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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy Champagne Day!

Published by cck at 9:43 PM

When I met my fiance I convinced him I did not know how to cook. Believe me, that was a smart move. Unfortunately, when I grew bored of thai (it took awhile), he figured out that I could put together a balanced dinner.

I made filet mignon with a pinot noir sauce, maytag mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. For dessert, I made chocolate souffle with this rather yummy cherry stuff. I was pretty impressed with myself. As was he...

Last year, I fell asleep early on New Year's Eve. I read books and magazines and finished a bottle of champagne all by myself. And this year - I am quite excited to be spending NYE in Florida, in the company of friends and the love of my life.

My goodness, if this was 2006, can you imagine what tomorrow and 2007 brings? Drive safely, have a sweet kiss at midnight and may 2007 bring you all that you wish!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Do y'all read this?

Published by cck at 10:09 AM

Not to be overly dramatic... But, every day I read a devotional. Usually it's just a verse of some kind - with a little story by a reader. Sometimes, it's rather strange, because the writer is from Botswana or Quebec and their life is a little more foreign than my own.

Anyway, it's called the Upper Room and here is today's devotional:

The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.

-Proverbs 19:21 (NRSV)

Trusting God's Purpose. Pretty cool, huh?

How the Lord has blessed us...

Published by cck at 9:49 AM

I've often struggled with my relationship with God. And, to be quite honest, I am rather glad that I have. Struggling is a good thing - I am convinced that it makes understanding and acceptance that much sweeter. I once had a counselor that told me that coping was really just another word for struggle. I have never looked that up and do not know if that is actually true, but I would like it to be.

It has been a tough year for me. Tough and immeasurably fantastic. 2006 was a whirlwind. I lost a friend - a dear friend, a best friend. She canceled my friendship with a quick flick of her wrist and a send button. I thought I might never recover. I did. I realized that she was not a friend - as loyal as she claimed to be - that would ever understand me, where I had been or where I was going. It wasn't necessarily her fault, being close minded, but it was better for both of us to part.

I left a job, took a better job and then left that one too. That was difficult. I struggled through several months, working with demanding clients while I "freelanced" (read: watched Charmed four times a day in my pajamas while designing stuff). I went on job interviews where Executive Directors and Presidents asked me where South Carolina was and why I had ever left. I was told I was overqualified time and time again when we all know that I am not. At one point, I even interviewed for an office manager -- I was going to answer phones. ! I was not qualified for that job either. And then, on a Thursday afternoon not too long ago, I found out that my whole household would be unemployed together.

Last week, before Christmas - we were blessed. I got a job that I will enjoy and thrive in -- that will enlist my skills to do something bigger than myself. And my guy will be doing what he wants to do - learning the ropes and squashing bills and making things happen in the Giant Wang. We are so blessed. It was incredible timing. For the first time in two months, I slept peacefully.

And let's not forget the biggest change in my life -- the fact that I found (and have been able to keep) the man who will be my partner through life. For Christmas - since we were both rather broke - I made him a blog. I wrote down memories and excerpts from emails and pictures from nearly every day we had been together. I wrapped up his laptop for under the tree and when he turned it on and saw what it was, he almost cried. I need him in a way I have never experienced. I don't need him to make me happy, but I want him there to be a part of it. I have never shared so completely or felt so safe or wanted to be something better as much as I do with this man. As much as JFall played a role in our meeting, God had a hand in bringing us together. There is no way this could have happened without His grace and guidance.

I realize that this whole blogging thing has sort of evolved. I promise to start talking about politics again at some point -- gosh, Session in South Carolina starts soon. But, my life has taken a major twist. Here I am, a Floridian. Here I am, an engaged woman (who will be married in a little more than four months). Here I am, feeling safe for the first time in my life.

Christmas Redux

Published by cck at 9:33 AM

Did you know that I sometimes call my dog "monkey?" I have absolutely no idea why I do this - he is clearly not a monkey, nor does he really have any monkey attributes. He cannot hang from a tree and he does not have a penchant for bananas. Go figure.

