Where Did November Go?

So…uh, what happened to November folks??  I don’t really know where to begin because the post I’ve been thinking about posting is irrelevant seeing as how Halloween is long over and gone.  So just imagine, I walked around my neighborhood and took pictures of the decorations people put up and some of them were pretty cool.  A lot of people around here did some sort of decorations even if it was minimal.  One of my favorites was a ginormous spider a guy built out of PCP pipe with glowing green fangs and put up in the front yard.  I’d post the pics but they didn’t turn out all that well now that I’m looking back at them.  We even decorated our porch which was a cross between nice harvest with pumpkins and hay bales and typical Halloween with spider webs and ghosts.  I even tried to make this:

It didn’t quite turn out exactly like this but good enough.  Another reason I’m not posting pictures is because my computer is going through a freak out period.  I just got it a few months ago and there’s already some sort of hardware glitch.  Lovely.  I’ve talked to tech support on two separate occasions and all I’m wanting them to do is send me a box to put my computer in so I can send it to be repaired.  It is now a month after my initial call and I still don’t have a box.  Grrr.  I will be making yet another call tomorrow and may have to ask to be transferred to their complaints department or something.  It’s frustrating and annoying.  And I’m annoyed that I have to talk to some guy in India who I can’t understand and who can’t understand me.  Double Grrr.

With the semester coming to an end I’ve been bombarded with papers, projects, assignments, etc.  The good thing is I’m starting to see the end.  Whoo hoo!  We had family in for Thanksgiving which was fun.  I was a cooking fool last weekend.  I made a big dinner the night before then cooked the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and made four pumpkin pies.  I love pumpkin pie.  All the cooking is just the warm up for the Christmas desserts that need to be made.  Last year I baked a little over 400 cookies, 5 loaves of bread, three batches of fudge, 2 batches of cream cheese brownie bars, 2 or 3 batches of homemade oreo cake/cookies, and tried divinity which I ended up being sidelined for because that’s really hard to make.  Maybe this year.  Speaking of the Christmas season, all the holiday movies have started up which I’m apparently a sucker for.  So odd because ordinarily I can’t stand Lifetime or Hallmark but sprinkle in Christmas and I can’t turn it off.  Go figure.

Well for some stupid reason I woke up at 3:45 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I hate that.  So I”m going to go attempt to do that now.  But I’m going to leave you with what I discovered making a web outside my window:

Ok, ok so it wasn’t really a goliath birdeating tarantula out there but it may as well have been.  It was totally big and creepy.  Well, pleasant dreams!

Better than last year??

I was talking to my brother tonight and realized that I can’t remember January – April of this year.  I know I wasn’t in school or working but for the life of me I can’t remember what I WAS doing.  I just honestly can’t remember.  I looked back through my posts but they weren’t much help so I guess I look forward to making this year even better.  Although better from what I’m not entirely sure.  And just for a little bragging rights, last week I baked 400 cookies (3 different kinds), 5 loaves of zucchini bread, 4 batches of fudge, dipped 70 pretzel sticks in chocolate and nuts, made a pan of cream cheese cookies brownies, and successfully experimented in making homemade peppermint oreo cookies.  It was a busy three days and I should have taken a picture but trust me when I say it tasted and smelled fantastic.


Tonight I took my baking to a new level.  Usually a new level would be like going from opening a box of Little Debbie Ho Ho’s to making microwavable brownies (kidding.  I’ve never made brownies in a microwave before.  There’s something not quite right about making them that way.)

But tonight for the first time, I made divinity.  Personally I think the stuff is disgusting but I have to say I was pretty proud of myself.  I’m sure there’s more baking to come but so far this week I’ve made over 200 Christmas sugar cookies, a couple batches of fudge, and divinity.  Talk about a lot of sugar!

Lump Sum

I feel like I have so much to write about that it makes me not to want to even start.  So I decided this would mostly be a picture blog instead.  Besides, picture blogs are much more interesting for everyone.  I will say that I had a good Chirstmas hanging out with my sister in LA.  Then I was able to change my flight and go to Arkansas for New Years and spend two days with my mom, dad, sister (who flew out as well), and brother.  Sorry to those of you reading this from Arkansas but I was only home for about 48 hours and I didn’t call anyone to get together.  I just really wanted to spend it with family.  My brother and I ended up driving back from Arkansas to Utah so he could continue on to school in Idaho.  We just got in yesterday afternoon to my apartment and he left this moring and is now in Idaho.  Thankfully the weather for most of the drive was good.  Well except for about two hours Sunday morning driving in New Mexico.  I was pretty much the snow plow on that back highway and it’s a really good thing not many were on the roads because putting on my breaks would have proven difficult.  I guess not WOULD have, it was.  Three little puppies had wandered onto the middle of the road and I thought for sure we were going to hit them but after a tense moment of swerving and whatnot we passed by safely.  There must be something about New Mexico because the last time I drove through there with my brother we almost hit a drunk man walking across the road at night.  Seriously.  Anway, here are some pics:

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These were some of the stairs of death that my sister and I hiked while in LA.  I think we climbed over 400 stairs that day.

