Envelope Project

Monday, December 29, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

The Christmas holiday is over and we survived it just fine, thanks. B.'s family came for dinner and everyone seemed to have a good time. The weather was beautiful and by the time the day was over, I was exhausted and passed out. No, there wasn't any drinking involved, I was just really tired.

Today I have to go back to work as my four days off has ended. Unfortunately I brought the computer home and had to work for a couple of those days so I didn't get to enjoy the holiday as it should have been enjoyed. My brother, J, and his daughter, A, are coming for the New Year holiday. I think they are driving down tomorrow. It'll be great to see him. His son (my nephew, D) got engaged the Sunday before Christmas. We're all so excited. His fiance is awesome!

Well, there was no crafting or quilting done this week. I did manage to look at a quilting magazine and a crafting magazine so I feel refreshed and ready to start another project. Maybe next weekend!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Festivities

It's here . . . the night before Christmas . . .

This week it's been easy to accomplish my cooking goal. So far, I've made chocolate mousse that is going to be used on the two layer cake that just came out of the oven. It will also be used as filling in the chocolate candy shells. Some of the shells may also have mint chocolate chip ice cream. The recipe I used to make the mousse is not sweet so I'm hoping that the cake and icing will be a nice complement. At least I tried. Last week I made tortellini shells and baked cookies. The Christmas cards were mailed on Monday so for the first time in years, I got them out the door before Christmas day!!! Yay me! I have one more week to go for my first 30 day trials. Some times I think that I'd really like to drink a Dr. Pepper, but it hasn't been that hard to not pop open a can and get that first ice cold hit. I just keep thinking about the 17 tsps of sugar in each can (or some other ridiculous number). Plus in 2009 I have at least two nieces and one nephew who are getting married and I'm going to have to look good for the weddings. I haven't worn a dress in over 8 years. Not my thing anymore, but if I can lose some weight, I'll think about a nice dress or two for the weddings! I have another niece and nephew who are also engaged and I'm not sure if the weddings will be 2009 or 2010. Ah, to be young again.

This is our house all decorated on the outside, thanks to B. It looks really good. The inside looks lovely also when all of the village lights are on. I really wish I could get into this holiday, but I'm keeping busy and we're doing good. The last picture is B's Dad's Christmas gift. Don't ask!

My office closed at noon today and I managed to leave at 1:30 p.m. I would have liked to have stayed longer as I have a week left to finish my transfer pricing reports. I brought my computer and files home today and hopefully I will get lots done on Friday, Saturday or Sunday!!! Yeah, right.

Here's wishing everyone a lovely holiday season. I hope all is well with the world. Mine is just fine, thank you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's Done

So, I've finished the Christmas cards and tonight I'll address the envelopes and tomorrow I'll buy postage and then they will be on their merry ways. I ended up making 14 cards. B wanted to keep one and hang on our wall. I still have 9 more cards that I need to send, but I think 14 for this year is enough. Today I bought some really cute cards at Target and I will send those to the rest of the people.

I just woke up from a nap and now it's almost 6 p.m. I did not run at all this weekend nor did I do any work for my actual paying job. It's going to be a tough week. Christmas is Thursday and B. and I are committed to the family dinner. Tomorrow night we're supposed to go over to Ms. H's house and visit. 'Tis the season.

A Day Wasted

The day was full of promise as dog and I took off for our Saturday morning jog. Today we were going to do at least 2 miles and hopefully a little bit more. Since I'm on my quest to do a 5k in January and the weather is cool enough for the dog, today was going to be a great running day. We took off and two blocks into it the dog starts limping. I immediately stop running, turn around and tell doggie we have to go home. He looks at me and begs to go on. So I check his pads and his joints and doggie doesn't even wince. He just wants to be outside. I can't disappoint my dog and so we walked this morning instead of our usual run. We got home and helped B. put up the Christmas lights on the outside. And then I went inside and watched two episodes of "Flip This House". I like that show. For some reason I had no energy and laid down and took a two hour nap. When I woke up, I had no energy at all and consequently I accomplished nothing today. A big fat zero. Oh, well. There's always tomorrow.

