Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two days in a row

Oh yes, Violet and I both exercised again today. We're on a roll. We'll be taking tomorrow off though, it is the day we're taking my folk's tree down. But I'm eyeballing Saturday for another workout.

The most exciting thing I did today was help Violet finish up her Illinois Interest Project (Girl Scout speak for "badge"). It was a Council's Own from one of our sister legacy councils. I'd post a link to the requirements, but they aren't available online anymore. I asked at Council if the badge was still available and they said "oh yes, you can get the requirements and the badge in one of the council shops." Which I did.

Most of the requirements we had done (unintentionally) when we were on our trip to Springfield last summer. Between the reading we did prior to the trip and all museums and sites we visited there, she'd done about half of it. So this week we checked out some books on Illinois from the library and between them and the trusty internet we learned some cool stuff, including:

1. Coal mining is one of the top industries in Illinois. I had no idea and I've lived here 45 years. Granted I live in the tippy top of the state and the coal mining takes place in the lower half. I would have guessed farming since that is what is more dominate here. (Yes, it is hard to believe I've lived here 45 years when I am only 32 years old!)

2. The first state capital was Kaskaskia, which has been wiped out by flooding. A new Kaskaskia Island is now what is left and is only accessible from Missouri! There had been one other capital before Springfield (our current capital).

And some other stuff. But I thought those were the most interesting.

The Girl Scout cookie sale begins Tuesday, so of course someone else from my office has already posted her daughter's cookie order form. A new one this year. I think there will be 3 girls selling. Well, fewer cookies for me to schlep in and collect money for. Violet's angle again this year is that she can donate cookies to the soldiers and the food pantry. That was popular last year. It just would be nice if parents would pay attention to the sale dates and follow them. Every year someone pre-posts a form. It is a good way to learn about how the world isn't fair.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Guess what I did today?

You'll never guess. And I know, you don't have time to sit around guessing what goofball thing Freakmom did this time. So I'll cut right to the chase. I exercised!

Yes, after several months of avoiding the Wii Fit and trying not to look it in the eye, I finally broke down today and turned the thing on and exercised. I even weighed in, although I really, really didn't want to. It wasn't bad, not real bad at least, just not what I'd have liked. But what I can expect after 4 months of sitting on my butt, eating everything in sight, drinking sugary soda and stressing?

Hopefully I'll be better about exercising. And maybe I can control my snacking a bit. We'll see.

I asked Violet today if she had any New Year's resolutions and she had 2: to stop biting her nails and to exercise more. My only one had been to not let my job control my life, so I decided her exercise one was a good idea. I'm resisting all kinds of temptation to make it a big "mother and daughter exercise and get fit" program. Nothing kills a good idea quicker than organizing it. Maybe we can go for more walks and play more active games together. Heck, we can't do less activity than we currently do...we'd morph completely into sloths.

Anyone else have any resolutions they'd like to share?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to work

It was back to work today. I didn't have to go in, just work from home. I was rested and relaxed and have been working on changing my attitude to not let it take over, so I didn't really mind. I didn't find too much alarming in my e-mail either, which was a nice treat.

The rest of the day we bummed around the house. Violet is getting her forms and such ready for the Girl Scout cookie sale which begins on January 2nd. She is just going to post a form at my office (I'll take it in with me and leave it when I go on the 3rd) and ask 2 neighbors who usually buy from her. She never catches the moms of the neighbors at home, usually other family members. The others prefer (or have been trained, who knows?) to have the moms do the ordering. What we've done in the past is leave a little note from Violet with a "door hanger" flyer from council. The moms call Violet later with their orders. They both work at the local grade school and have said they like being able to honestly tell all the little girls there that they just buy from their neighbor.

Tomorrow is more of the same, working a little, bumming a little. Thursday we might mix it up and go to the library. Are we party animals or what? Friday we're going to my folks to help them take their Christmas tree down. They are perfectly capable of doing it themselves, but Violet and I decorated it and Violet wanted to put every ornament they own on it. It was PACKED. I felt guilty not helping put them all away too, so off we'll go.

