Friday, January 29, 2010

Things: Installment 33

In light of the latest big techno-gadget release from Apple (read all about it here), I thought I would give props to one of 2009's Top Technology Busts - Apple TV. What? Yeah, I know. It seems odd to give props to something the geek world considers a bust. HOWEVER, we happen to own this "bust" and can say nothing but good things about it. Honestly, it just didn't get enough press. So let's see what we can do about that, shall we?

Things We Love About Apple TV
  • For a mere $299, you have your entire iTunes library at your fingertips and broadcasting through your surround sound system. This may seem expensive ... until you consider that it would cost you at least twice that to get a docking station for your existing high-end receiver. (Ahem. Don't ask me why I know this. I don't want to talk about it. *wink*)
  • You can control Apple TV from any room in the house with the remote app for your iPod.
  • It connects to your Apple library completely wirelessly.
  • You can rent or purchase crystal-clear hi-def movies with the simple click of a button and watch it whenever you want. Right now? Sure. Tomorrow? Of course!
  • The cost of rentals is cheaper than On Demand and the quality is just as good, if not better.
  • Movie purchases cost about what they would in a store, except you're getting hi-def for about $15 instead of $25+.
  • Those movies you downloaded on Apple TV? Yeah. You can take those with you. Anytime. Anywhere. Simply download them into your iTunes library from Apple TV.
  • You can surf the Apple store from the comfort of your couch without getting up to get your laptop.
  • You can watch photo shows or home videos on your big screen - complete with soundtrack.
  • Did I mention that you can listen to your tunes while vacuuming b/c you don't have to turn up the earbuds anymore ... you just turn up the surround sound?! *grin*
  • In sum, it's the best gadget we bought last year!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to my BFF

Happy, happy birthday to my dear friend Jamie Zapata! We've been friends for 18 years. (Good lord!) Love ya, girl!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Schooled

Saw this video on a friend's blog & had to share. The geek in me, you know.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Change is a'comin'

Isn't it funny how short weeks feel eternally long?? Last week was very much like that. That's why I was surprised when my standard weekend also felt long. What? Yeah. That's what I said. But it did. And in a good way. So I'm not complainin'.

My mom came over Friday night - craft paraphenalia in tow. If you've never seen my mom travel with her craft supplies, well, you've missed something spectacular. It never ceases to amaze me how she's able to pack up virtually her entire arsenal. She's quite efficient at loading & unloading too. I really should video the process sometime. Just for fun. Anywho, she came over & we did some scrappin'. One of my other friends who is just getting into crafting also came over. (Hey, Whitney!) We all had a blast working on our separate projects. I don't think we took pictures of us all in the craft room. That would have been funny too. Three people in a 10x10 space with a huge desk & two card tables. But we managed just fine and all of us got stuff accomplished. Good times!

Poor Derek worked most of the weekend. He was on call for all the other reps who were out of state at the company's National Sales Meeting. He volunteered to stay behind and help the two associates. It's a good thing too b/c they were BUSY!

Otherwise, it was a pretty typical weekend. We spent time with the neighbors, played a little Wii, loafed. Nope. Can't complain.

Have you heard the weather forecast for the end of the week? They're talking about another round of wintry weather. We'll see. Their track record for good forecasting is certainly dismal this year.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Exciting Evening: Everyone's FINE!

Aside from the fact that I came THIS close to getting rear-ended last night, just as I went into the church to teach kids, I get a text from my mom that read, "Tornado on ground at sale barn." For those of you who are familiar with the area in which my parents live, you'll appreciate how close that is. But for those of you who don't, let's just say that the sale barn is at the top of the hill and my parents live at the bottom. Uh. Yeah.

I spent the next hour or so exchanging texts with mom. Let's just say that the ol' cell phone network was hoppin' and it took FOREVER for some of those to go through. Aggravating when you want NEWS! So on my way home from church, I called to check in. I wasn't sure I would get through, but thankfully the phones were working. The story was a bit more harrowing than mom conveyed through text messages.

Dad was working at the airport yesterday and called mom on his way home to see if she'd been watching the weather. She hadn't but went and turned on the t.v. Most of the local stations had switched to National News already, but Fox4 hadn't and they were reporting a severe thunderstorm headed their way. You see, dad had heard about a tornado ripping through Canton and closing I-20. That same storm was now headed straight for them. About that time, mom says that it starts hailing. And then, it stopped and got quiet. Eerily quiet. Mom was outside on the covered patio assessing the size of the hailstones about this time, talking to dad on the phone. The next part of the conversation went something like this:

Mom: It just stopped hailing and got really still. OUCH! Pain. In. My. Head.
Mom:
Mom: OH MY GOSH! There's a tornado at the sale barn!
Dad: OH MY GOSH! There's the tornado! I have to gun it!

