Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Passing of Time...

Some years seem uneventful when glanced from a distance - I can remember much about 2005 (good, bad, good, bad, good), but there are few noteworthy moments from 2006 and 2007. Yes, they had a couple of wonderful trips and memories made, but those are just a few days of each year. 2008 has proven to be a memorable year.

As far as finances, I'm much poorer at the end of this year than when I started. Buying a house will do that to you. I'm much richer in my home life though - having a home will do that to you as well. I love my house, truly, madly, and deeply. I'm thrilled that my basement holds heat and my scrapping area is cozy and inviting. I'm adoring trips to IKEA for fun, albeit tricky, bits of furniture that have come to adorn my rooms.

I found that I enjoy gardening this year. Walking outside to check the green beans put a smile on my face each day this past summer. Mowing the lawn isn't even that much of a chore - self-propelled lawn mowers are a blessing. The spots of dirt next to the steps were perfect for flowers and walking around the farmer's market picking them out was a happy experience that I loved sharing with my mom.

At the beginning of the year, I made a couple of goals. Not New Year's resolutions, but just goals. I wanted to buy a house (check!) and I wanted to FINALLY finish my degree. Eleven years after graduating high school, I found my self a college graduate. The look of pride on my dad's face when he held my diploma was worth all the extra work on projects and stress of poor learning groups. I have yet to decide what to do with the degree, but I made it. In a few years, I may consider graduate school - if only to say I did it. It is weird not going to class (online) anymore, but it is also nice to have completed my education.

In the late summer, our family lost a beloved family member. Our dog of 16 years, Chip, left us and I'm still having trouble with that fact. As odd as it seems, I've been very private with how much this hurts. Losing him is probably the closest I've ever come to depression and I'm still in mourning over him. Mom got another dog shortly after - a beautiful female Corgi who needed to be rescued and deserves a happy, loving home. She is a darling - a princess to say the least - but she is not Chip and I don't have a connection with her like I did with him. Chip was the happiest, nicest, and most selfless being I've ever known. He had such joy in just being able to make you smile - I admired that and will always miss him. It is just really hard knowing that I'll never hold him again and never get to scratch his back again.

During the year, I went to the doctor a couple of times for this shoulder pain I've experienced for the last year and a half. What a waste of money that was. The second doctor, the one who actually bothered to do x-rays, prescribe some muscle relaxants, and refer me to a physical therapist was slightly more interested in the problem than the first guy (who may or may not have been 12), but none of those things actually relieved the pain. I'm coming to believe the problem may be a side effect of spending 6 days a week in a bowling alley for my high school years. The type of injury I'm experiencing would make sense, but I still have no clue how to make the pain disappear. I have a funny story to share about my mom's advice, but it is more suited for a post of its own. Pretty soon.

Work has been work this year. Nothing really exciting, but that's how life can go sometimes. Our department is constantly changing, which can be interesting, but also can be tedious. There are moments that make me proud and moments that don't. I don't have much else to say about the work front.

Vacations brought opportunities for pretty pictures this past year. In March, DM and I headed to Duluth for a couple of days. We managed to not lose any fingers or toes to frostbite, but we may think twice next time we decide to watch a sunrise over a frozen Great Lake when it is below zero Fahrenheit. Yeah, we're crazy.

In September, I went on the second annual trip with my mom. We stayed a little closer to home this time and found ourselves in Chicago for the week. Chicago is a great city - lots to do and see. I was thrilled with the trip and enjoyed spending the time with my mom.

I hope that 2009 brings happiness to everyone. Life has wonderful moments that we need to appreciate and savor. I wish moments that take your breath away in a positive surprise. I hope for days that stand out because of wonderful moments to each person. Best wishes for 2009.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Just in case I don't get a chance to post again before the holiday:
Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

Not much has been happening here this past week or so. I put together my dresser from IKEA and I'm thrilled with it. I finally have a nice storage space for towels, sheets, and blankets.

