Friday, December 22, 2006


So, the Secret Santa "reveal" was interesting. One of my co-workers exclaimed, "Let's go around and everyone can guess who they had! Amber, you go first!" Yeah...wasn't real happy about that. I did not guess Mildred. She gave me some Santa dishes - plates and mugs. They are okay... I will probably return them (that is the one thing she did right - gift receipt!) I like the idea of some Christmas dishes, but I would rather have snowman ones or a platter for cookies or something. I am lacking in the "platter" department all together. She asked me in front of everone later "did you know it was me?" I was thinking, "Are you serious? Do you want me to strip you of any dignity you still have?" Most people knew about the situation, so they were snickering...
Tuesday was the university's annual "White Elephant" gift exchange and chili luncheon. It was quite fun! I gave a hideous purple home-made snowman contraption that I received last year. This year I received:

Ah yes, the Clapper. In the original box even! My co-worker had the fab idea of installing the lights from the 3 foot Christmas tree in my office into it. Shutting my door, loud men's voices, and other random things now turn the Christmas lights on and off. Very rarely does my clapping work. I have to remind myself to disable the thing before I leave work today!
WARNING: This portion is an editorial post regarding the word "Christmas." Please do not read on if you think you might be offended. Thanks! Amber

So, I have been getting extremely annoyed with people and stores lately. I know that I have been hearing things about all of the stores that have eliminated "Christmas" from their stores, ads, etc. in the past few years. I personally, of course, think that this is ludicrous and I have written some emails to these companies to get Christmas back into their vocabularies.

My annoyance this year is how it has filtered into PEOPLE!!! People walk around exclaiming "happy holidays," "have a happy holiday," "enjoy your holiday season." Can someone please retrieve my eyeballs from the back of my head!?!

Even the people who do not claim to be Christians, they have a "Christmas" tree and have Santa come to their house (which, last time I checked, was a celebration of Christmas...) Hence, people have been so brainwashed with political correctness and the commercialization of this "holiday season" crap, that they might as well equate saying "Merry Christmas" with saying "bugger off!" like it's an insult or something! Excuse my language, but I get really heated about this!

I was kind of told not to say "Merry Christmas" to my students, but I do anyway! I refuse to pretend that Christmas is not the central reason for all of the celebrating that we do at this time and for the reason in which we all have off of work and school! So, even though I work at a Catholic university, I am not surrounded by people who will wish me a "Merry Christmas." I was extremely annoyed with the PRIEST in an email about the upcoming masses, said "Happy Holidays" at the end. Oh, and why do we capitalize these H's? I know why I capitalize the C in Christmas - because a)Christ is a person b)He is our Lord and deserves the respect and reverence c)Christmas is a real and recognized holiday. "Holiday" and "season" hold none of the aforementioned. Oh, and spare me the "well, happy holidays covers both Christmas and New Year's." C'mon people, are you too lazy to with someone both Merry Christmas and a happy new year?!? And also please spare me the "what about Jewish people and people of other religions." I have asked Jewish people if they are offended by someone saying "Merry Christmas" to them and they could care less. They are happy that that person is happy and enjoying their traditions. And, the majority of people DO celebrate Christmas in some form or fashion. And sometimes, majority rules. I just think that we should be able to say Merry Christmas without feeling like we are breaking some unwritten rule.

I am sorry if anyone is offended by my words, but I am offended that the word/concept/celebration of "Christmas" has been tossed aside as basically a swear word and some type of derogatory concept.

No one said that I didn't have strong opinions...

I wish all of you a blessed Christmas and a joy-filled new year!!!
No internet at home, so posts will probably be sparse!

We will do our own Christmas celebration on Saturday - just the two of us. MomJohnson sent us their gifts (thanks!), so we'll open those too on Saturday. Sunday morning we're off to see the Blaskowski's and Sankeys! We will celebrate with Johnsons and Andersons in January some time. Something we still need to plan!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Smorgasbord of updates!!!

First of all, HAPPY 2ND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY to my wonderful hubby!!! I love you SO much - you'll never be able to comprehend it! The best two years of my life!

We are off to a dinner tonight to celebrate!


Weekend update:

Friday started off with a bang at work!

Flashback - Christmas 2005: Our wonderful student worker Katie gives all of us in the office a cute little Christmas pail with lotions and potions - great girly stuff. We love her for it and immediately start using it. The cute pail is back this year on my desk as a decoration.

Fast-forward - Friday: I get to work to find a gift bag in front of my office door. "How nice," I think. "Must be from my Secret Santa." Get settled and open my gift. "Oh my - this cute little pail with lotions and potions looks awfully familiar. Hmmm." Closer examination reveals that in black magic marker "To: 'Mildred'" (an alias has been used for my protection!). I was shocked and amazed. I happened to know who Mildred's SS was, so I called him in - just in case by chance someone is still selling these items and said SS wanted me to make a delivery to Mildred. Sure enough, as I suspected, Mildred was caught in an extremely distasteful display of re-gifting gone wrong. I was kind of outraged in a sense. Mildred is quite the character - known to be ridiculously cheap as well as lude, deceitful, and forgetful. Need I say more? This display fit her to a tee. Oh, and it gets better!

On the rush to a meeting I place the gift in Mildred's box with the "To:Mildred" facing out. Co-worker sees Mildred confusingly bring gift back to her office. When I returned to the office, I sent Mildred an email explaining, "I accidently must have opened a gift bag that was supposed to be for you from your Secret Santa, as 'To: Mildred' was written on the tissue paper. I mistakenly thought the gift was for me since it was found in my doorway, but your SS must have wanted me to deliver it to you. Sorry it is not in the gift bag anymore." She replied with a brief - "no problem."

