Here is our Christmas photo, which I sent out in this year's cards. It was actually taken LAST year, while we were on our cruise. We haven't all gotten dressed up together in the same place since then! :)
I have all the cards sent, all the presents bought, all the food bought (I do have to get 2 things today). Then I will be ready! I promised myself a new comforter and duvet cover for after Christmas. Yesterday Bob Liles came over to the house for the first time and took a tour. I was so embarrassed by how the bed looked....I thought, I'll just go ahead and get those! But no.....I WON'T go to the store before Christmas! Or even right after! I have a 20% off one item discount certificate at Bed Bath & Beyond that's good through January 3. I am NOT going to get caught up in the shopping mania. I can wait! :) Did I forget.....the reason I worked so hard to get everything done EARLY was so I could "cruise" through the holidays. I didn't want to be frantic at the last minute.
The media, however, tells me that I really SHOULD be frantic. I must not forget the goal and the purpose of all of this.
I have a big pork roast in the crock pot for dinner. Man, I love knowing I can go home and the food is already ready for us! Just have to cook some veggies and we will be all set. Tonight I REALLY AM going to bake the rest of the biscotti! I am!
Also am picking up the Christmas card photos today. Hope they turn out well. I uploaded them to CVS and they were printed within a day! Wowee!
What a long time since I wrote last. It's been crazy. I went to Glen Rose last weekend to help Mom with a craft show. We had a lot of fun, but didn't sell a lot. However, I bought the last of my Christmas gifts and enjoyed the time there. Josie went with me and was TOO CUTE in her little sweater. That night we went to see the local high school production of Oklahoma.
I zipped home Sunday morning, and, Ken and I went to visit the Church of the Annunciation in Lewisville for the first time. We liked it very much. The people were most welcoming, which is important to me. We plan to go back. Ken had already visited the choir and plans to attend rehearsal tonight.
Then I did two orientations for Spring outgoing students, and we jumped in the car and went to Fair Park for Cirque du Soleil's Varekai. It was awesome! How people do things like that with their bodies is JUST beyond me.
Monday morning, I met two students heading for Spain in the Spring at UNT at 3:30 a.m., and we headed to Houston in a UNT vehicle. We went to the Spanish Consulate there, so they could apply for their student visas. That has to be done in person now, for students going to Spain for longer than 3 months. Seems crazy, but it is a direct result of the United States' restrictive visa policies for incoming international students since 9/11 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. This situation has created a crisis in international education: students around the world are saying, "why should I go to that country (America) if they are going to give me a hard time and treat me like a criminal!? I'll go somewhere else!" And they are. The implications are enormous, and include the loss of teaching staff/grad students, the lack of diversity on US campuses, the economic impact of not having these people and their families here, lack of good will and knowledge about the US, not to mention the tit-for-tat that we are experiencing against study abroad students. I'm very upset about this, can you tell!?
I enjoyed the trip, though. The two students were delightful. When I got home from Houston I was pretty tired. We got dinner at Sonic. Yesterday I worked and we had dinner at Red Pepper's.
All Christmas gifts are done EXCEPT the STRIPES gifts. I need to make more biscotti and deliver it. Getting the cards out this week, too. :) Now I just need to make my Amazon.com wish list and check it twice! :)
Yes, folks, I am READY, READY, READY for Christmas! And it's only December 7! Amazing. I still have to wrap my office gifts, but they were delivered today. I have them in hand. I have no more "What can I get him!/her!?" frantic thoughts running through my head. Now, I just feel like I SHOULD be buying things frantically. I think I'm going to need to do some extra meditating on this one!
Okay, truthfully, I still have to: make biscotti for a party this Thursday night, wrap the office gifts and the STRIPES gifts, deliver the STRIPES gifts, get out the cards. Cook for a potluck next Tuesday.
Here is my darling Josie on the first day we had her. She was my Christmas present in 2002, the best gift I ever got. She is a purebred Maltese. Her grandmother was a Champion.
Here she is with Ken and Brandon this past summer, in front of one of the Galveston Seawall shell shops.
She is lying on my lap as I type this. It is her calling in life, to be a lap dog, and that is what she does best. She looks at me so intently when I talk to her. She loves to hang around with us and go places with us, especially in the car.
Here are Josie's favorite words: "In the car," "walkies," "cookie," "greenie," "mommy," and "daddy." Yes, I know, you are going to throw up now. Just keep it to yourself! :) Brandon got kind of tired of being referred to as Josie's "brother" on the Galveston trip so I try to keep that to a minimum. LOL.
