Merry Christmas to Me

I waited and waited. Then I waited some more. Last night, at 8:23pm, it finally came to my door. My present. MY CAMERA.

This isn't just any camera. It's my FIRST digital camera. I know, I know... Where have I been? This is classic me. I won't settle for just anything and when I want something, I want EXACTLY what I have in mind and I'm willing to wait. I waited for the perfect husband and it only took 8 years from the day we met to marry.

However. My patience has limits when things don't make sense.

With the help of our friend Keith, Eddie and I ordered our Nikon d50, appropriate lenses, memory cards and software from B&H photo on December 17. I chose the UPS 3-day select delivery because while I could justify spending $1,000 on a camera and accessories, I couldn't justify spending over $20 in shipping. After all, I'm patient.

I got the tracking number and I waited. Eleven days later, I received the package. 11. After Christmas. It was scanned 3 times on the 19th, twice on the 20th, once on the 21st, 3 times on the 22, (those scans on the 21 and 22--all in the SAME city) 3 times on the 23, (once with the comment, "The package was missed at the UPS facility, UPS will deliver on the next business day"), declared lost between the 23rd and 28th only to arrive at my home with no warning, but after the search party had already gone out. In total, delivery was rescheduled 3 times, I called UPS 6 times, B&H-2 times and gnawed on a leather strap to control my temper for only the last 4 days.

I had a hard time coming to terms with spending this much money on something other than our basic needs. Eddie and I made a decision early on in our marriage to BUY things not charge them. Because we actually pay for everything we buy WHEN we buy it, sometimes we have to wait. The plan was to wait a bit longer for such a treat, but PaPa Hansen (Eddie's grandfather) saw to it that we didn't. He gave us a gift contingent on the fact that we do nothing sensible with it. He's 84 and wants to see us enjoy spending said gift.

My original plan was to ENJOY the money in a car that we could OWN after the last couple of payments. I could go to PaPa, point to the car and say, "See, I'm enjoying driving to work in this car that I now own." Eddie nudged me away from this logic and I'm glad that he did.

PaPa's gonna be proud.

After I finish reading the manual and SLR Digital Camera Photography for Dummies, some interesting pics may find their way here. I make no promises.


Post-Christmas Cocoon: Coffee Table Inventory

This Christmas, Eddie and I spent a fair amount of time out of our own, comfortable house celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior with family, friends and church congregation.

It wasn't until LATE Sunday evening, we were able to return to our home, our dog and our much needed vegetative state. That is the part of the holiday that is really the most fun. I love food and chocolate and presents (as I write, mine is still held captive by the UPS man), but I love to be at home with my husband much, much more. I know that MAY make me a bit of a dork, but I'm far from worried.

We both had Monday off of work, so we chose to spend our day camped out on our luscious couch.

This morning before I cleaned it, our coffee table held:

advil......................1 bottle

blankets................3 each (near the couch)

bowls.....................4 each (one with remnants of this week's cereal-Cocoa Pebbles)

brushes.................1 each (to groom the dog)

coasters................1 set (a fixture)

dvds.....................2 each (Christmas Vacation and Batman Begins, both gifts)

m&ms....................1/4 bag (I won't tell who ate them)

pillows...................3 each (near the couch, remnants of the weekend)

remote controls..3 each (they all serve a purpose, I PROMISE)

rubber bands.......1 each

salt.........................1 shaker

scissors.................1 pair

sharpies................1 each

socks.....................7 pair (clean and folded, I might add)

star wars glass.....1 each

t-shirt....................1 each (gleefully taken off when Eddie said he would brush my hair)

thank you list........1 each (for birthday presents)

tv guide..................1 each (two weeks old)

It's a big table and we like it.


Throwing Rocks at Life

On my way to work earlier this week, I suffered the joy of traveling 20 miles per hour behind an 18 wheeler. The driver was searching for the correct place to turn left (he kept his left blinker on the entire way--I suppose that was easier for him). He would stop at EVERY plant entrance where workers were congregated to ask if that was where he was supposed to be. It lasted about 10 miles and 1 million years.

Of course, I was 5 minutes late for work. I hate that. No one wants to hear about that truck or the fact that the road was winding, with LOTS of passing cars so there was no way around.

When I finally got to work, there was little room left on the gravel parking lot provided. I had a distinct urge to throw those rocks.

With the traffic building for the holidays in an already overcrowded city (it took me 2 hours to get home last night) and family get-togethers looming ALL weekend, someone better hide ALL the rocks.



