Thursday, December 31, 2009

20 Questions for 2009


1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Getting married!

2. What was the most challenging thing that happened?
Dealing with illnesses of family and friends.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Getting a new kitten! And having Laurie and John let us use their vacation home so we could have a honeymoon.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Losing my job.

5. Pick three words to describe 2009.
Exciting, Challenging, Long.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
I think he would say the same.

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking).
I think he'll say, It was good." lol

8. What were the best books you read this year?
The Red Tent; The Russian Concubine; The Girl from Junchow; Abundance; Pope Joan; I, Elizabeth. I was really into historical fiction this year.

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Jeffrey, of course, and my mom.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I got married!

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I have become stronger.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I am still working on that!

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
lol, I gained a lot of weight!

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I became closer with my in-laws.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
wedding planning... not that it wasn't worth it, it just took up lots of time!

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Spending time with family & friends.

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
I can survive a lot of stress.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.
Life will challenge you in many ways, but there are always blessings to follow those challenges.

Our first Married Christmas


Christmas 2009 was so much fun!

It started with a Pollyanna at my parents' house. (I recently learned that "Pollyanna" is a regional term. It's a Secret Santa). Not only was this more budget-friendly than standard gift-giving, it was super fun. My parents, my brother, my sisters, my sisters' boyfriends, my dad's best friend "Uncle" Jimmy, Jeff, and I were all there. Seeing everyone's reactions to the gifts was great fun. I also made my siblings photo albums of childhood snapshots that I painstakingly went through and scanned into Shutterfly. I am the most sentimental of the four of us, so I was so pleased when they really seemed to like and appreciate them. Even RJ!

After Pollyanna, I went to church with Jeff's family.

When we were children, my parents dressed all of the kids in matching Christmas pajamas for Christmas Eve. It eventually evolved to my parents getting the pajamas, as well as the kids' significant others and Uncle Jimmy. (His birthday is Christmas Eve, so he always spends it with us.) I was so sad that this tradition ended last year, but Jeff and I have carried it on and get each other Christmas pajamas. (Non-matching).

Christmas morning, Jeff and I made the awesome hot chocolate that my best friend alyssa sent us from Vermont. Then, we exchanged gifts. My favorite gift was a poem that Jeff wrote me about spending our first married Christmas together. (Awwww!)

Then began Italian Christmas '09.

Round 1: Go to Jeff's parents. Exchange gifts with MIL, FIL, SIL, and BIL.

Round 2: Jeff's godmother and her daughter visit.

Round 3: Mom-mom time!

Round 4: Uncles, aunts, cousins, and their pals.

Round 5: Food. Lots of it. Tons of food.

Round 6: More food.

Etc, etc.

Overall, it was a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas party at a college hangout when you're too close to 30


The other night my sister-in-law Gloria and I went out for dinner and some holiday, sisterly fun. There was an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest at the bar/restaurant Jeff and I used to eat at all the time in college, and I was dying to go (and in need of the prize money).

First objective: Where to find Christmas sweaters without having to buy them
Our dear mother-in-law is a teacher and wears a different Christmas sweater to work every day from December 1 through January 6. She's always encouraged us to borrow anything we need from her, so I asked to see her vast collection of knitted holiday goodness. She began showing me her newer, cuter stuff, but I told her I needed her oldest, most interesting sweaters. Done. I left with a fuzzy pom-pommed number for myself and one with demonic-looking teddy bear soldiers for Gloria that belonged to our great-aunt's 97-year-old friend. Awesome.

Second objective: Food, of course.
We met up at my apartment and proceeded to Landmark. We got there at around 9pm. Of course, I had called ahead to see when the best time to arrive for the contest was, and was told 9pm. No problem. They charged cover, which makes me mad when all I want is a cheeseburger and fries. We were seated in the waaaaay back, where they stash the old people. Behind the wall. So the young college kids can't be frightened by the sight of us.

Dinner was yummy and fun. It was interrupted by a former patient who spotted me and came over to say hello, and some fans of our awesome sweaters.

Third objective: Survive the bar.

Around the time that my food arrived, I realized it would be an ordeal not to choke to death in the fuzzy sweater. I rolled up the sleeves and resigned myself to the fact that I might choke up a hairball later. It is also around this time that I was itching beyond all reason and sweating.

After dinner, we asked the waitress when judging would be for the sweaters. she said around 11 pm. No problem. We can do this. I of course have no job to go to in the morning, but Gloria did. Did I mention this was a Thursday night?

We leave the table to walk around and intimidate the competition. There were some seriously lame Christmas sweaters. Only two guys came close to our magnificent outfits.

Meanwhile, I am still itchy and overheating. I can't even get a drink because believe it or not, nobody wants to serve a girl in a fuzzy sweater. Water. I need Water! We're tired. It's late. We're dying. And Itchy!

At this point, it's 11:15. where is the contest? We keep asking. Then the DJ announced that "Voting will take place in the Spot at 1am."

What??? I leave it up to Gloria because she has a long commute in the morning. she's a trooper and wants to stick it out. "We've made it this far!"

We proceed to nurse our drinks that we finally got and laugh at all the little girls who dressed up to go out. Not dressed up for the contest, but dressed up like... I don't even know what. Lots of them were wearing little tank tops. I was overheating in my Polyester, but it was freezing outside that night. Some of them were wearing long-ish shirts with no tights or pants. Odd.

Third objective: Survive the Spot.

The Spot is a silly, tiny "club" attached to the Landmark restaurant. When it first opened it was an abysmal failure because nobody at college was interested at all. They closed it, made some changes (added a "VIP" section, LMAO), and reopened it. I guess the kids liked it, because it's more popular now, I think because it's the only place to dance since the college knocked down all the frat houses.

