Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy Almost New Year!

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas!  I rehashed my weekend HERE if you want to read about mine.

So I got my FitBit One - It comes on a clip instead of a bracelet, so I can continue clipping it on my bra.  I'm still figuring this thing out.  I get the impression it's just a fancy pedometer, because on the "My Activity" page it automatically syncs the steps, but I have to add any additional activities manually.  And it's a good thing I looked, because I always wore my Activelink swimming, this one I can't!  So the X hours we spent in the pool Christmas Day I had to track.  I lost out on a lot of steps, tho.  We had to walk all around the huge hotel to get to the various pools (yay, Bavarian Inn!)  Plus all those trips up the stairs to the water slides!

I need to send a shout out to the wonderful Miss Kitty at Less Of A Better Me.  I'm learning more about the new WW plan from her and her blog than I am from the somewhat confusing website, their so-called "experts" on the chat and even my meetings!
So I found this really cool group on the WW message boards.  It's something like the 10 cent healthy habits, I can't remember exactly how the title goes.  But the idea is to choose so many habits and you earn (figuratively or literally) a dime for each item you check off daily.  I'm using my fancy leather-ish journal from WW to keep track each day.   I have a great short-term goal.  If I do each and every item on my list for 39 days, I will have earned a 30 minute massage!  There'a place near me called Luv Nails and that's what they cost there.  GOALLLLLLLL!
Some of the items are pretty obvious.  My journalling is what you're looking at.  Writing down this list each day and checking them off.  The 5K steps will change accordingly.  The FLY 15 minutes is from  And the tough one is going to be lights out before 11pm.  I don't know why I have such a hard time with this, especially since my alarm goes off at 5:30am on weekdays. I"m more than ready for bed, but it seems I get caught in a time warp and BOOM, it's past 11. 

Speaking of......It's 10:20ish, even tho it's technically the beginning of my 4 day weekend, it can't hurt to hit the sack!  Since tomorrow night we'll up past 1, since we have to celebrate the Arkansas New Years in spirit with the MIL.  No check mark for me!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Post-Christmas Run Down

I was really pleased with how the Christmas cards turned out!  I'm sure I'll be doing this again next year.

I finally got the last of my wrapping down Christmas Eve morning and Angel and I finally got around to packing / showering and such around 1.  Randy was SUPPOSED to get off work at 2 but that never happens.  We ended up leaving for Laurie's without him at 4 and he finally texted me around 5:15 that he was shutting down and heading that way.

Yeah, there's no doubt that Linda & I are related! 
We both have naughty hats while Laurie has a "nice" one - PPPPBTH!

Christmas was really nice.  Randy got himself a 24 inch smart TV to put in the bedroom so he can watch Netflix on that instead of using my Kindle. Angel and I gave Randy a Bacon Man Crate.  It was hilarious!  It was a bunch of bacon jerky, bacon popcorn, bacon salt, bacon peanut brittle, bacon sunflower seeds all packed in a wooden crate that came with a crowbar.  I selected the option of having a "diabolical duct tape cocoon" wrapping, too. (you seriously need to poke around that site - it's funny!!)  We got Angel a laptop and a giant box of Nerds. I got a book on the American History of Halloween, and Adrenalized, the autobiography of Phil Collen from Def Leppard and I also got a FitBit One, which I can clip on my bra. So Randy did get me the things I asked for!!  Of course there's also the usual boxes of clothes / undergarmets / etc.  It was a good day. 

Christmas Day afternoon, we went to Frankenmuth like we've been doing since Dad passed away. We got there shortly after check in at 3 and hung out and browsed a few stores before having dinner at Zehnders.  Once we finished & went back to the hotel, it was time to hit the pool! It's nice to stay at a hotel with a multiple pools, hot tubs and water slides!  There was also a mini-golf course and arcade.
Dinner at Zehnders.

The pools closed at midnight, and that's when Linda & Dave discovered the shower didn't work in their room.  The maintenance guy was in there for a good 2 hours working on it before deciding he couldn't fix it.  So we decided to do look at lights - Dave, Linda, Laurie & I. At 2am!  We didn't realize that Bronner's turns all their lights off at midnight so we just drove around for a while.  It was a ghost town!  So we looked for photo ops.  I'd always wanted to lay in the middle of the road, so what better time than when no one else was out??  Then Laurie jumped on me.

