Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, December 6, 2013

Did Ya Miss Me?

It seems I came back from Massachusetts and fell off the face of the earth.  I don't know quite what happened, other than life grabbed the reins of my carefully controlled existence, and has been running out of control for a month.  I got back from Massachusetts, and then what happened...?  Oh yeah - a week later I was in Minnesota freezing my tush off.  It was a good meeting, but like all things work related, it was not without stress and feeling like I had to be "on"  - even at dinner.  I longed to just eat dinner in the solitude of my room, but it was not to be.  Three long days later I was finally on my way home, exhausted.  One thing we did that I really liked, and it surprised me that I liked it so much, was when we had a "team-building activity."  Now usually those are just horrible, but I have a really good boss who tries to do meaningful things, and she signed us all up to go pack food at Feed My Starving Children - a charity that supplies meals all over the world to children who may only get that one meal a day.  On the particular day and shift we attended, we were packing food for the people who survived the disaster in the Phillipines.  (Does Philipines have 1 "l" or 2?  It looks odd either way and spellcheck isn't helping me...)  Anyway, that's what we did for 2 hours, and at the end of our shift we had packed enough food to feed 76 children for a year.  So awesome.  It was a good feeling to accomplish something that would be meaningful to people who are in such need, so it was a good day.  Plus it was fun to relate to coworkers in a different light.
But it was SO COLD there for a California girl.  The wind was blowing from Canada, and it went right through whatever wimpy coat I'd brought.  Again, I was very happy to board that southwest-bound plane on Wednesday evening.  Especially when I learned they were getting a lot of snow the day after I left.  I was just giddy to be leaving.
One of the things that happened during our meeting was that I was given a lot more responsibility than before.  I guess after two years those crazy Minnesotans finally decided they could trust me after all.  Maybe it was the new short hair - they all loved that, too.  It was like I could do no wrong... It's been a while in coming, but I actually felt like one of the team for the first time.  It's hard to make friends long distance, but I think we've finally done it.
So back home, and the work is really ramped up.  I have more than enough hours for the time being, and that's great, since I need to spend a lot of money right now for Christmas.  I barely blinked for Thanksgiving.  I took my aunt shopping for some "special occasion" clothes - something she's never really had.  We found her some black velvet pants, a sparkly top, a black velvet vest, and a nice necklace to pull it all together.  We picked out a red blazer - so smart and cute.  And the piece de resistance: a beautiful tweed coat with metallic thread running through it in shades of grey and lavender.  Rhinestone buttons.  Metallic braid trimming the stand up collar.  She looks amazing in it.  And she wants to return it.  Probably because of the rhinestone buttons, although she says it's because it has no pockets.  *sigh*  Anyway, she looked like a million bucks on Thanksgiving.  We'll have the debate about the tweed coat soon.  I'm hoping to win, but I'm losing my resolve.
Thanksgiving was nice.  We had dinner with my middle brother and his family, my parents, my aunt, and some assorted others at "the club."  Stellar dinner.  Good conversation.  But L and I followed this simple rule:

And now here we are into December.  I've been online shopping like a crazy person - but I'm almost done!  I only have my parents (huge problem with those two - they have everything, and my dad doesn't ever want anything.  Such a buzz kill trying to gift someone who really doesn't want anything...) and son Scott left to buy for.  Oh, and L - but I already know what I'm getting him.  (An iPad mini, but shhhhhh.... don't tell him!)  I've even bought a gift for my granddog, Kingsley.
L and I are hosting Christmas Eve this year for the fam, and I'm trying to decide what to have.  On the one hand, I want easy.  On the other hand, I want it to be nice.  And clearly you can't have paper plates, and nice all in the same evening.  So I'm struggling a bit.  Plus, our house is very small, and I can't accommodate everyone (12-13 people) around the table, or even in the kitchen all at once, so we'll have to eat scattered around.  Which means eating simpler fare.  My mom said I can use her Lenox Christmas china, but... I don't think that goes with 2 different sets of silverware and a mixture of Ikea goblets and amber tumblers.  (Don't want to bring out the good stemware for people who have to set plates in their laps.  I love my family, but accidents happen, and I don't want them happening with my good goblets.)  You see my dilemma.  And it's a dilemma that no one will even care about but me, as long as there's food and plenty of it.  It's never easy being me.  Never ever.

I will try to finish up the shopping this week, and send off that last package.  We won't have anything under the tree - or very little - because everything went out of state to our loved ones scattered all about the country.  It looks a little sad, but it's better to give than to receive, right?  (Yes, I know - it's hard to say that with meaning.  Because a tree with loads of presents under it just looks... EXCITING.)  Once the shopping is done, the baking begins.  The good thing about baking is that when I'm doing all the work, the finished product doesn't even look good to me.  I've smelled sugar all day, and I'm sick of it.  So I kind of like that I can bake and not partake.  The same rule does not apply to See's candy, unfortunately.  And someone always gives you at least one box of See's... (Anyone? Anyone?)
It'll be a fun Christmas season, with a little bit of this
and a little bit of that

But not nearly enough of this

And that's the best part, if you ask me.  It's hard when these little ones keeping changing lightning fast.
In Denver, Travis went from looking like this when I was there

To this

In Massachusetts, I hear that Drezden, aka the "Man Cub" has already rolled over once and has learned to smile.  It's like a dagger through my heart to miss all of this good stuff.  Life has a way of never standing still.
OH - and I forgot to tell you about another exciting thing.  Did you all watch the Sound of Music on TV last night?  Our son Tim's wife, Autumn was in it!  Yes, she was.  She was nun #14.  And she rocked it.  When they all came in for prayers, and there's a line of nuns in the front, with Maria's empty place in the center, Autumn was the nun on the screen's left.  She got to gesture "Where's Maria?" to the next nun over.  It was awesome, and we're so excited for her participation in it.  So if you recorded it, go on and watch it again, and be amazed at her talent.  A star is born.

