Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Moderately Motivated

So I woke up this morning, took a shower and looked 'REALLY LOOKED' at my bathroom. Then I walked into my closet and looked 'REALLY LOOKED' at the mess that is my/our closet. Then I looked around my bedroom 'REALLY LOOKED' and you know what? I came to the conclusion that I just can't stand the clutter that is my life. It's not so much messy (my closet excluded) as it is just overloaded with stuff. Our house, while having a fair amount of square footage, is severely lacking ample storage space. Since this is the season for boasting Resolution and Change, let me lay it on the line... I'm making a solemn vow to all you inter-net-ers (like you care), that I have resolved to de-clutter my life... It's a new era. Next year someone is going to ask me where something is and I'm gonna KNOW exactly WHERE THAT THING IS!

Oh, and did I mention I'm also going to walk twice a day and get back on that low carb program which helped me lose all that weight a couple years ago? After my holiday purge, that is.

I'm pretty serious about all this folks and you know how you can tell? Because I'm sitting here on my ass writing about it, instead of ACTUALLY doing something. Yeah, that's motivation for ya.

Update: I put away the old coffee pot, set up the new one and cleaned the grime off the top of the fridge... Woo hoo! I'm really on a roll now eh?

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Recession My Ass

Today we attempted to see a movie at 'Tysons Corner'... I was a bit leery about the amount of time it would take us to get there from my MIL's house. Yesterday we had to pass the shopping mall and traffic was backed up for at least a mile in all directions just for people who were trying to get into the shopping complex.

We gave ourselves a half-hour to make the 10 min. drive, park the car and purchase our tickets. I was feeling rather positive we'd make it on time when I realized traffic approaching the mall wasn't anywhere near as bad as it had been the day before. Once we made it into the mall parking lot however, our schedule got shot to hell. There were roughly 200 cars in the parking garage near the theater and all of them were vying for the spot soon to become available by an old man who appeared to be walking toward that vehicle.... No, not that vehicle... NO, not that one either, maybe that one there... NO, not THAT ONE... Oh DAMN, he's just putting his parcels in the trunk of his car and heading back into the mall! WAIT, I think THAT car is pulling out! Imagine this scenario playing out in dozens of lanes, on every level of the 5 story parking garage we were in, not to mention the 2 other parking garages and numerous lots around the shopping center.

Wait, I thought we were in a recession?

Anyway, being the crafty, clever, amazingly on the mark, family that we are... When we hit an opportune spot to stop the car, I hopped out of the driver seat, my husband quickly took my place and the kids and I hit the ground running. The kids and I hurried into the mall toward the theater to purchase our tickets for the movie. Just as we completed the Disney-style obstacle course to the front of the line, the little pin-head behind the ticket booth announced our movie had sold out and the next showing wasn't to begin for another hour-forty-five minutes. True, it just might've taken that long for my husband to find a parking space, but with the movie at 2 hrs. 47 min. long... Well, that would completely throw off our dinner plans. So we decided to punt and just find our way back to my husband and the car.

Fortunately, just across town was another theater, one NOT attached to a mall, so we made our way over there, walked right in and bought our tickets. When we entered the theater just 15 min. before the start of the movie the place had roughly 8 people seated. Sure this theater was a little older and the floors were a little sticky, but the seats were oversize and they rocked, they did, they rocked back and forth, really comfy like.

I don't think we'll be hitting the Tyson's theaters again anytime soon... whatta madhouse!

By the way, the little old theater we did attend, had a marquis in the hallway, at the entrance to the theater, which was showing our movie, it read:


Just a guess, but maybe that's why the theater wasn't very crowded... The signage might've given patrons the wrong idea as to what exactly was being played there.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yummy Goodness!

By popular demand here's the recipe for 'Spiced Pecans'... Okay, by popular, I mean Lime asked, and she's pretty popular.

Spiced Pecans

1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cumin
4 c. Pecan Halves
1/4 c. Butter/Margarine
1/4 c. Water
2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder
1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Melt 1/4 c. butter in large skillet over med. heat. Add brown sugar, 1/4 c. water and spices; stir until sugar dissolves. Add nuts to sugar mixture and cook until syrup thickly coats nuts, stirring frequently, about 5 min. Transfer nuts to prepared baking sheets, bake until golden, about 10 min., cool. Store air tight at room temperature.

