Thursday, December 20, 2007

Best Christmas Ever: UPDATE!

Our application has been approved! Woo Hoo!

I wasn't really worried about it (seeing as both me and Husband are kind, clean, and relatively well-off), but I definitely had a moment where I felt a bit unsure. It reminded me of my college days when I applied for a sales job at Radioshack. Once I completed my application, they informed me that they would be doing a background check on my criminal record and they asked me if there were any indiscretions I would like to confess to at that point. I might have looked guilty, because I thought for a moment before saying, "Um, no. Wait! Do speeding tickets count?"

It was so silly, because I had ZERO criminal activities to report and yet, I suddenly felt unsure, like I was forgetting something and I didn't want to get caught in the lie. Crazy!

Anyway, the point is: We're getting the dog! HOORAY! Now, I have to decide if I can wait until January 4th to get him, or if I want Husband to drive 6 hours to southern Illinois to pick him up tomorrow and to receive him as my Christmas present. Hmmmm, very tricky.

I hope everyone's day is going as good as mine! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best Christmas Ever!

Well, I don't want to jinx it but.... WE MIGHT GET ANOTHER DOG! :)

Yes, you read that right! Husband and I have been talking on and off about getting a second dog to be a buddy for our current dog, Logan. Logan stays home while we are at work, and it really breaks my heart every day to think about him hanging out alone all day. And it super breaks my heart when I think that he might be sad or lonely... so, the best answer I could come up with is that we simply need to get him a friend. :)

We didn't have plans to do it right this minute (I actually had Springtime in my head when I thought about it), but for some reason, I decided (in a fit of supreme boredom at work) to look up some adoption agencies around our area just to see what they had... and, I found him:

Isn't he ADORABLE! He needs a haircut to decrease the shagginess, but his little underbite is simply charming, and I am so hoping that he can come and live with us!

Logan is a shih tzu, and as a rule shih tzus are a great breed. So, I am still thanking my lucky stars that there is an adoptable shih tzu in our area! AND Logan is turning 10 months old at the end of this month, and this little guy just turned 7 months old! So, they are right around the same age with the same breed background they are both male (and, of course, both neutered). TONS in common. :) It looks like a match made in heaven to me!

So, keep your fingers crossed that the adoption agency finds my application sufficient and that no one else scoops him up before I can. :)

It would be a truly wonderful Christmas if I could fill up a second doggy stocking to hang with new toys and chewies for our new little guy.

Here's hoping!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmastime is HERE!


I'm so stoked for Christmas, I can't even fully describe it! I had been feeling so-so about the holiday season thus far, and had not really been gung ho about any of the upcoming festivities, so I was very pleased to find myself immersed in the Christmas spirit this weekend. :)

I did all of my Christmas shopping on Saturday. All of it. Every single last piece. I had a very concise list and I had planned out all my stops, and it was a piece of cake... well, sort of cake.

The first few stops were great. I swung by the Deep Discount to check for any cheaper DVDs or books, found a few things, and purchased them! The man behind the counter was very nice, and we chatted amiably about science fiction and the BBC show Coupling until it was time for me to skeedaddle.

And skeedaddle I did! Right across the street to the Target. Yikes.

Now, typically, I LOVE Target. I mean, L-O-V-E. But Saturday was... different. It was just so loud and crazy and most annoyingly: people seriously forgot how to walk down aisles or get out of other people's way - it was ridiculous! But, in spite of being stopped every five seconds behind someone with a heaping cart who really needed to turn it sideways in the aisle and block everyone else from passing by, I braved the crowds and came away from Target with all my goal items checked off my list. Score!

Next up was Best Buy: Of course, it was another madhouse, but for the sake of finding the few things I did not find at Deep Discount and for the two pieces of electronics that I needed there, it had to be done! Surprisingly, even though the parking lot was crazy and the store was full of people, the service was very good. Really, the lines moved quickly, there were a lot of salespeople on the floor to answer questions, it was great! :) So, another successful stop was checked off of my list, and I decided to quickly grab some lunch before I headed off to my next challenge: Toys R Us.

Yeah, it's true. I was stupid enough to try going to Toys R Us ten days before Christmas.... I'm not sure I will ever live down the shame of that kind of error in judgment. But, I had to! I hadn't found the toys I wanted for my nieces and I figured that they MUST be there!

Yeah, I'm naive.

