snow day

Yesterday, I woke up to it billowing snow all around me. It wasn't sticking to the ground when I left for work, but it was enough to let me know it was going to be a good storm.

For my lunch hour I walked outside to get a feel of the weather. On the way, I stopped to take a picture of a cluster of people who had found a good, small hill to sled down.

Later that day, our district manager called to find out what was going on with the weather and to let me know to keep an eye on things and if necessary call the closing team and tell them not to come in due to weather hazards. I then called our general manager to let him know. Continuously throughout the day I felt like the middle man. Our DM would call inform me of things, then I would call our GM and tell him. It was a bit frustrating even though I know the DM is the bigger boss, I wish she would have gone through out GM. Each time I talked to our DM I got the feeling she really wanted us to close the store. About midway through the day, I pulled a meeting and we started to treat the day as if we were closing - all projects stopped and we just started to clean up. About an hour later, we got the call to officially close.

I had to kick out a huge family who had decided to camp in our cafe. We make closing announcements for the last 15 minutes we are open to let people know they need to get their stuff and get ready to head out, so I was a bit pissed when AFTER our announcement that we were now closed, I hear the mom ask if any of her twenty kids needed to go to the bathroom. I mean come on, do you have no consideration for my people? The whole reason we were closing early was for THEIR safety so they could get home before the roads got really bad. How rude! And just to make it worse, I made the announcement one hour before we closed and on the half hour.

In the end, we closed early, but ironically, I stayed an hour later than scheduled to help us get a good close.

Everyone was praying for a snow day today. Me? I already had the day off, so in my head, I officially called a snow day just for fun.

Driving home yesterday was scary, the roads were so icy that every couple of feet my tires would slide and the light on my dashboard would blink indicating ice. I stopped at Target to get cat food (I was running low and was worried if I got snowed in), wood, soup and milk. I drove extremely slow and just let those who needed to drive fast go around me. After a drive home that took twice as long, I dug in and shoveled my driveway. It was quite a bit of work due to the fact that it had all day to develop.

I have zero plans today. Okay, so I need to do a load of laundry, but other than that absolutely nothing needs to get done. I'd like to clean out my fireplace and just empty the leftover ash into the trash. I do have enough to make another batch of PB Kisses Cookies which I think would be nice to have and share. I'd like to play a couple of movies that I got for Christmas and I borrowed an eReader from work thinking about downloading that new book, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand that we are literally selling by the loads. (excerpt below)

The Story of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Growing up in California in the 1920s, Louie was a hellraiser, stealing everything edible that he could carry, staging elaborate pranks, getting in fistfights, and bedeviling the local police. But as a teenager, he emerged as one of the greatest runners America had ever seen, competing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he put on a sensational performance, crossed paths with Hitler, and stole a German flag right off the Reich Chancellery. He was preparing for the 1940 Olympics, and closing in on the fabled four-minute mile, when World War II began. Louie joined the Army Air Corps, becoming a bombardier. Stationed on Oahu, he survived harrowing combat, including an epic air battle that ended when his plane crash-landed, some six hundred holes in its fuselage and half the crew seriously wounded.

On a May afternoon in 1943, Louie took off on a search mission for a lost plane. Somewhere over the Pacific, the engines on his bomber failed. The plane plummeted into the sea, leaving Louie and two other men stranded on a tiny raft. Drifting for weeks and thousands of miles, they endured starvation and desperate thirst, sharks that leapt aboard the raft, trying to drag them off, a machine-gun attack from a Japanese bomber, and a typhoon with waves some forty feet high. At last, they spotted an island. As they rowed toward it, unbeknownst to them, a Japanese military boat was lurking nearby. Louie’s journey had only just begun.

