Saturday, December 30, 2006

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas......

Today Emily and I went to see Irving Berlin's White Christmas, at the Fox Theater. We went with Genevieve, and her two girls. We dined at the fabulous Johnny Rockets for lunch, then went on to the show.

We LOVED the show. It was beautiful, captivating, funny, and oh so entertaining. I sincerely hope it comes back again next year. The dancing was amazing and energetic, and the storyline easy enough for a child to follow. The costumes were breathtaking too.

I wasn't going to tell what happens at the end, because I wanted it to be a surprise for any of you that may go in the future, but honestly, by looking at their website, (click the link above), I'm not sure if it will come back to Detroit to tour. I feel very lucky that we were able to see it while it was here. At the very end, they are all dressed in Christmas Red. Betty and Bob got together (I later found out that they are married in real life). And the entire cast is singing, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas". They invite the audience to sing with them and suddenly it is snowing inside the entire Fox Theater. It was AMAZING! Everyone just went nuts! To look around and feel like you are inside a snowglobe is an unbelievable experience. If it comes back to Detroit next winter, we are DEFINITELY going, and hopefully you will too.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Dress Blues...

So, this is the Fireman's Dress Uniform, that people RARELY see. As I have come to find out, it is the uniform worn for funerals. Tonight, Chris (Greg's Godfather and Sterling Heights Fireman) and Dennis are going to a Pass and Review of a Clinton Township Fireman. If you have not ever seen one of these before, it is a very moving and emotional thing to see. Never a dry eye in the place.

The Firemen, Police and EMS professionals line up outside the funeral room, and walk single file into the room from the back. They then come up the side of the room to the front of the casket, turn and pause to pay their respects. It is very quiet, and very emotional. The professionals come from all over the state. Hundreds of them.

A few years ago, a friend of ours, Mark Cooke (Washington Township Fireman/Paramedic) died from pancreatic cancer. As far as emotions go, it was a horrendous funeral. At the Church as the rest of us watched, the chief walked across the room, handing Mark's helmet to his wife.

Need I say more? Those who know me and know me well, need not ask what my reaction was. I can't even watch commercials without crying some times.

Regardless, Chris came tonight to meet up with Dennis. They did not drive together, because after the Fireman's Funeral, Dennis is going to another funeral home to pay respects for his friend Scott's son. Colton was 11 years old and suffered from severe Cerebral Palsy. He had a seizure yesterday and suffocated.

Now I didn't intend to bring ya'll down. I only intended on letting you see my hot tamale in that awesome uniform!

I just thought I should mention why they were both dressed the way they are.
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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Birthday to You!!!

Happy 7th Birthay, Shelby Birdie!
We love you sweetheart!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Flat Stanley visits Greece!

Emily got this cool project for school. All the students in second grade were given a "Flat Stanley". They were to color him, and cut him out. Then they were to send him to someone in a different location. The further away the better.

Immediately she wanted to send it to Uncle Mike & Aunt Mary Ann in Crete, Greece. I knew that Mike would have a field day with this one, but what came back was incredible. While most people at school are getting their Flat Stanley's back with a letter and a photo, Emily received hers today in this BEAUTIFUL scrapbook that is almost entirely made out of natural materials. Literally, the cover of this book is made out of leaves.

Flat Stanley's photo is in the cover as you can see from the photo (I had to get a shot of her board, thanking Aunt Mary Ann & Uncle Mike, so I didn't zoom in on the book). In side, page for page, Flat Stanley talks about his trip to Greece. He was treated quite well, as he came back in a clean outfit, and with no tears. He watched Uncle Mike play Racquet Ball with his friends, he ate lunch with Aunt Mary Ann in the Galley. He helped count out a TON of money. (I haven't ever seen that much money in my whole life). He picked Olives, he fed the kitties. He also learned quite a bit about Greece, and the local attractions.

This book is amazing. Once it comes back from her school (I plan on having the TEACHER hold on to it and NOT pass it around), it will be proudly displayed in our living room for all to see. The teacher can let people look at it at her desk, lol.