Anyway, Toys R Us is the seventh circle of hell. Not joking. The parking lot was horrific, and it was only after some clever jockeying and some not nice language on my behalf, that I found a spot somewhere nearby. I then walked across the parking lot o' death towards the sliding glass doors of the entrance, mentally noting the large crowd of angry looking smokers standing outside and puffing away (obviously they weren't having the times of their lives either). But, how bad could it really be?

Once I stepped in, I wanted to immediately run back out. Honestly. The noise of arguing parents and screeching infants coupled with the nauseating stench of diaper and puke and plastic automatically set off every alarm in my head that told me to "Get out while you still can!"

But, I pushed through the knee-jerk reaction and started to make my way around the store. I did a total of two laps before I found where the toys in question were kept.... yes, they were all gone. Long gone. I was definitely WAY TOO LATE. Boo!

So, I rushed out of that hell hole in a truly foul temper, stalked to my car like a pouty five year old and slammed the door shut with great dramatic flair. I huffed and puffed for a few minutes about not getting what I wanted and about having to visit such a rotten place when it happened: this very clear, quiet sense of calm poured over me. It was cooling, and everything around me slowed down for a second. I realized I was smiling.

It may sound naive, but I believe that this sense of peace I felt was the Lord. I think he saw me there, and I think he personally touched my heart. All I can really know for sure is that I felt exponentially better - I'd even say I felt great! - and I also felt instantly sorry for how foolish I had acted at Toys R Us... what a silly thing to get upset about.

So, the rest of my wonderful holiday shopping was a breeze because I grinned through all the crowds and even through all the dollars spent because I could remember that quiet calm in my heart, and I could feel joy knowing that peace exists with us and within us, and Christmas is a time to share that with everyone around you.

May peace be with you all as you travel down the busy Holiday road - don't forget to sit quietly every once in a while and think on the true meaning of Christmas and what it really means for you and your family.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Question Time!

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Hmmm, this is a tough one, because I am a realist at heart and the word "perfect" automatically tips me into "well, nothing's ever perfect" mode.... but, if I had to give a fantasy of a perfect life, it would be very much like the life I live now except I would be much older. I have daydreams about being an older woman who has finished the mundane task of daily work in an office or other scenario, and is able to finish out her life doing the work of her choice. My husband is still there with me, of course, and we live in this small, cottage-like home in the middle of a young forest. Light spills into our yard in bright patches between the trees. I am sitting and reading in a big, comfy chair with a cup of tea, and I am waiting for our children to come home and visit. Sometimes, in this dream I am also painting. Oh! And the most important part: There is a barn, a paddock, and horses.

Maybe it's silly. But that thought always makes me completely happy and at complete peace.

2. What is your greatest fear?

I am absoultely terrified of seeing the people I love hurt. I have especially intense nightmares about them being threatened and hurt right in front of me and I can do nothing to stop it. One of my most intense and terrifying dreams has to do with someone dropping my dog off of a building that I can see from my office window. It makes me physically ill.

3. Which living person do you most admire?

Perhaps it is cliche, but I most admire my mother and father. They have both demonstrated to me the truth of human weakness and the diffcult road of overcoming and forgiving those weaknesses. I endeavor to be as much like them as I can.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

How easily I become irritated.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in others?


6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Chastity - I honestly don't believe that sex (if approached with the right reference point) is a distractor or an evil of any sort. When used appropriately, I think that sex can deepen our realtionships and provide a key communication between people in love.

7. On what occasion do you lie?

I try only to lie when I am protecting someone's feelings. But occasionally, I have been known to tell little white lies to protect myself or avoid embarassment... it is another one of my less than admirable qualities.

8. What do you dislike most about your appearance?

I'm chubby right now, and it's not very much fun. I believe I am actually the heaviest I've ever been right now. I certainly looked more awkward in high school (during the chubby, awkward phase) but as an adult, this is definitely the heaviest I've think I've been... so, I just signed up today for the pride-shattering experience of my work's "Fit Club." It's a competition between offices to see which team of 2-5 can lose the biggest percentage of weight from Jan-June of next year. Husband and I are both signed up, so my weight will soon be known and I will be working hard to vanquish it quickly - there's cash involved too! Bonus! :)