 I took the time to put on actual pants - Laurie & Linda were in pajamas.
By the way, the hotel gave Linda & Dave the option of moving rooms, which they didn't want to do in the middle of the night, or just using another room to shower.  It was right across the hall, but still pretty inconvenient!  But that's what they did and also got 1/2 off their room rate.  Funny part is, that room was rented out again the next night!!  Dave said he could guess what was wrong and that it wouldn't be an easy fix.  So I wonder if the next people were unpleasantly surprised, too? 

Saturday we got up and met for breakfast.  Randy took Angel back home so she could go to work and the rest of us went to Bronner's.  I'm pretty sure he was happy to avoid going shopping!  He caught up to us right as we were getting ready to check out. 
It's a really fun place and you'll find ornaments for everything you could ever dream of!  But it can be VERY pricey.  I got 7 ornaments and 1 blowmold and spent $125.  Crazy, I know! 

These are regular sized ornaments.  I want to get some of the white flakey snow stuff to put in the black & white glitter tree bulb.  And the Halloween scene goes all the way around - haunted houses & trees & a graveyard, etc.  Love it!
The picture doesn't do the peacock one justice - it's so vibrant & pretty!  The toilet cracked me up!  I couldn't resist.
The silver angel cat is really heavy and I could have had Skeeter & Maggie's names written on it, but forgot to get in line to get it done.  Same with the Navy guy.  He's just too cute!  I have a fine point Sharpie, so I can do them both myself.
This one is my favorite.  He's 5 inches tall.  I don't normally like the blown glass ornaments, but this one is way less cheesy than the rest!  I almost fainted when I saw he was $20!!  He was by far the most expensive ornament I got.
I've been wanting a Mrs. Claus for the yard and found this one on clearance!  Normally $63 and I got her for $35 because she was a display and has some paint peeling on her face.  
She goes well with a Santa I already had! 
These are the only 2 that don't have painted eyes.  
They have realistic eyes that were stuck into the plastic. 

Everyone parted ways after Bronner's.  Randy and I had already opted to stay another night, so we went back to the room for a nap and maybe some other activities (wink wink).  Then we went and had some dinner at this awesome BBQ place and walked around some of the shops until it was almost closing time.  Then we drove around looking at lights and went back to the room.  We thought about going back to the pools, but that meant putting bathing suits on and walking all the way across the hotel to the Fun Zone.  So we watched Saturday Night Live and went to sleep.

This morning we got up and went to breakfast after checking out of the hotel.  Did I mention our room didn't have a balcony - it had a large patio?  All the rooms in our area opened out onto it and there was a turret with a spiral staircase we could take down to the parking lot.  Very convenient!

We had breakfast, then browsed in a couple antique stores on the way to Laurie's to get the dog.  We left him at her house Christmas Eve and she took him to the kennel with her dog C-mas morning and then picked him up this morning. So we got home mid-afternoon and happily all took naps.

Ugh.  I guess I need to get to bed - I still have to work tomorrow and I'm the only one in the department all week.  Glad it's only 3 days and most of the plants are on shut-down!  There really shouldn't be much to do - fingers crossed anyway!

Edit - I was wrong!  I worked my butt off those 3 days and even had to stay late to finish putting fires out!



Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas to all.....

From all of us at the Love Shaque.....
Peace & blessings, 
Lisa, Randy & Angela
Jack, Chester, Maddie & DaisyMae

Christmas Funnies 122515

And from all of us at the Love Shaque....
Peace and blessings,
Lisa, Randy & Angela
Jack, Chester, Maddie & DaisyMae


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

All about me - Christmas edition

I got this from Pamela over at The Lady of the House Speaking who got it from someone else, who got it somewhere else, etc, etc, etc. It looked pretty fun!

Have you started your Christmas shopping? Since tomorrow is Christmas Eve - I sure hope so! I do feel like I'm missing something, tho. I guess it's because I usually do ALL the shopping, even for myself, but this year Randy took suggestions and ordered hopefully what I asked for and it came all wrapped and ready for the tree.