After people-watching for way too long, we reluctantly go to the Spot to see where voting is. It's a dense, gyrating, hormonal, loud, 90's rap blur. We squeeeeeeze our way through the crowd to the back. Whew. We ask Giant Bouncer Man where we need to be for the contest. He grunts back that he doesn't know and tells us to ask the DJ.

At this point, I think my core temperature is about a million degrees. Game face. We're here to win! We squeeeeeze our way through again, but not before I get stopped by someone who wants to dance. I give him the, "Sorry, no thanks," shake of the head and flash the wedding rings. Did someone seriously just hit on me in this sweater?!

We make it back by the DJ. He has no clue what's going on. I see the VIP section (LMAO), and some glorious space and seating, so we camp out there.

Objective four: Stay awake.

Hilarity ensues. There is one of those dance-floor/stage thingies where girls can dance. we're sitting right behind it, front row seats. Still more girls scantily clad. One girl has a homemade "bling" necklace which is, not exaggerating, a foot wide and six inches tall. It read, "Mill St." I guess it's a really neat place to be. Another girl was wearing a lace black shirt with black panties and a black bra. That's it. Another was seriously checking herself out in the mirrors on the dance floor and taking pictures of herself for a good 20 minutes.

I am so tired at this point. I feel bad for Gloria, but she seems to not hate me yet. Watching the kids is keeping us awake. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a kid drinking champagne, complete with bucket of ice. I mentioned to him that I have never seen anyone drink champagne at Landmark before. Next thing I know, he sends over a glass, complete with head nod. Awesome.

It's finally 1 am! We line up with other sweater (sweating) people. There are some lame ones, and I feel really confident. After all, I was born to be on stage. I really think it's going to be between me, Gloria, and these two guys in granny sweaters. (One had doilies!) Gloria gets eliminated immediately because her sweater was too "cute and festive." huh? I last a little longer, but ultimately we lose to some guy in a plaid suit, which is annoying because it was not a Christmas Sweater!

We got hosed, but the memories last forever. : P

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mixed Blessings


I lost my job last week. It is a really crappy situation, and I am scared about the future and how we're going to make ends meet. Jeff has been wonderfully supportive. I know that in order to get through this, I have to remain positive. Here are a few good things that have happened in the last six, jobless days:

~ My job environment had become really stressful. I know being unemployed is stressful and that I haven't gotten to the hard part of it yet, but things at work were starting to become unsafe for staff and patients.

~ I have spent a lot of time with my husband. Jeff and I have been able to see each other, have dates, and even have three home-cooked dinners in a row together! Unheard of.

~ I have gotten to hang out with friends and family! Like seeing my husband, my weird work schedule had been keeping me away from my friends to the point were I had forgotten how much I loved them. I've had dinner and laughs with college friends, I've gone bridesmaid dress shopping with friends/family, and I have had long-overdue phone chats with my best friend Alyssa. Alyssa lives in Vermont and I had become so busy and stressed/depressed with work that I had really lost tough with her, which felt totally crappy. I even have plans for a Thursday night out with my sister-in-law! Unheard of in my previous world.

~I'm catching up on cleaning. I even started to go through stuff at my parents' house. I found old pictures (which again made me appreciate my friends and family), got together a huge bag of clothing to donate, and got the Christmas decorations up (with Jeff's help, of course!)

~ I've been able to reconnect with myself. I have gotten involved in many old hobbies, and I am having fun. As soon as I finish a project, I'll post about it.

~ I am truly enjoying the holidays. With little money but lots of heart, I am trying to make my first Christmas as Jeff's wife memorable, for him and for the whole family. I am so sentimental. I hope everyone enjoys what I have been working on.

I am sure that when I run out of money and am unable to keep busy (even I can only re-alphabetize our DVDs so many times), the stress of being unemployed and looking for a job will hit me. Hard. Until then, I can't help but count my blessings.

Thanks for all of your support, friends. Oh, and if anyone has job leads, please send them my way.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What am I wearing?


I haven't posted in a while because the shorter days make me feel unmotivated. Blah. I needed something fun to write about, so I stole this idea from a friend...

These are my most-worn/used items.

Lip product
: Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE lip gloss. My favorite brand is C.O. Bigelow, which you can get if there's a C.O. Bigelow Apothecary near you but are more readily available at Bath and Body Works. I love their creaminess and minty goodness. They have non-mint varieties, too. They have tinted, non-tinted, you name it. My go-to is Plum Tint, and at night I wear the balm.

Jewelry: I am pretty boring in this category. I usually wear plain white gold hoops. Earrings don’t interest me too much because I have sensitive ears. My mom got my ears pierced when I was two weeks (yes, WEEKS) old, so I didn’t have much choice in the matter, and my chubby earlobes look silly with no earrings. I am waiting and hoping for a pair of small bezel-set diamond earrings to match my wedding and promise rings (which I wear every day of course). Bezel-set earrings are proving difficult to find. I can't find a good close-up of my promise ring. It's a quarter-carat diamond bezel-set in white gold.

Nail Polish: Right now, my favorite is O.P.I.’s Midnight in Moscow. It’s a deep brown. So delicious.

Shoes: I love my Steve Madden Ribbon Bees flats so much that I wore a hole through the sole and need to get them repaired. I even bought knock-offs at Target and wore through those, too. The target version is on the left, the originals are on the right:

Hair Products: Aussie’s Cleanse and Mend Shampoo and Conditioner. I don’t love the fragrance, but it cleans the roots and conditions the ends in a nice balance.

Perfume: My favorite is DKNY Be Delicious. I love the apple and cucumber notes, and it somehow doesn't smell too fruity. Next on my list to try is Bvlgari's green tea.

What are your favorites?