melaniesuzanne: (Me at SPWF2014 (by John T Riley))
December: This month has been filled with parties of various flavors. First there was Kerry and Jill's party, which was a fairly laid back affair. Then there was the cookie exchange party hosted my former neighbor Sam. She's been doing this for years and this was my first time for being able to attend. Oh my gracious, there were SO MANY cookies. I, myself, provided five dozen Lemon Crinkle Cookies. I don't know how big a hit they were with the others, but within my circle of friends they are like crack. (H/T to Kim for finding that recipe) Sadly, [ profile] rdhdsnippet and [ profile] scherzoid's solstice party was canceled due to illness, but since it was the same day as a DnD session, the beau and I stayed at James & Kim's with our buddies for a marathon game of Munchkin. The next day was another game of Munchkin at another friend's party. Wheeee!

A bittersweet gathering was the going-away party for some of the beau's friends. They're old SCA/gaming buddies of his and the wife of the couple landed her dream job on the west coast (which also happened to be their place of origin). I'd only just met them at the Labor Day party, but they're awfully good people and I'm sorry that I wasn't able to get to know them better. We drank beer and watched the Capitals stomp the tar out of the Blue Jay and reminisced about misspent youth.

On Christmas Eve, I dragged the beau out to look at some of the tackier light displays in Sterling. He pretends to be a curmudgeon about the holiday, but he enjoyed the kitsch and my enthusiasm. We also enjoyed a delicious dinner of honey-glazed ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and broccoli prepared by moiself and topped off with homemade pecan pie (also by moiself). We stayed up late watching "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and "A Christmas Story", as you do.

Christmas morning dawned late and we skyped with my family as they tore open presents at my brother's home. It's the next best thing to being there. We had our own small gift exchange with me giving himself R2-D2 and C-3PO ornaments, a Cat-a-pult, an Itty Bitty Book of Kitties, and a Lego kart. He gifted me with a Lego movie set featuring WyldStyle, an adorable bike bag, reflective stars for my bike spokes, and a sterling mouse ring.

We spent the evening with his folks and family friends where we dined on more ham (I love ham at Christmastime), visited for ages, and tore into gifts. Tom and Lois were so thoughtful with the adorable stocking stuffers and gorgeous infinity scarf. I really wasn't expecting anything and that was incredibly sweet. They like me. :-)

And now, we come to New Year's Eve where I'm co-hosting a party with James, Kim and the beau (whose name is Sean, by the way). There will be delicious food, adult beverages, and a bevvy of games. I can't think of a better way to send off a great year and welcome in a shiny new one.

office tree 2014


melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
We had a beautiful Christmas. Christmas Eve gave us a dusting of snow, half of a workday, and a viewing of "The Hobbit". Scott and I even drove around looking at Christmas lights for a bit.

I woke early, for me, on Christmas morning and we set to discovering what fun and unexpected gifts lay wrapped under the tree. Scott and I gave each other Lego sets: he received Lord of the Rings and I received The Hobbit. I also gave him the Lego Lord of the Rings video game. He spoiled me with a gift card to my favorite make-up store and a maid service. I love the former and am SO EXCITED about the latter. I think it was back in October that I told him the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a cleaning service because I HATE cleaning the bathroom and dusting. He really came through.

I baked our usual Christmas breakfast of gooey and drippy cinnamon rolls and we then Skyped with my family as they opened their gifts. It was complete pandemonium in Mom and Pete's living room and it was gorgeous. We then drove up to Annapolis for Christmas dinner with Scott's family. Sometimes that feels like an obligation, but yesterday's visit was a LOT of fun. Our nephew is seven and the twin nieces are five which, I think, are fun ages. I played with giant pipe cleaners and dolls with the girls and Scott geeked Star Wars with the nephew. Conversations with the adults were enjoyable as well and the time flew by.

