Thursday, December 15, 2005

Awaiting the proverbial shoe

Those of you who read the JPC board have already seen the majority of the first few paragraphs of this post. My apologies for the repeat. It is still weighing heavily on my mind.

As far as Christmas goes, I am as done as I can be at this point. All Christmas cards have been sent, all presents have been bought or ordered, and all the ones that have arrived already have been wrapped (still waiting on several shipments), even if we can't put them out yet due to cats and kid. They are currently sitting in my closet. Most of the out of town packages have gone out; if Amazon would just hurry up and get my boxes to me, I'd be done with that, too! I've even packed the stockings already (we're using buckets this year, but they're cute), so all I have to do is set those out Christmas morning.

The Christmas menu is set, and I've started buying the groceries. Dry goods/non-perishables were last week, this week is cold stuff that will keep (cheeses, frozen meats, etc), and next week is fresh meat, dairy, and produce. Most of the decorating is done, sans tree, and we're waiting as long as possible on that one to allow for minimal destruct... I mean, temptation for four cats (who have never seen a Christmas tree before) and a 14-month-old. Will probably go up around the 20th or so. Can't make any of the goodies this far ahead, so must wait on that. Actuall, I think I just decided not to put the tree up. Might go hunt for a small inexpensive one tomorrow, but the thought of putting up a huge tree that would take up most of the foyer, which Luke likes to use as a play area, just doesn't seem fair. So, no tree. Guess that means all I really have left to do is clean the bathrooms and vacuum the house from top to bottom (as opposed to those "spot clean" type jobs I normally do).

Trust me, I'm not always this prepared. Even DH can't believe we're so far ahead of the game. That means something catastrophic is going to happen, and it will probably wait for my family to get here to do it. ::sigh:: Just waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. I hate feeling like this. I wish that whatever it is that is going to go wrong (and there will be something), it would go ahead and do it, so I could stop worrying about it.

I'm worried about everything this year. I had no idea hosting Christmas would be so stressful! It shouldn't be. Even if something goes wrong, my family won't care. But it's still niggling at me. We've spent the last 15 Christmases at my parents' house in my home town, from high school through last year. It is kind-of exciting to do it somewhere new, but I gotta say, it's rather nerve-wracking for me personally, since it will be at *my* house! What if no body likes the food? What if my brother doesn't get any sleep since we have no bed for him? (He'll be on the couch, though he swears he doesn't mind.) No one will enjoy themselves because it doesn't look Christmas-y enough, since all we'll have up is fake stockings (it's a table runner; it can't actually hold goodies, thus the buckets discussed earlier) and no tree. It won't feel like Christmas because we can't put gifts under the tree due to cats and baby. What if no one likes what I got them? What if everyone goes home and says they wish we'd had it at my parents' instead because it was the worst Christmas ever! Okay, so I doubt that last part, but I still don't want people feeling sorry because it was "missing something" being here instead of at "home." ::sigh:: Ten more days, and I'll be put out of most of my misery.

Unless the catastrophe waits for everyone to get here before occurring, in which case I have yet more worrying to do.

Currently feeling: restless

Friday, December 09, 2005

Major holiday shopping rant

You'd think I'd have learned better. Every year, I swear I'm only going to order from catalogs or online, and I will be done shopping by Thanksgiving. Paying the shipping is (usually) worth not having to deal with people and parking and standing in line. I have never managed the only catalogs/online part, and only one year that I can think of have I managed the Thanksgiving part. I am, however, usually done by December 10, and I have made that this year, granted with only 8 hours to spare. I finished up this afternoon, after venturing out to the mall.

First off, it is now mid-December; only 16 shopping days are left. Then please explain to me WHY I had to go to four different registers at Macy's to find one that had a cashier?! This was only downstairs, by the way. Upstairs, they had them coming out of their ears, with no customers, but they couldn't ring up my purchase because they do make-up counter stuff only (yes, I know they are usually employed by the make-up company, not just the store). This is a store; last time I checked, they were in the business to sell stuff and to make money while doing it. I should not have to put serious time and effort into trying to give them my money! If it hadn't been for the fact that I could only get what I wanted at this store or at the one half-way across town (at a much busier mall), I would simply have left.

