I worked all day yesterday because at least 3 people requested it off, but I didn't mind because I didn't have any plans for Valentine's Day (I never do!) and I got a few extra hours overtime. Nolan also worked and he said that at least it was a paid holiday and I had to burst his bubble and tell him that, unfortunately, we don't get time and a half for Valentine's Day! I certainly wish we did since I was working the full day!

For dinner, we had a candlelight and wine dinner. They had these fake candles that you turn on with a switch sitting at each table, but the problem was that they weren't really that bright and there are no dimmers in the dining room...the lights are either on or off. We first started off with opening the blinds and shutting off the lights (we just left the ones in the middle of the room on since it was a little too dark with all of them off!) But then the sun started getting down and getting in people's eyes so we had to close the blinds...I think eventually all the lights were turned back on. A few people from activities brought the wine and poured glasses for the residents and there were volunteers handing out boxes of chocolates and carnations. (Ray left his on the table so I took it home with me!) They probably had the best dinner they've ever had: stuffed beef tenderloin stuffed with a mushroom and apricot stuffing or a nice big piece of chicken cordon bleu (they occasionally have those, but they're usually only half the size), both with a baked potato and green bean casserole. For dessert they had cherry cheesecake and it was the really nice kind that was bought from a fancy bakery. There were plenty of leftovers so everyone working that night took home some food...I took home two and a half boxes! (The half was a small box for the cheesecake!)

Before we left we had to move everything away from the dishwasher area because starting today they are remodeling the area and putting in a new tile floor and new wall. All I can say is thank god because it's a total mess. There's water all over the floor and it's peeling off and it smells like a sewer. We have to use plastic stuff for two weeks and wash all the pans by hand in the sinks, but it will be totally worth it just to get that fixed!
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This and That

I was having some issues with my Visa statements so Dad came over to help me out Monday before last. Mom also came since they were going to have lunch with the Wests after they saw me. What happened is that I missed a statement and didn’t pay it, but I didn’t know that because on my December statement, it was way more than what it added up to be. I figured that’s probably what it was, but they don’t tell you that! So I paid the full amount, but then when I got January’s statement, it said I owned $300 more than what it added up to be, so of course I was like WTF? and that’s when I called Dad and asked him to see what was going on.

While going through my Wells Fargo online statements, I noticed I didn’t have a “Thanks for your payment” for my November statement and looking at it, it said I owed about $200, although the statement said I owed $400! Grrr! I never miss payments! I may be late...not often, but I DO pay them, so I figured either I never got the damn thing or the mailman put it in the wrong box. I’ve gotten other people’s mail by mistake and I’ll just put it by their door. Dad called the credit card company and punched in my SS # and their was an automated voice that said I had a hundred something credit. I guess they had sent out my latest statement before they got my check covering the last two payments, plus the extra money I owed for late fees (grrr!), it left me with that amount. It seemed pretty small since I swear they overcharged me about $600, but Dad said it came out about right. He said I wouldn’t have to pay my January statement since it was already covered so hopefully I don’t get a statement saying I owe $10000! Hopefully it’s all straightened out now! What a mess!

Dad said he was halfway done with my journals and Mom was reading the first. I don’t regret giving it to them anymore as they seem to enjoy reading it, but it’s still a little embarrassing! Actually, it’s not as bad as I had thought. Dad likes reading about my cooking adventures.

I saw “Sisters” this past Monday with Cameron as he had the day off for MLK day. He texted me this morning and said he had some “exciting news” to tell me and called me this evening and told me that we could go on a cruise to the Bahamas in March 2017 for a pretty good price. I told him I was in (as long as air fare isn’t too crazy! That’s the only thing I’m worried about!) He has a friend who’s getting a group discount if they have 15 people and they invited Cameron and said he could invite someone and he said I was the first person he thought of! I was very touched by that! Of course, I’m also one of his only single friends, haha! But I’m totally excited. I’m glad it’s next March and not this March cuz that would be a bit short notice...this time we got time to plan everything and set aside a Cruise fund! So hopefully everything will work out with that. The last time I took a vacation was in 2013 when I went to South Carolina, so I think one is due!

