Friday, December 31, 2010

On the eve of the New Year

I ate Linda's homemade better-than-Starbucks oatmeal for breakfast:

Definitely a good way to start the day.

And to ponder resolutions for the New Year. Who would have guessed a big hint of what I need to focus on would have come from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles?

Seriously, SC DMV? I mean, I have to drive with this thing on. Now the pressure is on that when I exit my car with this license plate, I'm either going to be the punch line or make it ironic. I'll aim for ironic. Good thing I ate that oatmeal.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Holidays in OMG

Paul had his hip replacement surgery the Monday before Christmas. Analogous to having a baby for the first time, we had underestimated life at home after leaving the hospital: his discomfort/pain and limited mobility and how much I'd have to assist, install, medicate, etc. As my husband's caretaker, I think the most weighty part was the sense of responsibility for his well-being: I stressed when he was in pain or discomfort, I stressed knowing that he hated being so limited, I stressed at my nursing skills (especially when it came to injecting anti-coagulant into his stomach), I stressed about his medication dosages, I stressed if I was buying (and assembling/installing) the best apparatuses to assist him around the house, and I even stressed about finding the required multi-vitamin without chromium (apparently only the gummy kind don't contain chromium, btw). The high sign came one night when I must have looked so weary pulling a blanket up on him that he asked, "Are you going to try to smother me with a pillow?"

I instantly snapped "Of course not!" But continued the reflexive response in my head, "There is no way I have an iota of the energy to do that--it takes a LOT longer than it does in the movies, ya know!"

Only I'm not sure if I said the second part in my head. OMG.

He did get significantly more mobile and I think we nailed down a routine (so I was less stressed) by Christmas, which was marked by a visit from Opa and Oma. I had hoped to do some cleaning up before they came while Paul was in the hospital but I underestimated how much running around I'd be doing. The best gift of course, was their relaxed company and their insistence that I NOT try to clean up for their visit. OMG. Wish granted.

The bonus is how much they played Scrabble with me (Velina hasn't been so game) and they even gifted us with Mexican Train Dominoes which we all enjoyed, including Velina:

Paul surprised me with these holiday M&Ms:

Which are individually printed with "FLee" (which is my common user name, as well as how I often tag my stuff, from my tools to my lunch):

OMG. At first, I was like, "I don't know if I can eat them. It's like I should shellac them and preserve them forever, right?" But I managed to eat them.

But the big surprise from him was this:

An iPad. OMG!

Now I really don't have the energy to smother him with a pillow.

Then the morning after Christmas, we woke up to this:

OMG! Snow in South Carolina!

Velina was so tickled by it, she spent time just touching it and forming snowballs (which she just lobbed at the street). Opa and Oma intrigued her with tales of eating fresh snow and she offered me her flavored snow:

I had a few spoonfuls and then said, "Wait a minute, we don't have any lemonade!" OMG!

She told me to relax, that she made a cup of instant Crystal Light from a packet in the cupboard.

Then I realized that between Paul's recovery and Christmas, I hadn't had a chance to review and revise my picks which by Christmas night, I was 0 for 2. But it turned out that I managed to picked correctly all but one of Sunday's games and ended up winning the week as well as making the top 20 of all of the fanpool's at-large 8000 players:


Which also gave me a comfortable cushion in the overall:

Including now reaching the top in the overall average (which was a bit of a goal from a previous concern)


And finally, I know I expressed some frustration with the lack of fanfare or the extra draws seemingly required to bring attention to the UConn Women's basketball team breaking and setting a new NCAA record for most wins (in a row!) but I also recently caught sight of the half-time entertainment during that historic game. Now I don't know what entertainment there is at college basketball games in general, but...


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas--thanks for reading! I'm grateful for all the people who listen to my rants, freak-outs, and musings...and continue to read them and even comment!

Like I've said before, I'm not lucky in the lottery and Vegas, but ridiculously lucky in the good people I'm fortunate to know. Thank you everybody!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sweet friends from sweet places

Christmas came early for me--lots of sweet surprises! Like these awesome homemade Starbucks-like oatmeal packets (yeah, but BETTER than Starbucks!) from my friend Linda. I LOVE the little glassine envelopes of brown sugar!

Which will go great with this Christmas blend of Starbucks coffee from my sweet friends:

Which of course always goes well with giant cinnamon rolls from my friend Heidi and her family!

Thanks for a delicious start to the holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Getting things done

This last week has been a blur. At least I managed to finish processing the pix for the Holiday Awards banquet, like this tasty chocolate fountain:

I also managed to finish holiday shopping with the help of Amazon. Though, truth be told, it would have been a lot faster and easier if more folks had Amazon Wish Lists, like my smart sister-in-law. Because as I was scrolling through various departments on Amazon, I kept finding stuff that I wanted and kept adding stuff to my Wish List.