And while I appreciate the customer service aspect of allowing returns at any register (most definitely convenient if you are trying to return or exchange something), it is decidedly NOT convenient for those of us who just want to give you our single item, give you our credit card, and leave. When every register (well, those who have cashiers who don't say "sorry, I'm not open, please go to the next department") has 3-4 people in line trying to do major returns, that takes an incredible amount of time. Could you please have *one* register open for people who just want to pay and leave (and that does not take checks!)?

Oh yes, other customers please have your method of payment out and ready to go by the time they finish ringing you up. If you're using a check (and I'd really rather that you didn't), have it filled in and signed, and have your ID out and ready; you *know* they're going to ask! If you're using a credit card or cash, have it out and ready. PLEASE DO NOT wait until after your purchase has been rung up and bagged to then pick up your purse and start rummaging around in it, looking for your wallet, debating whether to use cash or card or which card to use. What, did you think they were going to ring it up and then say "it's on the house"? NO, they're not. You are going to have to pay for these things. So act like it! Be ready to pay once they're done ringing you up.

And by the way, if you see a car half-way pulled out of a space, please DO NOT block that car in while waiting on a space that is two slots closer to the door. That is just plain flat out RUDE, and if you hadn't moved when I honked my horn, I would have gotten out of the car and given you a piece of my mind. That parking space is not that important, and you clearly knew I was there and partially out of my space when you pulled up, because you swung your car out to go around me and then stopped directly behind me. If it hadn't been because I can't afford the higher insurance or the damage to my car, I probably would have intentionally backed into you, just to make myself feel better!

Currently feeling: supremely aggrivated

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Menu Happy Dance!

Well, after several weeks of agonizing, I finally have the Christmas week menu selected and set, and I've even made up a grocery list with items that can be bought over the next few weeks (so we don't have to spend $500 on food all in one shot a few days before Christmas). I tell you what, it's hard to come up with three meals a day for 10 days without falling back on the "boring" stuff that all of us tend to eat frequently. Granted, I slotted in a few leftovers and eat-outs (take out or dine out, as we feel like it), but it was still hard. I have at least two new meals to try, though one of them has been vouched for by my brother, which makes me feel better. Even then, I had to slot in one "usual boring" meal of Ritzy Chicken Casserole, but I needed something quick and easy for a lunch one day, and I had looked at recipes until my eyes were bugging out of my head. So, Ritzy Chicken it is!

I also ordered the last of my Christmas gifts today. Between today's spending spree (carefully planned, of course) and yesterday's mammoth trip to Best Buy, I think I only have *one* gift left to buy: Godiva chocolate for my grandmother. That is her annual gift, and while I don't think I will be getting her the usual mixed box (she's having trouble eating things that are too much effort, like caramel), I know she would be disappointed if she didn't get any. I'll probably do an assortment of their chocolate bars, since she can break off as much or as little of them as she wants at a time. Besides, the nurse keeps saying she needs to gain some weight. I know this will help! LOL

So, food is set and the gifts are set, assuming they all arrive on time. Just need to clean, wrap, and decorate. (Oh, is *that* all?) Oops, and mail gifts to distant recipients. I may yet pull this off!
Currently feeling: exuberant

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Christmas Miracle

Okay, so it is an extremely minor one, but it certainly warmed my heart all the same. For any of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know of the great passion that DH and I share for a capella music in general, and Rockapella in particular. Well, we were in the grocery store, and what should we hear playing on the speakers but Rockapella's "Little Mary Snowflake." I was floored! I have never ever ever heard them played on any kind of radio station, and there they were. We were probably the only people there who recognized the song!

