Sunday, December 31, 2006

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday, Mr. Kluges!

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
By the way,

Happy Belated Birthday
to
Mr. Kluges!

who celebrated on December 30th!

I love you, honey!

E stands for . . . errrrr.....

****************
copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************

My good friend All Knowing Jen did the alphabet meme on her blog. Thanks to her and the letter M, I now know about the made-it-through-the-first-year birthday drink. Yay! I also got to find out what Aunt Templeton likes about R, Pusher's favorite Ls, what Syl thinks C is for and the Ts Ang thinks are terrific.

Since I wanted to play, too, I asked her for a letter.

All-Knowing Jen gave me E.

Now I'm a girl who likes a challenge, but I have the feeling this is going to take a while & that I'm definitely going to have to remember to change the date/time of this post from when I save it as a draft 'cuz there's no way I'm coming up with 10 E things I like in one sitting. Now if she'd have given me the vowel O, maybe. I mean, there's olives (YUM!), and ogliotropic (which is one of the things I love about Lake Superior and a term I learned while visiting an aquarium up there on my honeymoon), and oil (as in massage, olive, as a tool for deepfrying, scented...), but no.

It's E.

So here goes... 10 things I like that start with the letter E.
  1. Easter eggs - I love dyeing Easter eggs! They're a special holiday memory for me as well as just being fun. You see, my dad's family is much more numerous than my mom's side and we lived very near a lot of them. That mean many holidays were spent with the Huises. But Easter was different. For Easter we did the big 4 hour trek up to the Cities and stayed with my other grandma (who might get her own entry... hmmm....). And we dyed Easter eggs. And got jelly beans and chocolate bunnies and hid the eggs (several times 'cuz it was so fun) around her house. (However, here in Ireland, eggs are brown. Which makes it much harder to dye them. I even wrote about it last Easter... and included pictures!) Anyway, Easter eggs rock.
  2. Eyes - Some women like butts; others like big muscles; I like eyes. I love that sexy, intense, you're-the-only-one-in-my-universe look that Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, and the younger version of Harrison Ford can do so well. Oh, melt!
  3. Experiences - Doing new things is a big thrill for me. If you read my entry about 34 things I've done in my 34 years, you'll see that I like doing new things. Also, I just gotta mention the Girls' Adventure Weekends as experiences I've loved!
  4. Emma Bull - This MN author wrote War for the Oaks, which was my favorite book for ages and still has a special place in my heart. It's very much a book of a certain place and time, but I love her descriptions, especially when it's of a place I've been. This book and a stuffed animal were the two anti-homesick items I brought along for my 3 months in New Zealand back in 1995.
  5. Europe - Ok, I can use this as a blanket E to cover the 5+ months in 2002 when Mr. Kluges and I cut loose and backpacked, mostly in Ireland, but also visiting Paris, Germany, Belgium, Italy (yay for Venice, Rome & Pompeii), Prague, and London. Also our visit to France and Germany this past summer, not to mention that we're currently living in the continent.
  6. Ella Fitzgerald - I can occasionally be found belting out "Something's Gotta Give" or "They Can't Take That Away From Me" in the privacy of my car...when I'm all by myself... and nobody else can hear me.
  7. Embryo - Mr. Kluges came up with this one when I told him what letter I was assigned. Yup, I gotta say I am excited about being pregnant and adding a second child to our family. (Not about the not drinking or various discomforts or the pain and agony of labor, but the rest of it and ending up with a baby, you know.)
  8. Ernie - and the rest of Jim Henson's muppets. Sesame Street, the Muppet Show - they're such fond childhood memories! (Thanks, Jaysan for this idea... you'll notice I didn't use the other one!)
  9. Eating - Yup, I'm a big fan. I love popcorn, corn on the cob, chocolate, mushrooms, black olives, steak, good hamburgers, thick french fries, ice cream, and oh, so many other yummy things!
  10. Extra - as in extra helping of chocolate cheesecake, extra cash, extra long hot bath, extra pair of clean socks when yours get wet, extra chocolate-y hot chocolate (like from O'Conaill Chocolate in Cork City), extra piece of pepperoni and mushroom pizza, extra long backrub, extra cob of fresh sweet corn, etc. etc. etc.!
And there you go - 10 things I like that start with E! I did it! Let one of us know if you want a letter for yourself!