Prepare to enjoy the awesome yummy goodness!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Sickly Desserts

So we're planning to attend my brother-in-laws annual Christmas-eve party. Always lots of good food, Yes FOOD, I'll get the whole workout thing in gear after the new year... June, July? I'm not sure, just some time after the new year... But I digress.

I thought it might be nice to bring a lil' sum'n, sum'n, for the party, so tonight I made one of my favorite recipes, 'Spiced Pecans'... Yummy & Easy, I won't complain about those because they turned out good. However, because I'm an idiot I grabbed a giant tub of 'Pretzel Rods' while I was at the grocery store. I knew I had melting chocolate at home, so I was golden for making some fancy shmancy choclatey gourmet pretzels all covered with chocolate in white, red and green holiday goodness. They turned out o-kay I guess, except the green food coloring looks more like snot from an infected nose and the red food colored chocolate looks a lot like Pepto-Bismol... And you know, nothing says Happy Holiday Goodness like snot and pepto.

If I weren't so tired and lazy right now, I'd take a picture of the pretzel rods spelling out the word FAIL.

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When I know I have a full day tomorrow, why oh why do I stay up until all hours poking around the web?

Masochism, I guess.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Watching (the original) Freaky Friday

Wow, I remember really liking this movie when I saw it roughly a hundred years ago... Now, it sucks!

How did that happen?

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Let There Be Light

Today my daughter had 4 teeth pulled... Four Adult teeth pulled... Not wisdom teeth, first molars. Her orthodontist has been trying to straighten her teeth for a year now but there's just not enought room in her mouth to make that happen. It seems we, as a race continue to develop a mouth full of large teeth, while our pallets our shrinking... Who knows, maybe our entire heads our shrinking due to the effects of the dumbing down of modern day society... Case in point: T.V. shows like Paris Hilton's search for a new BFF or that WTF show 'Jackass'... Hey, it's Evolution folks!

Wait, did I just suggest that my daughter had to have teeth pulled because she's part of the dumbing down of society? No, that's not true, she's never watched an episode of Jackass or Paris's show. Oh, forget it, now I'm just rambling.

Anyway, between changing out blood and saliva soaked gauze pads, what I really wanted to talk about today is Christmas lights. I LOVE lights. Ever since I was a little girl and my dad would take me to Disneyland*, I would dream of the day I could cover my own trees in tiny white lights, especially lights that twinkle!

Last year I blogged about our pre-lit Christmas tree and how the lights upon it were giving up the ghost. We'd had the tree for 7 yrs. and it was a good run but what fun is a tree which has half the lights dead. Sure you can put other strands on top of the dead lights BUT dead lights on a tree aren't hard to miss and to me they seem to scream 'Pathetic Christmas Loser.'

So, a couple of weeks ago the family, excluding myself, sat around our tree for over 3 solid hours removing all of the lights. Now this may seem like it should be an easy task, but 3 HOURS folks! There were literally thousands of little clips on the tree, securing the lights in such a fashion that a tornado wouldn't be able to rip them off. Though fingers were nearly bloody stumps at the end of the process of denuding the tree, everyone was pleased that we'd saved ourselves at least a $150 for not having to purchase a new tree and did you know that non-pre-lit trees are almost impossible to find?

So, with our 7 yr. old tree now free of dead lights we went to the store and purchased my favorite lighting option, white twinkle lights. Now before I go on here, I'd like to share a memory. Growing up in the 70's I remember helping to decorate the family tree. It wasn't pre-lit, there was a box full of limbs, each limb had a color on it's wire tip which you inserted to a matching colored hole on the trunk, then you spread the branches uniformly. It was a tedious process.

Now the lights, the lights were, in a word, UGLY things. They were the size of door knobs and had every color of the rainbow... Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Hot Pink (yes, hot pink!), Aqua, Orange, etc. But I'll tell you what, thos UGLY lights worked year after year after year. Sure maybe you had to replace a doorknob size bulb every once in a while, but I sure don't recall my parents rushing out to buy new sets of lights every year.

Which leads me to my lovely twinkle lights.... Half of them are dead! Yes, our Christmas tree is currently half-lit... And if another strand of lights goes, that's exactly what I'm going to do... Get myself half-lit... Because then my eyes will blur and the tree might appear brighter and even if it doesn't, I won't really care.

Oh, and don't EVEN get me started on the lights in the garland on the banister. Grrrrrrrr! Freakin' cheap-ass Christmas lighting.

