Sunday, January 31, 2010

For the FIRST time EVER!

Some firsts are worth celebrating.

First word.

First steps.

First love.

But there are other firsts that aren't all that. I wrote about one of those kinds of firsts here, but this isn't nearly as bad as all that. Still, it was a little sad. :(

Today we had our very first ever bad experience at Olive Garden.

Our waiter, Chris, who happened to look just like this,

(Jeremy Piven, in case you aren't familiar)
served our meals and shortly thereafter my Mom commented "They sure don't overcook their pasta, do they?" with a roll of her eyes. I let this go. You'd have to know my Mom.

Then Tucker says "My ziti isn't done."

(This is the earth, NOT turning. You see, Tucker NEVER complains at OG! NEVER!!!)

At the same time I cut into my pansotti (that new dish they're advertising...YUMMO!) and when I put the bite into my mouth, it was cold.

Not lukewarm.

Not even room temp.

But COLD like THIS is cold:

The plate was hot, the sauce was hot and the sausage was hot.

But the pansotti was very, very cold.

Phil's was, too.

And Mom wasn't just complaining for fun. Their ziti was not cooked.

So when Jeremy....uhhhhhhh, CHRIS returned to inquire about our meals, we had to tell him.

Have I told you how much I hate complaining when dining out? I can always imagine the waiter spitting in my plate prior to returning it.

Doesn't look very trustworthy, does he?

But Chris seemed okay. After all, he isn't the one who didn't fully cook our meals.

Of course, they had to prepare brand new dishes for my Mom and Tucker, but mine and Phil's only needed heated. We told Chris. He said they could absolutely prepare new plates. We INSISTED that they simply nuke them in the microwave. No sense in wasting all that perfectly wonderful food.

When our food was served a second time, it couldn't have BEEN more perfect!
Hot and delicious and perfect, as we ALWAYS expect at OG. :)

The manager then makes his way to our table, apologizes profusely, and says they will comp two of our meals to make up for their mistakes. We told him that was NOT necessary, that we eat there very often and certainly would not let one slightly off-kilter experience keep us away. He insisted. We thanked him.

Then we ordered Black Tie Mousse Cake to go and headed out. :)

And I meant what I said, Mr. Olive Garden Manager.

Just like Schwarzenegger...


Saturday, January 30, 2010

And now for my opinion on the matter

*Wow! Aside from the comments here, I have also heard from several others on my FB page and by email, too. There are some strong feelings out there regarding regifting! There are also some very funny stories, a couple of which led to the regifter being totally busted!

Barbara told me this:
"We have secret prayer partners in church. One prayer partner regifted his gift to his secret prayer partner- Who had his name - they were each others prayer partner. LOL-"

And Brenda shared this little tale...
"I opened a wedding gift - only to find a second card inside the box . . addressed to . . you guessed it, the re-gifter. If you remember to remove all cards, regifting can be a good thing."

So the moral of these stories would be......IF YOU'RE GOING TO REGIFT, DO SO VERY, VERY CAREFULLY!

Some of you feel that regifting is just really not an acceptable practice. With the possibility of being found out and causing hurt feelings, you just don't think it's worth the risk.

Some of you think it's simple laziness.

Or a result of being a tightwad.

I guess that's possible, too.

The truth of the matter is that it is totally up to the individual. Chances are good that no one is ever going to know that the fondue pot you just gave as a wedding present to your old college roommate Sue (who LOVED the fondue party your cousin threw for your wedding shower!) was the one that Great Aunt Clara
gave you last Christmas.
They also will probably never know that Great Aunt Clara has given you a fondue pot every Christmas for the last five years.

See my point?

Sometimes regifting is practical. You receive a gift you don't need or know you will never, ever use. You also know that returning the gift will be either time consuming and impossible due to not having the receipt, or you'll have to pay a restocking fee, or hurtful to Great Aunt Clara who is 83, overly-sensitive, and won't remember that she bought you a fondue pot in the first place. But you do know someone who would just LOVE this gift! Someone who would use it and appreciate it!

Then everybody is happy.

Sue got a great fondue pot. (This is her celebrating.)

You got one more thing you know you'll never use out of your way. (See how much neater your closet is?)

Aunty is starting to make next year's Christmas list and she thinks you'd LOVE a fondue pot!

I don't see the harm.

With that being said, I'll be honest regarding my own regifting closet.