I hope it is great exposure for them. They've been making music for over 15 years now, they have had national television exposure in commercials and twice on PBS, and they're still virtually unknown in this country. (OTOH, they're huge in Japan, the way NSYNC was a few years ago here.) They really deserve some success. Perhaps some radio exposure for them, even if it's just at Christmas, will help.

Currently feeling: in tune

Saturday, December 03, 2005

If I only had a brain

Well, DH just made me feel stupid. They're showing The Wizard of Oz on TNT right now. I love that movie! I can't tell you how many times I've seen it. I know most of the dialog and songs by heart. So, we're watching the Tin Man introduction scene, and it comes to the line "I'd be friends with the sparrows, and the boy who shoots the arrows." And DH looks at me and says "I don't know how long it took me to figure out who they meant by that." Who they meant by what? "The boy who shoots the arrows." Well, he lives in the woods; I always assumed he meant a neighbor or something. DH just looks at me like I'm a loon. "It's Cupid!" he says. Oh. Can you say DUH? Man, I feel like an idiot. He's absolutely right, and I can't believe I never caught on before. It's just one of those things that I know so well, I don't even think about it anymore.

Currently feeling: stupid

Friday, December 02, 2005

If it ain't broke....

Don't fix it. Just redecorate it! LOL Thus, you will notice that this new (temporary, of course) color scheme looks remarkably like my old one, at least in style. It's the easiest one for me to manipulate without really knowing what I'm doing. One day, I'll sit down and learn CSS and create my own template. But today at 1:30 AM was not the time. (I'm great at modifying CSS code, just not so much on creating it.) I wanted something festive and cheery, and this one struck my fancy last night. Hope you like it!

Currently feeling: cheery

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Well begun is half done

Yes, I'm still here. Thanksgiving went extremely well, though it has been meltdown city since we got back. ::sigh:: He misses his other three playmates, I think (that would be my brother and my parents). Don't worry, they'll be here in about 3.5 weeks. EEK!!

And to that end, I started seriously ordering my Christmas presents today. As in, I spent half my budget! Well begun, indeed. I found a couple of things on sale today and a few coupons that expired today, so I went on and did those, and with one exception, I ordered all the things that need to be shipped here and then mailed to other people. Hopefully, that will give me time to turn it all around so that things arrive by Christmas.

I also see that I have drastically underestimated shipping costs this year. I was planning on $5-7, and it's been running $8-12 in most cases. Multiply that by the 15 or so places I will be ordering from, and I'm pushing $50 over budget. The savings I incurred today will help with that somewhat, I'm just mad at myself for not checking. No wonder catalog companies hide their shipping information! If you knew what it would cost to ship in advance, you might not fall in love with the item. Once it's in your cart, it's hard to turn it down, even if shipping is $5 more than you planned. ::sigh::

As you may have noticed up at the top there, I am working on our Christmas menu, to the detriment of anything else I may have thought of doing in the evenings. I came up with another meal today, so that filled one of my remaining six slots, but three "full" slots say "new recipe," and I haven't found those yet either. How does my mother do this? She was all set for Thanksgiving, and I feel so behind with Christmas almost 4 weeks away. It doesn't help that I have no faith in my ability to select recipes. Most of the ones I have tried over the last few years have been awful, as in inedible. It's not that I did something wrong (I don't think), it's just that I hated the recipe when it was finished. Needless to say, I'm a little gunshy of doing that with company here. We can always go get Wendy's if we don't like it; I'd hate to do that to company, though it is just my family, and they wouldn't care. Still nervewracking.

Currently feeling: anxious

Friday, November 18, 2005

Late on two firsts

I've been meaning to write about both of these for a while, but I'm just now getting around to it. I don't know where my time is going. And how is it Thanksgiving NEXT WEEK?!?! It's just unbelievable.

