Monthly Archives: December 2012

What Are You Doing…

…New Year’s Eve?

That’s a song, you know. I say that all the time to my students, when I hear a phrase that’s part of an old song. That’s a song, you know. Sometimes, they look as if they don’t believe me and I have to prove it to them. Then they wish they hadn’t said anything. HA

But no, really: What are you doing this New Year’s Eve? The Thriller and I never seem to think far enough ahead to make reservations anywhere (it’s our anniversary today), so we rarely go out. But it’s fun anyway, because we usually do something fun around the house. Tonight, we’re getting together with Kay and Bob for pizza, snacks and Midnight in ParisYay! Have you seen it yet? If not, you must. It’s an emergency. It’s New Year’s Eve, and you need to get your feel-good on.

We won’t “ring in the new year” together, as K & B will also be bringing Kay’s elderly mother, Miss Kitty, and they will need to get her back at a decent hour. I rarely stay up past 10:30-11:00 lately, and “watching the ball drop” has never really been a big deal to me anyhow. Rather, I just wake up on the 1st and think, “Hey, it’s next year.”

So what’s up for you this New Year’s Eve? Anything fun planned?

2012 in Review

OK, 2012 is almost over.  It was quite a year, yes? Boy, did it go by fast. Lots happened, too, some of which I’ll bet you’d forgotten (as I did):

  • The largest internet protest ever had a pretty big effect.
  • Queen Elizabeth II became only the second monarch in British history to rule for 60 years (bested only by Queen Victoria, who sat on the throne for 64).
  • For the first time since 1927, a silent film won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • Encyclopedia Brittanica ceased printing its encyclopedia collections.
  • For the first time since 1977, no Pulitzer Prize was awarded for fiction. (I could make a huge snarky joke here, but I won’t. :-) )
  • German Expressionist Edvard Munch’s famous painting, The Scream, sold at auction for $119,922,500.
  • Vladimir Putin won his third six-year term as president of Russia.
  • American Idol completed its 11th season. Ugh.
  • An Australian coroner finally concluded after 32 years that a dingo took Lindy Chamberlain’s baby.
  • :-(
  • The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm Ltd. and its rights for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones film franchises for a mere $4.05 billion.
  • BP settled the Deep Horizon oil spill disaster for $4.5 billion.
  • Cost of Hurricane Sandy to the state of New York: $32 billion.

Not all the news was bad. I discovered only yesterday that Netflix is streaming West Wing now. I’ve been ordering one DVD at a time for months. This could put a serious crimp in my free time, what little there is of it.

So what was newsworthy for you in 2012? Anything awesome happen? As always, I covet your articulate and compendious thoughts.

PS — Happy 29th birthday to my baby boy Lars.

Nous allons

Here we go…

Every year at this time, it lurks: the post-Christmas Welp.Welp, it’s time to get out the music and get back to work.”

I baked yesterday (one new recipe was awesome, the other went in the garbage — eww for tasteless chocolate chip cookie batter), just to clear my mind and my schedule. I wanted to relish one last day of nothing to do, and it was fun! I enjoyed baking while the Thriller did his snow blowing and other stuff.

Our evening entertainment was piecing together an intinerary for Odyssey 2013 — likely the last big Odyssey we’ll be able to take, seeing as how he graduates Sem in March and will (hopefully) be gainfully employed by the fall. All vacations from that point on will be much shorter, so that, you know, we can save money for replacement windows on the main floor of the house, or for upgrading the kitchen appliances or something. :-)

But back to the itinerary. For the final big Odyssey, here’s what we’ve got so far:

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul (the Thriller was slightly less than thrilled about my fist pull-down at going to the Mall of America)
  • Bismarck (so we can say we’ve been to ND — we ordered some tourist literature, which sounds kind of funny)
  • Fort Peck, MT (staying at the Fort Peck Hotel, yay)
  • Helena
  • Spokane, Mt. St. Helens
  • Seattle — the piers, Pike Place, even Redmond :-)
  • Vancouver (staying at the historic Sylvia)
  • The Tillamook Dairy
  • Portland
  • Redwood Forest (staying at the awesome Lighthouse Inn)
  • Nice, California — we just liked the name, and of course the Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast
  • Reno and Mt. Rushmore — we liked those places two years ago, so we’re happy to revisit
  • Up to the Green Bay area to see the Thriller’s mom, then down through Milwaukee, Kenosha and north of Chicago to see other friends and family
  • Back home again