This morning, I awoke to a snow-covered world. The weather guessers forecast freezing rain and sleet which meant I'd planned on working from home yet again. Now I get to enjoy the white death from the safety and comfort of my own sofa with two kitties for warmth. Plus, Scott just got home because it was a quiet day at work and the roads were getting dicey.
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
But it's starting to look like a white Christmas... just like the ones I've never known. The flakes have gotten significantly larger in the last thirty minutes from when I first noticed a flurry and the Weather Channel is predicting up to an inch west of DC. I'm keeping my toes crossed!

And if I'm too busy with family tomorrow, I wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas and much love to you and yours.


Dec. 14th, 2012 12:57 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
Thus far, today is a good day. It's a refreshing change from how the other days have been. I mean, they haven't been bad but they've been stressful for both Hubbyfink and myself. I've had good news about several different work projects which has almost made up for the (many) times over the past couple of weeks when I wanted to burst into tears from frustration. Hubbyfink's project from hell will HOPEFULLY be resolved today and then he can finally no longer be a wadded up bundle of stress. Happily, neither of us has been taking our respective stress out on each other.

I received confirmation last night that the Arkansas-bound and Tennessee-bound boxes of gifts arrived unscathed. All of my shopping is complete, wrapped, and under the tree. Unless he's been hiding things, Hubbyfink needs to start his shopping. That's not entirely true. He ordered a gift for my brother (who's name he drew) last week (because I wouldn't let up on nagging him about it). In other Christmas news, the cats have not destroyed any ornaments (as of this writing, anyway) and the sacrificial plastic ornaments fastened to the lower branches around the center of the tree have done a fantastic job of both keeping the four-leggeds entertained and reflecting light back through the bare spots amongst the branches.

Obligatory tree photo )

The tree doesn't entirely look like that anymore. I have compulsively rearranged the ornaments several times to fill in holes and blank spots. I spotted the most grievous hole while on the sofa last night and Scott actually physically held me down to keep me from jumping up to rearrange again. I wriggled away by claiming that I needed to get my dinner from the oven and then zipped around him to move one ornament from a less-than-ideal spot into the hole. Much better.

We took to calling Oreo "Smaug" and Margie "Little Smaug" because they both jealously guarded the bottom of the tree. At this point, neither can fit under the tree because of all of the gifts, so Smaug curls up on his favorites at the periphery. I know he'll be happy to crawl back into his tree cave in a week and a half.
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
I'm going to start with the bad: I broke Rose's right pedal this morning. Must've taken off too hard at the stoplight. I felt a sickening crunch, looked down, and saw a chunk of the pedal missing. Bugger. She's still rideable, hopefully; I mean, I got to the campus and parked her just fine. Ah well, it's been about a month since I was last in my local Spokes Etc...

The good: Rose is decked out for Christmas.

Christmas rose

I found two sets of battery-operated, old-fashioned looking lights at Target last night and remembered about the wreath-looking candle rings amongst my Christmas decor yesterday. A third of a pack of tiny black zipties later, et voila: Christmas Rose! The two guy commuters I passed today didn't notice, but the girl commuter smiled at my cheerful basket.

I haven't gotten brave enough to wear a Santa hat over my helmet. Maybe next week.
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
I keep messing up my husband's gym plans. When I left the orthodontist last night, I noticed how warm the air felt and decided that I needed to get on my bike before the rain and cold front came through Thursday night. I called Hubbyfink and suggested we go for a ride through the neighborhoods across the boulevard (which are NOTORIOUS for tacky [as well as pretty] Christmas light displays).

It really was a perfect night for a ride. No wind, mid-40s temps, little traffic, and great light displays. Hubbyfink usually suffers with decent humor my desire to drive around looking at lights; I asked if a ride wasn't a much better way to view the lights. His only complaint was that he couldn't drink while riding around.*

*It's how my stepdad gets through touring Christmas lights with Mom and me. He'll have a Sheltie on his lap and a Miller Lite in his hand. It's a family tradition!


Dec. 12th, 2011 11:25 am
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
On Friday, Hubbyfink was trying to muster up enthusiasm to go to the gym. I suggested that he instead meet me on the way home and we could bike through a few neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. He liked that idea and that's exactly what we did.