It's been a good week, down here on the central west coast of Florida. Glorious, actually. Christmas was entirely different. It was my first Christmas without my family. And no matter how you slice it, it was strange not to open presents with my Grami or have my mother melt down because I gave her a necklace in the colors she usually wears (don't ask). It was amazing too -- new traditions that are now going to be my own. Chris still rang a bell to signal to me that it was time to open presents (or stockings as the case may be). And I really enjoyed Eggs Benedict with Poinsettias in the morning.

Oh, did I mention that I got my mixer? My mixer. I have coveted this thing for as long as I can remember -- often drooling when Martha Stewart or Giada uses one. I must admit - it's pretty darn amazing. I made a ginger-chocolate cake with a bourbon sauce for it's first mission. Ahhhhh! I keep joking that I like the mixer better than Chris.

It was amazing to me to be by the Gulf this whole time. We're two minutes (if that) from water over here and it is a completely different world. Christmas Eve, folks were in shorts by the water's edge. I still cannot believe that he grew up here. What a different world. Totally different activities. While I was learning how to rock climb, he was sailing.

Anyway, it is finally time for us to leave. It's almost New Year's and then - almost my birthday. I started this whole writing thing last year around my birthday. I cannot believe it's been a year and how so much has changed. I never, in a thousand years, thought this would be my life. Goes to show ya -- you just never know.

Friday, December 22, 2006

What a day, what a week, what a month, what a year.

Published by cck at 12:14 AM

Um, hi. I'm down south for the holidays. Down south where the temperature reaches a lovely 87 degrees in the afternoon, four days before Christmas. I'm making a big deal of this. My usual Christmas weather is somewhere colder -- not drastically, Maine-ish colder, but colder all the same. I'm used to the necessity of gloves and a coat for Christmas. As I look over my suitcase I realize I might not have packed enough shorts.

Today was nothing short of amazing. We slept in - which was downright lovely. The fiance and I traveled down to see the parents in their respective places of business. We ate a quick bite in Central St. Pete and met with the fabulous fabulous ladies who are making our wedding invitations and are thus in charge of cutting down the several thousand trees we'll need to make this wedding thing a reality.

I walked along the water's edge on a sunny blue day with the man I love while we commented on the city's multi-culturalism. When we returned home, we found not only that George the Porge had escaped from his home (aka the Travel Cage), but we had Christmas presents from my mom and dad.

They're weird. And that might be all I have to say on that - until I write a post entitled, "Re-Gifting." All together - it was a damn lovely day.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

December Something.

Published by cck at 10:29 AM

It's halfway through December and I have not made a single Christmas Cookie. Not one. While I stocked up on unsalted butter at Publix last week (it was 2 for 1), I have yet to put it to use. When I was a kid - the baking insanity would hit the kitchen early. Watch Out! We would make haystacks and snickerdoodles, mounds of sugar cookies decorated in this egg wash stuff my mom would make. There would be chocolate covered pretzels and baked oyster crackers and spritz cookies, thumbprint cookies and peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip and wedding cookies (which Kramps tells he called "moldy mice" growing up).

Most of my family came to our house (or the general region) for Christmas. It is still a little weird for me to think that this is the first Christmas without my parents. And, as less stressful as that is in many ways, I still will not hear my father ring Santa's bells alerting us that the Big Man has left the building and it's safe for us to run downstairs, scramble for the stockings and descend on the presents.

So, back to my original point, the absence of cookies in my household. Tonight, Durkin is planning on coming over to play Scene It or Trivial Pursuit or any game that will inevitably make me look like an idiot. Kramps wants to make his famous and rather tasty linquine with clam sauce. I'm down with that. But now, I am thinking -- what will the cookies be like. I have to make some. At least one kind. Gawd, throw me a bone!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I've been thinking about this too...

Published by cck at 2:15 PM

2006 has been a huge year for me. There have been a thousand things, small and large and everything in between, that have lifted me up, slammed me down - but most of all, kept me going.

