Twelfth Night

Today is the last day of the year, the decade and of Yule. So I thought I better update the ole blog and let people see what I’ve been up to. Which of late has been a rather nasty combination of mostly being sick and working hard. I was supposed to work a long 10 hour day today, but after the Boss got us all going and set, I was told I could go home. Of course the Drama King he is, made a production out of it, saying he was tired of hearing my bitchin’ and complain’ and to have a Happy New Year. He is so messed up at times :). Honestly I was looking to leave maybe about 3 or 4 at the earliest, so I could get myself ready for tonight. Nothing big planned. Mainly staying up, watching the Yule candle burn and spending time with the family.

Speaking of which, and I wont go into a lot of detail (another if you already know then you are meant to), but it is quiet around here now. The Oldest is going to be away for six months, so we are adapting to that right now. We will be going to visit with her and all, it’s just so quiet.

Kids made out like bandits this year, even though we really didn’t have a whole lot of money to spend on anything really. I guess I owe a lot of it to Amazon. Hubby watched that site like a hawk since October and we managed to score A LOT for them. Between them and Wal-Mart.com, we did the majority of our gift shopping online. And no, I didn’t have to pay shipping. Amazon Prime is the best program ever, and Wal-Mart I believe had a special on shipping when we got the BluRays for the kids. Which if anyone is interested, the physical stores are still pricing new release Blu Rays for $20 still. I know my father-in-law got a Blu Ray Player for the holidays, and I know a few others who have, so they all need to check it out. And what I am liking about it (and we scored it w/ the kids’ movies) is the majority of the new releases have it where you have the Blu Ray disc, a standard DVD and a digital copy. So if Hubby and I want to watch a movie, but it’s not family friendly, then we can send them to their room to watch one of their new ones. Or if I want to check out a movie and Hubby has a game night with his friends, I can take it back to the bedroom with me. Lovin’ it.

Ok, enough with the sales pitch ;).

Vader getting ready to go to Grandma's!

Anyway, I’ve been pretty sick this last week, though I am feeling better. Last week I dealt with an ear infection of the type I haven’t had since I was in my early teens. Pretty damn bad. It knocked me out for awhile and ruined a few plans, but we still made it to Grandma Wanda’s for Christmas. Anywho, my ears have been playing funky games with me. I think it’s sinus related, but they have been so clogged up lately it isn’t entertaining to say the least. It’ has made things hard at work with running the drive throu and talking on the phone has been a chore at best. My right ear is almost totally plugged up and the left one has moments of clarity. There is a lot of “what did you just say?” around right now, which does nothing for my mood. Ask the Youngest what sets mommy off the fastest. She will tell you repetition. I cannot stand repeating myself or having others repeat things to me. I will become Queen Bitch. They experienced that a few times at work this week. Poor guys. Thankfully I did keep it under for the most part, but still. There was a lot of cussing and swearing in the back room. Hopefully they will clear up soon so I can hear again. It’s hard listening to my MP3 player as well. Had to crank up the volume for RoosterTeeth’s Drunk Tank Podcast and still had to back it up at odd times so I could catch what was being said. *sigh*

Grace 'helping' the girls get ready for bed...

Anyway, more about the time at Grandma’s… We had good food and good company. Typically when we go we have a Prime Rib and Turkey for dinner with all kinds of side dishes. We did this year as well, only Popeye did the Turkey with his new “Infrared Turkey Cooker” (not sure if that’s the official name or not), and let me tell you, that bird was delicious. I love the Southern tradition of the Fried Turkey, something I have grown quite fond of since moving down here. If you haven’t had it yet, you need to try it. But the Infrared Turkey was better! And a little less dangerous. My father-in-law could actually leave it unattended for a little bit and not worry about setting the place on fire, or have oil spill out from overflow, etc. And it was jucier and had the best flavor. Will have to see about getting one for us, once we get a bigger place, that is. But it was good to see everyone again and to show off the gift that the in-laws and Hubby got for me, which showed up a week early. If you’ve been paying attention to my Twitter Feed and to my FaceBook page, then you know what I got. It’s the best thing ever: Amazon’s Kindle! Yup, I have one of my very own. And I’ve gotten several new books for it, and almost finished them, even have put a bunch of pdf files on it as well. Sad thing is, I got it on mine and Hubby’s wedding anniversary, and it was hard to resist it! I really wanted to mess with my new toy, but I couldn’t just outright ignore him either! Now I can buy new books for much cheaper prices and not have to worry about using up all the space we don’t have for it. So far my favorite book I’ve read on it is Dragon Age: The Calling. It’s a prequel to the game, setting some things up nicely and blowing your mind totally if you played the game before reading the book. A certain character in the game is not exactly who or rather what he seems.

