Monday, January 30, 2006


Yea, ok, so it’s been a while. I’ve just been really lazy lately, I’m feeling kind of, I don’t know, hum-drum about my life. You see, I’ve got this routine going, and I like it, but it doesn’t leave me with very many fantastically entertaining stories for this here blog. I’m going to try to update on what’s been happening though here, get you all up to speed on my ultra-fascinating life.

* I have to put this one first, because it is so incredibly amazing, and I just simply can’t handle my excitement. My husband and I have acquired something that has altered the course our lives forever, something that I’ve been lusting after for more than a year. Yes, we got Tivo. [Halleluiah Chorus sounds, trumpets ablaze.] Well not really Tivo, per se, DVR through our cable company, which is the same thing, only better and cheaper.

* I’m throwing another baby shower, this time for my sister-in-law, in just three weeks and I’m feeling a little stressed and admittedly over-committed and I would love it if I could have our little TV room painted by then (we finally bought a rug this weekend) but that seems completely impossible. I don’t know, I need to come up with a cute h’ourderves menu for the party and I really want it to be classy and sort of like an “afternoon tea” kind of event. So I would of course appreciate suggestions, recipes, help of any kind really, although I’m kind of anal when it comes to throwing parties, and I need everything to go with everything and have been known to get really bossy. Wow, not painting a pretty picture of myself here am I?

* On my day off on Friday I died my hair. Yea, for the first time in my life, I am a brunette. Kinda crazy, a lot darker than I had anticipated, but I like it. My biggest anxiety was coming into work today, because obviously it is EXTREMELY different, and that kind of attention freaks me out a little. So far, the two ladies in nearby offices have complimented me on it, and my boss has said, “So… ah… what happened to your hair?” I’m pretty sure that was neither positive, nor negative, just the honest reaction of an over-fifty year-old man. It made me chuckle.

* My mom and I saw Casanova for $2 at the cheap theater yesterday afternoon, and actually really enjoyed it. It was total fluff, but Heath Ledger has got the whole boyish charm thing down pat, and it made for a fun little brainless movie excursion. Exactly what I was looking for. I also finally watched that Jennifer Love Hewitt ABC Family movie that I had recorded a few weeks ago. I am such a lame-ass, I was totally Mrs. Weepy McWeeperson for more than half the movie. Jennifer Love Hewitt did what she does best, which is acting as annoyingly cutesy as possible, and she was able to sneak in two whole scenes where she was romping around in men’s underwear doing her pouty, “I’m sexy in an attainable way because I’m wearing my boyfriend’s white boxer-briefs and aren’t I so the girl next door?” look. Somehow, with all that, I enjoyed the movie, because that’s the kind of sappy weak-minded girl I am.

* I finally started listening to the Natasha Bedingfield CD I got for Christmas and I am loving it to pieces. I urge you to check it out because it is pure girlie pop goodness. I’ve been playing tracks 5 and 13 on repeat here at work all morning.

* We had a game night on Friday night with the whole college group, and it was a blast. Angela was sweet enough to offer up her apartment for the evening (and by the way buddy, your place looks so great, it really has turned into a beautiful cozy home, I am so in love with everything you have done!) My team won our marathon game of Cranium, many thanks going to Lisa’s uncanny ability to draw realistic chickens with her eyes closed. It was a great night, so fun to get everyone together, it really goes without saying how much I love all my amazing friends.

* My little brother was in town with his girlfriend about a week ago, and Dan and I had a great time having them around. Michelle is so sweet, and slowly coming out of her shell around the family, I’m really happy for Ben. He also did the impossible by getting Dan and I in an actual bar for the first time in I don’t know how long. I miss that whole “scene” and have decided I really need to start venturing back out there before I become an old woman. Before I know it, it will be babies and diapers, Bob the Builder birthday parties and potty-training charts, and then science projects and soccer games. While I look forward to all that, I need to start taking advantage of the fact that I am a fabulous twenty-something woman with a fabulous husband and fabulous friends, living in the fabulous city of Minneapolis. So from now on it’s Martinis, trendy bars, and dancing until wee hours of the morning. (Ten bucks says I’m back to being a home-body in less than a week.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mariah Carey looked like a sausage

I pretty much spent the entire evening on the couch last night watching the Golden Globes, and of course, the preceding red carpet coverage. It was nice to be able to flip between both Joan and Melissa on the TV Guide channel and the Isaac Mizrahi train wreck on E!. Every time one of them made me uncomfortable, I could just skirt on over to the other channel. I don’t know, I suppose Mizrahi’s bizarre questions did bring out some interesting responses, but it just felt painful to watch. It was quite obvious he hasn’t seen any of the movies or television shows these actors were being honored for, which is fine as I must admit the red carpet is all about the fashions, but it just made things so awkward. Maybe I’m alone in my Mizrahi hate, I don’t know. I’ll say this, he was way better than the ridiculous Star Jones, who has practically disappeared into thin air she’s lost so much weight. No surgery, my ass.