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This past Christmas was the first year in a very long time that Mom didn’t get calendars for my brother and me. That was okay because I usually end up getting a second calendar once they go on sale in January. Last year I had three: one from Mom (the last one she would ever give me), one I bought, and one I made on Shutterfly. Well, technically I had four because I had a digital Page a Day calendar. That started in 2014 as a fluke. As the 50% off calendar, I got one with different types of birds. There was an advertisement on the cover saying that inside you could get a free digital calendar, so, liking free things, I signed up for it. There were several options like quotes and cats or dogs, but I went with “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” because I enjoy geography. Everyday it would send me an e-mail of a location - whether a church or museum, beautiful scenery, or a person/animal in its habitat and say and describe what it was. A few months in, I started saving these pictures to my iPhotos. If you are subscribed, you can go on their calendar anytime to see those photos from any of the dates. I like the digital Page a Day better than the paper ones (which I haven’t used in a long time - I remembered I once had a Disney one). One major reason is you can’t look ahead, so it’s always thrilling to see what the next picture will be. (Yes, is really is the small things in life that give me joy!) By the end of the year, I had acquired over 300 photos and I ended up making a 2015 calendar through Shutterfly with it. I also did it this year with a 50% off coupon...haven’t received it, yet but hopefully soon.

Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble with the notion of getting a half off Audubon calendar. That is the site that gives the free digital calendars. You have to buy a wall calendar, then put in the code. But when I went there, they didn’t have any of those calendars. A couple days before Christmas (not smart, I know!) I had gone to Barnes and Noble and I did see a couple of those calendars, but didn’t buy them cuz I’d rather wait for half price. I didn’t think they’d all be gone. Well, I was so upset that I went home and didn’t buy anything at all. I checked the website to see if I could buy a wall calendar there or just buy the digital calendar. Well, by some luck, I don’t really understand, it said I had one free digital calendar I could use so I was able to choose, for the third consecutive year, “1,000 Places To See Before You Die” and had them e-mail them to me. I was able to see the past four days of photos and I got an e-mail right after midnight so it did work! I have no idea how, but I’m very happy I’m getting my Page-a-Day calendar!

So I went back to Barnes and Noble today and got my 50% off calendar. It’s called Cathedrals. Lots of European ones featured in this one! I also had sixty dollars from Christmas money to spend and wanted to buy a cookbook. The one I had previously been eyeing was gone (or at least I didn’t see it), but it was probably for the best because I bought a much better one. It’s called The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt. I had heard him on a couple of podcasts talking about it so I was familiar with it. It’s 900 plus pages and it’s awesome. Lots of recipes, tips for food preparation and what kinds of utensils to use....can’t wait to really dive in and read it.

My happiness was a bit short-lived today because I couldn’t find my damn $25 iTunes gift card. I bought it about a week ago and was PRETTY SURE I had put it on my counter next to my laundry detergent, but maybe not because I went to get it and it wasn’t there! I have looked everywhere: in drawers, in cabinets, in all my desk drawers, in my coat pockets, in all my purses, in my car, in books I may have used it as a bookmark, even trash. I am positive I didn’t throw it away be I’m not the type just to sweep everything off a counter into the trash. I pick up each thing individually, then toss. Plus the card was still attached to the cardboard it’s glued on to before you detach it. Ugh! Why didn’t I put it in my desk drawer (yep, checked that too!) or put in the damn code even though I didn’t know what I was going to buy yet? I am so fucking stupid. I have no idea where this damn card is. Now I’m starting to doubt myself and wonder if the cashier even gave it to me at Target. But I do have recollections of seeing it in my apartment, and like, I said, I am PRETTY SURE I had put it on the counter on the right side. I bought the gift card with a Target gift card, so it was a special treat. It just makes me so mad because my resolution this year was to be more careful with my money and already I’m fucking this up! And we’re only five days in! This is great! I do still have my ten dollar Wal-Mart gift card (why couldn’t I lose that instead??) so I’ll just buy a $15 iTunes gift card with that. Still pisses me the fuck off! I just wish I knew what happened to it. I feel like I’m going crazy!

Happy New Year!

