Tuesday, December 26, 2006

No News is Good News

Merry Christmas! I hope every one had as great a holiday yesterday as I did. Christmas day started out with some morning nookie (a perfect way to wake up, if you ask me). Shortly after that, Bear and I raced each other down stairs to give each other our presents. I got some fabulous stuff, including a new Brian Froud book and a Wheel of Fortune electronic game (ironic, you see, as I was on Wheel of Fortune in 2004). When our own presents were opened and we had put all of the candy on a shelf too high for the dog to reach, we made the two hour drive to my parents' house for their Christmas. This year the Golden Child and his wife were there, so I didn't have to suffer through a single "when-are-you-going-to-give-us-a-grandchild" inquisition. I got the black socks I needed so desperately and the wedding autograph mat that I asked for, too. All the rest was just extra.

Wedding things are going well. Daddy, Bear and I measured the spot for the tents, and I think we are going to have a 40x20 and a 20x20 tent up for guests. Daddy is going to have a company come in and put down gravel to level the ground and pack it down. I reminded him to leave a spot for the pota-potties, too. He is actually doing quite a bit to his property for the wedding. I'm trying not to feel bad for putting him out like this. I keep reminding myself that he WANTS to do this.

My goal is to have a rental vendor booked by the 14th of January. Any later than that and all the good rental places will be taken. I have to look at the brochures again and make some more calls. The Golden Child's wife also suggested that I actually visit the vendor to physically look at the tents, to make sure that I know what I'm paying for. Good advice! Daddy made the suggestion that this spring I get the photographer out to the house to make suggestions on prime photograph spots - I have worked with her before and trust her implicitly, so I think that I will do pretty much whatever she says. I LOVE her.

We have our toasting goblets (another Christmas gift); they are a plain silver goblet. I like them, but I think I am going to have them engraved with our names and wedding date just to add to them a bit. So toasting goblets, autograph frame, wedding bands, and location are all a go. Finally, I feel like something is being accomplished!

Amidst all this good news, however, there has been some bad. Some really bad news. actually. A few weeks ago, I blogged about having to take my cat Inigo to the vets because he had swallowed some string. I thought after he passed a big chunk that he was fine, but apparently there was a foot of string left in his stomach. Over the last few weeks, the string choked off a piece of bowel and turned spetic, and it died. In turn, that caused a buildup of bacteria and food in his intestine, which ruptured Thursday night. Inigo was fine all day until about four o'clock, when he crashed fast. Bear and I rushed him to the emergency vet, but he didn't make it. Inigo Montoya, aged one year and four months, passed away Thursday, December 21, at 11:21 pm. I am, of course, heartbroken over this loss. I feel that in some ways it is my fault, that he died because I wasn't careful enough, didn't do enough to save him. Bear tells me that I did everything I could, that I loved him and cared for him and that is all Inigo could have asked for. Some days, that makes me feel better.

Most days, I just want my kitten back.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Blog Visitors

I have a sitemeter on my blog, which keeps track of all the visitors I get every day. I look at it once a week at least, seeing who has been to my page and how many pages they look at. When I checked it this morning, I had 666 page views! There is a place to see where readers are reading from (it even tells me who their ISP is and what browser they used to look at my page! I think it is kind of creepy, actually!). Below is a list of places my readers come from:

  • United Kingdom - Letchworth, Norfolk (I have no idea where this is in the UK)
  • United States - Palo Alto, California (This is a regular visitor who doesn't comment. Not sure who she is, but I'm glad she's a reader!)
  • Czech Republic - Praha, Hlavni Mesto Praha (This was probably an accidental hit, but I think it's cool)
  • United States - Red Wing, Minnesota (This is my blogger friend Sue who authors Brite Hope)
  • Germany - Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen (Do you think they smell nice here?)
  • United Kingdom - Southend-on-Sea (Of all of my visitors, this one has the prettiest sounding location)
  • Morocco - Casablanca (Of all of the blogs in all of the world, you had to click on mine. :) )
  • New Zealand - Hamilton (I think the New Zealand visitors are thanks to the Word Imp at Word Imperfect)
  • Singapore - Singapore, Dakar (Another accidental mouse-click, I think)
  • Egypt - Al Manyal, Al Jiza (Ditto)
  • United States - Clovis, New Mexico (Clovis reminds me of clover for some reason)
  • United States - Deerfield, Illinois (deer eat clover, don't they?)
  • Canada - Hamilton, Ontario (I have had several one-time hits from Canada, but no repeaters. Apparently, I'm not very popular there)
  • United States - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (This makes me think my blog is smart; I Pennsylvania, I'm convinced, is filled with politically minded smart people with lots of class. I don't know why I think this way)
  • United States - Scarborough, Maine (This is my ex-best friend who checks my blog from time to time)
  • New Zealand - Mokai (another Word Imp hit)
  • United States - Petaluma, California (Never heard of it, but it sounds pretty. I wonder if it is in Northern or Southern California?)
  • United States - Wilmington, Massachusetts (I wonder how many Wilmingtons there are in the US?)
And those visitors are just this month! I love this Blogger thing, even though I worry that I have nothing earth-shattering (or even interesting) to say. Do that many people really want to read about me? If so, terrific. Beyond terrific, really. I do with that more people would leave comments, though. I would like to know what people are thinking as they read me. Well, except maybe the foreign language people... I'm not up on my Czech (is that even what they speak there?)