Mike & Mary Ann, I can not thank you enough for this. It was a simple little project that Emily had to do for school, and what you sent back was incredible. It is very touching to think of all the efforts you went through to put this together. I am totally at a loss on how to thank you for this. It is 100 times better than I could have ever imagined.


Downtown Rochester

This was such a GREAT thing to see!
We took the kids to Downtown Rochester to see the city in lights!
It was worth the trip, although from the smells coming out of the fabulous restaurants, it was all I could do to not lick the windows!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

This year has been a wonderful year for us. We are very thankful for our family and friends and for all that we have been given.

On this Christmas Eve, we celebrated with Mark, Pattie & Chase at their home. I love going there. Their home is so warm and inviting. We had an amazing time. The food was out of this world. I tried and finished off a bottle of Proseco, lol. Then started on the wine. It was just a wonderful time, and no... that isn't the beverages talking. They are amazing hosts and again... I love going there. I just wish I could figure out how it is that when I have a party, my ocuntertops get trashed, and when they do it, everything works like a well oiled machine. How is that? She must be Martha's sister... Pattie Stewart. lol.

We wish all of you a wonderful Christmas. Remember... the light in me honors and reflects the light in you. Meaning... don't be quick to pass judgement on each other. Imagine what your life would be like without your loved ones. With that, it's an amazing gift to see people for their positive attributes, instead of dwelling on negative ones.

Namaste & Merry Christmas.
Love Valerie

Thursday, December 21, 2006

He is an Arteast!

I married the funniest man on the planet. He makes all of us just roar. Living here is like living on comedy central. The other day, I ran downstairs to get something out of the craft room and found this drawing of Emily... Nice use of photo's I must add...

By the way... the mountain of toys behind her is the "off limits" pile. lol. They haven't been touched.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy 9th Anniversary to Mark & Pattie!

Today I would like to wish my Brother Mark and his wife Pattie... my sister in law with whom I get along with incredibly well... (we would be friends even if they weren't married) a VERY Happy 9th Anniversary.

Mark & Pattie follow the traditional gift giving guide for their anniversaries. It is hilarious to hear their delimmas in finding the appropriate gifts. I believe this year was leather. It should be interesting! Pattie, if you read this, please post in the comments what you gave Mark and what he gave you.

For some odd reason, (probably operator error) I do not have a photo of them to post. Although.. the one that I did have, Mark probably would have killed me if I did post it. In the photo, he bears a VERY STRONG resemblence to Spike on Notting Hill. He's looking at her with swim goggles on and she has that "I MARRIED IT!" look on her face. It's priceless.

Happy Anniversary you two. We love you very much.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Got Nuts?

Our Sunday visitor... Nutty Buddy.

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The Neigbors dog... watching our Squirrel.

Staying Warm...

Pumpkin loosing sleep over the critter...
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Friday, December 15, 2006

I'm so honored!

To have shared a PB & J with Buzz LightYear!

17 Hours and So Far So Good...

So rather than waste garbage bags, we decided to try another method. Everything that we had to pick up is piled almost to the ceiling. It is almost impossible for them to get anything out of it. These toys are off limits until January 14th. If even one toy is out of place, they are both grounded.

When they came home from school and saw this, their reaction was what we were looking for... shock and disappointment. We're not trying to be cruel, but moreso trying to get a point across. How would they like it if we told them we were going to do something, then never did it?

They are pretty bent out of shape about this, because while they were playing downstairs yesterday, they wanted certain toys, but knew they would be in big trouble if they touched even one.

This weekend the neice and nephew are coming over. These toys are going to remain off limits. I will be downstairs doing other stuff, so it should be fairly easy to enforce the rules.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stick A Fork in Me. I'm done!

My children are trying to kill me. I'm sure of it. Sunday... 5 days ago... I asked Emily and Greg to spend 15 minutes in the basement picking up toys. Just 15 minutes. That's all. Not a hard task, and not overwhelming either. That was 5 days ago.

