Merry Christmas it was, twice! Shannon and I headed up to Wichita on Tuesday after a quick 1 hour side trip back to the house to get the gifts for our moms that had been left by the front door by the delivery man.
When we finally made it to Wichita, we did a bit of shopping and went to bed. Shannon and I started off our Christmas Eve by getting lost in Wichita trying to find Old Town and eventually meeting Andy 1/2 an hour late for lunch at Hana Cafe. Then, later on that day, Mom decided she would get all nauseous and make her daughters cook. So Maria, Shannon, and I made some crab sauce with pasta, Caesar salad, mussels, and shrimp scampi. There were 10 adults and 2 toddlers for dinner. It was a good time and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, except for Mom. She didn't eat and kinda didn't have a good time.
We then slept and eventually got up on Christmas morning for some breakfast and gifting. Nikki is adorable.
We had some more good food. This time, Jayme and Charles made it.
Shannon and I bought ourselves Ticket to Ride: Marklin edition. That game is very good. We played twice at Mom's. Carcassone was also played and a poor black meeple was fed to and partly eaten by Atari. I tried to save him.
Friday we ate breakfast at Charles & Jayme's place then met up with Rhonda & Michelle for lunch with my mom. After that, we said good bye to Mom and drove down to Tulsa. But this post has enough pictures for now. I'll post about Christmas #2 laters.
There was Thanksgiving with Mom, Jayme, Maria, Charles, Nikki, Tommy, and Shannon.
Then there was Thanksgiving at Rhoda's with about 17 other people.
The following weekend, Shannon and I returned to Wichita for the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert. Awesome.
The next day (which was 3 days after my mom's 50th birthday), Jayme, Maria, and I threw a surprise birthday party for Mom. At Laser Quest. Yes. That was awesome. Mom had no idea and everyone (almost 30 people) seemed to have a good time. Jayme made some foods, Maria got some drinks, and I brought the cake (with 50 candles). It was great fun and Laser Quest has their show organized. I mean, there were I think 3 parties going on and it never got annoying. Plus everything ran on time and was fun! Not to mention that Wichita's Laser Quest is the best laser tag I've been too. I've also visited one in Olathe and one in Colorado Springs.
So we did a bit of shopping and by 10 o'clock at night, it was well below freezing and had started to precipitate. Unfortunately, it was just sleet and freezing rain. When we woke up in the morning it looked like reverse snow.
We got ready for work and headed out at the normal time, because guess who doesn't have to scrape the ice off their car any more. That's right, us.
We didn't get very far. I can tell you that. We drove about 10-15 mph through our development and then went to stop at the sign at 81st street. Well, instead of stopping our car decided to slide until it hit something. That something was just a curb, but we hit it pretty hard. I believe I heard our tire say "Ouww. I hate you guys!"
So we turned right slowly onto 81st street and began to creep up the hill. The road was a sheet of ice. No salt, just ice. We started up the little hill and were giving our selves plenty of room from the car in front of us. When we got to the top of the little hill, we stopped because the cars in front of us were stopped, with a slight bit of sliding-down-hill. Why was traffic stopped? Allow this picture to illustrate.
The blue arrows show the path of our car. Our second (left) turn was not initially part of our commute, but it had to happen. The white blob is a horse-type trailer that was partially blocking the oncoming traffic. The truck was not attached, I'm assuming it got stuck, un-hitched the trailer and left so that traffic wasn't totally blocked off. Anyway.
Since oncoming traffic was blocked, they were trying to get around the trailer by coming into our lane of traffic (this is represented by the black and orange blobs above). The only thing was, they were going uphill. So, the two black cars were stuck. That's right. They were in our lane, facing us, with their tires spinning. Nice. So the cars in front of Shann and I eventually all turned left and we then followed.
As we were turning, we noticed that the orange blob was a large salt-truck. He was stuck behind the two stuck black cars.
Eventually we turned around and went home (arrival of which was about 1 mile and 30 minutes after departure). The salt-truck made it through and about 1 1/2 hours later we tried again and made it to work.
The roads in Tulsa are horrible. They take ages to do construction, need to do reparis on about 75% of the roads, and apparently can't salt the roads in advance.
