Sunday, December 26, 2010

I had great plans to get up early and make a run to Walmart and the grocery store before it became impossible to move around in them, but....I slept in until after 7:00! By the time I get up, showered, dressed, get Alli up, showered and dressed - I won't have time to shop and make it to church, so....I'm still in my jammies playing on the computer. I will pay for this, as I do have to go to the store sometime, but....I'll put it off until later. Maybe after work next week??

I also had plans to tear down what was left of the Christmas Tree (the kittens have used it as a race track) and take down my decorations, but....SOMEONE used my plastic containers to haul rocks in, and even though they were reminded several times, did not clean them out when the weather was good. He now has a choice of cleaning them out in the rain (and hand drying each one) or taking down the decorations by himself next week, since I am back at work.

The remnants of Christmas

Indy chasing tails.

His favorite game

And Koori's nightmare - I'm surprised he got this close - she is terrified of him chasing her tail! It must have been because she thought I had a treat in my hand.

My blue topaz bracelet

And I finished the carrying bag for the kittens! As you can see - I had help taking pictures, too!

The carrying bag for the kittens
My helper
The kittens and the bag

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! The presents are unwrapped, breakfast has been devoured, all that is left is cleaning up the wrapping paper - but the kittens are having just too much fun with it! I think the most enjoyed present (so far) is a stocking stuffer I got for Alex - a flashlight that has a red laser light on it. The kittens have been chasing it all morning. The puppies were pretty happy with their toys, and their treats, too. It looks like a small bomb went off in the living room.

The "some assembly required" has been replaced with "some computer experience required". AJ got a new router for his computer, so he will stop turning my computer off so his games run faster. Later today, Ralph will get to install it - such Christmas joy! All I have to do for the rest of the day is relax - at least until dinner time! We are going with a seafood Christmas this year - we had fresh crab for dinner last night, and shrimp scampi and scallops for dinner tonight - yum! The crab was so good last night - the first of the season for us.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wow - only two more days till Christmas, and then the next week, it is 2011! Time is just flying by. Work has been crazy getting ready for year-end, and vacations. I did get approval to start looking for someone to add to my department, since I am loosing one to retirement next year. I will be glad when that is done as well - I hate the interview/hiring process!

I did not get my carrying bag done for the kittens yet - I made up two more scarves last night (and didn't leave work until after 6:00!) I only have two knitted scarves left, and people were asking about the new design - and I was sold out. This was definitely a good year for hand-made Christmas presents. Ralph took a couple pairs of the gloves to Alli's bracing specialist yesterday (I forgot to give them when he took her for her appointment on Monday!) and Ralph told me I made her cry, she loved them so much! I didn't mean to make her cry!

AJ is finishing up his Eagle Project this week. He is collecting the recommendation letters that he needs, he is taking final pictures of the project, and having the Principal sign off on it. His plan - turn it in to the Scout Office today!! I can't believe it is actually going to get done! And ahead of schedule! (If you count on having until 5:00 on January 6th - the last minute the Scout Office is open before you turn 18 as 'scheduled' finishing time!) I am very proud of him for following through on the whole project. He did good!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We had a marvelous dinner last night for our anniversary - fajitas for me, and the largest chalupa taco for Ralph I have ever seen! Needless to say, we have plenty of leftovers today! We haven't gone out for dinner in a long time - we usually meet for lunch, AJ got stuck as our babysitter last night, which he managed to do just fine. We went in early (we thought), leaving here a little after 6:00. There was one parking place in the lot, and the place was jammed. Good food, fun atmosphere (they had a lady making balloon creations - hats, etc.) Fun!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary! Twenty three years today - my how time flies - Ralph and I were in Hawaii getting married! Ralph gave me my anniversary present last night, so I could enjoy it today - a new Cuisinart coffee maker - the one that makes a single serve cup and instant hot water. Cool! I'm enjoying my first cup now! AJ is babysitting for us tonight, and we are going out for dinner - Casa Ramos - yum!

I finished my three little kittens:

Using scraps of yarn that I had hanging around gave me different sized kittens. They are very cute! I'm working on a carrying bag for them now - a granny square purse in purples.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Back to work today - bummer! I know there are a thousand things waiting for me - and few of them good! When I was at work Friday for the breakfast, I had a couple of people ask if I was back yet - they had a question or problem for me. Lovely! I guess that is job security - no one wants my job!