What's a greenie? They are these toothbrush-shaped dog treats that are green - I have no idea what is in them, maybe some kind of dog crack, because she totally LOVES them.
Josie can hear Ken's truck coming from 2 blocks away, and when she hears it she barks and barks barks and jumps in complete 360-degree circles. She loves to go out and meet him when he comes home.
Okay, that's enough doggie adoration for now. I need to go work on the Christmas decorations some more. While doing it I am watching a TV show about All in the Family -- seems like I really ought to be listening to carols or something, but the heck with it.
When Ken and I first met F2F (we'd met on an Internet dating site), he said, "Tell me about your temper." It was such a strange question to me -- I couldn't think what that meant! I said, "Well, I don't really have one." He said, "Sure you do, everyone does. What would you do if you got really mad at me because I hurt your feelings or yelled at you? Would you scream, or hit me, or what?"
I thought about it for a minute and then told him that I would probably turn inward, get really quiet, and get away from him as soon as possible. It was the "yell at you" that got me. I grew up with two older sibs who had a lot of conflict with my dad, and conflict doesn't set well with me.
Interestingly, he also is a conflict avoider. That's probably one reason why we get along so well. It does make for some interesting situations, though.
We are also both hideous procrastinators, but more on that later. :)
Describe your most memorable meal. Write for 15 minutes.
Sizzle, steam, smoke of a tandoor. The Imperial Tandoori in London remains my most memorable meal.
It was 1988, my first time abroad, and my first time ever to have Indian food. I had spent the trip amazed at the new gustatory delights available to me...including haggis, not so delightful. I remember seeing "green streaky bacon" advertised on a grocer's window. I remember stacks of dead ducks in a farmer's market.
I went to the restaurant with several people. It was like reading for the first time (though I can't actually recall that occasion in my life; I've been reading since I was 4) - what an amazing experience. One of the people with me said, "God, Mary Beth, you eat like a horse!" I had come home in the culinary sense.
It wasn't until many years later, when I was researching gall bladder disease (which I had) on the Web, that I learned about the principles of ayurvedic health. I had been eating pickles, vinegar, mustard, all my life and never known why I was drawn to those things. My body needed them. And my body had needed curry, too.......now it was getting it for the first time.
When I go to Britain now, the first thing on my agenda is to find the local curry take-away. :) It couldn't be better.
Recently my sister and I met in Richardson for dinner, at a local place called Kebab and Curry. It was her first time to EVER eat Indian food. I hope she liked it as much as I did!
I emailed my mom the other day and mentioned a knitting blog I'd found that she might be interested in. She called me right up and said, "WHAT IN THE WORLD IS ABLOG!?" Isn't it weird how techno-stuff enters and becomes part of your life - probably 6-8 months ago I'd never heard of a blog, either; now it's like they've always been around. But the other day a student told me that her email address was one that she'd had since she was seven. Yes, 7. So, let's see; when I was 7 years old, it was 1972. No email, no blogs, no computers, no INTERNET!, no cell phones, no flat screen TV's, no laptops, camcorders, cd players, cassette tapes (?) CD's, MP3's, ETC. Makes me wonder what we will be taking for granted this time next year!
Christmas is coming! I've gotten a lot done, and am closer to the Flylady "Cruise" through the holidays than ever before. This year I have a list, which I was able to compare with LAST YEAR'S list, to keep from forgetting anyone! Still not perfect, but that ain't the point! I need to do a lot of decorating this weekend so I won't be running around trying to do it later in the midst of holiday activities. Looking forward to NOT going on a trip this Christmas. That was too tiring last year! Have almost all my shopping done - just a few little boys to buy for. They should be the easy ones! But I don't want to get them something they already have, or that's old news to them. Waiting for some input from moms and grandmas on this.
This is a picture of Ken and I getting married. The date is May 31, 1999, at Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival in Waxahatchie, TX. It was just me, Ken and Brandon that day (and the JP, who was dressed like a funky Friar Tuck).
Here are Brandon (and a little bit of Ken) playing with wooden swords. How many people get to swordfight on their wedding day?
Ken and I met in 1998 on an internet dating site called American Singles.com. After we had been dating 10 days, Brandon came to live with his dad full-time. After I'd known them 3 weeks, I took them to visit my parents, who were living in Florida at that time. The rest, as they say, is history. :)
One more photo for now - here's our house when we first bought it. It hasn't changed a lot, externally, since then. We are slowly, slowly renovating the inside. We love it for the location; because it's on a corner and easy for the \\\STRIPES/// trucks to get to; because it has built-in bookcases and a weird little kitchen upstairs (okay, that part is MY own favorite!)