Still no snow here. It has been cold, mainly raw and windy. But no snow. That's okay with me. I've seen snow. I don't need to see it again.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas movies and books

Here's what I've been watching/reading for the season:

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - my all time favorite Christmas movie. Mr. I., his brother and I watched it one of the first years we were married. It was on HBO or something. We'd gone to their new stepmother's family's Christmas celebration and it was WAAAAAAY over the top. Well, to us it was. To them it was perfect, what they did every year. We didn't fit in. To say the family didn't blend easily when their dad and step mom got married is an understatement. So later that night, back at their dad's house, brother-in-law flips on the TV and finds Christmas Vacation on a pay channel they had. We watched, we laughed, it was the best part of that Christmas. Mr. I and I have watched it nearly every Christmas since. Violet saw it for the first time this year. There were some words and scenes in it that maybe we weren't ready for her to see. Oops.

Elf - That one was Violet appropriate! I'd never seen it before. What a fun movie. After it was over I made Mr. I look up what movie I remembered Betty Garrett singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in (the song is in Elf too). I was guessing it was On the Town and she sang it with Frank Sinatra. I was wrong, it was Neptune's Daughter and she sang it with Red Skelton. Betty Garrett is one of my all time favorites. Did you know she played Laverne's father's girlfriend in Laverne and Shirley? Just a little trivia for your Christmas night. If you ask me Ann Miller takes second place to Betty Garrett any day.

I can't stand A Christmas Story. Here's the story. Once in college hanging out with friends they decided to watch the movie on VHS. Fine. Then they decided to watch it again. And then started it again! It wasn't particularly funny the first time and after 3 times I grew to despise it. I refuse to watch it now.

Now as a mature adult I don't know why I didn't leave and go back to my apartment. I didn't have to stay. I had a car. "I'm out of here." I could have said it. I can't remember why I didn't. I guess because I was 19.

I don't care for many of the Christmas TV specials. I particularly hate Rudolph. I mean, come on. The reindeer make fun of him when he looks funny and is different. But then he does something heroic and they all want to be his buddy. Get lost reindeer, you had your chance. Stupid snooty reindeer think they are so hot because their popular. Stop beating up misfit reindeer in the bathroom and stealing their lunch money you big bullies!!!

I may have unresolved issues. On to books.

I read the original Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens for the first time this year. I had trouble following along because I kept falling asleep. I really wanted to like it better than the various adaptations I've seen. But I didn't see much difference. I think I need to try it again next year. I did read it when I was still working and was really busy. I think that was the real reason for falling asleep.

The last 2 days I've spent reading Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum (author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). I've really enjoyed this. Violet and I read it aloud last year and liked it (get the 2003 version illustrated by Michael Hague if you are reading it with kids, not the Kindle version - the illustrations are wonderful.) It tells the story of how Neclaus came to be Santa Claus. Definitely one of Baum's best work. Think mythology meets Christmas.

I want to read the sequel A Kidnapped Santa Claus next.

Finally, a plug for my all time favorite Christmas book, The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory. It is the true story of how Mr. Amory was adopted by a cat on Christmas Eve. This is an adult book, preread it before reading with kids to make sure it is a good fit. Mr. Amory is an animal right's activist and does do and say things that some would classify as radical. He is also a self-proclaimed curmudgeon. It is a great book, just don't snuggle in with your 6 year old and start reading it out loud.

Hope your Christmas movie and book picks have been magical.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Potato soup recipe

Here is my homemade potato soup recipe that I am going to make tonight. It is originally from the Vegetarian Times website, but I have made a few changes over the years.

Potato Soup

4 T unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups peeled and diced white potatoes
1 cup peeled and sliced carrots
1/2 t salt
2-1/2 T all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 t dried sage
1/2 t black pepper

1. In large saucepan, melt 2 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, until softened, 7 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, carrots and salt. Increase heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer potatoes and carrots gently, partially covered, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

2. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, melt remaining 2 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Slowly stir in milk and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

3. In batches, transfer some of the potatoes to a blender and puree. I separate out the carrots when doing this, since otherwise the soup turns out looking pink.

4. Combine pureed potatoes, carrots, broth and cream sauce and heat through. Serve warm with grated cheese on top (optional). Supposedly it makes 6 servings.

It is a time consuming and labor intensive soup, but it is really good. I have no idea if the leftovers warm up well or not. We've never had any left over.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas letters, doing nothing, and fun books

First of all, I do want to clarify something. I don't think that all Christmas cards require a personal note or letter. I just got tired of writing them, then getting back ones which were obviously sent after mine was received with nothing in it. They don't have to say something, but once in a while, especially in response to a letter, it would be nice.

