Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm thankful for...

1. Puffs tissues
2. Sudafed
3. Chicken noodle soup
4. Cold-Eeze throat lozenges
5. Comfy pjs and fleece blankets
6. Ben and Jerry's chocolate fudge ice cream
7. Back-to-back episodes of Say Yes to the Dress
8. Ten hours of sleep

Yep, that was my Friday night. (Ok, if I'm being honest, that's a lot of my Friday nights…only without all the drugs.). It just may be my Saturday too. The first cold of the season is upon me. I knew my time was coming. So far I've at least managed to keep away the H1N1 (or HINI) flu that has hit a few of my co-workers.

I'm resting up this weekend before I burst onto the Christmas scene with a plethora of holiday concerts and celebrations. The tree is sparkling, I’m singing along with my Christmas playlist and now it's time for another dose of Sudafed and a nap. I’m livin' it up!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

I’m soon to board a plane on the busiest travel day of the year to visit my in-laws where I’ll have two days of Thanksgiving celebrations and one early Christmas on Saturday. I think I need to exercise my stomach muscles now to prepare for three consecutive days of holiday eating! But the best news of all? My Christmas shopping is done, people! Still, I can’t quite believe it’s already Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

Anyway, I decided this week to be short and festive (so you have plenty of time to get that turkey or side dish ready). I leave you with this turkey day video clip...

Now, share one thing you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving! What am I thankful for? The people who read this little blog (and much, MUCH more)!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tune in

Occasionally I find something hilarious, but when I explain what was so funny to someone else they don't really get what all my laughter is about. Sometimes it's those "you had to be there moments," and other times I think I'm just far too easily amused. I'm a little worried that's about to happen as I explain this most recent discovery of mine...but I digress.

Have you heard about the Auto Tune app for the iPhone? I first learned about this interesting feature a few weeks ago when I came across this auto-tuned Obama interview. Then this past week, I heard another auto-tuned video that really made me stop and take note of this technology.

You have to watch this original video first. If you've ever been to You Tube, you've probably already seen it, but it's just too cute to see only once. Love the British accent, and love the smile on the baby's face that says to me: "Of course I bit your finger, idiot. You shoved it in my mouth! Why don't you go stick it in an electrical socket now. Mum and dad must be so proud!"

Now check out the auto-tuned version:

I admit, I cried with laughter the first time I heard it. Then I started thinking about what I'd like to auto tune if I had the time. The person taking my order at the drive-thru window. The pastor at my church. An episode of The Office. Yes, there are now no limits to the ways we can waste our valuable time. But at least we can have a good laugh while we’re at it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

There's no place like home

Lately I’m frantically clicking my sparkly red shoes (or my boring black flats) together, hoping to find my way home for more than just a few days at a time. In November I will have spent 13 nights away from home. December already has 10 nights scheduled away. The cliché is that home is where the heart is, but for me, home is also where my sanity lives. So, being in the midst of business travel, house/kid sitting, and family/holiday travel, there is no telling what the world may see from me during these drifter days. Even kids can tell I’m not my usual self… On Monday night, the eight-year-old in the family I was caring for looked at me and said, “You look like you’re ready to go home.” Oops, was it that obvious?

It’s not as if I want to be a hermit who never leaves the house. I enjoy having places to go and people to see. However, just as extroverts get energized by being around others, my introverted self re-energizes with time at home, doing my own thing, having somewhat of a routine. I guess being a frequent traveler just takes a different personality than my own.

Anyway, tonight—for the hour or so that I will be home (and awake)—my suburban townhome will have never looked so good!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christmastiiiiiiime is here

One holiday at a time. That's my general rule. Time goes by too fast already; why rush things? It's always been tradition for me and my family to bring out the Christmas décor and music the day after Thanksgiving.

But this year is different. Last week when I saw the first Christmas commercial on TV, I found myself doing a little happy dance in my living room. And yesterday, I spent a good hour or more downloading new Christmas music from iTunes. Next weekend, the tree is going up.

Why this eagerness for Christmas? Because this year, Christmas is synonymous with vacation…beaches…palm trees…HAWAII. The fam and I are bucking tradition and spending Christmas in paradise. I can’t believe it, but I think this will actually be my first week-long vacation since my 13th birthday! Can you see why I'm in a hurry for Christmas to get here?! And spending money on vacation means no gifts, so my Christmas shopping is finished too! (But in case you were wondering, there are 40 shopping days left.)