Joan was just as bad, my favorite moment was when she was talking to Emma Thompson, who had brought with her Colin Firth as her date. She had no idea that it was Colin Firth, and started talking to him like he was Emma Thompson’s husband. It was quite hilarious, and I don’t remember what he said, but it was along the lines of, “Oh, no Joan, I’m not her husband, I’m Colin Firth!” Hilarious.

Oh, and what is with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, that guy’s got a major stick up his ass. He was visibly annoyed to be talking with Joan Rivers, which I guess is understandable, but dude, lighten up! He seems like quite the self-involved prick if you ask me. That’s what being in a Woody Allen film will do to you, I guess.

George Clooney looked dreamy. Mmmmm…

Honorable mention goes to Patrick Dempsey – love that beautiful man.

The majority of the Desperate Housewives are really aggravating these days (still love Felicity Huffman, but Teri Hatcher certainly pisses me off the most), so I was glad to see that Mary Louise-Parker won the Golden Globe.

Holy boobs batman – did you see Scarlett Johansson’s bosom? She is gorgeous.

Natalie Portman successfully channeled Audrey Hepburn and was a vision on the red carpet.

I was really disappointed that neither Michelle Williams nor Heath Ledger won in their categories for Brokeback Mountain. They were my favorite couple of the night, by far. Oh well, I think Michelle still has a chance for an Oscar, but the critical favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman will certainly trump Ledger again come March.

The most random shot of the night had to be Melanie Griffith and Heath Ledger talking during a commercial break, what in the world could those two have had to say to one another?

Was Ryan Philippe being a sweet adoring husband last night, or did he have ulterior motives for being in every single camera shot of Reese Witherspoon (not to mention jumping out of his seat when she was announced the winner, pushing her forcefully towards the stage) and wildly gesturing to Joaquin Phoenix about winning a bet on his way up to accept his award? Or am I just a cynical bitch? Yea, that’s probably it. I didn’t like Reese’s dress, looked like a Barbie outfit. Major fug.

Steve Carell’s speech was so hilarious, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be married to that man. I was so happy Sandra Oh won for Grey’s Anatomy, totally deserved. I cannot tell enough people about how wonderful that show is.

All in all, the Golden Globes were pretty entertaining, and I really didn’t get bored until the Cecil B. Demile award for Anthony Hopkins. Definitely the most entertaining award show of the season, it’s all downhill from here!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Babysitters Club

Our dog does the most obnoxious thing in the morning on the weekend when she wants us to get up. First she jumps off the bed and paces around the room, clicking her nails on the hardwood floor while emitting this frenzied whine that just grates on your eardrums and makes her impossible to ignore. If that doesn’t work, she races from one side of the bed to the other, perches her front feet up on the bed, and sticks her cold nose in your face. Now, I know we could have avoided all this from the beginning if we had never allowed her to sleep on our bed, but her overwhelming cuteness just smashes our hearts into little tiny pieces and has long-ago overridden our sensibilities.

Well, Saturday morning was no different, so I finally got up after about 20 minutes of Bella’s infuriating tactics so that Dan could sleep in a little longer. I went downstairs, toasted a bagel, and snuggled on the couch. After flipping channels for a bit I realized there was nothing interesting on, so I checked out the free On Demand movies, and oh did I find a gem - a total blast from the past. The Babysitter’s Club! I had to watch it.

