Saturday, December 31, 2005
I have a huge list of stuff I have to do over the weekend.
1. Begin the next level of Pimsleur Spanish. (This isn't a chore; instead it's quite exciting for me. If I hadn't have bought this, though, I could have gone home on the train. Ironic. Plus Rob/Beata are giving me Rosetta Stone for Christmas when they arrive in March, so I'm thrilled about that too.)
2. I have tons of photos to add to my websites--from last summer's Avon Breast Cancer Walk, my class reunion, working with the Red Cross in Florida, plus others.
3. Need to clean out my closet and get the clothes to Goodwill before 1/1.
4. Must complete receipts for my flex spending account and send them in.
5. Clean out my desk so I know what's in there.
6. Watch romantic comedies and musicals while I'm doing all the above.
7. Wrap presents for Jill's family and Rob/Beata. I'm having Christmas in Los Angeles in a few weeks, and will have Christmas with Rob and Beata when they come home from Japan in March. Lots to look forward to.
8. Work on my stand-up routine for our show in January at Giggles Comedy Club.
Guess that's enough. If I accomplish half of the above, I'll feel good. Oh, and tonight I'll eat too much while I watch movies. In the years when I stay home for New Year's Eve, that's a tradition.
Need to add some new info: I went to ComedySportz to pick up my paycheck, and Dick asked me if I could work tonight. So I'm going to do tickets for both shows on New Year's Eve. It should be fun, and I'm looking forward to it.
Update on Pimsleur Spanish too: I wasn't here to sign for the package so I have to wait until Tuesday because of the holiday. That kind of makes me mad. I'll call today and have it delivered to work instead of home. Someone will always be there to sign for it.
Now I'm going to treat myself and go out for a late breakfast.
Friday, December 30, 2005
One vivid memory is "the door." In our house (which Joe and Cindy now own), there was a pocket door in between the living room and dining room. The only time we ever used it was on Christmas Eve. After we went to bed, Santa would arrive, eat the cookies and drink the milk, leave the presents, and close the door. We never wondered how Santa knew it was there.
Early on Christmas morning we'd jump downstairs (didn't walk or run--we jumped), and anxiously stood in front of "the door." No way would we dare open it. (One year I did after everyone was asleep. I don't think I've told that to anyone before.)
When "the door" was finally opened it was magical. I think we stood there for a second in awe before we rushed to dive into the presents.
"The door" was one more way to make Christmas special. We were a big family, and never had money. Every year Mom and Dad would say that Christmas would be smaller that year, and there wouldn't be many presents. Yet every year the living room was full. Santa had a lot of help from our Grandma Bozarth (Dad's mom). Also, some of Mom's brothers and sisters would give her money to help out. When we were small we didn't know that. We just knew that Santa was generous.
No money. But we were the luckiest kids in the world and we knew it.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
So it's pretty darn positive that I won't be going home for New Year's. Haven't heard back from my brother in Aurora, so that avenue doesn't look good either.
I have tons of things to accomplish at home (Milwaukee, not Quincy), so a long weekend here will be a good thing. I'm just a spoiled brat and want what I want when I want it. Veruca Salt is my hero.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The family had a surprise party for my niece, Kelly, on Monday night. I almost posted about it earlier, but thought it would just be my luck that she would read the blog that day, so I didn't want to spoil the surprise. She said it was a wonderful surprise and a fun gathering.
Found out today that I don't have to work at the comedy club over the weekend, so I could go to Quincy if I wanted to. Don't feel like driving the 12 hours round-trip for a short weekend, but I also hate to miss New Year's Day with the family.
I've posted about it many times, and will post in detail on 1/1, but it's the day we celebrate our partents' lives. We go to the cemetary and have a beer with them. For some of you that may sound weird, and hell, sometimes it sounds weird to me too. But it's actually beautiful and touching--and fun. Yep. Who'd have thought it would be fun? But it sure is.