To help put my dresser together, my dad gave me an early Christmas present. My old cordless drill died (the battery wouldn't charge anymore) and now I have a shiny new drill! It's pretty cool and I just know DM will drool over it a bit.

As for shopping, I'm sort of done. I think I have gifts ready for most everyone, but still need something for a pretty great friend. It's a small Christmas this year - that's what happens when you buy a house.

We're supposed to get another couple inches of snow tonight. I'm not sure if I want snow or if I'm hoping for the snow-free winter. No snow tends to mean extreme cold. Well, at least I've learned how to use my snowblower. It only takes about 10 minutes to clear the sidewalk/driveway when it works.

Oh! This was a nice surprise. Saturday brought us quite a bit of snow again. Before I woke up, my parents and Scott stopped by and shoveled my driveway! It was a nice, sweet thing for them to do and really made my day. I have a pretty cool family.

My Christmas plans include wrapping like mad on Christmas Eve (after work - I'm really hoping my dad's presents show up on Christmas Eve!). On Thursday, I'll get up, call Dad, and head over to Mom's for family time and wonderful food.

I hope everyone has a happy holiday, full of happy moments, and positive memories. Best wishes to all my friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I have overcome the challenge of my snow blower! This afternoon, I woke to find about 2 inches of snow on the ground. "It will work. It will work. It will work." I chanted this to myself as I headed out in my multiple layers of clothing and hoped that I could get the machine to work for me this time.

The chanting worked! I got the machine to run and not die 2 minutes later. Within 10 minutes, I had the driveway and walkway cleared. Nice! So, I'm proud of my accomplishment today.

Let's hope this trend continues through the winter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Layers. Yes, layers are good.

I am snow blower challenged. We got about 2 inches of snow (maybe less - doesn't sound like much to say 2 inches, but it is still enough to have to clear the driveway and walkway). When I got up this afternoon, I figured I needed to go out and clear some snow. I got the snow blower to start up and then it died. Then I started it again, tried to move it forward and guess what? It died. ARGH!

After a 1/2 hour of shoveling snow and freezing the small areas of exposed skin off my body and not being able to see ANYTHING because my sunglasses fogged over and then froze, I went back inside to remove the massive amounts of clothing required to spend 30 minutes outside doing manual labor. Could that sentence be any longer? Hmmm.

Here's a secret. When it is negative 8 below Fahrenheit with a windchill of negative 20 or 30 or something (I think the news said negative 33, but it didn't feel quite that cold), fashion is no longer a concern. I went outside with three pairs of pants on (long undies, pj bottoms, and jeans), three tops (pjs, long underwear, and a hoodie), my leather jacket, two scarves, ear warmer headband, a knit hat, and the hood of my sweatshirt. Oh, there were gloves involved too. I could barely walk, but there I was doing MANUAL labor because the machine that is supposed to make my life easier has decided to only work when my dad is here because it is mean to me. It is a conspiracy.

Why can everyone else make my snow blower work except for me? Seriously, I'm nice. I'm a good person. Work dang it!

Mom and I went to IKEA tonight. I was pleasantly surprised to find a 6 drawer chest that will fit nicely in my room so I have storage space for extra sheets, towels, and other stuff. Plus, it will give me a nice place to display items such as picture frames (which I got MORE of at IKEA - I may have an addiction).

I hope everyone is staying warm. I'm going to grab another blanket and bundle up while watching a movie.

Howling Wind

It is snowing outside right now and the wind is creating drifts of cold, soft, white. My first winter in this house is starting off well. Mom gave me a snowblower - it is a small one but one that should do the job for a narrow driveway. Tomorrow morning will be a good day to give the machine a workout.

I can't believe how close it is to Christmas. I'm not ready at all. I do have a small tree in my living room - it's only 3 feet high. It's sitting on an end table and is lit up in blue and white. Bowls of large ornaments are around the house trying to make the place a little more festive. I need to go shopping and figure out what to get my parents. It is going to be a scaled back holiday this year, but I'm sure it will be great to spend time with family.