Also I overanalyzed my football pool picks to death. Again. The reward? Half right. Again. (I guess the warning sign was I was totally KICKING A$$ in my Words With Friends games--yeah, you heard me T..J... and Rasc...!) It doesn't help my picks that a lot of 2nd string QBs are playing and some struggled predictably (I'm sorry Webb, that frozen Golden Gophers field was a rough place to debut) and some were admirable surprises that earned repeat starts (congrats Tebow, Grossman--though you guys didn't help my picks). And OMG...hello Patriots?! After CRUSHING Chicago in a blizzard last week on one of the worst fields, you couldn't at least beat a Packers team by the spread -- that had a QB making his first NFL appearance? In Foxborough?! Oh here go hell come.

Then Monday, Paul got his hip surgery. During the pre-op prep, I snapped a picture of where the lead nurse marked his hip (indicating the correct one to be operated on) with a Sharpie by scribbling a star and her initials. I told him I'd e-mail it to his parents and he suggested, I should also post the picture on my blog. When he came to after recovery, I told I had e-mailed the pic to his parents and he said, you did?! Oh well, I guess it was the OxyContin drip talking. Good thing I couldn't access my blog during surgery.

Watched the UConn Huskies women's basketball team break Wooden's record with an 89th win. Then watched Auriemma announce the winner of a Wii. Gaaah, is that what it takes for people to come out to a women's team break an NCAA record?!

Looking forward to a mellow Christmas--hopefully I'll get a little cleaning done...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Enter to win Paislee Press giveaway: TRA 2!

Paislee Press is giving away a set of Totally Rad's TRA2 Photoshop Actions on their blog. Check out this post for great recipes of what Liz Tamanaha did with them and then post a comment for a chance to win it!

Then seriously, focus your mojo on me winning it because I wanty so much.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Clutching to my lead in the football pool

Okay I'm just going to vomit this and afterwards, I'm sure I'll feel all better. After 14 weeks, I'm currently leading in the overall in my football pool but I'm kind of feeling the heat. Now I know how Georges St. Pierre must feel with a new contender every few months:

But if you notice, there are some folks who missed a week or two, including the thorn who, despite spacing out on the cutoff time to make picks one week and earned a fat egg for that week, is still in 2nd place.

So is this a clearer picture of how this pool is going?

When looking at averages, I'm sandwiched between people who have missed one or two weeks and have better averages than those of us who have played every single week. We can only imagine what their scores would be if didn't miss those weeks. Now you don't have to tell me that who ever gets highest total is still the winner--after all, if you sleep through the high jump, they don't award you the gold in the decathlon by averaging your scores in all the other events you did participate in. But it still kind of bugs me and I'm gunning to top the averages as well. So I keep overthinking and overanalyzing the games. Unfortunately, it has not paid off, as I only got half right the past two weeks. My personal weakness has been the Detroit Lions and the week I decide to go all business, the Green Bay QB gets a concussion and the Packers aren't able to get a TD, and the Lions WIN. [Side note: I will almost-gladly take the loss if it meant a W for Detroit. Go Lions.]

Take tonight's game, San Diego over San Francisco by 9: the sentimental part of me says San Francisco will have a real confidence boost from their big win over Seattle and yeesh if they don't win, are they going to lose by 9?! But the business part of me responds with: Are you kidding? SF and Seattle are both in the worst division where SF doesn't even necessarily need a win tonight to win their sad division. Also SF has been crappy on the road and SD is pretty golden at home. Plus if you think SF had a good week last week, that's like Philip Rivers' average week. Then deus-ex-machina me says, but what if THIS is the turning point for SF? AND, sad to say, Rivers has been escaping the general odds, as a first string QB, of avoiding far. I went with San Diego, FWIW.

See? And that's just for one pick--15 more to go.

But I'm fairly bent on finishing out this pool on a high note. To quote Calvin Tran:

Me and this pool. "Oh here go hell come."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wish Granted

The sequel:

HEIDI: Your Secret Santa is Team Edward

and World Peace!

Your Secret Santa wishes you a Wonderful Wednesday, Heidi!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Some points of interest

I'll try to make this post a bit more interesting--apparently to my blog mentor, Linda, my brief moments of glory are best kept to my glued-to-the-screen-bathrobed-nuked-cup-of-coffee-clutching-self.

Well, I start off with this: Linda had gotten me hooked on Dexter. I know I'm way late in the game as I still haven't finished season 1 and it's like, on season 6 or 11. But the interesting casting point about this series is the leads, the titular character and his sister, are husband and wife (Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter) in real life. Until now! Apparently after meeting on the set, getting married, and his battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, they are divorcing after a couple of years. So given that this series has the stones to kill off really key characters, are we taking bets who may meet their demise next on this show? I'm kind of leaning toward it not being the guy playing "Dexter".

