Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Now, for a Non-Photo Update

I'm really glad that this year is coming to an end....not in the same way that I was glad that 2007 ended. 2007 was such a horrible year that I just wanted it to go and clear itself from our lives so that the memory of it was just a fleeting, bad thought. This year was really busy; Joey took his entrance exam and got into a PhD program, my mom had to have another MRI of her back, we went on a cruise, I finally went to see someone about my anxiety, I got into ECU's grad program, and the band started recording a couple of songs for a potential album. It was such a full year, and not an entirely bad one.

I'm reflecting back on this one in a much more logical, methodical, reflective way, not wishing that I could do something again or wishing that something hadn't happened, but looking back and seeing how every part of what I experienced this year was very significant to me in the long term. Decisions that I've made this year will affect how my life plays out in the future; they are changing the way I view the world, the way I interact with others, the way I view myself. This year was a year of growth.

Speaking of growth, my ponytail is a foot long now...I'm going to let it grow until February and then I'll get it cut short...I want to make sure that the kids have good hair for a wig. I'm glad that I decided to donate to Locks of Love. I don't know that I'll be able to do it every year, but I will try to do it again, definitely.

The girls in the office have decided to train for a 5K in May...I printed off the Couch to 5K training plan, and I'll start it when we hit the gym on Thursday...we were going to start tomorrow, but the gym won't open until 8 am and I'll be at work by then.

I'm also going to take the Bento Challenge. I'll be focusing on making bento-style lunches (and incorporating lots of Japanese ingredients/food) to help with portion control (and because I just think that it's fabulous!). I've already got some stuff set out for tomorrow's, and I'll take a picture once I get to work.

That's all I've got for now.

The Week in Pictures

So, I was thinking, what would better sum up my holiday week than pictures?

Shelli, graciously modeling a Christmas ornament that I had just knitted, a tiny toboggan...how cute!!
We had a Life Group Fellowship at our house, FIFTEEN people in our tiny house, but it was a BLAST:).
Wesley and Sarah's son, Mason, who is such a little flirt;(

Shelli playing with some of her Christmas stash. She really racked up!!
And, Shelli drinking from the faucet in the tub, the perfect end to the holiday season!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Feeling Blah-ish

We had another "pee incident" wth Shelli this morning...which means that she's still not over whatever's got her bothered enough to pee outside of the box. She's still using the box, though, so it's really strange. I don't know...we've got her box cleaned out, and we're going to make a double effort to keep the routine as much as possible for the next few weeks. I'm really hoping it's just holiday stress.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Part Deux...

We are headed down to SC for some time with the fam today. I'm excited...it's been a while since we've been down there.

Yesterday was SOOOO dead at work...Joey came with me, which was good because once we got into the afternoon hours, since there were only three of us at work and it felt safer with him there. But, yesterday was also nice because it was so quiet; I really got a lot done.

Pics from Christmas day will come soon...you'll never believe all of the awesome stuff that Shelli ended up with:).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry, Merry Christmas

Wow....what a Christmas day it's been already:). We did get to have a laid-back morning, and then I baked some chicken and we had chicken, rice, pintos, and green beans for lunch with Joey's parents and my parents. I really enjoy the new tradition of everyone coming over here for Christmas....it'll be even more fun when we have kids, but I wanted to go ahead and get us into the routine of having our own traditions rather than having to run all over the place and not getting to enjoy the holiday.

For most of my childhood, I never spent a Christmas at home....the only one I can remember is the one when I was 10, when my dad had his heart attack and he couldn't travel. While I enjoyed those Christmases very much and I appreciate the memories, I just don't want to put my own child through that. I never got to see Puss on Christmas day, and I always felt guilty that she was left behind in a dark house while we were far away from home. I don't want to put Shelli through that either. It works out so well that both of our sets of parents like eachother so much and we can just all hang out and have our own Christmas lunch. We also only do gifts for Shelli on that day; we do presents with each set of parents at different times. Shelli got some really neat stuff this year, and she played with everything that she got!

It's also a balmy 65 degrees or so, which is a little strange for Christmas, but it's nice to have the windows open and air out the house. This year has been so very busy, between year-end at work (which we've been totally kicking butt with, yay us!!) and all of the parties and activities we've been a part of, we're definitely ready to settle back into a routine of normalcy and chill out some.