P.S. Happy New Year! It's only a little more than an hour 'til we hit 2007, but a bit longer for most of the rest of you. Anyway, best wishes for '07!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Pretty Ireland

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************


After a length bout of "I'm not sleepy; I don't want to nap!" grumpiness from Pumpkin, she's finally down. So I figured I'd try to get some pix ready to maybe add an entry or two to my poor neglected Honest Erin's Unofficial Tourism Site blog. Not a lot to say today, so I think all I'll get done is choosing and resizing photos and uploading them into drafts, but hey, it's more than I've done since September.

Anyway, I figured I'd share one of my favorites with you. This is a shot of Mizen Head, Ireland's most southwestern point. Pretty, huh?

And here's the front of St. Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, where we went to church on Christmas.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

A quick catch-up post

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
Sorry for the lack of postings lately. We've been busy with the holidays & with my in-laws here. Just sent them off EARLY this morning when Mr. Kluges brought them to the airport. And by early I mean they left the house at 4:30 in the a of m. And no, we didn't wake up Pumpkin to see them off; in fact, she very kindly slept until close to 8:30 this morning!

Today I have been running the washer and dryer constantly. I actually stripped the sheets off the guest bed and threw them in before re-retiring at 4:35 myself just 'cuz it takes so long and I knew I had plenty o' washing to do between sheets, towels, clothes & such. Pumpkin and I tidied, tried to find homes for all the new toys, and put together her new little kitchen today. I LOVE having visitors, but it always takes a couple of days to catch up after they leave, you know?

Poor Pumpkin came down with a cold the day before the inlaws arrived and snuffled and coughed her way through the whole week. Today was the first day I didn't have to dose her up with kids' cough meds, poor thing. She was up 10 times or so the first night of her cold before we got medicine 'cuz she was too stuffy to breathe, but after that it got better. She wasn't big on eating either, and between that and the medicine, she wasn't as... regular... as normal.

I only mention this (and I'm sure Mr. Kluges is shaking his head in disbelief that I did) because this is the only photo we have of her in her Christmas finery. You see, we drove down to Cobh and went to St. Colman's Cathedral for Christmas mass. And while we were there, at services... well, the imbalance corrected itself. And Pumpkin got to ride home swaddled in a blanket and her fortunately unsullied dress while the underlayers of clothing had to go in the trunk in a plastic bag. Yuck! (I'm sure you're all so VERY glad that I'm sharing this, I know.) So, the moral of the story is ALWAYS bring a change of clothes along even if you're only going to be away from home for a couple of hours!

Anyway, I'll try to do some posting about the fun stuff we did with Grampa Jem and Gramma Yori were here over the next few days. Also, I've started my post about 10 things I like that start with the letter E... but that make take a little longer!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

You Know You Live in Ireland When...

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************

My FIL was looking out the window at the weather.

Pumpkin came over. "Grandpa, what are you yookin' at?"

"I'm looking to see if it's raining. Is it raining?

"Not yet."


Always the right answer for this country!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
Happy Holidays
from our house to yours!


Merry Christmas!
from
Mr. Kluges, Ms. Huis Herself, Pumpkin, and Baby-on-the-way!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

GP - 'elp! 'elp! I've lost me hayches!

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************


Last week, Mrs. Kluges [aka Ms. Huis Herself] and I were out for the evening after having lined up our favorite [aka only] babysitter. It was a lovely evening out with dinner and some Christmas shopping. Upon returning, we sat and chatted with our baby sitter, which is not an uncommon occurrence. She's 19 or 20 and a second year college student so we do have a few things in common, certainly more than we would if she were your typical 14-year old.

Anyway, as we were sitting there chatting, she suddenly looked at me and said "You've picked up an Irish accent." I can't say that I was surprised, but still it got me thinking about how my speech has changed in the last year and a half. I know that my American "accent" softens considerably around other Irish so I actually listened carefully to myself at work.

I now spend a lot of time "tinkin about tings" (like the number "tirty tree"). If I see someone doing something stupid, I might say "Jaysus, what an eejit" and that "Maybe a good baitin' might knock some sense into 'em." And naturally when somebody does something wrong and I want to let them know it's OK, it's a quick "Nay bother t'all" or more likely "Ah sure, yer grand." [Note from MHH: Pumpkin will also say, "You're grand" on occasion.]