On a slight tangent, I have put on my Amazon wish list, two other television series that Linda (and a lot of other folks) recommended: Firefly and Pushing Daisies. I mention this only as a suggestion to those who may need a good holiday gift. What makes these two series good gifts? Well both series were critically acclaimed, but the fact that both are dunzo, with one only lasting one season and the other last two seasons, makes it a package deal. No putting the onus of getting the "other seasons" on the recipient AND he or she can watch the whole shebang in a very lazy weekend versus trying to take on say, 24 or Lost.

And on a completely unrelated note, last month, right before I visited my sister in New York, The New York Post reported on Malik Turner's efforts to meet women, which was by posting flyers near pay phones. Yes, New York still has pay phones. He works for UPS and currently lives with his mother but I was like "Awww, it's so hard to meet people." Then I perused the vast qualifications required to date him, aka "Types of women Malik is looking for-":

Age Range - 21-45 Hair Color & Length - Blonde, Red (Hair MUST BE LONG)
Shoot, I guess I'm out of the running.

Body Type - Big-Chested, Curvy, Leggy, Voluptuous (NOT FAT), Gorgeous Face, Long Fingernails
Okay, is this a wish list? Unless Sofia Vergara is digging his scene, he'll need to play out the plot in Weird Science.

Habits-Doesn't Smoke, Drinks on occassions, Very Promisuous (into 3-somes-2 girls, 1 guy, 4-somes-3 girls, 1 guy), Independent, employeed, willing to take turns paying on date (NO GOLDDIGGERS!!!!!)...

Where do I begin? To start, I don't think he has to worry about Golddiggers--I think they usually cross off guys who still live with their mothers. I also love how he defines Promisuous [sic] and sets the parameters of 3-somes and 4-somes because some girl is nodding her head as she goes down his list but then says, "hold up-- I'm into 3-somes and 4-somes but only if they're...oh, okay, I'm good."

Clothing style - Mini-skirts, Daisy Duke shorts, Spiked-Heels (5-6 inches high)
Well, what else am I going to wear on my way to a 3-some or 4-some?

And finally, it goes without saying:

But truly the kicker was when he was "asked how rigid he was about his ad's criteria, he said, I'm not interested in anything else." And he wonders why he's having trouble meeting women?

And finally, because I'd like to end on an up note: Did you know that you can download free Holiday Mp3s from Amazon? There's a good mix--something for everyone.

Hope everyone's Monday ends on an up note!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A brief moment of glory

For a brief moment today, I, CraftyMama, was ranked in 25th place (with a bunch of other folks) in a football pool that has over 8,200 players:

It lasted all too briefly as I'm barely managing to get half right again this week. It's really killing me that the Colts and Eagles don't care that there is a point spread to cover!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I needed a haircut

as evidenced by this picture:

As it so happens, I received a coupon in the mail for a free haircut from a recommended salon in the mail. All I had to cover was tip. Win-win, I say. I was given a male haircutter. I confess that I tend towards female haircutters because I feel they really understand when I say, I'm a wash-and-wear kind of lady.

But he was really sweet and said he understood and wanted to take a lot of this weight (as he clutched the hair below my ears) out. After he finished the whole shebang, including drying my hair, he said, now I know why you just want to wash and go! Whew! And as usual, I looked at my reflection and knew that I'd never get it as nice as this again. Wha-la:

But believe it or not, I almost think he didn't cut enough off. It kind of just looks like a better blown-out and styled version of what I had before. Hmm, guess I'll see how it looks after a week of me not styling it...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Got 14 minutes to kill?

The New York Times Magazine amassed "Fourteen Actors Acting" for a minute each.

Some of these took me back to some exercises from acting class. One was to do a task. It's definitely easier than it sounds because it's actually a bit difficult to do something consciously what is normally done without much thought at all. So, you'd definitely get someone eating breakfast like they're using the biggest knife and fork in their hands and feeding their starving self with appreciative yummy expressions after every bite. Or the woman putting on makeup like she's off to the circus. But this was simply an exercise, it wasn't designed to be a compelling performance. But tip of the cap to Robert Duvall for showing us how it's done.

Another exercise was to execute an action with 100% emotion. The one most of us did was anger--so easy to tap after all. So we'd make breakfast so angrily that it was impossible to fathom food was actually made or we'd read a newspaper so angrily, we'd be flipping around in our chair, shaking the paper so violently it was unreadable. But the one that could tap a vulnerable emotion like fear or sadness really well? It was like watching Jennifer Lawrence.