Anyway, about three weeks ago, we finally took Luke outside to play for the first time. Now, for all of you who think I am a terrible parent, I had very good reasons, not the least of which is that I don't enjoy greasing up a baby in sunscreen. He's so fair (like me) that he needs it if we're going to be out side after 9 AM and/or before 6 PM. And since he didn't start walking until late enough in the year that it was getting dark around 6 PM, that just didn't work too well. But we did manage finally on a Saturday afternoon, just after snack, before dinner. He had a ball! Didn't think too much of the grass (sure didn't want to touch it to pick himself up if he fell), but the running around part was a blast! Lots more outside photos here, if you're interested.

Then, it was the day I had been dreading since he was born. He didn't have much hair to start with, so it wasn't a big deal. And it didn't seem like it would ever come in, either! But at some point this summer, it really started thickening up and filling in, and getting long. (See "before" pic at left; note the curl in the back.) I refused to have it cut before his one year portraits (as you probably noticed), because I wanted him to still have all of his hair one year later (we'd made it that far, after all; a couple more weeks wouldn't kill us, despite it driving my husband bonkers). Finally got it cut last week.

Now, you have to understand, I distinctly recall my mom getting my brother's hair cut for the first time, at age 2 (a little older even, I think). He screamed and wailed, and cried and cried and cried. I'm not sure who suffered more trauma that day, him or my mother! Anyway, it was with these visions dancing in my head that I took him to the salon. Yes, I said the salon. In fact, it is a salon *just* for kids. I thought, at least for his first time, it might be better to be in a kid-friendly atmosphere with someone who is accustomed to using scissors around moving targets that may or may not be screaming at the time. I also figured they would do a better job of not scalping him! I just didn't want it way way short, and every time I have ever been to get my hair cut, they always cut at least 50% more than I asked them to. VERY annoying, and the last thing I wanted for Luke.

She did such a good job. She took it very slowly, about 1/2 inch to start with, then two more rounds of 1/4 inch until I was happy with it. Actually, after I told her I didn't want it really short, she left it much too long! LOL I guess she's seen enough hysterical mothers over having cut too much off, so she was being careful, and I appreciated it. I like the way it came out, but I was so afraid DH would say I hadn't taken enough off. He seemed happy with it, though. Maybe next time I'll let them go a little shorter. We'll see. More haircut photos here, if you're interested.

Luke did great as well. He never cried, he never got upset, he never even gave a 5 second warning (when he sticks out his lip in "ultimate pout" mode, you have about 5 seconds to do something before he dissolves into tears). I can't say that he was having fun, but he certainly wasn't miserable. He didn't think too much of the clippers (the electric buzzing kind for the back of the neck), but he still didn't cry, and she was very quick with them. He even got a certificate of bravery for his first ever haircut. I am *so* pleased that it went so well, and I think he looks pretty darn spiffy, even if I do say so myself.

Currently feeling: relieved

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Setting the record straight

I don't think I ever got around to officially answering this question on my blog, though I have certainly answered it more than plenty in real life. It happened again yesterday (I'll recap yesterday's adventure later), and I am finally going to set the record straight. Ready?

He is NOT named after Luke Skywalker!

Quite frankly, I don't think that ever even dawned on us before selecting the name. I do think part of it was the Biblical aspect. We do live in the south, after all, and the version of the Christmas story in the book of Luke is my favorite. It was just the only name on the "short list" that both of us really liked. Being the uber-Star Wars geeks that we are, though, you'd think the possibility of people assuming that would have at least *occurred* to us, but no. We kept the name we had chosen a secret until he was born, but as you may or may not recall, the original Star Wars trilogy was released on DVD in September of that year, about three weeks before he was born. We came home, we popped it in the DVD player, and it wasn't until we heard his aunt calling Luke's name that reality set in. We just looked at each other and groaned. But, we already had our hearts set on that name, so there wasn't much to do about it. I'm sure that's also why it was so freshly in everyone's mind after we finally told everyone the name. A couple of years ago, I don't think it would have necessarily been the first conclusion people jumped to. It's not like there aren't other well known Luke's around. We even had a kid that spring ask us if his middle name is Skywalker (obviously, it's not).