The toys are EVERYWHERE. I can't even get to the "Christmas Closet" because of it. So today is the day... Greg gets on the bus and we're grabbing garbage bags. Everything that is not Mis en plase' is going into a garbage bag... to be hidden away. For a L..............O............N...........G time. Infact, we're not even going to tell them it's done. We're going to wait for them to ask where their things are. Hmmmm Where did you leave them?

Yesterday I asked her to clean up her room. It slowly becoming a Hazmat zone. I told her that we weren't going to her dance class until it was finished. I got wrapped up in getting Christmas cards done and did not check on her. She comes to me and says, "Can you come check my room? I did a lot". My reply (because I'm stupid) "I trust you." HA! Today, she has so much crap on her pretty coat hooks (purchased at the Milford Art Fair w/Melanie) that they are pulling out of the wall! Crap is everywhere.

I'm done. I'm so sick of being walked all over... Please send in your tips. I've reached the end of my rope....

Operators are standing by...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas 1998

My Aunt sent this to us. It was part of an email that had a bunch of funny things in it regarding Christmas.
I love this one. It is a Hallmark Shoebox Greeting Card. We sent it out as our announcement that we were pregnant with Emily. Inside I wrote; Our greatest gift is due this May.
I had to blog on it. As soon as I saw it, I got all nostalgic.

Look at how many decendents she had!

World's Oldest Person Dies at 116
By Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bolden, recognized as the world's oldest person, died Monday in a nursing home, the home's administrator said. She was 116. Bolden was born Aug. 15, 1890, according to the Gerontology Research Group, a Los Angeles organization that tracks the ages of the world's oldest people.
Guinness World Records recognized Bolden as the oldest person in the world in August after the death of Maria Esther de Capovilla of Ecuador, who also was 116.
Bolden died at the Mid-South Health and Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home where she had been living for several years, said the center's administrator, Charlotte Pierce. Bolden suffered a stroke in 2004, and her family said she spoke little after that and slept much of the time.
Emiliano Mercado del Toro, 115, of Puerto Rico is now expected assume the title of world's oldest person, said Robert Young, a Guinness researcher. The Gerontology Research Group lists Toro's date of birth as Aug. 21, 1891.
Family members said this year that Bolden had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great-grandchildren, 220 great-great-great grandchildren and 75 great-great-great-great grandchildren.

Opposites Attract

Atari was GREAT! They had the coolest games. But we didn't have Atari. We had Intellivision. Instead of playing Frogger or Donkey Kong with our friends, we got to put in the little plastic sheet that went over the joystick and we played Football. Such a fun thing for a young girl to play. :o)

Mike, Kim Teffer called. She wants her 8 track back, hehehehe. (I kill me. I'm so funny)

VHS was the HOT item! We had Betamax. Within a year after getting it, we couldn't find any movies to rent that would fit in it. I always wondered why my parents didn't just "go with the flow". They had their own set of "ideals".
We found these things at the Henry Ford Museum of all places. Think you feel old in the morning? Go visit the museum. You'll find things you probably still use to this day. THEN you'll feel old! It's quite a shocker to see things from my generation there, when I'm still only 29, ;o)
In an effort to keep spending to a minimum, we opted for the Museum over Frankenmuth. We went on Sunday. It was SO much fun. It was a bit overwhelming, but they have so many hands on exhibits. Here are the favorites:
Emily: Walking on the wing of an airplane and the screen in front of you makes you feel like you are actually flying. (Mommy sat this one out because she didn't have Dramamine onboard)
Greg: LOVED (this is putting it mildly) sitting on the Rosa Parks bus. It is in MINT condition. You can climb on, have a seat, and listen to a recording of Rosa telling her story regarding the bus. The lights on the ceiling are lit, but the one above her seat is lit brightly so you can be part of the experience.
Dennis loved the U.S. History section; including Womens Sufferage, Presidents Lincoln and Washingtons artifacts, and slavery. This exhibit needs a day all by itself. There is a lot to see and take in.
My favorite was: (I don't mean this in a morbid way) Viewing the actual chair that Lincoln was shot in. It is in a glass enclosed case with blood stains on the fabric. I just can't get over how an event so prominent in our history is sitting there in front of your very eyes. It is amazing.
It was a fun day. There were hardly any people there, so if you have a day where you want to do something but aren't sure what... Go to the museum. Our next stop... Probably the Holiday Lighting in Greenfield Village, then the Detroit Science Center - Emily's gonna love it!
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Cereal Soup!