Uh. Yeah. It's MUCH better to hear this story AFTER it happens & you know that everyone is okay! Dad was almost home when he spotted the twister. If he had stopped when he saw it, he would have been directly in its path and there is no safe shelter in that area - just a bunch of sheet metal buildings and trailer homes. So unfortunately, his only option was to giddy-up and go as fast as he could to get clear of it. He made it past the sale barn just before the tornado came through.

He reported the tornado to local PD. Apparently, he was the first report of one on the ground. For anyone not watching The Weather Channel - the ONLY source to issue Tornado Warnings for their area as they were happening - well, you were pretty much screwed unless you were outside watching the storm blow through. (Dad is a Certified Storm Spotter and the rest of us are hobbyists, so we tend to watch these big systems blow in, which is why mom had gone outside in the first place.)

The tornado remained on its path JUST to the north of my parents' house, and they didn't sustain any damage that they know of. The rest of the county? Not so lucky. The tornado ripped a line of destruction from the SW corner to the NE corner and passed through the middle of town. LOTS of damage now visible in the daylight. No reports of injuries aside from scratches and bruises. Amazing when you consider the lack of tornado sirens and NO WARNING from the National Weather Service until long AFTER the tornado had gone through town! Nice. The Red Cross has been dispatched, and an assessment team from the National Weather Service is expected in the area today.

And thus ends the excitement of yesterday evening.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Open Letter

Dear Texting Driver:

In case you've failed to heed the warnings, perhaps NOW you understand why it is STUPID to text & drive at the same time. I hope you sh*t your pants as you skid 50 ft. down the wet street in a (successful) attempt not to smack My Ezmerelda's rear end. And I also hope you appreciated The Glare you received as I stared at you while you backed up out of the oncoming traffic and got back in line behind me. Perhaps the next time you think about texting and driving, you will remember today and how it almost didn't work out so well!

Oh, and one other thing, for your safety and that of everyone else on the road, you MIGHT consider replacing those bald tires!

Sincerely,
The Person You Almost Hit

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Where Did Last Week Go?!

Do you ever look up and realize how quickly the time has whizzed by? Last week seemed to sail at break-neck speed. And the funny thing is that I didn't really do that much out-of-the-ordinary. Sure, there weren't very many evenings when I was actually home. Just ask our house guest/my cousin Stephanie (hey, girl - it was great to have ya!). LOL! Poor thing, she didn't really see much of us.

The Usual Schedule has begun again - voice lessons on Mondays, training on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, teaching kids and rehearsing on Wednesdays. By the time the weekend gets here, it's definitely time for a break! Throw in a visit or two with some friends, a late holiday gathering of family (<--photo), and double duty at Ye Olde Church Job and you have the recipe for a busy week.

But we enjoyed a long weekend thanks to the MLK Holiday. So we did get a chance to kick back and relax. We bought a new game for the Wii and spent most of our free time playing it. Derek claims it's "in preparation for the ski trip." But I'm not really sure how much help it will be. We've had a great time playing it tho. All I can say is that there's no way I'll actually sail down the mountain THAT fast. No way, Jose! Too much of that out-of-control feeling. And we all know that'll never do for OCD me! But if you have a Wii, I highly recommend Wii Ski & Snowboard. LOADS of fun for people of all ages (our 5-yr-old neighbor LOVED it)!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Joke of the Day

So I heard this joke this morning and I thought I'd share it with all of you (in lieu of Cartoon Weekly). This joke is cheesy (pun might be intended), I found it hysterically funny myself.

What do you call an empty Cheese Whiz container??

*wait for it*
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*ready?*
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*you sure??*


Saturday, January 09, 2010

For Once

I actually remembered to come back & give you a peek at some photos. Here are the promised photos from New Year's Eve. Enjoy!


Friday, January 08, 2010

Things: Installment 32

It's about time for another Things post, don't you think? And there is certainly plenty of inspiration this week. For me anyway.

Things: I Love About Cold Weather
  • It's time to drag out the sweaters. I love sweaters. You might call it an infatuation of sorts. Turtlenecks are my favorite. I have lots of them. But not enough. Must remedy that now that stores are clearing them out for spring styles!
  • Time to make a fire. Who doesn't like a nice, toasty fire? It's so warm (duh!) and cozy. Makes for perfect date nights. *wink*
  • Flannel sheets make their appearance. My love affair with flannel sheets almost rivals the infatuation with sweaters. The downside is the heatwave in the middle of the night when the central heat comes on. But that's usually remedied with the ol' one-foot-out ventilation system.
  • Terrific critter entertainment ensues. I don't know what it is about cold weather that brings out the friskiness in our critters, but they prance and play and put on quite a show. You would expect this from Dori, of course. I mean, Siberian Huskies love, love, LOVE cold weather. But the cats also run around on full tilt - meowing & pouncing. It's pretty hilarious.
  • It brings the hope of snow. Sure, we all complain about it. But who honestly doesn't love the white stuff?! I sure do. Which is why I'm stoked that we're going to see real snow in February when we go skiing in Park Cities. Woot!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2009: A Year in Reflection

So Tessie posted this fun Q&A taking a look back on 2009 and challenged us to post our own Q&A. And I thought, sure, why not?!