So far, we've had three "outbreaks" of people asking us that. The first was right after he was born, the second was this past summer, and the third round started this week. And there are three direct and related causes: the release of the original trilogy on DVD, the release of Revenge of the Sith in theaters in May, and the release of the RotS DVD last week. Hopefully it will die down again, and I really hope it isn't eventually a problem for him in school. Then again, if he turns out to be as huge of a Star Wars fan as either of us, maybe he'll consider it a compliment. One can hope.

We might get to have a little fun with it at some point in the future, though. Should we decide to have another child, when people start badgering us for a name, we will definitely say either Leia or Han. ::evil grin::
Currently feeling: force-ful

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Luke's One Year Portraits

Picked these up tonight. Not feeling very chatty, really very tired (thus why I'm up at 1:40 AM ; I hate being exhausted and not sleepy). And yes, before anyone asks, he's getting a hair cut this week. Was going to do it today, just didn't happen. Anyway, here they are. Quite a change from six months ago, no?

Currently feeling: very tired

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Let there be light!

And air conditioning, and refrigeration, and cooking appliances.... all without requiring a personal generator. Yes, Jacob finally got his power back on. Apparently, it came on late Friday night. He had emailed us on Thursday absolutely giddy after seeing trucks with poles and cables pull up in his complex.

Currently feeling: luminescent

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Buzz-y Halloween

Okay, so that's the best I could do in the clever title department. Not bad, though, I don't think. Boy, were we buzzy, I mean busy, last night. While this is actually Luke's second Halloween, there wasn't much he could do last year at only 3 weeks old, so this was his first "real" (or, as DH put it, participatory) Halloween, and he had a ball!

Here he is in his costume, which I bough last year after Thanksgiving on tremendous sale. The costume is of Winnie the Pooh dressed as a bumblebee, so that's why the arms and legs are gold, the top is red, and the front says Pooh. The antenna wouldn't stay up, but Luke liked playing with them, so it's okay. He screamed and cried when we first tried his costume on him to make sure it fit (it is size 18M, and he's wearing 24M clothing), so we were terrified about how it would go.

He did so good! He wasn't too sure about the first attempt, as you can see here, but he did fine once he got the hang of it. We only stopped at about 8 places, just enough for him to get the flavor of the experience (and for us to get pictures), but not enough to exhaust him. We went on and ate at the food court while we were there. Chik-Fil-A had $1 off any kids combo with purchase of an adult combo, so he even got his own meal! We're so old!! LOL

He even carried his own pumpkin more or less the whole time. We just had to keep it mostly empty so we didn't chase stuff all over the floor when he fell. He's still getting the hang of walking in shoes, and the costume sure didn't help any. BTW, he's not that chubby in the tummy; the costume is padded in the front. I know he can't really eat the candy, but that's not the point (and it is part of the reason we didn't stop at many of the vendors; no reason to have a bucket full of candy he can't eat). He still enjoyed it.

We even started a trend. They had this cute little display set up in the center (it's a very small mall, which is why we like it), and I had the sudden inspiration to take his picture in front of it. None of the ones with the pumpkins and scarecrow turned out, and by then, we had this whole line of people behind us waiting to take pictures. Never mind that we hadn't seen anyone else do it all night and it was completely abandoned when we got there! Sheesh. Oh, and there were four other sides to the display, but everyone wanted the one we were on. Fine. So we moved to the opposite side, which had the tombstone you see here. All in all, a truly excellent evening.

Currently feeling: ghostly

Monday, October 31, 2005

Slurp slurp slurp

Well, it finally happened. Luke has learned to drink through a straw! Previously, if it wasn't formula in a bottle, or me putting my finger on the end of a straw and dribbling it into his mouth, he wouldn't drink it. I tried *everything* I could think of. But he finally got the hang of it this weekend (with tropical punch koolade as an incentive). Yay! He may not shrivel up into a raisin after all.
Currently feeling: thirsty

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

These shoes were made for walking

Literally. Guess who has his first pair of shoes? (Has for a couple weeks now, just the first I've remembered to post about it.) And they're size 7 wide, no less. Have I mentioned lately that he's only a year old?! He can walk quite well in them now, but he's still tentative about walking around outside of the house. (I know, it won't last.) Either he won't walk, or he wants to plop down on the floor, neither of which is a good option. We're working on it, though. Anyway, here they are.