Ok, this is pretty sick, but pretty cool too. Below you will see a baggie full of "cereal soup". It is "Total" brand Cereal, smashed up, then water added to make the cereal soup.

When a magnet is placed on top of the bag, it collects the iron in the cereal and you can actually see it! This is a science project Emily did at school this week.

It's pretty cool, but again, ick! It's still my favorite cereal! Now I KNOW it's good for me. lol.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Too Close for Comfort

Katrina and I were instant messaging today and suddenly she "vanished". She does this sometimes and I'm sitting there typing "Hellloooooooooo?" Today she came back promptly. Kraig had written to her and said that he didn't get shot. She was like what?! The above article is on what happened today right around the corner from his office building. At first, they thought the shooter was in his building, but instead was around the corner in another building.

I'm so glad he's ok. After the week they've had, that's all they would need next!

I can tell the secret!

Now I know that a lot of you aren't going to care about this, but to me it's A LOT! I am so excited.

No, Mary Ann isn't pregnant, lol. Jason isn't getting married. I love how you guys went nuts over this. It is so exciting to see!

My news is..... Katrina... my friend of...... forever, and her husband Kraig are moving back to Michigan! I'm so excited I can't hardly stand it!

Sorry Pattie... no one won the lottery!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Girl Needs her Daddy...

I love my Dad. Especially chats with him in the morning before my mom wakes up. Today I called him. Actually I called her. I needed to ask her a question regarding our Christmas Name Draw list that we do every year. Of course she was still sleeping. Who sleeps past 8:30? So during the course of our conversation, I got a lesson straight out of National Geographic. I got a complete play by play of a hawk attacking a defenseless little birdie (I say defenseless, my dad calls it nature). Poor wittle birdie was sittin there eatin some seed when WHAMMO! Out of no where, he is dive bombed by a huge hawk. The little bird gets caught in the net that their clematis vine grows up. He's stuck.

Now would you:

A. Take a broom out there and beat the shit out of that hawk
B. Watch the hawk peck the crap out of that little bird and see if he can get him out so you don't have to do it.

Which do you think my Dad chose to do? If you answered B. You are a lot like my Dad. Personally, I would have ran out there and chased Foghorn Leghorn out of my yard. Of course, then you would have probably seen something out of "The Birds" movie.

Instead I got to hear.... Ohhh! Ooooo! Ah! He got it! Now I don't have to go pick it out of the net. Nice Dad. lol. Then I got the play by play of where the hawk was flying to with his chicken dinner.

The moral to the story....

I am SO glad that my Dad is retired. Because had he been at work, he would have missed this opportunity to just sit and take in nature. Now my retirement would consist of palm trees and babbling brooks, but hey. Whatever works. I love my Dad and am just glad that he is here to enjoy this time that he's worked so hard for. For those of you that may want to ruin this with his "issues" don't even go there. It's Christmas for god sakes. Let me enjoy this moment.

I also got some incredible news today that is killing me to tell, but I'm not going to. I promised the person that told me that I would be like a vault. The secret is good with me. Once they let it out of the bag, you better bet I'm gonna be talking! I just wanted to leave you with a cliff hanger so that I'm not the only one going nuts here. lol.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

And a word about the job...