Mr. I. has a good story about this too. About 5 or 6 years ago he received a Christmas card signed "Love, Bob and Alice", Bob had been his best friend since way back and was in our wedding. Mr. I and Bob had lost touch as often happens when we start out on our careers and families. Mr. I. was so excited. There was no contact information in it except the return address. Mr. I. wrote Bob a long letter, catching him up on what he'd been doing, about Violet, etc. Asked questions (like "who the heck is Alice?" but phrased nicer.) He gave Bob his e-mail and phone numbers. They were both working downtown (or last we knew Bob had been) so he suggested maybe they could meet up after work or for lunch sometime. No response. The next Christmas another card arrives, "Love Bob and Alice." Still no information, no other contact, nothing. They come every year. Mr. I. has quit sending cards back and trying to contact him. He'd love to be in touch with Bob again. But what more can you do?

So Christmas cards aren't exactly our favorite part of the season.

Violet and I have been busy doing absolutely nothing the last couple of days. I caught up with sewing badges and fun patches on her Girl Scout sash and her tote bag (there are so much fun patches, she keeps all but a very few on a tote bag instead of the formal sash). We've cleaned the house (more or less, I'm not a good housekeeper even with time on my hands). We went to the library and the grocery store. In short, we've been goofing off and having a blast. We are relaxed.

I've been reading just for fun books. I'm working now on comic crime novels by one of my absolute favorite mystery writers, Donald E. Westlake. They are just plain fun. Not heavy like many mysteries. Nothing that would give you nightmares. I have been in the mood for light and fluffy, but not romance. I don't read romance. I used to. But it is funny, once I started dating Mr. I. I lost interest in the genre. Sounds corny, doesn't it? And not much like me! LOL But it is true.

Anyway, the novels I've been reading were written in the 1960's. It is so much fun to be reading along, the hero being chased by the bad guys and think, "why doesn't he use his cell phone to call 911?!" And he's out of cash, can't he use his debit card or stop by an ATM? He wants to know who this person is chasing him? Google him!? I guess because so much of the books still feel current it is easy to get into them and forget that a lot has changed. A mark of a good author, I think.

I'll go back to reading classics again soon enough. But right now my brain was ready for a break. And Westlake fits the bill perfectly!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday spirit freak style

I wrote a post earlier today, but I don't think I'll ever publish it. It was too bitter and came too close to naming names. I'm going to try again now that I've got it out of my system.

The post was about how little I have to do at this time of the year compared to how much so many other people do. Or think they have to do. And how all other aspects of life seem to stop in December.

I don't send Christmas cards. I did the first few years we were married. Then I got tired of writing personal messages and letters in them all just to get "Love, Mr. and Mrs. Don'tgiveacrapaboutyou" back. Oh sure, they probably do give a crap, but would it have killed them to put at least a sentence in them? As my mom always says she does, "I burned my bridge while I was standing on it" and quit sending cards. The few that go out now are sent as a message with a gift or as a thank you.

I don't buy many gifts. We don't have the money for one thing. I can't see that I have to spend what little I have to send someone some piece of crap they don't want in the first place that they can more than afford to buy if they wanted it. I'm supposed to do that to show them I care. If I care, I think people are able to pick up on it throughout the year. If you require a dollar value attached to my love and friendship, well I'm too polite to say what I think of that. I would have quit on gifts long ago, but Mr. I kept insisting we send them to cousins and such on his side of the family who haven't the foggiest clue what a thank you note is. He claims it isn't necessary to send thank you notes. As I type this, Violet is working on hers. They are necessary. To nieces and nephews who have never sent a single thank you, you have your Uncle Incredible to thank for your continued gifts. Aunt Freak wanted to cut you off long ago.

We do some baking and some cooking. We pick fun meals for Christmas Eve and Day. We don't do many family celebrations because we just don't have much family. Almost all of our extended family live out of state.

So I have lots of free time to catch up on things I can't do the rest of the year when I'm working and homeschooling. But everyone else is busy and is unable to get back to me because (and I see their point) it isn't that urgent compared to the holiday which is breathing down their necks. (That was the main point of my post, I've cooled off now.)