When do you put up your tree? usually the weekend after Thanksgiving. It stands naked for a few days, then we'll put on lights & garland and it stands for a few more days, then I start with the ornaments. It gives the cats a chance to adjust and investigate. This year I was nervous about the new kitten, but once she removed the one shiny green bulb from the inside of the tree she's been leaving it alone. Whew!

Are you a Black Friday shopper? Noooo.  We do support Small Business Saturday, tho.

Do you travel at Christmas or stay home? We alternate between the mother-in-law's in Arkansas and staying home. This year we're home. We'll go to my sister's house Christmas Eve with the family and Christmas Day evening we'll head up to Frankenmuth, home of Bronner's the world's largest Christmas store! And the hotel has a water park. Mom & Laurie started doing this the year Dad passed away to break the old traditions.

What is your funniest Christmas memory? 1995 Coming home from Seattle on leave after being on WestPac (my Navy days - a 6 month cruise around the Western Pacific) Dad and I were sent to select the tree, but ended up at the local Eagles to have a few. I think Dad was entertained with me sitting there swapping sea stories with a couple old men. Their WWII stories were a lot different than mine! We ended up grabbing the first somewhat decent looking tree we saw. But with beer goggles? It probably looked like Charlie Brown's tree.

What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Do you do your own Christmas baking, what's your favorite treat? Hmm. I don't specifically bake each year, but I love me some cookies!  And baklava.

Fake or Real Tree? I haven't had a real tree in years and I'm not sure I want one. Since I turned 40, allergies started hitting me. Horse dander now makes me sneeze until I almost pee myself and cat dander makes my eyes get red & itchy & watery. I have to make sure I wash my hands before messing with my contacts. Strong pine smells (like candles) make me sneeze, too. I'm afraid real pine would do the same, which sucks.

What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done? I'll probably be going crazy tomorrow.

Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve? I have a few things left. Randy had his gift-wrapped when he ordered them and Angel did a bunch for me. I just have to wrap hers. And of course I'm sitting here in front of the computer with a sleeping kitten on my lap and not getting anything done!

What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
There's a nearby city that covers every building along their main street in lights, each business in a different color. We have dinner at this little diner at the south end of town then walk the length of the strip and back. We were supposed to go last night, but Angel got called in to work. The lights are on until 1/3 so we have time to go yet.

What Christmas craft do you like the best? Since I have so many nutcrackers, there's always bound to be some repairs and/or paint touch-ups that need to happen.  We always do a craft at Thanksgiving, too.   This is what we did this year...
Christmas music? One of my XM radio stations switched from country to country Christmas so that's what I've been listening to. I like "Nuttin' for Christmas" and "Merry Christmas from the Family" by Montgomery Gentry and I'm really liking Alan Jackson's "Let it be Christmas" this year.
However, I HATE "Santa Baby". Grrr.  And "Baby, It's Cold Outside", we call that the date rape song. The really slow songs are sure to get turned off.

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Umm, yes! I like them both.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped.

Colored lights on the tree/house or white? Love me some colors! We have LEDs on both the tree and outlining the house. I really don't put anywhere near the effort of decorating for Christmas like I do for Halloween. The lights on the house and along the fence and of course my blowmolds.
Do you hang mistletoe? Nope, but if I did, I'd want one of the balls.

What is your favorite holiday dish? Nothing really stands out.

Favorite holiday memory as a child? Mom and Dad refusing to get out of bed until they smelled coffee brewing.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Only on Michigan years.  We exchange gifts with the family so yes. But in my house? No.

How to you decorate your Christmas tree? Our ornaments are bright and funky and make me happy. Some have sentimental meaning or come from places we've traveled to. Speaking of....I have one from Arlington National Cemetery sitting here on my desk - let me go put it on the tree!

Snow? Love it? Dread it? Welp, I'm from Michigan so it's usually a fact of life. But this year has been weird. I was just outside in a t-shirt letting the dog outside. We've had one good snow this year and it melted within a couple days.
Can you ice skate? No. I tried it once as a kid, but haven't since.