I found Hannah Beth via jcristg. Hannah Beth wrote about her year in review and I found it beautiful. This whole blog thing just amazes me sometimes. People share their thoughts and fears and joys and questions with folks they've never met and will never see. Thank you.

Did you hear the news? It's Holiday!

Published by cck at 10:51 AM

I'm finishing Christmas cards this morning. Holiday cards, really - as none of them actually say "Merry Christmas." The Santa on the front, the Christmas Tree on the front -- none of it is clear enough! I have received at least five forwards telling me that the senders still say Merry Christmas to the Target Check Out Girl. (My usual response is a roll of the eyes and a quick delete click).

I like writing Christmas Cards (or Happy Hanukkah cards as they might be). It's fun to receive them. Sometimes, they're simply signed. Sometimes there's a short message. Maybe, if you're lucky, a picture. It's been a tradition for me to send cards since I was a little girl. Of course, now I have even more to send as I have included a new family in the list. I really liked that part.

Yesterday, the two of us went shopping for Christmas presents. Mostly ideas that I dreamed up and he perfected, which has now resulted in a massive craft project assembly line. Tonight, we're going to sit in front of our tree and attempt to take a Christmas Picture (including George in his sweater). I giggle at the thought of it. And then, my plan is to pack up my soon-to-be-husband and drive around a few neighborhoods to look at lights. I've got hot chocolate and travel cups.

It will be a big day today for us. Keep your fingers crossed. Big things are in the works. And all I can hope and pray for is a Christmas Miracle.

Monday, December 11, 2006

On why I almost almost almost

Published by cck at 8:49 PM

postponed my wedding this morning. It's amazing, wedding bullshit. I advocate all people eloping. Indeed, I think if everyone - in one year - eloped, the cost of weddings would diminish astronomically.

It's not the cost that threw me for a loop - although it does throw me for some sort of geometrical shape at least once a week. It was the fact that the B&B where I RESERVED A ROOM canceled on me. It wasn't enough that my photographer flaked out last week. No, no, no -- this time it was the magical and lovely location where I pictured myself getting ready for my wedding. Where I pictured my bridesmaids and family gathering for a Bridesmaid Tea. Where I would spend the first night with my husband. (OMG, my husband. Damn.)

The B&B was perfect -- had a cute little pool, right across from where I planned to get my hair done and even more importantly right around the corner from where the Pub is located (I planned my after wedding reception festivities well). But, no - the Fabulous Couple that runs the Meranova (yeah, I said it) decided to "lose" our reservation. There are words I'd like to use here, but I will decline.

Instead, I realized that the first night I shared with my husband would only be the first (shock, I get him for THE REST OF MY LIFE). And that I'm really getting ready at the hair salon and the Bridal Room at the White Chapel. And that everything everything everything is within walking distance of downtown Dunedin. I took a deep breath. And, damn if the Holiday Inn Express won't be just fine.

ps. My excuse, again, that Wedding Details have overtaken the focus of my ramblings. Really, I apologize.

One (of the many) Reasons I Love Katie Cali

Published by cck at 8:18 PM

There have been a lot of "I Love" posts lately, so bear with me on this one...
Katie Cali def. deserves four thousand (at least) posts about how awesome she is. For one, she gets me. As in, understands my desperate need for Diet Coke and my secret desire to have thirteen children. As in, my love of pro-Democratic policy songs (read: Dixie Chicks). As in, asks me to recite "My Short Skirt" and or the other one and is willing to stand next to me when I wed the guy that keeps my wine glass filled. As in, gives me hope when I look at my shoe closet and supports me when I cry about my mom. Okay, there's a lot more I could say (including, but not limited to, her fabulous taste in red wine, eyeglasses and cinema) - but there's probably not much more I should share with you, dear reader.

Okay - here's why Katie Cali gets a shout out tonight... She calls me while reading the Carolina Alumni Magazine. (Thought to self at that moment: Must not ever ever ever get on that mailing list). Apparently, there's a chick that graduated in the 90's that started a business. Mrs. Molly Britt, also a Chi O, created Mommy-Wear. Check it out here. I seriously want some.

