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    Friday, December 21, 2007

    Christmas Wishes

    I have so many, for you and for me!

    I wish for you all your wildest dreams come true, all your hearts' desires come to pass, and your metabolism to go sky high and your blood sugar be ever-stable as you sit to enjoy your holiday spread.
    I wish for you peace, joy, happiness, time shared with family and friends, and the perfect piece of pie.
    I wish for you a sweater you love, a tool you need, a book you want, and only good gifts that make you smile.
    I wish for dry roads and clear skies as you travel to be with your loved ones, and not-too-cold days as you make your way.
    I wish for you a strong sense of gratitude at the bounty in your life, and a keen awareness of the want and lacking that some people live with every day, even at Christmas.
    I wish for you a meaningful time of worship, whatever that means to you, that refreshes and renews your beliefs, and makes clear "the reason for the season".

    OK, so I wish all that stuff for me, too, or more accurately I guess I hope someone else wishes those things for me, KWIM? But, in addition, I also wish for some other things:

    ~A laundry person, who would also love to pack for me and two kids when we travel
    ~A personal assistant or three
    ~My son to miraculously wean himself
    ~40 pounds to fall off of me overnight so I can look fabulous for Christmas...I'd settle for 20...
    ~Our debt to magically disappear so my husband can stop stressing over money every day
    ~My dogs to stop shedding, just for a little while, so I can catch up on the dog hair problem - right now it's like fighting an avalanche with a teaspoon and a baggie...
    ~One good family picture
    ~One year with no colds for the kids and us

    Is that too much to ask? I don't think so, but I'm not holding my breath. I do, as I've said, have a TON to be thankful for, so I mostly wish for me a constant and abiding ability to remember how lucky I am, how spoiled I have been for most of my life...and how most of the granting of my wishes lies in my own hands. Merry Christmas, folks. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll keep coming back to read more. I have a feeling that 2008 is gonna be one helluva ride, and it won't be the same without you!

    God Bless Us, Every One! Merry Christmas!

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    POST 100!!!! Oh, and I suck... weight control. So "Happy 100 posts" to FMFO, and "Happy Back to Having Lost NOTHING" because people keep sending sweet stuff home to my house that I can't seem to leave alone. And I think I've mentioned that I'm not like most people. It doesn't take me months and months to gain five pounds. It takes days. If I have a "bad week", where I indulge occasionally in a sweet or two, I gain SEVERAL pounds, even if I eat right "most" of the time. This week, I am already up three pounds. Three. I've a had a couple of cookies, a piece of cake, and two mini-donuts. Three sweets, three pounds. Seems logical, right? And it wouldn't be so bad if those weren't the last three pounds I had lost, that I have now gained back. Nice, huh. I oughta be ashamed of myself...oh wait, I am.

    What's so infuriating about it is that I KNOW how to eat right, I enjoy eating right, but I am a sugar addict. So if I eat a little bit, I inevitably want more and inevitably eat more of it, until I am soon once again full-blown addicted and eating too much (read: eating any) of the wrong stuff. And since I have no metabolism to speak of, that's all it takes for me to pack on pounds, and quickly.

    It's not the same for me as it is for "normal sized" people. If you're ten pounds overweight, adding three would still mean you only needed to lose 13. I can't even say out loud anymore how much I need to lose without my face getting red and me feeling embarassed. I never dreamed I'd be a fat girl. Never even imagined it was possible. And now it's not only possible, it's my reality. And it doesn't seem to be changing any time soon. I should just get back on the SB plan right away, but I know what that will do for Christmas. Or what Christmas, more accurately, will do to the plan. Not that it's not possible to eat well, and healthily (is that a word?) on SB at holidays, but it's not fun, that's for sure. Mom's fudge, and strawberry bars, and MIL's texas sheetcake will all call to me.

    I didn't used to be such a damn pansy about food. When I decided to lose weight, that was it. NO whining, no letting myself "feel" deprived, I just did it. But then again, that was before my metabolism went permanently through the floor, my will power apparently went to shit, and my ass got bigger than I ever imagined possible. I hate having saddle bags. I mean, I really, really hate it. They're like having ass extentions.

    It's almost more than I can bear to be fat like this. I promise I would be grateful to have problems like "I need to tone" or "I can't drop this last 12 pounds" or "my size 8s feel tight". I've already conceded to myself that I will NEVER look good naked again - two kids worth of stretch marks made sure of that - but I'd settle for looking good in clothes that were purchased in the "normal" section of any given store. I don't need perfection, but I have gotten so far from where I used to be that I don't know how I'll EVER get back.

