Saturday, December 11, 2010


Yesterday I played hooky.  I mean I really blew the day off.  After a meeting at a friend's in the morning, I just stayed.  We ran errands, baby sat the cutest little boy and went to the BIG private school here to see her kids' holiday program.  This school is the kind of school that costs about as much a year to send one child as I make in a year.  They are, however, very good friends, down to Earth and I love them.  And, they're Irish.

The Irish are a tight knit group of people, especially in Chicago.  All of them immigrants, they made their millions in construction and development.  Some of them with barely a third grade education.  But they are the warmest people.  Friday night dinners are something I always look forward to.  Anyone and everyone is invited to come for dinner and drink, and boy can they drink!!  Finally, after being gone for 12 hours and feeling guilty for leaving Meow Mix, another friend dropped me off on her way home.  Guess what I saw in the window of the first floor apartment:

Yep....I mean I know they're terrible landlords and pretty much neglect the place, but I'd think they'd at least tell us. The best part is...they're Irish and I have spread the word to my Irish friends.  

Not sure how long it will take for it to sell but I'm betting the new buyer will probably tear it down and build some lush million-dollar single family home.  Just hope it doesn't happen before I head out....I've got a business plan in mind just have to get it all in place.  

I know, I'm not forgetting about a job, but I am moving to a market 1/10th the size of Chicago, and while there might be 20 jobs I'd apply for here, there are only three in Kansas City.  :(  So, at least I'm working, picking up clients and things look good.  Really good. I'd rather be doing this and making some money then sitting around looking for a job....ya know?  

God is speaking. Everything is in play, it seems, for me to definitely proceed with my plan.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Ideas Numero... I Don't Even Know. Call It IV, V and VI

I am constantly amazed of what I find around my house.  I may not have spent any money, but two dollars (thanks to The Dollar Store) on wrapping but some how I churned out the cutest little packages tonight.  I'm absolutely beside myself.  Yes, even if I am a creative person.  It's just that I don't get a chance to sit down and make anything anymore.  Tonight cured that....for awhile.

Some more affordable gift tips:
1. Instead of buying labels - make them or print them
A couple of years ago I started taking old holiday cards, cutting out a graphic and then writing the person's name on the back.  Can be very cute (especially with all the fun cards out there today) and simple if the gift is wrapped in several sheets of tissue paper - another one of my ideas for you.

Of course, if you don't have them around then go to a site like Free Printable Gift Tags or for very cute and traditional gift tags you can create with any color printer.

2. If you're the creative type like me, then you have some random stuff in your "craft bin" - yes, I have a craft bin.  It's small.  Shutup! You can heckle at my craft bin but don't you dare make fun of my glue gun.  It's brought happiness to loads of people! - I dug out scraps of fabric and tons of ribbons which became pretty much the cutest gifts I've ever wrapped, if I do say so myself - and that's after working in high school doing gift wrap at a department store!  Sure it took a little bit more time and the "wrapping" will be tossed, but the detail and love won't be forgotten.

3. So I burned CDs for Brother-in-law1.  Well, for the gals and gay boyfriend I printed pictures and actually, believe it or not, got the cutest frames at.....The Dollar Store.  No kidding.

Running tab of what I've spent thus far on Christmas gifts for family and four friends (drum roll).....roughly $12.  Yep, and just about everyone is taken care of.  Next is some postage but I think I will easily spend 1/3 of what I have in years past and it will still be a joyful, generous and surprising holiday for all.  Gosh, who knows how I'll be able to top this next year....Ideas?  LOL


The Family Photo

Before I start, I just want to say that, in theory, the concept of getting a family photo is a really good one.  We haven't had such a photo since we all pretty much living in the same town and it was for the church directory.  So, yes, it was definitely time.

I am unsure if I was instantly annoyed because Sister2 (the Milkman's baby) came up with the idea or if it just seemed like a major inconvenience to battle Black Friday traffic and parking to make it happen.  I'm thinking it's the first, especially because she wanted us all to dress alike - never really been a fan..but she did promise it was only going to be a half hour. 

Overall the holiday was very nice and peaceful.  It was great!!!!!  No arguing, no temper tantrums, just plenty of wine to keep us all medicated and a little too tipsy to do much of anything but lift the glass.

Black Friday....Parking in one of the major shopping areas in Omaha was surprisingly not too bad.  We walked into the photo studio and I stop in my tracks.  There are about 100 people hanging around waiting to get their family photo. I look at Sister2 "Thirty minutes, huh?"  Okay, I can deal with screaming babies, kids running around uncontrolled or visibly lacking parents with any shred of common decency.  First things first - find Dad a place to sit.  Spotted.  I should have known that with the slightly bad taste in my mouth that this was going to turn into a debacle.

E: "Excuse me, do you mind if my father sits here? He can't stand long and I have a feeling there's quite a wait."
Woman: "I'm sorry this seat is taken"
E: "Oh, okay, I'll see if someone else will be considerate enough to allow an old man to sit"
Woman: "I'm sorry, I didn't realize..."
E: "That's okay.  I'll bring him over"
Woman: "Well, you see the seat is still taken by my husband"
E: You mean the able-bodied, 30-something looking gent over there standing looking otherwise engaged in conversation versus my 70+ father whose leg issues don't make it easy for him to stand long?  IS THAT WHO YOU MEAN?  "Oh, well, I'm sure someone else will be courteous enough to allow my father to sit."
Woman: "I didn't mean to be rude."
E: "You kind of are." And I thought I had been very nice to her
E: "Excuse me, sir, would you be kind enough to sacrifice your seat for my father? He can't stand very long and I have a feeling we'll be waiting for awhile."
Man: "Of course, no problem."
E: "Thank you so much.  Very kind." As I throw a glance back at the bitch on the next to her is STILL open and hubby still chatting in corner

For the next thirty minutes I checked email on my phone, sent some replies, played Legos with my nephew with my niece hanging off of me.  "Family X. We're ready for you."  FINALLY!