Taking the Good with the Bad

Christmas is my all-time favorite time of year. The months-long buildup to Christmas gets my nerve endings tingling. I've been known to have a "twitch," an involuntary shudder that is my excitement literally bursting out of my body. I have been twitching at least once a day for weeks. It's like I'm leaking excitement like a fire hydrant leaks water. Just last night I had one while watching the live-action version of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." It wasn't as good as the animated version, but it still made me laugh. Bear thinks I'm ridiculous, but he can't really talk. He is as big into Christmas as I am this year. I was supposed to make my father trigger finger mittens as one of his presents, but the pattern is terrible and the thing looks more like a dysfunctional oven mitt than a mitten, so I gave up. I told Bear this while we were upstairs, in bed, getting ready to take a nap. His mind started working on what to get him instead and within a few minutes he was urging me to get up so we could drive to Bangor (a fifty mile drive) to get him something. The cost of that something? Eighty-eight dollars and change. Bear, it turns out, is a compulsive giver. If one gift is good, than more gifts are better. We are poor as church mice right now, but there is a stack of presents under the tree that threatens to overrun the livingroom! Is it any wonder I love him so much?

I have one minor wedding update - we got our wedding bands! Saturday we looked at a few jewelry stores, trying to find a band Bear would like. I picked out the diamond, so I told him he could pick out the band. I care less that the band matches my diamond than I care that my band and his match. The first store we looked at was Day's Jewelers. They had a titanium band that Bear liked, but the sales associate was kind of pushy and told us that titanium and tungsten bands CAN still be cut off if they need to be. That was contrary to the information I had. We opted to wait and come back if we still liked that band the best. Next we went to G.M Pollack and Sons jewelers, where there were several beautiful bands that were all out of our price range. We were really hoping to spend less money on the bands than we had on my #3,300 engagement ring. The third place we stopped was Kay Jewelers, which is the store we got my diamond from. The lady that helped us was the same one that we got the first ring from. This was good, because we like her. Kay had something the other stores didn't - stainless steel. They had titanium and tungsten (she told us that the tungsten has to be SMASHED off a finger! We took that metal off of the list of potential rings), but knowing Bear as I do, I thought he might like the look and weight of the steel. I was right! The right he liked fit him right from the case and was only $79.99! We ordered a matching ring in a size 7 for me. You can see the ring here What do you think?

I know the subject title says the good with the bad, and all I have mentioned so far is the good. Well, here it comes: the Bad News.

1. Minnie, our twelve-year-old beagle, has ruined two Christmas presents so far. The first was a box of Lindt truffles meant for my stocking, the second a box of Rese's Peanut Butter Cups for Bear's stocking.

2. As angry as we are that a dog ate the chocolate intended for us, we are also concerned for her health. Usually she manages to eat chocolate no problem, but for two days her heart has been pounding and she has been breathing really heavily. It may be because of the chocolate, but it may also be a worsening of her heart murmur (she has had this for quite some time). We are watching her carefully, but if she doesn't get better, she must go to the vets. I don't think they will be able to do much to help her if it is her heart.
And right before Christmas, too.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Another Wedding Update

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the wedding venue might be changing. Bear and I both have concerns about the presence of Lyme-infected ticks, as he was bitten with one this fall and got the disease. After much discussion (too much discussion, it turns out - I got so sick of talking about it that I actually considered just living in sin forever), we arrived at a decision.

We are going to get married at my parents' house as originally planned. I am going to go down to my parents' the week before the wedding and cut brush, mow lawns, weed whack and otherwise clear out as much verdant growth as I can, in hopes of discouraging the wee beasties from hanging around. I also think I am going to have bug spray at all the tables so parents and children can have an extra layer of protection. What else can I do? There is NO WHERE else to get married and have a reception that won't cost a ton of money, not to mention it is getting late in the planning process, so all the prime locations are already taken.