Oh yeah. The German office sent over about 20-30 Ritter chocolate bars. Shannon and I were chocolate buddies (a request made by el boss) and we picked the Knusperflakes chocolate. It has corn flakes in it.
It was very similar to rice krispies in your chocolate, like a Crunch bar, but they were much heavier.
I'll post some pictures when I'm home and not busy sometime.
I thought of something. It has to do with hobbies. I have hobbies, I like to sew, paint, knit, do stained glass, and other such fun things. But now that I have a job that takes up my day from when I wake up to 10 1/2 hours later, I just don't have time to do all my fun things. So, do people lose their hobbies when they get jobs?
Today at work Shannon and I participated in some testing. It was quite fun, actually. We were using Go To Meeting while on a conference call. There were 5 of us involved. 4 of us were sitting in the same room with only cubicle walls separating us (the 4 closest cubicles in the room actually). The fifth person, was in a separate room, but no door separates the rooms.
So, yeah. It was different and useful and fun.
After that we drove to Wichita and had dinner with Mom, Jayme, Charles and Nikki. There was some entertainment, namely this.
Mom said she did it once in the grocery store, and Mom asked if she was cold. Nikki said "nope" and then Mom asked if she was scared and Nikki decided that was it. So now, she acts scared and it is very funny. I have a longer video of this where she tells Charles to do it and Jayme, Shannon, and me to do it, too.
Then, after dinner and a show, Shannon and I tried to get some sleep. We slept until about 12:15am. Then we woke up, took Mom and went to Roller City (warning: lame website) for some hockey. Yes, at 1:45 am, Shannon and I joined up with the K-State inline hockey team to play some hockey.
It was really long, but quite fun. The new guys on the team seem really great. They play well and are nice guys. While playing and watching the team play, I never once thought that someone wasn't very good. I actually was quite impressed by some of the new guys. It is awesome to see the team doing so well. They're 2-6 with the league, which even though it seems bad, it's better than we've done for the past few years. (Last year were ended 1-16-1, Two years ago ended 1-14-3, Three years ago was 1-17-0, Four years ago 1-11-0, ouch.)
We played 3 games round-robin, ended up 2-1. So we played the first round for team seeding and lost 6-3, so we were out. The last game we played around 9:30am.
The turny ended probably around 12:30. Chris and Coleman (both from K-State) played for a different team and that team wound up winning the whole shebang.
Coleman even won a tight competition with himself for top goalie.
I know, she's just too cute. Well done, Jay. Well done.
Garden Ridge is an awesome store. Last week Shannon and I went and spent a bit of money. Everything but the pine cones were 50% off! So even though we spent a bit, it was half off! Plus, we spend that much on fireworks every year and those are only used once.
I just thought this sign was funny. We saw it on our way to work last week.
This weekend Shannon and I went to Manhattan to watch Nebraska run and pass all over our defense. It was sad. We pretty much can't tackle and have a weak defensive line. Not to mention it was cold and windy. Yichy. Besides the ugly game, we saw almost all of our family this weekend. We ate dinner with Mom and Nikki Friday night. Then saw Michelle, Jenette, Chris, and Maria while in Manhattan. Then on the drive home we saw Mom, Jayme, Charles, and Nikki again.
That kid is awesome. She is so much fun to watch and to listen to and to talk to. She is starting to think and it's really cool.
Another thing I came to realize this weekend is that I would like a couch to sit on. Jenette and Chris have a comfy seat in their house and it is wonderful! The luxury of bottom and back on fluffy cushion is outstanding! I think we should get one Shannon.
I didn't like McCain or Obama very much. But since I live in Oklahoma now, I couldn't write in anyone and I couldn't vote for another candidate because they needed something like 50,000 signature to get on the ballot. Yowza. I did go vote though. But it felt different than last time.
And not like Amber's different (which it too bad, because she sounds quite pleased). For me it felt like it just didn't matter. I mean, 4 years ago, working at JCMS with two huge Kerry supporters, I felt like I had to vote for Bush or he would lose. So I did. I was really nervous during the results and relieved when I heard Bush won.