I brought work home on my flash drive, but I just can't bring myself to work on the weekends. I just don't want to. I used to be a slave to my job, but I'm getting older. I like to imagine myself retiring and having all day to do whatever I want. Right now I have my weekends and I can't even get those right. Yikes.

B. and I decided today that we are going to go ahead and cook the family dinner on Christmas day. If anyone shows up, great. If not, that's fine also. At least we are trying.

Goal for tomorrow (which is actually today): get rest of Christmas cards made!!! And run!!! Wish me luck! Aren't those boxes cute? I made them last year out of ads in magazines. I love them. It took me forever to figure out the instructions though so I'm not sure I could recreate them without having to put the brain into overdrive and really, really concentrate!! Maybe next year I'll tackle paper boxes again!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Harder Than I Remember

B. and the doggie are at the farm today so it was an empty house when I got home from work. I changed clothes and decided to go for a run sans doggie. No excuses with having to stop and smell and wait for the dog to pee on everything. I was on my own and I had to go the distance. It's harder than I remember! It was made even harder by the fact that it was pitch black outside and I was trying to not hurt myself on the cracked sidewalks. I tried to run in the street as much as I could, but sometimes the traffic just didn't cooperate. Oh, well. I did my two miles and thought, "wow, next month I want to do a 5k, so I better get better at this!!!".

I made a couple more Christmas cards tonight so now I'm up to 10. Is that enough to stop??? I'm still doing good on my no Dr. Pepper and last weekend I made a white canadian bacon/vegetable pizza. I'm still on target with my 30 day challenge.

Tomorrow is my 9-80, but since I still have transfer pricing reports to write, I will be going in to the office. Yay! (said facetiously) It's all good. Today I got to listen to some podcasts at work. I got to work at 8:20 a.m. and finally got logged on at either 9:45 or 10:15 (it was a long time on the phone with the IT department). For some reason, after I finally got logged in, I was able to get Windows Media and so I listened to some quilting podcasts this afternoon. The IT people are supposed to be in the office tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll lose my connection again. Oh, well, it was fun while it lasted.

No idea about Christmas yet. I tried to volunteer for the Depelchin Center, but I missed the deadline. I wish I liked this holiday.

B. and doggie just got home. It's 10:30 p.m. I guess I'll call it an evening and go do my crossword puzzle and head off to bed. Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Christmas Time in the City . . .

It's Tuesday already and I'm at home sick. Ugh! For some reason I'm having a hard time this winter. I very seldom get sick and twice in the last few weeks I've had an uncontrollable runny nose. This is not fun. And it's actually quite painful. I didn't sleep at all last night so today I'm at home trying to feel better.

On Sunday B and I decorated our Christmas tree. We don't have room for a real sized one so we've been putting up our little guy for quite a few years now. I think it looks festive. I spent Sunday making Christmas cards. I made one on Saturday and B. suggested that I use the long arm to try and make them. So on Sunday I loaded up the long arm and made an attempt. If not for the tension issues, this would definitely be the way to go. Unfortunately I had to change the thread three times and finally I said "I give" and took them off the long arm and finished them on the Bernina. So far I have a total of six made and at this rate, I won't meet my goal. Especially now that I'm feeling crappy. Oh, well. There's always next year!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Let It Snow . . Let It Snow

We had snow in Houston beginning Wednesday afternoon. How cool is that? I was on a teleconference and looked out the window to see snowflakes falling. I knew it wouldn't last as it was very wet outside. Apparently, it snowed enough and got cold enough to freeze our bridges and come Thursday morning it was a mess out there. Not on my side of town, so I was thankful for that. We are back to a nice 55 degrees today so maybe we'll get to retain "sweater weather" for just a bit longer. That was always my favorite time in Kansas and Massachusetts . . . being able to wear a sweater with shorts and sneakers. I used to have a fairly nice collection of sweaters, but since I'm in a warmer climate now, I have long since given up on the sweater collection.

This week I was also in class learning about the Texas Margins Tax. Now that's a real thriller, huh?! I must say, the presentation was done very well and except for one speaker and a really bad lunch, the conference was okay. Unfortunately I am extremely busy at work, so I must go into the office today (Saturday) and possibly tomorrow. A lot has to get done before December 31 rolls around. Yikes! I'm trying to keep my stress level to a minimum. Good luck with that.