Vader and Cujo tuckered out after gifts have been unwrapped...

Let’s see here. Haven’t been writing too much, which is bad, but I have been working on outlines and character bibles to make sure I have everything straight. I’ll be taking a few extra days off here in the next couple of weeks, so I plan on spending two days scrubbing this house and then the rest of the time writing. Had wanted to see about having something ready to be published by this month, but since Hubby lost his job and started school, things changed. Still plan on publishing, I’ll just be taking longer to get there.

Methinks Grace agrees with the boys...

On the gaming front: Dragon Age is still the game of choice. Though with Mass Effect 2 getting ready to come out, I need to work on finishing that one play through for the first one. Yes, I finished it like four times, but still, I want to get the full enjoyment out of the second on since you can port your ME1 saves and use the same character in the second one. Oh, and for those interested, the new DLC for Dragon Age comes out next Tuesday: The Return to Ostagar. Can’t wait. Want to go back and kick some DrakSpawn hiney and see if I can get the King’s pretty armor. Not much with Sims lately, though I have been downloading (or ‘shopping’) stuff for them, and even looked up some floorplans to get some ideas for some houses to build for them. What I really got out of the floorplans is this- Am I one of the few people who could give a rat’s ass about granite countertops? Some look nice, but frankly I’d be happy with wood or stainless steel or a combo of both. Better for cooking and baking with. And we do a lot of both.

As soon as we got home, we couldn't find Vader. He was passed out on our bed, too tired to even bother with anything!

Let’s see, what else? Not sure. So I guess I will close this here, and then add the pics and post this entry. Oh, is it time for Stargate Universe yet? I’m in need of a fix here, guys.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Grrr Argh!

Have been so busy with work and with the holidays and in general not feeling well. The weather here has been colder than normal and it’s been raining more than normal, so of course my entire body decided it was gonna be mean and hurt. This has more or less put me more behind in getting back to people who have sent e-mails or notes via elsewhere. Sunday I will be off, so in between hurting during the rain we’ll be getting and catching up on housework, I will be working on going through e-mail, FaceBook, etc. I have not forgotten anyone, it’s just some days it’s too painful to sit at my desk, even when I make a ‘bed’ out of my desk chair and a kitchen chair. Thus another reason for wanting a laptop. I can take it back to the bed with me, or the couch. Ok, I know, I can use Twitter and FaceBook on the XBox 360, but seriously, I just want to game when I have that on, or watch something over Netflix. That and its a pain to hook up the keyboard, and I have no interest in a chatpad. And I’ve run off on a tangent :). Anyway, I will catch up on Sunday. After that, as long as the Boss cooperates with me (Hey! I only went home early one day and even though I should have called out at least one day, I’ve been to work, in pain, and getting the job done!) my next day off wont be till the 18th. And I have no plans on getting in touch with ANYONE that day. No offense all, but it’s mine and Hubby’s 10th Anniversary. We don’t have any plans other than to stay home, which is fine. Money is tight, so a night at home, the kids occupied in their room, and us with a good movie will be just as good. Though if anyone is willing to babysit and foot the bill for Miyabi’s, I won’t complain ;).

Man, married for ten years and together for twelve. Wow. Just wow. Love the Hubby!

Speaking of which, I have to brag a bit here. Now, Hubby is a 10th-grade dropout, and it’s been, what, 18 or so years since he’s been to school (not including Navy time). So, when I say I am proud of my Hubby for completing his first semester of college, and also that I am proud of him for doing so with STRAIGHT A’S, I mean it. Yup. You read that right. An A in every class. Hell, he scored a 98 on the Serve Safe Test that is needed if you want to go into management at pretty much ANY restaurant (even if you own your own place). Now I’ve helped two or three of my managers with their certification since they have to re-test every five years to keep it current. If you enter management at a restaurant they will direct you to a place where you can a class that will last a day or two and spring for the book. Now, most people will usually average out at 85-90 (at least at my job). So, I honestly think Hubby got the better end of the deal when he took the actual semester long class and passed the test with a 98! YEAH! My Boss was actually jealous. I think the highest score at our store right now is a 90 (don’t quote). It’s not an easy test, but it’s also not the hardest. If you use common sense you can pass it, but it’s nice to see my Hubby pretty much own the damn thing! Yes, I’m jazzed about it.