That first conversation with Louie was a pivot point in my life. Fascinated by his experiences, and the mystery of how a man could overcome so much, I began a seven-year journey through his story. I found it in diaries, letters and unpublished memoirs; in the memories of his family and friends, fellow Olympians, former American airmen and Japanese veterans; in forgotten papers in archives as far-flung as Oslo and Canberra. Along the way, there were staggering surprises, and Louie’s unlikely, inspiring story came alive for me. It is a tale of daring, defiance, persistence, ingenuity, and the ferocious will of a man who refused to be broken.
The culmination of my journey is my new book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. I hope you are as spellbound by Louie’s life as I am.

Currently I am sitting in my PJs drinking coffee curled up in a blanket playing on my laptop with the tv in the background. Saved by the Bell just ended and I switched back to the news. Every once in awhile a good gust of wind blows a bunch of snow off the roof and into the air. It is really cool looking. It is still snowing, lightly, but I imagine it will continue most of the day. I need to get up and go shovel the driveway from what collected overnight, but I am not ready to actually move anywhere other than from the coffee machine to the couch.

Tuesday enjoying the fire

the steel toed boots

Saint works in a place where he is in charge of a team of people who unload a truck of product and then push it out to the floor, among other things. Point is he works around a lot of heavy boxes and uses major equipment. And on occasion a large flat will roll over his foot or feet and it will hurt.

His current shoes are being held together with duct tape. DUCT TAPE. Do they work? Yes, but he has rolled over his toes more than a few times. I have recommended that he gets some steel toed shoes, but he refuses. He swears they are heavy and ugly.

I found a FABULOUS deal on a pair of black steel toed boots for him for Christmas. I looked forever (about three hours) for a pair that did not have the ankle support because I was sure that was a major deal breaker. No luck. Must have the ankle if I was to have steel toes. I bought them online, so I got free shipping, a low price and a discount on top of that. Even though I wasn't sure he would love them, I thought the practicality of them would win him over. (Is that how all women think?)

When he came into town (and the boots were in transit to my place to be wrapped) we wandered through a shoe store and I pointed out the exact pair of shoes I bought him and said, SO what do you think of these? (My god, WHY do I do this to myself???)

His answer, "I would never, ever, wear those boots. They are the worst."

Hmmmm, maybe I should rethink this whole steel toed boots gift.

So what does any girl do? I called my mom and she told me to give them to him anyway. She assures me it will be fine.

So I did. I gave them to him.

I have no idea what he really thought when he opened the box and saw those most hideous boots, but he faked it well enough for me to believe he likes them. Then I retold him the story of his comment in the store. Whoops. No really, he didn't remember saying that. Haha jokes on me. I will never forget that little comment.

A week later, he really like the boots. He is shocked that they are not as heavy as he thought. In fact, he doesn't even realize the weight of them. He did have to buy socks that went above the ankle because the first day he rubbed his achilles' raw. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to know he is happier and safer at work - even just a little bit. He even added gel insoles to add comfort.

Granted he lives in a different city than I do and could very well be lying. He is an admitted liar. In fact, and I quote, "I am good at it and therefore will continue to do it." But I have a feeling, he likes them, but I am okay with telling myself that he likes them (even if I am lying to myself).

HELOOOOO Christmas Eve

Reverb10 - Everything's Ok - What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

Woke up feeling a little like a kid on Christmas. Excitement is building.

Need to still make No Bake Cheesecake. Gotta go to the grocery store for milk and eggs. One more work shift. I have company coming over tonight. SAINT IS COMING HERE!!

It is absolutely amazing how hard it is to be away from him. And yet, it makes me realize just how good we will be together - or apart. I know that we can live together. I know that we can live apart. Not that I want to live apart, but sometimes life just gives you curve balls. My father is a sales guy and in the past has been gone most weekdays. I never wanted that in my life, but I realize that when you have that person; that guy that completes you and makes you better, it's okay. It's not great, but it is definitely okay. I hate to use these words, but it does all come back to being a WILLING and ABLE participant in the relationship.

When I am sad, he is able to help ease the pain. When I am gone, so far gone missing him, past reasonable, he knows to let me be. Let me work through the pain. I get the occasional text that says, "Hey I love you!" (go ahead, it's okay say Ahhhhh) He fills me in on how things are going with him. We get out our frustrations. Hell, he communicated more with my mother than I do. He took my 14 year old niece to look at Christmas lights and drink hot cocoa.