Last night was our office Christmas party and we all gathered at Churrasco's for a nice dinner and conversation. We had a gift exchange, but our boss bought all the gifts. They were nice gifts also. It was the game you play where the first person picks a gift and then the second person can either steal the gift or pick a new gift. Since B and I were #9 out of 10 people, we got to see almost all of the gifts before we had to choose. We stole a gift and ended up with a $100 debit card. Not bad, huh?! I really liked the snowman box that it came in.

Well, this weekend I must make cards. I still haven't come up with an idea so I better get the creative juices rolling while I'm off doing my transfer pricing reports! It's hard to switch gears I tell you!

My cousin, C's, daughter graduates from college today. How exciting. If I wasn't working I'd consider a drive up to Dallas so I could see C and her family. She and her husband just moved to Mississippi and I miss them.

Christmas giving:
Day 1 - gave home grown tomatoes to friend
Day 2 - gave money to downtown sax player standing on street corner in 35 degree weather
Day 3 - gave handcrafted chocolates to friend (really wanted to keep those puppies!)
Day 4 - that's today - I'm not sure what my gift for today will be; we'll have to see what the day brings.

This is based on a blog I read this week about giving 29 gifts in 29 days (www.29gifts.org). The premise is that the act of giving makes us less selfish and makes us think about others and in the end hopefully everyone feels a little bit better. I've always been a pretty selfless person and I like to give so I like this challenge.

Well, no quilting or crafting this week. I am still on track with my no Dr. Pepper drinking. I will make or bake something new again this weekend and as long as I get my cards made, I should conquer this challenge. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Goodies

Well, I didn't make my goal of 8 fabric bowls. I managed to finish 4 of them and now I'm not even enthused to give them away even though they've turned out wonderfully. I do need to take the chocolates to work, however, as they have a shelf life of 3 weeks and we are on week two. Yikes! I guess since I am up early this morning I could go and sew another bowl, but I don't have it in me today. My nose is up to its usual tricks of running non-stop. This really gets old. The weather has turned cooler here and my skin is getting really dry. I guess I'm just falling apart!

B put up the Christmas decorations yesterday and they look great. We have a display of villages with lights along with a small 3' Christmas tree. It works for us since we have limited room (since I took the biggest room and put all my sewing stuff in it!). Part of the lights are also up outside. I can't wait to see it when it is fully lit.

Over the weekend I made two new recipes so I'm on track there. I made chili for dinner on Sunday and I also made some cookies. The jury is still out on the cookies and I can't decide if I like them or not. They are not a sweet cookie and instead have potato chips and pretzels loosely ground up in them. Once they are baked and fully cooked, they are dipped in chocolate. I love the combination of salt and chocolate, but these are kind of bland. Maybe I'll like them better today!

Now that the holiday season is here and it should be a time to relax and enjoy, I am having to work even harder. All of the transfer pricing reports are due by December 31 and I think I have the toughest ones to do (once again, thanks Portland folks!). I cannot get the people in Portland to answer my questions and give me the missing information. I just keep plugging along. There are a ton of reports to do and the two biggest ones (US and Canada) are taking me forever because the information had to be compiled (it should have just been sent to us) and it doesn't tie to the financials. They don't seem to care! Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!

Maybe tonight I'll get home a little earlier and I can run with the doggie. Last night I had to forego the running as I didn't get home from work until almost 8 p.m. Ugh!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Me and My Doggie

Yesterday was me and doggie time. After our morning jog, doggie pretty much curled up in whatever room I was in and slept. He is just so cute. And now he's got a little doggie snore that I think is cute and funny. I think he gets tired of all the pictures I take of him, but I need them for later.

I harvested some tomatoes and a very handsome pepper from the garden yesterday. It's almost Christmas and my garden is giving me some beautiful delights! Since I don't eat tomatoes, I gave those away, but I will be cooking with the pepper. It's gorgeous. There are still quite a few tomatoes and peppers on the vine so there should be some more harvesting soon.

I managed to make two of the eight Christmas gift bowls yesterday. B was gone most of the day and so I sat at the sewing machine and then did some putzing and cleaning up. I still have six more bowls to do today so I better get my jog in soon and get started on the bowls. It's 44 degrees out right now so I'm postponing going outside, but . . .