The shoes:

And the beautiful model:

Currently feeling: like Sasquatch's mother

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Musing on Movies - October 25, 2005

Quick brother update: he's fine, just without power, and probably will be for several days. There are trees down on four cars in his section of the parking lot at his apartment building; thankfully, none of them are his truck. There are also at least five trees laying completely across the roads between his building and the entrance/exit to the complex, so he won't be going anywhere for a while. Or not anywhere he can't walk to. Thank goodness the weather has cooled down.

Now for a meme:

What are your favorite horror and/or suspense films? What horror/suspense films do you think are terrible? Do you tend to watch a lot of them, or do you avoid them completely? Do they give you nightmares and/or continue to "creep you out" for days, or are they gone as soon as you leave the theater?

I don't do horror movies. Ever. I need sleep. Jurassic Park is about as scary as I can handle these days (seriously). The last scary/horror movie I saw was SE7EN. It was a truly excellent film; I highly recommend that you see it if you like that type of genre. But *I* will never ever ever ever ever see it again. I *literally,* I kid you not, did NOT sleep for three days after seeing it. Watched it Friday night, did not sleep until Monday afternoon, and then only because my then-BF (now DH) went with me to my room to watch over me while I slept. Once he left (usually around dinner time, but sometimes around 9-10 PM), I had every single light on in the room (thank goodness my roommate was never there), and I didn't sleep again until BF came back to "help" me take a nap the next day. This went on for over a week before I was willing to sleep at night, and even then, I still had every single light on. That film bothered me and my sleeping for a couple of months, the images haunted me so badly. I couldn't sleep because every time I closed my eyes, my brain would replay those scenes and images over and over. ::shudder:: I swore I would NEVER see another horror film again, and I never will.

Suspense movies (often called thrillers), however, I love! Fallen is one of my all time favorites. Arlington Road was fun, especially with the particular crowd we watched it with (two huge macho guys screamed like little girls at one point; we all just died laughing, including the two of them). Frequency is somewhat in this category, but not completely; it is excellent, though, so you should see it. Psycho (Hitchcock's, of course) is really the gold standard, but Rear Window and The Birds are good as well (my brother is a Vertigo fan). The Sixth Sense was good, but it bothered me for a few days after (just a general creepiness); so did What Lies Beneath (that *one* stupid image, sheesh). I really wanted The Forgotten to be good, but the ending/resolution just didn't do it for me. I can't really think of one I thought was truly bad, especially since I see so few of them because I have to be so careful about not seeing "scary ones."

How do I know what movies are "safe" for consumption? My brother and I have a great system worked out. He adores all kinds of horror movies and suspense films (though not so much zombie or slasher type films), so he sees lots of them. He also knows what kinds of things I can handle and what I can't, so he usually previews movies for me and lets me know if they are okay for me to see. If he says no, I trust his judgement, and that's the end of it. If he says it's safe, then I'll go. So far, he's been right every single time (well, about the safe ones at least; can't speak to the scary ones, since I've never seen them! LOL).

Currently feeling: creepy

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wilma attacking my brother

After going on and on about how it would be a tropical storm or a minimal Cat 1 by the time it got to the Miami area, and after going on and on how it would pass well north of him, part of the eye passed directly over him. He was awakened this morning by debris slamming into the walls of his apartment. A tree is down in his back yard, missing his apartment building by about 10 feet. The tops of the pine trees are just snapping off like twigs. Tree branches are being blown around like leaves and slamming into the ground hard enough to stand up. The Weather Channel is currently reporting 60mph sustained winds, and the western eye wall is now about to cross his location. Here is a picture he managed to send me once the eye arrived and there was a break in the chaos. This is the tree that is down, laying across the power lines, as seen through his bedroom window (reinforced for weather event just like this one).