So, Merry Christmas to you all. Much love to you!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

Today, we're spending the day cleaning...we're having a Sunday School fellowship tomorrow afternoon, and I wanted to be able to have people over without being entirely ashamed of how cluttered we've let our house become. Niecy Nash would have yelled at us about our "foolishness" had she wandered into our home. We've made a lot of good progress, and we just broke for lunch, so I figured I'd post a quick update.

It was a SUPER BUSY week...Monday wasn't all that relaxing because we had so much shopping to do while I was off...the knitting group met Tuesday night, we had our "wrap party" for the musical Wednesday night, and an ornament exchange on Thursday night. Last night was our first chance to relax, and it was nice to get to do so with James and Shannon (as it always is). We lost a shingle off the roof in the windstorm yesterday, so Joey and his dad had to climb onto the roof in the dark and replace it. How fun....but they were able to get it fixed.

I have a sad confession to make that will probably shock those of you who know me very well.....Joey and I have gotten too lax on our frugality. Yes, I know, it's horrible and unimaginable that I, the person who would sit in the house and shiver last year so that we didn't have to turn on the heat, have allowed us to get lax about our spending and now we're having to back up and take a hard look at how we're wasting our money. January is apt to bring a whole new set of seriously frugal challenges as we need to get back in the mindset of saving as much money as possible. Joey's got some ideas that, should they come to fruition, would potentially allow us to get our Hyundai paid off this year (which would mean no more car payments!!). Since we've got to deal with tuition for both of us now, it would be helpful to go ahead and get the car paid off.

So, you'll be getting some of the "frugal challenge" posts again....stories of our cooking from scratch, saving on water, power, and gas, repurposing, reusing, recycling, donating, buying from thrift stores (I have kept my word and not bought any new clothes since I decided to take that challenge in April). And, I'm going to try to use up the yarn stash that I've got rather than constantly buying new (even when you're buying the nicer acrylics, you're still racking up some sizeable debt).

Along the same token, we're going to work toward a much more healthy lifestyle....we have been very regular at going to the gym, except for the past two weeks that I've been sick and busy. We're going to get back to the gym this week and I'm going to do more cooking rather than buying processed convenience foods.

I was so ashamed when Joey mentioned that we'd been letting things slide and eating away at our cushion, especially with gas prices going down and our gas card dropping by $100 per month or so. But, I think I've gotten myself back together and I'm ready to start pinching those pennies again and SAVING some DOUGH!!

But now, back to cleaning;)...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hustle and Bustle

As quickly as it began, another year of An Indian Trail Christmas has reached its close. All that's left now is the wrap party on Wednesday night, which will be a good time, as always. I don't know the final number, but there was something close to 500 professions of faith over the course of the weekend. I am so grateful that my voice held out and I managed to hit the notes that I needed to. There was lots of knitting, discussions about poop, trying to stay awake when the lights went out, laughing, dancing, singing, all of it. We had a good time.

Another topic, which I didn't write about last week because I wasn't sure if my mom remembered and didn't want to upset her. December 7th was the anniversary of Puss's death. I still miss her just as much today as I did on that date. It's this dull ache, and I'm torn between wishing that time would pass so it would hurt less and being afraid that I'll forget her if it doesn't hurt at all. I don't know. I'm very thankful that we have Shelli in our lives, and honestly, I really don't care that people may think that I'm crazy to be so devoted to my kitty. I think that, just as God made evangelists that have a very specific way in which they can serve Him (although I tend to disagree with their methods), He also made people like me who are tender-hearted toward His Creation, which has no voice. We are that voice.

I have the day off today, and I'm sooooo glad for it. It's been a long weekend, and I'm glad to have a day of respite.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Celebrating the Wonder...

Man, what a weekend. An Indian Trail Christmas has been going really well...we're two performances down, four to go (two today and two tomorrow). I had to do my solo for the first time last night, and I actually hit the notes (I always worry because, when I get nervous, my low register is the first thing to go). The play went smoothly, no technical glitches (at least, if there were, I didn't notice them at all).

Taking my friend Erin's advice (haha....I thought of you when I was picking out my shoes;))...I have a pair of comfortable shoes to wear on the performances where I don't have the solo part. Last year, my feet hurt so badly by the end that Erin brought me a pair of her shoes to wear during the last performance, which helped IMMENSELY. This play has really made me miss Wayne and Erin. I hope you guys know that we're thinking of you often.

Today's performances are at 3 and 7, so it makes for a long day, but Katie and I are both bringing our knitting to do between the performances (and a cold dinner...yay frugality). It's nice to be in a good mood today....I feel like it'll probably be fleeting, as I think there may still yet need to be an adjustment made to my anxiety meds, but it is good to feel that I'm making progress every day to be "normal" (whatever that means).