*For those who might never have been to Disneyland, at night, the trees light up with thousands of white twinkle lights, making the atmosphere even more magical. Disneyland at night, with my dad, is a treasured memory.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Thanks 'What On Earth Catalog' People!

Received via e-mail today:

Dear Ms. Embee,
Thank you for contacting What on Earth. We apologize for the inconvenience and are so sorry to hear of this mishap. We'll gladly replace this item. We will note the replacement order, asking the warehouse to double check the item inside the packaging as there may be a problem the way they are labeled or numbered.
Your new order is being shipped FedEx Rush and your number is XXXXXXX.
Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.
Thank you and best wishes for a safe and happy holiday!

This makes me very happy indeed!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Letter to the people at What On Earth Catalog Company

Hi Folks,

I recently ordered Item No. CC1722 - The German Vocabulary Shower Curtain as a gift for a friend who has been studying German. I know, what a Great gift! :-)

Unfortunately, the shower curtain I received, while wrapped in 'German Vocabulary Shower Curtain' packaging turns out to be a shower curtain with 'Italian' phrases all over it. :-(

I proudly presented the gift to my friend completely unaware of the mistake. How was I to know? I haven't studied German OR Italian.

Upon receiving the gift my friend was very excited, turned the package over and began reading the 'Italian' phrases, and pointed out the inaccuracy of the packaging. We laughed, but she refused to let me take the gift back. Unable to return the item, I thought I should call this discrepancy to your attention.

Now I KNOW you all need to make a profit in order to stay in business, but it would be a lovely gesture on either your part OR the company who made the packaging mistake to send me the proper shower curtain, without having to make my friend unhand the present I bestowed upon her. Please understand that if my friend was also studying 'Italian', you might never have heard from me. I rarely lean toward being the squeaky wheel.

So, in conclusion all I really want is for my friend to enjoy educating herself with German phrases while she showers each morning.

Thanks for your time.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wal-Mart Hilarity

I swear there is nothing in the world more FUN than going to Wal-Mart with my son.

Here are a few of his recent observations:

In front of the Wal-Mart Superstore sits several of those (what I consider) hideous blow up lawn figures. One of which, an obscenely large egg-shaped snowman is lying on it's back, with the large orifice at the base facing out to the parking lot.

Zak's comment: "Niiiiicce, nothing like a snowman's giant bung hole to spread warm holiday greetings."

Inside the Wal-mart we are searching for more cashews as my husband and son quickly polished off the can I'd purchased just the other day.

Me: "Hmmmm? I can't remember where they keep the nuts? Where are the nuts, where ARE the nuts?"

Zak: "Mom, we're in Wal-Mart, do you even NEED to ask that question?"

As we wander around searching for the 'Cashews' we pass by an elderly woman shuffling along with her cart and overhear her talking to her adolescent grandson beside her.

Grandma says: "You need to let me know what the name of that game is you want for Christmas, so I can buy it in Delaware."

(Side note here: Delaware is the home of tax-free shopping and what is it with people giving up on the magic of the Christmas surprise?)

Grandson answers VERY condescendingly: "GRANDma, It's CALLED 'Smackdown' Feel The Pain." (picture this comment followed by a very large and obnoxious eye-roll.)

My son and I spent the next half hour mimicing this conversation. I almost peed my pants 3 of those times.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

A Little Visit Down Main St.

Woo Hoo!

Um, excuse me... I was just celebrating. I wrapped my first gifts today and made a cool $26... Yeah, I know... but c'mon, it's a start... To celebrate I'm takin' the family out to Arby's tomorrow night, MMmmmm, Hmmmm, that's what I'm talkin' about! All in all I think things are going according to plan. I really didn't expect to have any customers the first week. I mean, people first have to find out I'm there AND they have to have gifts for me to wrap. If folks are anything like me, they won't start shopping until the weekend of the 5th or better yet, the 13th and probably continue shopping through the following weekend. And hey, I figure any of the supplies I don't use at the shop, I'm sure to use on my own stuff. So it's a WIN-WIN!

Anyway, I managed to get a few rather crappy pics of the shop and tried to capture the quaintness that is Main St.

Meet Duke, he's the greeter at the frame shop and has his own painted window dog house for keeping watch over the action on the street.

This is a shot looking up Main St. toward the court house and all the lawyer & bail bonds offices. 'Cause you never know when you're going to need a good lawyer or bail bondsman for that matter.