He just gets me and allows me to be me. He knows how important my family is to me and he enjoys being with them too.

Course I honestly know it has nothing to do with him. It is all me.

I made the choice awhile back to be who I am with him. It was easier than trying to woo him and then bam! here I am. I did that already and it doesn't work. I wanted to be able to ask for what I need and see how he handles it. I wanted to be able to be frustrated and unreasonable and helpless and see where he landed. And surprisingly, he passed every time. It may take him 10 minutes to process, but he gets it.

I also chose to let him be him. If he is annoying occasionally. Oh well, so am I. (and so on) But I also paid attention to the warning signals. We did have a pretty good argument a long time ago and I told him that what happened was a deal breaker. We talked it through and I realized something, I could set boundaries and he would do his damnest not to cross them. Wow, amazing to date someone who respects me and I respect myself enough to tell him.

So in essence, I never really knew WHEN it happened, but I do know HOW it happened. I chose to just be me and let the chips fall where they may. I have made mistakes in the past trying too hard to be perfect. No more. Saint gave me a quote frame that says, "Just be me. I can't screw it up."

The life lesson here, be me. Just be whoever it is I am.

It's like grooming my hair. If it wants to be crazy one day, let it be. Don't try to tame it because the minute I let my guard down it will pop up like Mary.

Reverb10 - New Name

Reverb10 - New name. Let's meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

First thing that came to mind was a foreign name so that people wouldn't know I spoke English.

Sadly, I am a bit tired. Ok very tired. Overworked and I miss Saint and my family like crazy. I lost it two days ago when my landlady called and berrated me. I can't stand her. She makes me crazy. The tone in her voice is enough to turn this nice person (me) into a finger crunching, trying to find a hit man and takes all the good energy out of me.

Two more days of work and I will be off for two days. With Saint. And apparently, with my family, as Saint as worked out that we will be going to town for the day after Christmas. Which is good, yet, I was a bit looking forward to doing nothing, in my PJs with my man. A little cooking. A few movies. A bit of munching. Maybe a walk. Now I feel as if I will be running. But then again, I do get to see my family and I have missed them greatly. So, I am sure it will all be fine.

I can tell you one thing though, this kitty will NOT be getting up at 5am on Christmas morning. No matter how much Saint wants to open his present. (the man is a very early riser, as he works at 3am)

In high school spanish class, I always wanted to be Izabella because only the very pretty, very popular girls got that name. I always ended up choosing Lolita or Veronica. Sigh. I always wanted a really foreign, blessedly cool spanish name.

Honestly though, I love my name. I wouldn't ask for another. I know that sounds odd, but I don't think my mom could have picked a better name for me. Heidi just fits me, in all senses of the word and I gotta say I haven't met very many Heidi's. I like not having a name that is everywhere. But, I feel, it is memorable too. It's easy to say - well unless you are spanish and the H is silent (this is very funny, now that I think about it - you can't say my name in Spanish). It's easy to spell, except apparently no one else has read the book, seen the movie or the play. So honestly, it is just a good name for me and I like it. Fair enough?

PS: Happy Christmas Eve, eve

PPS: If you happen to be out shopping (haha) and run into someone who is working and not so friendly, give them a smile and say thank you (though you may want to yell at them) because maybe they are like me and have been working for the last eight days straight (and still have two more days left of work) and are a bit tired and a bit cranky. I'm just saying . . .

cookie carnage

Looking at this picture of leftover hershey kisses wrappers, I can't help but wonder what Martha Stewart would be able to craft out of the them.

I think it's crap that in order to bake these peanut butter hershey kisses cookies (AKA: peanut butter blossoms), I have to take the time to individually unwrap each of the damn kisses. Especially without my wingman. It takes twice as long because I have to eat every other one unwrapped. Or maybe I forgot to put it in the bowl instead of my mouth. It's unusual to unwrap and not eat.

