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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's from Siesta Key, Florida

Sunset  Happy New Year to everyone. :) It's almost 2009 - only a few more hours to go. A lot of my friends out there have probably already celebrated New Year's so a special "Happy New Year's" to all of them. We are in Siesta Key, Florida right now, enjoying the beautiful weather while it's snowing back home in Connecticut.

We arrived yesterday afternoon. Had some yummy lunch and then walked on the beach for about an hour and  half. The beach is just across the street from where we are staying so that's really convenient. In the evening we went to a tiki bar close by which was a lot of fun too. Super yummy Rum Runners. :)

Today we went to tour Selby Botanical Gardens and then had lunch at the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill. Had really great lobster bisque and pasta with grilled jumbo shrimp in a white wine and garlic sauce. It was fun to sit outside and watch the pelicans.

Tonight we have reservations at another restaurant here on Siesta Key where we will also be able to sit outside. Tomorrow we will probably just take it easy, maybe walk on the beach some more. This is definitely better than being at work and worrying about the snow and shoveling. Yay for vacations.

Mail update. Sent out a letter to Lotte/Denmark on Monday. Today letters went out to: Charles/TN, David/IN and Celia/MA. Received letters from/still owe replies to: Emilia/Finland and Alex/Germany.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

NYC Christmas Magic

Rockefeller-tree As part of our yearly tradition we went to see the tree in front of Rockefeller Center in NYC yesterday. I always enjoy seeing all the hustle and bustle on 5th Avenue, all the decorated shop windows and Christmas decorations. I am not big on crowds at all so by the end of the visit I have usually reached my limit but it's still fun to see it once a year. I love seeing the people ice skating in front of the tree. There is always someone proposing there as well. Very cute. :) If you want to see the rest of our pictures take a peek here.

After Rockefeller Center we headed out to Brooklyn to eat at our favorite Austrian place Cafe Steinhof. I had super yummy Viennese potato salad with smoked trout as an appetizer, chicken schnitzel with vegetable rice as an entree and Linzer torte for dessert. Yummm !

So one more day at work and then it's off to Florida. I am sure today will be a very busy and very hectic day at work. Then we have to pack and get everything ready because we have to get up very very early tomorrow morning to catch our 7am flight out of Hartford. But once we are at the beach it will all be worth it I am sure. ;)

Mail update. A letter is going out today to: Lotte/Denmark. Received letters from/still owe replies to: Charles/TN, David/IN, Emilia/Finland, Celia/MA and Alex/Germany.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy belated Christmas

Judistree So here's my Christmas post. As always it's a couple of days late. I hope everyone had a really nice Christmas. Mine was very nice. :) We opened our gifts in the morning with Mike's sister Kristina, her daughter Shannon (18) and son Erik (16). Santa was very good to me - as always. :) 2 DVDs (Ratatouille + The Grinch), tea, Christmas tree ornaments, candles and a really pretty white gold necklace with a diamond pendant.

In the afternoon we went to Mike and Kristina's aunt's house where we had chips, cheese+crackers and baked ziti along with wine. It was a really nice day.

Afterwards we went to our friend Tim's house for a bit where we had more food and more wine. Definitely a nice day.

Went into work today for a bit but hoping to get out at some point soon. Only one more day of work on Monday and then we are on our way to Florida on Tuesday. My parents have been in Florida for a week now already and seem to really be enjoying themselves.

Mail update. No letters have gone out. :( Received letters from/still owe replies to: Charles/TN, David/IN, Emilia/Finland, Celia/MA, Alex/Germany and Lotte/Denmark.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Almost Christmas

ChristmassnoopywoodstockIt's almost Christmas. :) Can't believe it's Christmas Eve. I did have to work but mostly everyone in my department was able to finish up around 2-2:30. I ended up staying till about 5 but that's ok. We are now having a quiet evening at home, having some snacks/hors d'oeuvrs, wine and will do a TV show marathon.