Do you remember your favorite gift? I'm afraid not. I remember things here & there but nothing that reigns supreme.

What's the most important thing about the holidays to you? mainly the peace. Lights against the falling snow, etc. And of course doing things with the family.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Ppfftt both!

Thanks, Pamela for the fun linkup!  


Still indifferent...

So I'm still not loving the new SmartPoints plan yet.  I really need to sit down and read thru everything better and do some planning.  I've been cruising along doing my usual stuff and it's still quite the culture shock to scan one of my usual lunches and it's jumped up 3 points or more!

I sure hope they work the bugs out of the website & mobile app, too.  I hate that they got rid of the section where you recorded your measurements!  I've been tracking my inches since day 1 (August 2008) and they're all gone.  I chatted with one of the so-called "experts" and she said I'd just have to track them on paper!  it's a good thing I couldn't reach thru the monitor or I would have punched her in the nose.

I do like the new journal.  It's a nice soft leather and has lots of pages for notes & such.  No place for a pen, tho.  First-world problems!

So this is my plan.....I got a pack of index cards and a case from the store and many moons ago I won the tiny WW spiral notebook with sticky notes and arrows from a meeting.  I'm going to write down a bunch of recipes (with associated SPs) and each week I'll make dinner plans & a grocery list from cards that I draw.  I hate grocery shopping more than I did a root canal!  I never know what to make since I live with Mr & little Miss Picky-Ass.
Quick little health issues from last month?  I think I may have possibly had a miscarriage.  I did some research and it is possible.  I would have been about 7 weeks along and when (TMI ALERT) Aunt Flo arrived, it lasted for 3 weeks and while I normally lose some big clots, I was clearly losing chunks of tissue. I guess I don't really have any feelings about it, since I never knew 100% for sure and therefore hadn't wrapped my mind around the whole situation.

2 weeks ago was Miss Angela's first dance competition of the season.  They got their "costumiforms" around 3pm Friday afternoon and wore them Saturday.  The owner of the studio was pissed - they sent the wrong skirts, too.  They were too tight for the girls to do their kickline without riding up, so she managed to wrestle up 16 pairs of matching black shorts for them to wear instead.

They got 4th place!  It's actually quite awesome.  They were the only studio team there, up against some really good, established high school cheer teams. And they've only been doing pom since September.   I put the video up on my YouTube page if you want to see it.

Are you ready for Christmas?  I have a ton of laundry to finish and need to put a bunch of nutcrackers someplace (I have over 100!!) so that's what I'll be doing in the morning.  Tomorrow night we're going to my sister's house.  Then Christmas Day evening we're going to Frankenmuth for the night.  The hotel we're staying at has a water park and then Saturday we'll go to Bronner's - the world's largest Christmas store!   Randy and I are staying Saturday night, too.  Angel has to work, so her & my niece will come back early and she'll go back out to my sister's that night so she doesn't have to stay home alone. 

The buzzer just went off, so need to go switch some clothes - yay, me!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

4th place!

I'm rather proud of the Dancers Only Senior All Stars - 4th place at the Michigan State Spirit Showdown. They really held their own against some other really good, well-established high school teams. They were the only studio team there.
There were a couple glaring mistakes in the first kickline and one of the girls dropped a pom later but for their first time competing in this style? Pretty damn awesome, I think.
Miss Angela had actually been to this particular competition before. She went with her school JV team back when she was in 9th or 10th grade. A good thing about it was how quick they kept it moving. Of course there was the one school who insisted on practically every girl doing a solo, whether they were any good or not. Some were pretty painful to watch. But the time limit on solos / duets / trios were pretty short, so we survived. And I hate announcers who talk down to the audience, like they're idiots. I understand that a lot of spectators don't really know what is going on, but do they really need to spiel about how much courage it takes for these kids to get out there alone, blah blah blah. No shit, Sherlock! And did you really need to say that right after the girl who fell and forgot half her routine left the floor? Sheesh.