    I am SICK OF THIS SHIT. SICK OF IT. And I know you're sick of hearing it. So I'll stop. Thanks for reading. A happier post to come, I'm sure, soon. I wish you all better luck than me in fighting the holiday bulge!

    Saturday, December 15, 2007

    So I Just Scooped...

    Our weather man is a lying, dirty bugger.

    "Two to three inches", my ASS.

    Off We Go... Christmas shop. Yes, it snowed buckets last night. Yes, the roads will probably suck. Yes, we're all wearing our snow boots and buckling up and taking our time.

    And yes, we're nuts to go out shopping the Saturday before the Saturday before Christmas. But we're going anyway. I think I'll need to dig out that emergency bag of Lindt White Truffles to get me through the day...I'll have to hide them from Samantha, but I think I can manage...

    First we have to dig ourselves out, and since the boys are napping and Samantha is looking at my Barbie book, a rare, generally-forbidden activity, I'd better take advantage and go scoop!

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    Evening Out Shopping - Snowflakes at Westroads

    So I wanted to do some Christmas shopping last night, sans hubby and kids. No sweat, right?

    Here is my retrospective checklist of said shopping trip:

    Work on gift list of things to buy, including new tools Greg may get for Christmas.
    Feed kids/hubby.
    Iterate to children the need to be good for Daddy.
    Share with Daddy my thoughts on flying solo with kids.
    Look for phone/wallet/purse.
    Pick up and put down the diaper bag...twice.
    Kiss all three repeatedly and add...I love good for Daddy...yes, I'll be back later...yes, I'm going Christmas shopping...NO, you can't come even if you promise not to look...
    Walk out door, reveling in the aloneness to come.
    Turn and say goodbye again; reiterate the need to be good for Daddy.
    Get to the van in the driveway. Start the van.
    Spend THIRTY MINUTES chipping ice off the windows/windshield.
    Get back in van, attempt to dry off coat with napkins from console.
    Curse about wet gloves and scarf.
    Cross "tools" off of Greg's Christmas list. (He obviously does not need more tools. If he was lacking tools, maybe my van would be IN THE GARAGE instead of in the driveway covered with ice.)
    Leave for shopping adventure a mere four hours after deciding to go.
    Almost get stuck in the end of the driveway, where city plows have made a lovely snow pile.
    Curse about city snow plow drivers.
    Fight traffic to mall #1, find almost nothing I need.
    Get back in van, pondering where to go; listen to Godspell soundtrack whilst fighting more traffic. Think of Erinn, Stephanie Burns, Doug Harmon and other fellow cast members from our version of the show a hundred years ago.
    Pull up to Westroads Mall. Notice Stanley Steemer vans at both side entrances to Von Maur. Shudder.
    Get out of my van. Walk to the front of Von Maur, look at the thousands of flowers/signs/bears placed at the doors; watch loved ones of Janet Jorgenson place a memorial and grieve.
    Stand with others and choke on my tears, and hang my head in shame at every whiny negative thought about my petty, small problems.

    There is no more checklist. At this point, I go into the mall. The food court has a huge Christmas tree in the center, full of snowflakes made by Omahans.

    I walk down to the area in front of Von Maur (where less than two weeks ago I stood with my mom and kids getting pictures taken with Santa) and what I see takes my breath away. Tens of thousands of more of the same kind of snowflakes, hung on the walls, on ledges, doorways and spilling out onto the floors.

    Why snowflakes?

    Here's why (taken from local radio station Q98.5's website ):

    Pat and JT, ...Listening to you this morning, I was moved to tell you about a dream I had on Wednesday night. Of course I spent most of the afternoon and evening watching the newreports about the incident. Those reports and the weather predictions of the snow were really the only two stories all night. So, I guess it is logical that they would have combined in my dreams that night but I was moved by what I dreamt and would love to see it become a reality.

    I dreamt that everyone did go to Westroads to show their support. I saw thousands of people there. They were taping handmade paper snowflakes (remember, like you made in grade school?) up on the glass walls and the railings around the escalator atrium in Von Maur. I heard a voice say "These victims are like the snowflakes falling outside. They are unique and special individuals. Like us, and like all the other snowflakes, their lives were fragile. But, we WILL NOT let their memory melt away! Like the snow that blankets our town, let our love and support blanket their families, friends, Von Maur, Westroads, and our entire city."

    Everywhere I looked there were paper snowflakes and I had tears in my eyes. The last thing I remember before waking up was dreaming that we (the city) presented the loved ones of the victims with beautiful snowflake ornaments to represent the support and love of the city and the memory of those they lost.I don't know why I feel compelled to share this with you but I believe that everything happens for a reason. Maybe you are the reason.......Tammy P.

