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Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 In Sum

Memorable Moments - Month By Month

Everyone has Summaries of the year. And I am always jealous. Because I usually don't have enough stuff happening in a year to make it worth while to sum it up. But this year I have a venue for which to consider my year and so I will - boring or not.

Every year the only good thing about January is the birthday/Martin Luther King Jr. Day combo. My birthday is the 18th, so every year, I get a random day off on the week of my birthday. Which I like. A lot. And this particular year the choir that I'm in traveled down to Illinois (on bus.... where I played my dad's hand-held Yahtzee) on the Martin Luther King Jr holiday.

There was actually two major events in February, neither of which are particularly pleasant, but things I'll always remember just the same. The day before Valentine's Day, I got into an accident while "on a business trip" in Downtown Detroit and in the last days of February, I moved across the parking lot to a different apartment in the same complex. The weekend I got back from the fateful business trip, the Detroit yg had some people up to go ice skating. It was pretty much the best thing that happened to me that month. :)

Went to Kansas for the whole month. It was a scream. Loved it. I met neat people.... I found out what a "blog" is.... I enjoyed spring (both in KS and then when I got back to MI - it was awesome!).... I got to see the Flint Hills.... I got no sleep.... etc. etc. Basically March was a very fun month.

I started my blog. I visited New Orleans for work (pre-hurricane). Was introduced to Jambalaya (which is like cajun left-over soup - it's very tasty).

VACATION! I went out to Phoenix "for work" and stayed an extra week or so with my friends, Beth (and her husband, Ben) and Maryann, and my aunt and uncle. It was awesome. I think every May I'm going to spend a week in Arizona so that I can soak up some 95 degree weather and some sun. Beth and I went to this neat store that sells material by the pound.... I got to ride a bike.... had Jamba Juice.... Awesome.

Went to what is looking like my last official "young group weekend" in Latty, OH. It was a pig roast. Pretty exciting.

Brooke, Ashley, and Tommy (from KS) and Kristi (from Ohio) came up to Michigan to hang with us the weekend before the fourth (incidentally - how 'bout a reunion of that weekend for Brian and my wedding?). We did lots of fun stuff including running around with sparklers like we were ten. It was very fun. Then my family got together for the fourth and fifth in Grand Rapids (like we always) do. Oh yeah, and July 26th was my 1 year anniversary at work (congratulations to me)!

I'm pretty sure this was the most boring month ever because I couldn't think of anything that happened in August except my alternator going out and I getting stuck in Battle Creek for a weekend (which, now that I think about it, was pretty traumatizing).

There was several things worth mentioning about September (none of which were caused, created, or effected by me). Hurricane Katrina went through, so I joined the Red Cross. Joining the Red Cross made me feel like I should get out into the community more, so I also started swimming again and went to the Y. Mill End (the best store in Bay City) closed. And the Oldies station in Lansing turned into some weird boy-band station. Grr. Still a little mad about the Mill End and boy-band things.

Unbeknownst (is that a word?) to me, Brian went to go talk to his elder about asking me to marry him in October. Meanwhile, I was very busy having another August-like boring month. The only thing I can think of was that I went home for John's (my brother in law) ordination.

Brian and I got engaged (and although I'm sure lots of other stuff happened, that's all I have to say about November)!

I went to Seattle for the first time in my life! It was cool. I have never been north of LA on the West Coast. Pathetic, I know, since LA is pretty much as far south as you can go on the West Coast and still be in the US. And then there was Christmas. Brian and I split our three days together between our families. It was a lot of fun. Though, ironically, he was more nervous than I was when we were with his family, and I was more nervous than he was when we were with my family.

So, that's my year in summation. Mostly boring (thanks for reading), but there were some serious highlights and I have to say, I will always look back on 2005 as one of the most interesting years of my existence to date.

Happy 2006!
posted by Julie at 9:05 AM 4 comments

Thursday, December 22, 2005

FED Files - Volume XV

Christmas Cheer

Every year the halls of the HDI Federal Center are decked with "Christmas Cheer". Most doors sport big bows of red felt, wreaths, or some other ornament. Every year guidance on Christmas decorating is sent through the building by the Building Manager in the attempt to keep decoration-related disasters down to a dull roar. They publish in their guidance the maximum amount of weight that can be hung off the ceilings, the amount of light strings per cube, when to turn off the lights, the building's strict candle policy, etc. And every year, people find ways to have exactly what they want and ways to make it legal.