I made a couple more scarves this weekend - one for a Christmas present - but I'm not saying for whom! I also finished my three little kittens - no pictures yet. I wanted a little better lighting for the black and white kitten than I would have had last night.

AJ had friends over all weekend, and I don't think they moved off the couch since Friday, so...we went for a walk! We managed to catch a little bit of sun time - in between rain storms. We still had the wind - it was a bit chilly out there!

This is NOT helping me fold socks!

AJ playing with Indy (who is under the basket):

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My last day of vacation - back to work tomorrow! Last night was the annual Christmas Party for work. Ralph decided not to go this year, so I hooked up with a co-worker that was date-less as well, and we had fun. It was a beautiful party - good food, beautiful women, handsome men, fun conversations! The entertainment was hysterical - they did "1 Minute to Win It" - fun! The 'contestants' had 1 minute to complete a task - blowing paper cups off a table with a balloon (you try blowing up a balloon while laughing hysterically!), stacking 4 apples (harder than it sounds!), pulling tissues out of a box, etc. Fun!

AJ took a couple of pictures of me before I went out - hard to get a good picture inside at night - we just don't have good lighting for it!

The storm came in yesterday with a drizzle - nothing too exciting, and started pouring! This little squirrel was running around in our front yard when the skies opened up. He had to finish burying his acorn (?) before he climbed the tree. The rain gauge showed a rate of almost 8 inches an hour - and he is digging a hole in my lawn! He did finally find shelter in the tree.

The red wrapping paper is still a hit! This is Indy playing in it now.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm done! I may not be ready for Christmas, but I'm finished shopping! (and baking and decorating and....) I'm glad I took the week off of work, but it seems like I didn't get a lot of rest. I do still need to wrap, but since we can't put anything under the tree, I didn't even bother wrapping yet. I'll do that just before Christmas, and the presents will still stay outside in the guest-house. I hope next Christmas is a bit calmer with the kittens!

AJ had a follow-up with his cardiologist in Redding yesterday. I think we see him only so we have a local doctor. He scheduled AJ an appointment next September (he sees his Chico cardiologist in May) for another follow-up, and said basically the same thing - he at least has his notes, etc., so if he ends up at the emergency room, they can call him instead of Dr. K. The long and short - he's pretty stable, so unless something changes, he'll continue with the meds he is on. His true test will be soccer next spring. Since it is not as competitive as school or DIII, he should be okay if he has to stop for a second or two for his heart. AJ said that when it acts up, it calms down very quickly, so - we'll see! If his heart gets too out of control, we can always try the ablation again.

AJ also got new glasses! A few years ago, he was diagnosed as farsighted, and had reading glasses, which of course he hardly ever wore. I expected this year to be the same - not a lot of changes, but....he is now nearsighted! Dr. C said AJ didn't know he couldn't see well until he put good lenses on him - what a difference. His new glasses came in on Wednesday, and he spent most of Thursday marveling at what he could see. Originally, he was only going to wear them to drive, but he likes being able to see everything, and is wearing them all the time.

I found a new scarf I like better than the flower scarf. It uses Lion's Hometown USA yarn, which is a soft, thick yarn. It can be worn two ways - as a looped scarf or as a neck-warmer.

Here is is on the table - it is about 45 inches long - fastened with three buttons (I wish I had some rhinestone buttons in my button box, but these were what I had on hand)

Here it is on - I love it - it is so soft and warm, and stylish! (pictures aren't the best - I need to bet a manikin or something for pictures!)

The bank puts on an annual Christmas breakfast for the staff each year - the officers prepare and serve quiche, eggs, sausage, bacon, waffles, OJ, coffee, danishes, etc. to the staff. We also collect baskets of 'stuff'' from the staff and then raffle off the gift baskets. My job (for the last couple of years) has been to help with the baskets. Since I'm not the best wrapper in the whole world, I pull in one of my staff (who is MARVELOUS at it) to help us. The gifts donated by the staff range from candles to candy to wine to ornaments, etc. The other Officer assigned to the task and I set everything out, and then do what Toni tells us! Since the range of items is so large, it can be a challenge to put things together and make an attractive basket. We had a baking basket (full of cookie mixes, hot pads, etc.) a beauty basket (full of lotions, candles, soaps, etc.) a romantic basket (filled with candy, candles, wine, etc.) and others. We did good! For this, I went to work on Thursday (on my vacation!) We managed to get all the baskets put together and wrapped in a couple of hours. Then on Friday morning, I was at work at 6:30 a.m.! (So much for sleeping in on vacation!) Breakfast started at 7:00, so I was there to help with the last minute arrangements, and to serve. After breakfast, we had an ornament exchange. We draw names in November, and have a $5.00 limit. I got the cutest ornament - a 'Girl's Survival Kit' ornament banner over a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates. I'll have to take a picture of it - too cute!