Of the others, I enjoyed the little stories done by Javier Bardem and James Franco. I also liked seeing Noomi Rapace in such a different light from her titular character in the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series. Vincent Cassel's vignette made me smile--though technically, it was edited together, not one contiguous minute of acting. And Tilda Swilton--what is it about her? I'm always drawn to her. I totally wish I could rock the short hair like she does. Maybe she's got good face.

I'd love to hear any other opinions--

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ups and Downs

Up: The MSU Spartans are heading to the Capital One Bowl against Alabama, which frankly is looking like one of the more interesting bowl games to catch despite it not being a BCS bowl for a Big Ten champ. Anybody remember Saban used to coach for MSU? And that Dantonio was secondary coach under him? Or that Saban ranked MSU over Wisconsin?

Down: In basketball, the MSU Spartans "played like girls" losing soundly to Syracuse--ugh, messing with my March Madness picks already.

Up: Holy cow! Christmas is around the corner! Holiday spirit and cheer!

Down: Holy crap! Christmas is around the corner! I have done NOTHING to prepare for it.

May Elizabeth Edwards, supporter of universal healthcare, gay rights/marriage finally find peace in her battle with breast cancer. An impressive woman of accomplishment, heart, and grace.

Down: But...heard the latest? That ridiculous "church" - Westboro Baptist - the ones that protest at military funerals, theatre productions, and even a high school graduation because apparently "God hates fags" - plans to be on hand to picket Elizabeth Edwards funeral. WTF is wrong with these people? Whoever is donating hard-earned Hamiltons and Jacksons to this church should use it for something a lot more practical - say, like wiping their butts with it - than funding these protests.

Well I want to end on an Up note so I hope you enjoy this special pole-dancing dvd ad as much as I did:

"It happens. He'll understand."

Who couldn't use some Seducidence?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Nightlife

The girl had her big holiday orchestra recital at school. I was only able to snap a picture during practice because I wasn't seated close enough during the actual program:

And then a cookie exchange!

I always laugh when we have different names for cookies. Like the white balls in the pic above? I first knew them as Russian Tea Balls, but the baker called them Mexican Wedding Cakes. I made these Thumbprint cookies, but someone else said, "Ooo! Bird Nest cookies!"

I kind of wanted to mock these cookies (pecan half squished with a soft Rolo candy and mini pretzel) and call them Inglorious Lazy Basterd cookies (which is what I'm sure the baker calls them) but the children present and I ate so darn much of them, I'd have to say they were winners:

These were probably the most unique--Gumdrop bars (gumdrops both on top and baked in the bars):

My personal favorite at this exchange--these very well-executed "Santa's Whiskers" cookies--buttery cookie (not sure what the red stuff is though I know it's not peppermint-cherry?) with toasted coconut:

Cookie Exchange=lots delicious caloric fun!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


The biggest Patriots fan (next to his dad)--he held out until after the Patriots 45-3 blowout of the Jets last night:

Sigh. I die a little. Worth the wait. Can't wait to cover that face in Auntie kisses.

Congratulations to my sister and her husband for delivering a super adorable one.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back in SoCar

Came back to a house that needed 2 hours of cleaning, pronto. As well as an orchestra show, cookie exchange, and Secret Santa to prepare for the girl and a brake lamp light on my dashboard. Plus, given I came from 70 degree weather in SoCal, I came back to this:

This morning it was 23 degrees.

I'm sorry, I thought I moved to the South?

SoCal visit wrap-up

Gifted with Royal Milk Tea with Boba--I Heart Excellent Boba!

Before a Dexter marathon with Linda: Dex-fast before Dex-Fest

Then onto lunch at California Fish Grille (which I miss since most fish is deep-fried in SoCar)

Obviously, I hated it.

Linda and I: post-lunch

Stayed with this sweetie (and his cool parents)

On my last night, I made some Sweet Friends punch for my friends' party

I also whipped up some dessert

Check out this homey touch by the 2 straight guys who live here--it's like an HGTV lesson

My friend made her super delicious spinach dip

I also squeezed in some karaoke, a good rubdown at O La La, Korean food, and of course, my company's holiday award banquet. It was all great and went too quickly. Unfortunately, there was still more friends and meals to be had that I couldn't squeeze in.

Sigh. I wish I didn't need sleep.

Needless to say, I look forward to visiting again there soon!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Awesome sights at the DFW Airport

Curious to know this guy's story
(Guess I should've packed more than one suit and gym shorts?)

Good eats to be had at DFW airport: Urban Taco

One of my other favorite beverages: Horchata!

The Cowboys giving me at least one pick right this week

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SoCal so far

Highlights from my first 24 hours:

Classic. So thirsty when I got off the plane and got to the car rental place to see water cooler. Got thirstier when there were no cups.

Happy hour with some friends with really, really good hair.

My crafty friend made me this beautiful hairpin--I love it.

Though I don't know if I'm doing it any justice.

Thai food for lunch and plenty of it. Heaven!