After this experience, he has decided that if he is in the projected path cone with 24 hours to go before landfall, he is leaving. No offense to my weather professional friend, but apparently the ones down there went out of their way to assure everyone that there was no reason to leave (for the record, no evacuations (mandatory or voluntary) were issued), that things would be fine, and that it would at most be a "bad thunderstorm." Obviously, this is not the case. I've grown up with hurricanes. My family has lived on the east coast (actually on/near the ocean) for 15 of my 29 years; I know they don't know everything and they do the best they can, but there is a *huge* difference in a tropical storm and a Cat 3 hurricane.

Currently feeling: ready for this to be over

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Musing on Movies - October 18, 2005

You know you've had a busy week when you can't even answer your own meme in a timely manner.

Movie trailers: some love them, others loathe them. What do you think
of them? Do you make it a point to arrive in time to see them, or do
you try hard to walk into the theater after they're over? Do you ever
watch/download them on the internet? There is even a television show
that that only shows movie trailers. Do you watch that show, or would
you if it was available in your area?

I love movie trailers. BTW, did you know that they are called trailers because when they were first being attached to the reels, they did in fact follow the film (i.e. "trail" the movie)? Obviously, this is no longer the practice, but the name stuck anyway. Personally, I always make it a point to arrive in time to catch them. It lets me know what's coming out, it lets me get a feel for the film (hopefully; some are way off the mark, but not usually), and they're just fun! And yes, it annoys me when people come in late, and to me, that includes while the trailers are running. I'd rather folks come in then than *after* the film has started, though! But if you're going to come in once they've started, please find a seat quickly. Don't stand there loudly discussing the matter; some people are trying to watch. Thank you.

I will occasionally watch trailers on the net. Formerly (you know, BC - before children), when we were seeing 1-2 films a week, I had already seen most every trailer possible, so it wasn't an issue. Now (you know, AD - after delivery), when we're lucky to get to the theater once a month, it's a little more important, particularly for things like Harry Potter. Since that very well may *be* the next movie I see in the theater, I'd really like to see the preview before the movie, so I have started finding them onlie. I'd really like to find the WTC Spider-Man one to download and keep, but I haven't found a copy (not that I've looked very hard). And yes, due to the circumstances explained above (you know, BC/AD), I *do* watch the movie preview program. It's called "In Theaters," and there is a regular version and an independant film version. I usually only watch the regular one (in hi-def on the INHD channels), but I will catch the IFC one on occasion. I try to watch it about once a month (they do current and upcoming films, so that's about all I really need). They're so pretty in HD on our huge screen! :-) Our cable company also has lots of trailers available on demand for free, so that's pretty awesome. I go through that one every couple of weeks to see what's new. It helps tremendously with my theater withdrawal symptoms. LOL

Currently feeling: in need of a theater fix

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Luke's first birthday party

Finally, I am getting around to the very long overdue report (and requisite photos) of Luke's first birthday party.

I am very happy to say that things went *extremely* well! Just one or two teeny tiny things that glitched, but I can't expect everything to go perfectly, now can I?

Let's start with Friday (pre-party day). Dad called around dinner time. Glitch #1: His flight was supposed to leave at 6:30. They waited until the not-full 5:15 flight had left to announce that they were canceling the 6:30 due to the weather (tropical storm something or other; can't even remember now). Needless to say, he was not happy. We debated what to do, and finally decided that he would book a ticket for the first morning flight out, which leaves at 6:30 AM. If that one was cancelled, then he would still have time to drive and be here for the party (about a 5.5 hour drive). Great, no pressure! LOL Oh yeah, and we were up until 4 AM getting the food made and the cake decorated. (My mother makes and decorates cakes; she took the Wilton class almost 20 years ago. This is her own design with a little input on color and style from my brother and me.)

