Archive for December, 2006

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Toodles, 2006! Bring on 2007

December 31, 2006

So, it’s New Year’s Eve. In less than 9 hours, 2006 will be a memory and I’ll start the mental soundtrack that will be playing for the next couple of months: “It’s 2007, don’t write 2006. It’s 2007. Don’t write 2006.”

I guess I could write a little review of 2006, but what is there to review? Aside from some bumps here and there, 2006 was fantastic! I had a great year and can honestly say that my life is better today than it was a year ago and that’s all that really matters, eh? No need for the ceremonial debriefing. I’m no slave to tradition.

But I have made some resolutions this year. I’m thinking I can handle them.

  1. Working on doing what speaks to me, honoring myself, instead of doing things that I feel I “should” do or “ought” to do (i.e. checking my motivation.)
  2. Work more on being my true self.
  3. Say YES more often to my kids and husband and myself and NO more often to everyone else.
  4. Learn intarsia knitting, although I may never use it.
  5. Convert all my cds into MP3s (if I start at midnight, I should have this finished by, oh, November)
  6. Do monthly back ups of files, music, photos, docs.

Yeah, I can swing it.

We’re letting Duck and Stealth stay up until Midnight so they can watch the ball drop in Times Square. It’s laughable to think that they’ll make it that late, but you never know. I’d bet money that B and I will be having our New Year’s kiss over the heads of two sleeping little boys, but I suppose it could be a party with Duck screaming his Duck-sh Auld Lang Syne and everyone slamming Sparkling Raspberry Grape juice out of my expensive champagne flutes. I’m not sure which I would prefer – a private moment with B to welcome in 2007, OR a wild, balls to the wall, full fledged fiesta with two happen’ cats from the under 7 set.

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, I hope that you have a rockin’ New Year’s Eve. May you have the bubbliest champagne, the best date, and may you not be stuck in the toilet when the clock strikes twelve. But, if your night is less than festive, just sing along with Duck:

Should old paintings
We’ve forgot
And never left behind
We’ll drink a cup of tea, my dear
And then the last laugh’s mine
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Public Notice

December 30, 2006
Headaches hurt like hell and I'm a total raving bitch while having one.  I happen to be having a massive one today and it does not seem to be ending.  Draw your own conclusions as to my state of mind.
As you were.
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Back your shizit up

December 27, 2006

So, I installed the printer that B got me yesterday. My computer required a restart for it to work. The computer wouldn’t load Windows. Had to push the power button and tried again and luckily it worked. Today, it automatically updated for the printer and also needed a restart. Again it wouldn’t start.
And again it wouldn’t start.
4 times and I couldn’t get it started.
So I called the tech support where I have my warranty / tech plan** and talked to some guy and we tried to start it in safe mode. No go. We tried to reboot. Nothing. It was not working and he told me I was going to have to do another system recovery and lose everything. FUCK ME – didn’t I just do this a few months ago?
I started screaming and crying and just out of frustration I nearly threw the phone. Eventually, we unplugged the printer and discovered that there was something wrong with the USB cable. Switched the cable, restarted in Safe Mode, fixed the problems, and now everything is working just fine but …
I almost lost 6,000 songs and twice as many photos. Again.
Needless to say, I am currently backing everything up. EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING is going on DVD’s right this very second.
For those of you who got new computer goodies, for those of you who like me thought, “eh, I’ll back up tomorrow,” and for those of you who just need the reminder – BACK UP NOW!!!

And check your freaking cables – good lord, all this bullshit went down because of a faulty USB cable.
Whew. That was too close.

** Tech support stuff –
I cannot say enough about Staples Tech support and protection. Seriously. I think I spent $139 for a 2 year support program when I bought the computer. Since then, I have called them numerous times for help. I always get a live person. I have never had to wait on hold for more than 3 minutes. EVER. The folks are in North Carolina as opposed to India. They answer the phones 24/7. They replaced my hard drive for free, even sent someone to my house TWICE to do it. They are always friendly, are never ever in a rush and will take as long as you need. They are clear and easy to understand and are very, very helpful. If you ever buy anything from Staples and think at some point you might want some tech support, I say DO IT. Sincerely, they have saved my ass so many times and are happy to do it. When my contract runs out in May, you can bet I’m renewing it.

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The scoop on the loot and other Christmas la di dah

December 26, 2006
As planned, we did the annual R Family get together on Saturday night.  This year actually wasn't so bad!  The key Grinch was missing so that took a lot of the pain away.  The food was good, the kids were great, and I actually got a White Elephant that I wanted, so that was just a bonus!
 