I also got to spend some time yesterday with my friend Sarah, and her son Mason, while Joey was helping her husband Wesley to change out his brake pads (actually, they probably both just did whatever my dad told them to;)) Mason is such a little cutie...such a little flirt too. I also enjoy any time I get to spend talking to Sarah. I'm always amazed by the wonderful circle of friends we have those days. I'm so grateful.

So, this morning, I'm just going to relax. It'll be a busy afternoon and evening;)...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Day Before the Madness...

Dress rehearsal is tomorrow night at 6. I cannot believe that the Christmas musical has already rolled around again. It's going to be a CRAZY weekend, but it's always a whirwind of anxiety and fun, which usually ends up being more fun that not:). And, it's one of the most efficient witnessing tools we've got at the church with how many people it reaches over that one weekend.

Today was stressful.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And on the Second Day of my Convalescence...

We stayed home all day Friday and Saturday. I stayed in pajamas. I coughed. I blew my nose. I coughed some more. I took medicine. I ate Chicken Noodle Soup. I coughed some more. I ate more soup. I took NyQuil and slept.

The Kins thought that we were hibernating

Then, yesterday, I began to feel more human....I knitted and knitted and knitted and knitted...



Suddenly, we heard a siren in our neighborhood! Shelli did her best "meerkat" imitation:


And what did we see?

YES, that is Santa Claus on a firetruck. He made three rounds in our neighborhood, blaring Christmas music and running the siren. Shelli will never be the same:

Or maybe, she will.

I knitted some more. Then, I felt up to playing some Scarykins:

We watched TWO episodes of MST3K and then watched Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Seriously, if I hadn't been sick, it would have been the perfect weekend.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hooray for the Minute Clinic!!

Joey told me yesterday that I should go get an antibiotic because I sounded even worse than I did on Wednesday, and with us being this close to the Christmas Musical, I really don't have time to wait and see if I get better on my own. So, on my lunch break yesterday (I actually went arounbd 10:30), I ran to the CVS near the office to their Minute Clinic, where an NP checked me out and diagnosed me with "lingering bronchitis" that likely resulted from some virus that went around a couple of weeks ago and caused nothing more than a scratchy throat. She prescribed me an albuterol inhaler to use for two days, a Z-pack, and some cough medicine. And, honestly, after the first dose of the antibiotic, I'm feeling a good bit better, and my coughs are more productive. So, I'll continue the chicken noodle soup and whatnot, but I'm feeling like I may be okay by the time I've got to sing next Friday night.
And, I feel a little vindicated, since something genuinely is wrong with me, so I wasn't just being lazy and feigning being sick. Also, this is actually only the second time I've been sick all year...the last time was back in January, so I guess it was actually a pretty good year in that respect:).

On the knitting front, I had my first "knitting in public and people won't leave you the heck alone!!" moment. I was waiting for my prescriptions, so I pulled out a scarf that I'm working on for Joey's mom and three people stopped to talk to me about knitting, and I actually did get the much-dreaded question, "is that hard??"

Thankfully, I had already planned for the day off today, so I'm piled up in the recliner with some coffee (I haven't had any in three or four days), and I'll probably nap some and otherwise just rest and get better. I did have to miss the holiday party that our office was having last night, though, so that was a bummer...they had a nice dinner at a nice restaurant:(. But, rest was more important, honestly.
Here's a pic for you from our floor-laying adventure last weekend; this is the almost completed project. Beautiful, eh?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Terrification

Terrification (n): the result of being terrified.

Here's a glimpse into my psychotic world: I woke up this morning and knew once I got out of the steamy shower that I was not going to be able to sing tonight during rehearsal for the Christmas music...my voice is scratchy and hoarse and it sounds like I'm trying to talk over a thick layer of phlegm right over my vocal chords. After agonizing over and over about whether or not to even go to rehearsal (What if I look like a diva who never shows up unless it's time to sing a solo? What if people are totally grossed out that I came to such an important rehearsal all snotty and gross to potentially spread the plague to the entire choir and ruin the whole Christmas program??), I decided to go, but to sit in the back of the sanctuary and just knit during rehearsal and listen, but not sing.