For those of you back home, be sure to talk to us as soon as we get back, because I'm sure the tiny brogue we've picked up will evaporate in weeks before the flat, clear Midwestern dialect.

Slainte.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just a quick note

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
Sorry for the lack of postings lately. We had a busy weekend with a date on Friday (yay for babysitters), all day house cleaning session on Saturday, and an afternoon and dinner at a friends' place on Sunday. Then yesterday Pumpkin and I had our usual Monday morning at The Planet indoor playyard, followed by errands. So, very busy, and things will probably be quite quiet here for the next week or so since my in-laws are arriving tomorrow morning. Yay!

(Of course, I expect many folks will be busy with Christmas festivities and I won't be the only one with a paucity of postings, but at least now you know.)

But, just to tide you over, and since I haven't posted any for a little bit, here are some photos of Pumpkin.

I LOVE finger painting!

My hair is long enough that Mommy can do all kinds of funny things with it while I eat my breakfast.

I like my green dress and holly tights!
(And you can see how far they've gotten on the new house on the hill!)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Photo Essay on 3M Removable Hooks

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
Mr. Kluges's parents are coming to visit us for Christmas. Hooray! We're excited to have them, and I know Pumpkin is going to especially love having Gramma Yori and Grampa Jem here. Since they're my "source" at 3M, I requested some more removable hooks. Gramma Yori wanted to know if I was eating them, she'd gotten me so many on various visits. Well, I told her they were a godsend to renters who are nice and don't put in a bunch of nails... and that I'd do a photo essay for her on where in the heck I'm using all the hooks.

So here it is.

They're used in the entryway to hang up Pumpkin's coats where she can reach them.
(And also for umbrellas and the mesh bag o' gloves-n-stuff.)
(Oh yeah, there are also two more in the entryway, kind of hidden behind our coats, that hold my purses.)


One keeps her robe on the back of her door, also at toddler height.


They hang up my broom, mop, and dustpan in the laundry room so that they don't fall over and block the door so I can't get in.
('Cuz that's what they used to do pre-hooks.)

They hold things-to-be-ironed on the back of the laundry room door so that they don't get more wrinkly and so that I don't forget about them.

They string up two laundry lines above my washer and laundry room sink so I can hang up delicates and little things like Pumpkin's socks that get stuck in the lint trap otherwise.

They're now on the back of the guest room doors to hold towels since we have a scarcity of towel bars in the bathrooms.
(As in, the main bathroom with shower and tub, had a grand total of ONE towel holder when we moved in... and that was one of those little round hand towel ones. We found some at the Dunnes Store that have suction cups on the back. They work fine, and only fall down maybe once every couple of months. Oh well.)

Also in that main bathroom, one holds our clock up on the all-tile wall.

This one holds one end of a string (the other end attaches to the curtain rod) that holds a mobile above Pumpkin's changing spot.
(More necessary for distraction when she was younger, but still pretty.)

This is one of two stuck to the top of Pumpkin's window... opening? (recess? un-sill?) upside down with a string running between them. Several suncatchers, mostly just plain crystals, hang down and make the most lovely rainbows when it's actually sunny here. Pumpkin LOVES rainbows.

And they can be used to hold up Christmas stockings!


So there you go, Gramma Yori! See how useful they are!!! :)

And P.S. to 3M... feel free to mail me a check for my advertising on your behalf, 'k?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Question #8 The Chicken or ...

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************

The real question is NOT "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?"

It's actually "Chicken and Dumplings - which one is it all about?"

For me, it's all about the dumplings. Yeah!

How 'bout you?

Monday, December 11, 2006

GP - Top 10 Things the Lads Like To Do (or How to Become a Hooligan)

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
Top 10 Things the Lads Like To Do

(or How to Become a Hooligan)
by Mr. Kluges


As some of you know, Ms Huis is occasionally kind enough to let me do a guest post on her site. This means that I get to ponder all kinds of fun and amusing things to write about; most of which never make it out of my head to see the light of day.