He didn't want to wait at the proposed meeting place and instead met me a little further than halfway. We nearly passed each other on the trail, but he recognized the Christmas lights adorning my basket. He also mentioned that he could see my headlight from the time I turned off the street onto the trail, a distance of just over a mile. And that was on medium power! Heh heh heh. Another fun thing was that I was able to keep up with him as we rode up the Rte 28 overpass. I've never been able to keep up with him. Yay!

We jumped off the trail at Church and rode the sidewalk down to the next neighborhood. We (okay, I) oohed and aahed at the pretty lights and amusing yard displays. I wish I'd taken my camera, but I'm not very good at taking night shots anyway. The funniest set-up, though, was a yard full of inflatable penguins, snowmen, and a Frankenstein monster with a jack-o-lantern at his feet. Hubbyfink didn't notice the monster as we passed and did a u-turn so he could boggle at it as well. On the way home, we passed a Santa on a Harley. Our neighborhood is lighting up even if our street is still pretty dark. If we get another warm snap, I'd like to tour through the neighborhoods on the other side of the boulevard. There's some seriously tacky stuff other there.
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
It's been pretty wonderful. We had a small turn-out of friends last night and shared much merriment, snacks, and holiday punch until just about midnight. We tidied up and raced for bed because we were both pretty exhausted.

This morning started with snow flurries and cinnamon rolls for us and a stocking full of catnip toys for Margie and Oreo. Hubbyfink spoiled me with a new webcam, Bluetooth speaker for the truck, "Epic Mickey" for the Wii, "Fantasia" blu-ray, and Farmville bucks gifts cards. I spoiled Hubbyfink with catalogs from "The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain" and "The Baroque World of Fernando Botero", a wireless bass guitar controller for Rock Band, and silver-threaded gloves so his fingers will stay warm when he uses his phone. My parents sent lots of great presents for us, the cats, and our tree.

We spent an hour on Skype watching my family open gifts. We'll be leaving soon for dinner with Scott's folks in Annapolis. If the weather holds, we'll drive around looking at lights tonight.

Merry Christmas, dear friends!
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
Christmas shopping: done
Christmas wrapping: done
Christmas shipping: done
Christmas decorating: done
Christmas cards: done
Christmas groceries: tonight
Christmas party: Friday

I'm ready for the celebrating to begin. *bounce*bounce*
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
My loot: Sparkly necklace & earrings set and "Super Mario Bros Wii" from the 'fink (plus the laptop, of course); money from Mom; money, Waterford divided platter, jewelry box, monogrammed notebook thingie, monogrammed cocktail napkins, and crystal mouthwash decanter (I kid you not; the stopper is part shot glass) from Daddy & Linda.

Hubbyfink's loot: "Brutal Legend", "Borderlands", and money from Mom; knife sharpener, dress shirt, and Lowes gift card from Daddy & Linda; Flip Mino HD camcorder, tripod, carry case, and two pair Smartwool socks from me.

Christmas dinner: Honeybaked ham, green bean casserole, corn casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry salad and very aged cranberry cordial made by Jonah. Desert was apple pie.

Best part of the day: Watching the Tennessee family open their gifts via Skype and taking them on a video tour of our house and showing them all the snow on the ground. That really and truly was a lot of fun and took the edge off of not being there with everyone.

Today I put all that Christmas money to good use and spent a small fortune on new work clothes at Lane Bryant. Gotta love getting everything at nearly 75% between the store sale and extra discounts. Hubbyfink has, of course, been wearing a hole in the "Borderlands" game disc and is working on doing the same with "Brutal Legend". He will have to take a break in a few hours for the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

I think it's time for more pie.
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
Hubbyfink and I are in Virginia while my family is in Tennessee. We're watching them open gifts and chatting with them via Skype. It's almost like being there with the added bonus of not smelling the collard greens simmering on the stove. ;)

Merry Christmas!
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
I want to bake and decorate Christmas cookies, but I'm too tired from staying up late playing a video game. Maybe I can sneak in a quick nap while Hubbyfink is searching for Ice Melt. Margie is trying to lay a sleepy spell on me by blinking slowly and deeply as she soaks up a sunbeam in the entryway.