    And so "Operation Snowflake" was born.

    There are many people coming and going to this spot as I stand there, using the tables and supplies provided to create a snowflake to add to the countlesss ones already there, or to sign the books for the victims' loved ones. Inside Von Maur, behind a black curtain and the snowflakes hung on the gates, floor cleaners hum and workers speak in low (and often not-so-low) voices. For some reason, the curtain is drawn back partly as we are standing there, and we can see those floor cleaners, going over the same spots over and over and over. The sight is burned into my memory and even now I tear up thinking about it.

    Like many others, I was moved to take pictures to share what I experienced, but pictures fail to truly capture the moment of standing where people died, honoring them with the simplest but most beautiful of things. But these I took to share with you:

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    You can find more pictures of Operation Snowflake HERE.

    It was a moving experience to go there, one week later, and stand with other people who were grieving in the same way, for the same reasons. It was surreal, and scary, and peaceful, and sad. I made a snowflake, placed it among the others, and moved on to make way for other people.

    I will never forget last night.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    A Tragedy Brings Christmas... the sense it was meant to be. Kindness, love for fellow man, patience, an outpouring of love and friendship found in everyone we meet. THIS is what Christmas is supposed to be about.
    Someone sent this to me this today, thought I'd share it here...

    This is being passed around. All I know is that it's from "a friend of someone who works downtown". It brought a tear to my eye, and I had to pass it on.

    Dear Family and Friends,
    The Westroads Mall in Omaha re-opened today and, at 9 :00 a. m., I went there for my daily walk. Here is what I found:

    ....Mall administrators handing out candy canes at every outside entrance to the mall as they said "Thank you for coming today."
    ....Free coffee and cookies set-up in the food court and all servers saying, "Thank you for coming today".
    ....Many, many security guards were walking and milling around. I heard that they had come from all over the mid-west on their day off from another full-time job to provide comfort and reassurance.
    ....Every store/mall employee had a candy cane waiting for them when they arrived....tied to each candy cane was the note, "Thank you for coming to work and have a comforting, happy day".
    ....The two inside entrances from the mall to Von Maur had their gates down and the gates were covered with tasteful white drapes, but all lights were would have been very creepy if there had been no lights. Von Maur management had beautiful wreaths at each entrance with a tribute letter to Wednesday's victims. Many Red Cross volunteers had large tables set-up in front of the two mall entrances complete with lots of paper, crayons, pens, scissors, and tape for visitors to make snowflakes, with or without messages and tape on the gated entrances. The significance of the snowflakes was written in a is as fragile as a snowflake and can be taken away from us so quickly.
    ....Many, many stuffed animals, bouquets and tribute cards were being left at all entrances to Von Maur.
    ....Other Red Cross volunteers, who were not busy with the snowflakes, plus Salvation Army staff and grief counselors were milling around the crowds at the two Von Maur entrances. People knelt or stood in front of the entrances obviously saying a prayer, there were many tears, and many hugs between complete strangers.
    ....By the time I could finally tear myself away (a good hour after my walk), there were snowflakes being taped down the halls, the mall was packed, it was much quieter than normal, no one seemed in a hurry, and everyone seemed to greet passers by with at least a nod.

    I have shared with many of you the wonderful way we were treated by the people in three countries when we were in Europe during 9/11. Today I saw the same tenderness and compassion in the hearts of our fellow citizens in was touching and beautiful!

    God Bless the wonderful people of Omaha! ~ Pam

    Not sure who Pam is, but she's got it right. We are wonderful, and through this tragedy, we are showing the world just how much so.

    Midmorning Nuggles

    Is there anything better than when your kid, having trouble getting comfy for nap time, finally decides that the only place where he can fall asleep, the only place soft and safe and sweet enough, is with his arms wrapped tightly around you, nose burrowed in your neck, and one hand resting gently on your face so he can feel your breath in his hand?

    I didn't think so.

    Thursday, December 6, 2007

    Thoughts for the Day

    Been a while since I've rambled for you, and so this day seems as good as any, right?

    The Weather Outside is Frightful
    Getting lots of snow today. People often want to throw said snow at me because, well, frankly, since I became a SAHM, I don't mind the whole snow business much. I don't have to go out in it, I don't have to take my kids out in it, and so it bothers me very little. My mother is up-in-arms about snow, from the first flake's descent until she plants her garden in May. I am uncertain why - she knows it's going to snow, she knows we live in the Midwest, and this year the snow came MUCH later than most. But bless her heart, she just hates the stuff and makes sure everyone knows it. Regularly. Can't say as I blame her, though--if I was single, had to scoop my own walks, clean off my own vehicle and go to work in this, I'd probably hate it just as much. I hate the thought of her out there scooping. Makes me wish I could afford to contract somebody to do it for her for the season. Ahh, the things I'll buy when Greg finally hits Powerball...