Watching that movie caused all these nostalgic feelings for my childhood to just come flooding back. You know, being a kid was fricken awesome. I remember just devouring those Babysitter Club books, I’d check out like 7 of them at the library and have them all read in a week. I felt like those girls were my best friends:
  • Kristy – The president and founder of The Babysitter’s Club, Kristy was also a major tomboy. Her parents were divorced and she lived in a huge house with her mom, her ultra-rich step dad, and his two kids. I didn’t identify as much with Kristy, because I was a major girlie girl, and Kristy couldn’t care less about boys or clothes, preferring to play sports or get dirty somewhere.
  • Claudia – She was the Asian artist girl, whose bedroom they used for their weekly meetings, which automatically got her the VP title. Also a major snack-food junkie, Claudia loved wearing funky clothes and crazy jewelry, and had a pretty hard time in school. She also had a grandma Mimi, cause all Asian girls have Grandma Mimi’s.
  • Mary Ann – Kristy’s best friend was a super shy, super sweet, braniac, and was the only girl with a steady boyfriend, the dreamboat Logan. Ahhh… Logan. I wanted Logan to be my boyfriend! Mary Ann was kind of aggravating, she was just too shy and too sweet, letting people continually walk all over her. Whatever, I’m pretty sure she also had a cat named Tigger.
  • Dawn – Dawn was my all time favorite! She had moved to Stonybrook with her mom, from California, who married Mary Ann’s dad. So the two of them were step-sisters, which I was so jealous of because I always wanted a sister. (Although that did cause some tension between Mary Ann and Kristy...oooh drama!) She was the total flower child, gorgeous long blond hair, ate lots of granola. I soooo wanted to be Dawn.
  • Stacey – And if I couldn’t be Dawn, I wanted to be Stacy! Stacy was the city girl from New York, gorgeous, confident, loved shopping, hair, make-up, and boys. Unfortunately Stacey had Diabetes, which is so totally ironic because Claudia and her were best friends, and Claudia eats so much junk food! Heh. I read the Stacy-centric books as much as the Dawn-centric ones.
  • Mallory – I hated Mallory, she was just a junior member, she had red frizzy hair and glasses, totally boring, totally geeky, and only like 11 years old, so a total waste of my time.
  • Jessi – She was a junior member like Mallory, but definitely not as geeky. She was a cute dancer, and I think I remember some of her books involving the whole race issue, because her family was one of the only African American families in the neighborhood.

Did anyone else just skim the whole first chapter of The Babysitters Club books? I remember them all being a summary of each girl, what the Babysitter’s Club was about, and who did what (you know, like Stacy was the Treasurer). That first chapter always really pissed me off, because as a dedicated reader, I should not have had to read all that crap all over again every time I read a new book. Something tells me Ann M. Martin hated writing that first chapter as much as I hated reading it.

Well, I watched the whole movie, and it was so wonderful and sweet, and it made me want to be a kid again. When Dan came down from our bedroom, with just about 10 minutes left to go on the movie, I thought I did a fine job of hiding the fact that my eyes were a little teary, but I obviously thought wrong, because he brought it up with my parents at dinner that evening and they all had a good laugh at my expense.

So tell me, which girl was your favorite? Everyone must have a favorite! ($10 says Mallory was NO ONE’S favorite!)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Peanut Butter Snob

So a while back I was eating my breakfast at work when one of my co-workers stopped by my cube for a little chat. We’ll call him Peanut Butter Snob, the reasons for which will be evident very shortly. I was eating a bagel with peanut butter, and he asked me, “What kind is it?” I was quite confused about what he was talking about, so I asked for clarification, and he said, “The peanut butter, what kind of peanut butter? My wife and I only buy organic, I can’t even stomach that other stuff.” My reply?

“Um… well… I think it’s Skippy?”

Then, of course, I had to act all interested in this idea of organic peanut butter as he blathered on about it’s greatness, insisting the stuff I was eating was pure crap in the form of a spread. It was one of those times where you feel really stupid, uncultured, and decidedly un-hip. However, thinking about it now, this co-worker has a habit of making me feel this way quite often, so I’m debating now if these repeated occurances have more to do with his snobbishness or my insecurities. Here are a few accounts of our run-ins, you tell me if I’m being totally crazy, or if this guy really is a bit of a snob, (Note: PBS is short for “Peanut Butter Snob”, not the broadcasting network that has brought us delightful little children’s television gems such as “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” and “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”):

Instance 1:

Setting: I’m walking out of the building on the way out to lunch with PBS and two other male co-workers.

PBS: I like your purse!
Me: Uhhh… thanks.
PBS: Where did you get it? It’s so unique! I like to buy my wife one purse a year as a gift, and I’m always looking for new ones. Usually I get something from Saks, like a Coach, or a Kate Spade.
Me: (stammering and fumbling) Uhhh… I… uhhh…
PBS: So where did you get it? I think she’d really like it.
Me: Um, actually I don’t remember, I’ve had it forever!