I hope that Hubbyfink will feel up to driving around looking at Christmas lights tonight.

Merry Christmas, friends.
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
Hubbyfink's gifts are wrapped and have been placed under the tabletop tree with care. I've ordered our Honeybaked Ham and will pick it up Wednesday (mmmm... ham). I'm going to pick up ingredients for Christmas dinner side dishes tonight.

In other news, I fired up "Bioshock" last night and played for an hour or so. I want to LOVE this game, but I don't yet. I'm getting killed too much. Maybe I shouldn't have set the difficulty at "medium". It's a pretty game, though, no argument there.
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
The Beasley-Cozad-Dangerfield-Danosky-Harris-Johnson Christmas eve celebration included a cameo by [ profile] zipmeister, who had pretty much recovered from his mysterious pain, which meant that we had eleven adults around the dining table with Zippy and Aunt Trish sharing a table a deux (Aunt Jan lost the coin toss) in the archway between the dining and formal living rooms. The only people missing were Johnny's girlfriend who had finally arrived at her sister's house in Ohio and [ profile] beaznut's girlfriend who was sharing Christmas eve dinner with her own family. Our plates were piled high with turkey and honeybaked ham, mashed potatoes and green beans, brother-in-law Chris' sausage-infused stuffing, and Aunt Trisha's cranberry-citrus-coconut salad. We finished dinner with pecan crumble, hot fudge pie, and vanilla ice cream.

The present-opening orgy started late this morning as we waited for the star of the show, Baby Bear, to arrive with his entourage. Beaz's girlfriend Melinda arrived as we filled our glasses with egg nog, Bellinis, or Bloody Marys and all gathered in the living room for the gift exchange. Mom had filled our stockings with all sorts of fun goodies and we kids managed to overfill Mom and Pete's stockings until they nearly burst! Hubbyfink picked up on the not-so-subtle hints and gave me "Left 4 Dead" for the 360. Whoo hoo! He also gave me a pink wireless 360 controller. I've never had my very own controller before. Everybody enjoyed their gifts and there was much gushing over the cuteness of Bear's presents.

Johnny left for Ohio around 2pm and my sister's family cleared out about an hour after that. Beaz and Melinda stuck around for another hour or so and then left for Melinda's parent's home to celebrate her birthday. Mom and I sneaked in a very polite Scrabble game before she and the aunts left to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". Pete, Hubbyfink and I have been vegging in front of the tube.

Tomorrow we trek over to Arkansas to visit my dad and his family. Saturday... we'll still be in Memphis. I need one more day with my family and Hubbyfink's agreeable. Work on Monday could suck, but we're going home Sunday. Yay!


Dec. 22nd, 2008 01:20 am
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
We made to Germantown safely. Left Sterling at 7am ET Saturday and arrived at Mom's front door about 7:15pm CT Saturday. Hubbyfink was an absolute saint and drove most of the way while I dozed feverishly through nearly all of Virginia and a small portion of Tennessee. Ate at the Kingsport Sonic.

Pete's sister Jan is visiting from Australia. I haven't seen her since late 1990 when she and her kids visited for Christmas. [ profile] beaznuts and his girlfriend Melinda stopped by to visit about an hour after we got to Mom's. Poor Beaz was soo sick; he was much worse than Mom (who also has a cold) and me.

Today Mom, Aunt Jan, and I shopped. And shopped. And shopped some more. Hubbyfink found us at Dress Barn where I was buying a whole new wardrobe (I was, and still am, going through an I-hate-everything-I-brought-to-Memphis phase). We left Mom and Jan at Stein Mart and boogied back home with a surgical strike on Tarzhay and Backyard Burgers en route. [ profile] zipmeister showed up at Mom's house shortly after we got back home. Zippy was kind enough to arrange for us to see long-missed friends Andy and Carol. (Andy was our DM for D&D and the Toreador annoyance to my Malkavian in Vampire: the Masquerade back in the day). I don't think Hubbyfink's met Andy and Carol and I'm pretty sure I haven't seen them in about seven years. We went out to the Germantown Commissary and stuffed ourselves silly on barbecued pig and lemon icebox pie.