I have given away exactly ONE item from that closet. It was a set of candles that I was given by a friend. They were a strong scent that doesn't appeal to me (and gives me a tremendous headache) and I gave them to another friend (not personally acquainted with the original giver, I might add) who simply adores that scent and mentioned in passing that she was going to have to go buy some more candles because she'd used up the ones she had bought from our school fundraiser. I told her exactly why I had the set, why I would never use them, and pleaded with her to take them and put them to good use. I didn't wrap them up and present them as if I had gone out and shopped for hours trying to find the perfect gift, and I also knew that the original giver and the new recipient would not cross paths. I have no desire to hurt the feelings of the giver, but knowing her as I do I also doubt she'd have any problem with what I did.

So that's more the way regifting works for me. I enjoy shopping for just the right gift for someone too much to just raid my closet and grab the first thing I can reach.

I guess that's why it's tough for me to understand why some folks can buy presents that show absolutely no consideration for the recipient's wants or needs, likes or dislikes whatsoever. I mean, really. Take a look at this.

Christmas 1987. These were my gifts from my (then) husband. I'll admit that he did put the toilet seat INSIDE the hamper and put a bow on the top. Special, huh? Not so funny then, but time has softened the sting of it and I sure get a good laugh out of it now. How thoughtful was THAT???
(And no, to answer your next question....I didn't regift those!) ;)

Friday, January 29, 2010

To regift or not to regift...

THAT is the question!

Some of my friends and I have been discussing the practice and wondering just how PC it really is.

I confess. I have a regifting closet.

I know I'm not the only one. Admit it. You've received a gift from someone that made you think...'SERIOUSLY? Do I LOOK like someone who would WANT this?'

Or worse yet...'THESE made him think of ME???'

There should be a tag attached to some gifts that warns:


So tell me, what is your take on regifting?
Is it totally okay, no matter the circumstances?
Is it only okay if the person who gave you the gift doesn't know the person to whom you are regifting?
Should the regifting be done blatantly ("I got this and I'll never use it but I thought it was something you'd like.")
Or is it okay to wrap it up and present it as a true 'I bought this just for you!' gift?

I have an opinion (you knew that already, right?) but I will not express it until I hear from a few of you. I'm just curious and you know what curiosity did to the cat.

Just a little self preservation going on here. ;)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I hit the mother lode!

Lots and lots of old photos! :)

I traveled south yesterday to pick up my Mom and bring her up to visit for a few days. While I was there I happened to think about all of the pictures and picture albums she has stashed in a cabinet in her tv room.

So I boxed them up and brought them with us. Now I am going to start scanning.

This could take a while.

But I can't wait to share some of these older shots with you!

Dental appointment this morning, taking Mom shopping for a bit, then back here to do a few things around the house and cook dinner.

This evening's dinner?

Salmon patties

Potato cakes

Peas and carrots

and either


I'll wait to decide which bread I'm making, but I'm leaning toward the cornbread. ;)

What's for dinner at your house this evening?

Monday, January 25, 2010

A First Time for Everything

This is Perri.

I love this kid. Happy, quick-witted, bright, athletic, fun to be around, crazy-cool fashion sense. She has been a joy since the day she was born.

A few of her firsts, and please bear with me. This is not a laundry list of her perfections. We all know there is no such thing as a perfect child.

And if we don't, we'll learn soon enough.

*Slept all night her first night home from the hospital.
*Pitched her first (and only...guess that's the important part) fit in public when she was still in one of these:

*Read her first book when she was barely 4 years old.
*Moved to first grade after spending only 13 days in kindergarten...she tested out in reading (above a 5th grade level) and was bored.
*First moved into the gifted program after being tested in second grade.

I won't go on. You get the point. Easy baby, easy child.

The 'first' that has my stomach in knots at the moment is less than stellar. It is not something about which to brag. It is, indeed, doing this:

Last night the Hubster and I had to dole out Perri's first real punishment.

Honestly. The first time we've ever had to take away things, limit freedom, lay down the law, etc.

And it is KILLING me.

The Hubster isn't enjoying it much either.

I know it's pretty awesome that she made it to the age of 12 without any serious punishment being needed prior to now, but this is pretty serious stuff. At least from where I'm standing. You see, it involves school and that is something we don't take lightly around here. School is her job. It's what is required of her. It is to be taken seriously and she is to do her best at all times.

And for the first time, she didn't.