The truth: I bought it at Target a few months before. There was no way in hell I was going to tell him that I got it at Target after he told me about his previous ultra-spendy designer purchases! I felt ridiculous. While I have no problem with designer purses, and wish with all my might I could afford to buy them, I simply cannot at this point in my life and career. To be honest I tend to spend a max of $50 on my handbags, and am a self-proclaimed knock-off queen.

Instance 2:

Setting: At lunch with the guys, again.

PBS: So what did you do this weekend?
Me: Well, we went to dinner with my parents on Friday night because both of my brothers are home from college for the weekend…
PBS: That sounds nice, so where’d you all go?
Me: Umm, Chili’s.
PBS: Oh. Well… that’s nice.
Me: (feeling embarrased and as unsophisticated as you can get) Yea, that’s just my family’s restaurant, we always end up going there…
PBS: Oh, yea, no Chili’s is pretty good. My wife and I went to
W.A. Frost for dinner Saturday night…

So basically the guy makes me feel really insecure, and I have no idea why I feel the need to impress him, but I do. On the other hand, I must say that he is the nosiest mother-f-er in my office, and why in the world is he even noticing what kind of purse I’m carrying?

Let's get back to the whole peanut butter thing. Dan and I were at Costco on Sunday doing some shopping, and I remembered that we were almost out of it (as I said a few weeks ago, I am on a major peanut butter kick and am going through that stuff like it’s water). So when I saw it, I grabbed the big ass double pack of Skippy and threw it into the cart, but then I noticed that next to it was a double pack of Maranatha Organic Peanut Butter. Thinking back on my conversation with PBS, I decided to try it. So out went the Skippy, in went the organic.

A day later, as I’m lazing around on the couch watching some TV (and for the record, there are many reasons why NOT to watch Heather Graham’s dull new Sex-and-the-City-wannabe show), I found myself itching for a little snack. I grabbed from the loaf of bread the butt end that no one wants to use for their sandwich and opened up my experimental jar of peanut butter. First thoughts? GROSS! Before I even tried it, I was grossed out. The stuff is all runny and oily and has a completely different texture from regular peanut butter. I took my first bite. Yup, tastes just as gross as it looks. Blech!

So now I have TWO monstrous jars of the nasty stuff in my cupboard, that I know I will never touch again, and I feel like a traitor to Skippy, the most delectable, creamy, yummy, processed-to-all-hell treat ever. And it’s all PBS’s fault, and admittedly a little bit mine for trying to be someone I’m not, and feeling the need to live up to the standards set by an equal co-worker who probably doesn’t even remember our conversation about organic peanut butter many months ago.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Holiday: Part 2

Monday, December 26th, officially set off my week-o-laziness. Here's the second half of the recount of my vacation adventures. We’ll do this one bulleted style, because I can’t be bothered nor do I want to bore you with chronology:

  • I saw a few movies over the week. First there was The Family Stone, which I saw a matinee of with Dan and my brother Nathan and which I loved loved loved. God I loved that movie. “It” girl Rachel McAdams is hysterical and beautiful, Luke Wilson is the dreamiest slacker-pothead ever, Diane Keaton is always amazing and gorgeous, but most surprising was how much I fell in love with Craig T. Nelson, his performance as the voice-of-reason father was so tender and heartbreaking, it totally came out of left field for me. I also saw Pride and Prejudice with my mom the other night at the $3 theatre nearby, and I was and still am thoroughly smitten with the dashing Mr. Darcy. I’m thinking Matthew MacFayden kicked some major Colin Firth ass with his performance. I would highly recommend this version, and Kiera Knightly was also the perfect Elizabeth Bennett. (I have to throw that in there, even though Pride and Prejudice is so all about Mr. Darcy as far as I’m concerned.)
  • My brother Ben brought his girlfriend home to meet the family for a few days. She is very tiny, super cute, quite shy, and just an over-all sweet girl. I think my family intimidated her a little bit at the beginning, as I’m assuming conversations with her parents don’t usually involve blow-jobs and peanut butter, and I’m quite certain her mom doesn’t have uncontrollable bouts of flatulence and subsequent giggle fits at the dinner table, but I’m thinking she was warming up to us by the end of her three-day stay.
  • I went to the Mall of America three fricken times over the course of a week, which is really quite ridiculous. I never go to the Mall of America, it’s huge, exhausting, overwhelming, and of course always packed with annoying teenage shoppers and tourists alike. However, for many reasons that are too dull to recount, I went there three times this week. Thankfully, I didn’t spend very much money, my purchases just included a knee-length jean skirt on sale at the GAP, and a pair of cropped black trousers, two long-sleeve v-neck knit tops, and a funky gold belt all from NY&Co. It really was nice, though, to do so much shopping this week that did not involve Christmas presents. I am so glad that is all over, and the countless items on my countless lists are not only all crossed off, but the lists themselves are in the trash.
  • I went skiing on Thursday with some friends, and it felt so good to be back on skis after about two years away from them, even if it was on just a stupid hill in Minnesota. I also bought some super cute new ski pants for the occasion and for the first time in many, many years, did not feel like a big pile of ugliness on the slopes. The family is planning a ski trip to Colorado next January and I can’t wait. Lisa skied for the first time since our 6th grade field trip to Welch Village when my mom (obviously the chaperone from hell) took her down a black-diamond run and forever scarred her. Lisa is awesome.
  • I only worked out twice during my 10 days of vacation. I’m a bum. Surprisingly, I didn’t and still don’t feel that guilty about it, even though I was replacing my work-outs with extra sleep and lunch dates. Ha.
  • Angela bought me the Season 6 DVD collection of Buffy, and Ben bought me Season 10 of Friends, so I only need Buffy Seasons 2-5 and 7 and Friends Seasons 1-4 and 6-9, and I’ll have both sets! ;) Click here if you’d like to help me complete my collections.
  • New Years Eve was actually totally fun this year, which is surprising, because I usually find it to be one of the biggest let-downs of the year. Dan’s brother and his wife had their annual party, and I got quite a bit trashed on Margaritas. Yummm… We played some Celebrity Taboo, because we always have to play board games, and of course Dan and I got into a little tussle. Betsy was totally right when she said we shouldn’t have been sitting next to each other. How about I lay out the scenario and you tell me who’s right and who’s wrong here: I am trying to get my team to guess Sean Astin, the dude from Rudy, Goonies, and most recently Lord of the Rings. If I remember correctly, they were on to his first name, they totally knew who I was talking about, and to get them to spit it out I said… “His last name is like the city in Texas!” So my team members are like, “Sean Astin!” but they pronounced it with an Aaahh, like the city Austin. Ok, so not only is that how I honestly thought you said his name, but my team member who guessed (I think it was Angela) was, without a doubt, talking about the same person. So I hurriedly moved on to the next card, which caused uproar from Dan, who was the one sitting next to me with the buzzer. According to him (and his friend Ed who is the most competitive asshole when it comes to stupid board games) the name is pronounced “ass-tin”. Whatever, in my opinion that small pronunciation discrepancy should have been completely irrelevant, but instead we wasted precious time fighting about it during my turn. The tone of the game changed from there on out, and I desperately wanted to give both Dan and Ed a swift kick in the head. ;) Anyways, so portions of the rest of the night are a little hazy (I do specifically remember, however, dropping my new digital camera into my champagne glass) but all-in-all it was a great time, and I woke up hangover free the next morning!
  • Dan woke up New Years day feeling like utter crap, and has been battling a horrible debilitating cold ever since, poor guy. I just hate when he’s sick, because I feel so helpless. I’ve been sleeping in the guest bedroom to try to avoid getting sick myself, so this week has, on the whole, been pretty sucky when you top it all off with having to return to work. I can’t wait for the weekend.

A few random pictures from my busy Christmas weekend

First, we have the in-law's living room, jam-packed full of presents.

Bella's first Christmas was both exciting and a bit confusing for her. She had fun harassing the kids while they opened presents.

Dan, playing pong with his little brother


Christmas Eve Brunch

My brothers and I at my Aunt's Christmas Eve


My little brother-in-law is obviously really into tools this year!

Bella and I on Christmas day at my parents.

The boys, watching football, of course, on Christmas. This was right around the time I was in my bitchy mood.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Holiday: Part 1

Wow, it’s been a crazy couple weeks, very busy, but very wonderful! Because of my office’s work schedule (9 hour work days, every other Friday off) and our paid holidays, I was able to take just three days of PTO and have a full ten consecutive days of vacation over the holidays. I’ll tell you this much, it was ridiculously easy to get used to not going to work. So what did I do over those ten days? Let’s see if I can remember. I think I will have to make this a two-parter, or even a three-parter. We’ll see where it goes.