I scooped the cookies on to the two separate baking sheets before hand to make sure I had enough room and was ready to swap out the cookies.

Sadly, my first baking sheet cookies were WAY TOO BIG and I will have to keep those and eat them. Heaven forbid someone sees that I messed up the first batch.

Luckily, I was able to half the second batch and make smaller, more acceptable looking cookies.

WHOOPS! I dropped this warm, moist, straight out of the oven cookie upside down on the counter. Had to use my finger to wipe up the melted chocolate and then eat the cookie in order to keep the counter clean.

Here are half of the ooey, gooey, wonderfully warm cookie remains.

Reverb10: TRY: hosting christmas (just little ol' me)

REVERB10: Try: What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?


ACK! Remember this list? About halfway down it says host Thanksgiving. Well, close enough. I am hosting Christmas eve for myself, Saint, my co-assistant manager, her beau and my boss. Plus, Saint will be staying with me through the holiday and I offered up a Christmas Day meal. WHAT?!?!?!?

I am making it easy on myself though. I am making my Crockpot Dish of chicken in spaghetti sauce then poured over pasta with broccoli and bread on the side. Served with wine. For Christmas Eve.

But of course there's a small caveat . . .

I am talking to Saint on the phone and ask, "So what should we have for Christmas Day?" Honestly, thinking something small and easy. Not like sandwiches or anything, but something I don't know, one dish kinda thing.

Saint - Ham
Me - Ham, ok. How big of a ham?
Saint - Half?
Me - Half? How big is half?
Saint - Not so big.
Me - Half. Okay. What else?
Saint - Don't care as long as Stovetop is involved.
Me - Stovetop? (slightly raised voice) I have never made Stovetop before.
Saint - All you do is boil water.
Me - Good. You are in charge of that.
Saint - Ok I'll boil the water. (very sarcastic)
Me - (ignoring the sarcasm) What else?
Saint - Corn
Me - Ok
Saint - Salad
Me - Salad? Really? (he's not much of a veggie guy) What kind of dressing then?
Saint - Italian, Cesear or Ranch. Whatever.
Me - So you want like a premixed salad?
Saint - Yes, no reason to go to trouble of cutting a head of lettuce.
Me - Hmmm, ok salad. What else?
Saint - Potatoes?
Me - Right, potatoes. (in my head, I am freaking out a bit. i'm adding up all the dishes I have to prepare and have ready around the same time. this shit never happens for me. I mean really who decided all dishes have to be ready to eat at the same time. a real meal for just the two of us. first time ever. holy crap. a full meal. just the two of us.)
Saint - What about dessert?
Me - DESSERT? I already have fudge and peanut butter kisses cookies. And we'll probably have leftover dessert from Christmas Eve.
Saint - Oh.
Me - Maybe a pie. Apple? Peach?
Saint - No I don't really like fruit pies. Kind of tart. I prefer chocolate pies.
Me - Okay I'll pick something.

Now, in history this guy is the most laid back, no requests kind of guy. Here all of a sudden, I feel so stressed out and like I have to perform. It wasn't like he was demanding either. It was a very natural conversation. I could have told him no and scrapped it all, but what fun would that be and I have this slightly homemaker feeling going on. Especially knowing it will be our first holiday together, all by ourselves. Seems like it could be romantic and fun - in a not so psychotic way. Right?

But honestly, what is the worst that could happen? I burn down the place? Not really with supervision. And you better believe that man will be supervising or at least in the kitchen (near the kitchen) keeping me company. At least until he drives me nuts and I send him away. Isn't that usually what happens when a man is asked to help or be present?

A whole new opportunity to see how our relationship will develop as I try and do what "normal" people do.

If all else fails, the local diner is open on Christmas Day and they have a killer Farmer Platter. (I actually have pictures, I swear)

So after all that, my answer to the reverb10 exercise today TRY is that I am and have been wanting to try hosting parties and get togethers.