Christmas celebrations with my Dad went well.  The birthday fiesta was a huge hit and I felt glad and really not so much stress!  They got us new gorgeous dishes (a great thing since our others were OLD and UGLY and mostly missing since I dropped a huge stack of them on the floor two weeks ago and they shattered into a gazillion pieces) along with a couple of other small things that B and I needed.  The kids, of course, made a haul with new games and toys and artsy stuff.  It was a lovely visit and they'll return tomorrow morning so that we can spend time together before they leave town.  I'm thinking a game of Twister is in order.
 
After they left and we put two excited boys to bed, B and I went to the garage for some adult time and then came in for Wrap Fest 2006.  I grossly under estimated the amount of paper we would need for wrapping everything but fortunately we found some old paper in the basement and the attic.  WHEW!  While I may have goofed that up, I was thrilled to see that everything we got them came in a box already so there wasn't any need for bizarre wrapping and creative uses of tape.  SCORE!  We shoved all the presents under the tree, filled the stockings and ate Santa's cookies (B) and Rudolph's carrot (me,) and sat down to exchange gifts.
 
He opened his first and probably sprained some sort of muscle acting all excited.  I cannot imagine it was very exciting for him – I only got him what he asked for, but whatever.  He's a guy.  An upgrade on the belt sander was a bonus, I guess.  It really seemed to me (and he agreed later on) that he was more excited about giving me my gift than he was to receive anything.
 
So I get ready to open the big heavy box and my affliction struck again – nervous laughter.  I don't know when this started exactly or what sparked it, but for the last couple of years, whenever I get nervous in a good way, I start laughing.  No, I start cackling.  Perhaps Braying would be a better word.  I'm not sure what you want to call it, but I usually laugh so hard I cry and wet myself and end up in outrageous hysterics all in anticipation.  Such was the case Sunday night.  Finally I opened the gift and was so thrilled to see that it's a printer.  Oh wait, it's not just a printer.  It's a scanner.  And a copier.  And a printer.  OH yeah, AND it's not just a document printer – it's a PHOTO printer. Oh and it doesn't even need my computer to edit and print photos.  It's gorgeous and I tested it out this morning and it prints photos better than I have gotten in YEARS and YEARS.  Seriously, I had some prints made to take with me to CA in October from digital photos.  I made a print off of one of them today using the same digital image and the print that I made on my printer is more clear than the one that the professionals did.  YIPPEEEEEEEEE!!!! 
 
Did I mention that it prints those 4×6 photos in, oh, 12 seconds or less?
And it does 33 documents a minute?
I'm a happy woman.
 
Christmas morning was full of the usually hoopla.  The boys actually slept in but when they awoke and found all their goodies (they got some that they had wanted for over 9 months,) they were appropriately thrilled.  Breakfast of home made whole wheat pancakes with pure organic maple syrup filled us up for the trip to the in laws.  It was lovely there, as well.  My SIL looks so lovely at 6.5 months pregnant and my BIL is just proud as can be.  B's folks always do Christmas right, so the boys got a boat load of awesome toys (seriously – amongst tons of other goodies, they got a remote control T-Rex and two amphibious RC trucks that are so freaking cool, I wanna play with them constantly.)  I got some great kitchen things, B and I got movie tickets for a date night, and we both each got a dollar bill that has a 1 and some zeros after it.  Clearly we all did well in the present arena, but it was the company that was wonderful.  I just love my inlaws.  I complain about them, but I adore them.
 
Today I clearly spent all day sorting, organizing, and finding a home for everything, but I'm thrilled to say that it's done!  This is good news because we have another Christmas Friday night with my Mom and siblings and we're gonna need more room.  This is always fun because there are 5 kids, 5 adult kids, and Mom.  I'm looking forward to this year especially.  Whew – just a few more days.
 
I hope that everyone had a blessed Christmas and are filled with the love and hope and peace (especially the PEACE) that is part of the season.  Let it fill you up till you bubble over.
Cheers!
 
 
 
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Ribbons and Bows

December 23, 2006
Last post before the big guy comes with his reindeer.

Bill has completed her European “Better Living Through Bombay” tour. Yes, indeed, she has moved out of her Irish headquarters and will spend a few days in the Netherlands remembering why in the heck she drinks Bombay to begin with and to gather up an even better appreciation for her beloved Gin. After the new year, she moves on to Botswana to spread the gospel down south. Check your listings for upcoming workshops. Safe travels, my dear Bill.

I’m jealous of DDFF – her man got her the neatest needle set. That’s alright, Mama, you deserve those badass babies!! Merry Christmas, Love. Let’s go out next week, eh? Or the week after? I’m dying for some Chai and some good gabbin’.