The weekend of Christmas was insane, running from gathering to gathering, from one family’s house to the other family’s house. It all started Friday night, December 23rd, at my in-laws’, in which the living room was so packed with presents that you had to do crazy maneuvers and painful leg contortions to get from one end of the room to another. It was a great night, and I just love seeing the joy in the little kid’s faces while opening their gifts. I know the holiday is about Jesus and everything, but seriously, those smiling little red faces, the cries of elation, the abundant thank-you hugs all around, that is the stuff I remember when the holidays are all over. They’re just so sweet and thankful, and watching it all unfold I can’t help but think that these are memories in the making, these are the moments they will think back on with fondness ten or twenty years down the road. All sappiness aside though, it was a good night, and even little Bella got a tasty treat and a new toy from Dan’s brother and sister-in-law.

On Christmas Eve morning we headed over to my parent’s house for brunch with my Dad and my two brothers. Ben made his famous omelets to our specifications (mine was a little lighter on the cheese that I would have liked, but I suppose that’s probably a good thing for my thighs), and it was a nice and relaxing morning. We headed over to my aunt’s house in the early afternoon and spent the day there, eating spinach dip, drinking red wine, watching my favorite Christmas movie ever, and just generally enjoying the company of family. (Gossip of the night: “Did you see *Annie’s face… what do you think that is all around her mouth and chin? Herpes? Well, she did have Chlamydia at one point, so it’s highly possible.”)

Promptly at 5:30, it was off to Dan’s grandparents’ for round three of the Christmas holiday (round four, I suppose, if you count brunch). Soon after arriving, we dug into plates piled high with Swedish meatballs, scalloped corn, mashed potatoes, and seven-layer salad, Dan’s family’s Christmas Eve traditional dinner. The kids were going absolutely crazy after dinner, their eyes glistening with greed, their bodies unable to control the present-induced excitement in the air, their brains all hopped up on the sugar grandma had abundantly planted all over the house in the form of gingerbread cookies, sherbet punch, and chocolate candies. I opened up the coat we had bought in Chicago and of course had a very hard time acting surprised. Around 9:00 PM we left and went back to my Aunt’s place, opened a few presents (Dan and I got $200 from my grandparents to buy curtains for our dining room… yeah!), and had a drink and talked and laughed until we had to leave for 11:00 mass. I was so exhausted by the time we were sitting in church, all I could think about was getting home, taking off the damn tights I was wearing, and getting into bed.

Christmas day started bright and early when we headed over to Dan’s parents house at 8:00 AM for Santa. I find it incredibly sweet that Dan is so committed to being a part of his little brothers’ and sisters’ lives. When asked why we even bother, he said, “I just want them to be able to remember us being around for stuff like this.” There’s such a huge gap in ages there, so huge that Dan was already moved out before the two littlest ones were born, and it’s really a testament to the person he is that he wants to be around as much as possible as they grow-up. After more present-craziness, we went home, made some eggs, and then opened our gifts from each other. I’ve had my digital camera since the beginning of December, but Santa also brought me some fuzzy slippers, a cute pink nighty, some new flannel pajamas, and a pair of mittens. I was pretty stoked, and felt very spoiled. Dan, he got a whole crapload of really random and some-what boring stuff from me: a North Face vest, a corduroy blazer, a wrinkle-free button-up shirt, a pair of Birkenstock clogs, a maroon U of M sweatshirt, a couple DVD’s, a tie-clip, pajama pants, and an under-shirt. Wow, really random indeed.

That afternoon we went to my parents’ and opened presents among our immediate family, which is always one of my favorite things about Christmas. I love when it is just the six of us, I love seeing what everyone gets, I love the joking and the jabbing and the laughing that goes on. But our time was cut short because we had to get organized for more family that was coming over for dinner. By this time, I was thoroughly tired of all things Christmas, I would have given my right arm for just a quiet night at home, or an early evening movie, but that was not to be. We had a big ham dinner, after which I fell asleep on the couch watching the Brandy as Cinderella movie and woke up to my grandmother insisting we play a game of cards with my Vietnamese foster uncle’s new wife whose grasp of the English language is at a very “beginning” level. I tried to be a good sport but I know I was getting very whiny and a little snippy. I feel terrible about it now, and the fact that I cannot even keep up with my grandma, who is not only old, but is courageously fighting cancer, is really just incredibly sad.

It was a great weekend, but I was so happy that it was over, and that I still had eight days left of my vacation.

*Name changed to protect the - very sexually active – innocent (my mom’s cousin).