Once, when I was still in my 20's I shared an office with 3 other girls and 1 Jewish guy. He listened to us talk about all the Christmas stuff we had to do and on and on (the office was designed for 3 people, we had 5 in there full time plus another who was primarily offsite but had all her stuff there - we were in his face with glad tidings even if we didn't mean to be). Finally he said, "why do you girls do all that?!" Our answer was "we have to." I've since come to realize that I don't have to. And I don't do it. I do what I want or what is important to Violet and Mr. I and me. But nothing else just because I feel obligated.

I'm not a bah humbug. I'm really not. I just refuse to buy into the frenzied, hectic, make yourself crazy mentality that permeates the country this month.

And now a joke:

Dee, "Are you in Illinois right now?" (insert the state you are in)
Fred, "Yes"
Dee, "Then you are in state."
Dee, "Are you in the US right now?"
Fred, "Yes"
Dee, "Then you are incontinent"

Hahahahaha. Get it? In continent. Incontinent. Dee is the real name of the very cool person who I heard tell that joke at a nursing home convention. Fred is a made up name of the guy she pulled it on. But in Fred's defense, he was quite drunk at the time, I doubt he'd recognize himself here if he saw it.

Hope your holidays are neither frenzied nor incontinent.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Vacation, Baby!

That's right, all my responsibilities are now officially over and I am on Christmas Vacation! Can I get a WOOHOO?! Okay, so yes, I'm a mom, my responsibilities are never actually over, but I am free and clear. We had our last homeschool event today. All the presents have been sent. I'm done with work. There is nothing I have to do on any particular time frame for the next week. Look at Freakmom goof off and read a book. Now look, she's sleeping in. And wait, can it be? Yes, she is relaxed!!

Okay, silliness aside, it is starting to feel very Christmasy around here. Today I got a wonderful surprise in the mail from Mom#1, a local mug from Texas and a sample of Mom#2's famous Mexican Hot Chocolate!! I can't wait to try it after reading about it for so long. A huge thank you to my wonderful long distance friend!!

Today driving home from the final book club meeting of the year, it started to snow. But it melted as it landed. We're hoping for a white Christmas because otherwise it will be a brown, dreary Christmas (whoever coined the phrase "green Christmas" wasn't talking about the north. It is either white or brown. Never green.) I heard a lady in the library say she heard it was supposed to snow again Friday night, but I don't see it on the forecast.

We will be spending a lovely Christmas at home by ourselves this year. That is our favorite. We did a very nice Christmas with my parents on Sunday. We haven't figured out when we're going to see Mr. Incredible's folks yet. But it won't be in the next week. That's okay, we went there for Thanksgiving.

Don't get me wrong, there is still a lot to do. Violet has some crafts yet to do, including her gingerbread house kit. And she wants to make more cookies. Those are some of the plans for tomorrow and the rest of the week.

But tonight, my book and a glass of wine are calling me. Hope you all are enjoying a peaceful and relaxing week too!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Judges Made the Wrong Decision

So last night on The Next Iron Chef finale, our gal, Elizabeth Faulkner, lost. The judges made a bad choice, in my opinion. Geoffrey Zakarian is a fine chef, but will not be nearly as interesting an iron chef as Elizabeth would have been. What an old boys network. I'm bummed, but I am totally thrilled that she made it to the finale. She is a totally awesome chef and person. I am so glad we got to go to her culinary demonstration and book signing! What a cool day that way! When Zakarian competes on Iron Chef, I think I'm going to have to root for his competition.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

more on the hotel

To answer Wendy's question, the hotel wasn't trying to be Korean, just modern I think. The desk and fixtures and chairs were all modern looking too. I think wood plank floors would have been much nicer, it wouldn't have been slippery for one thing. And I like wood. (That sounds bad. I like wood furnishing and as a building material. I grew up in a third generation carpentry family. Everything was wood. In fact, every funeral for a male family member I've ever been to had the same theme: "Jesus was a carpenter". It writes itself each time.)

And I'm really sorry that I've disappointed Mental. I wished I had a camera with me. I never take one on business trips, because usually, what's the point? My phone is old and has no texting or data plan, so even if it can take photos (which I haven't bothered to figure out), I have no way to get them off without big fees. My work computer doesn't even have a camera, like my Mac does. Browsing the hotel's website I didn't see any pictures of rooms. Not surprising. The address given on their website doesn't get you to the hotel either. It takes you to a mail drop box. Not too helpful when you are checking in (as we and many others informed the poor desk staff who have absolutely no control over it.)