This year, I didn't think it mattered whoI voted for. Obama was gonna win and that was it. And now that he did, eh, we'll see what happens. It still doesn't really matter what I think about issues. I can't do anything on my own unless I completely change my life and devote it to making a change (something I'm not going to do, I need to have a dog and babies people). But whatever. I'll still have my own opinions (sometimes very similar to Shannon's but they are still mine). And I will still vote, because it makes me feel like I'm at least trying.
But it's sad. Shannon talks about how the government just keeps impeeding on our freedoms, and then some other friends think it's all for the good. I'm just a bit depressed about things and know that even if I talk about issues with people, I'm likely not going to change anyone's mind. It could just be the people I hang with, but the people seem like they have their minds made up already. So I just don't talk about things. It's easier for me that way.
Anyway, congrats to the president elect and I hope that in four years I feel happier and more a part of whatever circumstances there are with the election. Maybe I'll be able to vote for a presidental candidate other then R or D next time...
p.s. I still like you, my friends!
Oh yeah... I also think that one of the great things about our country is that we don't all agree and that we can debate things and think differently and usually that is what makes things work. Having to come to some sort of middle ground where most of us can agree.
I made some bats to hang in the window above our garage. They were rather hard to photo, but you can see them decent here.
I also made some dorky ghosts and hung them in the dorky tree out front. They pretty much look like trash hanging in our tree. I did however hear someone say "Look at the ghosts" while they were trick-or-treating. Oh an we found some neat bloody hands at Wal-mart, too.
And here are the pumpkins. We invited Charity over and she carved one with us. It was fun. This one is mine. It's the prince from Katamari Damacy.
Charity made a witch.
And Shannon made a giant hand turkey. If you look hard enough, you can see a helicopter just to the left of the broken building.
Or perhaps as the brave and reliable steed of a questing knight?
Or a freaky spider?
I noticed that Julia and her puppy dressed up too!
You can't really tell because the picutre is crummy, but that sandwich is on a pretzel roll. It was just a giant soft pretzel with a sandiwch inside. It was good, but not any where near as good as Shannon's Pot Roast Sliders. We at at the Fox & Hound Pub and Grill on Saturday and got some tasty foods. That place is good and we will probably go back.
On Saturday we also went to a Tulsa Oilers game. While the arena is sweet (and I mean, their sushi is actually good, where as if Kansas Colissum had sushi it would be grosser than gross), the team is not as sweet. They play kinda bad. Maybe they just have to get into the groove. We'll see.
Then Sunday we saw Charity (from Japanese classes at K-State) and her new boyfriend Cory and her old boyfriend Steve (also from said classes). We ate at Chili's, which unlike Fox & Hound, isn't very good.
Then, then yesterday, we carved us some pumpkins with the company of Charity. You know what the coolest part is (besides seeing friends in Tulsa...) we got our new camera! So I can post good pictures! You'll just have to wait until I get home.
For the first month we ate somewhere different every day. Then we ran out of places (or so we thought) and started to repeat places we liked. About two months later we were down to only a few restaurants, Panera, Qdoba, Bill & Ruths, Hideaway, and an Groening handful of others.
Then we drove down 11th Street. We found an Arby's and a Rib Crib. Eh. Not anything great, still.
Then we drove a block or two south of our usual on Peoria. We found great. Two places, The Blue Moon Cafe and The Crusty Croissant.
The Blue Moon Cafe is a small joint with some good breads and awesome sides. There is a great atmosphere there and it feels clean.
The Crusty Croissant is another uber-winner. We ate there today and I would go back tomorrow. The croissant tasted great, the fruit was fresh, the loganberry limeade was awesome, the worker was so happy and helpful. It was just a fabulous lunch. After eating I went to get a Snickerdoodle cookie for Shanno and I to split. She gave me two, for no apparent reason. Then she asked if I'd like a to-go drink, at no charge and if my husband would like one too. It was great.
Now that I don't live with my siblings, this isn't as much of a problem. Now the problem has evolved into a different misnaming. I'm not talking about that adorable niece of mine by the same name. That is a different type of misnaming.
No, what I'm talking about is being called my husband's name at least once a week at work. I don't mind, though. I don't say anything about it because people always seem so embarrassed when they realize that I am not Shannon.