I may just talk myself into going. There's always the train.
Monday, December 26, 2005
More about yesterday at Jan and Tim's. First of all, the food was absolutely awesome. They had crab legs, ham, and prime rib. Okay, now that I have the gross stuff out of the way, I can talk about the stuff I ate. :) I had a totally carb dinner--potato casserole, sweet potatoes, corn, pea pods, dinner rolls--oh and I had butter--so the butter was the only non-carb item. I was in carb heaven. We didn't eat dessert until much later in the day because we'd had so many appetizers besides the main meal. Delicious!
Then the games began. Besides Jan and Tim, their daughter Kristen was there. Jane, Pete, and their two kids Jordan and Sarah. A friend, Matt. And me. We first played a game of Pop Culture Trivial Pursuit. It's the one with the DVD. A really fun game. But some of the questions seemed more difficult than the other Trivial Pursuit games.
After a long game of that, we played Catch Phrase. It's a game I won at Mohonk a few months ago. Well, everyone got hooked on it, and we played it for hours and hours. We had dessert too--really great ice cream sundaes. Then played more. I think we played from about 6-10 PM. Couldn't believe it.
Matt's a smart guy, but I can give him a run for his money. What pisses me off is that I'm really used to winning at word games and games involving trivia. And the kupka can beat me. I'll get back at him though. Of that I'm very sure. :)
Today, while I was packing to leave, Jane copied some movies for me. So I'll have something to watch on New Year's Day. I'd much rather be in Quincy for New Year's. When everyone else goes to Joe and Cindy's house to celebrate the lives of our parents, and to drink beer at the cemetary with them, I'll be here. Sigh.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Jane and the kids are at Mass. We had a fun morning already. I got so many nice presents from them, and they seemed to like what I gave too. I think Jane's favorite gift from me is the Cancer Sucks! t-shirt. I got one for myself and Jan too. So all three of us sisters can wear them together at the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in June. I think Jan will like hers too.
I'm really looking forward to going to Jan and Tim's too. Will post later about that.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Then we worked around the house. Jordan and I decorated the tree while Jane and Kristen finished cleaning and preparing food. Sarah sang in a choir at the mall to raise money for the Salvation Army so Jane and I went there for a while to listen and also to give Sarah a ride home. We also stopped and bought a few more items because a few friends were going to join us for Christmas Eve and we wanted to make sure everyone had something to open.
My sister, Jan, stopped by and picked me up. She and I went to 4:00 PM Mass this afternoon. Several others of the clan were there--Matt and Beth and their two little ones, and Joe and Cindy with their three big guys. Jane and the rest of her family will go to Mass tomorrow, and I'll be able to relax while they're gone. Jan and I had an interesting experience. It was standing room only, but Jan and I found some room to sit on some stairs. Very comfy and a good view. A young family came in and they had a little boy and twin five-week-old girls (we found out the ages later). We ended up holding the twin girls throughout the Mass, and it was such a fun treat. Matt and Beth were across the church and couldn't figure out who we were holding.
There are 47 members in our immediate family. Karen and Jim, Suzie, and Craig and Megan couldn't make it and neither could my kids and their families--Jill, Todd, Kayla and Hunter and also Rob and Beata. That left 36 immediate family. We also invited Matt, Deb, Olivia and Kara--and niece Jenna brought her boyfriend Josh, so we had a total of 41 people here tonight.
And it was a riot! The good kind. I love our Christmas Eves. Craig and Megan got engaged tonight and called us from Columbus OH to tell us about it. He gave her a pretty ornament and as she was going to hang it on the tree, he suggested she open it up to see if there was anything inside it. Indeed there was--her engagement ring. Nifty.
We talked to Jill and the kids via Yahoo Messenger. Then Rob and Beata called from Okinawa. It was great!