What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Threw a baby shower. Exciting, right? Actually, the shower was pretty fun, even the mommy-to-be thought so.

Did you keep your New Years Resolutions, and will you make more?
You are referring to the grand list from 2008? Um. Yeah. Well, I'm still working off the list from 08 so thanks for rubbing that in.

What would you like to have in 2010 that you didn't have in 2009?
The ability to say NO when I mean NO. I'm much too easily convinced to do things that I know aren't in the best interest of myself or others. In other words, I'm an easy victim to a hard sell. So yeah. No more of that!

What dates from 2009 will be etched on your memory, and why?
February 12, 2009: Derek found out he had cancer. February 17, 2009: Derek had surgery. February 26, 2009: the first round of post-op test results look good. March 4, 2009: Derek has no detectable cancer. November 4, 2009: I'm an aunt.

What was your biggest achievement this year?
I passed my work evaluation with flying colors, and, as a result, got a 10% raise! Woot!

What was your biggest failure?
I certainly didn't reach the savings goal I had in mind for us last year. And I had an epic fail in the clean-up-the-potty-mouth dept. And I probably got worse, if it's possible, at returning phone calls. So. Yeah. Plenty of things to improve upon.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just the usual injuries associated with a klutz.

What was the best thing you bought?
Aside from the washer and dryer, hands down it has to be the membership to LA Fitness+Personal Training. I feel better. I'm starting to look better. Can't beat that!

Whose behavior merited celebration?
It certainly wasn't mine. But I can definitely brag on Derek a little. He's learned to stand up for himself and be more assertive in all kinds of situations. It's amazing what happens when people know where you stand, huh babe?!

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ugh, mine, of course. Second verse, same as the first. (Yeah, sadly, I agree, Tess.)

Where did most of your money go?
I'm not sure I really want to look into this too much. But if I had to guess, I would say food & misc. junk. We did some improvements on the house/upgraded older stuff. And we gave a little here & there. But I would feel pretty safe saying that we ate/entertained most of it.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Like Tessie, I'm not sure that I can think of anything that would warrant three reallys. BUT I was pretty excited for Derek went he doubled his monthly sales record & closed that big sale in November. Way to go!

What song will always remind you of 2009?
Hmmm. I can't think of any one song in particular. But I probably played The Killers more than anything else.

Compared to this time last year, are you 1)happier/sadder 2)thinner/fatter 3) richer/poorer?
1) Happier. 09 was a year of reflection on what really mattered. And I let go a lot of what didn't. 2) Neither. Basically, I weigh the same but things have rearranged. And I'm fine with that. I plan to make a more consorted effort to eat better this year, but I don't much care whether that equates to weight loss as long as I feel better and look better. 3) Richer. Certainly in friends & friendship. They got us through some really rough patches this year. And monetarily, we're better off too. Derek kicked ass this year, and while I didn't meet the personal savings goal, that does not negate the fact that we put quite a hefty chunk aside and I upped our retirement contributions.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Practicing and scrapbooking. I'm just not that great at being self-disciplined. I know that if I practiced more I would be 1000 times better. Yet, I'm not too bad without it which makes it hard to be motivated to be better, if that makes any sense. As far as the scrapbooking goes, my personal goal for the last several years has been to get all caught up on our travel albums, and I continue to fail at epic levels. BUT it's back on the list this year and I'm thoroughly motivated for the moment.

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Complaining. I want to be more positive in 2010.

How did you spend Christmas?
With friends and family. And it was the best Christmas I can remember having!

Did you fall in love in 2009?
I did. With my sweet nephew Oliver.

What was your favorite TV program?
It really is hard to narrow it to just one. So I'll give you my top three: Grey's Anatomy, Fringe, NCIS.

So ... what about you? Anyone brave enough to fill out their own little Q&A? I'd love to see what you thought of '09.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Welcome, 2010!

Oh how glad I am to kick 2009 out the door! It certainly will not go down as one of my favorites. BUT despite all of the not-so-great things we experienced, we still have plenty of blessings to be thankful for. So out with the old and in with the new, and let's just hope for a better year than the last!

Speaking of kicking 2009 out the door, we did just that and in grand style. We got all gussied up (photos to come. no. really. I swear.) and hit the town with our friends/neighbors. We hired a neighbor to be our chaffeur, which had to have been the best idea we've had in a looooooooong time! We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Morton's downtown & then headed to our friend's apartment just a few blocks away where we welcomed 2010 with good friends & great bubbly.

So, welcome home 2010, we're glad you're finally here!