On Saturday me, Shannon, Mom, Jayme, Nikki, and Charles went to Applejack Pumpkin Patch near Wichita. It was really fun! It cost 5$ to get it and then pumpkins were 40 cents a pound (65 cents for specialty pumpkins). That is really cheap.
We fed goats, well Nikki fed goats. They also had bunnies, pigs, and llamas. It was cute. The pigs' houses were made to look like a house of straw, a house of sticks, and a house of brick. That was a cute touch.
They had a neat slide that was constantly being used. Nikki went down with Jayme, Mom, and me. Half of the fun was watching the kids come down the slide. Some looked thrilled, some scared. It was quite cute.
They had a milo maze and a corn maze. We went into the milo maze first, for practice. We let Nikki lead us and that ended up with a pile of other people not in our party behind us. No one seemed to care though. It was a good time.
We did a lot of running in the corn maze. We followed Nikki and let her decide which way to turn. We did get lost once, but it's all good. About 60% through the maze, Nikki found the corn (which was all over, she just noticed it at his point). We told her it was corn and then every, oh... about 4 steps she would stop say "More corn" and pick up what should could. Or pull off what she could. Now when you imagine her saying "more corn" make it really cute... more like "Moa corn" with barely any "r". You also may want to imagine it as a question...that's what it somewhat sounded like.
They had a gourd gun, mini-pumpkin sling shot (which Jayme and Nikki did, more Jayme), and this pumpkin cannon. All I had to do was push a button to launch it, but it was awesome. And Mom caught this cool shot of the pumpkin just leaving the cannon.
Nikki may be getting bigger (and growing more hair) but she was still too small for the tricycles they had there. Mom had to help.
Here we are on our way to get pumpkins! I think you know everyone, except Charles maybe. That is him on the right end. He doesn't usually make that face, only for pictures. He's a really great guy. Nikki and Jayme seem to like him quite a bit. :)
Then the pumkins! They had a whole patch of pumpkins already cut off the vine and just laying there on the ground ready to be taken home. It was awesome. There was probably 2 acres of pumpkins (I'm guessing). It was fun to walk around and see all the various pumpkins.
In the end we all found our pumpkins. Everyone got one, including a cute little one for Nikki. It was the smallest orange one we could find with a good stem. She looked adorable carrying it around with her. It was a lot of fun and I'm really glad we went. It was about 30 minutes from Mom's house, but totally worth the drive!
Oh, and I don't have a picture of it, but we got funnel cake and an apple cider slushie. Yep, an apple cider slushie. It tasted a lot like cold apple sauce, but it was good!
It all started in the kitchen. Shannon and I already removed the border, now it was just a matter of deciding on paint colors and painting the room. We ended up painting the walls in the dining area green and the walls in the kitchen brown. The ceiling we painted a lighter brown in both rooms. It matches the floor really well and the blue/gray in the hall really well too.
Since we finished that on Saturday, we made plans to hang the light in the dining room and put in a dimmer switch on Sunday. The other thing we did on Saturday was the only thing that we said we had to get done this weekend.
About two weeks ago our garbage disposal just pooped out on us and quit. So Shannon and decided we'd just buy a new one and install it while our moms where here. So we told the moms about it Friday (when they got it) and they said that our home-owners warranty would cover it. Well that was a lot cheaper. 75$ for them to do it all instead of 200+$ for us to have to do it. Yay. Then on Saturday, after we painted and were admiring our work, Rhonda got to talking with Shannon about the garbage disposal. They did some things involving an allen wrench and pushing really hard. They plugged it back it and turned it on and it worked! Rhonda knew how to fix our garbage disposal for free!
On Sunday, we headed out to Lowe's go get what we needed for the dimmer switch and ended up buying paint for our master bathroom. When we got back to the house, Mom and I put up the new dining room light and installed a dimmer switch while Rhonda and Shannon removed all the wallpaper from the master bath. It came down so easy and fast, it was awesome.
So we puttied, sanded, taped, primed, and painted that room too! A-w-e-s-o-m-e.
We treated Mom and Rhonda to a yummy Japanese dinner for all their help. There is no way we would have done all of that this weekend had they not been there. Thanks guys!