I got a call today from the Medical Director of the Urgent Care. He spoke to the partners regarding my interview. During his schpeel, our doctor (Dr. Kotsonis) spoke up and told him that a second interview was not necessary. He apparently spoke very highly of me. I am so humbled, let me tell you. You know... all those years working in the ER was such a thankless job. Not that I was looking for the pat on the back, but I was so sick of getting my face ripped off left and right by the patients. I understand they are not feeling well, or maybe they are missing an appendage, but what the hell. I wouldn't go into anyone else's job and rip their faces off.... that is unless they are writing nasty things on adoption slips at Petsmart, lol.

So I went to work, day after day, year after year, and besides evaluations, you aren't too sure how impressed anyone is with the job you are doing. For this person... a doctor nonetheless, to say the things he said, makes me feel just so humbled. I am so shocked that after all that time, someone did take notice of the job I was doing and it has paid off. I am so thankful. All I ever wanted to do was take good care of patients and provide a warm and gentle touch while caring for them. Whether they were snapping my face off or not.

So I am very excited to say that I have accepted the position. I was told they were expecting the keys by December 1, but here it is the 6th and I had not heard anything until earlier today. Apparently they still do not have the keys to the facility and are now looking at the second week of January. So at this moment, that is my start date. I am quite relieved that I don't have to work Christmas. For the first time in quite a while, Dennis finally has Christmas Eve off, which is the day my side of the family celebrates it. I was thinking... how bad would that suck that I now have to work on the day that he finally got off... after all this time.

I am quite relieved. Now I just have to do a couple things to the laptop to get it going with the things I want. I'm actually standing in my kitchen with it on the counter, typing this. How cool is it to be wireless?!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's been One Week!

What a funny week this is turning out to be. So last week it took me two attempts at the post office to mail a box to Mike and Mary Ann in Greece. The first attempt had me standing in line out the door. So the next day Beaudreaux and I went as soon as they opened. We mailed it and Mike called today to say they got it. ONE WEEK! Unbelievable. I used to think that the USPS was like the cadillac of shipping mechanisms, but lately with all my ebay stuff going on, I've found that they are the cheapest, most easy to use and very quick. One week to Greece. I'm so floored.

So guess who showed up today... The UPS dude with the Dell computer that I ordered, that they lost, that I told them where to stick it for losing my order. Yep. Two boxes, Printer and Laptop. I kindly explained the situation to the guy, and he said I have every right to refuse the order and I did. Felt so good. It is a sign... I won't be dealing with Dell... ever. The HP should be arriving any day now. I'm tracking it. It's loaded with cool stuff and also had a free printer. Plus it was cheaper than the Dell would have been, since they cancelled my order and wouldn't honor their own deal for Black Friday. I still think this is funny how that all worked out.

I still haven't heard back from the urgent care and am getting anxious. Watch, I'll get the damn job and they will mandatory me to work Christmas. Please start sending good Karma this way. So far, it's all been good.

Gotta run. Tonight we're trying out Passport Pizza. We're desperately trying to find a great pizza joint around here that isn't like eating cardboard, or super zesty sauce!

Monday, December 04, 2006

I survived Chicago 2006!

Wow, what a weekend! It was a complete whirlwind. On Friday, our flight was cancelled, due to an airliner skidding off the runway at O'Hare. So we got our refund and drove to Chicago.

Everyone thought we were NUTS! Fortunately for us, the major winter storm that hit Chi-town, actually hit Northwest of the City. They got a whopping 16". Mary Lynn's (pictured center) Mother-in-Law Margo, and Sister-in-law Melissa came in by train. Prior to arriving in downtown, they thought we were nuts to drive it, yet when they arrived, the quickly realized that the downtown area was practically unscathed. Yet they had just come out of a winter wonderland.

We had the most amazing time. Katrina and Kraig literally wore us out. We had so much fun with them. After 21 years of not seeing each other and having only become reacquainted in the past year or two, we picked up right where we left off.... dancing to "Vacation" by the Gogo's at the Howl at the Moon Piano Bar. I think I drank more in that one night than I have in the past 3 years total. I don't know how those drinks poured themselves down my throat.