I made spaghetti for dinner Friday night, because it had been a tradition when I was a kid for Mom to make pasta the night before my brothers had big swim meets. So I do the same for Angel. Plus it's something she really likes and I'm sure the carbs help fuel her the next day. She needs all the help she can get since apparently its a dancer thing to get a nervous stomach and not want to eat in the morning. I did get her to eat half a donut before heading backstage (by force-feeding her!) and she had most of a medium mocha coolata thing from Dunkin Donuts, so she had something in her tummy. And I know Terina won't let the girls go without food, so I imagine there was something backstage for them to munch on.

It was a lovely hour drive Saturday morning to get to the school.  Their parking lot was confusing, with not having entrances where it seemed there should be.  I confess to 4-wheeling across part of the lawn and almost getting stuck in the mud!  Hopefully nobody was in the drivers training car sitting in the driveway!  But my Vue is SO festive, with garland and red bows on the luggage wrack and muddy tires and mud splatters all along the sides & even up on the windows!

What was funny, Saturday night was Angel's work Christmas party.  She works at a Thai restaurant and they had it after the restaurant closed for the night at 10!  Her & Sarah (who she dances with) joked around about going in full competition hair & makeup just to see what people would say.  But I noticed Angel did have her hair somewhat the same way, she braided it across the front, but was still in a high pony with the bow! And she wore black leggings and her studio jacket.  She toned down her makeup and took off the fake lashes, tho.

So my troops of nutcrackers have finally invaded my house! I was pretty motivated Friday night and brought the 3 big totes in and unpacked them. Granted a lot of them are all currently standing in the living room on the coffee table like a really lame party. I also hung a display shelf in the kitchen for our souvenir shot glasses, moved all my plants off the corner table in kitchen, dusted the whole corner, put the holiday cloth on that table, hung my stained glass trees in the window and plucked off some dead leaves before replacing all the plants and watering them.

Here's Rudy with all the ladies...... 
This is from one of the totes!

Maybe I'm starting to find some holiday spirit.  I have been happy looking at lights.  In fact Randy and I took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood tonight after dark so we could look at them.  I can't imagine being these boring people who don't put any lights up.  I told Randy I don't care if we lived in the middle of 100 acres and no one else could see us - I'd still put up lights because they make ME happy!  And people - timers are your friend!  They ensure your lights turn on, even if you're not home to do it!  I could see several houses that had them up, but not on. 

I'm hoping tomorrow goes smoothly with taking Miss Daisy in to get her sutures removed.  The burn on her belly doesn't look any different to me - better or worse. Hopefully the vet sees something positive. She's passed out on my lap right now, I don't know how she's even comfortable, but her little feets are twitching and I can play with them and her not move. 

We had record high temperatures for the past 2 days (and last night, too!)  It's bizarre to take the dog outside without bundling up, in fact standing out on the patio in just a t-shirt!  Not complaining in the slightest!  In fact, Lucy, the giant freakin' spider who lived between our backdoor and porch light all summer, is still around!  Yes, we named her and I'll spare you the picture.  Her body is easily the size of an M&M.  She's out there with a fresh web, but I can't imagine she's getting much to eat. I haven't seen any bugs. 

Time to go put the antiseptic on Daisy's belly and find some clothes to wear to work.  It's time to turn in!  


Thursday, December 10, 2015

And here we go!

We put the tree up last Wednesday and little Miss Daisy didn't seem to be too obnoxious around it. Friday, Angel & I put lights & garland on it and everything still seemed to be OK. I got around to putting a couple ball ornaments on it a couple nights ago and BINGO! The inevitable happened. 

She reached up past the silver & gold balls to get to the one shiny green ball and proceeded to knock it down several times. it's not even on the tree now. 
She's so funny that she will copy what Chester does - the much older, supposed-to-be wiser cat.  When I tried to put the rest of the ornaments on light night, he sat on top of the tote that I wanted to open.  Once I shoo'd him down, she had to get on it.  Mostly she's been lying under it, because the tree skirt is fleece so it's fluffy & warm.