Stealth FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY has a mohawk. But don’t tell him that. B and I have wanted to give him a mohawk for months and months and he completley and totally freaked out screaming and refused. He asked for a haircut the other day and I got my clippers out with the guard and just stopped without doing the middle. Showed him the mirror and asked him if he liked it or if I should keep cutting and he said he liked it, so I stopped. It’s a mohawk or sorts, alright, but don’t tell him – he thinks he just has “long hair on top in the middle.”

B’s boss treated him right this holiday season. Big ginormous cash bonus as well as a belly boat and waders and all kinds of wild bass angler paraphernalia. He’s in hog heaven. Wonder what a belly boat is? Yeah, me, too. It’s basically, well, it’ a boat that you wear out into the middle of the lakes to fish. You just gotta see it.

I have a very large, very heavy, very expensive gift sitting under my Christmas tree. It’s from B. He wants to give it to me, I wonder what in the heck it is, but we’ll find out tomorrow night. I have an idea, but I’m never right when I guess what he got me. He always gets me something amazing, but this year it’s certainly not jewelry. Man, the temptation is OVERWHELMING!!!!!!!

Tonight starts the festivities in full force. We have the annual get together for my MIL’s side of the family – the yearly blending of the K’s & the R’s. This is always an exercise in patience because, well, none of us K’s can stand any of the R’s with the exception of Grandma and Grandpa and, well, Grandma is so sick she doesn’t know if she’s alone or with people certainly doesn’t care and Grandpa just talks to anyone or everyone or no one until he decides he’s ready to go home and then he just throws cash at us and leaves with no warning. SO, we K’s stand around and roll our eyes and tell fantasy stories about running over some of the R’s with random lawn equipment or spiking their puritan cider or just gathering them en masse and giving them all the same present – a gigantic CLUE! Ah, well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Tomorrow is cleaning and cooking all day. Dad and his wife, C, arrive tomorrow night for dinner and desert and gifts. It also happens to be C’s birthday tomorrow, so there will also be cake. This is always fun, but stressful, too. The kids are just so wound up by this point, they have abandoned all hope of being polite and gracious. After Dad and C leave, B and I will attempt to put the boys to bed and then spend the next hour or so wrapping a zillion presents (we always buy wayyyyyy too much) and setting things up under the tree. Then we’ll exchange our gifts and what happens after that is none of your business.

Monday – Our Christmas in our little house. Lots of presents, lots of coffee, lots of cameras and video. Eventually we’ll make our way down to my in-laws again to do Christmas with them. This is where we are grateful for having suffered through the R invasion because the we can appreciate how wonderful it is with just us K’s.

Wednesday is Christmas with my Mom and sister and her family. We’ll do it again next weekend when my brother comes to town.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but I’m also looking very much forward to it. I worked very hard to make something for my folks and inlaws as well as B’s grandparents and my grandfather. I’d tell you all about it, but well, my Mom reads this blog (Hey Mom!!!!! Love you!,) and I’m not about to ruin the surprise.

I’ve decided that I’m not doing one more bit of work than I absolutely have to. That’s right. I’m letting the kids play computer games and watch Christmas movies and I’m taking them to the dreaded foul Golden Arches for lunch. Not sure exactly what I’m going to eat, but I think I may have earned myself some sushi. I wonder if it’s a sushi dude in that package under the tree????

Happy Holidays, everyone! May you all get everything on your list.
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I’m DONE!

December 21, 2006
It's official – as of about 20 minutes ago, I am officially done shopping (remaining groceries do not count.)   I've been so stressed out about finishing up for B.  Eventually, he broke down and, for the first time ever, told me what he actually wanted!  So, I made the rounds and got all that was on his list and got the best of all.  Everyone likes a little upgrade now and then, eh?
 
So the boys and I will make sugar cookies this afternoon.  I found a wonderful cd of Christmas music that's actually a double album – Diana Ross and the Supremes and Stevie Wonder.  I love me some Motown Christmas.
 
Finally, I feel I can relax and enjoy this amazing time of year.
 
Happy Holidays, everyone.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JP!!!!!!

December 20, 2006

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Call me Virginia

December 19, 2006

Christmas is so soon. The tree is up, the lights are up, the music is playing, there are some wrapped gifts under the tree (after all, Santa doesn’t bring presents for Grandparents, etc.) We went to an amazing Christmas party on Sunday and B and I are really both feeling the deep love of long lasting friendships that have bloomed into family. Every time we answer the phone, it’s another member of our Kohl Collection (folks who are our family whether related or not,) sending us loving wishes for the holidays. Presents and cards stuff our mailbox every single day. Every morning the kids take off one link of the Christmas chain and Duck sings Frosty and Rudolf all day long. The cleaning has started in preparation from out of town guests and my mind is thinking of menus and dietary restrictions and playlists. It’s happening. It’s happening now.