Saturday morning, I awoke in a very fragile state. Audrey and Mary Lynn were both peering over my covers at me, and in a very gentle tone asked, "Are you alright?" Uugggghhhhh. I was in a cold sweat. I told them....."Oh god. I feel HORRIBLE.... But it was sooooo much fun, and soooo worth it!". They both laughed. It was the best time. We got our fill of porn (they were dressed), guys hitting on chic's, guys practically fighting over chic's. One guy actually dumped half a bottle of beer into a bag of things Mary Lynn had. He was staggering over to talk to some girl, and accidently had a little spill. Whoopsie! lol If you choose to look at the photo's in the link below, he is the blonde sort of good looking kid that didn't seem to have a brain in his head.

I was completely recovered and vertical by 10 am Saturday morning. I showered, got all prettied up and grabbed my credit card. Off to the shops! We walked down Michigan Avenue and over the river. (see photo above). We met up with Katrina, had bloody mary's (my very first ever), and then went to their apartment for a spell. Their place is unbelievable. It's like they live in a very posh hotel.... with a kitchen & a dog. Cuervo met us at the door. He was such a nice boy. Oops. I tried to put a photo of Mr. Poochini on here, and it wouldn't load. I'm having a ton of pc problems today, so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that this actually publishes.

So chilling out at their apartment was EXACTLY what the doctor ordered. We had a blast. Our favorite thing was finding a pair of binnoculars on the side table. Nothing like a little voyuerism to top off your night, lol. They live DIRECTLY behind a high rise hotel and some other buildings. I'm sure the view is much better than what's on tv, lol.

We left there, and went shopping on State Street. That was worth the entire trip. We had so much fun, sipping latte's, shopping at cool stores, then when I absolutely HAD to have a photo of this huge tree, we just happened to come across a German Christmas Festival. Katrina and I bought little stocking boots full of mulled wine. YUMMY!

After shopping, we parted for a bit to go freshen up. We were so far from our hotel that we opted for the cab. We got back to our hotel only to find some very "popular" people in our lobby. We had NO idea who they were, but found out later (because I asked one of them who they were), that they were non other than the Minnesota Vikings. They were on the 7th floor, we were on the 17th floor. So, we got to share an elevator ride with one of them. Don't ask who, because even if he told me his name, I wouldn't have remembered.

We topped off our vacation with a short little trip to Sam's Wine & Spirits, where I bought a few things, including a bottle of a white wine that I can't wait to share with some friends. It is supposed to have hints of Honeysuckle and Pear. YUMMMOOO!!!

It was a fantastic weekend. Unfortunately though, I have been busy since arriving back home and still have yet to unpack my bags. Plus the computer is going berzerk. Nice timing since I need to print off some photo's for a project Emily has due... yesterday! CRAP!


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Having more fun than legally allowed!

Oh my..... are we tearing up the town in Chicago! I think the locals are ready for us to leave.

On Friday, they cancelled our flight out of Detroit, due to an airliner skidding off the runway in Chicago. So... we obtained our refund, collected our luggage and got in the car. Of course the weather people were very good at over embellishing on the weather. We hit flurries and that was about it.

In a quick nutshell (I will fill in all the details later) we have been having a GREAT time. Friday night we went to Howl at the Moon with Katrina and Kraig. I don't know what happened... the drinks literally jumped down my throat! lol. As you can see from the photo, we all had a great time.... including the girl in the backround on the right.

Shown above are (L to R) Audrey, Mary Lynn, Katrina, Kraig and I. We had the BEST time in this "dueling piano bar".

Currently we are sitting in Katrina's high rise apartment chilling out with her and Cuervo, the dog. We're off to shop, see the window displays on State Street, then a couple of places including "Dicks Last Resort" (where rudeness rules), and the Underground Wonder Bar or "bra" as Katrina puts it, lol.

What a great vacation. We will be home on Sunday. I will post more probably Monday after I "recover".