After we opened the hundreds of presents, some of us played team Trivial Pursuit. One by one people had to leave and soon it was me (alone) playing against Kristen and Matt (friend Matt, not relative Matt). I only needed one more pie piece and they needed two. By this time we were tired and the game kind of dragged on, so we called it a draw. We'll play more games at Jan and Tim's tomorrow. They're having us over for a late lunch/early dinner. I'm anticipating another fun day with family.
Here's hoping all your best dreams come true for the holidays and beyond.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Have I said publicly that I love my boss? I do. She doesn't micro-manage me. I have all the freedom I want and need to do my job, but she's always there when I need her. Even though there's always apprehension before an evaluation, everything turned out very well, and I'm grateful.
I'll leave in a few minutes to drive the six hours to Quincy. Can't wait. I absolutely love to be around my sibs and their families. Of course, I always wish my own children and their loved ones would be able to be with us. Perhaps next year Rob and Beatka will be at the mayhem...er, I mean celebration.
I love Christmas Chaos. Love it.
My car is full of gas; all the presents are loaded; the CDs with music, books, and "Learning Spanish" are in the front seat; and all's right in the world. I'm feeling a little better, by the way. The antibiotics must be working. Yay!
See you at my sister's. (Yep, I'll still post. What's up with that?)
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Last night was fun. Despite my non-contagious ear/sinus thing, I went to Maria's house with the other comics who performed in the stand-up show at Corner Pocket earlier in the month. Although it's weird watching yourself perform, I loved it. There were six of us, seven counting the MC, and I think I was one of the most relaxed people on stage. My timing was good. I waited for the laughs to die down before I went on to the next joke. I didn't pace or move unnecessarily. When I forgot a new piece I'd just written I made a joke out of it. It felt good. And we all gave feedback, I got some good ideas--especially from Tom. He knows how to cut out those extraneous words to make the routine nice and tight.
The other comics were good too. Out of the five of us there, only one struggled a little with obvious nerves, but still had some good stuff. We're going to perform at a comedy club in Mequon sometime in January.
On another note, I'm not able to go to Roger's memorial service tonight. Besides feeling like crap, I'm leaving tomorrow for Quincy and have to do my laundry and pack tonight.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Was up for a few hours in the middle of the night. A rare occurence. Between 12:50 and 2:50 AM I watched the end of a horrific movie called You Light Up My Life. Dodi Conn (spelling?) was the lead. She's the girl to whom Frankie Avalon sang Beauty School Dropout in the movie Grease. Her? A leading lady? She even had a bit part in Grease 2--which, despite what the world says, is a good movie with good music. Reproduction is a song that is a cult favorite with my nieces Jenna and Jessi (and me too).
That was on MoviePlex. I get it for free with my digital package. I've never watched a movie on it until this morning. But I discovered Ice Castles is on tonight. My sister Jane and I used to love to cry over that movie.
Also watched the beginning of Yentl. Finally, I was tired again and slept.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Will call the doc again soon. I need to feel good for the six hour drive on Thursday. I'm so excited about Christmas in Quincy.
Am helping to teach workshops today. A few moments ago I felt like I was going to pass out, so I came to my office where it's much cooler. I'll go back to the training room in a few minutes. It's my colleague's turn to teach anyway, so it's fine that I'm gone.
I need drugs.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Speaking of life--I found out this morning that Roger had died at CSz last night. He's been the sound effects guy since 1984 and was in the original troupe. So sad. He was only 55 and suffered a heart attack about an hour before the show.
What a talented guy. He could do three and four sounds at the same time. Amazing. We'll sure miss him.
Last night I went to the Red Cross Holiday Party. Almost didn't go because I'm still sick. But I'm so happy I went. First of all, my friend Tony was there. He does PR and writing for the Medical College, and was a volunteer at the shelter set up in Milwaukee for hurricane victims. We've been friends for several years. We met through our writing, but the fact that we have similar jobs and both feel a call to volunteerism, kind of cemented our friendship. It was good to have someone there that I knew and could hang out with.