My ornament came with a piece of foil tissue paper. While I was showing my ornament to Ralph, the kittens stole the paper. It has been a huge hit as a toy!

Who says you have to buy cat toys!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It was a marathon cookie day yesterday. I baked chocolate chip, peanut butter, macaroons, two types of biscotti, and sugar cookies. I still need to decorate the sugar cookies, but I got the biscotti and macaroons dipped in chocolate at least. I hope to deliver these today, so I will have to get busy with the sugar cookies!

I had a little bit of help with the sugar cookies. I had a lot of help with the others - Not! AJ 'helped' me by taste testing the cookies.

I think that was all I did yesterday - oh and a little bit of crochet - I'll get pictures up later. I did take a break for lunch, and for a walk with AJ and the dogs (I stayed on my feet this time!) Today is more running around town - last minute shopping, etc. I still need an ornament for the exchange at work tomorrow - and I have to be at the bank before 6:30 a.m., so I had better get it today!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

AJ put the rest of the rock in the garden yesterday, so....except for finishing, he is done! I think Ralph has about 15 minutes of work for the irrigation system, and that is all the 'work' that has to be done. Now he just has to prepare his report, and turn it in - all before Thursday, January 6th, at 5:00 p.m.! I stopped by the Scout Office yesterday, and spoke with the lady that runs it. Her son finished with 20 minutes to spare! She also has had many a scout sitting at her kitchen table late at night on the eve of their 18th birthday, finishing their paperwork (one just the other day as a matter of fact). That is true dedication to scouting!

I didn't work on my crocheted kittens yesterday, but I did make up some gloves for Alli's teachers, and I made some earrings! The earrings were a first for me, and were from a kit I bought at Wal-mart, but I was pretty happy with them. I need to get better 'tools' if I want to do a lot of these. I really like wearing this type of earring, and hate paying for them, since I really can 'do it myself'!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AJ and I loaded up the rest of the rocks he needs last night, and I found all those muscles I used the day before loading rock! I expected my back to be sore from the lifting, but it is my forearms that are sore! Ouch! I definitely need to start working those muscles more - maybe my New Year's resolution? I did pretty good last year on my resolution - I didn't hike Mt. Lassen (the fates were against me - they were doing construction on the trail and it was closed) but I did make it to Castle Crags, and it was felt a lot easier, since I did a lot more walking beforehand.

I finished up the last two scarves I had on order last night - woohoo! Now I can finish up other Christmas presents. I have one black and white kitten done except for putting together....if I can find the parts! The real kittens found the crochet kitten, and I'm not sure I got all the pieces back. I have one Siamese kitten done, and I want to make an orange tabby kitten to go with it and the black and white one, and a carrying bag for them. I may not get them in the mail in time for Christmas, but I hope to get them done before Christmas.

I got a lot of my shopping done yesterday - I just need some clothes for AJ (and shoes for me for the Christmas party) and stocking stuffers for the pets, and a Christmas ornament for the ornament exchange at work. I also need to start the Christmas baking! And do my Christmas cards, and.....the list goes on and on!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I always thought walking was supposed to be healthy. It probably is if you manage to stay on your feet! AJ and I took the dogs for a walk yesterday back in the fields, and I managed to take a tumble. I had a little help, I must admit! There is a camper parked by the creek in the area we usually cross, and there was some activity around it, so we put the dogs on the leads, just to keep them out of trouble. After we crossed the creek (and I didn't even get my feet wet!) we were still separated from the road by a large puddle. I decided to walk around...the best choice, personally, due to the mud and slippery rocks all around. AJ decided to jump across, and handed me Jasper's lead. I'm sure you can see what happened next. Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking that fast! The dogs were walking nicely with me, and AJ took off on a long leap. And so did Jasper. She lunged so suddenly I didn't even think about turning loose of the lead! She pulled me sideways, and I managed to keep my balance for a couple of steps, but....down I went! I think the only thing I bruised seriously was my pride. I landed on a rock with my upper arm, and luckily that was the only bruising I got. If it hadn't been muddy, it might have been a harder landing. Good thing I bounce! I expected to be a bit sore this morning, but - I'm fine! Whew!