While it’s going to take every cent we put back, the hotels are surprisingly affordable. The most expensive stays are in the “chain” hotels, while the mom-and-pop, specialty bed-and-breakfast type places are the cheapest, and happily, the most charming. We have several of those in the works. This trip will be about those out-of-the-way places; whimsical, nostalgic, beautiful. We’re making this last hurrah count.

And now it is time to hit the treadmill, the shower, the DMV (my temp tags are fixin’ to expire), and the Joseph score. Yaaay! Have a happy Finkday.

A big change

Well, rats. :-(

Our sister and sister-in-law from England are not driving in from Kenosha today, because of the aftereffects of the blizzards in Indiana and Ohio. Too short a trip to be slowed down by drifted snow. So, we’re looking at July instead.

Disappointing, but at least we’ll get to make up for it, possibly with a longer visit this summer.

Therefore, I shall bake. All day long. Prepare yourselves, family. It’s comin’ at ya.


A slight change

Well I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas Day! We did — we drove to Cleveland for some casino fun, then came home, had dinner, did some light chores (the living room is back to its normal state, per the Christmas Day custom around here), and watched War Horse for our evening entertainment. A good day.

But there are changes.

Our sister and sister-in-law were supposed to be here today, but thanks to this…

Hello, blizzard

Hello, blizzard

…it’s not happening yet. And they’re still weighing their options with regard to being able to make the drive from Kenosha (WI) at all, which makes us sad. Dang blizzards anyhow. Nary a flake since last winter, and the minute you schedule out-of-town guests, it’s all this. Nuts. Hopefully, it won’t be as serious as the weather guys are saying it will be, and they’ll be able to make the drive with little or no problems tomorrow or Friday. Not likely, though.

I just let Rousseau in, and — as you can see on the little white area we’re in on the radar image — the snow is not falling yet (6:02 a.m.). But, any minute now it’ll be here, and the beginning of everyone’s week will change.

But that’s only half the change I’m talking about this day.

The Thriller and I use Christmas Day, when our kids are all visiting other relatives and having Christmases of their own with their children, to discuss plans for our upcoming summer vacation — which, in this case, is a mere six months hence. Since last summer, the plan has been to go to New Orleans and some other Gulf cities. Usually, once we get the major destination in mind, we’re beside ourselves with excitement, and it’s all we talk about for weeks after. For some reason, it wasn’t that way this time. Not that we didn’t want to go to N.O. — we did, and we do. But, just maybe not this summer.

We have basically one more shot at a large, long vacation, since the Thriller graduates seminary (hopefully) this April, and the kind of time frame we’re accustomed to in the summers will evaporate. So we decided to put New Orleans on the back burner and go when we had 4-5 days to escape in the future.

And where is this summer’s destination?, you ask. Welp — Vancouver, BC. Now that’s a big ol’ change, yes? Nothing slight about that. We’re excited, though. The magpie chatter is back, so we think this might be where we’re supposed to go this year, saving the Gulf for next time. And with that, let the monastic lifestyle begin. Gotta save some bones so we can drive to the other side of Canada in six months.

Yay. Have you been to Vancouver? We have not. And when we hit North Dakota, Oregon and Washington, I will have been to every state in the lower 48. (The Thriller is only one state behind me: he’s never been to Maryland.) After this, if we want to expand, we’re going to have to resign ourselves to the unlovely prospect of getting on an airplane.

OK — it’s now 6:23, and I looked at an updated map. Fort Wayne is about to get it,  as are most points west and south of us. Yikes. It might be a bumpy ride after all. Stay inside and safe, everyone.

FO, maybe to Wally to stock up