Hours later, Mildred comes into my office and snoops around while I am on the phone with a student (another one of her fabulous habits.) After finishing the call, Mildred proceeds to look me in the eye and tell me "Oh, you know that gift. It wasn't a SS thing. It was from the Religious Studies Dept. SISTER brought it down and put it in front of the wrong door." I cannot believe I didn't laugh right in her face with that one! It would have been one thing to have just let it go, or to even laugh it off while "coming clean." But, she had the audacity to not only lie to my face but to think that I would not know exactly where that gift originally came from. Oh, and to include a nun in your coverup lie - nice touch, Mildred! So, Katie, I am sorry to inform you that Mildred did not enjoy her Christmas present from last year.

Regifters out there: remember who you received the gift from, and do not regift to the same circle of people. AND, make sure your name tag is not still on the gift! Hence, this great pic I found on google!


Friday 6:00: We love Fox 6 and Katrina Cravy!!!!

Can't even go into all of the details on this one... In a nut shell, we bought a product from an infomercial in August 2005. They billed us for 4 of the product, so we cancelled the entire order and were told that we'd receive a full refund. Refund never posts to the credit card and items are shipped. Packages refused and more complaint calls are logged assuring of a refund. Monthly or bi-weekly calls continue from then on, along with massive frustration and irritation from being put on hold and being lied to. I couldn't take it anymore, so last month I contacted the Better Business Bureau. I also contacted Katrina Cravy at Fox 6 who does excellent work with recovering money in consumer issues like this. She sent a letter to the company, who in turn sent us a letter saying that we would receive our money "shortly." On Friday, guess what was in our mail? Yes - a check for $313.70!!!! Persistence pays off!!!!! Now, I get to call the station and let them know. Maybe we'll be on the news or in a promo! Woo hoo, again!!!

Christmas Parties:

Friday night we had a great time with our Young Married Couples Bible study group. Brad and Jami had us all over for appetizers and desserts. They have a beautiful house and we had a great time of fellowship.

Saturday night brought Jason's work Christmas party which was held at a newer restaurant in town that has a microbrewery. His two bosses took over the company earlier this year, so this was the first Christmas party that they organized. The dinner was nice, but the fun came when the bald cap came out and spouses were asked to sit across the table from employees. Spouses were given black cases, told not to open them, and suddenly a computer screen appeared announcing,

DEAL OR NO DEAL!!! (sorry image is not posting!)

One boss was Howie Mandell, one boss was "the banker." We had great fun playing rounds with a top prize of $100 - yes, real money! Then, suddenly the low winners from the first round were given the opportunity to play with a $1,000 board! One employee left with over $400 and another with over $300! Jason was bold and waited until he was down to his case and one other case. He traded cases, and won $75! When I played, I was my "safe" self and took the deal at $52. I had $75 in my case, but was still pleased with $52! So, now we can go out for our anniversary! :-)

We had a nice time and were happy that the game was added to the festivities - it made it a great deal of fun!


Well, I think that covers it for now! Stay tuned for an update after I contact Fox!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Roman shade

We finally got our roman shade that we ordered online. We got a great deal on it, and it goes perfectly with the rest of our kitchen. Amber is great at finding all the good deals. We also bought a light at IKEA to replace the old ornate chandelier light that used to hang there. We like what we've done with everything, what do you think?

It's Christmas time!!

I know we've been meaning to show everyone our Christmas lights. I decided to string the light across the front of the house instead of along the roof pitch simply because it was dark, and I didn't have a ladder long enough. We think it looks fun and festive. It is so wonderful to have a place we call home, and even more so to decorate it! We are truly blessed!

Saturday night.

While we were staying at the B&B we wanted to do something fun, but this time of year isn't the most popular time for a town on a lake, but we managed to find a town nearby called Princeton which had candlelit sidewalks and decorations and stores open later. All the stores were old 1900 buildings with tons of little unique things to buy. It was fun to just walk around and see the lights, hear the Christmas music, and enjoy the little historic town. We ended the evening there eating a Mexican pizza at the local pizza place.

Relaxing weekend away...

So Amber and I were able to get away this past weekend to a nice B&B in Green lake WI. It was a gift to us last Christmas and we finally used it! It was a nice relaxing time...nice place (a bit heavy on the floral patterns for our taste), but it was definately cozy. We had a wonderful breakfast in the morning and we were able to meet two nice couples from different parts of Wisconsin. It was a nice relaxing stay!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Winter is here!

We know, we know... We haven't blogged for a while!

Last week I was only at work for three days - sick on Monday after a great Thanksgiving holiday and was blessed with a SNOW DAY on Friday! I felt just like a little kid hoping for a snow day that morning. First thing that I did was turned on the TV and looked for the name of the university that I work at. Sure enough, "University Closed" was part of the scrolling stream of schools. I strartled Jason in the shower with my scream of delight!

The best blessing of the day was that our neighbor, Fred, came over with his snow blower! Jason would not have made it through the snow to even get into the house to retrieve the shovel. Fred received some fresh peanutbutter cookies that evening! The news reported 9.8 inches in our town from that storm.

The house is decorated, too. I LOVE getting ready for Christmas! I think we'll post pictures of the tree and house too - Jason did some fabuluous lighting on the outside of the house! He was such a sport - put the last of the lights out on Thursday night knowing that once the storm hit we'd be past the time of opportunity. Our neighborhood is quite cheery! Christmas lights make me think of our wedding day/night - almost 2 years ago now - December 18th! We took a drive to look at lights on our way to our reception - got in a few kisses, too! :-) I hope we can re-live that moment in celebration!

Pictures soon, we hope!