Pearl, a resident who had recently turned 103, died on New Year’s Day. It wasn’t the most surprising thing she died considering she was 103 and she had been on hospice for the last few months. Pearl had one of those fascinating birth dates. She was born on December 12, 1912, so therefore her birthday was 12/12/12. Robyn was telling a couple employees about her birthday and we both recited “Twelve-twelve-twelve” at the same time.

I bought some baklava from Harry and David online with some extra Christmas money I acquired over the holidays and it is delicious! Tiramisu used to be my favorite dessert, but I think that has now changed to baklava.
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I went to the movies last night with Cameron. We were originally going to see Sisters, but he said the tickets were sold out for it, so we decided to see Joy instead. (We went to the Majestic where you pick out your seats ahead of time so he bought the tickets online and I paid him for my ticket). When he was using the machine to get the tickets, three tickets popped out and I made a comment about that and he said one was probably the receipt, but when he gave me my ticket and picked up the other two, he noticed one said “Star Wars” on it and wondered out loud why it said that. I told him my ticket said “Joy.” A lady nearby us told him that must be hers because she had been printing out tickets at that same machine right before Cameron and didn’t have the number she needed. Good thing she counted her tickets and stayed by the machine!

The movie was really good although some idiot FELL ASLEEP during it. I don’t care if someone falls asleep during a movie, but it was the LOUD SNORING that was quite rude! And his (I’m assuming it was a guy because, c’mon! Who else would snore?) friends around him were all giggling and laughing. This was going on for a good fifteen minutes! Either he woke up himself or someone poked him. It was very busy at that theater because Tuesdays are half off day....I will have to go to the movies more often on Tuesdays at that theater!

End of year recipe wrap-up

Salsa Swiss Steak - I cut some steak into strips and put in into my slow cooker with strips of red peppers and sliced onions. In a bowl, I stirred together a can of cream of mushroom soup, 2 tablespoons of flour, a cup of salsa, and a teaspoon of mustard. I added all of that to the slow cooker and cooked for four hours on high. It was really tasty and I will make this again in the future!

Cheese-Topped Steaks - My steak cooking ability is pretty horrible unless I am cooking said steak in a slow cooker and it will come out perfectly. This would have been good if I knew how to cook a perfect steak...I end up cooking them way too tough. The steaks are topped with a mixture of crumbled blue cheese, crumbled bacon, slivered almonds, thyme, garlic, and pepper. Good, but could have been a lot better!

Chicken and Cheese Burrito - You would think making a burrito would be easy, but no! It’s not! I totally ruined the tortilla because I warmed it up in the oven according to the package’s directions (and the recipe also told me to do it!) and then when I cooked it in the oven, the shell got really crispy! Eww! I also messed up because I had picked up cheese dip rather than bean dip at the store. Whoops! So I didn’t have any bean dip to spread on it, so it just had the shredded chicken, salsa, and cheese. Burritos aren’t that good anyway; enchiladas are where it’s at!

Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Rice - This recipe turned out terrible and it’s because I cannot cook wild rice! This was my first time cooking wild rice and I thought it would be okay if I followed the instructions, but apparently not! It was way too crunchy! Very unappetizing. I made this because I had extra celery from something else I had made with celery and needed to find a recipe with celery so it wouldn’t go to waste, so I found this on my Better Homes and Gardens recipes ap. Turned out I still wasted the celery since I ended up tossing this dish since it was so gross and inedible. I combined baby carrots, sliced onion and celery, chicken broth, sage, olive oil, salt and peppery together in a bowl. (The recipe also called for sweet potatoes, but I omitted those as I really don’t like sweet potatoes when they are added with other stuff). I arranged this mixture over chicken breasts. (The recipe called for bone-in which I got, but I usually like boneless. I figured there was a reason they wanted the cook to use bone-in.) I baked this for 35 minutes, stirring twice. I added the rice and cooked for another five minutes. Absolutely terrible! And I still have a whole bag of wild rice! Maybe I’ll give it to Mom!

