bread, a small loaf of mozzerella bread and I got my corn casserole ready to go in the oven tomorrow. I made white chocolate chip cookies and saltine cracker toffee last night while I enjoyed my Christmas must-watch, The Waltons Homecoming. I just love that movie. If only our lives and time were slow like that...sigh. Maybe one day.

And to quote a phrase from that sweet movie, one that my daddy says to this day, I've had a Christmas traveler at my house. While I was watching the movie last night, I started hearing scratching and clawing in the wall behind the television! I knew that was a critter come a'calling, just in time for Christmas! I played with him for a little while, tapping on the wall and telling him to GET OUT and things of that nature (some nice, some not so nice) and he finally stopped. I called a local pest control company and the guy came out this morning and got up in the attic and poked around a little bit and found one dead rat up there 'bout the size of a kitten. Said he'd been there since the summer, probably. Now that is nasty. I never smelled or heard a thing. Anyway, he took care of it and put out some traps and will be back in a week to check them. So far today and tonight, I haven't heard a peep.

And that's the kind of Christmas traveler I like. Come sit a spell, scratch a little bit and then leave before your welcome's worn out!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cards!

Every year, Larry makes and collects 25 Christmas cards for me and mails them so that I'll get one every day in December, right up until Christmas. His homemade cards mean so much to me. I love his Santas, snowmen and depictions of me and us. He writes me a letter inside or he'll write something sweet and romantic.

In this world of electronic communication, email and Facebook, it's wonderful to still open up my mailbox and see colorful envelopes in there from my love.


Here's my cookbook, marshmallow socks
and President Obama Chia Pet that my
Secret Santa at work, Lisa S, gave me!!

Pretty black and purple top and opera wallet that my
Monday through Thursday work buddy and friend,
Lisa P (we have two Lisas!), gave me!

Lisa P also gave me this peace ring. I LOVE it!!
I totally rock it, don't I?? :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome winter blah blah blah whatever

This little penguin has his arms crossed 'cause he's just as irritated as I am to have to welcome winter. I hate cold weather. Bleh. I know I have to endure it to get me to April and May so endure it I will. Bleh. By the way, this little penguin was a gift to me today from my Secret Santa at work who turned out to be my Friday work buddy and friend, Lisa!!! Yay!!! She gave me the penguin (who was holding blue marshmallow socks inside his crossed arms!), a Taste of Home cookbook that I love, a pretty pair of silver hoop earrings that I have in my ears right this very minute and drum roll....a President Obama CHIA PET!!! I left everything but the penguin and my earrings at the office so I'll have to post a picture of them tomorrow. I cannot wait to start the Chia Pet!! I've never had one before and I'm looking forward to sharing him with all four of you readers!!! :) He's gonna have the biggest, prettiest, greenest 'fro you ever saw!! We'll start him in January.

Also, today, the doctor I work for took us all out for our Christmas office luncheon at The Swanson House in Perry and it was sooooo good. The food, the service, the atmosphere, the company, everything. The restaurant is tucked smack in the middle of historic downtown Perry. It's a home built in the 1800's and the same family manages the restaurant now. The food was incredible. The little cheese biscuits/muffins were heaven on a plate and it was all I could do not to nom 'em all down right then and there. I had baked chicken and dressing, squash casserole and field peas with snaps. Oh, and a slice of caramel cake for dessert. Everything was great. If you're ever in Perry, you should stop by. It's at the end of Carroll Street. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Christmas cactus today!

These are the most blooms I've ever gotten!!
It's so beautiful I just had to show it again. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Walkin' Through Bethlehem

Today after work, Lisa and I went to church for an early Walk Through Bethlehem run. They started the tours at 4:00, we got off work at 5:00 and by the time we got there, a crowd was already forming. It will be that way the entire weekend. But if there's a crowd, there's always live entertainment going on in the sanctuary and your wait goes by fast! Shirley Hills Baptist Church offers this gift totally FREE to our community every December and if you've never seen it, you owe it to yourself and your family to GO!! You will leave there a different person, I promise.

This is what the church's web site says about it:

Walk Through Bethlehem
December 17 - 19
4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

This is an interactive drama where our guests become part of the Christmas story. While, the original story in the Bible, in the first two chapters of the books of Matthew and Luke, we try to re-create what Bethlehem might have been like the night Jesus was born. If you'll listen closely, you'll hear the dialogue between our tour hosts and the residents of Bethlehem that tell the story. In the meantime, you'll have to pay a tax (we'll give you the coin), and you'll be immersed in the sights, sounds, smells, and even the tastes of an ancient city. Eventually, you'll make the same discovery the shepherds of Bethlehem made, as they ran to find the place where Jesus had been laid in a manger.

Lisa and I went and had the best time!! Here are a few pics she took of me!

The gorgeous church Christmas tree!