I sent an email to our music minister to let him know about my predicament and, wouldn't you know it, the plans were for the PM soloists to do the rehearsal tonight (we split the solos since there are six performances...it's a lot for anyone to handle and we have too many talented people to need to have such limits (thank goodness!)), but that my "afternoon counterpart" could do the rehearsal tonight if need be. One thing to learn about me; I always seek approval from people in authority. I always did it with teachers, with my parents, with my managers, and with music ministers/choir directors. I am absolutely terrified of letting people down. And, of course, I spent most of the afternoon feeling like I'd let everyone down by being sick....or maybe like I was imagining that I was *that* sick and was just being lazy. But, I know my vocal chords pretty well, and I've found over the past fifteen years or so that, should I abuse them too much, they rebel by plaguing me with laryngitis for weeks at a time.

Isn't it sick that I agonize about this stuff? Most people would be like, "hey, I'm sick, I'm going home. I'll be back when I'm well," or, "I'm sick. I'll be there, but I can't talk or do anything because I need to rest my vocal chords." Not me. I have to worry constantly about how I've inconvenienced people and let them down because of something that's entirely out of my control.

Sometimes, I really don't like "me" all that much:(.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Update

My throat is sore, and I'm already in a mild state of panic that I'm going to get full-blown sick and have trouble singing next weekend. I've had a ton of liquid, 2 airbornes, 2 mugs of hot tea, soup for lunch, and I'm going to have soup again for dinner. I'm doing my best to stay away from dairy and I skipped the gym tonight to get some rest (and I didn't want to be around all of the germ-laden people...blah).

So, I made a list yesterday of three things that I was going to allow myself to worry about....one being my second assignment for the writing course I'm taking. I got halfway through the analysis for Ranger Rick and noticed that, in very small print, was a notification that says that they no longer accept unsolicited queries. Blah. Back to the drawing board it was, and I was really disappointed. I spent most of the afternoon looking for some regional magazine that I could select and became increasingly disappointed that the only regional nature mag I could find was about hunting. I ended up settling on Carolina Country, which is a magazine subscription included in the participation of one of the state's power co-ops. It doesn't pay much, but I think my likelihood of getting chosen to write for them is a good bit higher. It's also a relatively rural magazine by nature (most people here who participate in power co-ops live in outlying areas....like us). I think I'll be able to put it together. Anyway...if you're reading, Wendee, I promise a finished assignment by week's end....hopefully both 2 and 3 by the end of the weekend:).

Joey survived his day today. I'm really glad. And pissed that I'm feeling sick. Honestly, I will be really happy when this holiday season is over and we can get back into a normal routine and rest for a while.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mel's Phone Etiquette Rules

1. Please only call me on one number. If you reach my voicemail at work and don't receive an out-of-office voicemail greeting, just leave a message and wait for me to call you back. Don't immediately call my cell phone. Chances are, I was on the other line with someone else for work purposes and am now having to frantically try to silence the ringing of my cell phone. Unless you have suffered a grave injury, leave me a freaking message and give me time to call you back.

2. If the situation absolutely dictates that you call me on both numbers, please only leave a message on ONE of them. Leaving two identical messages on both of my numbers wastes the time of the individual who must wade through the endless series of passwords and options just to hear you tell them the same thing TWICE.

3. DO NOT, under any circumstances, leave a message that simply says "call me back." There's too much uncertainty in that. You could mean, "hey...just checking up with you, call me back." Or, you could mean, "your mother has been in a car accident and was rushed to the ER. CALL ME BACK!!". Quite honestly, if you don't think it's important enough to tell me what you're calling for, I'm going to assume it wasn't important enough that you really need a call back. There is nothing more irritating than dropping everything and calling someone back, only to end up being sidetracked in a phone call about what was on TV last night, etc. I once had a friend who left messages like that. I didn't call her back once, and she gave me the silent treatment until I apologized for her. No longer. If you don't think it's important enough to tell me the subject matter of your call, I'm not going to think that it's important enough to call you back.

4. DO NOT call me back more than once after we've had a phone conversation and hung up. I appreciate the finality of hanging up the phone. I don't want to get called every hour afterward with "status updates" on whatever you were calling me about in the first place. If you have an additional question, text or email me and I'll answer you, but I'm probably not going to pick up the phone after you've called me twice. And I'm not likely to answer you in the future.

This may not bother some of you, and that's fine, but I don't like to talk on the phone, so I want my calls to have a purpose and to be efficient. If I want to chat with you about what's going on in our lives, I'll want to do that in person, or I'll want to spend some lengthy time drafting an email/letter. I don't want to spend time with a battery powered, digitally-connected device pressed against my brain.

That is all.