December 29, 2001

The Pooka Life

Been a while since the last update but things have been busy. Parents in town, Christmas celebration and more work on the kitchen. The good news is I got a digital camera for Christmas so watch out world! Going to post the in-progress remodel pictures this weekend. I have to keep this short because I'm heading to a funeral. My boss' wife died on Christmas day. Sigh.

All for now....

Posted by CHRISSIE at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2001

The Pooka Life

I discovered how to really annoy Kevin last night. It's so simple. Here's what you do. Next time you talk to him, bring up the Lord of the Rings and pronounce hobbit as "ho" (the sound Santa makes) + bit (what you put in a horse's mouth). This drives him absolutely insane.

"I felt they really captured the spirit of the book. I especially like the part where the ho-bits where running from the dark riders and the ho-bits jumped off the path just in time. Good thing ho-bits are so small or they would never have fit behind that log. And the ho-bits feet! I loved the fact all the ho-bit were barefoot with ho-bit hairy feet....."

He will run screaming. It'll be fun!

PS If you want to really get his goat, tell him you heard that his favorite character from the trilogy is Woodbeard the Fire Ant. Only say it quickly and then run for your life 'cause that one makes him really insane.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2001

The Pooka Life

Things have been tense at work lately. The senior partner in my firm found out his wife has cancer. Actually, she found a lump months ago and was rushed into surgery for a mastectomy. She's still young - early forties I'd guess. Then came the chemo and the medication. It leaked into work, of course, and we gleaned bits of news now and then. Finally, a month or so ago, she came into the office and announced she had just had her last chemo session. He was so happy. The kids were meeting them at a restaurant to celebrate. I remember he kept joking with her to take off her wig and she would hit him in disgust. We didn't hear much else for a while and then suddenly things turned worse.

I guess she began having trouble speaking and remembering words so they took her back to the hospital for test. Next thing I heard, they had discovered the cancer had moved into her brain and she had three very large tumors. My boss began taking lots of personal calls behind closed doors and I didn't really know what was happening except when asked how she was, he would say, "not good".

The other day he got a call that she was having seizures and wouldn't wake up. Amazingly enough, he returned to work the next day. I think he was just looking for something to do until the test results were back. But you could tell he was here in body only. His heart was elsewhere.

Today was our firm Christmas lunch and even though he was waiting for the results of a crucial MRI he can to celebrate for us. I don't know how he sat through that lunch and laughed and ate and made merry with us. It must have been the longest lunch of his life. I saw him checking his watch and every time his cell phone rang, we all held our breath.

My co-worker just called me to say that the MRI was positive and there is hope after all. Not everything is fine go home tomorrow but also not time to say good-bye. I'm relieved but I'm still worried about her and about him and their kids. It all happened so fast. It was found and they thought it was over and now its back worse than ever. My boss is a great attorney and someone who I respect for his talent and knowledge of the law. But watching him go through this, I respect him now for his strength and his love and his hope. It can't be easy to be strong for your kids and for your clients and for your co-workers. I can't imagine having to find that level of strength.

So if you have a moment, say a prayer for her, ok? And if you have two moments, say a prayer for him too.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2001

The Pooka Life

I stumbled across an interesting site the other day. It's called nanowrimo which is short for National Novel Writing Month. Unfortunately, I appear to be too late this year as the event is held during the month of November. During this time, you sign up to write 50,000 words in one month. The idea being you don't concentrate on how good your writing is, rather, you concentrate on finishing.

This appeals to me. I mean, really, how many time have you started your novel only to find your self bogged down seaching through your thesarus for the perfect word for the last sentence of the first paragraph. And then, even if you do manage to finish the first chapter, after you sit down and re-read it you through your hands up in disgust and fight your urge to tear the offensive papers to shreds. True to form, I have a whole notebook full of starts and not one finish story.

So nanowrimo appeals to me. You don't have to write well, that won't gain you any points. The only way to win is to complete your novel. You can't use something you've already started but must start with word one and work your way through the remaining 49,999. Plot? Not necessary. Character development? Only if it eats up words. But to be able to say, with that nonchalance air, "Oh, my first novel was atrocious dahling. I shudder to recall it."

So maybe next year, come November, I too will hole up with my computer and pound away furiously just so, at the vary least, I will have one single, complete, from start to finish with everything in-between, novel.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2001

The Pooka Life

My dad called last night to apologize to Kevin and confess.

You see, Empress Chrissie is not a random phenomenon. Oh no, EC is an inherited trait from the Terry side of the family. After reading my entry, my father was overwhelmed by a sense of shame for he knew that EC came from the Terry clan. So last night he called and spoke to Kevin, man to man.

