serendipitous reflections

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Home for a few days now

We got home a few days ago (Wednesday) after a long long drive back up from Gulf Shores to Columbia. My Mom and Dad, and Kelly, came in from an overnight in Clemson and stayed Friday before heading back up the road this morning for the drive to Cincinnati. We had a very nice Christmas visiting with all of Jeni's family and with my parents and sister. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful gifts ... Don and Sue added to our collection of Gail Pittman plates (Jeni would know for sure, and will inform me when she reads this, but I think it brings our dinner plates to a complete 10 now) and for the phones (spliced the old power cord together enough times thanks to sharp cat teeth that it was well passed time for a new set of phones), Jackie and Chris gave us some great cutting boards and Superbad (which we meant to watch tonight but the night has gotten away from us), Doug and Cathy got us some really cool kitchen knives (kitchen theme this year, everyone seems to know the way to Jeni's heart), a cat treat cookbook, and a really cool cat toy, and my parents gave us money which transformed into a new digital camera. We also got a book collecting cat short stories that I am printed in, all the Office DVDs and seasons three and four of Monk, (and a bunch of other stuff ... I could go on and on) ... so we have a lot to keep us busy. Tiffany comes in Sunday morning for New Year's, and maybe Chris. I'm starting to ramble on because it's late and I haven't posted in a few days and a lot has gone on that I could ramble on about, but won't, but just wanted to let everyone know we are home, had a great Christmas, all is good and we're looking forward to a great start to the new year.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Beach bound

We head out for Gulf Shores this morning. We did presents yesterday ... we'll do a recap of the haul later, but we do have most all of Monk on DVD now, all of the Office and SuperBad, so if the writer's strike continues, we have good shows to watch. The coolant issue continues to perplex me, but this time in a good way. After waking Saturday morning to low coolant and signs of a leak under the car and a quick mechanic's checkup, now that we are in Mississippi our coolant is full, remaining full, and showing no sign of a leak. Now, I don't want to jinx anything, but right now it's OK. Go figure. Hope everyone is having a (relatively) stress-free Christmas eve. Remember, be good or Santa will bring you coal.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Down the road

Jeni and I made the trek to Jackson, MS today after a brief false start. The VW is losing a little coolant, but we got the OK to make the trip this morning and, nine hours later, got here. Fortunately we hit very little traffic, even with the construction around Augusta and Meridian. We'll be heading over to Gulf Shores, Alabama on Monday to spend Christmas day relaxing there and then back for my parents and sister to visit. We hope everyone is having safe travels and good weather as they travel and visit with friends and family this week.

Oh, and yes, Judy, you did paint that Santa, and two others we have out around the house. Wouldn't be Christmas without them.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

"I have been very nice this year, but my brother...he's another story"

Since I've been having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit, I decided to look through some old pictures. When I looked back at all these pictures I started seeing all the pictures of my brother Chris and I. Seeing our little Christmas outfits, sitting on Santa's lap, and pictures of my mom and my grandparents really made me start thinking of Christmases past.

One specific Christmas I remember was the year that we got our pinball machine. Not a toy pinball machine, but a full arcade size pinball machine. I know the name on it said Chris, but I'm pretty sure Santa made a mistake and forgot to put my name on it. (I got a dollhouse that year.) I loved that pinball machine. I love the smell of the wood when you would open the door to get your nickles out. And watching all the lights blink on and off as the steel ball would roll on. Or how the lights all went out when you tilted it. And how Fluffy loved to chase the ball all around. I can still hear the sound of the spring being pulled back, the smack of the ball, and the flippers clicking in my head. That was a very good Christmas.

I won't get all nostalgic on here, but it was sort of mixed bag of emotions -- I guess anything that holds such special meaning to you always is.

Dean and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. May the new year bring you joy, love, peace, and happiness.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Someday your children will look through all your photos

We're going through a bunch of old pictures looking for a few particular ones, but you know how photos are ... you have to flip through every single one to find the few you really want. The occasional picture of the parents/friends in questionable clothing, beer and cigarettes in hand, looking as goofy as we have looked in some of our own pictures, it really makes you think ... one day our kids will be looking at our pictures and ask themselves, "What the hell were our parents doing in this picture and why were they dressed like that?"