So listen to this craziness - I took Daisy in last Thursday to get spayed.  Over the weekend, she appeared to lick a spot raw on her belly, next to the incision.  There was some weird swelling and it looked like she'd pulled a suture out, so I called the vet Monday and took her in.  There are 2 vets in this office we go to, Dr. R appears to be the senior vet and does the surgeries, Dr. K is the backup.  I like them both, actually.  We saw Dr. K this time.  The good news is, the swelling was normal (wish they would have told me that at the beginning!!), they glued the spot that was unsewed and they gave me some solution to soak the scabby spot on her belly and then told me to put Neosporin on it.  She took a picture and texted it to Dr. R, who wanted me to bring her back in to see it personally.  We went today.  She told me that Daisy had been the second recently-spayed cat to come in about this same thing and a third owner had just called.  They did some investigating and found out that the new bulb they'd just installed on the operating table had heated up the clamps so badly that the kittens had gotten burned!!!  I thought this lady was going to cry when she told me, she felt so bad!  I was just relieved they found out what it was and that we were already taking steps to help her heal.  The poor baby!  She goes back Monday to have the sutures removed and hopefully she won't have to go back for a long time.  Poor booger doesn't like the cage or car rides. And the last 2 times we've been there, there has been barking dogs in the lobby and she didn't like them at all.  Today the biggest bulldog I'd ever seen (named Sarge appropriately) kept lunging toward us.  I set the carrier on a chair and stood in front of it in case he got loose! 

This weekend is the first dance competition of the year for Miss Angela!  There's a new All-Star team at the studio and they'll be competing against high school dance teams and such.  She's actually been to the Michigan State Spirit Showdown a couple years ago, with the Utica JV dance team.  However, as of right now....they don't even have costumes (uniforms? costumiforms!)!! We paid for them back in September, so I'm not sure what the holdup has been!!!  They're supposed to be in tomorrow - sure hope they don't need any alterations (like Angel and a couple other girls usually need) but they do need to be rhinestoned!  Damn, people.

Doesn't everyone have a skeleton wearing an ugly Christmas sweater?
This is Rudy.  
He crossed over to the jolly side because he heard there are cookies and hot chocolate. 

So I haven't even brought in my nutcrackers yet.  I have a huge collection - over 100!  I have some in the house, the ones I acquired since putting stuff away last winter and my 3 really big guys.  But there's 3 huge totes full out in the garage, yet!  I've been in that Bah-Humbug mood because my house is a mess and I don't know what to do with all this CRAP!!  Our house is really small with very little storage so I have a hard time getting anything actually put away, because there is no such place!  I make fairly regular donations to the Vietnam Veterans, but it doesn't seem to make a dent.  Sometimes I want to burn the house down and just start over (being dramatic - I wouldn't actually do that!)

Last Saturday was my work Christmas party.  It's a nice time.  Fancy Italian restaurant with a 'mentalist' as entertainment.  Good food and we always get a bottle of wine from the owner of the company.  He always does a speech about the state of the company and how much he appreciates all of us.  He acknowledged the 12 new people hired this year and the 4 of us non-family people who have been with him over 15 years, then told us about raises & bonuses - hooray!  After the party, he invited us all into the bar to watch the Michigan State game and drinks were on him.  Randy and I don't care for football (Me Like Hockey!) so we opted to head home.

Randy must have eaten something that gave him hallucinations.  He was drifting in and out of sleep while I read, waiting from Miss Angela to get home from a friend's going-away party and he rolled over and told me there was a piece of glitter on his face.  So I told him to close his eyes and he wouldn't see it.  He told me it was red glitter and was burning a hole in his cheek!  What a goofball!

Last Sunday we went to the Detroit Zoo to see their "Wild Lights".  It was pretty neat.  We took Mom in our car so we could use her handicap parking and even got invited to park on the grass right next to the gate to the zoo!  It was a nice night.  They had hot chocolate stations and fire pits all along the route so it was pretty nice.  Right as we left, the fog started rolling in.

This is the water tower, we could barely see it!

I can't believe Christmas is in 2 weeks!  Where has 2015 gone?


Skywatch Friday 12/11

I.m going back a few weeks to the Friday after Thanksgiving to the tree lighting / fireworks at Huckleberry Railroad in Flint, MI. I took a video of the finale of the fireworks, but you could hear my mom really enjoying them.  While it's quite funny, she's pretty annoying, too. 

Linking up yet again over at Skywatch Fridays !