This is the view down Main St... Like the way I managed to get that big traffic sign in the pic? It's all about setting up the shot. I used to work the next block down at Art Space on Main.

But this is where I'm 'working' until the end of the month. I have to put air quotes above the word 'Work' because seriously, I'm having SO MUCH FUN!

So if you see the sandwhich board (compliments of my handy husband) I'm open for business and ready to wrap!

"I came in the door, I said it before
I never let the mic magnetize me no more
But it's biting me, fighting me, inviting me to rhyme;
I can't hold it back, I'm looking for the line."

Uh *cough*, sorry 'bout that... That's WRAP as in Gift Wrap... I promise I won't be puttin' down any rhymes at the shop... Just the fact I've added rapping to this post is going to be plenty embarrassing for my kids.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Um, I think you've got the wrong number.

The other night my cell phone rang, while I was visiting with our dinner guests. I answered the phone and this is what I heard:

"Mi shi, konnichi wa.... Ogenki desu ka?"

Every time I tried to ask a question the replies sounded something like this:
My name is Yamada

and this:
What is your name

and eventually this:
I'm sorry

I asked:
"I think you have the wrong number, what number are you trying to reach?"

At last I heard something I DID understand:
"So sorry, don't speak English."

To which I responded with this helpful phrase:
"Oh, That's okay!"

After I hung up, I looked at the number calling in... It looked something like this:

I've had wrong numbers call in before but that's what I call REALLY long distance.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

In honor of my NEXT 500 blog posts...

I can hardly believe it but THIS is my 501st post!!! (my thanks to my boy for noticing... I'm not much on catching on to the intricacies of all this here bloggin' stuff!)

Anyway, in honor of all the amazing and informative text I've shared with you over the past 500 posts... Everything from 'When the men buy the pants' to my sons possible need to 'Go Commando'.... I'm proud to announce myself as the recipient of not just one but TWO awards.

Behold my awesomeness...

This award bestowed upon me by that nature lovin', marathon runnin', attitude dishin' Stacie. She's my gal to the nearby south, who I'd like to confirm, I'd absolutely love to meet face-to-face and do a lunch/craft store thing (or even better a photo safari in D.C.) before she's up, up and away with her husband to their next tour of duty. Thanks so much Stace and here's a little extra scribble for you ~~~~

But wait, here's my second 'Fabulous' award:

This one from that Belle from the south She loves decorating AND she's a sometimes scrapbooker which means she plays with paper, so I just gotta love her! Thanks Belle and in the interest of following through with the rules of a Fabulous Blogger, here is a list of 5 of my addictions:
  1. Oatmeal with Cinnamon & Splenda brown sugar. I eat it every day except Sunday's, that's when my husband makes pancakes. Should I be referring to oatmeal as an addiction? Yes, because nothing else leaves me satisfied as a breakfast meal and sometimes dinner too!
  2. Ribbon... I LOVE ribbon, be it wired, grossgrain, satin or florist... It's my ultimate wish to own every style, every pattern and every color... Ribbon just makes me happy and it makes me a complete and total dork, I know.
  3. Since the title of this blog IS 'The Paper Treehouse' I guess it's a given that I LOVE paper... I have stacks and stacks of it in my studio... Addiction? well, I can't mainline it, but it's pretty much a staple in my creative life.
  4. Okay, I'm embarressed to admit this but *hanging head to avoid the dis-satisfied glares, fingers pointing at me, and all the tsk-tsking*... I'm addicted to solitaire. My son has tried to get me to play other games, minesweep, spider, scrabble, you name it. Anything to get me to stop that annoying mouse clicking. I always play draw one, vegas style. I've won thousands and lost millions. Why do I indulge in this monumentous time waster? It's what I do when I'm avoiding something I don't really want to do ie. housework, homework, you name it.
  5. Photography blogs... If I spent as much time taking pictures as I did looking at pictures people take? Well, for one I'd be begging for a better camera and two, the probability is I'd just be taking a truck load of crappy pictures... I really should however, work harder at trying to understand exactly how a camera works. Maybe that's when I'll achieve photography blog worthy photos.
So yeah, I'm sure you were expecting something a little more Addiction worthy, but it doesn't take 500 blog posts to come to the conclusion, I'm NO Courtney Love and I'm certainly NO Amy Winehouse. I'm just your plain ol' run of the mill, oatmeal chuggin' goody-goody. Hope I didn't disappoint anyone.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The 'String' Around His Finger

My son has a CLIÉ (pronounced "KLEE-AY") otherwise known as a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) which he carries around to remind him of things like, "Hey, time to wake up!" or "It's Wednesday, did you take out the trash yet?"