In the lobby was something else I would have loved to photograph: a gingerbread house competition. There were about 20 gingerbread houses that had been made by staff members. Guests were invited to vote for one. I voted for the Hello Kitty themed one. I guess I really should start taking a camera with me. Plus I could covertly photograph the guy who always goes who looks just like my next door neighbor. But that would be creepy and possibly result in a restraining order. I try to avoid those.

Well, if I go back to the hotel again, I'll take a camera. In the meantime, I did find a site with a photo of the bathrooms, except the shower head pictured was on the ceiling in my room (the photo is sideways and I don't know how to change that without risking copyright infringement): Photos of Kellogg Hotel And Conference Center, East Lansing
This photo of Kellogg Hotel And Conference Center is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Here's another view from the same site. The shower head you can see in the last photo is straight above the upper left hand corner: Photos of Kellogg Hotel And Conference Center, East Lansing
This photo of Kellogg Hotel And Conference Center is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Thanks, TripAdvisor!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I went with the trout

I know you've all been wondering, what did Freakmom get for dinner at the hotel Monday night? I went with the trout. The thing that won me over was the side of sweet pea risotto that came with it. And gosh, that risotto was good. So was the trout. I suspect all the dishes were good at the restaurant. I also had wild rice with root vegetables soup. My only complaint about the meal was that the soup bowl could have had a bit more soup in it.

Anyway, the trip is over. I'm home until at least April. There's a maybe one-night trip then. I've decided I like everything about these trips except the getting there and back. I like the conferences. I like the people who attend. I enjoy attending sessions as well as speaking. I like staying in the hotels (we always get our own rooms). The 4 to 7 hour drives, I could do without.

The hotel was nice. It was on the campus of Michigan State University. But I have to say, the shower was too weird for me. There was no tub or shower stall. Just a nozzle hanging down from the ceiling and a shower curtain. You could sit on the toilet and shower at the same time if you wanted to (for the record, I didn't). The floor got all wet. Now tell me, how do you keep your socks from getting wet when the floor is soaked from your shower? I mopped the floor with towels. (I shower at night and I was going to be wearing my fuzzy socks and making trips in the bathroom to pee, so I couldn't think of any other options.)

So, I'm staying in a fancy hotel, mopping up the bathroom floor. Doesn't add up in my book. I was only there one night, but they had those signs about reusing your towels to save the planet. Now I'm all for saving the planet, but I'm sorry, if I have to use a towel to mop the bathroom floor in a hotel, I'm not drying off with it the next night. I want a fresh towel.

You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl. I'm just not sophisticated enough for funky showers.

Today I was off. Thank goodness. I can't say why without talking too much about work, so I'll leave it as, I'm glad I wasn't working today. I kept plenty busy with unpacking, laundry, figuring out what we still wanted to do for homeschool this year, planning some cookies to bake. Actually, I'm not really sure what I did all day. Doesn't seem like much when I think back on it.

While I was gone Violet and Mr. I. put the tree up. Tonight the lights went on (Mr. I. bought us some new LED lights on his way home from work today - see I'm Ms. Tree Hugger). The ornaments will get on soon. We're having a laid back Christmas. Actually, I think it is just sneaking up on us too fast.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ode to a Good Night's Sleep

What a difference a good night's sleep can make!

Violet had a bad sore throat all day yesterday. Just a cold, probably from the crazy schedule she's been keeping. She spent most of yesterday curled up in a blanket reading. I knew she wasn't feeling good because she took the Tylenol I offered. She doesn't like to take medicine at all. Don't know where she got that from, certainly not me. I go up and down the over-the-counter aisle at the drug store loading up my cart with all the goodies.

At bedtime last night she wanted the blanket she'd been wrapped up in all day, but Alexi the orange cat was on it. She whispered (since it hurt to talk) that if he got off it, could I bring it up to her? I moved him onto another blanket and took it up to her. Alexi stayed on the replacement blanket for quite a while, so I don't think he minded too much.

Anyway, after a good night's sleep she is feeling much better.

As for me. I didn't sleep well for several nights this week. Laid awake at night, early mornings, late nights. I think it showed in my last crabby post. I got to bed early last night and slept in and I feel much better. I'm still not going back to that co-op, and I'm not going to hang out with those moms any more. But I'm not so whiny and crabby about it. I've moved on.