I heard something about a laptop in payment for Kevin emotional distress and signing some sort of release for all future harm but I digress.

I must admit that it is nice to know that I'm not some random freak of nature but instead, a freak of heredity. My dad, you see, is the Emperor of Tradition. Certain things Must Be in order for the Terry world to continue. The Emperor of Tradition dictates that you must stay up until midnight on New Years Eve and drink root beer floats with vanilla ice cream. Sounds normal, right? But what you don't also know is that the root beer Must Be A&W and you Must Use the long spoons with the twisted handles - any other root beer or spoons are unacceptable. Many families make Christmas cookies, right? But in our family, the Emperor of Tradition has dictated that the cookies Must Be decorated with five colors of frosting - white, yellow, green, red and blue - and the frosting Must Be applied with special mini-knives that are used for this purpose only. On Christmas Eve, it Must Be that we all watch a certain version of Scrooge (black and white - no coloration allowed) and on Christmas morn, it Must Be that presents in the stockings are opened first before all others. (For the curious, here is a hierarchy of present opening established by the Emperor of Tradition. Presents Must Be opened in the following order: stockings, presents from co-workers, then relatives, and finally immediate family.)

So my father confessed that when he heard about the Christmas lights that weren't yellow and white but pink and orange, his first reaction mimicked mine - disgust and horror at an obvious violation of a Must Be. The Emperor of Tradition and Empress Chrissie spent a few minutes soothing each other's ruffled sense of tradition while my mother and Kevin rolled either eyes and sighed. (Actually, couldn't see my mother but I swear I heard her eyes rolling over the telephone line.)

You know the old saying, look to the mother before marrying the daughter? Well, I'm afraid poor Kevin was sadly led astray by this advice. In this situation, look to the father before marrying the daughter would have been more appropriate. Ah well, at least I can rest easy secure in the knowledge that I will carry on the traditions of Must Be. Lucky Kevin.

PS It rained last night and today. It's looking like we may get a 30 day rain streak. Is that great or what?!?

Posted by CHRISSIE at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2001

The Pooka Life

Remember how I said Kevin wasn't allowed to go and rent videos by himself? Well, I have a further expansion to that rule.

Kevin is not allowed to buy Christmas trees by himself. I am not making this up. The following story is 100% true. I even have pictures to prove it.

We waited to purchase and decorate our Christmas tree until this weekend since Kevin's mom was coming down to visit us. Thinking it would be fun to trim the tree together, we didn't even begin to ponder our tree purchase until Saturday around noon. Vicki was due to arrive around 1pm and we wanted to cut our own tree so it would be nice and fresh. Unfortunately, we had no idea where a local U-cut tree farm was. So Kevin opened up the paper, printed directions off of Mapquest and plotted a course to a U-cut tree farm out in Gresham. It looked to be about 30 minutes away. I didn't want Vicki to arrive to an empty house so I decided to send Kevin on his own to buy a tree.

Now, before you start rolling your eyes and telling me I was asking for trouble, I'll have you know that I took Kevin by the hand into the living room. I showed him the space for the tree and we measured it out. About six feet high and about three feet around. I made him repeat this back to me...twice. I also informed him that I wanted a Douglas fir. What type of tree? A Douglas fir. And so with such clear instructions I sent Kevin off with little apprehension. Oh foolish, innocent, naive girl. If I only knew.

So, THREE HOURS PASS. That's right. Three whole hours. By now, I've decided that Kevin either drove to Canada for the tree or it blew off the top of the Volvo and he was stranded on the side of the road somewhere tangled up in ropes and bungee cords. I couldn't come up with any scenario that would involve a THREE HOUR trip to a tree farm were no disaster occurred. Obviously, I underestimated Kevin.

After the THREE HOURS have passed, I see the good old Volvo pulling into the drive way. Sure enough, there's Kevin with a tree. Now, I only saw it for a moment when he drove by the front window but even that quick glance told me something was horribly wrong. Sure enough, when I stepped outside, I realized that Kevin had bought us the Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree.

You remember that special, right? Where poor old blockhead ends up with this sad little tree with no needles that bends over and is as pathetic as can be? Well, Kevin had managed to find just that tree in real life. And, amazingly enough, he had to go to three different tree lots to find it.

I was speechless as he untied the scrawny little thing and picked it off the roof of the car with one hand. First off, it was a Noble. Not a Douglas fir but a noble. Second, if you counted the long single branch that stuck out of the top, it came to my eye level so it was about 5 feet high and, at it's widest, maybe two feet across.