No wait, he just showed me exactly what he has programmed... This is today's reminder list:

8:35 No, Really, Wake Up!!!!!!!!!*
10:30 talk to M about job stuff.**
2:00 Cleaning Time***
6:30 Do some laundry or go commando... Your Choice.****
7:00 Time Warp*****
8:00 Take Out Trash******

*Yes, I guess he does need to admonish himself to get out of bed.
**Maybe this means he's showing some interest in getting a job?
***TNS has an all school clean up hour, each student has a partner and as a team they're assigned an area to clean. If somebody leaves an ungodly mess in the area someone else has to clean, there's a very good chance they'll get written up for it and probably sentenced to clean even more ungodly messes. One can also be written up if they neglect clean up time, thus the reason for the reminder.
****I sure hope he chooses to do the laundry. (No commando this week, the washers running.)
*****New favorite show.
******Out to the curb Zak, out to the curb.

The boy cracks me up!

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Notes & Lists

I am fabulously* busy...

*Fabulously? yes, because I'm doing a bunch of things I love and when I'm doing that, it makes even the mundane things seem like fun... A sort of, how much can I achieve in one day, "Yay Me!" kind of feeling.

So as not to let these days go by so quickly that I won't remember them later, I figured I'd jot a few notes and lists down here in the ol' blog. So you might want to stand back as I empty the contents of my brain synapses all over this page.

I'm in the shop! (again, "Yay Me!") and while the first day just had a couple looky loo's and I tossed an entire pot of coffee, yesterday was VERY busy! Didn't wrap any gifts yet BUT another couple joined the co-op and now we're going to be selling desserts... Ya, DESSERTS!!! How does Raspberry Chambourd Bread Pudding sound? OR Pumpkin Flan? Rice Pudding? Now there will be samples of yummy desserts to go along with the coffee while people wait to have all those gifts wrapped!

While I wait for the throngs of people to show up with their unwrapped presents, I've been working on getting my Christmas cards made... I thought yesterday was going to be the perfect day to get all the envelopes done but Mr. Gulick (a photographer and other member of the co-op) showed up (he loves sharing stories of the pictures he's taken.) Then the newest members Fred & Mindy came by with the head of the Alliance, Mary-Jo and then there was all kinds of discussion about the selling of desserts. It made me feel so Co-Shop-Owner'ish, and let's hear another "Yay Me!" Then there were the two Linda's that stopped by who I worked with last year on the 'Festival of Trees' project. They purchased some desserts while they were there, having not even tasted them yet and I have a hunch they'll be back at some point to have something wrapped. I hope to get the envelopes done today AFTER I do a little sweeping and table moving to make space for the desserts!

Yesterday morning also had me running the boy child to the doctor. Last Tuesday he complained of pain in his chest upon waking. After the collapsed lung incidents, I wasn't taking any chances and called the doctor. Of course we were planning on leaving town that very night AND I had to get the shop loaded BEFORE we left. But instead I spent the majority of the day at the hospital waiting for a stat lung x-ray. Turns out the x-ray showed no signs of lung problems but we followed up with the thoracic surgeon yesterday just to be certain. Thankfully all is well and we got a chuckle out of the awkward moment when my son after shaking the doctors hand went in for a hug. My son said later, "Yeah, he looked surprised, but in the end, I think he like it." We laughed all the way back to school because we were both so relieved.

My daughter has to have 4 teeth pulled on the 19th of December and I've got to make sure to call our dental insurance company to find out if we need to take out a second mortgage on the house. She plans to be put under anesthesia which alone costs a cool $450.

Oh, and my daughter and I have a family photo shoot on Saturday. We're photographing my friend Carrie, her family and her dogs. She's let me borrow her really scary, super cool, SLR camera and I'm supposed to be spending this week learning how to use it. Um, yeah. Daytime is too busy around here and nighttime is too dark... Pictures never look very good with artifical light. This could end up being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants venture.

Sunday we're supposed to decorate the house, attend a tea-party next door AND the kids want to throw a Christmas Caroling Party at some point this month.

Gotta run!

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