And this morning, I was bawling like a baby.

Christmas is hard for me. It’s a very hard place to be for me because, well, I’m just like that little girl on 34th street. I believe in Santa, but do I believe in Christmas?

My father was a minister for all the years I lived with him. It doesn’t get much bigger than Christmas in a house like that. Every year was a huge production. 4 weeks of Advent, each week lighting purple candles, then pink, and finally, the big white one in the middle marking Christmas. There were Christmas pageants and pot luck dinners and more hurricane lamps made out of tuna cans and candles than anyone should ever have to witness. And, on Christmas Eve, we would go to Candlelight Service at Midnight (much like Midnight Mass for Methodists.) We would hold those candles and listen to (or sing in) the choir and sing Silent Night. Some years we’d leave and it would be snowing. My father would gather us around and read The Christmas story to us from his old, worn, black Bible and we’d go to bed.

Lots of my childhood was total crap, but Christmas was magic.

Of course, we did all the secular things, too. We routinely watched Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. We made and ate peanut brittle and fudge and, on one bizarre year, we had egg nog. There was lots of traveling, lots of shopping and wrapping, lots of all of that. And it was important and fun and wonderful.

In my house, things are a little different. I’m not a Christian and neither is B and, thus, neither are our kids. This mostly has to do with our understanding that Religion is a man made creation and, once you figure that out, well, it’s hard for us to be believers. We’re fans of Evolution and Karma and Reincarnation and Nirvana. We’re fans of deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and the healing properties of certain plants of varying legality. We commune with our Mother Earth in chapels of forests, lakes, mountains, oceans. We see miracles every single day – our children are breathing and living and learning and growing. Our community is loving each other a little bit more each and every day (seriously, DDFF, Bill, SS, ain’t it a grand town?) There always seems to be more money than we thought, enough food to fill our bellies, a cozy little place to call home that is ours (well, and the bank’s.) The love I have for B grows more and more by the minute and I know he feels the same way about me. We have the best friends, a wonderful widespread family, roots to our community, and a plan for the future. We’re doing amazingly well and we don’t owe any of that to going to church every week and pretending to ignore the hypocrisy that runs rampant in these “Houses of God.” I spent every Sunday for 17 years of my life going to church and being a “good Christian.” 13 years ago, I walked away from it all and haven’t looked back.

Except at Christmas.

At Christmas, I struggle. I certainly don’t want it to turn into some solely commercial bullshit festival, but without the belief in The Christmas Story, what else is it, really? Yes, it’s true, it is a time of love and peace and hope and joy and generosity and selflessness. Frankly, it’s incredibly Zen, which, of course, is right up my alley. I’d go all out and call it Buddhist, but well, Buddhism is about releasing attachments -not so much buying each other more things to which to become attached. Whatever. So, we pretty much celebrate Zenmas. Good enough.

Still, I cry at O Holy Night, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Joy to the World. I remember those candle light services so crisply and clearly, it’s like it was yesterday. I bawl and turn into a bubbling pile of Mom Snot when Linus recites the Christmas Story on Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. Seriously, I need a sedative. It’s hard for me, this dichotomy of my holiday experience.

So, where is my place in Christmas? Eh, a little of column A, a little from column B, a whole lot from column Whatever-Works. The Christmas story moves me so much that I have to allow myself to buy into it, if for no other reason than it makes everything a bit more special for me, but I don’t know that I can believe it. That’s okay. I don’t know that I have to believe it. After all, I’ll bet that Virginia would have gotten some presents that year even if she hadn’t been convinced that Santa was real. I’m pretty sure I will, too.

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I thought he loved me until he peed on my car

December 13, 2006

This is an entry on one of my new favorite websites. DDFF & JM Bill, I know you’re gonna love it, too.

Intrigued?

Get Mortified

Special thanks to Mark for Mortifying me.

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Wednesday

December 13, 2006

It’s Wednesday. This means a lot in our house. It means that B is home, that Stealth has Kindermusik, that I’m going to spend way too much time in the garage (snicker snicker snicker.) It is swap day for the Almighty MP3 Challenge – the last one of the year. Next time will be in January with one participant in the US and another in Botswana. The Irish songs are frantically trying to sell their sweaters and umbrellas in order to buy sunscreen, but that’s another story all together.

Back to Wednesday.