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese - This was good, but next time remind me to only make a half portion! I cooked elbow macaroni and transferred it to a large bowl after draining it. I added a cup of shredded cheddar cheese, a block of cheddar cheese cut up, a stick of butter cut up and combined. In another bowl, I whisked together three eggs, a can of evaporated milk, a can of condensed cheddar cheese soup, and pepper. It was suppose to be white pepper, but I only have standard pepper, so I used that instead. I stirred that into the macaroni which I put in a baking dish and baked covered for 25 minutes, then I added a half cup of shredded cheese and baked uncovered for another 15 minutes. Really yummy!

Sara’s Egg McMuffin - This is my own version of an Egg McMuffin. It isn’t great, but it does great when you don’t want to go out in the snow and need to fix something with the ingredients you already have. Luckily, I already had biscuits (just popped them in the oven!), eggs, bacon, shredded cheese, and salsa to make this. I made my egg over hard; I think Mickey D's has a scrambled egg patty. And I added salsa to mine to give it a little oomph!

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel-Cut Oatmeal - This is a recipe that I got as an email because, for some reason unknown to me, I signed up for an app called myfitnesspal (didn’t use it too long...probably should in the new year!) and it will send tips on exercising and recipes for healthy recipes. I usually ignore the exercising tips, but I do look at the recipes and they had some for low-cal breakfasts and some of them looked pretty good, like this one. I don’t know if I would say this oatmeal tastes like “apple pie”, but it wasn’t bad. I added the following to my slow cooker: a cup of oats, four cups of almond milk, 2 chopped apples, one teaspoon of coconut oil, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a fourth teaspoon of nutmeg, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and a splash of lemon juice. I cooked this during the night so it would be ready when I woke up the next morning for breakfast. (I started it at 2 am, then woke up at 10!) It was really good...BUT it was too runny. And I had too much of it, so next time I will cut down on the recipe and maybe add more oats so it’s not so runny. It said to top with peanut butter so I may have to try that too.

Oriental Pork and Vegetables - While I heated up a package of ramen noodles in my new saucepan of boiling water, I heated sesame oil in a frying pan and added some stir fry veggies - onions, red peppers, sugar snap peas and cooked those for six minutes, then set aside and added more oil to the pan and cooked pork I had cut up in strips. When the pork was no longer pink, I added the veggies, two tablespoons of plum sauce, and a fourth cup of teriyaki sauce. Now I didn’t have teriyaki sauce, per se, the bottle said it was teriyaki marinade, but it still seemed to work. I added the noodles and tossed to coat them. Pretty good and simple to make; can't beat that!
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christmas trees

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I worked all day - from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm! I only like working all day on paid holidays because you get paid time and a half, so ka ching! (It’d be even nicer if it were double pay!) I was originally scheduled from 11:30-7:30, but I texted Emily, who was scheduled from 6:30-11:30, and told her I would pick up that shift for her. I figured she wouldn’t mind since I know she likes to sleep in and would probably want to stay home for Christmas and she was more than happy to let me take it! I had a crapload of sugar today - 2 bottles of pop (Mike gave me one from his stash that Barb gave him and Nolan brought me some Dr. Pepper when he returned from break), fudge (Ellen made some so we were all snacking on those), 2 chocolate and peanut clusters that Barb brought (her friend made those and they were really good!), and cookies (dessert for lunch). I was actually craving some carrot sticks!

Amanda, who gives tours, came in with her boyfriend and they served hot chocolate to the residents in the coffee shop after lunch. They had brought their two dogs - his was a greyhound (VERY skinny!) and she has a mutt, part lab and part something else, I don't remember. She said they had to bring the dogs or otherwise they would get in their cookies and other goodies they had at home! That reminded me of the time that Maggie once ate a chocolate Santa when at my parents' house when we were all out and I told her about that. She told me that both dogs were rescue dogs and she had actually stolen her dog (Nicki is her name) from an abusive owner eleven years ago. I said that was a rare case when stealing is acceptable. She was such a sweet dog and enjoyed when I petted her.