Then tomorrow we will open our gifts in the morning with Mike's sister and her kids. Then in the afternoon we will head over to Mike's aunt's house. Over the weekend I also want to make sure that we make it to the city so we can see the tree in front of Rockefeller Center. A yearly tradition. :)

Mail update. No letters have gone out. :( Received letters from/still owe replies to: David/IN, Emilia/Finland, Celia/MA, Alex/Germany and Lotte/Denmark.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let it snow

XmasgiftsIt's finally starting to sink in with me that Christmas is just around the corner now. Christmas Eve is just 4 days away now. Had our first snow storm of the season yesterday and ended up with about 7-8 inches of snow. Luckily work wasn't so bad. Getting home was definitely interesting but not the worst it's ever been either.

Everything is covered in white now which also adds to the Christmassy feeling. I wrapped the gifts tonight so they are all set and under the tree. I have two more things coming Tuesday which will need to be wrapped but after that I'm all set. Definitely a good feeling.

Was at work till about 2pm today, then ran some errands and wrote two letters when we got home. I am glad tomorrow is Sunday and I get to sleep in. This week had definitely been a killer at work. I am sure next week won't be too much better. But I am looking forward to December 30th when we will be on a plane to Florida. My parents arrived in Miami today and will be spending a week in that area. Then they will head up to the Sarasota (Siesta Key) area where we will meet up with them for a week. Will be nice to get away for a bit.

Mail update. So far letters are going out on Monday to: Jessica/DE and Becki/KY. Received letters from/still owe replies to: Celia/MA, Alex/Germany and Lotte/Denmark.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Decorations

Xmastree1 We decorated our tree Sunday night and it came out very nicely. The pictures don't really do it justice, especially the ones I tried to take without the flash. They look kind of washed out. Sorry about that.

I also took some pictures of my little Christmas village so you can all see it. I absolutely adore it and still wish I could live there. ;) I just think that would be sooo cozy.

Work has been very busy. The holiday season is always crazy, so much to plan and organize. I still need to contact so many school systems ASAP to figure out the scheduling so we can make sure they all have milk in house when they return from their Christmas break.

The weekend flew by so quickly. I don't even know exactly what I did but it just went by way too fast. Now it's Wednesday today and that's good and bad. I am glad we are halfway through the week 'cause it's just too crazy at work. But at the same time I feel like I am running out of time with everything I need to get done at work before next week. Argh !!!

Mail update. A letter went out on Monday to Charles/TN. Received letters from/still owe replies to: Becki/KY, Alex/Germany, Jessica/DE and Lotte/Denmark.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Early Christmas Gift

Oliver-new bedset-small  So this weekend we received an early Christmas gift from my parents. Yay. :) They got us a whole new bedset (pillows, quilts and great wintery covers). It's really nice and comfy. And very pretty of course as well. I am loving the iceblue wintery look. We also got a very nice spring set which I am very much looking forward to using when the season comes around.

Other than that not all that much has happened. Work's still busy. Was off Saturday and Sunday but somehow this weekend just flew by. Didn't even really do all that much. Yesterday was spent with errands (Bed, Bath & Beyond and the grocery store) and putting the new bedset together. Today I have been busy answering all my emails. Should try and write a letter or two as well. We will see how that goes.

Can't believe it's only 10 days until Christmas Eve. We still haven't decorated our tree even though it's up. Just been too busy at work. Hopefully we will get it decorated tonight before another work week starts.

Mail update. No letters have gone out. :( Received letters from/still owe replies to: Alex/Germany, Jessica/DE, Charles/TN and Lotte/Denmark.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Busy season

Xmasmouse_1 Work's been pretty nutty today but then I suppose that's normal leading up to the holidays. It's the same every year. There is so much organization involved with all the route scheduling, especially with the schools who will be on break for the holidays. On a more positive note we found out yesterday that we are getting a Christmas bonus this year. So that will help with the insurance deductible we have to pay for the whole mess with our oil tank.
Mike put the tree up Tuesday night so now we just need to decorate it. We will probably do that tonight. Once it's all decorated I'll take some pictures so I can post them on here. :)

Mailed out pretty much all my cards this week. Most of my US/Canada ones went out on Tuesday (9th) so that's all done. Also mailed all my packages on Tuesday. The post office definitely makes a profit on me every year. Spent $89 on 11 packages to 8 different countries.