I’m having lunch with one of my good friends. She just found out that she’s having a boy. We’re gonna eat fat at The Squeeze and talk about the upcoming holiday fiesta at W’s (her husband owns W’s and B has worked there for, oh, a millenia or so.) Duck and Stealth will be making their inaugural appearance at the party – a fact over which I have mixed emotions, but have been assured and reassured that this is a good thing. Ah, how times change. Folks are bringing their kids this year – in years past, they often times forgot to bring their own pants, but whatever.

The season finale of The Biggest Loser is on tonight. I normally do not watch those kinds of reality shows, but Duck is obsessed with it and I have found myself watching along with him. It’s amazing how folks can change their bodies and change their lives. Inspiring, really. Makes me love my size 4s that I worked so damned hard to get into – and that I can still get into. DDFF, I know you’re feeling that same pride, mama. So, congratulations to you biggest losers on NBC and elsewhere who have lost scads and scads of weight. Amazing. I salute you with Jell-o.

Christmas is less than 2 weeks away. I’m done, pretty much. I still need to get something for B, but the goontard keeps changing his freaking mind on what he wants. I have a feeling I’ll just take him shopping after the new year. How boring. Sheesh. Perhaps I’ll get something lacy from V’s S and parade under the tree for him. Worked for my friend – her hubby got her a full length fur coat for Christmas and she wore it for him by the tree. It was all she was wearing and I hear that he felt justly compensated. I’ve seen the photos – I’m sure he was quite pleased to unwrap that gift. Wicked Wave…..

Speaking of Christmas, B loathes Christmas songs. All of them. Frankly, I just think he hasn’t heard the right ones. For example, have you all heard Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen? Oh you MUST hear this song. MUST MUST MUST. If I could find a way to put it on a player and play it here for you, I would. (Anyone know how to do that?) Since I cannot, I will again dive into the tacky muck of bad blogging etiquette to present you with the most brilliant holiday lyrics ever:

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn’t know what to think of him until he sang
Felis Navidad, Felis Navidad

Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins from his second wife Mary Nell
Of course he brought his new wife Kay
Who talks all about AA
Chain smoking while the stereo plays Noel, Noel
The First Noel

Carve the Turkey
Turn the ball game on
Mix margaritas when the eggnog’s gone
Send somebody to the Quickpak Store
We need some ice and an extension chord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites
A box of tampons, Marlboro Lights
Hallelujah everybody say Cheese
Merry Christmas from the family

Fred and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can’t remember how I’m kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motor home in
They blew our Christmas lights
Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited out on our front lawn
He threw a breaker and the lights came on
And we sang Silent Night, Oh Silent Night, Oh Holy Night

Carve the turkey turn the ball game on
Make Bloody Mary’s
Cause We All Want One!
Send somebody to the Stop ‘N Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprites
A box of tampons, some Salem Lights
Hallelujah, everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the Family

Now I just don’t understand how you can not feel the holiday love when you hear that song.

I would like to take this moment and make an announcement: Apparently, I do not have a big head, contrary to what many of you have assumed for years. I made a head wrap yesterday and I love it, but it’s too freaking big. I followed a pattern (miracle #1,) and even checked to make sure the gauge was right (mind blowing miracle #2,) and everything worked like a charm, but it’s still too freaking big. I’ll just felt it a bit and it’ll shrink right up, but let it be known – While Mamakohl’s brain is bigger than your average bear’s, her head is NOT. Put that tasty nugget in your hookah and fire it up, baby.

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk

B is going to hang the exterior lights today. At least that is what he says. This is always a fun show because he refuses help and the kids always want to watch and the ladder ends up slipping at least once and by the time it’s all done, B’s screaming about converting to Jehovah’s Witness or something because they “don’t have any fucking lights!”

Noel, Noel, the first Noel

Duck refuses to write a letter to Santa this year. He keeps asking if he has a phone number. He apparently has a lot to discuss with the man in red this year – things like global warming, organic foods, weather anomalies, and why on earth his parents won’t buy him an XBox 360. Apparently these things cannot be worked out via pen and paper. So I think I’m gonna have him call our friend, B.Ray and have him play the man in red. Of course, I’ll have to pay him in Camel lights and endless pints of beer, but that’s doable.

A box of tampons, some Marlboro lights

Stealth has the warmest hands. They are always warm and toasty. But take my advice, don’t go kissing them all the time: he keeps them warm by keeping them in his pants. Around the clock this kid has his hands in his crotch. I don’t know if he’s trying to make sure what he has doesn’t go away or if he’s trying to make what he has in there get bigger or if he’s just found it to be a terrific hand rest, but something is going on with that kid and he’s making a statement loud and clear: He has a penis, he knows where it is, and he’s not afraid to use it. SO there.

Merry Christmas from the Family!