    Saddest Story
    This mall shooting is awful. Not much else to say about it. Some things just suck. Westroads is still closed today, and Von Maur will be closed indefinitely last I heard. Can't imagine stepping foot in there any time soon anyway.

    Snot Any Fun
    Jackson has the runny nose that won't quit. He's fine otherwise, but this runny nose is just lingering on and on. I'm starting to wonder if it's an allergy. Although I've heard from more than one person's ped. that this stuff is hanging on forever, long after they are over the cold itself. Dandy.

    Gee, This Will Surprise You
    My office is a wreck. Not sure what happened, but it's getting cleaned today. Just took a short break from that particular fun activity to post a bit for you fine folks. Aren't I nice? Just say yes. And laundry, have having been defeated wholly last month, is now making a comeback. Time to get busy on that again, too.

    I DO Dream in Chocolate
    Lindt has these Lindor Truffles, right? You think the regular chocolate ones are good? Try the "White Chocolate with a Smooth Filling" ones.
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Samantha loves them, too. In fact, she just swiped my last one. She said "I love those chocolate vanilla marbles. They fill 'em with milk and they are guuud..." When she's right, she's right. Oh, and in case you're wondering, they are NOT on the South Beach approved foods list. Yeah. See, what had happened was...

    In Conclusion
    ~Weather stinks but I don't mind
    ~People shooting people in my mall sucks and I DO mind
    ~I'm wiping a snotty nose till I'm losing my mind
    ~I am very good at putting housework out of my mind
    ~You can buy me all the Lindor White Chocolate Truffles you want, and I WON'T mind

    Back to housework...

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    So This Is Christmas?

    We're in shock around here today. And feeling the holiday spirit slipping away. Yesterday we found out that a person we know from Columbus died in a car accident, left a spouse and three small ones behind. Then today...

    If you're watching any national news, you'll know that one of the malls here in Omaha, Westroads Mall, was brutally attacked today; a gunman (or gunmen, they're not confirming yet) killed at least 9 people in Von Maur, and I'm guessing the death toll will be higher once they get everyone out. The city is pretty much at a standstill, in shock at such violence in a place that so many of us frequent and have always felt "safe" in. This mall is not in a questionable part of town, is not known for gang or any other type of violent activity, and this is SUCH a shock.

    We were at home today having our weekly playdate with our friends. Thank GOD we didn't do what we often do on Playdate Wednesdays at lunch time...go to Westroads Mall for lunch and let the kids play in the playland, right up the corridor from Von Maur. We could so easily have been there today. She and I just sat and watched the TV in shock while the kids played in the other room, grateful that we met here instead today.

    Imagine what the holidays will be like for the families of those victims. Think about how you feel when you look at, say, your Christmas tree. My God, can you even fathom the pain they will feel when they look at their Christmas tree? Are there presents under the tree for those people? Will they place them now in their casket with them instead? Are there children who will always remember 2007 as the year their mommy or daddy died? Will they EVER enjoy the holiday season again? And apparently the latest is that the shooter took his own life when it happened, and had someone deliver a suicide note to the police station just after it happened.
    So that selfish bastard will never have to look in the eyes of those he hurt and killed, will never have to suffer the consequences. Then again, I suspect there is a special room in hell for people who kill strangers for no reason while they are shopping for loved ones during the holidays.

    How do people like that exist in our world? How can we endure it? What keeps us from hiding in our closets with our loved ones held close to us, praying for protection in a world where no one is safe? My heart is aching for those people and their families, and at the same time I am feeling the need to be on my knees thanking God that we were spared, as we have been spared from so much pain. Thankfulness comes to mind again.

    Hugs your loved ones, folks. The news doesn't get any better as the days go on.

    Saturday, December 1, 2007

    Nice Ice

    We've got quite the ice storm brewing this morning...well, not brewing, more like already brewed. With any luck it's going to warm up enough to melt most of it off the trees before the wind picks up later today and rips all the branches off the trees. That happened here several years ago - not pretty. So, naturally my husband decided to go and work this morning! I just talked to him, and he is fine, and he's coming home soon, but I wish he'd have just stayed in today. I'll feel better when he's home, that's for sure.

    So no big shopping today, that's for sure! Stay home folks, it's slickery out there!