The other day all of us were wandering around the grocery store picking up our weekly supplies of soda bread, bacon, cabbage and Guinness and I was in charge of keeping Pumpkin entertained while Ms. Huis ran about grabbing aforementioned items.

I started thinking about how pushing the stupid shopping cart was a great allegory to moving overseas and how that would make a great post. Well, one thought led to another and next thing I knew, I was coming up with "The top 10 things the lads like to do on a Friday night."

How did get from point A to point Q? Read the list below and you should be able to puzzle it out.


As an introduction, when I talk about "the lads", I'm talking about boys aged 15 to early 20's. Most of these men start out as garden variety young drinkers and after several years of hard study and practice, they graduate to outright hooligans.


So with no further ado...

10. Get pissed - because we all know that getting drunk is a good precursor to doing stupid things.

9. Turn signs the wrong way - I can't tell you the number of times we've come to a pole in the middle of a three, four or five way intersection with all of the signs pointing the wrong way. Great for getting the "foreigners" lost.

8. Piss on the Blarney Stone - Now you know why the Blarney Stone tasted funny if you were the first one to kiss it in the morning. (Note from Ms. Huis Herself - I do believe (and hope) he's kidding on this one... and I've kissed it myself without any known ill effects!)

7. Throw traffic Cones into ANY body of water over one foot deep. We've seen orange traffic cones in rivers, lakes and even fountains. Since the River Lee in Cork is tidal, it's good fun to count the traffic cones once the tide has gone down. One point for each cone found.

6. Throw shopping carts into ANY body of water over one foot deep. See above. This is even more fun than traffic cones. They're larger and they have wheels! Anything with wheels is a prime target of the lads. Again, one point for each shopping cart spotted.

5. Steal signs - As tourists get closer and closer the lair of the lads, it becomes necessary to steal the signs rather than just turn them the wrong way. With no signs at all, the foreigners have no idea where they are headed.

4. Get langers - At some point, it's not enough to be pissed. You have to really be drunk to proceed onwards.

3. Steal cars - Make sure the car is always locked and in front of the house, otherwise it'll be a learning aid for the local hooligan-to-be.

2. Joyride in stolen car - Once said car is stolen, what better fun than to race through the countryside (langers), until finally the car runs out of petrol.

1. Light stolen car on fire - and for the pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance, trash said stolen car.

And that's one way your typical Irish lad can move his way up to the top of the hooligan ladder. From there it's just a short journey to being a criminal.


(Note from Ms. Huis Herself - Hope you all enjoyed that semi-tongue-in-cheek account of Irish "lad-ism" from Mr. Kluges. If you've ever been here, I know you've seen the shopping carts in the water!)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Who says it never hurts to have a good imagination?

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************

Friday night we were sitting at the table, having supper. Pumpkin requested "One Fine Face" from a Sesame Street CD, so we listened to that, then "Honker Ducker Dinger Jamboree."

Pumpkin started banging on the table with her hands and fists to accompany the lively song.

Then she said, "I'm a hammer! Use me on the fence!" and before I could say, "No, honey, don't!"...


She'd whammed her forehead right down into the table's edge.


The poor thing sat up tearfully, shook her head, and said, "I'm not a hammer. I'm Pumpkin.*"

Poor baby! This was, of course, immediately followed by holding, comforting, and kisses, but it was rather hard for Mr. Kluges and I to keep a straight face.


*Well, her version of her name, which is closer than it used to be when she called herself "Sunny," but still isn't quite there.

Friday, December 08, 2006

34 is the Magic Number!

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
Tomorrow's my birthday! Yay for me! 34 years young!

And to celebrate, here's a list of 34 accomplishments / interesting things I've done / life experiences / things I'm proud of. (in no particular order)