I was introduced to a guy name Paul last night who coordinates the mental health people for the Red Cross. I'm joining their committee. They were meeting this morning at 9. I got an invitation but said I didn't know if I'd go, it would depend on how I feel.
And my ear kind of feels worse today. I'm thinking that means it's getting better. Hey--it could mean that!
Anyway, there's a second group kind of loosely affiliated with the mental health group. And the second one assists in debriefing first responders. I would love to be able to help in both respects. I'm definitely going to join up. It will mean carrying a beeper every now and then, but Paul said we don't get many calls, so that's cool.
Those are the two reasons I'm glad I went last night. But here's the weird thing--as I was leaving the Botanical Gardens I thought I should drop by CSz, see people, and pick up my check. And stay for the show. I looked at my watch and thought--oh, it's too early to go for the show, so I went directly home. It was 6:30. According to Dick's email, that's about the time Roger died.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Tonight is the Red Cross Holiday Party and I really really really want to go. I'm wearing a Santa Claus pin and haven't turned on the lights in it yet. If I feel better, I'll do that. It will make me feel chipper. Now it would just make me feel sad.
Talked my sister and niece last night. Wish I was with them.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
You're Lili St. Cyr!
What Classic Pin-Up Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
(Speaking of that--the doc said lots of people who volunteered, and also people who live in the Gulf and Florida's east coast, are getting an odd kind of pneumonia from the mold. She said my lungs are clear though, so I'm grateful for that.)
The fun news is that I just noticed my name is on the front page of the Milwaukee CSz website, because of my team winning the Brawl a few weeks ago. It won't be up for long I'm sure, but it's kind of cool.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Am going to the doctor this afternoon. I believe I have a sinus infection; seem to get one a few times a year lately. No colds, no flu, just this stupid, stupid thing. I thought we could handle it over the phone, because the symptoms are the same as several months ago, but she wants to see me.
My house is a complete wreck. Usually it's just my bedroom and I keep the other rooms cleaned up. But with wrapping presents for 40+ people, the living room is strewn with paper, ribbon, tags, bags, tissue, boxes, and various other stuff I don't know the name for. So I need to call my housecleaner and tell her not to come this weekend. There would be no room for her to stand, much less clean.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Sarah is 14 today. I told her on the phone that I wanted to murder her mom when she was 14. Jane (my sis who is 7 years younger than I am) was obnoxious at that age. I lived away part of the time she began teendom, but moved back on her 14th birthday. So I warned Sarah to be careful or someone in the family would do her in if she behaved like Jane.
Of course Sarah is totally rotten in front of her mom and dad, but when she and I are alone she's a saint. That's a truism that all parents hate.
Jane and Pete adopted Sarah when she was three days old. There's a video of Jane and Pete picking up Sar at the hospital and Jane couldn't stop sobbing. I cry just thinking about it, having been through similar situations in my own life. It's amazing seeing Jane so happy that her emotions were gushing all over the place. Not only amazing but beautiful. She couldn't believe their good fortune.
This baby was perfect. As an infant, I could always make her laugh. We called her Buddha Baby because she had the most beautiful baby fat. As she grew she became involved in dance, gymnastics, piano, softball, and soccer. At 14 she still is involved in piano and soccer. She's a great defender in soccer and it's a joy to hear her play the piano. She loves to sing and act.
When I go to Quincy for Christmas, I always stay at Jane and Pete's. We all celebrate Christmas Eve together (about 30-40 of us), but I get to wake up and have Christmas with Jordan and Sarah. It's such a treat for me, since I'm not with my own kids. (Normally I have an early Christmas in LA with Jill and her family, and once even had an early Christmas in Japan with Rob and Beata.)