I could only stare in wonder at this poor sad little tree. As I turned by disbelieving stare to Kevin he began to studder...."You wanted a noble, right? And you said five feet by two feet, right? Right? Chrissie, are you ok? Why aren't you saying anything???"

What was there to say? I did the only logical thing possible in the situation and laughed till I cried. Kevin must have thought I lost my mind as he began to tell his story. He went from tree lot to tree lot looking for a 5 foot tree. Every lot owner gave him strange looks until he happened upon one final lot. The owner told him he didn't have any trees that matched that description except for the plot he was growing for next year. Seeing Kevin's excitement, he lead him into a 2002 christmas trees and handed him a saw. Kevin said he had his pick as no one else had taken any trees from the 2002 lot and, ignoring the strange looks the guy was giving him, Kevin proceeded to chop down this little sad tree. Looking at it I had to admit that in a year or two, it would make a fine Christmas tree but really, it was the smallest scrawniest thing I had ever seen.

Taking matters into my hands, we propped the reject tree against the fence and hopped back into the car. Five minutes later, we were at the local Catholic church lot were we picked up a beautiful 6 foot Douglas fir for $15. We took it home and decorated it beautifully.

"But what happened to the Charlie Brown tree?" you ask me wide eyed with wonder. Well, like any good story this one has a happy ending. We were going to chop it up for kindling when Vicki heard about its plight. She tromped out back and decided she'd take it home with her so, on Sunday evening, we picked up that little tree and put it in the front seat of her car. Now, she drive a 2 door Lebaron so there wasn't exactly a lot of room but our little tree popped in no problem. That's right, she drove home to Seattle with a shrunken noble fir in her passenger seat. That's how small it was.

I know you don't me believe and I don't blame you but I took pictures. Just as soon as they are developed, you can see the Charlie Brown tree Kevin brought home. So mental note to self, on the list of things Kevin is not allowed to do solo, videos and Christmas trees are now on the top of the list.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

It's sunny today. Drat. We were on a streak and had 28 days of rain. That's right, for the last month it has rained E-V-E-R-Y day. This means two things.

1. Great skiing.

2. Great flowers come spring.

But today, the sun is shining and the sky is blue with only white whispy clouds. It better build up tonight and rain or I'm going to be grumpy...

Posted by CHRISSIE at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2001

The Pooka Life

This may come as a shock to most people but there is a part of me, an eensy-teensy part mind you, that is a complete and total tyrant. I like to call her Empress Chrissie or EC. You do not mess with EC. If you do, she starts muttering "off with your head" and looking at you with squinty eyes. It's scary.

I don't know why Empress Chrissie surfaces but there are times when things Must Be. Sometimes, I'll be walking through my living room when suddenly, I realize that the couch Must Be moved to the other wall. Or that pair of boots Must Be purchased. Or the laundry Must Be warm before folding. It does no good to argue with Empress Chrissie. She cannot hear you and logic/reason bounce off her like rain on a duck.

So last night, I came home and decided our living room Must Be decorated. Poor Kevin walked into a flurry of puffy snowmen, tangled lights, and a very grumpry Empress. You see, we didn't have enough Christmas lights. During my first Christmas away from home, I skipped into Fred Meyer and proceed to buy 4 packages of mini-lights. I didn't stop to think about it, just grabbed four boxes and went home. Turns out, there are TWO kinds of minilights - lights on white cord and lights on green cord. Yup, you guessed it, I had bought white cord lights for the tree. So during my apartment years, my Christmas trees were strung with lights on white cord. It looked lame but I was too cheap/disgusted with myself to go buy more lights. Now that we are homeowners, those white corded lights work wonderfully for outside. But that means, no lights left for the Christmas tree.

So after dinner, Empress Chrissie sent Kevin on a quest. He had to buy three things. Candy canes (because I was running low), dishwasher detergent, and three boxes of minilights on a green cords. Kevin realized that this was a Must Be situation and did not argue. Instead, he quietly slipped out the door and braved the crowds at Fred Meyers.

Meanwhile, Empress Chrissie finished decorating and began the laborious process of wrapping presents. She was happily singing away to John Devnver and the Muppets when Kevin called with bad news. Fred Meyer had minilights but the colors were blue, green, and purple. Would that be OK? "No," EC explained to Kevin, "the Christmas lights Must Be red, green, blue, yellow and white. Go to another store. Do not even think about coming home until you have found them." EC returned to the curling of ribbon.

