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Archive for the month “December, 2012”

2012: The Year in Review

It’s not the end of the year without a review of the highlights.  These are my favorite photos of the day, one for each month that sums up the excitement of the year.

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Happy New Year World!

 

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The Missing Piece

I am ecstatic to report that Dave and I have finally finished a two-year endeavor.  It started on December 31, 2010 and came to fruition on December 28, 2012.  We finished our puzzle!  It was a 2,000 piece journey to completion.  Technically, I guess you could say it was a 1,998 piece journey.  Somewhere along the way two pieces have disappeared.  I also originally purchased the puzzle at a garage sale for 25 cents, so the reality is that we probably never owned those two pieces in the first place. 

December 28, 2012

December 28, 2012

This puzzle included a little too much water, sky, tree, tree reflecting in water action to be truly enjoyable.  In fact, to finish the sky we created a technique we call, “the gauntlet.”  Essentially you just try every piece in 5-10 possible places and know that eventually you will have to find the correct piece.  Patience and stamina are required when employing “the gauntlet.”  Your arm or back can cramp up pretty quickly.

I have our next puzzle all picked out and ready to go, in fact we own about 10 more unopened puzzles.  However, I promised Dave that we wouldn’t start another puzzle until I finish organizing all of our photos into photo albums.  The reality is that it could be another 2+ years before we start this game again.

Attack of the Giant Pods

Once every five years the large tree in our front yard drops these giant, black seed pods over our entire yard.  Luckily it is only once every five years or that tree might need to go!  The interesting thing about this tree and its pods is that the tree holds onto them until December and then drops them in mass quantities.  I am, unfortunately, not exaggerating about the fact that this tree drops 1,000s of pods.  What’s worse, the pods drop after it snows so they are generally trapped in the snow and make a complete mess of the yard all winter and into the spring even if we have meticulously raked our yard throughout the fall. 

The Infamous Pods

The Infamous Pods

I will admit to being obsessed with these pods.  I hate the mess that they make, and I routinely go outside and pick them up.  Including tonight, yes, tonight.  It’s barely 30 degrees and the ground is covered in snow but I was determined to get those pods picked up!  I convinced Dave that we needed to take care of the project before the snow forecast for tonight started to fall.  After that it would be too late and the pods would be buried until spring.  So, in the dark, armed with a rake and multiple buckets we headed outside to harvest the pods.

December 27, 2012:  Dave Picking up the Pods

December 27, 2012: Dave Picking up the Pods

That is when I realized that I am officially that neighbor.  Yes, that crazy neighbor that other neighbors likely talk about when they meet on the corner for some neighborly gossip.  I was indeed outside tonight raking the top of the snow, in the dark, and was unlucky enough to have neighbor get home while we were in the middle of the project (Dave likes to remind me that at that point he was in the garage so I will get full credit for the eccentricity).  Until last year we had another neighbor who topped my shenanigans.  I had even developed something of a hobby watching him on weekend mornings.  Not much beats drinking a mug of tea early in the morning and watching your neighbor snowblowing the snow off their grass into the ditch because he likes the grass to get sun even in the winter.  Or the night that I watched him climb a tree at least 30′ up with a hack saw only to saw off the branch of the tree that he was standing on (he did move before it broke off).  Or watching him organize the wood chips one-by-one under his shrubs.  And I SWEAR that he would be leaf blowing at midnight some nights. 

Unfortunately, he’s moved and now the honor goes to me!

My Retirement Idol

Barring any unforeseen circumstances I have calculated that I am likely to still need to work more years in my life than I have currently lived.  😦  It’s no wonder than I find myself extremely jealous whenever a colleague of mine has earned the privilege of retiring, and one of my favorite colleagues entered that wonderful world on Friday, December 14th.

December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012:  Sue’s Last Day

Sue is my retirement idol.  Not just because she has retired, but because she retired the way I hope to retire someday.

1)  People were devastated to find out she was retiring.

2)  Everyone who works closely with Sue definitely had a personal freak out moment when he/she realized that the wisdom Sue possesses was going to be gone for good.

3)  People went out of their way to come to Sue’s retirement party.

4)  Sue worked right up until the last moment of her last day.  She had meetings scheduled right up until the end to help people out and get things done.

5)  Sue is completely content to be retiring and has fun plans for her future years.

Farewell Sue, we will miss you.

Party! Party! Party!

It’s no wonder that people gain an average of seven pounds over the course of the holiday season.  Here was my week last week.  Party after party after delicious party.

December 10, 2012:  Judy's Retirement Party.  Cheese Platter!

December 10, 2012: Judy’s Retirement Party. Cheese Platter!

December 11, 2012:  UWM Holiday Party.  Best catering served on campus all year.

December 11, 2012: UWM Holiday Party. Best catering served on campus all year.

December 12, 2012:  Sue Peterson's Retirement Party.  Cake!

December 12, 2012: Sue Peterson’s Retirement Party. Cake!

December 13, 2012:  Student Union Holiday Party.  Ugly sweater and a potluck!

December 13, 2012: Student Union Holiday Party. Ugly sweater and a potluck!

I also learned this week that I am just a few pounds shy of weighing more than my loving husband, and I’m a tiny person.  Bring on the Christmas cookies, I’m not holding back!

Lifestyles of the Not So Rich or Famous (But I Can Pretend)

The first week of December I attended a Women’s Leadership Institute.  It was an amazing experience.  I learned so much about my profession and myself.  Another unusual perk was that it was hosted at a Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida.  I got to experience a small taste of what it must feel like to have an unusually large amount of disposable income.  Pretending was so much fun.

Here were the photo of the day highlights.

December 3, 2012:  Shark Tooth Hunting on the Beach

December 3, 2012: Shark Tooth Hunting on the Beach

December 4, 2012:  Eating Lunch with this View

December 5, 2012:  Drinking Hot Chocolate in Front of a Fire Listening to the Ocean Waves

December 5, 2012: Drinking Hot Chocolate in Front of a Fire Listening to the Ocean Waves

Finding Chocolates on My Pillow Every Night

The View From My Room

The View From My Room

Daily Walks on the Beach

Amelia, the Ritz's Mascot

Amelia, the Ritz’s Mascot

The conference was 12+ hour days. So my time pretending to be a 1%’er only could occur about 1% of every day, but I made the most of it!

Run, Run as Fast as You Can…

You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!

This book is one of my favorite memories as a child.  My mom would bake a giant gingerbread cookie in the shape of a Gingerbread Man.  I can remember my brother and I helping by putting the raisin eyes mouth and buttons on him.  Then during the baking phase we would read the book and when we were sent to play the Gingerbread Man would leap from the oven and hide himself somewhere in the house for us to find. The search was the best part.  I can only remember one hunt and find.  Our man was hiding in the linen closet.  Sneaky little man.

I guess it is fitting that I have a whole series of photos of the day of gingerbread houses.

December 1, 2012:  Candy Land!

December 1, 2012: Candy Land!

Gingerbread Pirates!

Full Boat

Full Boat

Wisconsin Inspired Gingerbread

Confession:  I don’t really like the taste of gingerbread cookies.  I wouldn’t even put them in my top twenty of favorites.  But the memory of chasing down a runaway cookie when I was five years old (and younger) can’t be beat!

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