What else? Oh, movies. I haven’t said much about the movies I’ve been watching lately. Basically playing catch up from the Summer movies that were in theatres. As much as I love going to the movies, it’s not economical and we typically save them for VERY special occasions right now. Otherwise, at least once a month or more is what we used to do. But, we managed to score a few on Blu Ray recently, thanks to Wal-Mart. They have been having the new Releases on Blu Ray priced at $20 when they first come out. So that helped with Transformers 2 , Gi Joe, Star Trek and Terminator Salvation (but damn Christian Bale is growing on me! I’ve almost forgotten the whole American Pyshco thing!). And then guess what Hubby discovered, and yes, they are still doing it, so check and see if your local Wal MArt has it if you want it, but Harry Potter and the Half Blood Price is 15 and change. I shit you not. The Blu Ray version. I think the Standard DVD is about 13, which is still a good deal, but since we really want Blu Rays now (the only reason we still have the PS3, except maybe for one or two games) this is an awesome deal. We haven’t checked out Harry Potter yet, it’s still sitting there on the shelf, but I took the kids to see it for my Birthday when it came out thanks to money my Mom sent for my birthday. Most likely tomorrow night or even on Sunday we will though.

Out of them all I have to say its a close tie between Terminator and Star Trek for my favorite. Terminator was handled very well, and ignored the thrid movie to a point. And it was nice to see Helena Bonham Carter in a movie other than one of TIm Burton’s. Love him, don’t get me wrong, but I think she’s wasted there. And even though it was a small role, she did a great job. And Christian Bale is growing on me. First Batman and now John Connor. He needs to stop. Seriously. Then we have Star Trek. Not a huge Trekkie, more of a Star Wars fan girl, but I still like to sit down and watch the shows and movies, but I was never really into it, except for Voyager. That was one my mother and I loved watching together. And even though JJ Abrams was behind this one, we were still cautious, Hubby and I. We adore JJ and all, but he was still responsible for Felicity. I think Fringe has made up for it, but still. Anywho, he did a wonderful job, and made the movie make sense as to why things were different and would be different from now on. And Zach Quinto as Spock?! Oh my gods in Asgard! I’m a Sylar fangirl at heart, so to see him as Spock was surreal, but awesome. He did a great job and I would love to see him in future movies as the 1/2 Vulcan. And the romance for him? Wouldn’t have pictured it in the previous movies, but damn it works here!

All right, I think that’s it for tonight. Feeling the writing bug hitting, so I may write a bit and if I can stand it, play a little Sims. No Dragon Age tonight. I love Zevran, but to have my Player Character romance him this play through, I just… I miss Alistair. A lot. *sigh*. That and I should finish up my ‘planned’ play through with Mass Effect, since the second one is coming out next month and all the little tidbits they have been releasing soon, well, I want that game so bad!

Vader at Grandma's. He loves going there, I think not just for Grandma and Grace, but for the yard!

 

I can't help but not love him in Dragon Age. *swoon*
Adore the Elf, but he's no Templar!

Note, bottom two pics of Alistair and Zevran are from the game and taken from the Dragon Age Wiki site.

They broke the internets…

Ah, the internet is down this morning. Great. Normally after Vader and I go for a walk and I fix both of our breakfasts, I sit at the computer, eating, and I check e-mail, Twitter, FaceBook and general web surfing to get caught up with the world. Nope, our cable is entirely out at the moment, and it’s irritating. They’ve been having more outages lately, and I’m not sure why. When I first signed on with Charter, they were famous for cable outages and it became a pain in the ass. But then they upgraded their entire system, network, etc, and it was rare to have an outage. Now in the last few months, it seems about every other week at least we have one. Oh well. Hopefully it will be back on before I leave for work.

So I decided to use the Word program to write this up with. I figure I can save it and then post it later. I do need to get better about updating this blog. Its main purpose is to help me keep in touch with family and friends that I don’t get to see on a regular basis, as well as to help keep me sane, and when I do start it up again, kind of a workout journal.

So, what to talk about? Well, today after Hubby picks me up from work, we’ll be grabbing the kids from school, and then it’s off to pick up the fudge from the Marching Band’s fundraiser. While there we also pick up some DVDs from the band’s entire season. One of the parents in the band put it together, and has apparently been doing this for some time now. With the band’s material copyright owned by somebody else, she wasn’t able to do as she normally does with the DVDs and charge a flat rate. So all she has asked for them is five dollars to cover costs and then for us to each make a small donation. We had been able to buy DVDs or videos of each of the band’s performances, but that would have cost us roughly $20 per disc, and no practices or behind the scenes stuff on those, and it would include the other bands. Frankly I think we’re getting the better deal here.