Here are Katie & my favorites (click image if you want to order):

Yep. Heh. Love it!

It's only Monday?

Published by cck at 1:52 PM

Did you know that clementines are a cross between an orange and a mandarin orange? I did not know this. I do know, however, that I love clementines around Christmas. The crate of supersweet, easily peelable fruit makes me happy. Goodness, it really only does take little things, doesn't it?

Let's see, what next? I miss FaithInTheSound. I miss it. I sometimes loose track of days because I am unsure without the Inside the Echo Chamber as my beacon. As much as I am not a fan of Mr. Folks, I will indeed, say that I will miss reading musings of that Republican.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Catching Heat and he's not even governor yet

Published by cck at 10:36 PM

Never one to turn down a good time, I was starting to get excited about the whole Inauguration process. Unlike Marky Mark's Barbecue Bash, the incoming Governor of Florida has a whole week of festivities planned. Feel free to peruse the details on Governor-Elect Charlie Crist's website.

However, due to heat from Floridians far and wide, Charlie has decided to forgo the ball. Hmmm. I think Charlie doth protest too much. I have never known an incoming governor to not get heat due to the expense and cost of the Inaugural Ball. I think several things:
1) Bad precedent. The minute Democrats start complaining, the new Administration folds? Bad idea Mr. Crist.
2) Dude - go Democrats! You've got the new Administration right where you want them: scared and manipulable.
3) What is Charlie hiding? I admired the fact that he was disclosing donations weekly. It was wise. However, why capitulate so early? Everyone (everyone) protests about a ball. Why not say what you are really doing? Raising money for the party. Come clean - it's all good.
4) I had already figured out what I was going to wear. Not being a Republican, I didn't feel the need to buy something new - considering these are lean times and what not. But what about the legislators wives (and, for that matter, husbands) who wanted to shake a leg and get down on January 2nd? And the folks already contracted to provide services for the party? Or the hotels that had been banking on some business? It's a darn shame.

So, that's my thought this evening. Enjoy! The Mission is dedicating the new fort tomorrow, if I can find the camera, I might even have pictures.

Monday, December 04, 2006

CCS <3's the Internets

Published by cck at 10:21 PM

In the past five minutes I have figured out several DIY projects including, but not limited to: magnolia garlands, moss pomanders and beaded inserts for bouquets. I will also add that googling "pearl necklace" is probably not the smartest idea I've had today. GAWD, I love the internets!

Saturday we went to Tally's version of Christmas, complete with fake (slightly pink) snow. Ms. Gen not only plied us with Hot Apple Cider, we also nabbed a coveted balcony spot. Watching the parade put me in such a Christmas spirit -- and that had nothing to do with the Gator-on-a-Stick. Well, maybe it did. Just a little bit. Probably it was more so because of the folks we laughed with, drank with and ate that oh-so-interesting gator with while watching the Gators run away with a championship.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Why I Love Tallahassee #1

Published by cck at 1:42 PM

Okay, so - if you are a reader of this blog you might be scratching your head. What? You look perplexed, I can see it. Me? Say I love Tallahassee? C'mon - you know that while I love living with my fiance and making really good friends in this town in Florida, I'm not particularly fond of the city. Mainly because of the lack of good shopping.

However, at this moment, I am a huge fan of Tallahassee. It has nothing to do with fabulous tailgating at FSU or enjoying a glass of pinot at Cafe... this time my friends, I am commending the city with its choice of Christmas Festivals.

I was in many a parade around Christmas in South Carolina -- Mauldin, Greenville, Columbia... I enjoy it - bells and high school band music and kids and candy, etc etc etc. Every parade I have ever been in or witnessed was butt early in the morning. It was usually cold and hot chocolate was the drink of choice.

Oh no, not here. Here in Florida we do it RIGHT. (Notice how I just wrote "we?" As if I am a Floridian? Dude, that was progress.) Okay, so - the parade/festival/whatever is in the evening. And they have street vendors. And you can have a drink while you watch the festivities. WAHOO!