The ladies that sit across the hall from me hold the deed on this talent. They have "legal" Christmas decorating down to a science. Instead of candles, they use Glade Plug-Ins with "Christmas scented" oils. Their lights are strung (though conservatively) throughout the cube area, and the overhead lights are turned off through the season to create "ambiance". Candy (which there is no guidance on - although there probably should be, a sugared up Fed is definitely more dangerous than Christmas lights) is practically dripping from each cube. Garland is placed on top of the cube walls instead of from the ceiling to comply with the maximum-weight-from-the-ceiling rule. Outside the cube-area's double doors is hanging large red stockings with everyone's name sewn on and Poinsettias adorn the floor. Filtering through hall is the gentle sound of their soft instrumental Christmas music.

With such beauty across the hall from us, Laura (my cube-mate) and I felt duly inferior. Laura possessed two Christmas decorations (2 small red and white felt stockings) and I none. Laura was hesitant to offer me one of her stockings, since it was "tacky". But I was grateful to have some reminder of Christmas (as I had none), and I immediately remembered an old boss of mine saying very emphatically, "Honey, if it ain't tacky, it ain't Christmas." So, I shared this sentiment with Laura. The more we laughed at the idea of being purposely tacky, the more we were convinced to make our cubes as tacky as humanly possible.

Where others have satin, we have felt. Where metal and wood, we have plastic. Where garland, we have tinsel. Where tasteful decorations, we have homemade crafts (though the exact origin of many of these "jewels" is unknown, we suspect that many were created at either elementary schools, or nursing homes). Where the instrumental strains of Christmas carols, we have Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.

Yes, we have the tackiest cubes in the building (which is a challenge when there are 2000 people to compete with). It is amazing how much pleasure it has given us. We feel like kids trimming the Christmas tree. Our visitors salutations often sound something like, "Hey.... Whoooooa!" To which Laura will jump up from her cube look around the little partition and say, "Do you like 'the Tacky'?" ('The Tacky' is what we lovingly refer to our decorations as.) Then she walks around the room to point out all her favorite 'Tacky'.

Yes, it has been a very merry Christmas in room number 2-4-33. Silliness abounds. Pleasure mounts. People are happy. And really, the true joy of Christmas is similar. The joy of Christmas is letting go of something perfect and finding something even more perfect. The joy of Christmas was Jesus letting go of Heaven and finding the perfect will of God. He let go. He let go of what He knew to be a perfect place to come down to this one. So, yeah, Christmas can be tacky. Let go of your inhibitions this Christmas. Celebrate the fact that what you believe to be "perfect" may still get more perfect if you just let go of it. And whatever else you do, remember: If it ain't tacky, it ain't Christmas.

Merry Christmas!
posted by Julie at 3:49 PM 3 comments

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Bit.... Scattered Today

I was trying to decide what to write about and then I realized I have too many things going on in my head and so little time to write about them all. So, I will write about them all in the same post and then it'll be like a cross-section of my brain activity on the Tuesday morning before Christmas one month after getting engaged.

  1. When I came to work there was a little ornament hanging off the thumb tack that holds up my frequent flyer information. Someone must have put it there before I got here this morning. It's really cute, it's one of those "Jingle Buddies" that has a big jingle bell for a bottom and the they have glittery, sparkly snowmen sticking out of the top. And it says, "Contrats on your engagement." It's really cute.
  2. Sometime this afternoon I have to go out to my car and get my phone charger and my DeBrand's chocolate. The only way I'm going to get through today is with a cell phone and chocolate.
  3. I'm a little embarrassed because every time Brian and I go shopping for his mom and dad's Christmas presents we wind up looking at towels (incidentally, Bed Bath and Beyond's "Seduction" towels are super, super soft). Literally, every, single time.
  4. I wonder if my mom is making her famous Chex-Mix and if Helen is making her famous cheeseball. My mom's Chex-Mix and aunt Helen's cheeseball makes the best Christmas meal.
  5. I ordered a HoneyBaked Ham and a roasted turkey breast to take home with me, but I ordered it for Saturday and need to pick it up on Friday. As an ex manager of a HoneyBaked Ham, I realize that nothing is more annoying as the date-changers, so I hesitate calling to tell Corey (the East Lansing manager) that I'll be in on Friday instead of Saturday. I might just show up and hope for the best.
  6. My skin has been super, super dry, and I'm beginning to wonder if maybe dry skin is more hot/cold sensitive than moisturized skin. Anyone know? I'm going to have to look that up.

With as scattered as I've been lately, I find it curious that I only have 6 things on my random-thought list. But that's what I've got for now.

posted by Julie at 11:02 AM 7 comments

Friday, December 16, 2005

Here's To Nuthin'

I am 100% certain that before I actually finish this post I will get interrupted at least fourteen more times. I am about 87% certain that before I actually finish this post, I will leave work (I'm leaving a little early today). So, here's a compilation of my interruptions this morning.