  1. got married (Hi, Mr. Kluges! I love you!)
  2. bought a house
  3. kissed the Blarney Stone
  4. gone waterwater rafting in Colorado
  5. toured a brewery in Belgium
  6. walked across the headwaters of the Mississippi
  7. and been to JazzFest in New Orleans (We even stayed on Bourbon Street!)
  8. ridden a horse
  9. sung a solo in front of an audience (in high school)
  10. snorkelled in Cancun
  11. sewn a fancy Renaissance costume and worn it to the MN RenFest
  12. gone for a gondola ride in Venice (on my 30th birthday, no less)
  13. graduated from college with high distinction
  14. seen Stonehenge (and Carhenge, but that was a different trip!)
  15. cooked a turkey
  16. visited the Colosseum in Rome
  17. acted in two college shows
  18. seen the Mona Lisa
  19. participated in the MN State Fair, the Great MN Get-Together (Over a couple of years, I showed a pig, exhibited a dress, and danced/sang in a 4H show for most of the two weeks of the fair.)
  20. toured Chichen Itza
  21. driven on the right and left sides of the road, in stick-shifts and automatics
  22. been paid to design costumes
  23. participated in a Native American sweatlodge ceremony
  24. gone to Disneyland and Walt Disney World (Thanks, Mom & Dad!)
  25. student taught in New Zealand
  26. went ice fishing (and caught a tiny, tiny fish)
  27. visited Washington, D.C.
  28. gone skiing - downhill, cross-country, AND water!
  29. participated in a (very, very small, independent, done by friends) movie (and a big shout out to some of the rest of you who were also involved!)
  30. ascended the Eiffel Tower
  31. kayaked on Lake Superior (Yay for the Girls' Adventure Weekends!)
  32. belly danced in front of an audience
  33. ridden a cable car in San Francisco
  34. had a baby (and another's on the way) (Hi, Pumpkin! I love you, too!)

So there you go. Put like that, it looks like I've spent at least part of my 34 years doing some fun and interesting stuff! Here's hoping I can keep up the pace for the next 34+!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oh, the impurity of it all

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************

Oh, yummy, yummy looking forbidden fruit!


This is one of those so wrong/so right sort of things...

(A couple are only ok, but is it just me, or does June look a tiny bit like Joaquin Phoenix?)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

December Goal

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at http://www.musenmutter.blogspot.com/
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
So it's a new month. How'd November go? Well, I had two goals - to limit myself to not more than one treat per day and to finish the back of my mosaic. I did... ok with the treat goal. It got easier the further away from Halloween we got. :) Less thinking about temptation, I suppose. Not that I was great at it, but the goal did make me more aware of how many I was eating and kept me from totally pigging out.

As for the mosaic, well, I did great the first half of the month. And then? I put it away upstairs since we were having guests for dinner so it couldn't stay out on the dining room table. And I needed to cut more tiles. And I was behind on household stuff. And I needed to get going on Xmas stuff.

And so I haven't touched it since.

I know, I know - I was all about the feeling of accomplishment I'd get for finally finishing it, blah, blah, blah, but you know, I did get some of that feeling by crossing Xmas stuff off my list - like ordering presents for people or getting our Xmas cards created and ordered (not that they're done yet, but I'm well on the way - I just need to get Mr. Kluges to get his share of the writing done for our mutual friends and ones that are more his). And I did get quite a few more rows done, so progress was made. (See, I did! I wrote about it with photos!)

It just might have to be a goal another month.

And as for my December goal, I'm taking the month off!

Actually, no, I won't start any new goals, but let me say this...

My goals for December are to continue the near total (I've got a birthday coming up... and New Year's Eve - I can have a glass of wine or bubbly for those!) ban on alcohol I've been living under for a while... and to keep taking my prenatal vitamins every day.

*grin* Yup, that is an announcement! We're due mid-May. Hooray!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Santa in a Helicopter

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
[Edited to add - to the people who are coming here by searching for something about Cork Blarney Woollen Mills Santa, this link is probably what you really want, but feel free to have a read here, too.]

Last week I completely forgot to blog about this. So I'll make up for it now! Every year (apparently on the last weekend in November), Santa flies into Blarney by helicopter. It's a big thing with tons of people, the local radio station blasting Xmas music, and lots of driving around the parking lot looking for a place to park. (Except for those of us close enough & smart enough to just walk down.) Last year Pumpkin napped a little too long, so we missed it, but this year we were there!

See the crowds o' people? Good thing Mr. Kluges is tall enough that Pumpkin could see over them all.


Santa circled a few times so that everybody could wave at him.


He is landing (and we're all standing) in a large field that, according to the status of our shoes and stroller wheels, must usually contain cows and possible also horses.


