Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out With the Old, In With the New

The sun is going down on 2011, not with a splash of color, but just a fading of the light.

Technically I guess that means the air is clean and there are few clouds on the horizon.  Those are good things.  There is a certain satisfaction ending the year with a dry, calm, sometimes sunny day.

Tom worked outside much of the day, getting all of the Christmas lights down and stowed in the attic.  Inside I took down all of the decorations except for the tree, stowed everything in tubs to go into the attic, and moved things back onto shelves that had been cleared for the Santa collection.  Then I did some cleaning up.

Because I couldn't let this lovely day go by without getting outside, I spent the last hour of daylight raking up debris from the last wind storm.  It felt good.

This evening Tom and I will stay in.  We're having crab for dinner, which we'll enjoy in a leisurely pace.  Later we'll watch Midnight In Paris, which is available On Demand on Comcast Cable.  We may make it until midnight, when we'll watch the TV version of the fireworks at the Space Needle.

Jill and the kids went downtown today to the Seattle Center Children's Museum, where they could keep track of the New Year as it moved around the world.  I just saw on Facebook that the kids talked Jill into going to the top of the Space Needle to view the end of the day.  I'm sure they will have to leave before the ticket holders for the big bash arrive.  I don't know if we'll see them or not.  They were making it up as they go along, just having fun.  Good for them.

And now it's about time to say goodbye to 2011.  It has been a good year for us, with good health, improved by my weight loss, several great domestic trips, and having my family all nearby at last.

I am looking forward to new adventures in 2012, and continuing my efforts to lose weight and stay healthy.  I'm hoping for a job here in Seattle soon for son-in-law Corey, a successful surgery and quick recovery for son Jake next week, and continued great conversations with my blogging family.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Gained Weight and I'm In Hot Water!

Yesterday morning I got up too early because I couldn't go back to sleep.  I spent time on my computer playing with iTunes and my iPod, removing the Christmas music and building some new play lists.

Then I was really ready for a hot shower.  Alas, there was no hot water!

The hot water tank was acting up recently, but now it had quit.  It was still under warranty, so we called for service and the truck arrived promptly a little after 9:00.  
The service man replaced the thermostat and fixed a small leak, and was on his way, no charge!  And I was back in hot water.  That's a good thing.

When I started on my weight loss plan almost a year ago, I had to approximate subtle weight  changes, because we still had an old analog scale.
I knew it wasn't entirely accurate because I always weighed more at the Dr. office.  

Well, I will be going back to counting calories again soon, and I decided to upgrade my scale.  Yesterday I bought this.

So of course this morning I was almost ten pounds heavier!

But I still have the same 45 pound weight loss.  I might just have to move my ultimate target a bit farther.  No problem.  I can do it, once I get rid of all of the holiday food and cookies and candy.  I am starting to ration what I have, and the last three days I've done ten miles on the stationary bide or walked 3.5 miles, depending on the weather.

Last week a young man came to our door with information on our Comcast/Xfinity billing, and said he could get us a better deal.  We listened.  The plan was to drop the account in Tom's name and open a new account in my name, thus getting a much better "new account" rate.  We would have to change our phone number.  We signed up.

Today the installer came.
Rodney was a sweet guy, and he convinced us to stay with our account but call in for a better deal.  That was what I was hoping for anyway, and now I had the ammunition of having gone through this process.  

I called Comcast, explained that we were ready to drop our account and open a new one, but we really thought they should just give us a better deal.  We could keep our phone number, and they could avoid all of the costly time for the change over.

It worked.  Starting today we will be saving about $70 a month.  While it's good for just one year, I guess I can call again next year and see what I can do then.

It makes no sense to me to reward new customers, but punish old and faithful customers.  Good grief!

Beside my Comcast negotiations and my 3.5 mile walk today, I'm making turkey soup and home baked bread sticks.  Jill and the kids will be here for dinner before Jill and Irene go downtown to see a stage production of Cinderella.  Isaac will spend the evening with us.

While I work in the kitchen I can now listen to my iPod music on my new docking clock radio, a Christmas gift from Jill and Corey.

It's time to go check my bread dough.  

I guess with that new scale I' better be careful of how many of those bread sticks I eat!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting My Groove Back

 Today the stationary bike came back out of the garage and into the dining room.  It's time to start working on those several extra pounds I have put on over the last week.

From here I can watch the rain dripping from the trees and catch up on magazines that have been piling up unread.
Earlier today we changed and laundered all of the bedding in the guest rooms, took down the dining table, put away the gift wrapping station, and did some general putting away and vacuuming.  I started adding dates to the 2012 calendar and prepared some documents for processing as a beneficiary of my mother's estate.