In front of the gate going into the city

Cheesin' (not freezin'!) with some grapes

Gettin' in trouble with some Roman guards :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And somehow I ended up at Target...

While I was looking at Christmas lights tonight, something from Target called my name. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the yummy coconut body scrub I got or the smelly-good organic shea butter soap that has frankincense and myrrh in it (but how cool is that to find nine days before Christmas??? That's what the Wise Men brought Baby Jesus! I squeeeeeeed out loud in the store.).

But that's not what called me. What called me was this MERRY CHRISTMAS sign!!!

They FINALLY got it, y'all. They finally got it. We're not having a birthday party for Jesus complete with presents and sugar cookies and not invite Him to it.

Not anymore.

Christmas in the 'hood

I went riding around tonight looking at Christmas lights. These are a few houses in my neighborhood.

Here's my little display!
Lighted garland on the fence and my old trusty Santa on the porch!

These folks here lose their minds every Christmas.
They're about a mile down Houston Lake. I had to show their lights!
They do this for every holiday. Last month there were turkeys out there!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My favorite Christmas movies

I just realized tonight that I have not seen one Christmas movie yet! I have got to fix that this weekend!! Since I'm through with school until January 11th, I should have more time for ME. Yay!! I'm looking forward to some long hot baths, steaming cups of hot chocolate and nights spent by the fire watching Christmas movies. Here are three that are an absolute must. They are my very favorites!

Favorite part: Ralphie FINALLY gettin' to talk to Santa and then not being able to remember what he wants!!

The Waltons will always have a special place in my heart. They were such a HUGE part of my childhood!! Favorite part: John Boy and Hawthorne are at the Baldwin house and they are just a'singing and then all of a sudden, Hawthorne goes, "Miss Emily, Miss Mamie, we got to have some gas." I crack UP every dang time. Also LOVE LOVE LOVE Mary Ellen putting that bird's nest in the tree.

Favorite part: ANY scene Cousin Eddie is in. What a nut!! I also love Clark's flipout at the end about his Christmas bonus and when he's done, he goes, "Hallelujah holy sh!t where's the Tylenol?"

I don't really consider Frosty, Rudolph and Charlie Brown Christmas movies. They're more like Christmas specials. The three of them, along with Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (who can get through that one with dry eyes?? Not me!!) and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town are all waiting patiently in my DVR. I'll get to ya, I'll get to ya!! Gah!! :)

I'm giving honorable mentions to A Christmas Carol (the George C. Scott version), Home Alone, The Holiday, Jack Frost, Elf and one that you wouldn't think would be a Christmas movie but Larry and I both like it, Reindeer Games. And while It's A Wonderful Life and Miracle On 34th Street are great Christmas movies and I love them both, I'm taking a break from them this year. It feels like I JUST saw them.

What are your favorite Christmas movies and have you gotten to watch them yet??

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas, #265!

Tonight before class, my friend Caitlin and I were walking around inside the school and we came up on the Christmas for Kids toy box up front. Around the sides of the box were little cards with a number, whether the number was a girl or a boy, their age and what they wanted for Christmas. I saw this card for a little girl, 10 years old and what she wanted was an Easy Bake Oven. She was #265. I told Caitlin that I remembered how excited and happy I was when I got my Easy Bake Oven and that I was going to get this little girl one and bring it back and put it in that box! After class, that's what I did. I went to Target, got it and drove back out to the college and left it in the Christmas for Kids box.

This is what mine looked like, some 35 years ago. I remember how excited I was and how I just LOVED it! My brother, Ricky, and I baked Jesus a birthday cake that Christmas morning! Those flat little chocolate pancakes were the yummiest cake I ever had. This is what they look like today! Like a microwave!! They still bake by the heat of a light bulb, though. That is so cool.

So, Merry Christmas, #265! I hope you love your Easy Bake Oven as much as I loved mine.

Secret Santa strikes again!

Today at work, my Secret Santa gave me a cute cozy little Christmas throw blanket and I already have visions of sugar plums and naps in my head! It looks great draped over my sofa. I love it!!! She also gave me a box of grape and strawberry Laffy Taffy and a pack of mulling spices for cider. She did good!!! The Laffy Taffy is really an inside joke at the office. See, I ate so much Laffy Taffy one day that I had an "issue" and ever since, it's been a joke. Ha ha. :) I do love some Laffy Taffy!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cold night

It's cold tonight. Yesterday was so warm and nice and after I did some grocery and a little Christmas shopping, I spent most of the afternoon barefooted and working in my yard. This morning wasn't bad, about 55 degrees, but as the day wore on, the temperature dropped. I told Larry when I felt it drop and I knew that it was getting cold outside. I was so thankful that I wore my new coat! In the twenty minutes that it took me to get back to Warner Robins this afternoon, the temperature had dropped from 37 degrees to 34 degrees. It's around 32 now and they are crazy talkin' 'bout some 17 tomorrow night!!