7:05 - Diane and Ken were nervous about getting the Adopt-A-Family gifts wrapped, so we found an open conference room and wrapped about a million gifts.
7:45 - Dave was nervous about getting the presents in boxes so we went out to my car to get the boxes.
8:10 - Bev called in sick so Ken and I went to pick up her presents.
8:45 - Roscoe called and said that he would be late today, because he was picking up his Adopt-A-Family presents.
9:00 - Roscoe showed up with his presents which need to be wrapped and boxed.
9:10 - Ken and I loaded up Diane's Suburban.
9:30 - Ken and I dropped off the gifts at the Distribution Center.
10:00 - Kirk hasn't checked his email and so hasn't approved my leave.
10:45 - Kirk needed to make a change on my leave slip.
10:46 - Kirk doesn't know how to make the necessary change.
10:48 - Leave slip was resent to Kirk.
10:50 - I sent the incorrect leave slip to Kirk.
10:52 - I sent the correct leave slip to Kirk.
10:57 - My sister, Lisa, called about Christmas, etc.
11:04 - Jenny emailed about the "unofficial" Christmas dinner our work-group was going to have next Tuesday.
11:12 - Stomach growls.....

And this is how it's been all week. But wait a minute.... I think I'm done..... I might actually get this out..... but I need to run spell-check..... And..... Oh yeah, I have a meeting right before I leave.... so gotta run.... Hopefully you'll hear more from me next week!......
posted by Julie at 10:49 AM 3 comments

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Things That Crack Me Up

  1. My mom always tells me that she hates it when I pick out the restaurant because they're always "so loud". So, when I picked out Emil's Italian Eatery as the venue for our "introduce Brian to the family" dinner, the first thing she asked was, "It's not a noisy restaurant, is it? I hate noisy restaurants." I wanted to laugh and say, "Uh... Mom? Whenever you bring fourteen very jolly people - four of which are very lively children - into an enclosed place like a restaurant, it will be 'noisy'."
  2. Thinking about the time my friend, Beth, hit herself in the face with a tennis racquet (the funniest part about it was that she was trying so hard....).
  3. That Brian wants orange bridesmaids dresses (I guess in July, though, we probably could pull off orange bridesmaid dresses).
  4. That Josh's cats names are $noop and Dawg.
  5. That I'm so bored with editing that I caught myself singing "Carol of the Bells" to myself.
posted by Julie at 9:40 AM 4 comments

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Turns Out...

I didn't freeze to death yesterday (though it came pretty close).

Washington doesn't have any Boston Markets (Can you believe that nonsense - where do these people get mac and cheese?).

I can live without email for a half of a day (our internet connection was down this morning and I thought that that too may kill me).

The state of Washington has mountains! This morning was the first time I saw them because it's been so foggy since I've gotten here (now it's just the regular kind of cloudy).

Guacamole chips are perhaps the best kind of chips I've ever tasted.

Brian and I are meeting my family in Lansing on Sunday for dinner (this will be the first time for him to see all of my family together - very exciting).

And that's all I can think of right now. So, I will write again when I have more to say.
posted by Julie at 6:26 PM 9 comments

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm Cold

Here I am in Washington State. I'm about 45 minutes straight south of Seattle. It's a really neat area and I'm excited to be here, but I'm pretty sure that I will freeze to death before I get back to Michigan. They say that it's forty degrees, but I don't believe them. It's so humid that when we went to do a hazardous waste pick-up this morning all the drums had condensation on them and I had to literally use spray adhesive to get our self-stick labels to adhere to them.

Everything is dampish. My hair, my cloths, my skin, and so everything is very cold. But, I will probably live through it.

It's very pretty here, and I hope to do some Seattle sight-seeing one of these evenings, which I'm sure you'll hear all about (even if you'd rather not). So, if I don't freeze to death, I will let you all know how the rest of my week has gone. Until then...
posted by Julie at 2:18 PM 7 comments

Thursday, December 01, 2005

We Took It Ourselves

Not with a Timer.... Not with some fancy device.... Just me, him, and a disposable Kodak the day we got engaged. :) You should have seen the other ones. Hilarious. Not very useful. But very funny. Brian's mom is really into photography, and is really good at it, and the whole time we were taking pictures of ourselves we kept saying, "Your mom would be so ashamed..." But alas. Here is the best picture of both of us. We'll have to post some "real" pics when we get them.
posted by Julie at 8:37 AM 12 comments