I leave for Michigan tomorrow. I'm pretty much ready to go. I can't decide whether to get the salmon or the trout or the mushroom ravioli at the hotel restaurant for dinner (we always read the restaurant menus ahead of time when traveling for work - the meals are one of the best parts!). After I get back Tuesday night, it should be smooth sailing until the end of the year. And if not, I'll get a good night's sleep and start over the next day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another week gone by

It wasn't quite as hectic as last week, but more stressful. Work was way too busy with way too much pressure. I can't take it some days. Girl Scouts was way to disorganized and chaotic. Are homeschool co-op settings always loud, crazy, with kids running wild, classes starting late, miscommunications and last minute changes in plans that aren't passed on to those not making the plans? We've never been involved in a co-op before, so I'm just wondering if that is the norm because that's what we've met with week after week. I'm too high strung to deal with the "laid back" atmosphere of it. (Remember my upcoming news, I'll let you in on it, Violet's GS group is leaving the co-op and moving to the leader's house - they are all tired of the chaos too.)

Anyway, it was a stressed out week. I feel better tonight. Work is under control. We had our office party this afternoon. As I sat talking with people I realized, I really like most of the people I work with. They are nice, normal people. They accept you for who you are (even if they secretly think you are weird - but heck, most of them are weird, too). And they are fun. I can feel relaxed among them (when I'm not stressed out - but even then, they are usually stressed too or they understand why my hair is standing on end and falling out in clumps).

Monday I am headed out of town for one last trip of the year. Just one night, I'll be back Tuesday. I am looking forward to a few nice meals (I'm traveling with my boss - she likes good food so we always eat well) and a quiet hotel room (to myself).

Notes: My hair hasn't actually been falling out in clumps, but I think it did stand on end most of Wednesday and Thursday. Also, the majority of the co-op families seem perfectly happy with it, so I realize it must be a bad fit for us, not a bad co-op. And finally, the older girls splitting off are going to do great things when they move into a quieter situation and have some space. At 12 years old, they need to have their own space away from the little girls.

Friday, December 2, 2011

End of the Week

And what a week it has been.

Got some good news: a tentative Juliette event I had set up for next week, but couldn't get a firm confirmation on, was officially postponed. I was relieved. I think the other moms were. The lady we'd asked if we could visit and learn about environmental issues from was really relieved. We've all just got too much going on, a free day is welcome. And the lady suggested a special viewing of a really awesome sounding program they are going to do in February: hands on learning and activities/crafts all environmental based with visits with wildlife (not sure what wildlife we'll see, but it is scheduled on and around the big Groundhog Day festival). We are looking forward to it!

Got some sad news: my boss' 16 year old nephew committed suicide. Just a horrible tragedy. A co-worker and I went to the visitation together to try to offer support to our boss and her family. But at a time like that there is so little to say or do.

Got some upcoming news: I don't want to share it quite yet, because all parties involved haven't heard it (although none of them read my blog, but still you don't want to spoil it). It involves Girl Scouts and a new plan and needless to say, Violet is really happy about it.

Got some homecoming news: Our friend Harvey is back home, snug in his mud home, his cross country wagon travels are over. They made it to New Mexico. After much discussion, he and his traveling companion decided to forgo a return trip by wagon. They and the mules got a ride home from a guy named Joe, Harvey will return next week with a borrowed truck and get his wagon. (We assume Sadie came home too, she wasn't mentioned in the e-mail announcement, but I know Harvey wouldn't leave her behind.) I am glad Harvey will be back home for winter.

Got some less work news: The meetings I was supposed to go to all day Monday have been postponed. No trip to the office. The one meeting that didn't get canceled, I got the okay to join by phone if they need me.

Got some theater news: Violet was invited to go a performance of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" with some friends. It is at the Woodstock Opera House, a fancier venue than we usually go to. They had an extra ticket. She's excited.

Got some boob news: (sorry, that was just too good a title to pass up) My mammogram results were normal and the insurance paid for it 100%. Sure they are supposed to pay for it, but aren't we all actually relieved when that Explanation of Benefits (EOB, to those of us in the biz) comes with no patient portion on it.

That's all the news I can think of right now. It was a good week, but there was a lot going on. We've got a busy weekend planned to. No rest for the wicked.