It was a bit of a sad Christmas because Carl died last night! He was a resident who had been living at HP since 2008. He was always sitting out in the lobby with his dog, Muffy, and everyone knew him. His wife used to live there too, but she died a few years ago. He would usually sit at the same table as Ernie, who died about a month ago. They were both Italian. Ernie’s wife also used to live there and also died before he did. Her name was Eva and Carl’s wife was Wallie! And they were all here in 2008, when Wall-E came out! It’s not the biggest surprise Carl had died. He had cancer and it seemed to be getting worse in the last few months. He had lost his appetite and went to the hospital a few days ago. I’ll miss him saying goodbye to everyone as he did every night when we all went to clock out and had to pass the lobby where he was usually sitting in the evening.

It snowed yesterday, ugh! And it was a bitch to drive in. I think we got six inches. I had to be at work by ten, but left around 9:20 and got there probably just five minutes shy of ten! It was coming down really fast and really thick. The roads were super slick. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get out of my neighborhood. Whenever it snows like that and the roads haven’t been plowed, I have to drive sporadically in order to get up the hill. There was only one car I passed and of course I cursed it and was thinking, “Why are you out driving on Christmas Eve?” But by that point I was on my side of the road and had already gotten up the small hill. There were actually more cars out than I thought there would be on a Christmas Eve afternoon in the bad weather. Luckily there were no cars coming when I had to turn right on 150th street! Lucky because I couldn't stop! Usually I stop and look for traffic, but when I did that, my breaks made a noise but the car didn’t effing stop! That was scary. So I’m like, shit, I hope there are no cars coming and I quickly looked but didn’t see any so I just slipped onto 150th street. I drove V---E----R----Y slowly to the lights that would take me on to Dodge and very slowly on Dodge. OMG, this HUGE ASS Wal-Mart semi truck passed me, and I swear to God, he was going the posted speed limit (which is 65) while everyone else was going at least half that. (I was probably going half of half that!) WTF? What an idiot. The electric sign said that weather conditions were bad and to slow down. No shit, but I guess idiots like that truck driver need reminding.

It was really cold and rainy on Christmas Eve Eve so I went through the drive-thru at Starbucks and got a small vanilla latte. When I went to give the money to the barista, she said the car in front of me had already paid for it and I’m like, Oh? Really? Thanks!” Now that I think about it, she never told me how much I owed when I ordered and they always do that, but I didn't pay any mind since I knew how much they cost. It was really nice of them, but it was also a little bit awkward because I’ve never been in one of those situations. Am I suppose to pay for the car behind me? But what if the person behind me ordered a large drink and a snack? And what if they had a passenger who also ordered the same thing? That’s almost $30! I should mention the person in front of me was driving a Lexus SUV and had an iPhone (I saw it because she was holding it up to the window to use the Starbucks app). Obviously, their life is fine! They’re doing pretty well. I assumed they did it because it was near christmas. It was very nice of them.
christmas trees

Christmas 2015

I headed up north with my parents this past weekend to celebrate Christmas. We first stopped in Iowa at Sue and Ter’s cabin for the Bruhl family Christmas. Everyone was there except for Verlyn who had a bad cold and Connie, Bob, and Pauline who had a Christmas party with Bob’s family. This was the first time I known of that they missed it. Gracie ran up to me and hugged me. That was the first time she had ever voluntarily given me a hug. It was very cute! Rebecca made her homemade cookies and they were so cute. They were in the shapes of snowmen, boots, mitten, sweaters, and other Christmas-y shapes. I had a sweater cookie with reindeer on it. Gracie would just lick the frosting off the cookies and not eat the actual cookie! Rebecca told Kelly next time she would bring an extra tube of frosting for Gracie!

We had ham and turkey (I only had ham and it was delicious), dressing, cheesy potatoes, and other side dishes I can’t even remember because there were a few of them. I also stuffed my face with the many cookies, the chocolate and peanut thingys, and I really liked the cheese and meat platter with the crackers. God, I am really hungry right now. I would love to have a cheese and cold cut platter right now!

The cousins and the little kids ate downstairs. Most of the discussion involved around the new Star Wars movie and politics. I told everyone I could name all the Star Wars movies in the right order and would proceed by listing them as “Attack of the Clones”, then the next two, then the one that came out in ’77, then the one after that, then “Return of the Jedi”, and, finally the new ones. Kelly asked if Natalie Portman were in the ones from the early 2000s and I thought she had said, “I don’t like Natalie Portman” and I say, “You don’t like Natalie Portman” and David says, “Who doesn’t like Natalie Portman?”