Now I have finished my ten mile "ride".  Here is what I found in the family room.  
But then Tom is better at resisting sweets than I am, and he seems to be able to lose weight just by contemplating it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Norquist Family Gathering

 At 1:00 this afternoon we gathered at my brother Hank's home in Chehalis, about an hour and a half drive south of Seattle.  Hank, my two sisters Ilene and Laurie, our spouses and many of our children and grandchildren filled the house with talking and laughing and playing and eating.  
Hank and Cindy provided the roast beast.  Laurie made the scalloped potatoes.  Others added salads and other accompaniments to this family potluck

Auxiliary dining was provided in the garage, a good place for the kids to carry on.

The boys' table with those who were sitting at the moment.  It's ever changing.

 And the young ladies, or a few of them.
 Generations mingle and visit, here Tom, Jake and his cousin Andy.
 My sisters Laurie, Ilene and Laurie's DIL Ericka.
 After the main course, the desserts appeared.  They kept coming and coming!

 Where to start?  Hank, Laurie, and Jody confer on who made the cookies Grandma always used to make.
The organizing of the gift exchange was a bit like herding cats.  Fortunately Hank is a teacher, and so are others of us, so we do know how to get attention.

Everybody got a number?
I got to open six different gifts, as mine kept getting stolen.  Kids had their own stack of gifts.  We usually managed to keep it moving with some semblance of order.

Isaac hung with his Uncle Jake.  Do you think they are related?

Despite the glazed over look on these two faces, a good time was had by all.

But it is nice to be back in my quiet house this evening.  Now that Tom and I are finally alone, the cat has come out from hiding.  Tomorrow we'll start restoring the house.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Tom and I were up early to see Corey off and deliver him to the airport.  After showering and getting ready for the day, I walked out to the street to get the newspaper.  What a lovely morning!
 It was the calm before the storm.  Many suffered power outages later in the day.  We were fortunate, but it looks like we'll have some yard clean up to do later.
 When I got back, Jill and the kids were up and checking out the goodies Santa left.

 We opened stocking while waiting for Jake to arrive for breakfast.
There was even a little down time for camera wars.
 Sausages, eggs and Christmas bread were on the menu. 

 After breakfast it was time to get serious about opening packages.  Isaac loves his Galapagos tortoise puppet.
 And Irene is ga-ga over scarlet macaws.
Jake got a new kidney.  Unfortunately it won't replace the real one he'll have removed in about two weeks.

 Webkinz Barred Owl for Isaac.
 New clothes made by Grandma.

 Grandma got gifts too.
Sounders soccer gear was included, of course.  Isaac is now an official member of the Emerald city Supporters.
 But maybe the hit of the morning was the box of old books Jake gave the kids - his collection of Far Side, Calvin and Hobbs, and Garfield books collected over many years in his youth.

 A sounders gnome for my garden!
 Aftermath, with some order amid the chaos,...
... order soon to be reduced even farther by the construction of the game tables.

 We pulled out all of the leftovers from the frig and enjoyed another complete turkey dinner early in the evening.  And then the six of us had a rousing game of Pictionary while stuffing ourselves with cookies and candy.
Somewhere in all of that I managed to bake three pies for tomorrow's big family party in Chehalis.

The kids are now tucked away in bed and the house is quieting down.  It's time for me to have an evening cup of coffee, and a few of those cookies I was resisting earlier.

Tomorrow is another big day. the Christmas pageant continues.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Time is Here!

Jill and Corey and the kids arrived before 10:00 this morning, having already had their "Colorado Christmas" at their house, opening the gifts sent from Corey's family.

The kids got cameras from their Papa Tom Gibson and proceeded to photograph everything!
Then they had to study their pics.

 Jill of the touchy stomach needed some bland sustenance and made some ramen noodles.
 Corey will be leaving early Christmas morning to go back to work in Colorado, so he got to open his new toy, a Kindle Fire. 
 Isaac got a new Seahawks sweatshirt, and he and Jill geared up
 They are now on their way to the stadium to meet up with Jake to go to the Seahawks game.  The rest of us will watch it on TV.
 Tom is enjoying coffee and the paper before he has to gear up to put the turkey on the grill.
 Irene is glued to her new Barbie Peacock Princess movie.
 Corey is charging his Kindle and will be playing with it.
 The dining room table is ready to be set for our Christmas Eve dinner.
 And I am minding the lists to keep it all on schedule.

Wishing all of my blog friends and family a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, a few days of peace and love and wonderment.