january blahs...

the past week has been very busy with planning for our commitment ceremony. there are so many details to think of. i am thankful for my years in the catering business. it helps to know what needs to happen and not have any untoward surprises (or omissions) on the day of the event. we’ve worked out a budget we think we can live with. we’ll work hard to keep the guest list small, which will also work in our financial favor. it’s kind of awful to have to think of it in those terms, but that’s where we’re at. with the impending purchase of a home hanging there, it’s a necessity. plus, neither of us is an extravagant spender, so we don’t feel the need for a fancy sit-down, surf-n-turf, open bar event. the two of us plan to escape right after the reception. we'll have a romantic dinner and then a night at a fancy downtown hotel. the next day, we’ll have brunch at the ritz again, like we did on my birthday last year.

my mother made a wonderful dinner for the whole family on tuesday. we had pot roast with gravy, mashed potatoes (with a ton of cream and butter!), haricots verts, balsamic glazed pearl onions, and bread and butter pickles. for dessert, there was sticky toffee pudding and pear ginger cake, both with cream poured over them. YUM! it was a perfect january menu. we had such a nice time as a family, too. it’s great to have them here. my sister, eldest niece and i washed and dried all the china and pots and pans after. even that was a pleasure!

at work, the big bosses came in on wednesday to serve us lunch. this was our reward for winning the “best new store of the year” award for 2004. the food (from fat fish blue) was set up in the backroom of the store. everyone came in and ate and then the big guys sat down and talked with us. i got a chance to do some schmoozing (which i normally hate) and it was actually fun. and now, these guys have some idea of who i am and what i’m about. ultimately, they will be the ones responsible for my further promotions. the more they remember me, the better. even though it was my day off, i’m glad i went in.



happy new year!

after a week of mild weather, winter is back in an ugly, unpleasant way. the “current conditions” part of the forecast announces ice pellets falling from above. doesn’t that really make you want to run outside and turn your face to the sky? the prediction is for up to one inch of ice to coat everything in the area. after seeing the video from chicago and points west last night, i am not looking forward to going out for work later today. although there is the promise of 45 degrees later in the week…

on a brighter note, tony and i have begun planning for our ceremony in earnest. with the date about 10 weeks away, it’s becoming clear that there is lots to do. we started in last night on the guest list and the invitation. we want to keep the whole thing really really small. just a very few people, a simple service (can we keep it down to 20 minutes?) and some cake and coffee afterwards. all of it right there in the church, all of it without the benefit of caterers, event planners, bakeries, florists, stationers or live orchestras. i plan on making the cake myself, the church will take care of the coffee, we’re creating our own invitations, and we’ll do the flowers ourselves somehow, i think. the only outside help we’ll use would be maybe someone to sing a song, maybe someone to snap some fotos, and of course the minister.

our minister is everso nice. she suggested that we take part in a survey/assessment questionnaire to help us in discussing issues that may not have come up yet. it’s called prepare/enrich and we were able to participate online. they’ll process our answers and send us back the results in a couple of weeks. it’s not designed to gauge the possibility of a relationship's success, but rather to lead us to those things we might need to work on together. the questions were very relevant and i look forward to the meetings with the minister to continue our conversation.

i was pleased to do some baking yesterday that was not holiday related. i pulled out the old standards: walnut brownies, banana bread and some summer fruit pies. the pies (as well as a cobbler of the same) were all from fruit i have had stashed in my freezer. bing cherries (which i had painstakingly pitted in august), blueberries and blackberries. i added a jar of peach sauce to round out the flavor. my sister’s house and my parents’ house each got a pie and tony and i had the cobbler last night. the other goodies will go into the freezer. i love those christmas cookies but boy, was i tired of them all!

i got all the holiday decorations taken down and stashed away and the house picked up and back to normal. i suppose i’ll be kept busy now with the preparations and planning for our commitment. around that same time, our second store is set to open at work, so that no matter where i end up getting posted, things will be busy from then on out. and then there is the house-search, which we are also starting in on. i am excited about 2005 and all that it has in store for me and for the two of us as a couple. if last year was any indication, this one should be a trip!
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