Anyway, it's been a joy to watch Sarah grow--from that gorgeous three-day-old infant to the gorgeous 14-year-old teenager who will surely test all of us this year. I love you, Sarah Barah! :)
Monday, December 12, 2005
The story itself is tragic, yet made beautiful by the courage exhibited by the protagonist, Klara. I can't wait until this beautiful piece is edited and sent out for publication. I'd publish it in a nanosecond if it fit into the journals I edit and publish.
It's beautiful and it's haunting--made even more so by the fact that it's based on a true story and the heroine is still alive.
In the next year or so, if you see a short story or memoir called Carnations, do yourself a favor and read it.
Beatka's a gem and so is the story.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Yesterday morning I called Rob and it was about 11:30 PM Friday their time. Beatka had just gone to bed but Rob said she was throwing me kisses. :)
And this morning Rob called me. We talked for an hour. But it was 3:50 AM their time when we quit talking. I hope he can sleep in on Sunday morning.
It was great. Both my kids are such awesome adults. Of course I can't take any credit in that, but they are a delight to me. I'm a lucky bug x infinity plus one.
Jan and Tim called me this morning too--right before Rob. I've complained recently that no one ever calls me except Jill and Beata. So today was a banner day.
I work tonight at CSz and won't be home until late. We're supposed to get more snow tonight, so my 20 minute drive will be much longer, but I don't care. I love snow. And I love having a four-wheel drive. (I've probably said that before.)
Wish I could be with my family tonight though. Most of them will be together at Joe and Cindy's and I know they'll have a ball.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Jay has always been a comedian. Not that he’s funny, but he thinks he is and so we laugh. (Honestly all my brothers are funny. Their senses of humor are different, but what they have in common is that they’re sick. Me too.)
When Jay was 2 years old, he got glasses. He looked so adorable. Even with glasses he didn’t see well and would sit in front of the TV, so close that others couldn’t see over him. If the TV was perched high enough, then all was well.
When a deep voice in a public service announcement asked, “Do you wear seatbelts?” Jay replied, “No, we hold on.”
When we received an angel food cake from someone after our sister Jill’s funeral, Jay proudly told everyone that Jill sent it. He was a few months past four at the time.
I could go on and on about his comments when he was tiny, my favorite being what he said when he saw Mom taking a bath. But that’s not for public consumption.
Jay was born in his own little world and has lived there ever since. He’s a husband to Andrea and a dad to Suzie and Liza. They inhabit his world sometime; but float in and out to join the rest of us.
But what a wonderful cockeyed viewpoint he has—he makes us laugh a lot. He’s written some songs and played the guitar while we all sang them—my favorite was the Bad Burger Blues.
Happy birthday, Jay. I love you.
(It’s also my son-in-law Todd’s birthday and my ex-husband John’s birthday. But the blog the past few days is about my brothers, so I’m just talking about Jay today.)
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Joe is 50 years old today. I can’t believe it. My little brother.
Every two years he and his wife Cindy drive to the
I’ve never been able to make those trips, but a lot of other sibs and families have. They manage to have a lot of fun without me.
I did make trips with the big gang to
Joe and Cindy are always gracious about inviting the entire horde to their home. Sunday they’re having a big poker party for the family as a belated birthday bash. Wish I could get there. But it’s a six-hour drive and I’m short on vacation time.
So, Joey, have a fantastic birthday and a wonderful party. Win big. Love you.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
He's 56 today, two years younger than I. And there's another kid in between us (Jan, who's 11 months younger than I). John and Paulette are the proud parents of Kelly, Matt, and Nate. (Well, sometimes they're just the parents of Nate, forget the proud part. Hi, Nate!) They're also the ecstatic grandparents of Drew, Noah,Aiden, Blake, and Tyler.
John went from someone who just squeaked through grade school and high school to become an executive at a major employer in Quincy. We're all proud of him.
Happy birthday, bro. You're a great guy, and I love you.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
You Have a Sanguine Temperament
You are an optimistic person who is easily content.
You enjoy casual, light tasks - never wanting to delve too deep into anything.