Larry's idea for supper tonight was tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. So here it is! Instead of heating a can of Campbell's, I made this soup with crushed tomatoes, milk, vegetable broth, thyme, salt and pepper. It sure hit the spot!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The ugly cacti-ling

Eleven months out of the year, my Christmas cactus is the plainest, homeliest little thing you ever saw. Pitiful.

But just before Christmas, she looks like this and she makes me so happy!! I just had to show her off. If you're looking for a plant to keep you company that's easy to take care of (I mean, seriously, I do NOTHING for this plant but water it every month or so), you should get a Christmas cactus. They are dirt cheap right now! And you will be so happy next December!! This one was a gift from my mama. She just clipped me some off hers, potted it and handed it to me three years ago.

She's a sad little mess most of the year.

She's a beautiful swan now!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'll keep on rollin' with the flow...

Okay, so y'all know I've been going to school at night for eight months now. I love it. I love my classes, love my instructors and I've made some really good friends. I've been having a ball learning all about electronics and how circuits work and why they work and why people even care that they work. It has been a lot of fun and I have learned so much!! I've been challenged in more ways than I ever thought I could be and I've learned so much about myself while I've been learning all about those circuits.

But I haven't been going to school at night for eight months because I was bored. I've been going to school for the opportunity to interview for a job at Robins Air Force Base in the electronics co-op that they have with Middle Georgia Tech.

My interview was supposed to be this quarter.

For some reason, though, my name and five other students' names were left off the original roster that was presented to the base and because the base has 108 interviews scheduled and only 20 slots to fill, they don't want to make room for six more interviews.

I've worked hard, maintained a 4.0 GPA, took classes at the college and online and continued to work full time at my job during the day. I've spent hours and hours on the weekends studying, reading, working freakin' algebra and trig until all hours of the night, gone to school when I was exhausted, gone to work when I was exhausted and slept so hard at night that I didn't even hear my alarm clock go off the next morning.

All to get me to this week when I was told that I'm just not going to get that shot this quarter. Just an "I'm sorry, I goofed" and a big fat "better luck next time". It was one of the directors of the program who screwed up and left us off the list and although he did try to fix it and get us an interview time, he wasn't able to. He assured me that I would be first on the list next quarter and that since I'll be further along in the program, my chances will be even better that I'll be chosen for the co-op. I'll have a second shot (or so they say now, stay tuned...) at the end of my 5th quarter. We only get two shots at these jobs.

Am I disappointed? Of course. But I'm also a little relieved. I do feel that my chances will be even better with another quarter under my belt and I'll have another three months to prepare for the interview. I believe that things happen for a reason so I have to believe that God is working on something here. I can't stand in His way if He's working. There's really not much I could do about it anyway so I'm trusting Him to work it out for me.

I've learned some things about electricity in the past eight months. It always follows the path of least resistance. I've never done that in my life. I've always gone down bumpy old dirt roads head first, knocking obstacles out of my way and barreling through to the other side. Electricity can keep doing what it does. And so will I.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And although we've got places to go...

...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We don't see much snow down here in Georgia and boy, when we do, it's a BIG DEAL! It snowed a little here today. We watched it this afternoon out the big picture window at work, just a flurry here and there. We were so excited!! Don't laugh, my Northern friends. :) It's a Southern thang.

And tonight while I was in class, it snowed again! This is how I found my car in the parking lot as I was leaving school. Just a light dusting for your viewing pleasure.

It was enough for me!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My first Christmas present!

We're doing Secret Santa at work again this year and today was our first gift! This is what I got!! Some yummy gingerbread pancake and muffin mix, gingerbread cookie mix, a gingerbread spoon rest (you see a pattern here?? :) ) and a cute snowman glass and bowl. I love them all!! I didn't even have a Christmas-themed spoon rest and it goes perfectly with my gingerbread house tea pot and mugs on the stove!! My Secret Santa knows me pretty well, huh? We'll do this next Tuesday, too, and then we'll have the big reveal on the 21st.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A few of my favorite Christmas things

It is so great to pull down all those boxes and see old friends again, ain't it? Here are a few of my favorite things, old and new, for this Christmas.

I'm amazed every year when this animated Santa comes on. He's at least 15 years old! He moves his head and his arms up and down and his candle lights up.

Another friend who's at least 15 years old. Pooh takin' names for Santa!

Sweet little Santa box I got last year with yummy soap in it!

My collection of Santas on the mantel

Adorable chenille finger puppets that I got at Pier 1 a few years ago

Nesting Santas I've had for years and years

Don't you just want to hug this gingerbread man??
I got him at Michael's last year.

Cute Christmas scene hanging on the bathroom door. I got this 20 years ago from ABC Distributing!

Sweet Santa smiley sittin' atop the hippie van cookie jar

Gingerbread tea pot and mugs on the stove
I got these over 10 years ago from a Christmas Around The World party that I hosted