There was a treadmill and ALL the little kids wanted to play on it. Gracie and Leah got into a little sharing scuffle over it. However, Aunt Sue had hid the key needed to turn it on because her grandsons had gotten scratched up from using it once and Jay told us how Owen was playing on it a few years ago the day before they were suppose to get family pictures taken and had gotten a big mark on his face from falling. You could still move the “tread” with your feet so I would stand on it with Leah or Gracie in front of me and move it for them. It was really funny because Leah kept asking Anjali to turn it on and her mom said, “No, we don’t want to exercise right now” and Leah goes, “Why not?” and Anjali replies with, “Because we’re lazy!” Leah kept wanting to hold Emma and carry her. Kelly let her hold her with close supervision. I guess Leah wants a little brother or sister AND a kitty! Her parents told her she can’t have one until Roxie, their eleven year old Rottweiler passes away, so I guess Leah has been asking them every day when Roxie is going to pass away. Aww! I know when her dog does die, she’s going to be very sad! When I told her I had a cat, she wanted to know his name and what color he was. I still have trouble describing exactly what color Milo is!

Gracie got a lot of princesses and ponies - two things she really loves. I got a dishtowel from Jane that says, “Cat hair: a condiment and a fashion accessory!” That’s very true in my case!

In the evening, Mom, Dad, and I followed Bill and Kelly and the girls up to Stillwater. Mom and Dad had their little tiff they have pretty much every time we drive up there: Mom gets mad at Dad for driving like a “maniac”. He was driving pretty fast with lots of traffic around. He was trying to catch up with their car even though they were going to the house and we were going to pick up pizza, so I don’t know why he felt he had to catch up to them. We got the pizza and a six-pack and when we got back to the house, Dad told Bill that everyone would get one beer, but he would get two because of the ordeal he just went through with Mom harping on him, haha. Gracie loved helping put the gifts under the tree and kept asking what the tags on them said. When one was for her, she got very excited. We watched “Elf” that night.

The next day, I went grocery shopping with Mom, Kelly, and Emma while Bill and Dad watched football and Gracie napped. We first stopped at a small grocery store to pick up the tenderloin and twice baked potatoes, then went to Target and Cub to get some other stuff we needed. I had totally forgotten to pack my toothbrush so I got one at Target.

For dinner, Bill made a delicious horseradish-crusted tenderloin served with twice baked potatoes (I had bacon and cheese!) and asparagus tossed with butter and garlic. The garlic looked like almonds so I was confused when I first saw it. I guess Gracie really likes asparagus! I like it too. I didn’t like it too much growing up because Mom would make it in a cream sauce or something and I didn’t much care for that, but I love roasted or sauteed asparagus. Bill had also made homemade eggnog courtesy a recipe by Alton Brown. I helped him separate the egg whites from the yolks and my job was to whip the egg whites into a meringue with an electric handheld mixer. It took forever and my hands were starting to cramp up (I would switch hands every few minutes). Bill boiled the cream and egg yolks together (or something...I wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing!) He had to let that mixture cool, then combined it with the meringue. The eggnog was very frothy. I’ve never had homemade eggnog before so I’m not sure what it’s suppose to taste/look like. It was good the first few sips, then I didn’t care for it so much after that! It was just like my experience when Bill and I made hot buttered rum a few years ago: it was good the first few sips, then I didn’t want anymore! The Grinch Who Stole Christmas TV special was on, so we watched some of that.