9. What is your greatest regret?

Although I agree that regret is a worthless trick we play on ourselves, I can honestly say that I do have one true regret: My grandmother died when I was in high school, and I never really got to know her at all. She suffered a stroke when I was very young, and forever after she walked very slowly and spoke even slower. Her entire right side was basically paralyzed, so she had to re-learn how to write with her left hand (which resulted in child-like handwriting that I never understood as a kid). I had the patience of a child, and I never slowed down enough to sit and talk with her. The most heartbreaking moment surrounding her death for me came well after the funeral had ended: my other Grandma brought her up one day in conversation, and briefly mentioned how much my grandmother used to make her laugh. "She was funny?" I immediately asked. And my Grandma looked at me with great intensity and said, "Oh yes, I've never in my life met anyone who could put a stitch in my side the way Goldie could." I went to my room and cried for a long while. I never even heard her tell one joke. I really knew nothing about her. Since then, I have made it a personal goal to ask my Dad many questions about her and her life. She was an extraordinary woman, and I honestly regret that I did not know that when she was still here with us.

10. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

This one's easy! MY HUSBAND. He is my one true love. I suspect though, that if we are blessed with children, they will also be the true loves of my life... we'll see. :)

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

Oh, how I wish I could play the piano! I'd give anything to be able to play like Ben Folds.

12. What is your current state of mind?

I feel pretty good. I'm happy and successful and my marriage is wonderful. I do, however, feel I'm on the verge of a new phase of life - it's time to get really healthy! So, I feel hopeful and motivated too. :)

13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be able to take things less seriously and be a little less sensitive.

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I don't think I really have one yet. I suppose the closest I feel I've come is climbing out of depression. I was in a really bad place a couple of years back, and I have been able to stay (mostly) in the light ever since.

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

I don't know. I'd probably choose a creature that does not have to deal wih human issues and interaction. I'd be something simple. Like an owl.

16. What is your most treasured possession?

My wedding ring.

17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Losing sight of your priorities and turning your back on your family and friends. It is only in the lowest places that we could believe that isolation from those who love us is the right choice.

18. Where would you like to live?

Wyoming. It is still the most beautiful place I have ever been.

19. What is your most marked characteristic?

Kindness, sensitivity, humility and a bit of forgetfulness. :)

20. Who are your favorite writers?

1. Kurt Vonnegut - He is my absolute, hands-down favorite. His writing really makes sense to me.

2. JD Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye changed my life.

There are many others as well, but those two have touched me most in my short time.

21. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Holden Caulfield.

There were days when I swore we were the same person in spite of our sex.

22. Who are your heroes in real life?

I am inspired by my family. I consider my sisters and parents to be the number one heroes of mine. But, I also truly find my husband to be my hero. He really saved me. I cannot ever thank him enough for that.

23. What is it that you most dislike?

Abuse. I am hateful towards people who can knowingly, and cruelly hurt other people or animals. I am especially sensitive about this and will not hesitate should I ever be presented with the opportunity to save an animal or person from their abuser. I find it an absolutely selfish and inhuman thing to do and my rage is quick when I witness it.

24. What's your motto?

I don't have one. I guess it's sort of, "Be kind" or "Be polite"...

If I remembered it, I'd put down the girl scout promise (or whatever is was called), but right now my mind is totally blank aside from the "Wilderness Girl" oath from Troop Beverly Hills - which is close, but no cigar.

25. Favorite Journey?

Traveling by horseback through the Rock Mountains in Wyoming. I'll never forget it.

26. What do you value most in your friends?

Kindness, understanding, sense of humor, and an ability to laugh easily and take life lightly.

27. Which words or phrases do you must overuse?

I say the word "totally" way too often. Not really in a valley girl way, I just use it a lot.

I also am often caught using the phrase "P.S." in conversation quite frequently. I substitute it for "by the way" and quite enjoy saying it. :)

28. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Beatrix Potter - I read her stories as a little girl, and then wrote a paper on her in high school. She had an imagination that ran her world as a child, and I did as well. I felt as if we would have been friends had we not lived in different times and countries.

29. What is your greatest extravagance?

Beauty products, and wine.

30. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

I would make us all live in the same neighborhood, instead of in three different states, so that we could see each other whenever we like!

31. What is your favorite occupation?

I like cooking. But when I can choose my profession and have my education completed, I will be a teacher. :)

32. What is the quality you most like in a woman?


33. What is the quality you most like in a man?


34. How would you like to die?

Dying in my sleep would be ideal, but if that's not possible, I'd like to go suddenly and not know that I was going to die. Surprise me God, ok?

35. If you could chose what to come back as, what would it be?

I'd like to come back as my dog. No joke! He has the best life. He just sleeps and eats and gets petted and played with. I'd be glad to trade places with him.