It's cold down here; I don't think it got above freezing today and it's supposed to be as cold tomorrow, but will be up in the 60s by week's end. I guess we just barely missed an ice storm back home. Yikes.

Baby brother John -- the football hero -- and his buddies have been playing Rock Band tonight and he was kind enough to let his middle-aged sister hang out and watch him and his friends play. They even let me sing a few songs and fistbumped me when I got 100%. Heh.

Tomorrow's schedule includes more shopping -- this time with [ profile] zipmeister so we can get each other's birthday-mas gifts -- and picking up Aunt Trisha from the airport. Things weren't going very nicely for her at home and we talked her into catching a last-minute flight up from Orlando. When she's here, every bed in the house will be taken. Heh. Plus, I'll finally get to see Mimi, Chris and Charlie Bear tomorrow. They were supposed to come over today, but Mimi was afraid of Bear catching Mom's and my colds. He hasn't been sick yet and she doesn't want his first cold to be during Christmas.

Hubbyfink's been asleep for a couple of hours now. Since I can't stop yawning, I should probably go join him.
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
I'm 900 miles away from all of them and I still wind up being the go-between arranging family get-togethers for my siblings and father. Sheesh. At least we've finally got a date for the Christmas visit.


Dec. 15th, 2008 09:59 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
Gifts are wrapped and ready for transport to Memphis this weekend. Whoo hoo! Unfortunately, I'm now hobbling around like a 90-year-old woman because my back hurts so bad from wrapping gifts on the floor for two hours. Oof.
melaniesuzanne: (Work for plague by deliciouspear)
But it's a good busy. I put in requests for shipping documents back in October and the air waybills are finally coming back from the export department. I have stacks of little boxes piled about my cube waiting for the shipping department to retrieve them and send them on their merry way to various Asian and Australian destinations. I've answered questions from coworkers in a teach-a-man-to-fish manner rather than just throwing fish at them.

And I have fabulous corporate hair today. Fabulous.

I still haven't wrapped Christmas gifts. I'd planned on tackling the pile last night, but I was fairly zombified by the time I got home. Since tonight is choir practice, I think Wednesday will be gift night. The Charlie Brown Christmas special is on the DVR and will make a good backdrop for the activity.

I have some ideas for decorating the hall for this weekend's event and I'm finally feeling not-panicky about my first whirl as an autocrat. The Revel is going to be a fun and relaxing event.
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
A quiet turkeyless Thanksgiving day with the Hubbyfink was followed by a busy Black Friday where I did my part to shore up the US economy. Thanks to an award from work, I was able to get Hubbyfink an Xbox360 as an early Christmas gift and scored an 8Gig Nano for myself.

[ profile] psalite, [ profile] pirategirleee, and I visited Colonial Williamsburg on Saturday, with an obligatory stop at the Williamsburg Sonic for good measure. We were smart and parked at the visitor center and caught a bus over to Colonial Williamsburg. We met a delightful lady in Mistress Dickerson's shop with whom we discussed things Regency while purchasing yummy soaps. We oohed and aahed at the decorations (I want to make a pomegranate and pineapple wreath), shopped 'til we very nearly dropped, and dined like kings at the Kings Arms Tavern. The whole day we kept saying to each other: "This is SO much fun!" And it was.

So, between Friday and Saturday's expeditions, I have just about finished my Christmas shopping. Need one more item for my father and something for my brothers and I'm done. Yay!

No, the Daily Ornament Report hasn't cranked up. It might not run at all this year. Since we're going to Memphis for Christmas, I'm debating even putting up the tree. Plus, weekends are full: this weekend is Unevent, next weekend is Ponte Alto's Winter's Welcome Revel (which I'm autocratting), and the following weekend we leave for Memphis. We may do what we did our first Christmas in the house and just put presents under the tabletop tree.


Nov. 5th, 2008 06:25 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Stress!)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
6:24pm EST

First Christmas commercial of the season viewed on HGTV. (It was for Hallmark's motion-activated alarm bags.)


melaniesuzanne: (Default)
Mary F'ing Sunshine

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