Mail update. No letters have gone out. :( Received letters from/still owe replies to: Jessica/DE, Charles/TN and Lotte/Denmark.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

It's beginning to feel a little like ...

A short update. There is definitely some Christmas spirit in the air these days it seems. Lots of crowds out shopping, decorations popping up everywhere, Christmas cards coming in the mail. I am home right now because we are getting our new oil tank installed this morning. Yeah, we have been without much heat for almost a week now. I will be happy to go back to regular heat tonight. Been heating the house with electric heaters but they can really only heat one room at a time. And of course this weekend we had really cold weather as well.The low tonight was 13F (-10.5C). Brrrr.

Oh well. Hopefully by tonight most of this will be over and back to normal. Still have to fight with the insurance company over some details but other than that we should be ok.

In preparation for Christmas I am doing fairly ok. I have all of my Christmas cards done. Most of my international ones went out in the middle/end of last week. Finished my US/Canada ones over the weekend so most of those should be mailed very soon. I ordered Christmas stamps online but they haven't come yet so I am waiting for that. Also packed up all my gifts that need to be mailed last night so we should be able to make a trip to the post office tomorrow. The US post office will definitely make a profit on me again this year, between the 80'ish cards and 10 packages I am mailing.

Most of my Christmas deco around the house went up over the weekend as well. Don't have the tree up yet but we will hopefully get that done early this week. I will make sure to post pictures when it's all done so you can see. I am glad all the rest of my deco (incl. my Dickens Christmas village) is up though. It's defintely beginning to feel a bit like Christmas now. :) 

Short mail update. No letters have gone out. :( Received letters from/still owe replies to: Jessica/DE andCharles/TN.

**Edit**: Managed to label some pictures from this summer's roadtrip and our trip to California in Sept. while waiting for the oil techs to finish. So if you are interested take a look here and here.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

So much for a quiet night

Oil_tank All I wanted was a relaxing, go-to-bed early night last night. Had a really crappy day at work and thought we could have a quick dinner over Happy Hour, then come home, maybe finish the last stack of my international Christmas cards and then head to bed.

Of course it didn't play out that way. When we got home there was an overwhelming smell of oil in the whole house so Mike went to check the oil tank downstairs (we have a furnace that's powered by oil - very common here) Of course there was a leak and already some oil on the floor. It was leaking pretty steadily as well and the tank was about 3/4 full so we had to do something. That meant the rest of the night was spent on the phone with the furnace/oil supply company, then the fire department, the police and a Hazmat clean-up team. The tank apparently was too old (it might be the original tank for the house ... Mike's great grandfather built this house so you can imagine the age) and rusty to be fixed, the whole bottom was going to give away sooner or later, so the tech from the oil company wasn't able to patch it. That meant that DEP (Department of Enviromental Protection) had to get involved and we had to have a Hazmat clean-up team come out to pump out our oil tank so it wouldn't leak all over the place and start contaminating the soil. All this was happening really late at night so of course one of the neighbors called the police because of the noise. It's not like we really had much of a choice in the matter. Oh well.

Anyway I got to bed about 2 am so I only managed to get about 4 hours of sleep. I don't work too well on anything less than 7-8 hours so please excuse any typo's or grammatical errors in this post.
Of course this is not the end of all this either. Now we have to deal with Homeowners insurance to get some of our money back for that Hazmat team to come out (they wanted a $2500 deposit just to come out - jesus!) and of course we need a new oil tank. In the meantime they have our furnace hooked up to a small 5-gallon oil container but of course that won't last long..... The joys of homeownership.

Mail Update: No letters have gone out since the last update. Received letters from/still owe replies to: Charles/TN and Jessica/DE.

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