So yeah, I guess you could say I'm ready for it. I suppose it doesn't help that I've been singing Christmas music since September in rehearsals for a Christmas concert at my church. If you're not quite in the Christmas spirit yet, here's a favorite Christmas music performance to get you fired up for this wonderful season of caroling, halls decked with boughs of holly, red-nosed reindeer and…dreidels.

Merry Christmas to all! Or, as they say on the island: Mele Kalikimaka!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Phil & Jen plus Four

“Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.” -Phyllis Diller

I used to like watching Jon and Kate plus Eight (before they became tabloid fodder), and would wonder how I would handle life with that many kids. (For the record, I decided that I probably wouldn’t handle it well at all. No wonder Kate often seems stressed out and bossy.) Yeah, my future family plans hopefully include a much smaller family. Nevertheless, this week I get a parenting trial run of sorts as the hubs and I house sit and kid sit for several kids ranging from third grade to a sophomore in high school.

Truthfully, these are great kids – well-behaved, respectful, and fun. So aside from helping with homework and keeping them fed, it’s not too bad. Granted, I’m only on day three…and I am definitely more tired than normal.

This week also brings back long buried memories of when I was a school-aged kid. I remember not getting to decide what I wanted for dinner and having to eat whatever mom cooked that night. I remember asking my parents for rides to places all over the city. I remember complaining about chores. I remember the homework. I remember how my dad would intentionally do silly stuff in public that would embarrass me. Yes, the years were generally fun and care free, even though I may not have seen it that way at the time. Let me know what you remember most or loved most about being a kid. We could all stand to relive a little of our childhood, right?

Monday, November 9, 2009


It's a Monday afternoon and I’m still in my pajamas, listening to some new music on my iPod and blogging. Not a typical Monday for me. I'm not frantically writing e-mails, sitting through meeting after meeting (while checking my Blackberry under the table), or picking up my phone to hear the latest communications emergency. Finally friends, the time has come for me to take a DAY OFF (insert musical fanfare here)! Make that TWO days off actually.

So here I sit, in a state of long-weekend bliss, asking myself, "who decided the weekend should be only two days in the first place?!"

While my two days off work have been rather unexciting (laundry, cleaning, errands and the world’s worst chore ever: ironing), I did spend Saturday and Sunday enjoying a spa in Central Minnesota with a great friend. The fall weather was perfect, the pampering was exactly what I needed, and, despite James—the creepy, troll-like fitness instructor whose Tai Chi moves were less-than-inspirational—we met some wonderful people and had a nearly perfect weekend away.

I truly believe life is about simple pleasures. Time goes by so fast and there are too many "big" things we could spend all of our time worrying about, but not today. In my final hours of vacation before I head back to work tomorrow, I'm sharing my top five list of simple pleasures I was blessed with this weekend:
  1. The crunch of leaves under my feet on a fall hike
  2. Going to bed before 10 p.m. (and not waking up to an alarm)
  3. Leaving my Blackberry buried in my suitcase for 48 hours, replacing it with books and, of course, People magazine
  4. Laughing so hard I cried
  5. Friends—to talk to, share a bag of popcorn with or simply enjoy the peace and quiet together
As we head into this season of Thanksgiving, what simple pleasures are you most grateful for? Let's not wait for a holiday—or a day off—to remember them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

When the saints go marching in

On the heels of Halloween is another holiday that doesn’t get quite as much attention: All Saints Day. This week I was surprised to learn about some of the more unique patron saints that have existed over the course of history (this off-the-wall knowledge comes from Jason Boyett’s book, The Pocket Guide to Sainthood). For those of us non-Catholics who need some background about patron saints, check out Jason’s blog. Now, to name a few of my favorites (and no, this is not a joke):

  • St. Ambrose, Patron Saint of Beekeepers
  • St. Martin of Tours, Patron Saint of Geese
  • St. Vitus, Patron Saint of Oversleeping
  • St. Caedwalla of Wessex, Patron Saint of Serial Killers
  • St. Drogo, Patron Saint of Ugly People
Apparently the idea is that if you are dealing with any of these topics/issues in life you may benefit from praying to the related patron saint, because they have an in with God on these areas of expertise. (Lucky for me, I have an in with God on everything because he’s my personal Savior and all.) So finally, there is hope for chronic oversleepers and ugly people! But anyway, check out this article for details on the patron saints above, as well as a few others you won’t soon forget. I promise it will make you smile.

But wait, there’s more. You can also sign up for Relevant’s Great Saint Off and name a celebrity saint (assuming one of today’s celebrities was given such an honor). My favorite so far is, “Saint T. He pities all fools.” Or, I invite you to name your own fictional saint on this blog – be it yourself, a celebrity, or someone else you know (without offending, of course). Get your saint on, people!