In 2010, I paroosed my Martha Stewart Cooking School book and tried multiple recipes meanwhile I learned my way around a kitchen enough to be able to prepare a basic meal; something that would at least make me happy and my family leave with full bellies. But I want to go a touch further.

I remember my mother and father always hosting parties for such and such company or group of friends. Some that got way out of hand, but were fun regardless. The way my life is going now would be a great time to start building some relationships and connecting with people I'd like to grow with in the future. Step out of my comfort zone and though someone may annoy me or push me, I should give them a chance outside of the norm and invite them over. Invite them into my life and see what happens. I suppose I could always kick them back out. Wow, that was so not in the holiday spirit. Oops.

Reverb 10 - Friendship

Reverb10: Friendship: How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

I have been thinking about this reverb10 all day. To be completely honest, I really didn't know what to write because I haven't really had all that many friends, let alone friends that I do things with all the time. The few friends I do have, we keep in touch and we get together, but we all are busy and don't make as much time for each other as we could. No one to blame, just a fact. Maybe it's because I moved around alot when I was growing up. Maybe I hold people at a distance. Maybe after working in retail for thirteen years, I don't want to talk to people after hours. Or maybe it is just the way life works, people move on, people get busy. When we need each other, I believe we are there for each other. No worries there, but as far as really good close friends who change my life?

Hmmm ... not sure.

Sometime during the day, while stirring my heart out over a pot full of what hopes to be FUDGE, it dawned on me. My closest friend, the one I hold dearest to my heart and do everything with is MY MOTHER. Odd, right? Do other people have this type of relationship with their mothers? I don't know. Quite frankly I know I am lucky to even be able to profess this.

In the past, we haven't been so close. I can be very much like her - demanding, selfish, guilt-pusher. But we are human and working together for eight years forced us to either hate or love each other. Luckily we chose to love each other, but not by any easy means. We both opened up. We both chose to change and mold ourselves into better, more adaptable people.

Here I am, in another city, hours away from my best friend, stirring away like a fiend trying not to burn the damn fudge and I realized - fudge requires a wingman. My wingman has always been my mother. Or rather I am usually her wingman. It made me sad and yet, I am glad that I made the fudge because I felt closer to her. I spent the entire half hour (each flavor, one chocolate and another peanut butter) thinking of her and how much I love her. How many wonderful memories we have together.

Last week I jumped in the car on my day off and drove back into the city to see her (and Saint). After two hours together, she stopped, looked and me and exclaimed, "I don't think I've stopped talking this entire time. I think, I've missed you! I've missed this - being together." Hey mom, I do too!! It's so true. When my father can't find my mother, he calls my phone because usually we are together. We shop together, we grab lunch, we go to the bookstore, we run errands, we go to movies - geez you name it and we have probably done it.

My relationship with my mother made me realize that I can be the daughter, friend and (hopefully one day) a mother WITH her, beside her and we can coexist while still loving each other. Yes, we can both be very unreasonable people, but we have developed this way of being together where it doesn't matter. We both get each other.

No matter how many people come and go in my life. No matter how many friends I find and grow with. No matter where I live; who I live with. My mother and I will ALWAYS be the best of friends and I honestly couldn't ask for a better friend.

Wordless Wednesday - the clique

She is such a clique. I found a kitchen cupboard with nothing in it, yet, turned around the unpack a box and found Izabel all the way in the back of the cupboard. She's quick and very quiet when she wants to be.

Wordless Wednesday

Reverb10 - Appreciate

Reverb 10: What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

The one thing I have come to appreciate the most this past year is (and prepare for it ladies) knowing what true, healthy love really feels like.

I have been in a healthy relationship for a year and a half now and I have never felt so full and happy. To know that when I speak to Saint he will support me, validate me and still love me no matter what is such a huge relief. To know that he appreciates how I love him and sees the true me is amazing. To know that he and I both become better people being together is wonderful and fulfilling. To think that I could have this in my life for the next seventy years is remarkable and would be unbelievable had I not lived it.