We did get one other piece of wedding news. Bear's sister and her husband are giving us $1,000 for the wedding, and they are going to give it to us early to help pay for the wedding. It was an unexpected and fabulously generous gift. Both Bear and I feel much better about paying for the wedding with that money to help out. It is at least a third of our budget, and is probably closer to half.

The wedding is in 199 days - I now have 199 days to lose 20 pounds. That averages easily into a pound every ten days. Eek! I need to get going! Any advice?


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bored... See what I Found?

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Maybe it is all just fluff, but it was flattering fluff!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


As I write this, it is snowing outside. It has snowed twice this week, and while there hasn't been much accumulation, it is definitely getting me into the holiday season. There is just something so Christmassy about snow. I wonder sometimes if Christmas would be as important a holiday to me if I moved to the southern U.S., where there is no snow and not really any cold weather. It was 10 degrees when I got into my car this morning. Christmas is supposed to be a cold, snowy time. Snow is magical - it covers everything, making the world clean and new again. To me, snow is a lot like a temporary tatoo - you can put it everywhere, and after a while it fades. Don't like the snow man you made? Wait long enough, and the snow man will magicaly disappear. Poorly made snow angel? A good strong wind will drift snow over it, leaving a blank canvas again. What's not to love about snow?

One of my favorite snow activities is to clean off my windshield or other smooth surface and look at the individual snowflakes as they fall. The really are gorgeous - even the asymmetrical gimps. How often in life can you say that?


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wonderous Strange

My students are practicing scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream right now. They will be performing it in class on Thursday. It's FANTASTIC! They are so into what they are doing there are no discipline problems or slacking at all. It is really making my day. I will take lots of pictures and hopefully video tape to share what I see with my students. Later this year we will be doing drama as a huge unit, so I am planning to have lots more acting. I had no idea this would be as successful as it is. Yeay me!

Inigo and Bear are both feeling much better (yeay!). We have not made up our minds about the wedding location, and I think we are going to hold off making a decision until after Christmas. That's cutting it close for rental vendors, but I don't see that there is much of a choice, really. A simple solution is not presenting itself.

Christmas shopping is done for everyone but Bear. I know what I'm getting him, I just have to do it. Half of our Christmas cards are written, too and are awaiting addresses and stamps for mailing. I have never been ready so early in a season before. I can't believe it! Where are you in your holiday preparedness?


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Wedding Crisis

This past week, Bear was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, which he contracted from a tick bite. Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics, and cuases little damage if caught and treated early. Failure to seek treatment can cause sleeping problems, heart damage, neurological problems, and in some extreme cases, Lyme Disease can kill you (such occurences are extremely rare). The tick that bit him was tiny, so tiny we didn't see it was on him until the next day. The tick came from my parents' property.

The same property I'm supposed to be married on in less than seven months' time.

Bear and I have talked about this, and although we haven't come to any decision, we both know that we would feel terrible if one or more of our guests got Lyme Disease while at our wedding. The ticks are everywhere so there's no real way to avoid being bitten. Not all of the ticks carry the disease (only two types of ticks are known carriers, and of the dozen or so we found on us this past year, only one of them was the correct type of tick), but are we willing to take that chance? What about all of the children that will be there? Who knows when you'd notice a tick on a child's body? It takes less than 24 hours for a tick to pass on the bacteria.

Bear and I are sick about this. I want to get married at my parents' house for so many reasons, but I just don't know if those reasons are enough to risk the health of my family and friends. I don't have a lot of time to figure this out, either. Either we need to find a new place or we need to suck it up and use the place we'd already chosen. The thing is, if we don't get married at my parents', we have NO IDEA where to get married instead.

Any ideas? Help!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Hey! It's Okay...

Have you ever read Glamour magazine? In each issue there's a page titled, "Hey! it's okay..." that lists several things you shouldn't feel guilty about. I think it's a fabulous idea, so I created my own list. See what you think:

Hey! It's Okay...
  • If you prefer his five dollar pillow to your designer one.
  • To spend more on Christmas gifts for your pets than your parents.
  • To go to a party just for the food.
  • To be a singing sensation - alone in your car.
  • If your favorite section of the newspaper is still the comics.
  • If the word "kumquat" still makes you giggle.
  • If you still listen for hoofbeats on your roof... just in case.
  • To eat just the really buttery pieces of popcorn, and toss the rest.
  • To wonder if you can still be sexy in bed... with your socks on.
  • To think of your birthday as a holiday. and take the day off work.
What would you add to the list? Let me know!