Here is the top:

And here is the side:

Saturday, we got up 7:30 AM (yes, three hours later, after Dad called to say that his flight was in and he was on his way to the MARTA station) to finish up the cooking and to start decorating the house. I was just finishing up taping things to the door when the guests arrived. There were six of us (me, DH, Luke, Mom, Dad, Jacob), and five of them (Mom's mom, Mom's brother, his girlfriend, and girlfriend's daughters age 7 and 4). Not bad, I don't think. I didn't want a ton of people, so that was just about right.

Glitch #2: None of the food was ready. It was all made, but nothing was cut or put into bowls or anything else. This actually turned out to be a good thing, because the girls wanted to know if they could help, so I had them open the paper products and put them on the table. This gave me enough time to cut the Rice Krispy Treats and the Salted Peanut Chews. All that was left was putting the Sausage Balls, Sweet Crispix Mix, and Goldfish crackers and pretzels in bowls, put chips and salsa in the tray, and add spoons. Everyone got their food, I got the hot fudge on the stove (Glitch #3: left it sitting for about 20 minutes, instead of stirring every 3-5. I think it boiled, so it wasn't its usual smooth consistency. Tasted fine, just looked grainy.), then started opening presents, since Luke had gotten up 30 minutes earlier from his morning nap than I thought he would, and he was already getting tired. He never really got the hang of ripping off the paper himself, but if you started it and handed him the edge, you could twirl the box and he'd hold on, so it worked fine. I'll spare you the details of everything he received, but here were some of his favorites:

Little People Kingdom Castle (entire set):

A luxurious Finding Nemo microfleece throw (soooo soft!):

And an adorable Finding Nemo hat:

Then it was time for cake. We changed Luke's outfit (so as not to mess up his cute new Nemo t-shirt), and got him all set up. Lit the candle, sang, clapped (softly, since loud clapping scares him), then gave him a piece of cake. In this case, a picture is worth 1000 words, or more:

::sigh:: So, Glitch #4: He wouldn't eat it, and he hated the way it felt on his fingers. What isn't shown in the pictures is that he actually picked it up and threw it off his tray at one point. We gave him Cheerios instead (that's what you actually see him eating in the rest of the pictures), then packed him off for his nap. Packed up food plates for everyone, saw them off, and all was peaceful again.

So, could have been a smidge better, but could have also been *so* much worse. Can't really ask for more. And one final picture:

The Gastons, one year later:

Currently feeling: *quite* pleased with herself

Monday, October 17, 2005

IMDb is 15 years old

That sure is hard to believe. It almost seems that IMDb has been around forever. I certainly don't know how I ever lived without it! Oh, yes I do. I either spent several phone calls and/or hours wracking my brain to make the connection between some actors or films, or it drove me mad for days. Boy, am I sure glad my brother sent me that link!

Currently feeling: congratulatory

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Musing on Movies - October 11, 2005

What is your favorite movie snack? Do you usually get something to eat and/or drink at the theater, or is it a rare treat? What snack (if any) do you usually eat while watching a movie at home?

I really like popcorn or Milk Duds, with a Coke, please. Movie theater popcorn is the best! And it's not healthy for you, which is why it's so fabulous, I'm sure. It's cooked in peanut oil, IIRC, which is incredibly high in saturated fat. I don't even add butter, I just love the saltiness straight up, plus it's less messy. Sadly, the Milk Duds are probably less fattening and healthier for me. LOL

When we were seeing 1-2 movies at the theater per week, we almost never got anything to eat or drink, particularly since we usually went to dinner right after. Movie treats were reserved for special occasions, like our anniversary or Valentine's Day. Now that we go so much less frequently (maybe once a month, if we're lucky), we do usually get at least a drink and some Milk Duds to commemorate the occasion. At our regular theater, I have a rewards card, so I earn free popcorn frequently, and they also have free popcorn on Wednesdays, which is when I try to catch a movie if I'm going to go by myself. Hey, free is free, and it's yummy to boot.

I usually have something to drink (normally water) when watching movies at home. That's about it. We just don't tend to eat during films at home, unless dinner counts.

Currently feeling: hungry