Photographer: "Okay so we'll do each family and couples and then move on to the next room for the family photo"
Dad: "Uhm, we're just here for the family photo"
Photographer: tongue as sharp as a guillotine "We don't do it that way here.  You must sit for all photos"
Brother-in-Law1 (nicest guy in the world!!): "I'm sorry, I thought we were the customers"
Photographer: pause, blank stare "Uhm, hum, yes, well this is the way we do it here"
Mom (the smoother-over-er): "Okay fine, everyone just take the photos"
Photographer: "Okay, Sister2's family. Okay, Sister1 couple. Okay, Mom and Dad.  Great.  Now you" she turns to look at me
E: "Uhm, yeah, I'm not taking a picture by myself"
Photographer: "Well, is your husband or boyfriend on his way? I can wait."
E: humiliated - full on "NO! There is no husband or boyfriend, thanks so much for sharing this in front of the whole world.  I am NOT taking a photo alone."
Photographer: "Well, I'm required to take everyone's photo.  How about you step in with Mom and Dad"
E: and look like the spinster who lives at home with Mommy and Daddy.  I don't THINK so! "!"
Brother-in-law1: why he rocks "You know I think that if the customer says no that means no. We've waited long enough and would like to move on"
Photographer: "Okay then, you need to stand in line here for the next photo"
Dad: "How long will that be"
Photographer: "Like five minutes"

TWENTY-FIVE minutes later we're still in line waiting.  I was able to find another chair for Dad and he was happy.  Meanwhile, cutey niece and I fell into a game of "Would You Rather" - quite fun, actually.

Photographer finally comes up and says you're next.  Four shots, 20 seconds and we were done.  Whoops!  Until we now have to sit down with the photographer and decide what we want.  I whisper to Mom "I just want a 5x7".  "Okay," she says.  I then walk away and take myself out of the situation and continue "Would You Rather" with cutey niece.

Then we were out of there only to discover that the geniuses who run the shopping center have closed every entrance/exit but two for traffic exiting. The rest is all incoming.  What the...? We drove around and around, almost got backed into twice and my Dad got his verbal assaults for the day out of the way, rolling down his window to yell at the stupid people who just jumped out in front our car.  He could have seriously injured one and there was some yelling.  Don't mess with the already annoyed chica.

E:  roll down the window "Dude, be smart.  You're in a parking lot and there are clearly marked pedestrian zones.  How about you try not to give your family the gift of dying today, stick to the designated areas and live to continue making their life a living hell?"
Dude: "Uhm..."
E: I'm sorry did I speak too fast for you?  "Please move out of our way"
Dude: "Uhm..."

You know, I'm really trying not to be irritated by things, but I think it's the nature of the holidays.  I truly can't believe I spoke to these people the way I did - highly unusual for me, but therapeutic! For me and Brother-in-law1 to say what everyone was thinking but no one, including us, never has the guts to say. I've decided that I just wasn't putting up with people's shit anymore.  Don't be stupid, use your head, be thoughtful and everything will be fine.  It's not rocket science.

Although, life is anything if isn't entertaining! 

So, I promise I won't be a Bah-Humbug. After all, a majority of my holiday gifts have been done for months and overall I'm really quite a happy person these days!  No, I'm not getting any, sadly.  That would definitely help keep me in this mood continuously, not to mention provide a nice furnace in my bed at night.  Note to self: stop working so much, go out and find a suitable candidate and ask Santa for a stocking stuffer....a hot man! 

Meanwhile, I'll be doing more meditation, have a chill December and refrain from any human contact.

Hope you all had a lovely holiday.  I missed you!!


Another Great Low-Cost Gift Idea

Chatting with my brother-in-law (Numero 1 - he rocks and fellow music lover) I decided to burn two of my CDs for him.  And if the law wants to come after me they can and they'll probably feel sorry for me and then mutually agree a gift given is better than one not given.  Not only this, I've made "mixed-tape" CDs for friends.  The total cost - $14 for 10 CDs of which I'm only using about five, leaving opportunities for future gifts.  So, I burned them this weekend making the remaining gift list this:

1. Nephew - will probably spend money to buy him clothes.  He's still smallish, so still pretty inexpensive.  Nothing over $20
2. Bro-in-law 2 - This says it all.  His favorite foods are Mountain Dew and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (can't fault him for that excellent choice) but he doesn't exactly believe in exercise. 
3. Chocolate chip cookies for Dad - he's always easy to please

I am however in need of splurging on something for myself - a good, REALLY good........shredder.  Okay, I realize this is kind of a downer-nothing-special-gift, but super practical, a business right off and....I will be so happy to get rid of all those stupid credit card applications (Remember: I'm a purger!) The companies would turn me down anyway, so they should just save their paper and stamps!