A bit fickle, it's easy for you to change plans or paths when presented with something better.
You enjoy all of the great things life has to offer - food, friends, and fun.
A great talker, you can keep the conversation going for hours.
You are optimistic and sure of your success. If you fail, you don't worry about it too much.
At your worst, you are vain. You are obsessed with your own attractiveness.
A horrible flirt, you tend to jump into love affairs and relationship drama easily.
You're very jealous - which just magnifies the craziness around you.
Found out that the owner of Giggles Comedy Club will be at our showcase there in January. He's looking for new talent, so this will be a nice chance for people.
Okay, back to work.
Monday, December 05, 2005
I wonder what cosmic occurrence happens in early March that causes so much mating!
Talked to a friend at length about my experience volunteering. Then spoke via email to two others. It's in my bones. It still resonates, inspires, haunts and cheers. So many conflicting emotions.
I'm very grateful for my comedy. Both Friday and Sunday helped take me out of my rational head, and put me into my silly one. Love it. I probably wrote this before, but I once took a test to determine if I was right- or left-brained. And my test came up 50/50. The tester said that it was very unusual for that to happen. People normally are dominant in one area. I already knew that I could switch from my linear, detailed, rational thinking to my creative, ultra-silly side without even blinking. Since I took the test, it's even documented.
He also said I'm probably very smart. I said, "Smart aleck, maybe."
Sunday, December 04, 2005
I was with Honni (a young man who works at CSz as Host and Ballet Parker, so we've worked together a lot), Al (who I just met today), Kesan (a high school leaguer who I'd met once before). And we ended up winning the championship. It was really cool how I got to participate. We won our first match, and in the second round (winners playing winners) they re-drew names. My original team ended up all being together except for me. My new team was fun and we tried hard but we lost our match. My old team won theirs. When it came time for my old team to play in the championship round, the three guys were playing against a four-person team. So they asked the ref if I could re-join them to even up the teams, and since I was an original member. The ref said yes, so I got to play.
It was a really close match, I think. And tons of fun. We won! We each received a ComedySportz Howie watch, and we'll have our names engraved on a plaque that will be in the lobby.
This was a great idea (it was Michele's), and everyone said they had a ball. Even people who lost their matches still really enjoyed it.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
I forgot about 1 minute of my routine. It was new stuff I'd written and it just disappeared from my consciousness. Too bad, but no real loss except I thought it was funny stuff. I'll remember it next time when we perform at Giggles Comedy Club in January. Looking forward to it.
Today I just stayed in all day and vegged. Caught up with TV that I'd recorded while I was gone. Got some fun email from people I served with in Florida so that was cool too. I was dozing in my chair this afternoon when the phone rang. It was my grand-daughter Kayla, surprising me. What a treat! She'd lost her first baby tooth at age five. And she had another one going to be out at any time. Quite an exciting time for her.
Tomorrow I need to get off my butt and do laundry and other fun stuff. Plus will go to ComedySportz and play in the Brawl. That will be fun.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Got some great pictures from some other volunteers at DR 661-06. (It's disaster number 661 and occurred in the 06 fiscal year.) Anyway, I got email addresses of several people I wanted to write, so that's good. There are some I do want to stay in touch with.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Rob and Beata are supposed to move back to the states January 10, but they are trying to get an extension until February. I'm keeping their Christmas presents until I see them in person this year.
Friday night I have a stand-up performance at Corner Pocket bar in South Milwaukee. I'm still in my reflective mood, but think I can snap out of it. In fact I know I can. Being on stage will completely change my mood. I'm looking forward to it, but need to rehearse some new material. Guess I'll have to do that during commercials on Survivor and Apprentice. :)
ComedySportz didn't schedule me this weekend, so I have Saturday at home. I'm glad because there's so much stuff I need to do--but I'll probably laze around all day.
Sunday is the Brawl at CSz. I'll play in that and it should be fun.