Happy Birthday Russell.



Happy 30th Birthday Eddie!


90 Miles from home in 1999

After 28 years in the same home, my parents are moving, so I've been going through a lot of my old things lately. I went to get what remained in my old room a few months ago. I piled it in an unused room in our house, intending to sort through the memories and keep what was necessary. I make it a point to do this often so I'm not weighted down with so much stuff. Sometimes Eddie can't believe the kinds of things I'll throw away...or shred...or burn.

I don't like clutter. Before my methods are attacked, I'll have it known that I do hang on to special things. I'm not a total hard heart but I like to assess what needs to be saved or condensed on a regular basis. It keeps everything in perspective and allows for only special items to become sacred because of their meaning to me - not just because I've had them for 15 years.

Off track.

Anyway, I found some disks in an old booksack from culinary school. I suppose they had been spared from the purges because they concealed something important OR I'd just never had the time to open any of those files since I stored them in that old Jansport. I took the time yesterday.

I found an old journal kept during the time of my first culinary internship at the Marriott in New Orleans. Here are a few clips.

Week One
"In a new city, there are certain living arrangements one needs to make simply to function without hassle from day to day. This morning, I had made none of them. I got stuck in a toll lane, never having dealt with a toll bridge. I would have to adapt. I wound up paying for parking...all 14 dollars of it. I am now officially working to park. Fun. Fun. Fun."

Week Two
"My intention is to stand out and learn as much as possible in the time allotted...if it doesn't kill me."

Week Three
"Here's hoping an "experienced me" can thumb through these words in a few years and have a nice chuckle at the lack of self-confidence they convey." Nope. Still the same Kristen. No matter how many successes, she's still convinced her first failure is just around the corner.

Week Four
"Self doubt is a nasty thing. Over-analyzing a situation, unfortunately, is one of my strong points."

Week Five
"This week marks my last here in the Riverview and I couldn't have left with a bigger bang than ringing in the new Millennium by serving 200 people 8 courses. I was invigorated. I wasn't helpless or scared, it was affirming to perform quickly and to respond without hesitation."

Eddie's got the other couple of weeks e-mailed to him because I couldn't extract them from the disk. I can't wait to read THOSE.

I think I already know what they'll say. They'll say that I'm still Kristen and she hasn't changed, really. I'm a little older, a little wiser and a lot less shy but I'm still me. Every time I've kept a journal, (sporadically) I've written to a me in the future assuming I would be a different person or that I would have forgotten the who that I was when I wrote it. I thought that as I aged, I would transform into someone dramatically different. That didn't happen.

I'm glad it didn't.


Houses With Only Red Christmas Lights Are Creepy

They just are.

Special Gifts

I can turn the hot water on and off in the bath tub with only my left foot.


The Very First Words We Ever Spoke

Late 1992- It was the beginning of our junior year in high school. My best friend, Emily, was in my Algebra II class. She sat two rows over and to the back. This was before she lied to the teacher, telling her she couldn't see the board, in order to move into the only empty desk-the one directly in front of me.

Just before the annual Christmas dance, (an important social event when you're 16) there was a vital need for constant communication between friends. During Algebra II one day leading up to the dance, I needed to be updated on the latest in Emily's world. I needed to know at the very moment we were learning about x, if she had a date to said dance. I am not proud of the measures I had to take to obtain the intel. I had to pass a note.

I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote, "Do you have a date to the dance?" I folded it and passed it to a boy in the row next to mine, hoping it would reach its intended without detection. I watched as he opened it, glanced at the contents and then looked back at me. I mouthed quickly, "It's for Emily." The kind boy folded it back and passed it on.

I don't remember what happened after that...because this is my version of the story. It is a piece of my life that I wouldn't otherwise remember if I hadn't married anonymous note-passer 10 years later.

His version is much funnier.

Late 1992- Eddie was sitting quietly, paying attention in Algebra II. Some girl he's never spoken to hands him a note. Confused, he opens the note and reads it. It says, "Do you have a date to the dance?" Even more confused, he's thinking, Is this girl asking ME to the dance... what do I...then he looks back at me long enough for me to mouth, "It's for Emily." He folds the note back and passes it to Emily wondering what just happened and if anyone knew what he was thinking. He took notice of me after that.

I used to wonder what my future husband was doing, where he was living, was he older than me or younger? Let it be a lesson to you. Anonymous man on the street, the one you don't know in the movie theatre, the boy you ask to pass a note to your best friend...10 years from now you could wind up married to him!
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