"I'm at Home Depot and all they have are strings of solid color lights" Kevin called in twenty minutes later. "That won't work, will it?" he asked more dejected than hopeful. For Kevin knew this was a Must Be situation, and so he trudged to yet another store looking for red, green, blue, yellow and white minilights on a green cord two weeks before Christmas.

Empress Chrissie had wrapped quite a few presents and had moved on to Harry Connick's Christmas CD by the time Kevin returned home from his quest. She opened the box of lights and pulled them out only to discover they were red, green, blue, orange, and pink. Orange and pink??? "KEVIN!" she called in her upset Empress voice "these are not right! They are orange and pink and they Must Be yellow and white!" Poor Kevin. All he wanted was to take his cold medicine and curl up on the sofa with his dog. He wanted to argue but knew the futility of trying to abort a Must Be. He stood frozen by indecision in the hallway. Should he tell EC to just deal with it? Should he try and put her off by promising to find the right lights later? Could he face another store mobbed with shoppers?

"See", EC pulled the plug out and popped it into a socket "these are all wrong." She turned to point to the offensive lights but stopped.

They were beautiful!!! "Perfect!" EC cried and Kevin let a sigh of relief. "Look honey, look how pretty the pink lights are!"

And with that, Empress Chrissie melted away and Kevin and I spent a very enjoyable evening wrapping presents and rocking out to the muppets.

Next on the list is the Christmas tree. It Must Be a douglas fir, freshly cut, no high than this and no wider that that. Don't argue with me. It Must Be.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2001

The Pooka Life

Sidewalk-Rain Right of Way Rules by Josh Rosenbaum...

It seems simple enough but you'd be surprised how few people follow them.

Example: Its raining out, there is an awning or eve or some other non rain soaked part of the sidewalk. If two people should meet on said sidewalk, right of way goes like this:

Person with Umbrella gets out of the way (as in into the rain) for Person with a rain coat. Raincoats get out of the way for people with a Coat with hood. Coat with hood gets out of the way for person with coat without hood. Coat without hood gets out of the way for person with Sweatshirt Sweatshirt gets out of the person without a sweatshirt or less and at this point the distinctions become moot.
Now there are all the little discrepancies that I'm sure you'd bring up, for example.... What if a person with a sweatshirt with a newspaper runs across a person with nothing except a shirt, but an umbrella? Of course Newspaper trumps because that person had to pay money for the newspaper which will be ruined if it gets wet, whereas all other articles clothing on umbrella person can be washed and dried and restored to proper working order.

What if two people wearing sweatshirts arrive at an eve at the same time...
Then you say it was fate and whoever backs down gets wet. At that point call of the wild takes over and you get to see who's dominant.

So there you go.

I must say that I agree with Josh's logic. I cannot count the number of times I have been walking under the eves only to get pushed out into the rain by some stupid person with an unbrella who won't yield right-of-way. I mean, they have an umbrella for Pete's sake! So Josh, consider your message posted my friend! Comments or feedback? Email me and let your voice be heard!!!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

Last night I hung out with Kat. She got A&E's Pride and Prejudice on DVD so I had to check out the never before scenes and the interviews and other goodies. After watching the ending, we both came to the conclusion that we had each married a Mr. Bingley. No doubt about it, our husbands were nice, smiley, simple folk without a dark or brooding bone in their bodies. Now we aren't complaining mind you, but the Mr. Darcy is quite simply something else. Sigh.

While we were sipping tea and mimicking British accents, our other halves were at my house down in the basement concocting Kat's Christmas present. Now, they were there fore three whole hours so when I returned, I expected this huge transformation. As it turns out, they only worked for about an hour. The rest of the time was spent eating pizza, download music, and wandering the isles of Fred Meyer.

I often joke that you could lock Josh and Kevin up in a empty cell with only a spoon and three toothpicks and they could happily amuse themselves for hours. Upon further reflecting, I'm going to have to amend that saying. I think they could actually amuse themselves for days.

It's dark and pouring rain here. I still have all my Christmas cards to write, untold numbers of presents to wrap and an entire house to decorate and it's already Thursday. Tis the season to be jolly, right? Right???? At least I have my blog back!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2001

The Pooka Life

And we are back!!!

No more AT&T craziness. I decided to step boldly out onto my very own domain. And it only took me two days to figure out how to make this posting work. At this rate, everything should be back to normal around....oh....mid-July? But hey, it mine, all mine.

So may I welcome you to my little home on the Internet.

(Please wipe your feet before entering.)

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2001

The Pooka Life

Trying something new....

Posted by CHRISSIE at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)