AJ decided not to have another work day for his Eagle Project. Instead, he is depending on friends and family to finish it up. After our walk yesterday (and after I changed out of my muddy clothes!) he and I loaded a bunch of rocks in the back of the truck. He put them in the plastic boxes I use for my yarn and Christmas ornaments. Since the house is all decorated, the boxes were just sitting there empty.....We loaded 9 of them - all the truck would hold - with rocks and he is taking them to school today. After school, he is coercing several (I hope) friends to unload them with him. It will take much less time to unload the rocks than it did to load them. He will probably need two more loads of rocks moved in - we'll see. That means I will be loading more rocks tonight when he gets in from school. No need for a workout for me today!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

AJ put in some more time in on his Eagle Project yesterday, and once again, it didn't rain! He has one more workday, I think, and the work will be done. Yes, it could have been done yesterday, but he only had Conner and I to work on it, and he didn't do all the prep work that was needed. The remaining part of the project now is bringing in rock and putting it down. Yesterday, we cleaned up the area he is planning on putting the rock (pulling out grass and sticks), so now....he just has to finish it! He brought in a little bit of rock yesterday, but....he needed a whole lot more. I also asked if he could get with Mrs. Stuart to see what plants we could pull out or trim back, so the garden area looks better. His project doesn't deal with the existing plants, but I think a bit of a tidy up and trim would help enormously! He also needs to find out what can be hauled off to the dump - the area has become a bit of a 'catch all' and needs to be cleaned out. All in all - he's almost done!

Moving the tables bringing in rock after putting the benches back Your turn!
The tree and table area

Since I worked so hard in the morning, I took the afternoon off and crocheted - and even took a nap! Around 3:00, Alli came over, grabbed a pillow, and lay down on the couch with her head in my lap. This doesn't happen very often! I was crocheting at the time, so I continued along for a while, and them I decided to join her. It's not often I can nap on a Saturday! I'm working on building a stash of scarves for the work boutique. I've caught up on all the flower scarves I needed for special orders, and am making more gloves and a few flower scarves ahead of time. Talk about hot sellers! I need a few gloves for presents myself, so...I'll keep working away on them!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Last night was AJ's fist Choir concert. Two weeks ago, I asked about proper attire - "no problem mom, we wear tuxes - and the school provides them." Cool! What about shoes - do you need new dress shoes? "No - my old ones still fit." Even better! Last night, after I dropped him off at the school, I got a text "I'll be the one with the white shoes." Lovely! He has dress shoes, but doesn't wear them! Oh well, white tennis shoes and a black tux do make a statement!

The pictures aren't the best - it's a bit dark in the auditorium! The kids did great though - even the beginning band was fun to listen to (sort of!)

Here's just a bit of the concert - I missed the 'good' part - where you could hear just the basses. Bummer!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Why my Christmas tree is only half decorated, and even then, with only plastic and cloth ornaments!

Ralph and AJ are down with colds - Alli brought it home from school, but she bounced back with just the sniffles. Not so for AJ and Ralph!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

AJ lucked out again with the weather. It didn't rain at all on his project! We had rain overnight, and then in the afternoon, but not while they were working. He is now 'almost' done. He has one rock area to work with, and one large dump run. Then - just a matter of making everything 'look pretty'. The rock area won't require the whole troop to work on - just AJ and some friends. Thank goodness for friends! Conner came over and worked like a trooper - he finished his Eagle Project earlier this year, with AJ's help - and Allen from across the street came in again. Dallas and his dad were at a wrestling tournament, or they were coming too. The guys did good! I'm so happy he is almost done!

My duties for this project day were pretty light - bring lunch! Six pizzas and a bunch of chips and sodas later - I was done! I spent the rest of the day working on flower scarves. I had a total of 16 scarves ordered, and I'm down to 4 left to make. One isn't a flower scarf, so it will take me longer, but she doesn't need it for a Christmas present, so I can work on it later if I need to (but it's prettier, personally!) I might even get caught up today, and make one or two for the 'boutique' (sounds better than the bazaar!) I also need to make up some more gloves. My other project today - besides laundry - is to decorate for Christmas. Everything is still in boxes outside in the garage.

Alli enjoyed her lunch too!
(Never agree to a hug when they've been working in the mud - I got mudded!)