There he is! The man of the hour. Mr Kluges had managed to get closer and he said Pumpkin was able to see him easily. I was with the stroller further down, so this is on max zoom.


Afterwards, while the hundreds of people in the cow pasture were trying to all squeeze through the single-person-wide gate to follow Santa (now riding a fire truck) over to the Blarney Woolen Mills parking lot, we climbed over the fence to the road and got some really nice pictures of the castle from an area not usually accessible to the public.


See? Pretty, huh.

And that's the story of Santa and the helicopter. We plan to bring Pumpkin to see him "in person" at a mall or the Woolen Mills or someplace this year, so she can see him a little more up close. She's very excited about Christmas already and loves looking at Santas, snowmen, and Christmas trees as decorations go up all around town.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thanks, folks

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
Just wanted to say thanks for the support, folks. I think even just venting helped a lot - no nighttime worries last night. Hooray! I guess unloading those stressors on here helped get them out of my brain, or at least made them press on my thoughts a little less.

Thanks, y'all.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Confessions of a Nighttime Worrier

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copyright 2006 by Ms. Huis Herself
Please read this at www.musenmutter.blogspot.com
because that is the REAL site. Thank you!
****************
Looking back over the last few post I gotta say I've been a bit heavy on the Pumpkin side. Well, I guess she's just been a funny girl lately, and I do spend virtually all of my time with her, so it's not too surprising. But tomorrow night a bunch of us moms who go to Gymboree and The Planet together are going out on the town for the night - and leaving the kiddies with their daddies. Yay!

But that's not what I was going to write about. You see, I have a confession to make.

I am a nighttime worrier.

I don't know about the rest of you, but if I wake up in the middle of the night, my brain just starts going on and on and on. And it's not counting my blessings - no, it's dwelling on my fears and concerns.

Like, for example, our house in the States is currently unrented. But of course, the bank still expects the mortgage to be paid. And when we decided to rent out the house when first moving here we knew it might be empty sometimes, so we made sure we had a bit of a cushion. Well, our first tenant ended up only paying his damage deposit and first month's rent, then living there for some time after that until finally breaking the lease and taking off! And he didn't leave it in mint condition either. Yeah, a scumbag no-rent-paying tenant will eat through your cushion pretty dang fast, you know! And we have yet to see any money out of that situation, and who knows if we ever will... And of course if we'd have to sell it, well, that would involve a trip back ($), doing some fix-ups ($), and hoping it doesn't take too long to sell... Oh, and did I mention that we replaced the entire roof in July? ($$) So that's a favorite topic for my nighttime worries.

And then there's the whole moving-back mess to dwell on. We never planned on this being a permanent move, but we wanted to give it a try since we'd always talked and dreamed about living overseas. Well, I'd like to move back before too very much longer goes by. I'd like Pumpkin to get to see her grandparents more. I miss our friends and family. I'd like to have a house of our own again. And it'd be different if it were just us two here 'cuz we could take long weekends and drive all over the country or pop over to the continent (yay for cheap flights) and really take advantage of being here in Europe. But with Pumpkin... well, she's not a bad traveller, but it just gets a lot more complicated and the amount of time you can spend in the car goes down drastically.

So when, where, how to move back? Mr. Kluges's company is in the process of being bought out. His division might not see as much change as some other parts, but even so, it really lessens the chances of him managing to convince them to relocate him back (to WI, but still, much closer). So then we'd have to deal with a long-distance job hunt, plus the expense of moving ourselves back, thinking about where we want to settle down and live for the next long time...

And my brain churns and churns and churns through all this stressful crap. And then I can't sleep. And then it just keeps churning.

*sigh*

So I guess this much-heavier-than-usual post is a combination of venting and sending out a plea for your good thoughts and wishes. I mean, they helped Ang's permits come through, so maybe they'll find us a good renter.

And thanks for slogging through a much more depressing than usual post. To those of you who just popped over from Kittenpie's blog based on her flattering recommendation, I apologize for the downer post, but feel free to buzz through some archives for more of an upper, 'k? And to those of you who have been reading for a while (and most of whom know me from real life), thanks for sticking it out and for your good thoughts.

(And man, can you tell I'm overdue for a night out and de-stress evening? Good thing I'm going out with the girls tomorrow night!)