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This was the henna tattoo that I got.  The photo copied paper said that it meant serenity.  For all I know it says “I eat pooh.”  It’s already faded, lasts 3 weeks my eye, and now I just look like I don’t bathe.  Nice.


Me hanging out with my new friend in Chinatown.

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My sister bought my brother a Mexican wrestling mask for Christmas so we’re just trying on the different Christmas hats.

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We went bowling one night to get out of the house.  I have no clue what my siblings are doing in those first pictures but we all had fun.  I kicked everyone’s trash the first game and bowled a 167 and that bottom pic might be the only one I took where I’m actually smiling and not making a face.


Just making faces.  We do that a lot in my family.  Well I do anyway.


My brother and his band recorded a CD and this is him singing along to himself in the car somewhere in Oklahoma.

Even though I’m sick of flying and driving in the car I had a great time visiting with everyone.  I don’t have any pics of hanging out with my dad but it was good getting to see and visit with him as well.  The only regret is that my oldest sister and her family couldn’t be with us.  But maybe next year!

Feels Like Forever

Since I posted last even though it was just last weekend.  I’ve been so busy at work I just haven’t had time.  Speaking of work however, Monday is going to be my last day.  I do have a meeting with a company in CA next week so there’s a potential job opportunity there.  I’m sitting on the fence with this though.  On the one hand I was really looking forward to being unemployed and basically doing nothing for a while.  I was going to go back home and hang out before deciding my next adventure.  Which was looking like moving to Arizona.  I have no connections there, just always wanted to go.  But on the other hand, I am unfortunately responsible and recognize that I will need a job and money, so how nice of it to drop in my lap (if it works out).  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

But speaking of CA, I’ll be flying out there this next week to spend Christmas with my sister, mom, and brother.  That will be nice to get away from here and it’s got to be warmer there compared to here so that’s a definite bonus.  We got hit with multiple snow storms this week like many of you.  I hate it.  I hate snow, cold, and being wet.  Driving is a nightmare and if I were able to I would stay in bed and hibernate for 4-5 months until winter passes.  Unfortunately I do have to venture out tomorrow if for nothing else, to buy dog food for Walter.  That and I need to make it back to my apartment to clean before my mom and brother show up here Sunday night.  Nothing says “Welcome!”  than a dirty place.  And I decided to make a turkey dinner for them on Sunday so I’ll have to pull it out tomorrow as well.  Hmm, come to think of it I have a whole list of stuff I have to get out and do.  So much for staying inside and watching Arrested Development.

And that has been my most recent guilty pleasure.  When this show first came out, I was living in Guatemala and so I never heard of it.  I completely missed it’s entire three seasons and until this week, had only seen one episode.  I had heard from so many people that it was hilarious but I didn’t see the humor based on the one show.  So while staying with Walter I’ve pulled out the series my friend has on DVD.  And let me just say – hysterical.  I love this show and can not for the life of me figure out why they canceled it.  Unfortunately I left one of the cases on the floor and Walter got a hold of it and chewed it up.  I about died when I came home and saw it.  The DVD is fine, it’s just the case that’s gnawed.  I felt so bad that I had been so stupid that I ended up ordering the entire series on DVD and will replace the cover when it gets here.  Lucky for me Amazon was having an awesome deal on it and lucky for me I really like the show and will watch it over and over again.  So, Pete if you ever read this I’m sorry about the case but if you don’t read this you’ll never know.

And while I’m on the subject of Walter I’ve discovered (as if I didn’t know already) that I’m not ready to have children.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love this dog.  I’m tempted to have some legal papers drafted up for joint custody but I’m exhausted.  Every night there has been a rotation of him either wanting to play right when I’m going to bed which leads to him whining outside the door or him waking up and needing to go out between three and four in the morning.  Which means I only get another hour or two of sleep before I have to get back up again.  I’m one of these people that needs their sleep.  It was well after midnight before I either passed out and couldn’t hear him whining or he finally just stopped (that’s kind of late for me).  Then my alarm didn’t go off and for the first time in forever I didn’t automatically wake up.  I got up when I was supposed to be clocking in for work.  But it didn’t really matter because it was my second to last day and no one shows up until nine or ten.

Ok, so I could really keep going and going but if any of you have stuck around this long I won’t make you keep reading this dribble.  Hopefully a better blog will come along shortly.

Christmas Cookies

I went ahead and got a jump start on the holiday baking this year and spent the whole weekend making cookies and fudge.  And let me tell you, I’m glad it’s over.  I love the idea of making goodies for people.  I love giving them away.  I don’t even mind the actual baking.  But I HATE the decorating.  So tedious and boring.  Decorating 5 dozen cookies takes longer than I would like and I was so grateful fudge only takes 10 minutes.  I had planned to take pictures of  different stages of the baking process but of course, I completely forgot until the end when I was starting to arrange the plates.  But don’t they look good?  I hope they tasted as good as they looked!