Wrapping up Christmas

I can't believe after such a hectic few weeks that Christmas is wrapping up. We're about done with gifts, have a few left to wrap, and got the big stuff in the mail today. Unfortunately, that means the tree is looking a little bare now. We need some filler boxes to make the tree look better...


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chris' visit

Chris is back from Ethiopia and, after a little wanderlust, passed through for a few days and is heading back to Knoxville. As it is with every time he returns from a tour, it is nice to see him back on friendly soil and in one piece. Hopefully we'll get to visit with him more once he gets settled. He has some free time, so you never know where he'll turn up...


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bic reviews and rice

I followed a link to the reviews on UK Amazon of the Bic pens ... very funny, check it out...

I am addicted to Free Rice ... I have donated over 12000 grains of rice (OK, admittedly I really need to count a few grains of rice and see how much 20 grains of rice is...) but it is just a fun way to spend some time. My highest vocabulary level is 42.

Update: I reached level 45 Thursday ... I think I just happened to get the right series of words in a row and one good guess.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Free rice

Feed the world while you build your vocabulary. This is a really neat site ... check it out.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Shorts, really?

It is December 8. I know this because the calendar, the clock and even my blog tells me. But it's also 72 degrees outside, we've got our windows open (we love any opportunity to have the windows open and the house aired out) and we're about to put shorts on. If it was August, the temperature would be considered cool, but since it's December I'm actually feeling a little hot.


Christmas dinner

We had our office Christmas dinner at a Japanese steakhouse last night. Every year we go to the same place, it's a family tradition with my boss because that's where his father liked to go and with his father passed away I think it is a sentimental decision on their part. But I also think it's just a little nuts. I always feel rushed in and out by the restaurant because we go on a Friday night. It's so loud that you can hardly talk to the people sitting at your own table, much less to any co-workers anywhere else (heaven forbid you get up and try to talk to someone ... they look at you like you're in the way). And for what my boss spent on just a few of us, Jeni could have cooked for the entire staff (not that I want to put Jeni through all that again ... ). I just leave with the same mixed emotions every year. It's nice to see the families out and dressed up, but you're so isolated and herded through that it just lacks the feel of a true gathering. But I did get a decent meal...

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Reality Check

Just when you think you are having a super crappy day, you get a reality check and remember that some things are so petty and they just don't matter in the grand scheme of things. Life is very precious.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Highway delay

We had to take Jeni's VW to the shop today, so to do the car swap we left extra early and Jeni was going to drop the car, then bring me to work, then at 9:00 take the key to the mechanic. Great plan, except for the three-car pileup on the interstate this morning, the interstate that never backs up. What normally takes me about 20 minutes to get to work took almost an hour today. Ugh! Jeni just ended up getting one of the ladies from the office to help her drop the car off, but there's nothing worse than sitting in traffic watching the clock tick by. And once we got off the interstate, we almost saw another wreck as two cars tried to force their was through the red as the light changed (one going straight, the other turning). I guess the stars were trying to align against us. But we made it in one piece, and that's what matters.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

One cold hand

If you are in Pittsburgh and lost a glove, this is the website for you (onecoldhand.com). I guess this lady found a glove and wanted to help it find its mate, and it has grown from there. Neat story.


Christmas tree

We started with the Christmas decorating today, with a little help from the cats. One tree is up and decorated -- the living room tree -- and the smaller hallway tree is next. The hallway tree has breakable ornaments so we'll have to be careful with these around the cats. We only lost a few last year, so let's keep our fingers crossed. If we can find a live tree that's the right size, Jeni would really like to put one on the front proch, which I think could look really cool. All the neighbors have started decorating their yards and houses and I don't plan on doing the lights on the porch or inflatables in the yard, but I think a tasteful tree on the front porch would look really nice.