Sunday, December 24, 2006

ABCs of Living

I got this one from Maria.

A. Are you Single or Married: Married
B. Best Friend: Quinton
C. Cake or pie: Cake
D. Drink of choice: Pepsi
E. Essential item: The Fluffy Pink iPod
F. Favorite color: Do you have to ask? :-)
G. Gummi bears or worms: Worms...the sour kind that are coated with sugar
H. Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
I. Indulgence: Designer handbags
J. January or February: February
K. Kids and/or names: Kyle and Luke
L. Life is incomplete without: The love, respect, and adoration of children
M. Marriage date: October 26
N. Number of siblings: 1 sister
O. Oranges or apples: Oranges
P. Phobias/Fears: Dogs, eating food that has been in the refrigerator too long (when in doubt, throw it out), widowhood.
Q. Quote: "Don't pee on my head and tell me it's raining." (I say this alot. It drives the boys crazy)
R. Reason to smile: When I'm fighting a headache, one of the boys always sneaks in my room and places a cold water bottle on my nightstand.
S. Season: Spring
T. Tag 3 people: Anyone who cares to participate is welcome.
U. Unknown fact about me: I do not like shoe shopping. Comfortwise, I find something wrong with 90% of the shoes I try on. When I do find a pair I like, I buy them in every available color.
V. Vegetable you hate: Mizuna or radicchio
W. Worst habit: Being a bad girl at the mall
X. X-men: Whichever one was played by Hugh Jackman.
Y. Your favorite chore: Running errands
Z. Zodiac: Pisces

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Fluffy Pink Christmas

Christopher posted a meme of his Christmas favorites. And since I have to do everything Christopher does (it's a law...look it up), I'm posting my own. Enjoy.

Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. Double the chocolate, serve it up in a Fiesta pedestal mug and top it with half a can of whipped cream. Ah, perfection!

Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Wrapped...absolutely. The paper from the unwrapped presents make great weaponry for the wrapping paper battles (the closest thing you get to a snowball fight in Phoenix) that often ensue after all gifts are open. Hint: tissue paper or some other really thin paper works best for wadding up and achieving distance. One year, I bought that mylar wrapping paper, and the fight was a bust.

Colored lights on tree/house or white. White on the tree. It accents the ornaments better, IMO. I can go either way on the house, although this year we have all white.

Do you hang mistletoe? Only if I can find some Boy Scouts selling it outside the grocery store.

When do you put your decorations up? Right after I get all the crap out of the downstairs closet to get to the Christmas boxes in the back.

What is your favorite Christmas dish? Owen Wilson dressed in a Santa suit. Maybe I'll even get to sit on his lap! 8-)~

Favorite Christmas memory as a child? Waking up to find my first little bicycle parked in the middle of the living room. I believe I was 4 or 5 at the time.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember. That repressed memory defense mechanism works wonders.

What tops your tree? Nothing right now. I have yet to find a topper worthy of my decorating style.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We have in the past. But I find that once you start, you can't stop. That means you wake up on Christmas morning to nothing under the tree. How depressing is that? So my answer is no.

What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? The white chocolate and oatmeal cookies that Q long as we don't polish them off first.

Snow! Love it or hate it? Love it in small doses. It's a rare commodity here in the desert.

Can you ice skate? I guess I can. I did it once when I took Kyle to a birthday party at the local ice rink. I didn't wake up in the hospital or sustain any injuries.

Favorite tradition? It would't be Christmas around here without stockings full of chocolate coins. Also, we have to watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation at least twice. And then there's the wrapping paper fights mentioned above.

Which do you prefer - giving or receiving? Would it be bad form to admit that I like receiving? Although I really enjoy giving when I know that the gift is something that the recipient really wants and was unable to acquire on their own.

What is your favorite Christmas Carol? Anything from the Charlie Brown Christmas album.

Candy Canes? Only in very small when you have bad breath.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wii Are Pi$$ed

Kyle has been saving his money for a Nintendo Wii since before most of us knew what the Wii was. For his birthday last August he asked us not to buy him presents, but for "Wii money". By the time the game console was released last month, he had saved enough money to buy it and a few accessories.

On the morning of the Wii's release, Q took Kyle to Target just before the store opened. Ticket had been handed out to those in line, but they were too late. One guy offered to sell them his ticket for $500. No thank you. In the following days, we tried called stores and even drove around trying to find Kyle a Wii. They were all over ebay, with auctions ending at thousands of dollars--way more than the $250 retail price. In the meantime, I was soothing a lot of crying.

Fast forward to now. Kyle has resigned himself to waiting until after Christmas when we can find one in a regular store for a regular price.

But the Nintendo Wii is not the only item I'm having trouble finding. I won't go into specifics because certain family members read this blog and I don't want to give away any surprises.

Back on December 2, I bought an item at I chose to do business here based on an offer of $20 off a $50 purchase if I used Google Checkout. Sounds good to me. According to the website, the item was in stock. I placed the order and my credit card was promptly charged.

Several days later, I hadn't received a shipping confirmation, so I checked the status of my order. Next to the item name were the words "on order". Translation: "oops...we don't have your item just now!" Well, after navigating through some red cyber-tape, I managed to get the order cancelled, my account credited, and I bought the item elsewhere.

Then there was an item Kyle wanted. We spotted it in Target one night, but I couldn't make the purchase just then since he was with me. When I returned a few days later, they were sold out. No problem. I'll get it somewhere else, right? Wrong! I tried the Toys R Us across the street. I had Q try the TRU near his office. I even checked Wal-Mart. WAL-MART, People!!!!! Yes, I am willing to forgo my personal boycott in order to ensure the look of elation on my son's face on Christmas morning. Anyway, they didn't have it, either.