This year it seems she has lost her love of reading for pleasure
but each nine weeks she is required to attain 30 Accelerated Reader points. It is part of her grade. We knew she was short on points a couple of weeks ago and the deadline was quickly approaching. We reminded her. She assured us she was working on it and it wouldn't be a problem.

The deadline was Friday. She spent Thursday and Friday playing catch-up. It didn't work.

She fell short by 4.5 points.

She will earn back her laptop when she has all 34.5 points required to bring her up to speed for this new nine week period that begins today.

Yes, the 4.5 she didn't manage to achieve last time around PLUS the 30 for the upcoming grading period. If she does it in a week???

If she procrastinates until the week before points are due, so be it. She'll do so without her laptop. And her beloved phone.

Wow. We. Are. MEAN.

We just want her to take what she has and put it to good use. No slackin' where school is concerned.

But we love her from the
top of her pretty little head to the tips of her multicolored toenails.

And we wouldn't trade her for all the perfect kids in the world.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

While I Was Away...

I haven't been been able to post for a couple of days due to connectivity issues (again) but I had plenty to keep me busy. Still, I miss this place when I can't stop in, share a few thoughts, and see what all of you are doing, too. I can read on my phone (and could post from there, too, IF I had the patience...) but it just isn't the same as sitting down at the computer and having a full-sized screen to view your terrific pics and read your amazing words.

Friday ended up (quite unexpectedly, I might add) being date night for Phil and me. Brie offered to take the kids and let us have an evening at home alone to watch movies or whatever, but then Phil (who went on call starting Friday evening) offered to get someone to cover for him for a few hours so we could actually go out to dinner and possibly a movie. What a pleasant surprise! :)

So we ended up going to Charleston to shop and I spent the two gift cards I received for my birthday. One was from Coldwater Creek and the other from Christopher and Banks, so those were the two stores we hit first. I did VERY well at C&B, getting 30% off my purchase since I bought at least 3 items. Here are a couple of the things I got...
(NOT to wear together, mind you! Just a couple of pieces I needed. And the blouse is SO much cuter in person!)
The really good news is that I was able to get that skirt in an 8! An 8!!! I haven't worn anything that small in YEARS.

At CC I paid entirely too much (I think they're terribly overpriced) but got two very pretty blouses. Unfortunately, CC's website won't let me post the pics here. Here are the links to them if you want to go take a peek:
Orange blouse.
Navy blouse.

Then we hit for dinner, which is always good. It was nice to have a 'grown-up' dinner conversation for a change. ;) We decided we'd rather come home and watch a DVD than to go to a movie theater so that's just what we did. We watched this:
Good movie. I can always watch Mark Wahlberg. :)

Nice evening. :) Thank you, Brie!

Since I had trouble staying connected yesterday, I ended up hitting that stack of books I picked up last week. Right now I'm reading this:

If you like Debbie Macomber (which I do) I think you'll like this, too. Just an easy, enjoyable read. I wasn't in the mood for something heavy.

Today has been pretty relaxed, too. Had our Sunday chicken dinner and we've just been chillin' since then. :)

Hope all of you are having a wonderfully relaxing weekend, too. You deserve it! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One of Winter's Side Effects


Lately I've been reading lots of opinions on this glorious season, not all of them favorable. I happen to be a fan. The snow. The crisp air. Fires in the fireplace. Hot chocolate. Hearty soups and stews.

It's all good.

I know that winter does have some side effects that aren't so cheery. Lack of sunlight is hard on a person. Being cooped up inside along with everyone else also provides a wonderful breeding ground for all those germs and bugs that are just waiting to attack. So there is also much illness with which to cope. Colds, flu, various viruses...yuck. Not winter's most endearing qualities, but sometimes you have to take the bad with the good.

But winter does have one very positive side effect for our family. It seems that whenever the temperatures drop and Old Man Winter settles in for a nice, long visit...
...we tend to spend a lot more time together. Good, quality, family time. Board games, jigsaw puzzles, card games. They all come out of the game closet and get the dust blown off them.

Some of our favorites include...

And of course dominoes.

We LOVE dominoes. They are such great teaching tools, too. Perri learned great math skills playing dominoes and now Tucker is doing the same.

What does your family do to while away those chilly winter evenings? Do you have a favorite board or card game? Are you a jigsaw pro? Do you get crafty? I'm always looking for new things to try and I'd love to read your suggestions. :)