So I've caught you all up on what's up with me.  And as you can see, I'm still just unorganized matter, for the most part.  Christmas will come and go, we'll talk to the little ones and the big ones, maybe see a few movies (go see The Book Thief!) and we'll eat some good food.  And then it will be New Year's Eve and we'll start all over again.  I have a business trip for 5 days to San Francisco in January.  L is going with me, as it will be during our 14th anniversary, most of the evenings will be free, and we're staying at an awesome place - the Palace Hotel.  Maybe we'll be able to spend some time with friends if they're willing to come into the city (Sue and Dave, I'm looking at you!)  I think I did really well this past year keeping up with friends and family, but I always want more.  I'm hoping for more next year.  There's a lot to look forward to, and big events to attend.  I'd better eat my Wheaties.


  1. So glad to see a post from you Karen :) I hope you have the Merriest Christmas ever.

  2. Hi, karen! Welcome back from your trip north of the Arctic Circle! :) I was hoping you weren't stranded in a snow drift somewhere in the Twin Cities. I wrote a song for you using the lyrics and melody of "New York's a Lonely Town" by the Trade Winds:

    My biz trip took me to Minnesota from California
    I should have listened when my buddy said "I warn ya" (warn ya)
    "There'll be no surfin' there and no one even ca-a-ares"

    (My woody's outside) covered with snow
    (Nowhere to go now)
    St. Paul's a lonely town
    When you're the only surfer boy around

    From Chain of Lakes to Pasadena's such a long way
    I feel so out of it on Grand Rounds Byway (Byway)
    I feel so bad each time I look out there and fi-i-ind

    (My woody's outside) covered with snow
    (Nowhere to go now)
    St. Paul's a lonely town
    When you're the only surfer boy around

    ooh, ooh, ooh, ahh, ahh, ahh, ahh

    It was nice of you to take your aunt on a clothes shopping spree for Thanksgiving. You say your dad is hard to shop for because he doesn't want anything? Surely he could use some computer screen and keyboard cleaning products and I can recommend a terrific site... :) I know the perfect gift for L this Christmas: Kiss and Make-Up (the Kindle Edition) by Gene Simmons. :)

    You always have the nicest decorations around your home no matter which holiday you're celebrating. I'm astonished how quickly Travis had grown and changed. When I saw the second pic of him I thought it was John Elway! :) Hooray for Man Cub Drezden! I know you're eating your heart out wishing you were there to see all his firsts. How cool that Tim's wife appeared in The Sound of Music! I wish I would have seen it. I'm sure the talent scouts will "fall" for Autumn! :)

    Clearly you have a busy holiday season ahead. Better eat your Wheaties. (Or, you could eat 5 boxes of chocolates and lose another 5 pounds! :)

    By the way... that shorter hair style of yours? I'd keep it if I were you. It's opening eyes and doors. :)

  3. Yes, I did miss you. I hate those team building things, but packing food together was brilliant. I would have watched The Sound of Music if I'd known a "nun" was from your family. We used to have very large family gatherings on Christmas Eve. My mom always served rolls and bread and sandwich meats and cheese, and veggies and cookies. It was make your own sandwich, ignore the veggies, and grab as many cookies as you could get. How I wish I could go to San Francisco. The Hurricane is there. Happy (upcoming) Anniversary.


  4. I'm glad you're back. And your understatement of "go see The Book Thief"--seriously understatement. Wasn't it an amazing movie? Loved i

  5. I did miss you Ms. Karen. Welcome back.

  6. Welcome back! I'm glad you weren't becoming a hermit! You've been busy and that's always good! Sounds like work is going well and family is growing nicely. You are more ahead of the holiday than me! I struggle with my Grandkiddos because they are getting bigger and really only want gift card or money..so boring! Have a good week!

  7. Wonderful post, so full of good things! That is so cool about your daughter-in-law being in the live production of The Sound of Music!!

  8. I also missed you Karen! It sounds like your life is "full to busted" with work and the holidays. Breathe deep and take time to soak every last bit of goodness in. That's amazing that your daughter in law was in the Sound of Music! Wow!

  9. You bet! Let's meet up in SF. Sounds fun!!


    PS. You are so good at writing long, newsy posts that manage to catch up on many days of non-blogging without being boring in the least. Quite a feat!

  10. Welcome back! Time does fly by and life has a way of screaming forward whether we want it to or not!

    Love the team building idea - great one!


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