I ended up ordering it from an online shop that I had never heard of. The price was the same, but I had to pay shipping fees. Oh well...better than sales tax. It arrived on the doorstep last night.

Elsewhere, I was tired of being told that "this item is not currently available, but you might enjoy....(insert inferior or overpriced product here)".

Apparently, I'm not the only one who's noticing these toy shortages. It was a topic on local radio last week. I read an article about it on MSN Money last week. Unfortanately, I'm having trouble finding the link at the moment.

Anyway, here's hoping you're all able to find those special gifts that will dazzle your families and that you don't settle for anything less.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Over!!!!!

The fall semester has come to a close, and I aced both of my classes. I can't believe it! My drafting class was easy. I could have done that one in my sleep (and I often did!). In fact, I completed all the coursework 3 weeks early.

My architectural history class was the one I was worried about. I hadn't worked this hard since the philosophy class I took a few years ago. At that time, I told myself that if I got a B in that class, I would be happy. And that's exactly what happened.

This was not the case with AH. I was not willing to accept anything less than an A. I worked hard searching for photos, writing captions for them, compiling notebooks, and writing research papers, studying PowerPoint lectures, and reading assigned chapters from the text that often didn't get covered in class or on tests.

Many weekends, I didn't leave the house. in fact, I would spend entire days in my pajamas, sequesterd to the family room reading, typing, searching, and reading some more. I would only stop when smiling Quinton entered the room carrying a tuna sandwich.

I tried very hard not to fall apart. Often, I begged the boys and their friends to pipe down because "Mom's working in here". If that didn't work, I would lay down the law and make them all go outside. I was met usually with whines of protest, but I persisted. After all, it was usually around 75 degrees outside...too nice to be indoors. I would have traded places with them in a heartbeat.

I also gained a little weight this semester. Whenever I completed a notebook section, I would reward myself by eating my weight in Oreos or chocolate and peanut butter ice cream from Baskin Robbins. Also, when I was overcome with stress, I would eat. Hey, it's better than alcohol!

So in the end, completed AH class with a very hard earned A...despite the numerous occasions I shot daggers at the instructor. Speaking of which, I patiently waited for an opportunity to fill out a performance evaluation. Well, it never came. We weren't afforded that chance. Oh well, if I can't use my words, I can speak with my actions. I simply won't take any class she teaches ever again...if I can avoid it!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I Did It! I REALLY Did it!!!!!!!

At 6:28 this evening I inserted the last page of the last section of my architectural history notebook into its binder. I'm so proud of myself. Even though the notebook is not due until Tuesday (aka The Last Day of AH) I forced myself to get it done early. It feels so invigorating to have this huge weight off my shoulders.

And I do mean "huge weight". This sucker is 176 pages long. 176 pages of architecture, art, and furnishings dating back from ancient Egypt all the way up to 18th century America. Yes, I arrived at that number by including all the tab dividers, cover sheets, photos, works-cited pages, and other filler. Sue me. The binder is 2 inches think and I printed everything on card stock. As a result, it weighs about as much as a small house pet.

And since the notebook is done, I'm going to treat myself. Yes, tomorrow, I am going to put on real clothes and (gasp!) I'm going to leave the house! There is a 50% off coupon from Joann Superstore burning a hole in the bottom of my purse. And it expires TOMORROW! I think I will go down there and treat myself to that mirror I've been wanting for
the downstairs bathroom!!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Should I cell out my kid??????

Recently, Q and I were discussing which cell phones we would like to get when our plan comes up for renewal. Kyle took that opportunity to pipe in: "Can I have your old phone?" Well, this was a shocker. I didn't know Kyle was so interested in getting his own phone. After all, he doesn't make or receive many calls on our house phone.

Kyle went on to tell us that "everyone in sixth grade has a phone!" Quinton immediately replied that that wasn't a good enough reason for him to get a phone. Now, I know phones are popular among kids, but I thought it would be a few years before we would have to visit this issue.

Quinton seems to think that Kyle doesn't need his own phone. At first I agreed, but now I'm not so sure it's such a bad idea.

Kyle's getting a older and he's venturing further away from home. A new park was recently built in our neighborhood and the kids like to go there after school. There's no pay phone there. In fact, there are hardly any pay phones anywhere anymore.

Also, Kyle's friend base is no longer limited to kids who live within shouting distance from the house. It would be really nice for me to be able to call him on his phone and tell him that he needs to come home. It's much easier than calling all his friends' homes trying to track him down. I've had more of these awkward conversations than I care to admit to: "Hi, this is Val Kyle there? He's not. Ok...I'm sorry I interrupted your dinner..."

Now see? If Kyle had his own phone, the number of etiquette faux pas I commit will go way down.

I am not worried about Kyle running up the phone bill. We have more monthly minutes than we ever use. I'm also not concerned about Kyle losing the phone. He has proven to me that he is responsible with his things. I mean, we're talking about a boy who carefully organizes his video games and gets angry when the covers of his paperback books get creased from being jostled around in his backpack. I know he will follow any ground rules we set forth for the phone.

Perhaps my biggest concern is his leaving the phone in the same place he leaves his keys--at home on the hall table. I have visions of myself trying to reach Kyle on his phone only to hear a Star Wars-themed ringtone reverberating from the next room.