Now tomorrow morning will be fun. I am off for the weekend, and so in the morning I will be taking the Oldest to the school so she can get ready with the band for the parade. Then I need to rush up to Pickens to one of their churches that is giving away winter clothing. I figure it will help stretch the budget a bit and be able to get the kids some much needed clothes. They aren’t really lacking in clothes, it’s just like all kids, they’ve grown out of a bunch of stuff. So I will go and see just what I can find. It starts at nine, but the message I got about it said to be there early. Oldest needs to be at school by 8 so that should put me at the church around 8:20. I think that’s early enough. Hopefully it won’t take long since I don’t want to miss the parade which starts at 10.

Speaking of the parade, the Girl and Boy Scouts do march in it, but since the Youngest’s troop is newly formed they won’t be able to be in it. So hopefully next year.

Hoping to corral the kids into helping me bake some stuff this weekend as well. Get some Chocolate Chip cookies for Hubby (the extreme low sugar variety that are still nummy), and some Sugar cookies. I know I have stuff for those. And maybe some brownies as well. Been wanting them lately and with a recipe I snagged from Alton Brown, I’ve been able to make them with Splenda with very good results, so Hubby can eat them with no problem.

Ok, it looks as though the net is back up, so I’m going to post this and go through my normal routine very, very quickly. Oh and one last tidbit, chances for us to get snow this weekend are looking semi good. I know the mountains will be and according our local news station they say if conditions A & B are met, then we will have snow. The Youngest and I are happy about that. The Oldest I believe is a little indifferent, but that will change if it does happen, and Hubby… well, he’s a Southerner at heart and doesn’t really care for the white stuff, unless it’s to make snowmen choking each other or to throw snowballs at everyone, especially at Vader, who tries to catch them. Which Cujo doesn’t care for the snow, but Vader loves it! Go back into my archive here for Feb or March, I forget when it was we got that snow, and check out some of the pics from that. Vader was a snow puppy!

All right, I’m gone for real now! Later all!

It’s December…. Yay?

Zombie, the one daddy has to make savings throws against... and Tux's sister.
Ryoko bathing and Tiger chillin’.

Tuesday I ordered off of the Girl Scouts website for the Youngest, her sash, two of the books she needs (the handbook and journey book), the insignia and a shirt that was on clearance. I spent less than $40 and that’s including shipping. And it was all cheaper than going to the store up in Greenville that sells this stuff. Guess where I’m getting all her Girl Scout needs from now on? BTW, the first meeting was moved to the 15th due to lack of a meeting place. *sigh* The woes of a new troop.

Have been working hard on laundry and a little picking up here and there, but mostly I’ve been trying to figure some things out. The available space in here has been getting smaller and smaller. It’s hard when you cram four people and six animals into a two bedroom one bath place. Especially when storage is at a premium. It’s also harder when you have a hard time telling people who offer you things to say no, or to get people who give you gifts to understand that yes, I adore the gift, but where am I going to put it??? It’s no secret we love to cook and bake and eat. If you didn’t know, then you have not been paying much attention ;). So, it seems that the ones that have figured it out feel the need to give away or buy us things for the kitchen that we have no more room to support. I’ve already in the last three months cleaned out the kitchen at least three times (I’m thinking closer to four though) to make room for more things that are sent our way. And I am in NO way saying that we don’t appreciate the gifts or the thought, but man! I barely have room for me in the kitchen! As it stands right now, on one side of the kitchen is the sink with the cabinets, stove and fridge. Everything is full to capacity. And the things that are starting to go on the list from that area are the gifts we’ve been given through the years. I don’t have room for my pots and pans (and Hubby, though I love him, keeps adding more). It’s like a death run for the kids to put things up because everything is so crammed in tightly! And that’s just one half of my kitchen! The other half houses the pantry (it’s really a death trap test for the kids: if they survive they get to stay another day with us!), a grey shelf that was supposed to handle the overflow from the pantry when we stocked up from Sams Club, but now houses several appliances, some that don’t get used like we’d like them too because we simply don’t have the money to buy the food to use them with anymore. Next to that is the toolkit, which is overflowing and then a little junk corner with outdoor stuff and other overflow from the kitchen that I can’t even use because I don’t have the room. Then my desk. There is no where else in the house for it. Used to be in the bedroom, but that changed a few years ago when Hubby moved in. And don’t get me started on the bedroom- the kitchen has been creeping into it lately. I’ve got a few appliances, storage containers and serving platters that we don’t really use for various reasons holed up in there right now. So yeah. And that’s not including the living room, bathroom and the kids room. And we’ve all gone through everything and gotten rid of A LOT of stuff. Goodwill was our best friend for a while.

