Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Survey 2009...

I found this on my friend Chiara's blog. It a bit different than the usual survey and by some quirky twist, I've managed to do many of the more a-typical things than the easier ones. I've done the things in blue. What have you done?

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelos David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Read an entire book in one day

Well, it seems like a lot. I don't know if that is good or bad, though!

Tool Time...

I love hardware stores, home improvement stores, tile and carpet stores, gravel yards, lumber yards and furniture stores. HGTV is one of my default TV stations. I've been watching 'This Old House" since the days of Bob Vila. The smell of fresh cut lumber is like perfume to me. Watching a craftsman fit a mitred corner of crown molding or install custom made bookshelves is like an artist painting a masterpiece. Hand tools, the pounding of nails into wood, the sound of a trowl spreading adhesive that will adhere glass tiles to a back splash is like music to my ears...
As much as I admire these things my ability to use them, develop a talent or skill with them is limited to oogling the aisles of Lowe's and Home Depot and annoying any contractor, plumber, electrician or installer that I've had to hire to do what I aspire to and am completely and totally inept at.

We have plumbing issues...Our 'new' master toilet has been running on-and-off since before Christmas. I'm not great with plumbing problems, so I asked Norm to look at it, he jiggled the handle and said "It's still running" and walked away. So we went out to Lowe's and bought a new 'flapper', installed that and it still ran. So, we went back again and bought a whole new 'flush valve'. It stayed in the bag for several days, hoping Norm would take the initiative and attempt to install it, but alas, I took the plunge (No pun intended) and tried to install it myself. Thank heavens it was a Sunday because I needed help! Who you gonna call? - my brother! I had the cell phone on speaker as I was on the bathroom floor trying to loosen the anchor screws. I had visions of emailing photos to Brion to show him what I was seeing. He's my handy man in abstentia.

My wonderful, intelligent, handsome husband is the 'anti-Norm', Norm Abrams that is. He's closer to a bad Tim Taylor. He is so NOT - Mr. Home Depot. Norm's dad was wonderful around the house. He built a great storage area in Norm's childhood garage, cedar closets in the basement and handled almost all home repairs with dexterity and skill. Which of these skills did my Norm inherit - NONE! My dad was the same way. He had a great little shop in the basement with a standing saw, a workbench and a homemade ceiling lazy susan made out baby food jars that held all sorts of nails, fasteners, nuts and bolts. He even let me help when he bought bar stools for the basement from Yield House and we had to assemble them and stain them. When we first married I thought my Norm would continue in the tradition of both our dads, WRONG! I became the keeper of the tools, the holder of the hammer the driver of the screws.

My dad never left any job undone or put off doing fix-it jobs around the house. When my parents came to visit he'd start looking for jobs to do. I began to make lists before they visited first to get jobs done and then just to keep him busy. In the trunk of the car was not only my mom's cookies, but my dad's tool bucket! Now, I need my brother to visit more often...I need a handyman to help me around the house so now I make a list for him!

Oh, and that toilet - it's still running...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let the festivities begin...

Yes, it's that time again party fans. Alexa's 12th birthday is less than a month away! She had four possible venues (this girl should be a wedding planner) Coldstone Creamery, an ice skating party at the Pepsi Center, Dessert Deli (cupcakes and decorated cakes are us), and a return favorite GBGC - her gymnastics center. May I have the envelope please....(drum roll, tat-a-tat-tat...)

And the winner is...Dessert Deli! (Please hold your applause until the end of the posting, thank you)

Apparently, Alexa has a reputation for having cool parties (I've got to take the blame on this one). So I came up with the idea of the Dessert Deli, a local bakery that specializes in desserts, wedding cakes, cookies and cupcakes. The young ladies will get a tour of the kitchen area, see cakes being made and decorated and then get to decorate their own cupcakes and getting a little lesson in how to use the piping bags and make flowers, etc. There is also going to be a special surprise for the girls, a caricaturist will make a sketch of each of the girls that they will get to take home.

Over the top, yes, I've gone over the top - heaven help me for when she turns 13, 16 and the wedding. Norman's already whispering in Alexa's ear, "Elope, Las Vagas, elope, Las Vegas, elope...".

Update: I've been corrected by Alexa. She says she's the one who came up with the Dessert Deli idea...and Elisabeth, I didn't make the invitations. We bought them at Party City. I was tempted but I probably couldn't have made them up to Alexa's standards!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Year...

A new year is a double edged sword - especially as you get older. For some it's a great way to take stock, the perfect reason to clear out that basement, get those bills under control, plan all those things around the house you've wanted to do, start saving for the fabulous family vacation you've been promising yourselves. For others it's just a reminder of all the things you didn't get done last year. You get the idea, it's just in how you look at it.

Or you could be me. All that planning - bah! That's for you younger folks. Me, I'm older, wiser, I've been down that road many, many times before and you know what I've discovered? It will all be there next year! Let me show you what I mean. My last year's list of things to do included:

1. Cleaning up my scrap/computer/guest room.
Progress this past year: NONE! It's still the messiest room in the house, but with more organizational stuff. I got new drawers and shelves and a few new storage bins and an over the door shelf and guess what? They are either all filled with the new stuff I bought or they are blocked by all the old stuff and I can't get near them to fill them or organize them!

2. Organzing my paperwork.
Progress this past year: NONE! I've got a dandy shredder but the pile is bigger than the shredder and pulling all those staples, what a task! I thought I could bribe, er, pay my darling daughter to shred the past 5, 10, 15, 20...some-odd years worth of paperwork, but she's not buying into it. Guess I'll have to get another storage file for all that paper...

3. Lose Weight.
Progress this year: NONE! I'm not even talking about this one, and if you're smart, you won't either!

4. Have a garage sale.
Progress this year: NONE! I've got the basement of three houses. Ours, my parents and my mother-in-law (although she'll tell you she sold or gave away all her good stuff because I didn't want any of it). My MIL thinks I should hire that guy that's on Oprah who cleans out peoples houses that have piles of garbage and stuff piled to the ceiling in every room. I think I need to add 'Find a therapist' to my list...

5. Finish scrap projects and begin our adoption scrap story.
Progress this past year: NONE! Well I really tried on this one. I was all set. I had several almost finished projects all packed up for my retreat, all set to put closure to these projects and guess what? Norman had to go to China and I couldn't go on my retreat. Guess I'll need another retreat to get that job done. On the bright side, I did actually think about the adoption book this morning. That's progress!

I could probably list a few more tasks, but I think not. Let's just try and tackle these. The moral to my post. There is none, just like with New Year's resolutions. Impossible to make, impossible to keep and they'll be there next year anyway!