We opened presents after dinner and Gracie was soooooooo excited! She enjoyed passing out all the gifts and opening hers and Emma’s. The most hilarious part was whenever she got clothes or her pair of Ugg boots, she would just toss them aside and find another present. She did that with the adorable penguin sweater dress I gave her, but she wore it the next day and looked very cute. I also gave her a pair of black tights to go with it. I thought they were just plain black tights, but they had a bear on the rear! So she had a bear on her butt! I told Dad she had a bear on her behind and he thought I said she had a “bare behind”, and I said, “No, she literally has a bear on her behind...look!” I got a few gifts:
-pink and gray striped pajamas from Victoria’s Secret with slippers
-homemade leather journal (made by a woman in Lincoln) with pencils
-pink wool J. Crew turtleneck sweater
-cutting board
two saucepans
Bill and Kelly gave me a 750 piece Winnie the Pooh puzzle and a board game called The Best of TV and Movies. I wanted to play it while we were in Stillwater, but we never got the chance.
I gave Bill and Kelly a popcorn machine with popcorn kernels. For Mom and Dad, I started on their gift nearly three and a half years ago. What I decided to do, since I had started my LiveJournal in 2002 and had over ten years of entries, was copy my entries into journals. This took seven journals and I’m actually still working on the last one. I only gave them the first journal to unwrap and told them they could pick up the others when the dropped me off in Omaha. Looking back, this was probably a really bad idea. I mean, who wants to read about someone’s life unless they’re really fascinating, and believe me, I am not! But I thought my parents might find it interesting/amusing and get a good sense into my psyche. It was something I wasn’t completely 100% sure I was going to give them. I was kind of afraid to because there’s some personal stuff in there (not THAT kind of personal...I did edit some stuff!, but you know what I mean), but I would always feel like I would regret not giving it to them if I didn’t. But now I’m kind of regretting giving it to them! It’s one of those no-win situations. My dad had read some of the entries from the journal and asked me if it got any better and said it was very “juvenile” and that I used too many curse words. I don’t know if he meant it was immature in the way it was written or the actual events, but I told him I was 22 when I first started writing it and that it will probably just get even more immature! Also, I usually only use curse words when I’m angry, frustrated, or irritated, which happens quite a lot for me so he better get used to it! He told me this AFTER I had given them the other journals so I’m totally regretting giving them to my parents. If he had said this before, I would have told them to finish the first journal, and then let me know if they still wanted the others. So maybe I can still get them back...I don’t know, I just feel like a made a really big mistake giving these to them. If I had known that would have been my dad’s reaction, I never would have given them to be read by other people!

That night, I read Gracie five bedtime stories: “Wacky Wednesday”, and then from her Disney animal book, “The Lion King”, “101 Dalmations” (Cruella DeVil was driving like a maniac...just like Dad, haha!), “A Bug’s Life”, and “The Jungle Book” (I had trouble pronouncing some of the names in that one!)

The next afternoon, Mom, Kelly, the girls, and I went to downtown Stillwater for shopping while Bill and Dad went to a mechanic to get Bill’s car fixed. I bought a pair of earrings at a shop called Art and Soul which had so many to choose from and some amazing chocolates at Barbara Ann’s Fudge Shoppe. I bought a white chocolate haystack (it has coconut in it!), a chocolate turtle with almonds, and two chocolate covered Oreos. It’s a good thing I don’t live in Stillwater or I would be broke and fat from all the money I would spend on earrings and eating of sweets! In the fudge shoppe, there were plastic drinking cups with movie and TV characters on them and Gracie was asking Kelly who they were. One of them had Yoda on it and Kelly said she didn't know who it was and thought it was a Gremlin. At first, I thought she was joking because who doesn't know Yoda? I told Gracie (and Kelly too, apparently!) that it was Yoda and Kelly goes, "Oh, really? From Star Wars?" and I go, "You didn't know that??" and she said she has never seen the movies. I always thought Yoda was a character that EVERYONE knew. I guess not! At least she was familiar with the name and that he was part of Star Wars! We went to a toy store that had a GIANT teddy bear.

We ate at Nacho Mamas where we had the nachos with shredded beef and they were so good! I love nachos and these were probably the best I’ve ever had. They had cabbage on them which I’ve never seen on nachos. I had the fish tacos as my main course. For dinner that night we had chicken fajitas. I didn’t really like mine because the store bought creamy guacamole I put on it was really gross. Bill and Kelly went to Wal Mart to get one of Gracie’s gifts so Mom, Dad, and I played Hungry Hippo with Gracie.

We left the next morning.