I'm rethinking my position on Steve Pavlina. I've been reading some more on his site and I'm wondering if he is not laughing all the way to the bank. Does he really buy into all the crap that he spews or does he spew it because people want that and are making him a rich man? I am still going to do my three things in 30 days, but I'm going to have to give up on the rest of the load of crapola. Sorry Steve, no money from me.

B is gone this morning to go help out both his sister, brother and Dad. He didn't get home until after 10 last night helping out. It's a good thing that he helps them out, but I don't think that his family thinks he has a life outside of them. It's a good thing I have doggie to keep me company! Today is cookie baking day, but I won't be able to make them until B gets home so I can go to the store and buy the ingredients. I'm going to try out a new recipe and if they taste good, I will include them with my Christmas gifts in a bowl along with the yummy Cocoa Dolce candy that I bought for my coworkers.
Well, I better get the day started. Doggie is curled up in a chair next to me and soon he may be snoring . . . it's a good life!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All Things International

This has been a relatively productive week at work. And while I'd rather be somewhere else creating and working on pretty things or funky things, I'm learning all about Transfer Pricing. It's really pretty interesting, but I'm sure I'm going to run into snags shortly. This is the end result of what started with my trip to Portland a few months ago. I still have not received all of my information requested from my "friends" in Portland, but I'm plugging along none-the-less. I still hope to take this Friday off for my 9-80, but we'll see how much progress is made tomorrow.

This weekend I will be making some more of my fabric bowls. I'm going to try and make some that are only about 5" big to hold the handmade chocolates I bought in Wichita over the holidays. I will be giving these out to my fellow co-workers for Christmas. Since the chocolates have a shelf life of three weeks, I will be passing them out next week when every one is in town. If any of you are extreme chocolate lovers, try out Cocoa Dolce at http://www.cocoadolce.com/. You will LOVE it!!! My brother introduced me to this place and I came back to Houston and did some research on the owner. Seems she followed her heart when she was nearing 50 and became a master chocolatier. I like the sound of that. Actually though, I'm using her as inspiration to work on my quilting dream. I think I'm holding myself back for several reasons, the big one being insurance. Even though I don't look or act sick, I am and I need insurance. Oh, well. It's a good thing I like taxes also!

I also read an excerpt today from Steve Pavlina's new book, Personal Development for Smart People. Even though the information is common sense, it's nice to get a jump start on thinking about improving a person's life. He speaks of trying something for 30 days as a trial. I think that I will do three different things in the next 30 days: 1) cook a new meal or bake a new dessert each week (I already cook, but this must be a new recipe), 2) quit drinking Dr. Pepper, and 3) I'd like to say that I'll give up chocolate, but we are in the holiday season and I do plan on baking this year, so instead my third item will be to make handmade Christmas cards and send them out before December 25 rolls around. That one is going to be the toughest. I am notoriously late each year in mailing out my cards. I think that the problem lies in the fact that I cannot just sign my name. I insist on writing to each person even though that is usually not reciprocated by my friends or family (except Mom). It takes a long time to write even a short note to each person. Maybe the trick will be to weed out extraneous people and send to the bare minimum number of people. Kidding!!

Doggie and I went for a nice jog after work. I didn't get home until after 7 p.m., and even though it's hard to run in the dark, we had a very good run. I'm definitely getting better. Next month, I will set a goal to run a 5k and lose weight!!! I'm looking forward to it. The last of the fabric shelves have been built and installed. Don't they look great?!!! B also cooked a nice chicken marsala dinner tonight. Yummy. It's been a good day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving has come and gone and it was a huge success. The festivities in Kansas included 35 people and there was plenty of food and laughter for everyone. It was a great trip. B and I drove up with J (my nephew's girlfriend). Coming back my nephew was also with us. We also had a trooper of a dog with us who made the trip with barely a wimper.

Yesterday it was back to work, but when I got home I discovered that B had finished the rest of the fabric bookcases and we unloaded the remainder of the fabric. The room is now very colorful and I'm thinking I need MORE!!!! I'm excited and I need to get on the stick and start creating. Right now though, it's time for me to get ready for another exciting day at work so until tonight . . . I must sign off.