Christmas Shopping Woe

It’s getting to be that time of year again when we buy everyone on the planet a Christmas gift.  Maybe you’ve already started or heaven forbid already done, for which I say “Pfffttt!!  Boo to you!”  I’m just now getting around to thinking about what to do for everyone.  I know Christmas is supposed to be about love and peace and goodwill towards men but I fall victim like everyone else to the franchise, purchases, and corporate world domination that has overcome the holiday every year.

In my family we buy a gift for everyone rather than drawing names out of a hat.  Which is to say I need to buy gifts for 9 people.  Really 9 isn’t that bad and I can’t imagine having to double or triple that number like a lot of people I know.  There are some years when for whatever reason, maybe the stars align, that I come up with an awesome, unique gift for everyone and it’s all I can do not to call and blurt out what I got as I’m walking out of the store to my car.  But more often, it’s a year like this one where I find myself a month-ish before the season thinking, “Oh crap.  Is Christmas here again already? Crap! Crap! Crap!”

Then begins the dreaded (on my part) phone marathon with family.  This involves calling everyone and asking what they want for Christmas.  Sounds harmless but it takes so much coordination I imagine it easily rivals a top secret project from NASA and I’m pretty sure they at least have satellites in outer space to help them.  Conversations will always include phrases like, “I don’t know” or “Nothing, you don’t have to get me anything this year.”  Oh please (and yes, I’m just as guilty but no more I tell you!).  The phone call will end with them all saying they’ll think about it and get back to me.  Which they never do.  In the meantime, I also have to ask them if they know what anyone else wants and what exactly they are planning to buy for others.  The problem with this is that there is not one central person that knows everything so more phone calls are needed before all this information is collected.  Also, one or two people might say, “Well when you know any ideas of what so and so wants let me know.”  So more phone calls back to that person to relay new information.  And in that lapse of time, they may have thought of gift ideas and already purchased them so what I may have thought about getting someone is now out the door because it’s the same thing someone else just bought them.  So back to square one.

So this year I have come up with two Christmas Shopping rules that I would appreciate if people (ahem family) would follow:

1.  Do not under any circumstances purchases items for yourself two months prior to Christmas.  If there is something you are really wanting then mention it to a family member and wait until December 25th.  If you don’t receive it as a gift feel free to purchase it after the new year.

2.  Do not tell multiple people the same gift ideas.  Come up with a list of things and tell one or two of them to each person so the risk of double buying is minimized.  Unless the item you want is something broad like books, movies, or Cds.  But even then, be specific as to which books, movies, or Cds and only tell one or two titles to each person.

I’m half tempted to make a chart or grid this year with everyone’s name on it and what they are buying everyone else before I actually begin purchasing things.  For that matter, I’m half tempted to make a chart of all the phone calls back and forth between everyone but I have a suspicion it would look like a map showing all the destinations Delta flies to.

So that’s my plea to a select few of you.  But if history has taught me anything, I will most likely not be purchasing anything until the week before Christmas where I’ll be making a mad dash to the dollar store to sift through the remains.  So, who wants the porcelain rooster and who wants the can of SPAM?

A brush with rock and roll?

Well not quite but this was what happened my first day back home for the Christmas holiday.  My brother, who is a concert junkie, announced that he might be taking a little road trip that day (which also happened to be Christmas Eve) to help out one of his current favorite bands Resident Hero.  According to their myspace page, they left their guitars at the local Little Rock club Juanitas and had since moved on with their tour to Texas.  So after a bunch of tag emails and phone calls, the leader of this band figured he had no other option of getting his guitars back on time for the next show without the help of my brother – whom he didn’t really even know.  I decided to go with my brother and we headed down to Little Rock to pick up the guitars.  We were supposed to meet a club worker at Juanita’s but she apparently was in a hurry and met us at some church of the interstate and we then headed down to Arkadelphia which is an hour and a half drive from where we were.  Not too bad considering Ryan the band guy, was going to drive about three hours from where he was in Texas. 

We got to Arkadelphia about an hour and a half before Ryan showed up so I suggested we drive around and have a look seeing as how I had never been there before.  Let me just say, this town makes Rexburg look like a metropolis.  The ONLY thing there is a small college and that’s it.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  We did see God’s House and Clark’s STD Parts (I’m going to have to post the pics when I get a chance).  Finally Ryan showed up and he had brought along his grandma for the ride.  I guess they had a day in between shows and he is a Texas native so he had planned to spend Christmas Eve with his family.  Anyway, they offered to buy us dinner but they only place around that was open was McDonald’s (gross) and then they offered to fill up my brother’s car but he had just done that so it didn’t take much.  Then this guy gave my brother a new CD that his band is working on for their next album and my brother was thrilled.

So my first day back turned out to be fun had by all, I got to spend one on one time with my brother whom I rarely see, he got to meet the lead singer of one of his favorite bands, and Ryan got his guitars back safe and sound.  And who knows, maybe one day this band will get signed and will make for an even better story.