If something were to ever happen, the love I have come to know and live with, would comfort me because it is possible to be with someone and not fight continuously, not have to work to defend myself, to know responsibility doesn't just lie on the shoulder of one, but both. And the list goes on. Having come from a bad relationship makes the awareness that much more.

I express gratitude for this love by making sure I respect, never take for granted, put him in my thoughts when making decisions, appreciate and apologize, but most importantly to communicate to him without fear how I REALLY feel and think, to ask for what I need, so that without a doubt we are always on the same page regardless.

PINT - my favorite things

Only Parent Chronicles

11 things

REVERB 10: What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1. The assisted call: When I pick up the phone to call for help, when I know very well that I can handle the situation, but a) I don't want to b) I don't have to or c) I don't care to.

2. Whining: OMG I have become a bit of a whiner this year about everything. STOP IT!

3. Not Doing: I spend way to much time (see #2) whining about not getting the things I love done like photography, scrapbooking, working out, etc bc I don't make time for them.

4. Not making time: Spending way too much time doing nothing of importance, which is okay, except when I do it all the time.

5. Over thinking: I way over think everything. JUST DO IT! (lol)

6. Not paying my bills on time: It isn't that I don't have the money, I just (ahem, see #4) don't get around to them.

7. Revisiting my swimming years: When in fact, I can make new ones should I ever work up the nerve or time to actually get back in the pool.

8. Not dropping things to do stuff: I would love to do more outside the house with people that doesn't require work. Grabbing a beer; wandering through a store; visiting home - no more excuses: GO OUT!

9. Worrying about what other people think: I hate that I spend so much time concerned with what other people think or feel when I should just do what I feel or think is right and good.

10: Trying to contain all my insides inside: I don't let people in as often as I could. Let them know who I really am, what I really feel, what I really think. I can let people feel as if they are getting to know me when in reality I have censored a bunch of stuff. Open up my doors and let my freak flag fly. STOP FILTERING.

11. Relishing in the fact that my life is finally good, really good: Celebrate that I have come so far and have so many wonderful aspects and people in my life.

**check out Nodakademic's version

Making friends

Once again, here I am making friends.

I spoke to my landlady over a week ago about the move in check-in form. There were a few things on there of concern. One being the light is out in the garage. I come home late at night and leave early for work which means it is dark and since I live a bit in the booneys, it is PITCH DARK. She has told me they have tried to fix the light, but apparently it can't be fixed and the whole unit needs to be replaced. I said fine, replace it. Apparently my land lady didn't hear that part?? I called and she said that she has to speak to the owner who is in Israel. Fine, speak to her and get back to me. Nope, she says, that the owner may not want to fix it. FINE! I say, then we need to discuss compensation for the fact that I have to have a light on 24/7, costing me more money and it is a safety issue. She says, it's just a light. I say,fine, then fix it. And around we go.

The other issue is the drains on the house are draining on my driveway creating ice right in front of the door. Again with the safety issues. She says this is the home owners association. Fine, so I need to call them? She says she will call them. Fine, call them, but call me and tell me what/when they are doing something.

She acts all high and mighty because the fireplace people are scheduled to come out this Friday, but lady, I CALLED THEM!!

Geez!! How hard is it to get a little communication around here? I realize this is a small town, but fuck it's been a week and she has not called anyone?!?!

I am guessing my land lady and I are not going to be friends.

Wordless Wednesday - my fav thing

I have been searching for months (MONTHS PEOPLE!) for my favorite breakfast item - Quaker Peaches N Cream Oatmeal. Not one store has carried it. And believe you me, I have had more than a few people.

Then I was wandering through a new store, in my new city and as I walk by the cereal aisle, I am thinking, NOPE no, they won't have it, WHY LOOK?? But I can't not look, right?? So I look! AND THERE IT IS!!! I am so excited I squeal - just a bit - and think about taking every box they have, but then reconsidered and just bought six boxes.


Wordless Wednesday