No, I didn’t sell any of it because lately the flea market has not been lucrative and yard sales in our county are expensive (registering, temp tax id, etc.) so it was better for us to just donate it and give others the chance that could use the stuff to get it. And things look good for another purge coming up soon. I think everything will be on the list. And it will most likely have to fit into one of the following categories: We use it all the time; it’s been used once or twice in the last three months (used to be six, but we’re getting desperate here); it has extreme sentimental value; we have no intention of using it ever again. Wont be easy, especially for the kids, but we are just going to have to. I’d like to be able to open a cabinet and not have everything come crashing down. And yes, I do organize and all that. Trust me, that is not an issue. No matter how well you organize you have two things against you: The people you live with who don’t put things back the way they are supposed to be and SPACE. The latter is the biggest issue right now. The former can be worked on, but how do you increase space you don’t have?

Bob, one of our outdoor cats... and Tux's brother.

So, yeah, that’s my conundrum for today. Not pleased with it either. Hell this is why I’d love a laptop and a kindle. I can get rid of my desk top and either get a smaller desk or get rid of it all together. And I love books, but no room for them. I did a book purge not long ago, and it didn’t free up much space. So it’d be easy to just get the digital copies. Of course if I had the lap top I wouldn’t really need the Kindle, casue they have the PC download app now, but it still would be nice to be able to not lug anything heavy around while I’m reading. But that’s just me.

Stargate Universe is back this Friday for its final episode of 2009. It will be back either in March or April, maybe May. I hate that SciFi does that. Why the long hiatus. I can understand a short one during the holiday season, but after January, there is no excuse! Oh well. But what I hate more than that is the fact that they are going by way of Battlestar Galactica season 2 and 4, or should I say 2.0, 2.1 and 4.0, 4.1? Or what ever they called them? Yup, they are splitting the DVDs up and guess what? They are charging FULL price for them as if it were the complete season! *grumble* That’s bullshit! You can go on iTunes or to Amazon, buy the entire season for around 30-50 bucks (depending on standard and HD). And with Amazon you can have it streaming to the TV! So, come February, unless I can find it cheaper than even the pre-order price Amazon is asking for them, I will not be getting Stargate Universe 1.0, and I encourage everyone else that watches the show to do the same. We stopped getting the BSG DVDs after all that shit. Have season 1, and no more after that. We MIGHT get the series collection, but even that’s too high-priced for what they are giving you. So, I may have to stick with digital copies of the show, or Hulu, whenever I want to watch it again. I love Stargate, but not that much.

Vader, curled up on *his* bed.

In other SciFi-ish DVD talk, it appears Jim Hensen Productions finally revealed why for the last year or two they have had the Farscape DVDs as unavailable for sale, etc (I couldn’t even find them on Netflix till recently), and I’m actually happy about it. They remastered them and set them up in a nice package as a series set and it’s not badly priced either. For just over $50 on Amazon, I can have all four seasons with a few goodies and be happy. We’ve been watching season one with the kids and they’ve been enjoying it. I daresay even Hubby has been, to a point. Unfortunately, he loves Sci-Fi, but (and I do agree here) a lot of the shows and movies leave a lot to be desired. But, Farscape, especially the last two seasons, are Sci-Fi at its best. It pushes the line and makes you think and brings in a lot of original ideas and material. A lot of that is thanks to Jim Hensen Productions, which was the main driving force behind the show.

Ryoko on *her* bed- yes, Hubby and I don't own a bed. It's theirs!

Let’s see, anything else? Not much. I really should wrap this up so I can get some more chores done and then maybe bake some cookies. Hubby’s last day of classes is today. Tomorrow starts his finals and he has one each day til next Thursday. Very proud of him since it looks like he’s averaging an A in each class. Yay!!!!

Cujo, Charlie, Grace and Vader... pre-orgy.
My Sister-in-law's adorable puppy, Charlie. Don't let his size fool you ;).
Vader and Grace at Grandma's.
Tux, laying claim to Daddy's backpack.
Trouble wondering just what is going on in the kitchen.